Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Books I've Read This Year

Books I've read so far this year: (The ones I can remember, in no particular order)

- A Tiny Bit Marvellous - Dawn French
- The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern <3*
- The Best Exotic Magnolia Hotel - Deborah Moggach
- The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
- Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins
- Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins
- It's Not Me, It's You - Jon Richardson
- Mixed Doubles - Jill Mansell
- Alice's Adventures In Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
- Memoirs Of An Imaginary Friend - Matthew Green <3
- The Perfect Hero - Victoria Connelly
- Nadia Knows Best - Jill Mansell
- May I Have Your Attention, Please? - James Corden

Books I want to read:

- 50 Shades Of Grey - E. L. James**
- Skag Boys - Irvine Welsh
- The Pile Of Stuff At The Bottom Of The Stairs - Christina Hopkinson
- A Street Cat Named Bob - James Bowen
- Alice Bliss - Laura Harrington

*One of the best books I have ever read, I was devastated when I finished it because I just wanted more of this fabulous story! I have read a hell of a lot of books and this has gone straight into my top 10, in fact scrap that, my top 5! 

**This is next on my list as I bought it today!
(This list is incomplete as I have forgotten some of the books I've read this year right now and this is not including books I have re-read this year.) 

I love reading so please give me any and all reccommendations!

Friday, 18 May 2012

Brightening Up Our Home

The last time we decorated our hall, landing and stairs was almost 10 years ago and have felt for a couple of years it was time for a change. Personally I have never been keen on the colours we have but my mum chose them and my nan was very ill at the time so I kept my mouth shut. We are able to redecorate now thanks to the help of our friends who are more experienced in such things, normally my mum and myself decorate our house, well painting and flatpack anyway! The reason we need more help with this area of the house is, we have 9ft ceilings and it's difficult to safely paint the ceiling and tops of the walls on the stairs. Luckily our troop of friends and lovely neighbours have either found and lent us suitable equipment or actually come round to lend a hand.
Last year we started making big changes to our home so that we can use it to its full potential. We completely changed our dining room into a sitting room. We only ever sat an ate in the dining room on Christmas day and then used it at New Year and any other time we had a party just to shove the table against the wall and have a buffet on it. The room was very dark as our kitchen is an extension from it so there are no windows in the room itself just from the windows in the kitchen (it's open plan from what was the dining room). It didn't help that we had a darkish green carpet and dark wood furniture (table and chairs, dresser, corner unit and 2 arm chairs). Now we have transformed it into a sitting room and have a fairly light wooden floor, a large beech unit and 2 small beech bookcases and a red sofa. We also put a tv in there and a massive picture on one wall. It's still not finished but we have our own family photos to put in a collage style on another wall and bits and pieces to put in the unit. It's amazing what a change it's made to our house and also our lives, before it could get quite crowded in our living room when I had friends over and especially until i bought Sky 2 years ago a lot of arguments about what to watch. If we had changed the dining rom before this would have been redundant as there is another tv. (I'm still so glad I got Sky though as it's amazing! It's brilliant being able to record and store shows.)
This easter we also redecorated the Kitchen, it was a pale creamy colour but we have now painted the space between the counter tops and cupboards a bold red and the same on the window sill, the rest is still white with a pale floor so it's light and bright but with more of a feature now and a running theme through the sitting room and kitchen.
The most recent change (happeneing as I type) is transforming this:
 It's fairly awful I know! This picture is of the stairs leading to our loft conversion (another reason we're very glad of the help, we have 2 lots of stairs!) We are changing it so the bottom half is magnolia and the top half is going to be a slightly different white-ish colour. We just want a much lighter, brighter home. We have always had very traditional decor (except my room which I have in light and dark blue and our loft conversion which is yellow and white, I'm changing that this year though as I can't stand the yellow!)
Sorry if I've rambled on! I will put up pictures of the difference when it's finished and other home improvements we make throughout the year. I will also put up some pics of the difference to our dining room to sitting room and the kitchen. 
What home improvements have you made? 

Monday, 30 April 2012

London Marathon

Last Sunday, April 22, it was the London marathon. This is always an exciting event with lots going on! You have the elite men and women running, the childrens marathon, wheelchair marathon and then the fun runners. Although they are called 'fun' runners a hell of a lot of these people run to raise money and awareness for charity. This year was the first time I had been up to watch the marathon and cheer on the runners, this was because I knew two people running for two different hospices; Saint Luke's and Saint Claire's.

I went with my mum and my boyfriend, Arran. We arrived at Limehouse station at about 10.30, we were meant to be meeting friends but weren't sure how to get to where they were so while we tried to get in touch with them we followed a group of people to the nearest spot where you could see the runners go past, I think it was about the 11 mile mark, here we saw the leading elite male runner go past and everyone was cheering and shouting encouragement, it was a lovely atmosphere. Several other of the male elite runners past and a couple of elite wheelchair racers. It was so exciting watching these top athletes pass by and the support from the smallish crowd there was brilliant!

We found out how to get to where our friends were and made our way over, following the route the runners were taking, passing the 20/21 mile zones, so we could cheer any going past, we saw a few of the elite women along the way. As the fun runners had been running just under an hour at this point there weren't too many spectators around in this area, so we had fantasic views. Though there weren't masses of people, everyone there was enthusiastic with their praise and encouragement for anyone taking part who past.

We met up with our friends at the 14 mile mark which was on the other side of the road to the 21 mile mark. We went under the subway and stayed with them until their friend passed and then they went to the other side to see them at 21 miles. While we were with them Greg James from Radio 1 passed and my mum and her friend Sarah shouted 'Go on Greg!' and he said hello and thank you as he ran passed which made my mum very happy!

Our friend Chris was running for Saint Luke's hospice, where he and my mum work. We saw he was approaching and starting cheering wildly and shouting his name, he came over and said hello before carrying on his journey. We started slowly making our way back to the subway to see if we could see our other friend Adam but we didn't and found out later we had missed him pass! It was fanastic watching all the runners, they were all awesome, the ones who dress up in crazy costumes or who add even more challenge on to the 26.2 mile run (as if they weren't doing enough!) by kicking a football the whole way or dribbling a hockey ball with a hockey stick! (we saw people doing both these things!) must be mad as well as incredibly brave! We saw a few people dressed as rhinos for Save the Rhino, Wombles, beer bottles and a whole manner or other things, even Big Ben! It makes you really appreciate how many charities are out there doing amazing work for all sorts of causes!

Once we had crossed back under the subway we met up with our friends again briefly until once again their friends ran past and then they went off to meet them once they'd finished. We decided to move down to the 20 mile point as there was a better view and luckily saw Adam, who was running for Saint Claire's Hospice, pass as we were on our way! We cheered him lots and then carried on to see Chris again. We had to wait a little while but round he came and we gave him lots of encouragement to make it to the end! 

                                                           Chris at 20 miles!

We decided not to go to the finish as it was mobbed and we probably wouldn't make it in time for him to finish as we'd have to make it back to the tube, get there and then find them so we started to make our way home instead. Amazingly we bumped into one of Arran's band mates and other of our friends on the way and stayed with them for a little while before finally going home.

We had a really fantastic day, though our voices hurt from cheering and our hands stung from clapping so much! We managed to see both our friends running and that was the main thing but it was so good cheering on all the people we didn't know as well and seeing them do this amazing feat for charity or their own personal reasons was so admirable it's hard to take in.

Adam ran it in 4 hours and 24 minutes and Chris in 5 hours 28 minutes, we are so proud of both of them for achieving this amazing goal! I am in awe of them not only running a marathon, 26.2 miles but also for doing it to raise money for such wonderful causes! Well done boys, you did yourselves and everyone else proud!
                                                             Adam at the start!

I would like to finish this post with my most heartfelt condolences to Claire Squires family and friends. Claire was the young lady who tragically died running in the 2012 marathon. She was a mere 30 years old and running for The Samaritans in memory of her brother. She wanted to raise just £500 and when I last checked had reached an astonishing £893,268.74, if you would like to donate to the Samaritans in her memory this is a link to her justgiving page: http://www.justgiving.com/Claire-Squires2. By people donating so generously, Claire has achieved unknowingly great awareness and support for the Samaritans who I believe are talking with her family to determine how she would most have liked the money to be spent for their cause.

So once again a fantastic well done to everyone who ran, whatever your reason and I hope you Rest in Peace Claire.

Monday, 23 April 2012

My Friends

I feel like my rambly first post doesn't really tell you much about me. Something I do a lot when people ask me about myself is tell them about people who are important to me. There are a handful of people, without whom, I probably wouldn't even be half the person I am now. These people are my anchors, they keep me sane and on a good path, I can never tell them enough how much I love them or how much they mean to me and inspire me to be a better person and always give 100% even if I only have 80. I feel this will be a long post so I would like to apologise up front and thank you whole heartedly if you bother reading to the end! :) 
I am not going to talk about my family in this post, my mum is the main person in my family as I have no brothers or sisters and my father hasn't been a part of my life since I was 4. I do have some beyond lovely cousins and an uncle but I don't see them very often, not for any reason in particular, just everyday life gets in the way and it's hard to find time when everyone is free, oh and one lives in South Africa! They are all incredibly important to me but this post is dedicated to my friends and my wonderful boyfriend.  
I am very lucky as I have always had lovely friends and the handful of friends I couldn't live without are people I have grown up with, some from the very beginning others since primary school. My boyfriend and three other people came into my life more recently but are just as important.  
Recently I have been reminiscing a lot and looking back and thinking about old and very good times. This is because the person I considered one of my very best friends, sadly no longer holds this title. I don't know a more eloquent way of putting unfortunately so that will have to do. It's a long story which I will probably tell another day, but for now lets just say it's a massive shame and was very avoidable, none the less it is the situation and I don't feel I have taken it very well. It's all very awkward and uncomfortable right now as we have always been a very tight knit group and I am conscious of not making anyone else feel uncomfortable, though of course it has effected others in our group to a degree.
I was in a dilemma as to whether I should include said person in this post as she has been a massive part of my life for the last 11 years but I think it's all a little bit too recent and angry and I don't want this blog to be negative as it is about wonderful people, so I have decided that for now I won't but will probably do a separate blog when it isn't so fresh and raw. 

Firstly, I would like to introduce my boyfriend, Arran.
He is 22, manages a charity shop, plays lead guitar in an awesome band (that I will probably talk about A LOT) and makes me whole. He has a beautiful soul, is incredibly kind and thoughtful and an all round lovely person. We have helped each other a lot since we met, we started out as friends and weren't sure at first whether to embark on a relationship in case it ruined our friendship, I'm so glad we both decided to take the plunge as I honestly don't know where I would be now without his love and support (I am not as all smooshy, even writing that down made me cringe and he will laugh if he reads this). When we met he was broken and I had problems of my own. My friends and I met him through another boy in his year he hung out with. He instantly intrigued me because he was so quiet but always looked like he was taking everything in, I knew he had a story and I needed to know what it was! My nosiness got the better of me and I bombarded him with questions and must have scared the wits out of him, poor boy! However a friendship grew and here we are today 5 years later, and my God am I glad we're here! I hope in another 5 years and another 50 we will still be here, guiding each other and still being just as important to one another!  
I love you so, so much my maghee, you are incredible, I am so proud of you, and everything you have overcome and acheived. You can do anything you put your mind to and I admire you so much.

My oldest friend is Natalie.
She lives about 10 doors from me and we went to the same child minder from when I was about a year old til we were 10/11. We have been at the same school since playschool and have always been incredibly close. She is beautiful, kind and incredibly hard working! She is forgetful and ditsy but in a charming way :) She is incredibly laid back and rarely lets anything get to her and hilarious isn't a big enough word. Her breasts are ridiculous! I've never known someone with so many friends! She can be hard to pin down between working every hour she can get and all her friends but we always find time for each other, she's my sister, I've never seen her any other way. We never describe each other as 'my best friend' 'my 1st friend' because in every way but biologically we are family. I don't remember not knowing her and I can't imagine life without her. I am 21 and a few months old and I have known her more than 20 of those years. She is a wonderful human being and has always been there for me when I need her, as have I for her. I love you Leroy, you daft tart :)

My best friend, Alba.
Ah Alba, she rocked up when I was 9, she started at our primary school in year 4 and was in the other class to me. She barely spoke English having just arrived from Albania and was the subject of much attention for her first couple of weeks. I didn't get to know her straight away as I felt she had enough people constantly surrounding her. I remember actually feeling a bit sad for her as she must have been very confused with all these children shouting things at her like 'Tree! Tree!' whilst pointing in the vague direction of a tree and a mass of other things. However, after a couple of weeks of her being at our school and her picking up English incredibly quickly we got chatting one lunch and have been friends ever since. I'm so glad her family decided to move to England and get a house near our school because if they hadn't I wouldn't know this amazing girl!
This beautiful young woman is one of the kindest, sweetest people I have ever had the fortune to meet and not only meet but have an amazing friendship with. Our friendship has grown and blossomed over the years, sometimes gradually and sometimes in great bounds, bringing us to this point today where I couldn't be without her. 
Funny is not the word, she has me in stitches all the time and her positivity towards life in general has helped me out on more than a few occassions! We have had some great holidays with Arran, Natalie and others too and I know we will continue you to do so for years to come. 
Love you Alba, you crazy minx!

I think I will leave this post here as it's got pretty long already and these are my 3 little monkeys I need to stay sane! I love my other special friends ridiculous amounts too and you will all get your turn but for now I will leave it here.
Adios amigos!

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Hello blogging world!

How exciting, my first ever blog! Well 'official' blog anyway, I had a sort of one a few years ago on Myspace but rarely updated it, I hope this will be different but we shall have to wait and see. 
I have been thinking about doing this for some time and today finally decided to bite the bullet. The reason I haven't done one before is basically there is no reason anyone will be interested in what I have to say, and why should they?! The answer: it doesn't matter! I am not writing this for anyone else (though of course it would be lovely if someone or some people took the time to read it!), there is no reason for anyone else to care for my opinion on any subject or read about my life, however I myself find it interesting reading other peoples blogs and musings so there you go, that's my first opinion out of the way I guess. I find it really interesting seeing others views on issues/films/books etc that I am interested in or enjoy so maybe someone will feel the same about what I have to say.
I hope to update fairly regularly though know in reality I will probably have spells of writing lots and then weeks with nothing at all, I hope not though! I hope I find this enjoyable and therapeutic. 
Anyway, I feel that's enough from me for now as I am starting to ramble!
I hope you enjoy what I have to say and feel free to give me your opinions/feedback!