Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Why I Hate: Ikea

My relationship with Ikea is like a teenage celebrity crush. Before I'd ever visited, I just loved the idea of the place. I pictured myself eating meatballs, buying candles, picture frames and brightly patterned cushions for 2p each (or something). I looked at posters (well, the catalogue) and dreamed. I really enjoyed my first few trips. Over the years, however, my initial love has been replaced by the creeping realisation that perhaps the reality of Ikea doesn't quite life up to my fantasies. Here's why:

The meatballs aren't that great. Even forgetting with horse meat scandal, I still find them a bit greasy and disappointing.

I am terrible at assembling flat pack furniture. As in, it makes me cry (and I absolutely hate having to ask for help).

Driving to Croydon is a pain in the ass. That said, I did once see someone attempting to get the tram home from Ikea while carrying a mattress, so in that context driving doesn't seem too bad.

It's always SO BUSY. Question: why on Earth would you take your children to Ikea?! How is that fun for anyone?

You have to walk around all of it, and somehow I still manage to forget stuff.

I do not need any more tealights, photo frames, or packs of postcards.

Having said all that, I couldn't live without my apple corer. So I guess it's a love/hate relationship. Or maybe a tolerate/hate relationship.

What are your thoughts on Ikea? Surely I can't be the only one who doesn't think it's all that..?

Friday, 24 July 2015

All Over the Place [a Life Update]

I've been all over the place recently (literally and figuratively) so we definitely need to have a catch up, right?

I make loads of Blog Every Day in May effort, then manage to not post for SIX WHOLE WEEKS. Way to post consistently and boost your readership Liz. Jeez. Not only that, I've also managed to not really read/comment on any blogs for a month. So I'm not ignoring you, I'm just too lazy to face my mammoth 'unread posts' list!

There's be loads going on for me; some bad, some good, and obviously some mundane in-between stuff. I'm not really sure how to cover it all in one post, so I'm going to try and be brief and hopefully post about some of these things individually (if my blogging mojo returns). Here goes:

The bad stuff. My Gran died in June; obviously that's always going to be crap, but I think my family and I were mostly relieved that she wasn't suffering any more. The last time I visited her she was very frail and weak, and I found that much more upsetting than her actual death. The funeral went smoothly and my Mum had written a brilliant eulogy. It was also lovely to catch up with my extended family, even though the circumstances were a bit rubbish. All of that, coupled with the fact that I had an extremely busy month, meant that I had a difficult week or so where my anxiety really started to creep back in. I (well, we) handled it well and got things back on track so I'm counting that as a success. Go me.

The good stuff. We went to Bournemouth, the Isle of Wight Festival, Somerset and had friends visit us (told you I'd been busy!). I got excited about our holiday plans. I booked a last minute flight to Tokyo!!! I started the summer holidays feeling very happy about my September class. I've spent this week catching up with friends (successfully) and trying to organise my life (unsuccessfully).

The summer holidays are now underway so there should be more time for me to get back into the blogging swing. Although it is looking pretty busy, so no promises... I promise I'll try, how's that?

*takes a deep breath and opens Bloglovin'*

P.S. There'll be loads of holiday posting on my Instagram if you fancy taking a look.

Did I mention that it's the summer holidays?!

Right, enough about me, how have you been?

[Update: I typed out this whole post, then Blogger went weird and deleted it. The blogging gods are clearly punishing me for my laziness.]

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

FMS Photo a Day: April and May 2015

I posted a few FMS Photo a Day pics on here before (about 2 years ago) then promptly gave up and forgot that the challenge existed. For the uninitiated, it's a photo a day challenge organised by Chantelle, aka Fat Mum Slim. Although I didn't manage one a day, I did upload quite a few in April and May this year (apologies for the repetition if you already follow me on Instagram)!

27: In My Bedroom
Chee-Chee's internet debut! My Grandad bought Chee-Chee for me when I was little and he's followed me on my numerous house moves ever since. FYI, he has a Geordie accent.

28: Prepare
Every single meal I cook from scratch starts off like this. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

29: I walked here
The path from the front door of my flats. Another gloriously sunny day, clearly.

30: Need
Tea. I always need tea. I love tea. TEA.

3: A Cup Of...
Cawfee. On an extremely instagram-able table. I felt like a proper twat taking this photo.

6: 10 O'Clock
Waiting for a train. Obviously. I went to a meeting about my new volunteer job and it went well. Yay!

9: Peaceful
Roath Park lake in Cardiff. I took this last summer when Pete and I were in Cardiff for Beth's wedding. I took Pete on a mini-tour of all my favourite bits of Cardiff and we had the perfect weather for it. Such an awesome day.

13: Hands
This picture freaks me out.

28: Pink
We came across this bad boy when clearing my Grandma's house. It is hideously pink, and massive. I won it in a raffle at school when I was 5. My Mum was thrilled for me (not).

30: Over There...
The view from a walk in Somerset. Somerset: so beautiful yet so oppressive (to me)!

31: Ha Ha Ha
No shit.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

[2015: 23] The Week With The...

Exercise laziness. For the first time is absolutely ages, I only exercised twice this week. Although I did work hard during those sessions (see the photo above) I'm disappointed in myself for making excuses not to go more often. Maybe I tempted fate by posting about how I became a 'gym person'! Either way, more effort is definitely required next week!

Patio usage. One of the things we loved about our flat when we chose it was its patio, which leads onto the communal garden. Although it's a small-ish flat, that really does make it feel much more spacious. Now that we're finally getting some nice weather, I've been able to make good use of my hammock, and about an hour ago we finished our first ever patio BBQ!

Weekend in Bournemouth. Right now I am MEGA TIRED because we've just got back from a luvverly weekend in Bournemouth; it involved hanging out with Pete's family, going to the beach, walking in the New Forest, and taking photos of a pretty bowling lawn (obvs).

Visit from Marta. Friday evening was very exciting because I saw my friend Marta! I met her when I was volunteering in Norway, and it's been a year since I last saw her. As she was in London for the weekend with her new man, we took the opportunity to meet for dinner and drinks. I love it when you meet old friends and slip straight back into the friendship like you saw each other yesterday...

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Weekend Wanderlust: Montserrat, Spain

It's been faaaaaaar too long since I've done a Weekend Wanderlust post. When we went to Barcelona last year we took a day trip to Montserrat, which is in the mountains near(ish) the city. FYI, Wikipedia tells me that there's also a Caribbean island called Montserrat, but that would have been a little impractical as a day trip from Barcelona, y'know?

As we'd both been to Barcelona before, we decided that we'd spend one day of our holiday outside of the city, so that we could do something totally new. It wasn't really beach weather, so we plumped for mountains instead. Getting there was pretty easy; you get a train from central Barcelona to the foot of the mountain, then either the cable car or the rack railway up to Montserrat itself. If you're interested, there's some actual travel information here.

Montserrat is famous for its monastery, which is built high up the mountain and, judging by the size of the queue, contains a statue type thing that is loaded with religious significance. It was a lovely building, and definitely worth looking around, but I was all about the views (...bout the views, no churches).

There are a few different funiculars you take to travel further up into the mountains. After I'd explained to Pete for the 50th time what a funicular was, we had a walk and enjoyed the views (once the fog had cleared!). 

I'd definitely recommend a day trip to Montserrat. It's something you'd want to do on a dry and quite clear day, so that you can make the most of the views and walks. Tip: once you get there the food options are a bit limited, so take a picnic. Thrifty, innit?

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Worried About Getting Old? You Should Be Grateful.

I've been thinking about ageing, and death, quite a lot recently (I really am a ray of sunshine). There are reasons for this, but first...

A few weeks ago I read an article in which Judi Dench complained about her age, claiming that 'There's nothing good about being 80.'

Actually, Judi, there is something good about being 80. The good thing about being 80 is that you got to 80. Some people don't make it to 50, or 30, or even 10.

I haven't been thinking about ageing and death just because I'm an obsessive, cynical, depressive; there are other reasons. The first was that I went to visit my Grandma (who's 81) in her nursing home on Saturday. It broke my heart to see such a head-strong, formidable woman left frail and fading away because of Parkinson's Disease. Honestly, I hope that she doesn't have to suffer much longer.

The second thing that happened was, a couple of months ago, an old school friend died of cancer. At (only just) 29. If Emma hadn't died, then seeing my Gran would probably have made me feel incredibly depressed about ageing, and dreading getting to 80. Instead, as much as I hate my Gran's current situation, I really am happy that she had 79 happy (well, up and down but generally happy) years on the planet.

The more I thought about Dench's comments, the more angry I got. How dare a woman who has lived a privileged, healthy and successful life complain about the fact that it's gone on for a long time? Does she not realise how incredibly lucky she is?

So, what's the message here?

If you're reading this, and you're well enough to leave the house, then you're in a privileged position. Sometimes we all (and I most definitely include myself in that) need to remember that and take time to enjoy just being here. We really are bloody lucky.

P.S. If all this grief talk has left you in need of a good, cathartic and ultimately uplifting cry, this might be worth a watch... It's beautiful, and it made me cry like a baby when I watched it yesterday.

[note: I debated including a semi-ironic 'YOLO' in this post but I couldn't bring myself to type it, even semi-ironically]