April 2019 Things

April 2016 Things_2

London Marathon 2019
I am phenomenally proud of my little brother – he ran the freaking London Marathon! We made our way up to London a couple of Sundays ago to see if we could see him – I’d read a lot about the best places to spectate so we weighed up all the options and decided on the halfway point in Wapping just by Shadwell DLR station. It was very busy as soon as we got off the train, but we walked a little further up The Highway and managed to get a good spot on the barrier. And then we saw my brother! He looked fairly cheery, although I think he was in significant pain at that point but we sent him on his way again.

We had planned to get down to Canary Wharf to see him again, but we couldn’t get back on the DLR as it was rammed full of people, so instead we took my Mum for some coffee to warm her up, and then put her on the tube to see him at the end of the race.

I’m not a bit fan of crowds so I was a little nervous about going up there, but I highly recommend it. The atmosphere is great which the runners really appreciate, and there are plenty of places to get to the barrier if you pick the right area. We even got to see some celebrities.

Easter Vacation
For some inexplicable reason, my University closes for a week over Easter. I took the opportunity to do very little – brunch with Mum, a bit of shopping, a few beauty treatments, and discount Easter eggs. It was definitely needed.

April 2016 Things_3

Shopping at Gunwharf Quays
I have been on the search for a new bag, and had heard that a new Kate Spade outlet had opened at Gunwharf Quays so took myself down to Portsmouth to check it out. I was sadly disappointed – there were a lot of great bags in the store, but not what I was looking for. I tried the Lulu Guinness outlet as well but left empty handed. It was a remarkably quick visit

Fleabag
I didn’t really get into Fleabag season 1 – I’m pretty sure I watched it all, but it didn’t draw me in. However, season 2 grabbed me and we watched it all in one night. Such incredibly unbelievable writing and it left me heartbroken!

New Phone
Husband has been driven mad by the appalling performance of my 2 year old Nexus 5X (which is actually my third one – they keep breaking and Google keeps sending me a new one). The battery was awful, apps kept crashing, everything took 30 seconds to load, but I stayed with it because the alternatives were stupidly expensive. And then, out of nowhere, John Lewis dropped the price of the Pixel 3 and I snapped it up. The difference has been incredible, and I can’t wait to play with the camera properly.

March 2019 Things

Brexit and more work chaos – what a month.

New Forest Trip
Amidst the chaos, we managed a couple of days away in the wild New Forest. I very much needed it.

Brunch at the Oxo Tower
I’ve been to the Oxo Tower for Afternoon Tea and lunch on a few occasions, but never brunch so we gave it a go in March. I was a little disappointed as I had picked out the Hong Kong toast from the menu only for it to not appear, but I instead choice a very delicious sweet potato and corn fritter. The brunch is in the bar, but is very relaxed and it reminded me how much I enjoy the meals there. Must book Not Afternoon Tea again soon.

Elisa Lodato
I read both of Lodato’s books in March – she’s a phenomenally beautiful author and as soon as I put down The Necessary Marriage, I had to pick up An Unremarkable Body straight away. Her writing is very hypnotic but quite unassuming so when the big reveals were made in both books, I was almost winded! Really quite delicate – I can’t wait for her next offering.

BFF-led therapy
After a very stressful couple of weeks, I met up with Tim to wander the South Bank and have a cathartic chat about the madness at work. We stopped by the new BFI restaurant, where we seemed to annoy the waiter by asking for a starter and desert, before delighting a pair of fellow diners for reasons unknown.

Miscellaneous
I wasn’t sure how to categorise this last one, but whilst March started with me both European and employed, I wasn’t sure that I would be able say the same at the end of the month.

Fortunately (on both counts), I am still European and still employed. Let’s see how we fare at the end of April.

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.

Snow
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 me 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!

Edinburgh
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.

Christmas
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.

Texas
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.

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

R.E.M.
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.