February 2019 Things

Despite things lurching from bad to worse at work (we’re talking BBC News reports levels of worse), there were some bright spots in February.

My last Monthly post ended with no snow – February started with snow! Admittedly, I had a bit of a terrifying journey home from the airport where we almost skidded into a variety obstacles, but it was pretty whilst it lasted.

Tilda Swinton Answers an Ad on Craigslist
Tim and I ventured under Waterloo station for the Vault Festival to see Tilda which is an absolute riot of a show. Byron Lane writes and stars in a show about an ordinary guy going through a hard time – his boyfriend has left him, his parents are a nightmare. Out of nowhere, Tilda Swinton (played by Tom Lenk) swoops into his life to study him for her latest role. It is so stupidly funny – you pretty much don’t stop giggling for 80 minutes at all the niche film and theatre jokes. At the end, the wonderful Byron was in the bar taking photos of people with Tom. It was such a fantastic experience, and I’d love to see it again.

Educated by Tara Westover
Wow, what a book. Educated is a phenomenal memoir from a woman who grew up in a fundamentalist family, her father obsessed with the end of days. It’s not spoiling the ending by saying that she managed to work her way out of Idaho, and I am currently urging everyone to read it. Her family do dispute her version of events, but I believe it’s possible for her truth to be valid as well as theirs. I was blown away by her writing and was so emotionally drained when I turned the last page.

The Midlands
I had two work trips booked in back-to-back – one in a generic hotel conference room in Birmingham, one at the University of Leicester – so rather than come home, I decided to stay the night in B’ham. I was able to fit in a facial (classic work trip activity), a bit of shopping, and a lovely catch-up over pizza with my favourite married couple. I’ll be honest – the area of the city I stayed in wasn’t particularly pleasant and the rest of the trip was a bit of a struggle, but at least I got to see some beautiful Tracey Emin neon at St Pancras Station on the way home.

Russian Doll
Like everyone else in the western hemisphere, we binge-watched Netflix’s Russian Doll in one evening. Honestly, I couldn’t decide what I thought about it – clearly there was something in the show that kept me watching, but I wasn’t sure if I like it. I think after (over)analysing my feelings about it, I decided that it ultimately left be a little unfulfilled because there seemed to be a number of threads that weren’t fully explored. That said, I’m pretty sure there’s going to be more seasons, so maybe that will satiate my curiosity on this quirky little show.

January 2019 Things

January 2019 was an entire waste of a month. I don’t think I did one thing of note, which admittedly doesn’t bode well for this blog post…

New job
Not me, Husband. His new office is based in Portugal (sort of) so there’s been a lot of video chatting over the past month. There’s also been a lot of driving to Heathrow airport early in the morning like I’m an Uber driver. I don’t get tipped.

Macro Lens
For Christmas, I treated myself to an Olympus Pen PL9 camera. I’ll be honest, I mostly bought it for the retro styling, but it helped that John Lewis had an offer for a free macro 30mm lens. I’m addicted to taking close up photos of random things, including the Rhea Kulcsar ring I bought myself in Chelsea Market.

CD clear out
I have quite the collection of CDs. Correction – had. They were sitting in boxes taking up space in the spare room; space that we just can’t afford to waste in our tiny house. Over the past few months, we’ve tried selling them on those apps where you can scan the barcode and get them sent off, but we just weren’t making a dent in the collection.

So we bagged them up and took them to the recycling plant. It was traumatising.

Greatest Dancer
As huge Strictly fans, Husband and I were looking forward to the new BBC show, The Greatest Dancer. It started very shakily and we did not enjoy the audition rounds which were far too stylised. The live shows have been amazing however – the quality of dancing has been spectacular, and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know the acts. I hope it gets a second series.

No snow
As we got to the end of January, I was really looking forward to a snow day or two, but it was not to be. Not until February…

December 2018 Things

I’m quite behind on my blogging schedule – I’ve got a bunch of New York posts to write and I still haven’t finished writing about Texas yet! But before that, a quick review of the last month of 2018.

Liberty Beauty Advent Calendar
This is my fourth year (I think?) of the Liberty Beauty advent calendar and it’s still as amazing as always. Highlights this year include a full size bottle of the Ren Perfect Canvas Serum, and an almost full sized Omorovicza Illuminating Moisturiser, both of which are gorgeous products. I’m already looking forward to what’s in store for December 2019.

New York
We picked up some cheap(ish) flights to New York in the Virgin Atlantic Black Friday sale, so spent three days wandering around the city at the end of December. More detailed posts will follow!

I was very lucky to be sent to Edinburgh for a workshop, which meant I could see all the Christmas lights. God, I love this city.

Design Museum
We visited the new Design Museum a couple of weeks ago – I say new, but it’s been in Kensington for about 2 years now and I’ve somehow failed to visit before. The building is beautiful, the shop is stocked to the brim with everything I want to own – it’s really the most perfect museum. We had gone to see the Home Futures exhibition which detailed what visionaries of the past thought the future would be. There were some really fascinating pieces but also really mad ideas which was fun to see.

I am really not a fan of Christmas, but it is nice to have some time off work. We spent the day at my in-laws where we had an excellent lunch, I managed to do a quick run into my nearest Lush for some sale shopping, and a lot of relaxing was done.

November 2018 Things

Where did November go?  It feels like we were only just on our countdown to our Texas trip, and now we’re already in December.  It’ll be 2019 before we know it.

There’s more posts to come about our trip to the Lone Star state – we had such a great time even though we were only there for a few (very cold) days.  

Black Friday
I find Black Friday a bit ridiculous, particularly for British people who don’t have Thanksgiving.  The discounts are never particularly good, or on anything that you might want, and it all smacks a little too much of desperation.

So that’s why we bought Virgin Atlantic tickets to New York.  I got too giddy.  

Elis James and John Robins
Right at the beginning of the month, I saw Elis and John at the Hammersmith Apollo for my first experience of “tasting the vibe” (that makes sense if you listen to their podcast) and was sat in the middle between two Podcast Devotees and two people who hadn’t listened to any shows.  I was getting very different energy from either side of me – on the left, two people giggling away; to the right, two people who could not care less.  I felt bad for dragging them into the insanity – at the beginning of the show, Elis asked if there was any newbies in the audience, and then told them that they were in for a tough time.  That’s a bit of an understatement.

I enjoyed it though!

Olaplex Shampoo
I bought this from Sephora whilst I was in Austin, and it is probably the best shampoo I have ever used.  It is pricy, but you really don’t need much – which is something I feel all shampoo brands say, but it’s true this time.  My hair normally never lathers effectively unless I’m using a whole shot glass full of product, but not with Olaplex.  And it’s really maintained the pink colour in my hair.  I’m incredibly impressed, and will probably buy the conditioner soon.  

Eddie Izzard
Tickets for Eddie’s latest tour went on sale this week – November 2018 at the London Palladium.  I managed to get two tickets for my BFF and I seven rows from the front – YES!

October 2018 Things

Okay, okay – I know it’s the 15th November and I still haven’t posted my favourites from last month.  I’ve had a busy few weeks so have got myself a little behind on posts, but it would bother me if skipped October, so let’s get going.

Celtic Manor
I have almost certainly included the Celtic Manor on a monthly favourites before, but we managed to do something a little different on this trip.  We normally order room service (eating burgers in your PJs is bliss) but we decided to get properly dressed up to eat at Steak On Six this time round – it was a very meaty dinner, but so tasty.  It’s the first restaurant I’ve been to which offers a selection of knives – who knew there were so many types of knife!

Simba Bed
We’ve had an Eve mattress for a while now, and it’s honestly the best thing we’ve ever bought for our house.  So ridiculously comfortable, but I felt that our old bed frame (bought from a supermarket in a Christmas sale about 8 years ago for £50) wasn’t doing it justice.  Enter the Simba bed – yet another bed bought in a sale, albeit for considerably more than £50 – which has turned out to be the second best thing we’ve ever bought for our house.  The headboard is a sophisticated grey which wouldn’t look out of place in a Scandi drama, and matches perfectly with out already grey bedroom.  Every night has been even more blissful than before.

Working From Home
We’re trying out something new in the office, so every Thursday, I work from home.  I love it.  My commute to work has become so stressful so having one day off from the painful drive is enough to reduce my blood pressure.  I can start working at 8am and get a lot done without my phone constantly ringing.  I do miss having two monitors so I don’t think I could be at home every day (or could I…).

Excessive relaxation
I did some overtime during Registration last month, so decided to take TOIL and have a facial at the Purcell Rooms in a nearby village, a hair salon with a beauty room for Aveda treatments.  I chose the 90 minute facial which was such a treat, and featured massages for my feet, hands, shoulders, and head.  It also had a heated bed.  Heavenly.

Museums and Cake
It’s my new routine for London museums – follow them up with baked goods.

September 2018 Things

September started with a mini-break, ended with a mini-break, but with a healthy dose of Freshers’ Flu in between.  Classic.

10th Anniversary
This September saw my 10th work anniversary, and when I think about how far I’ve come, it’s a little astonishing to me.  My very first week saw me stood at the door to the Main Hall (above) handing out Registration forms for the new starters, literally no clue what was going on or anything about my Institution.  Exactly 10 years later found me back in the hall, but with one fairly big difference – this year, I was in charge.  I don’t know who thought it would be a good idea to have me run the operations side of things, but we did manage to get through about 5500 students largely without incident, so go me!  I did get some dirty looks from the staff who did not like my music choice (there is nothing wrong with 6 Music!) but on the whole it went really well.

And now to start planning for September 2019.

Spa treat
My Mum treated us both to a spa day at the Macdonald Berystede hotel for my birthday, and the only time they had when she booked was conveniently at the end of Registration week.  I really appreciated being able to relax after being on my feet all week.

I’ve been to plenty of spas but never for a ‘spa day’ so it was so nice to experience the facilities at the Berystede, which included a “thermal suite”.  I was very excited by this – different saunas, a salt room, a steam room, a cold room (my favourite) and two fancy showers.  We were then on a Sunday afternoon and we had the whole thermal suite to ourselves – my Mum loved the salt room, and the heated loungers were so relaxing.  We’re already planning our return visit.

TK Maxx bargains
I am partial to a rummage in the TK Maxx beauty aisle, and September saw me visiting several times a week because I kept finding amazing things.  Sachajuan conditioner, Skin Laundry cleansers, Byredo perfumes, Bosica face masks.  So many good things.  Not only that, but they’ve also had a huge shipment of the Tatty Devine homeware, so I have cleaned my local store out of that as well.  I haven’t been in for a week or so, so I should probably plan a visit for this week…

Crazy Rich Asians
I read the book last month when the film was released in the USA purely because of the hype.  I enjoyed reading it, and loved the different perspective it showed me, so planned a trip to the cinema with my BFF.  He took me to the Picturehouse Central, where we sat in the comfy seats of the sold-out theatre amongst a crowd who loved it.  It was such a great atmosphere to watch the film in, with laughs, tears, and cheers for Rachel and Nick.

It is a fluff film but it was refreshingly fluffy, and definitely cemented my desire to visit Singapore next year.  And get a pink Audi R8 like the one Peik Lin drove.

Strictly Come Dancing
September is when Strictly fever takes hold in the Untold Blisses household (BFF was disgusted when I told him I couldn’t see Crazy Rich Asians on a Saturday evening because I needed to be home in time for the live show).  I haven’t yet decided who I am supporting, but I always enjoy watching Katya’s and Oti’s choreography, and how both Pasha and Gorka dance.  I’m looking forward to spending the next dozen Saturday nights on the sofa!

August 2018 Things

Birthday month again, with this year being a big one for Husband.  He’s still a young man to me.

This beautiful Scottish island was a dream.  I can’t wait to go back one day.

Husband is a huge fan of the band R.E.M. who split up about 7 years ago, so there isn’t much new content for him to enjoy.  However, he started listening to the R U Talkin’ R.E.M. RE: Me Podcast a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been totally sucked into it!  I know a bit about the band, and have enjoyed learning more about their album tracks.  It also helps that Adam Scott is one of the hosts, and is adorably hilarious.  The podcast is so stupid, and they spend most of each episode not actually talking about R.E.M.

Marks and Spencer ice cream sandwiches
They are so ridiculously moorish – I’m obsessed.

Holiday planning
In a couple of months, we’re off to Texas for a few days and friends of Husband have very kindly offered to look after us for part of the trip, so we had a long video call with them one weekend to talk about our plans.  There’s a lot of fun things on the list – November can’t come quickly enough.  After our chat, we then went on to book a very exciting hotel for the rest of our Texan adventure which I am so looking forward to.

Birthday bath
For my birthday, I was treated to a couple of nights at the Hotel Du Vin in Bristol.  Bristol itself was an… interesting place, but the hotel was incredibly relaxing.  The best thing about it – the huge bathroom on the mezzanine floor, with a roll top bath.  After getting back from a birthday burger, I poured some of the L’Occitane toiletries into the bath and spent about an hour in there.  What a perfect way to end the day.

July 2018 Things

Oh hello there.  I haven’t posted for a month, and to be honest, I haven’t done that much this month either.  My work life over-shadowed pretty much everything as I had the big scary audit that people in my sector dread.

But I got through it, and now the pressure is off (a little).  Just in time for the new academic year prep.  When can I retire?

The Weather
I do not like hot weather (let’s ignore the fact I go to Miami every year…) so July has been hell on earth for me.  How people can deny climate change is beyond me – it was 32 degrees in my office by 10am last week, please don’t tell me this is normal.

Is August going to be cooler?  I bloody hope so.

The Cosy Club
As a reward for getting through the audit, my manager took us out for dinner at the newly opened Cosy Club in Guildford.  I have visited their Exeter restaurant for brunch, and was very excited when the manager there told is they’d be opening in Guildford “soon”.  That conversation was two years ago and I was beginning to give up hope – it’s so great they’ve managed to make it work!

My favourite thing about the Cosy Club is their non-alcoholic drinks menu.  As someone who isn’t a huge booze fan, a varied mocktail menu is very much appreciated.  So much so, that I had to go back a week or so later with another friend.

Their Pink Lemonade is dreamy.  I could do with some of that right now.

New New Glasses
So last month I bought myself some new glasses and decried that I wasn’t sure I liked them.  As the weeks went on, I decided I definitely didn’t like them so bought a gorgeous Kate Spade pair from Glasses Direct.

Anyone who says that they are basically exactly the same as my original glasses is 100% right wrong.

Injury fun
Husband was away for work again at the end of July, so I had a lot of alone time.  I am very happy with my own company, but the only time I worry is when I injure myself, like last Friday night when I slipped over backwards in my garden, smashed my the back of my head on the ground, and oddly badly cut and bruised my foot.  I really thought I’d properly done some damage and having him 8000 miles away isn’t particularly helpful.

The bruising is quite incredible.

Burger Mania
I love a Byron burger, and I had two this month – one in a hotel room the night before a workshop, and one on a spontaneous trip to London with my Mum.  We did our normal shopping route – Liberty, Fenwicks, and House of Fraser where I bought some beautiful Butterfly Twist flats and then I persuaded her to walk a little further up to the Byron at Langham Place.

June 2018 Things

Oh June, what a mixed month you were.  I thought it would just be an average month, albeit with a couple of excellent trips planned, but that all changed right in the middle with some very stressful work news (I’m being deliberately abstract).  Needless to say, ending the month by working 10 hours a day was not where I saw myself.

We did get the “premium” catering for a workshop the other day though, so it’s not all bad.

Fun Home at the Young Vic

Think of Bechdel when you need to embalm.

Flight of the Conchords at The O2

Have you ever been asked if your hair is a wig?

Schitt’s Creek

On the face of it, this does not look like my type of show – a wealthy family lose all their money and are forced to live in a run-down, small town motel.  However, with Husband away for work for most of the month, I quickly ran out of Netflix shows to watch so gave the first episode a go.  Inexplicably, I became addicted and watched all 4 seasons in a week and a half.

It would be easy to see the characters as stereotypes, and that’s definitely how it started, but there’s such a charm to them all.  Catherine O’Hara’s portrayal of Moira was the main reason why I continued watching, but I then fell in love with Dan Levy and Annie Murphy.  The show has rarely made me laugh out loud, but has made me teary on a couple of occasions which is why I’ve continued watching -there’s a surprising amount of heart.

Winter Boots

Considering we’re in a ridiculous heatwave at the moment, it seems a bit odd that I’ve bought some boots, but these glorious Grenson Annie boots were on sale and I couldn’t say no.

Just need it to be cold now please.

New Glasses

My left eye had got super twitchy recently, and an eye test showed that my prescription had changed slightly so I got some new specs.  Whilst the twitching has subsided, I’m not sure I actually like the glasses.  One – they’re by Kylie Minogue.  Two – they’re called Spinning Around.  Three – the arms are silver glitter.

I was hoping for something cool and minimalist, and somehow ended up with a pair that border on crazy.  Why is it so hard to buy a pair of glasses?!?!

April 2018 Things

It’s probably a terrible way of looking at things, but I just wanted April to be over and done with because May is MIAMI MONTH (!!!!), but there were a few notable points.

(More) Holiday Planning
I have been very forward thinking and have combated the post-holiday blues I know I’ll get when we’re back from Miami by booking another trip before we’ve even gone.  A few weeks ago, I was alerted to a great Virgin Atlantic/Delta deal to a variety of different places in America.  We spent too long thinking about it at the time and the deals vanished overnight, so I set up a Google Flights alert for the same locations, and what do you know – up popped the deals again.  This time, we didn’t mess about, and booked ourselves a week in… TEXAS!  I’m so excited – I haven’t been to Texas before, so I’ve spent the past few weeks bookmarking all the places I want to visit.  It’s not for few months yet, so I have plenty of time to prepare.  Woo!

John Robins
Since seeing John compere at the Greenwich Comedy Festival in 2015, I have become an obsessive fan of the Elis and John show on Radio X.  I call myself a PCD, a double retro-oner, and other things that only people who listen to their show will understand.  In that time, I have utterly fallen in love with John (and Elis of course).  I bought tickets for his show in Aldershot but the snow scuppered my chances of getting there so thank goodness for a second chance in Basingstoke.

The Darkness of Robins was spectacular, and the only reason I haven’t blogged about it is because I don’t know how to put my feelings into words.  The best I can say is that for a stand-up show, I did an awful lot of crying.  Team Robins all the way.

Brooklands Hotel
We had a random night away where I had a facial, we ate some lovely food, and we watched fast cars from our room.  Always fun.

Alone Time
Every so often, Husband goes away for work so I get a bit of alone time.  With him off in South Africa for a week, I managed to fit in some shopping (where I found my dream Lulu Guinness Vanity Case in TK Maxx), lots of Sex and the City watching, and a multitude of face masks.  I don’t like him to be away too often, but it’s good to have some time to myself once in a while.

Card fraud
It’s not great when you start the month with someone fraudulently taking money from your bank account.  It gets worse when the same thing happens to your credit card the following day.  I really don’t understand how this happened, and my bank was equally as baffled, but considering I don’t have any other cards, I was pretty stuck for money for the first week of April (except for a random £10 M&S gift voucher).  Thank goodness Google Pay still worked, albeit for payments under £30.  Stupid fraud!