Lifestyle: Happy Fortnightly Things #12

Woo, back to the fortnightly posts! This year is flashing by so quickly it’s rather scary…though I’d so glad January went quickly (I did NOT enjoy living on my own!).

These last two weeks have been strange. Busy, exhausting, but really rather satisfying too. Let’s chat about the little happy things!

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Here’s what’s been making me happy recently…

  1. “Breaking in” my wedding shoes. A.K.A wearing them with every opportunity. I did the hoovering in them last week, though trying to hide them from W is torture.
  2. Valentine’s! We’re not huge fans of it, but we set aside the evening for a good meal (duck breast followed by souffles – he’s amazeballs!). I was also ‘surprised’ with the Jo Malone perfume I’d been subtly talking about for a while…
  3. Booking the music for our wedding. One of the best Saturday evenings in February involved a bottle of wine and several hours listening to demos. Let’s just say there’s some interesting ones out there, but I’m SO happy with who we’ve managed to get!
  4. My work’s Christmas dinner.Seriously. We had it in a hotel near Liverpool in the middle of February. I ate scallops, beef cheeks and a (disappointing) chocolate dessert and drank lots of (very good) wine.
  5. Starting my graduate rotations at work. It’s been great to learn about other functions and network.
  6. Perfecting my tomato-free Bolognese. Recipe coming soon!
  7. Finishing up my tutorials and a celebratory lunch (Chinese) with my coursemates. Though considering the exam is in April, I’m not sure what we were celebrating…
  8. Spending a Saturday in Canterbury with my best friends. It felt like ages since we had a good catch up. We ate cakes and gossiped for hours!
  9. Eggs Chauncer at Tiny Tim’s, a Canterbury institution. It was English muffins, ham, mushrooms, poached eggs and rarebit sauce. I think eggs should be served with a cheesy sauce more often…
  10. February’s Dominique Ansel Cronut. It was Raspberry & Orange blossom FYI. Best New Year’s Resolution I’ve ever made!

What are the little things that make you happy?

Personal: A Hello From Me

Long time, no blog!

It’s been far too long since I since down at my laptop and tapped out a blog post. I’ve hardly picked up my camera in weeks. I’ve even been logged out of Twitter on my phone due to ‘inactivity.’ All in all, not quite the productive start to the year I was hoping for.

 photo 2016-12-02 12.08.03_zps2chmqmpb.jpg photo 2016-12-02 11.50.30_zpsqtlnvbip.jpgI probably made it clear in my last post just how tired i was, how run down I felt. At the time I was balancing work, study, blogging, a rammed social calendar and wedding planning, on top of personal circumstances that were far from pleasant. I had an email inbox that was rapidly expanding, a to-do list that was getting to be taller than I was (no mean feat, even with me being vertically challenged!). My skin was betraying just how exhausted I was, and my immune system gave way to a nasty virus in the week before Christmas.

I spent Christmas trying to solider on through, alcohol making me want to throw up, falling asleep at every opportunity and not even feeling like enjoying my food. Typically the 27th dawned and I felt an awful lot better – and luckily made a good dent in the leftovers. Using pigs in blankets as dipping implements for a boiled egg was the best idea I’d had throughout all of 2016…

 photo 2016-12-27 11.59.52_zpsyinsztih.jpg photo 2016-11-12 13.59.15_zpsqwcb2t3i.jpgA few cold countryside walks, a couple of Terry’s Chocolate Oranges (because vitamins…?!) and things were looking up. I managed to get a decent chunk of studying done. Planned out the first few months of blog posts for 2017. And then the aforementioned personal circumstances came back and hit hard. Just a few short minutes into the year, my beloved Granddad peacefully passed away. It’s not something I’ve really mentioned on here, but he’d been suffering from severe Alzheimer’s for many, many years and whilst his passing is sad, I’m relieved he’s finally free – I’m sure he’s having a pint and chuckle at us all right now!

Feeling under the weather and dealing with grief – not to mention the fact that W then went to South America for the month – meant I just needed to continue to take a break. Despite myself promising I’d never put pressure on myself to blog, that’s exactly what I was doing for much of 2016. I hate not fulfilling my posting schedule, I hate being chased to reply to an email.

 photo 2016-12-27 17.01.57_zpsbhea1wxt.jpg photo 2016-12-27 16.59.28_zpsquqpo0fy.jpg photo 2016-12-27 16.21.14_zpsldgejd2c.jpg photo 2016-12-27 16.19.27_zpsyoegimcb.jpgThis year I’m going to try and take some of the pressure off. I’ve shifted around my posting schedule to reduce the number of posts each month. I’ve set an auto-reply to give PRs a warning that I may not reply immediately. I’m going to try and meet new bloggers, make coffee dates with those I’ve been meaning to catch up with for months. I’m going to head out for meals and not photograph them (well, maybe). I’ll bake for the enjoyment and not for the Instagram likes. I’ll make time for me, make plans for me and not ‘for the blog.’ I love blogging, I’m sticking around for a while. But I also like living, and my blog doesn’t entirely define my life. Here’s to 2017 being the year I live for me.

How has the start of the year been for you?

What’s Occurring Wednesday: New Lifestyle Series

Remember my What’s Cooking Wednesday series? I really enjoyed doing that over my second year, but I’m not sure it’s too feasible in my third year – I’m working full-time on placement, and quite often will finish later or more exhausted than expected so planned meals can go out of the window. But I do want a place to show you what I’ve been up to, things that don’t need a whole post but would otherwise go unmentioned. And of course I’m sure food will feature heavily too!

 photo 2014-09-06123644_zps9069005d.jpgSo, I’ve mentioned my placement. Since the end of July I’ve been working as an Actuarial Assistant in a large insurance firm. Can’t say too much about my job as it’s quite confidential, but I can say I despite the job title of Actuarial Assistant – it seems to be widely used across the industry, but it sounds so basic. Trust me its not, I’m far from an assistant! I’ve learnt so much in time I’ve been there, my mind swims with Excel shortcuts and VBA code each day, but it’s so worth stretching myself knowing this is definitely where I want to be after graduation. If you’re at university and have the chance of a placement or internship, then go for it – it’s an amazing opportunity! My placement has meant yet another move to a different part of the country, and I’m now based in Surrey. I’ll be doing a post about my new place soon, but I have to say I’m liking Surrey so far. I can get to London in under half an hour, and the train is ridiculously cheap too compared to what I was used to.

 photo 2014-09-06135756_zpse4b36183.jpg photo adcfcdd9-724b-45b0-98ed-63e33ac88890_zps35f545d6.jpgWhen I’ve not been sleeping (full time work is exhausting!) weekends have mainly been spent getting to know my area, usually with my man. Last weekend we were lucky enough to be invited to review a local Indian, so expect a post on that tomorrow. We also came across a local street food festival, which will be featured soon enough.

 photo 2014-09-06123920_zps521cee13.jpg2014-08-30 14.13.28You may have noticed an improvement in pictures – meet my new baby! I turn 21 in December and asked for a camera for my parents. Whilst they were in Turkey the Canon EOS M was discontinued and heavily reduced in most places, I’d set my heart on this one so I ordered away. I then decided that as they haven’t paid me back yet I’d keep it! I got it for a really good price, though I think I’ve already spent far too much on a pretty case, and a lens adapter for it. I’ll be putting a 50mm lens on my list now too! I’m under no illusions than a camera will automatically improve my photos, but I think I’d outgrown my HTC phone camera, and my pictures just weren’t doing it for me. Getting a camera has also encouraged me to learn more about photography basics, and I’m slowly but surely seeing improvement. Not overnight, but it is getting there and I’m finally feeling a little more proud of my blog because of this!

 photo 2014-09-01191654_zpsc5e6aa72.jpgAnd finally, to the food. Having a job = more money = more food. I’ve definitely been treating myself on the food front, no way would I have spent £3.50 on a packet of pastrami as a student. It was delicious though! I’ve also been doing plenty of baking – my Peanut-aires shortbread were spectacularly well received. Amazingly yummy, and surprisingly quick and cheap. I’m still technically a student after all!

That was a longer post than expected! What have you been up to lately?