Saturday, 31 December 2016

This year has been the strangest, the most emotional and the best year of my life

2016 has been eventful to say the very least. The year began, as ever, with my resolutions for the year. I've done quite well as it happens on those this year.

Then there was the anxiety of turning 40. However, once it actually happened, I can say in all honesty that its great!!



Then I got engaged, which was a huge shock as I had no clue whatsoever that was on the cards. Still in the midst of my birthday celebrations, the other half surprised me with this:



 We have had three amazing holidays - Mexico:







Lanzarote:



and Gran Canaria:


We have been to see the Kaiser Chiefs and ACDC:




We headed off to Watford for the Harry Potter Studio tour which was magical:


We have done lots of work on our lovely home and our garden. We have painted, weeded, pruned, fitted carpets - you name it!! We had a new boiler so this winter no panicking that its going to konk out when it goes sub zero temperatures!! 

In September, we had a new addition to the family in the form of our lovely puppy Coco:


September also saw my step daughter head in the big world for her first day of High School:


Finally, after 24 and a half years, I have decided to leave my place of work and head into the unknown. Turning 40 seems to have given me a newfound confidence to go out and boldy go into the world. Its really exciting!! 

So one whole month of 2016 still to go which means plenty of time for a few more adventures! 

Friday, 30 December 2016

Afternoon Stroll - got to blow some cobwebs away

Its the eve before New Year's Eve, and we took us a little stroll across the fields near our home. When I say we, I am referring of course, to myself, my other half, not so little anymore G (as tall as me and she is 11!) and the darling that is Coco the dog.

It was misty and a bit spooky but entirely beautiful, if muddy so we donned our wellies and off we toddled.

Image may contain: tree, sky, plant, outdoor and nature

Coco absolutely loves going for her walks, especially when the weather is muddy for some reason, despite her hatred of anything wet - baths, rain, you name it, but mud!! Yep, she is a mud lover.

Image may contain: dog, outdoor and nature

The sun trying to peer through the mist gave us some beautiful views over the rolling hills and the lake. The pictures are gorgeous, but don't come close to how stunning it was.

Image may contain: sky, tree, outdoor, nature and water

Thoroughly enjoyed our walk, but boy we were mucky when we had finished!!

Thursday, 29 December 2016

WIN Bridesmaids dresses by Chi Chi London worth £500! • Wedding Ideas magazine

WIN Bridesmaids dresses by Chi Chi London worth £500! • Wedding Ideas magazine: Women’s online fashion retailer Chi Chi London are giving one lucky bride-to-be the chance to win bridesmaids dresses and accessories worth £500!

2016 has seen a lot of stars go out :(

This year seems to have had more than its fair share of losses in the world of the famous. I've rounded up the most significant to me:

  • David Bowie
  • Alan Rickman
  • George Michael
  • Terry Wogan
  • Frank Kelly
  • Ronnie Corbett
  • Victoria Wood
  • Prince
  • Carrie Fisher
  • Muhammad Ali
  • Caroline Aherne
  • Gene Wilder
  • Jean Alexander
  • Leonard Cohen
  • Andrew Sachs

Sad to say goodbye but they have left their footprints forever. 



The Christmas lover and The Grinch

Me and my other half are truly chalk and cheese when it comes to the most wonderful time of the year. Yes folks, the other half of mine is in fact none other than The Grinch.

When the Christmas adverts start, and the houses that inevitably will put their decorations up literally the day after Bonfire Night if not sooner, he starts sighing and uttering such comments as "for God's sake". He really does not enter into the spirit of things at all. Left to him, the lights and the tree would go up the day before Christmas Eve, Christmas Eve Eve if you will, if indeed at all. I dare say were he on his own, he would probably buy a pack of mince pies and call it enough.

Now, by contrast, I am that person who gets over excited at the mere prospect of putting up Santa's grotto. I am the Christmas magpie - if it sparkly and shiny I am all over it. I love the whole shebang - the lights, the present buying, the cooking, the hosting, the cards, the food orders, the tree, the wrapping - yes I am a true Christmas lover.

Luckily, the combination of the two of us together accomplishes two particularly good elements for both our benefit. For him, my love of all things festive makes him at least try and enjoy it and he does like it when the house looks all warm and festive and sparkly. He does at least partake, albeit slightly under duress!!

For me, being with Mr Grinch, prevents me from getting totally carried away. I am allowed to behave like I am an over eager 6 year old from 2 weeks before and no sooner!! I can put whatever decorations up I like, drain the national grid should I be so inclined, but no sooner than two weeks or so before the big day. Actually, that works out pretty well.

It means I don't have to spend weeks and weeks trying to dust and hoover around all the lights and the tree. It means the novelty hasn't worn off by the time its Christmas Day. It means I am still in wonder and awe of all the shiny sparkly things instead of, quite frankly, being a bit fed up of them after a few weeks.

We both get something out of it - he gets to be festive when he would otherwise not be, and I get reigned in slightly, so I don't get OTT with it. There were years before I was with him that I would spend so much on the decorations it was ridiculous and most of the time, there was no plan to it. Now, I get to consider where and how to arrange everything and as a result the house looks so much better like its themed instead of haphazard which works out beautifully.

I still turn into a turbo charged Christmas maniac come Christmas Eve when I turn into the duracell bunny buzzing with excitement, but he actually finds it quite amusing - in small doses that is!!

I have to don my reindeer antlers, leave a mince pie and a brandy for Santa, and then wake up racing to get down stairs to see if he has been !! I still have to have the obligatory Bucks Fizz to start the proceedings off properly. But both of us enjoy the get togethers with our friends and family and we both love to give one another our presents. We both love watching Christmas films, and having a good old celebration, and, he does do a great Christmas dinner - cooking is really not my forte in life!

Christmas is truly wonderful as far as I'm concerned, and even living with the Grinch will never change my opinion.

Booking myself in for another Hot Stones Massage!

Back in March last year I experienced the absolute joy of a hot stones massage. Let me tell you all about it as I'm about to book in for another blissful session.

My treatment was a spa sensation treatment that included a hot stones massage. I hadn't had this type of massage before, and all I can say is "wow".

To begin with it was body brushing to my back, hips and back of my legs. My legs were very sore from the gym, so I was looking forward to it anyway.

After the body brushing, she smoothed some sort of oil on my back and legs, massaged my feet to begin with which was blissful. I love my feet being massaged it is just beyond relaxing.

Then she applied the hot stones. They were very hot, but the sensation was wonderful. As she moved the stones up over the back of my calves and ankles, it was the most stress relieving sensation I have ever experienced.

She moved up onto the back of my thighs and the soreness just evaporated. The heat seemed to stimulate my muscles and by the time she had finished with my legs, I felt calm, relaxed and ready to do my squats!!

Next she worked the stones over my lower back and hips, and up my back finishing with my shoulders and neck. I did not want it to end.

I recommend this massage so highly. I've had deep tissue massage for sore muscles and stress before, but this was more gentle, more calming and just amazing.

All I need to do now is get myself booked in for a bit of pre- New Year pampering ! :)

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

RIP Carrie Fisher and George Michael

Two of my childhood icons are gone from this world. George on Christmas Day, and now Carrie aka Princes Leia - Star Wars.

This year has been unbelievable for deaths, but these 2 are a huge part of my childhood. I was Wham mad, and Star Wars - I drove my mum nuts wanting "Princess Leia hair!".

RIP to 2 huge icons. Very sad news indeed.

Post Christmas - time to face the music!!

Ok, so Christmas is always expensive. No avoiding it really, but before it reaches the point where its a problem, its time to square up and work out what damage has been done to the old bank account.

I had been very careful and deliberated over what to buy, so I had a good idea how much I would need to be putting back in the coffers post Christmas.

So the sum total of the Christmas payback I need to work off is: £1121. That's actually not so bad. A couple of months of belt tightening, and that should be back where it should be then I can get back to the bigger plan.

Which is to clear all debts, and pay off my mortgage. I have a plan, and I just need to get the Christmas excesses paid off then I can continue making progress with the rest!!

Quite pleased about that. Its no where near as bad as in previous years, and this year we did Christmas Dinner too, so we had that as an added expense. It just goes to show that with planning, it doesn't have to set you back or derail you.

Now I just need to work out how I can raise just over £1K as quickly as possible. I'm thinking comps, surveys and ebay, as well as making some savings elsewhere. So, starting now, time to face the music and dance. :)

My Skills - What am I good at?

I have been wondering what to do with my life for some time now. I have lists - several of them. Things I want to do with my life - here. Places I want to go - here.

I have bands I have seen, those I want to see or wish I had. I have my top 10's - food, drink, cars - you name it!! Films I have seen, film reviews - loads of stuff.

However, that got me thinking about what I have already done, and what I already know I can do. So that will be my next list. (I love a list, you may have noticed!! ). My skills.

This is going to be fun :)

Monday, 26 December 2016

I am a Swan, but a bit of appreciation would be nice......


Yes, I am a swan. No, I haven't totally lost my marbles. What I am referring to is that when I am stressed, on the surface I am serene, I am composed, I look calm. What you don't see is my feet going like the clappers just beneath the surface keeping me gliding along without causing waves.

Us swans make it look easy. It really isn't though. It takes a lot of effort to keep going without going under. It takes a huge amount of energy and self motivation to keep those legs moving beneath the surface. You might take it for granted and think its easy. It is not easy.

What you need to consider when you encounter a swan is this - just because you don't see the stress, doesn't mean it isn't there. So please don't overload a swan the next time you encounter one. We are just as likely to drown as anyone else, we just do it with a bit more grace and dignity!! :)

Sunday, 25 December 2016

A new Christmas Tradition!

Last year, my other half was treated to his very own version of a Fairytale of New York. I adapted the lyrics to fit with his Christmas surprises, and where we live.

I then sang it to him - cue him looking at me like I had gone totally mad. Nevertheless, it was unique. 

This year, he has decided that every year I need to adapt said tune, and sing it to him!! Well challenge on! 

Our new Christmas tradition is underway. Year 3 - here I go! Wish me luck :) 

It's Christmas!!!!

Merry Christmas to everyone. Here's to health and happiness for one and all :) xxx

Saturday, 24 December 2016

One more sleep!

Now this depends upon your sleeping patterns. For me, the fact that it is now the 24th December means just one thing - ONE MORE SLEEP!!! WOW!!!

To say that I am excited is the understatement of the century!! I am that Christmas loving person that gets giddy. Woohoo! :) x

Its Christmas Eve Babe

In the almost words of the Pogues, its Christmas Eve babe. I'm not in the drunk tank. I'm at home, but its still Christmas Eve!!

If you count tonight, its 2 nights sleep left. Although technically, its only 1 as its already Christmas Eve.

Christmas Eve I say. Its Christmas Eve, its Christmas Eve, its CHRISTMAS EVE!!!

Yes, I'm a child still. Inside. Why the hell not? Did I mention it was Christmas Eve? We all get to be kids again, whoever we are, and however old we are. Just go sparkle please. You only live once.

Friday, 23 December 2016

Word of the Week - Auspicious

Auspicious

  • promising success; propitious; opportune; favorable
  • an auspicious occasion.
  • favored by fortune; prosperous; fortunate.


definition derived from dictionary.com

Learning Spanish Christmas Special #4

  • trifle - nimiedad
  • reindeer - reno
  • santa - de santa
and the previous ones:
  • turkey - Turquía
  • advent - adviento
  • tinsel - oropel
  • fairy lights - luces de hadas
  • presents - regalos
  • family - familia
  • Christmas - Navidad
  • Christmas tree - árbol de Navidad
  • snow - nieve

Thursday, 22 December 2016

3 sleeps until Christmas!!

Its getting mightily close now!! Just 3 more sleeps to go!!

49 hours to go

2939 minutes

176356 seconds

2 days 0 hours, 59 minutes, 57 seconds


Wednesday, 21 December 2016

The best Christmas foods

Here is my list of the best Christmas foods (in my humble opinion):

  • Roast potatoes
  • Mince pies
  • Chocolate log
  • Roast parsnips
  • Mashed potato
  • Pate and toast
  • Cheesecake
  • Cheese and crackers
  • Mince pies
  • Pigs in blankets
  • Bombay mix
  • Chocolate brazil nuts
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Boxed chocolates
  • Squirty cream
  • Trifle
  • Profiteroles
  • Fresh soup
  • Crusty bread
  • Pringles
  • Dips
  • Gravy
  • Stuffing
  • Turkey Wellington
Yum. Definitely looking forward to Christmas now!! :) 

Learning Spanish Christmas Special #3

  • turkey - Turquía
  • advent - adviento
  • tinsel - oropel
and the previous ones:
  • fairy lights - luces de hadas
  • presents - regalos
  • family - familia
  • Christmas - Navidad
  • Christmas tree - árbol de Navidad
  • snow - nieve

4 Sleeps to Go!!

Its getting mighty close now. Just 4 sleeps to go!!

In fact, it is 3 days, 8 hours, 30 minutes and 41 seconds to go:)

Christmas Songs Day 14 - Mud 'Lonely This Christmas'

Day 14 then and today its the wonderful 'Lonely This Christmas' from Mud.

Released back in 1974, unlike many of the Christmas songs on my list so far, this one actually did reach the top spot in the UK singles chart.

'Lonely This Christmas' is quite a slow song, but Mud themselves were more Glam Rock than crooner, so quite unusual really. I always thought this was Elvis when I was little!!

Great song, and still going as a faithful on Christmas compilations. So there we have it - Day 14.

Here are the previous ones:

Day 13 - The Pogues 'Fairytale of New York'
Day 12 - Aled Jones 'Walking in the Air'
Day 11 - Chris Rea 'Driving Home for Christmas'
Day 10 - Slade 'Merry Xmas Everybody'
Day 9 - David Bowie & Bing Crosby 'Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth'
Day 8 - Mariah Carey 'All I Want for Christmas'
Day 7 - Gabrielle Aplin 'The Power of Love'
Day 6 - Kylie 'Santa Baby'
Day 5 - Elton John 'Step into Christmas'
Day 4 - Wham 'Last Christmas'
Day 3 - Band Aid 'Do They Know its Christmas'
Day 2 - Wizzard 'I Wish it Could be Christmas'
Day 1 - Johnny Mathis - Its Beginning to Look at lot like Christmas

Christmas Gift Voucher Giveaway 2016 | Competition | The Good Web Guide

Christmas Gift Voucher Giveaway 2016 | Competition | The Good Web Guide

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Christmas Countdown - 5 sleeps !!

Its now just 5 sleeps until Christmas!!

97 hours until Christmas!!

5825 minutes until Christmas !!

349527 seconds until Christmas!!

4 days, 1 hour, 5 mins, 12 seconds until Christmas!!

What I'm Watching This Week


  • Corrie. Gearing up for the festivities, Nick seems intent on belting Peter!! Peter, usually creepy, seems to have returned as a reformed character. Hmm. Meanwhile, Bethany is plotting to make her move on Gary, and I am hoping Phelan gets his come up-pence soon!! 

  • Emmerdale. Moira is getting drunk at every opportunity, Paddy's love life is becoming the stuff of nightmares cue pretend wife, and pretend lover!! Phewf! Ashley's deteriorating mental health has seen him walk out of the hospital in his PJs. Would NHS staff really just ignore a middle age man wandering about in his PJs?

  • Christmas films - Scrooge, Santa Claus the Movie, One Magic Christmas, Elf, The Grinch - if its about Christmas, I'm all over it!! 


  • Wolf Creek boxset. Having watched both films, I was a bit concerned the series wouldn't be as scary. It is and not least because the actual bad guy is in it. Scary and very gory brilliance. 

I Love Christmas telly!

The run up to Christmas is quite possibly the best time for TV and films. All the finals, the Christmas specials, and of course, the films.

Today I have watched the original Scrooge - the black and white one, with Alistair Sim as Scrooge. Then, I have just watched Ghostbusters. Next up, its Annie, and then we are going to watch Harry Potter.

The only problem is that it makes me not want to leave the house!!

What's your favourite Christmas film?

Monday, 19 December 2016

Comping Frenzy Ahoy!!

At this stage in December, the advent comps are in frenzy mode. Lots and lots of opportunities!

As a blogger, and a comper, amongst many other things, its a time of great enjoyment. Entering is so much fun!! You get to find out about companies and products that you had no idea existed!!

If you fancy a go, why don't you try The Prizefinder or SuperLucky Di as they have loads of ideas and tips, and comps you can enter.

In the meantime, expect to see more comps shared here on my blog than usual. Its Christmas!!!! :)

Good Luck x

HomeStyle - Competition - Win an Addis festive bundle!

HomeStyle - Competition - Win an Addis festive bundle!

Christmas Songs Day 13 - The Pogues 'Fairytale of New York'

Day 13 brings me to what I consider to be the ultimate Christmas song which is The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl and 'Fairytale of New York'.

What a tune this is. Released in 1987, this is still the top of the list for a huge majority of people including me. It was a duet between The Pogues and its lead singer Shane MacGowan and Kirtsy MacColl and it works wonderfully.

Not your average sickly sweet number this one, not by a long shot. Its folksy, and insulting and not many songs about Christmas make mention of drunk tanks!! It works though. Its not mushy, but it works and ultimately, it makes you feel good in spite of it.

MacGowan reckons it was a bet with Elvis Costello that resulted in Fairytale. MacColl herself was originally only involved to record guide vocals!! Obviously, on hearing them, she became the female half of the song and quite right to!!

This single only reached number 2 in the UK singles chart on its release, but its greatness surpasses that detail. It is the top Christmas song in my boo!

So there we have it, Day 13. Here are the previous ones:

Day 12 - Aled Jones 'Walking in the Air'
Day 11 - Chris Rea 'Driving Home for Christmas'
Day 10 - Slade 'Merry Xmas Everybody'
Day 9 - David Bowie & Bing Crosby 'Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth'
Day 8 - Mariah Carey 'All I Want for Christmas'
Day 7 - Gabrielle Aplin 'The Power of Love'
Day 6 - Kylie 'Santa Baby'
Day 5 - Elton John 'Step into Christmas'
Day 4 - Wham 'Last Christmas'
Day 3 - Band Aid 'Do They Know its Christmas'
Day 2 - Wizzard 'I Wish it Could be Christmas'
Day 1 - Johnny Mathis - Its Beginning to Look at lot like Christmas

6 Sleeps until Christmas!!!

Its less than a week to go folks!!

Specifically it is:

6 Sleeps
127 hours
7629 minutes
457629 seconds
5 days, 7 hours, 7 mins, 29 seconds

Christmas Songs Day 12 - Aled Jones 'Walking in the Air'

Day 12 then and today's choice is Aled Jones with 'Walking in the Air'.

Now this song was actually written by Howard Blake for an animated Christmas film. That film was Raymond Brigg's 1982 film The Snowman, which is beautiful.

Everyone thinks this was Aled Jones, which it was when it was released in 1985. The original version used in the film was however another choir boy - Peter Auty. I had no idea!

'Walking in the Air' reached number 5 in the UK singles chart when Aled's version was released. Both the film and the cover version of its song are both Christmas favourites over 30 years later.

So there is Day 12. Here are the previous ones:

Day 11 - Chris Rea 'Driving Home for Christmas'
Day 10 - Slade 'Merry Xmas Everybody'
Day 9 - David Bowie & Bing Crosby 'Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth'
Day 8 - Mariah Carey 'All I Want for Christmas'
Day 7 - Gabrielle Aplin 'The Power of Love'
Day 6 - Kylie 'Santa Baby'
Day 5 - Elton John 'Step into Christmas'
Day 4 - Wham 'Last Christmas'
Day 3 - Band Aid 'Do They Know its Christmas'
Day 2 - Wizzard 'I Wish it Could be Christmas'
Day 1 - Johnny Mathis - Its Beginning to Look at lot like Christmas

Christmas Songs Day 11 - Chris Rea 'Driving Home for Christmas'

Day 11 and today the choice is Chris Rea 'Driving Home for Christmas'.

This was released as a single in 1986. Not a huge chart success at the time, this one has been a bit of slow burner, gaining popularity year on year and now a Christmas staple.

Chris is an English artist and song writer, and he has had many many hits - still going to date in fact. However, its likely this song he is most known for today, another Christmas familiar.

Driving home for Christmas has been used so many times on TV, and it always makes me think of it when doing the usual Christmas run of cards, presents - not always as harmonious as on this song mind you!!

Chris, as a soft rock artist, has this wonderful gravelly toned voice, that make the soft, friendly melody of this just that bit more edgy. Great song, and a feel good one.

So there is Day 11. Here are the rest so far:

Day 10 - Slade 'Merry Xmas Everybody'
Day 9 - David Bowie & Bing Crosby 'Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth'
Day 8 - Mariah Carey 'All I Want for Christmas'
Day 7 - Gabrielle Aplin 'The Power of Love'
Day 6 - Kylie 'Santa Baby'
Day 5 - Elton John 'Step into Christmas'
Day 4 - Wham 'Last Christmas'
Day 3 - Band Aid 'Do They Know its Christmas'
Day 2 - Wizzard 'I Wish it Could be Christmas'
Day 1 - Johnny Mathis - Its Beginning to Look at lot like Christmas

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Friday, 16 December 2016

Win a Bath Thermae Spa Twilight Package for Two

Win a Bath Thermae Spa Twilight Package for Two

Christmas Songs Day 10 - Slade 'Merry Xmas Everybody'

For Day 10 I have chosen the classic Slade number 'Merry Xmas Everybody'.

This single was first released way back in 1973!! That's before I was even born, yet its still one of the main and best known classic Christmas songs. Unlike some other continuing Christmas songs, this one actually hit the number one spot on its original release.

Easily the most recognisable of the Christmas tunes, when Noddy Holder's vocals kick in, its also Slade's biggest and most enduring hits.

I love this song and long may its popularity continue to last.

So there it is - Day 10. Here are my previous choices:

Day 9 - David Bowie & Bing Crosby 'Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth'
Day 8 - Mariah Carey 'All I Want for Christmas'
Day 7 - Gabrielle Aplin 'The Power of Love'
Day 6 - Kylie 'Santa Baby'
Day 5 - Elton John 'Step into Christmas'
Day 4 - Wham 'Last Christmas'
Day 3 - Band Aid 'Do They Know its Christmas'
Day 2 - Wizzard 'I Wish it Could be Christmas'
Day 1 - Johnny Mathis - Its Beginning to Look at lot like Christmas

Thursday, 15 December 2016

10 sleeps until Christmas!!

10 sleeps
216 hours
12983 minutes
779023 seconds
9 days, 0 hours, 23 mins, 29 seconds!!

Learning Spanish Christmas Special #2

  • fairy lights - luces de hadas
  • presents - regalos
  • family - familia
and the previous ones:

  • Christmas - Navidad
  • Christmas tree - árbol de Navidad
  • snow - nieve

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

YourHome - Competition - Win a £250 Homebase gift card

YourHome - Competition - Win a £250 Homebase gift card

12 Days of Christmas 2016 | The Artisan Food Trail

12 Days of Christmas 2016 | The Artisan Food Trail

Ok so Christmas hasn't been yet, but I'm thinking of 2017

Yes, I realise that Christmas is still ahead, as is NYE and all manner of stuff before and during, but I am starting to think ahead now to 2017.

I'm thinking about the places we want to go:
  • York
  • Lake District
  • Liverpool
  • New York
  • Glasgow
  • West End Show in London
  • Cornwall
  • Nottingham
  • Gran Canaria
  • Eden Project
  • Scotland
  • Blackpool Illuminations
  • Spa break
These are my goals:
  • Reach goal weight
  • Get a tattoo
  • Get a new car
  • Make my garden spectacular - statues, plants, design
  • Get a new shower and renovate downstairs bathroom
  • Keep myself maintained - nails, hair, eyebrows and massages - look my best
  • Go to the gym / exercise at least 3 times per week
  • Regular sauna's and relaxation
  • Get writing again - short stories
  • Go to amazing places - theatre, live music, cinema, comedians - The Who booked already! 
  • Get outdoors - every weekend if possible
  • Find new places and explore
  • Walk more with our lovely dog
  • Drink less coffee and alcohol and more water
  • Spend less - be a savvy shopper
  • Save more - squirrel it away! 
  • Go somewhere lovely for a meal at least once a month
  • Plan our wedding for 2018
  • Decorate hall, stairs and landing - fabulous lights required! 
  • Get a fabulous new job


G's Wishlist for Christmas

Sphero Ball
Lego
3D printer
Baking Goodies
Laptop
PJ's
Pens
Wellies - black
Headphones
Perfume
New bedding

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

I've been a Good Girl this year - honest!!

Santa, here is my Christmas list :
  • Ugg boots
  • Coco mademoiselle perfume
  • Slippers
  • Black or white dressing gown
  • Chandelier light fitting
  • Audi TT!!!
  • Crystal wine glasses
  • Body butter
  • Gig tickets
  • Teddy bear
  • Ebooks
  • Gym kit
  • Swarovski earrings, bracelet or necklace
  • Pandora charms
  • Clinique stuff
  • Pinot Grigio 
  • Prosecco
  • Courvoissier
  • Bedroom carpet
  • Bedroom curtains
  • Yankee Candle


12 sleeps until Christmas

Its now just 12 sleeps to Christmas, and right now that equates to:

264 hours
15889 minutes
953381 seconds

11 days, 49 mins, 10 seconds!

Christmas Songs Day 9 - David Bowie and Bing Crosby 'Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth'

Day 9 and today I have chosen the beautiful song from David Bowie and Bing Crosby 'Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth'.

This is like two songs for the price of one. The old song 'Little Drummer Boy' dating back to the 40's with the additional 'Peace on Earth' added for their duet which was released in 1982. Bing sang the original song, and Bowie sang his new one in duet and the effect is breathtaking.

Recorded in 1977, as part of a Bing Christmas special, it wasn't released as a single until 1982. Sadly, Bing himself died shortly after recording it, so he never got to see how popular and successful their duet would prove to be and how it has endured.

As a single, this song reached number 3 on the UK singles chart, but it has since featured in Christmas compilations and Christmas charts from then until now, and probably will always. This is another song with longevity.

Unlike some other Christmas numbers that are fun and upbeat, this one is calm and beautiful and melodic. Something about the combination of two such different and yet uniquely gifted and talented artists from such different scenes and generations stands this apart from the rest.

So there we have my choice for day number 9. Here are the previous ones:

Day 8 - Mariah Carey 'All I Want for Christmas'
Day 7 - Gabrielle Aplin 'The Power of Love'
Day 6 - Kylie 'Santa Baby'
Day 5 - Elton John 'Step into Christmas'
Day 4 - Wham 'Last Christmas'
Day 3 - Band Aid 'Do They Know its Christmas'
Day 2 - Wizzard 'I Wish it Could be Christmas'
Day 1 - Johnny Mathis - Its Beginning to Look at lot like Christmas

Learning Spanish - 3 new words - recap

  • Like - me gusta
  • Sick - enfermo
  • Spicy - picante
  • Kettle - tetera
  • Flowers - flores
  • Sunbathe - tomar el sol
  • Feet - pies
  • December - diciembre
  • Cake - pastel
  • Fireworks - fuegos articiales
  • Rain - lluvia
  • Dress - el vestido
  • Year - año
  • Door - puerta
  • My name is - me llamo
  • Cooking - cocina
  • Four - cuatro
  • August - agosto
  • Massage - el masaje
  • Back - espalda
  • Purple - púrpura
  • Fork - tenedor
  • Knife - cuchillo
  • Three - tres
  • Dog - perro
  • January - enero
  • Stars - estrellas
  • Dancing - bailando
  • Brown - marrón
  • Two - dos
  • Spring - primavera
  • Crisps - patatas fritas
  • Friday - viernes
  • The Menu -La carta 
  • Bed - cama
  • Strawberry - fresa
  • Windy - ventoso
  • Can I have? - puedo tener
  • Bottle - botella
  • Birthday - cumpleaños
  • Green - verde
  • Ten - diez
  • Thursday - jueves
  • March - marzo
  • Umbrella - paraguas
  • November - noviembre
  • Autumn - el otoño
  • One - uno
  • Soap - jabon
  • Wednesday - miércoles
  • Cold - frio
  • Boat - barco
  • Hotel Room - habitación de hotel
  • Newspaper - periódico
  • Man - hombre
  • Walk - caminar
  • Shop - tienda
  • Running - corriendo
  • Cat - gato
  • Swim - nadar
  • What time is it? - que hora es?
  • Big - grande
  • Cloud - nube
  • Pink - rosa
  • Silver - plata
  • Pepper - pimienta
  • Omelette - tortilla
  • Shower - ducha
  • Tuesday - martes
  • Ice - hielo
  • Beautiful - hermosa
  • Awake - despierto
  • Love - amor
  • Shoes - zapatos
  • Money - dinero
  • Hat - sombrero
  • Monday - lunes
  • Glass - vaso
  • Water - agua
  • Sleep - dormir
  • Chicken - pollo
  • Sun - sol
  • Ice-cream - helado
  • Seat - asiento
  • Gold - oro
  • Sunday - domingo
  • Hair - cabello
  • Book - el libro
  • Garden - el gardin
  • Bathroom - el baño
  • Nude - desnudo
  • Towel - toalla
  • Sea - mar
  • What's your name? - Como se llama?
  • Cheers - Salud
  • Wine - el vino
  • Good - bueno
  • Beer - cerveza
  • Cheese - queso
  • Suitcase - maleta
  • Blue - azul
  • White - blanco
  • Where is? - dónde está?
  • Market - el mercado
  • Swimming Pool - la piscina
  • Saturday - sábado
  • Winter - invierno
  • English - inglés
  • I want one - Quiero uno
  • How much does it cost? - Cuánto cuesta
  • Tomorrow - mañana
  • Good evening - Buenas Noches
  • You're welcome - de nada
  • I'm sorry - lo siento
  • Please - Por favor
  • Thankyou - Gracias
  • Beach - La playa
  • Hello - Hola
  • Good morning - Buenos días
  • Goodbye - Adios

Christmas Songs Day 8 - Mariah Carey 'All I want for Christmas Is You '

Day 8 and today its Mariah Carey's amazing 'All I want for Christmas is You'

Possibly one of the all time greatest Christmas songs on my list its Mariah's classic and the song from one of my favourite films, that being the very great Love Actually.

Originally released all the way back in 1994, 20 years later, its as fresh and great as ever, if not even greater because of the associations I have now for this tune. Its an upbeat, feel good song and it puts me in a very happy good place and full of Christmas cheer and love.

This is a big song make no mistake - think violins, flutes, drums, not to mention more than a nod back to past times - a big of vintage American influence in the form of the 40's/50's, and then Mariah's diva vocals, which in my humble opinion, could not have been accomplished by any other singer.

In looking this up, I discovered this song actually peaked at number 2 in the UK singles chart which surprised me. Given that its one of the all time greats, I was sure it would have been a number 1 but it was in fact held off by another Christmas number in the form of East 17 with 'Stay Another Day'.

In the years since its release, this song has stood the test of time. Its been re-released, covered by other artists and duets with Mariah herself, featured on countless Christmas shows, TV and so on and I think its brilliant.

So there we have my choice for Day 8 and here are my previous choices :

Day 7 - Gabrielle Aplin 'The Power of Love'
Day 6 - Kylie 'Santa Baby'
Day 5 - Elton John 'Step into Christmas'
Day 4 - Wham 'Last Christmas'
Day 3 - Band Aid 'Do They Know its Christmas'
Day 2 - Wizzard 'I Wish it Could be Christmas'
Day 1 - Johnny Mathis - Its Beginning to Look at lot like Christmas

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Dave's Christmas Wishlist

Dash cam
Tools
Gadgets
Weekend break
City Break
Gig tickets
Fairytale of New York
What happened in 65
Picture of us
Jumpers

What I am not Watching this week - X Factor!!

Yep, I am no longer watching X Factor. I have always watched it, and I consider myself quite an X Factor fan. However, this year, after the whole Honey G debacle I just cannot stomach it any longer.

XF used to be about talent, about being able to sing, about what you stood for. Honey G? Please. It has made what used to be a show that launched real talent - One Direction, Little Mix, JLS, Olly Murs - but seriously, now I consider it to be a joke and I just cannot watch it anymore.

What I'm Watching This Week

  • The Walking Dead. Well, we are now caught up and we are on Series 7 and I can say now, in all honesty, that I am utterly traumatised. I have watched all 6 previous series, and been fine. I have watched horror, scary stuff and gore and not been bothered really other than briefly. However, episode 1 of series 7 has left me feel something approaching PTSD. Brutal just isn't the word. Jees. 

  • The Apprentice. This year's hopefuls continue to be utterly hapless. There is noone standing out at all - quite the opposite. Confusing soup for soap, not being able to sell boats in a harbour - I mean really - have these people never watched the show before? Karen and Claude as Sir Alan's sidekicks are superb. Quality watching as ever. Orange gin anyone? Or may Giin? WTF?!!

  • I'm a Celeb. This year, the celebs were a nice bunch. No real bickering or arguing - still fascinating to watch. The standouts for me were Martin - so funny, so weird, and initially Larry but I've got to say, I've gone off him now - I think he is a bit of a bully to be honest!! But Scarlet was a worthy winner and I can't believe how different she looked with her face on at the coming out party. Good stuff this year. 

14 Sleeps until Christmas

Its now just 14 sleeps until Christmas. 2 weeks this evening it will be Christmas Eve!!

So here is the countdown:
13 days
5 hours
53 minutes
10 seconds

Christmas Songs Day 7 - Gabrielle Aplin 'The Power of Love'

Day 7 and today I have chosen Gabrielle Aplin's version of 'The Power of Love'.

Now this is a great song already - notably the great Frankie Goes to Hollywood version which reached number 1 back in 1984. Whilst noone can deny the brilliance of the original, this respectful cover version also reached number 1 in the UK singles chart when it was released in 2012.

Unlike the original Frankie version, Gabrielle gave this song a haunting, beautiful feel when her version was recorded for John Lewis Christmas advert that year. She has such a sweet, pure and innocent voice. Its a hair on the back of your neck moment when you hear her vocals kick in.

As a relatively unknown artist before this, she will now always be up there with the best of the Christmas songs. This is a beautiful version, but I still live the old one too.

So there we have song number 7.

Here are my previous choices:

Day 6 - Kylie 'Santa Baby'
Day 5 - Elton John 'Step into Christmas'
Day 4 - Wham 'Last Christmas'
Day 3 - Band Aid 'Do They Know its Christmas'
Day 2 - Wizzard 'I Wish it Could be Christmas'
Day 1 - Johnny Mathis - Its Beginning to Look at lot like Christmas

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Our very own Harvester for dinner

So it's Saturday night and G has determined that this evening she would like to have a Harvester for dinner. Now, she doesn't mean a visit to that well known establishment. Oh no, she means for us to prepare one of our own.

Let me explain what this entails. First take lots of small plastic coloured dishes, which will contain the various salad bar items if you will. The salad bar in our case gives you a choice of:

  • sweetcorn
  • peppers
  • white and red onions
  • cooked pasta
  • new potatoes
  • olives
  • jalapenos
  • gherkins
  • pickled onions
  • rice
Alongside this, your options for your main are:

  • BBQ ribs
  • chicken breast
  • chicken tikka
All in all quite healthy, but the kitchen ends up full of plastic containers!! Quite good fun though and lot cheaper than the real thing!! 

So what are you having tonight? try your own harvester! 

Friday, 9 December 2016

COMPETITION: Win a luxury Christmas hamper worth £250

COMPETITION: Win a luxury Christmas hamper worth £250: It takes a sprinkle of good food to make memories - and Windsor Farm Shop is offering a large, wicker hamper full of provisions

Christmas Songs Day 6 - Kylie 'Santa Baby'

Day 6 and I have chosen Kylie's version of 'Santa Baby'.

'Santa Baby' was originally released back in 1953 and was sung by Eartha Kitt which is a truly great song. However, for me, Kylie's version just added that bit of magic.

Kylie released her version in 2000, and it reached number 6 in the charts. She does a cute but sexy, very sassy Christmas number on this classic and I love it.

This is more of a Christmas song for women rather than children - all about being spoilt with bling and luxuries - my kind of Christmas list!!

I love this song, so there we have my Christmas song number 6.

Here are the first 5:

Day 5 - Elton John 'Step into Christmas'
Day 4 - Wham 'Last Christmas'
Day 3 - Band Aid 'Do They Know its Christmas'
Day 2 - Wizzard 'I Wish it Could be Christmas'
Day 1 - Johnny Mathis - Its Beginning to Look at lot like Christmas

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Wedding Magazine - Competition - Win! A Sizzix bundle, worth more than £250

Wedding Magazine - Competition - Win! A Sizzix bundle, worth more than £250

WIN A Roka Maverick X Wetsuit - Worth £735 | TriRadar

WIN A Roka Maverick X Wetsuit - Worth £735 | TriRadar

Christmas Songs Day 5 - Elton John - Step Into Christmas

Day 5 of my songs for Christmas and today its Sir Elton John with his brilliant 'Step into Christmas'.

Step into Christmas was released back in 1973. What I didn't know is that there was a B side to this single titled 'Ho, Ho, Ho (Who'd be a turkey at Christmas)'!! Little fact for you there fact fans!!

Back to the better known A side. It peaked at number 24 in the UK singles chart which surprised me given its subsequent longevity. It is a great song, and it still sounds good. Elton has released so many great songs, but this is one of my fav Christmas songs ever.

This song sounds like a 70's song, but it also sounds good when its played at Christmas time. This was in fact Elton in collaboration with Bernie Taupin, who he has worked with for many many years. Elton is one of the all time greatest British artists, and its no surprise that he's up there with one of the best festive songs too.

So there we have my choice for Day 5.

Check out my previous choices for the first 4 days:

Day 4 - Wham 'Last Christmas'
Day 3 - Band Aid 'Do They Know its Christmas'
Day 2 - Wizzard 'I Wish it Could be Christmas'
Day 1 - Johnny Mathis - Its Beginning to Look at lot like Christmas

Wedding Magazine - Competition - Win! Crabtree & Evelyn seasonal goodies

Wedding Magazine - Competition - Win! Crabtree & Evelyn seasonal goodies

Christmas Songs Day 4 - Wham - Last Christmas

So for Day 4 I have chosen this classic from Wham 'Last Christmas'.

This was unbelievably released way back in 1984. It peaked at number 2 in the UK singles chart, held off by Band Aid, who Wham were also part of, so not all that bad!!

Wham were huge back in the 80's - I remember, even at the tender age of 8 that year, having the biggest crush on Mr George Michael!!

The video was the height of cheesiness, and seems even more silly in retrospect - time has not been kind to those fashion styles!! However, the song has stood the test of time and still sounds great.

This is what it is - pop cheesy Christmas tastic!! I love Wham and I love this song, and it makes me feel very nostalgic and Christmassy all at the same time.

So there we have Day 4.

Day 3 - Band Aid 'Do They Know its Christmas'
Day 2 - Wizzard 'I Wish it Could be Christmas'
Day 1 - Johnny Mathis - Its Beginning to Look at lot like Christmas


Tonight I am multi-tasking

This is my to-do list this evening:

  • Post some blog posts for you lovelies (including some fab comps)
  • Check my emails
  • Pop a few things on ebay
  • Do my online shopping order
  • Checkout some holiday prices for next year
  • Take my dog out for a walk
  • Tweet some comps
  • Write my Christmas to do list
  • Download my holiday 
  • Enter some competitions
  • Pick a retro single of the week
Phewf!!! Why is it that no matter how much time I have it never seems to be enough!! There are always things I want to do if I only had more time. 

Back from hols and back to business :)

Its been so busy lately, but now its back to normal. So here's a quick teaser of what's coming up in December on The Eternal Hopeful:

  • new single of the week
  • new My Week with
  • What I am watching this week
  • Tales of my travels
  • Top 10's
  • Wishlists, aims and ambitions
  • 2017
And not to mention Christmas stuff!!  Whooooo!!! 

Learning Spanish - Christmas Special number 1

In keeping with the festive spirit, I have decided to continue my attempts to learn Spanish by giving it a festive theme. Here we go then:


  • Christmas - Navidad
  • Christmas tree - árbol de Navidad
  • snow - nieve

Word of the Week - Metamorphose

Metamorphose


  • verb (used with object), metamorphosed, metamorphosing.
  • to change the form or nature of; transform.
  • to subject to metamorphosis or metamorphism.verb (used without object), metamorphosed,metamorphosing.
  • to undergo or be capable of undergoing a change in form or nature.


definition derived from Mirriam Webster

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Family pass to Cadbury World this Christmas

Family pass to Cadbury World this Christmas: Enjoy a scrumptious day out that’s choc-full of festive fun this Christmas at Cadbury World!

See Santa in his Exclusive Stage Show

A festive day out wouldn’t be complete without seeing the jolly ma...

Monday, 5 December 2016

Single of the Week - Bruno Mars - 24K Magic

My new single of the week is from Bruno Mars with his brilliant '24K Magic'.

I've long been a fan of Bruno Mars, he's such a talented singer, but this song in particular has really hooked me in. Its the lead single from his third album also called 24K Magic, and if this is anything to go by, the album is sure to be amazing!

24K is full of funk, very sassy, cool and sexy - a bit like the man himself, and instantly catchy. Its full of synth and a little bit disco and just absolutely unique.

Now there are those out there who think that music should be progressive, give us something new each time. I disagree. Yes, you need those songs, but you also need songs that are retro and throw back to previous influences but still make it fresh. This is a song that makes you feel good, makes you tap your foot and want to get up and dance. That's why its so great.

The video is the same - Bruno and his posse basically having a real good time in Las Vegas. Its all about glamour, partying, showing off the bling and the money - my view on that is if you've got it why not?

This is a song that sounds great, looks great and makes you feel good. What more do you want from a pop song!! What do you think of this song? Let me know, or go take a listen if you've not heard it yet.

If you want more, then why not check out My Music page - just click here. Happy listening :)

Win a log store and kiln dried logs worth £500!

Win a log store and kiln dried logs worth £500!: Stay warm this winter! Certainly Wood are giving you the chance to win a log store worth £500

My Foodie Top 10's - yum!!

Cheese
Crisp flavours
Pizza
Chinese
Sushi
Chicken dishes
Pasta
Savoury Pies
Vegetables
Omelettes
Bread loaves
Sausages
Curry
Sandwiches
Salads
Burgers
BBQ
Nuts
Crackers
Quorn
Greek
chip shop
dips
pate
Staffordshire oatcakes
Breads
Chutney
Stir Fry
Eggs
Rice varieties
soup
cheese spread
Indian snacks
Grilled sandwiches 
Noodles
Mexican 
Italian
Cous cous 
Bonfire Night
Jacket Potato Fillings 

My Drink Top 10's

Beers
Fizzy Drinks
Cocktails
Wine
Coffee Shop Coffees
Spirits
Winter Cocktails

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Christmas songs Day 3 - Band Aid - Do They Know its Christmas

My choice for Day 3 is the charity single 'Do They Know its Christmas' by Band Aid.

Love it or hate it, you can't deny that this is one of the most famous / infamous Christmas songs ever. Some say this song is political and a little bit patronising - I think people should just enjoy it for what it is.

Released in 1984, this was the idea of Bob Geldoff (whoo?? if you are under 30) and Midge Ure (who!!?) . Bob Geldoff was very famous back in the day and he was in a band too and so was Midge Ure - The BoomTown Rats and Ultravox respectively.

Featuring some of the biggest stars of the day, this was an absolute groundbreaking effort. U2's Bono, Status Quo, Phil Collins, Simon Le Bon, Tony Hadley, Boy George, Sting, George Michael plus more - this was on an epic scale!!

This song has had its criticism, but its endured. Its been rehashed for a new generation, but the original endures. Hitting number 1 in the UK single chart, its still on the best Christmas songs list to date.

So there we have it - Day 3. Happy Christmas :) chris

Friday, 2 December 2016

Christmas songs Day 2 - Wizzard - I Wish it Could be Christmas Everyday

For Day 2 I have chosen the classic from Wizzard - 'I Wish it Could be Christmas Everyday'.

Wizzard are one of those bands that likely would have been lost in the mists of time were it not for producing this Christmas classic. As it is, I think everyone knows this song and rightly so!!

'I wish it could be Christmas Everyday' was released way back in 1973. It reached number 4 in the UK charts in its highest position which surprised me - given its lasting popularity.

So there we go Christmas song number 2. Totally feeling Christmassy now - go on, stick it on and turn it up. Only 23 sleeps to go!!

HomeStyle - Competition - Win a 5ft frosted artificial Christmas tree

HomeStyle - Competition - Win a 5ft frosted artificial Christmas tree

Its just 23 sleeps until Christmas!!

Yes, you heard me correctly - its only 23 more sleeps until Christmas Day!! If that hasn't got you excited, or possibly panic stricken, then here are the specific countdown details for the big day:

22 days
5 hours
43 mins
51 seconds

Ho ho ho!!!

This one is for my mum :) x

My mum said something to me a week or two back that really surprised me. She said she goes sewing each week, and is surrounded by people who are great at it - they can make anything, she said.

She continued to tell me that everyone she knows is good at something, but she, at just over 60 years old, has yet to find her talent in life - she doesn't think she is good at anything.

So, I am compiling this list for her, to make her realise she has already found her talent in life - being the best mum!! Here is my list for my mum - I will keep adding to it until I am happy with it, but this is the start:

  • Making hedgehog cake - chocolate button spikes - best ever!
  • Making gonks - little fluffy little monsters
  • Cooking chinese food - especially lemon chicken
  • Cuddles - still going strong on that
  • Motherly advice - always has wise words
  • Says it how it is - that is a skill right there!! 
  • Looking after animals - chickens, dogs, geese, rabbits, horses, cockatiels 
  • Rescuing animals - swan in the road? no problem for my mum! 
  • Maths - adding stuff up in her head had me very envious growing up
  • Generosity - its a rare occasion to come away empty handed from my mum
  • Christmas Dinners - best ever at mum's
  • Throwing Halloween parties - always amazing with the decor and food
  • Party food - 6 attending, food for 20 people!!
  • Making friends - so many, everywhere - new and old
  • Travelling - pretty much travelled the globe and still going
  • Looking after people - as a job, as a mum, as a sister, as a wife, as a friend
  • Managing money - mum was the budget holder growing up
  • Horseriding - back in the day
  • Gardening - she can literally grow anything - veggies, flowers - green fingers
  • Cooking in general - traditional, oriental - even sushi! 
  • Handwriting - the most beautiful writing
  • Finding bargains - charity shops, booters, always finding hidden gems

All these films that I have seen 10 #130

My project to establish how many films I have seen continues. I am now up to 1300 films!! phewf!! 

Here are my next 10:

The Breakfast Club
St Elmo's Fire
Spooks: The Greater Good
Big Driver
Carrie (remake)
Run All Night
Grand Piano
Pixels
Xanadu
Buster 

Here are all the previous ones:

films #1             films #45             films #89
films #2             films #46             films #90
films #3             films #47             films #91
films #4             films #48             films #92
films #5             films #49             films #93
films #6             films #50             films #94
films #7             films #51             films #95
films #8             films #52             films #96
films #9             films #53             films #97
films #10           films #54             films #98
films #11           films #55             films #99
films #12           films #56             films #100
films #13           films #57             films #101
films #14           films #58             films #102
films #15           films #59             films #103
films #16           films #60             films #104
films #17           films #61             films #105
films #18           films #62             films #106
films #19           films #63             films #107
films #20           films #64             films #108
films #21           films #65             films #109
films #22           films #66             films #110
films #23           films #67             films #111
films #24           films #68             films #112
films #25           films #69             films #113
films #26           films #70             films #114
films #27           films #71             films #115
films #28           films #72             films #116
films #29           films #73             films #117
films #30           films #74             films #118
films #31           films #75             films #119
films #32           films #76             films #120
films #33           films #77             films #121
films #34           films #78             films #122
films #35           films #79             films #123
films #36           films #80             films #124
films #37           films #81             films #125
films #38           films #82             films #126
films #39           films #83             films #127
films #40           films #84             films #128
films #41           films #85             films #129
films #42           films #86
films #43           films #87
films #44           films #88