Month: February 2017

2 months today I’ll be on my way to Malaysia

When we booked our trip to Malaysia last year it was THE most exciting thing on the horizon and I was beside myself with joy that we’d be travelling East, doing a twin centre trip, and eating all of the food.

While it’s still massively exciting, it’s been overshadowed by the prospect of the housemove with all the associated house buying stress, house selling DIY and general overwhelming thought of having to pack up all our belongings (and we have a lot of belongings) and move them all to a new place.

So, I’m ashamed to say, the trip has taken something of a backseat in my mind.

Imagine then, the coincidental surprise and joy when Hannah, from Hannah International (a blog I follow) posted that she’d just got back from Kuala Lumpur and shared some great photos and experiences.

Pop on over to Hannah’s blog to have a look.

This has inspired me and, with just two months to go, it’s time to start thinking about our trip more seriously, planning a loose itinerary and generally getting into a giddy frame of mind!

We’re flying from Heathrow to Kuala Lumpur (a headache inducing 13 hour flight) and then getting a connecting flight to the island of Penang which is where we’ll spend our first 5 days. We’re staying in Batu Ferringhi, which is at the North of the island and home to great night hawker streetfood markets (so much excitement at this prospect!) but getting around is easy and cheap by bus and taxi. Whilst there  we want to spend some time in Georgetown (the capital), get the funicular up Penang Hill, maybe hire jet skis and eat, eat, EAT!

Of course it will be good to have some downtime too, chilling by the hotel pool, paddling in the sea and generally relaxing.

On the morning of the 6th day we get a flight back to Kuala Lumpur where we’ll spend 3 and a half days. I foresee lots of wondering, oohing and aahing. I’m excited by the mix of old and new, especially on the architecture front, and the mosques and temples are high on the list (not from a religious point of view, purely aesthetic). I now definitely want to get a train to the Batu caves that Hannah mentioned in her blog (even though I wasn’t aware of them prior to that). Obviously the architecture will be a big draw with a trip to the top of the Petronas Twin Towers (day and night, if possible), Thean Hou temple, Sri Maha Mariamman Temple, Chan See Shu Yuen temple, Jamek Mosque, Chinatown, Skybar, the colonial railway station and Little India.

So. Much. Stuff.

Excitement levels are currently supersonic!

Let me know your travel plans – imminent, future, or bucket list. I’d love to know!

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

M&S – you’re crackers! (Twit of the Day!)

Last Sunday one of our friends came round for lunch (I do cook a mean roast, even if I say so myself).

Instead of dessert, he brought round a cheeseboard. Genius decision – I frickin’ love cheese.

Now, I know M&S is a stalwart of all things amazeballs to eat, and their TV adverts can turn me into a dribbling mess of food desire, but I have to call them out on their cracker “serving suggestion”.

A stack of 7 crackers with a wedge of cheese on it? Who has a mouth that big? Or that moist?

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M&S…you usually smash it, but instead you’re my Twit of the Day!

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

GIG REVIEW: The Counterfeit Stones

I have mixed feelings about tribute bands. On the one hand I think it’s pretty good that you can go and see a band who look and sound like a real band that you like, but in a cheaper and more accessible way (generally smaller venues and playing more regularly than the originals). On the other hand I’m like “but it’s not the real band and they’re just pretending”. Although that’s what actors do and obviously I’m ok with that.

A dichotomy, no?

What I don’t have mixed feelings about, is how great the Counterfeit Stones were when I saw them on Saturday night!

I’d never heard of them before, but the husband told me they’re classed as one of the best Rolling Stones bands out there and, according to their website, Mick Jagger classes them as “The Most famous Stones band in England” (apart from the originals, obvs!)

“The Counterfeit Stones have successfully toured the globe for nearly twenty years, and during that time have played shows with audience capacities of up to 60,000. Their many fans include Bill Clinton, Prince Edward, Lemmy, Mick Jagger, the Gallagher brothers, Jerry Hall and many many more.”

None too shabby!

Playing all the hits, the ticket was real value for money with two sets of around 45 minutes each. Front man Nick Dagger has the voice, the look and the mannerisms of Mick – he struts, he swaggers and he sounds ridiculously like Jagger himself. Close your eyes and you could be at a Stones gig. Each band member is very tight and plays immensely, which was obviously helped by the really great sound at the venue.

counterfeit-stones-at-the-robin-bilston

There’s a comedic element to their performance, with a bit of audience banter and not taking themselves too seriously, certainly enhanced by the terrible wigs worn by “Keith” and “Ronnie” but for a singalong, rousing fun night out, you can’t go wrong! If you like the Rolling Stones and you see these guys advertised at a venue near you, my advice would be to go and have a great time.

I wore my new red velvet paisley flares from Forever 21. Aren’t they great? They got a lot of love!

forever-21-paisley-velvet-flares

Read about the time I went to the Rolling Stones exhibition at the Saatchi gallery here.

What are your thoughts on tribute bands? Yay or nay?

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

It’s nice to be nice!

Because a big part of my job is looking after social media, I get to see all sorts of things I wouldn’t usually come across. How else would I know that last Friday was Random Acts of Kindness Day?

Well, actually, I was aware-ish because Fiona over at Fiona Likes to Blog posted about it, with a whole list of lovely things you can do to make someone smile. Have a read of her suggestions.

My absolute favourite one on there is “pay someone a compliment”. People love to get compliments (as long as they’re genuine!) In fact, certainly in my case, we’re so used to people being mean to each other these days, and reading/hearing critical insulting opinions on Twitter, Facebook, the news and in magazines and newspapers, that a genuine compliment holds more weight than ever. It’s like it’s a surprise that people still have the ability to say nice things!

its-nice-to-be-nice

A few years ago the husband pointed out that I was staring at a woman and that it was rude. I told him that I was only looking because she looked fabulous. And it got me to thinking how cross (and paranoid) I get when I think someone’s staring at me, but maybe they’re looking for nice reasons too. So now, if someone catches me looking at them, I try to let them know the reason why (unless it’s a bad reason, obvs!) If I walk past someone wearing great shoes, I’ll tell them. See a girl with funky hair – I say it looks ace. And don’t just reserve it for appearance related stuff. If someone does something kind, point it out. If a sales assistant is particularly helpful, let them know.

You don’t need to do it all the time, that would be overkill, but a well placed acknowledgement can also do wonders for your own wellbeing. Try it, and see how good you feel knowing you’ve made someone else feel good too.

Spread the love!

Mind the Gap

Gap is one of those places I just never think to go in or look at online, much less buy anything. But I recently decided, in a Pinterest style marathon, that I needed some crop flare jeans – to wear now with ankle / calf boots and in summer with wedges and clogs. Here are my inspo pics.

I especially love the ones on the bottom left…swoon

Simultaneously the husband declared that he needed some new jeans for work, and with Gap 1969 being his preferred style and me being his personal shopper (!!) I headed on over to the website.

“Ooh,” thinks I, “I may as well have a look at the women’s sale while I’m here.” (always dangerous). “I wonder if they have any cropped flares?”

Which is how I came across these beauties.

I love the two tone denim. They’re pleasingly high waisted (I can tuck my post dinner tummy right in!!) and pleasingly similar to my faves above. I might let down the hems for that raw edge finish too but I won’t be wearing them with black courts (sack the Gap stylist!)

The husband told me they look like clown trousers, which made me love them even more!

I also spied these two pairs of distressed jeans, which I’m currently deciding between, to replace my beloved ASOS Saxon battered jeans, which are now more battered than jean and only fit for slobbing around the house (something I do well).

I’m erring towards the ones on the right as they’re a slightly looser fit, and in my head I will look as cool and cute as this when I wear them (in a less young, less slim kind of way).

distressed-jeans-leather-jacket

What are your favourite denim styles? Let me know!

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

 

 

5 things I’ve done on the “most romantic day of the year”

  1. Woke up alone, because the husband was away overnight with work
  2. Hunted high and low for missing paperwork (losing stuff in your own home is so damn stupid)
  3. Went to the supermarket
  4. Applied for a mortgage online
  5. Measured up our existing lounge compared to our “new” one (fingers crossed!)

But you know what else I’ve done?

  1. Got excited about the husband coming home
  2. Exchanged cards
  3. Drunk pink wine
  4. Kissed like teenagers (sorry!) > (not sorry!!)
  5. Listened to “our song” on repeat (only because Spotify was stuck, no joke!!)

valentines-you-me-we

There’s no right or wrong way to do Valentine’s Day. If you want to be all romantic and hearts and flowers, then that’s lovely. If you see it as “just another day”, that’s fine too. Somewhere in the middle? All power to ya!

Love is love is love. And everyone does love differently. Us? We do love with sarcasm, fun, daftness and the occasional bit of soppiness. I love and adore the husband with everything I have (except maybe shoes) and I have no doubt in my head or heart that he loves and adores me. That’s not being conceited, arrogant or smug. That’s the power of emotion, the power of cuddles that convey feelings, and the power of never going to bed / waking in the night / leaving home without saying I love you.

And maybe the power of wine!

How was your Valentine’s Day? I’d love to know!

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

 

 

Don’t tell me what to (tat)too do!

It’s a sweeping generalisation, but also a fair comment, that a woman can be a stubborn so and so (I know, I am one), and also not give up easily.

Which is why I love this story of a woman who’s husband forbade her from getting tattoos because he didn’t like them so, when he died, she went and got all of the tattoos. All over.

charlotte-gutenburg-tattoos

OK, so it’s pretty extreme, and most people wouldn’t react quite so strongly, but the woman had been the subservient wife and done “the right thing” for a long time, putting her husband’s opinion before her own.

So when she finally got chance to be herself, she really went to town. I wonder what her husband would have thought?!

Personally I would never let a man (or anyone) dictate to me about how I should and shouldn’t look, but not everyone is so strong minded or willing to risk a relationship by being “disobedient”.

On the plus side, her extensive tattoos have led to her meeting a new husband and a Guinness World Record!

Hi five Charlotte!

Read the full story here

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

 

Love is love – whatever your gender

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I’ve been buoyed to read about two organisations who are appealing to same sex couples as well as the more “traditional” heterosexual man and woman relationship in the celebration of love.love-is-love

The first is Lush, who’s Stateside advertising campaigns have included two men and two women. It’s a shame that the first thing many people notice is that the people in the adverts are the same gender, rather than that the people in the adverts are quite clearly in love, but I guess this is part of what Lush is trying to do – make same sex relationships more “normal” by representing them in the public eye. It’s only unusual because it’s unusual, if that makes sense? Were we surrounded by images of same sex couples in the same way as hetero couples – out furniture shopping, eating out, buying a car – then there wouldn’t be such a big deal because the general public would be used to it.

Secondly is Sainsbury’s who are selling same sex Valentine’s cards. Brilliant! It’s good for people – any people – to see themselves represented in society as it’s a kind of validation that we’re ok, we’re acceptable. This is why soap operas try to include minority characters. And while it’s probably not the most difficult thing to buy a neutral Valentine’s card if you’re in a sae sex relationship, it’s a big step for Sainsbury’s as a high street retailer who could potentially face a backlash from the small minded bigoted people who still have an issue with consenting adults who love each other but have the same parts below the waist.

On that note I think that too many people are caught up in what happens between the sheets in a same sex relationship. Just like with hetero couples, sex isn’t the be all and end all. Why are people so obsessed? Why does it matter? Isn’t it more important that people are happy, content, loved, looked after, caring, nurturing and nice to each other? Isn’t that what any relationship is about? Is it anyone’s business who puts what (if anything) in what hole?

A friend of mine got married to his long term partner of 16 years at the weekend. And that’s joyous. Not only that they have found each other, but that society has now progressed to a point where their union can be recognised in law and in love. That they can openly celebrate and enjoy the same benefits as other married couples – taxes and inheritance and entitlements. That they can hold hands and kiss and profess their love to each other in front of family and friends.

Because, ultimately, that’s what it’s all about. Love.

And anyone who is against love must be bonkers.

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

She wore bluuuuuuuue velvet…

I’m currently mad on velvet, hence the title of this blog post (it’s a reference to the 1960s Bobby Vinton song of the same name, in case you were wondering. Extra blog points if you “got it” without me explaining).

Velvet is so sumptuous and soft and wintery. It’s comforting and cosy, classy but hippy and it seems to be everywhere this year.

It started with these Jeffrey Campbell rip off inspired boots which I bought from ebay. Check out the colour!

plum-crushed-velvet-lace-up-boots

Then, I decided I couldn’t live without a pair of velvet flares. So 70s! So rock n roll! So cool! Luckily Forever 21 came up trumps, and I bagged these black beauties.

Not content with a triangular silhouette, I went in the opposite direction and started looking at velvet skinny trousers. I didn’t want anything too structured, but also didn’t want leggings. These ones from Boohoo are a perfect compromise – pull on style with no zips or buttons, but not too skin tight.

 

Then I turned my attention back to boots. Primark satisfied my hunger on a budget, with these plush grey ankle boots for just £15.

grey-primark-velvet-boots

Finally, for Christmas, my sister bought me these from River Island – velvet and leopard print. What could be better? They’re so incredibly comfortable and anyone who comments on how great they are has to stroke them (I insist!)

river-island-leaopard-print-velvet-ankle-boots

I ordered a load of velvet tops in the sale (not to wear with the trousers and boots, I hasten to add!) but unfortunately they were all pretty naff and belonged in the sale (or the trash).

Just in case you’re disappointed at the lack of actual blue velvet, here is the aforementioned Bobby Darin song to please your ears!

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

The last few days…

…have been up and down to say the least. Mainly down. The weekend started on a high, with a surprise birthday celebration for one of the husband’s old friends. It was great to see people we hadn’t seen in ages, and there was Indian food too, yum!

Unfortunately, from there on in, there was little good to report. The drive home was soured by receiving a property survey which was wildly different to what we expected (see Plans for 2017 for reference) which led to us maturely abandoning our weekend DIY plans in favour of sulking and feeling sorry for ourselves. Spirits were lifted briefly on Saturday night, when we celebrated another birthday, and I was delighted to debut my new velvet flares; I’m nothing if not resourceful/vacuous when it comes to being cheered by trivial things (more about them tomorrow).

A lazy Sunday and roast chicken dinner ended with choosing an early night over washing the pots and pans, which turned out to be a HUGE mistake because we woke on Monday morning – the most evil of all mornings at the best of times – to find a sodding leak under our kitchen sink. A considerable leak, that will no doubt drip drip drip all the way through to our downstairs neighbours (we live in a flat) and piss them off for the umpteenth time since we’ve lived there. So I’ve been unable to use my sink, dishwasher or washing machine until last night when a plumber came and gave an ambiguous response as to whether it’s fixed or not. Sigh.

In the meantime a pile of dirty dishes have built up, I’ve handwashed the husband’s work shirts (and wringing wet clothes out by hand is a workout in itself, I can tell you, and certainly more exercise than I’ve done in months!), and tried to placate the manchild into better spirits with takeaway, beer, wine, fake cheeriness and sitting on my hands to stop myself clonking him on the head in frustration.

On the plus side I scored this little light up beauty from Store TwentyOne for the bargain sale price of £7.

store-twentyone-lightup-carnival-star-lamp

It also comes in white. It’ll look nice in our new home, if we ever get to fecking move…

What’s going on in your world? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks, as always, for reading! x