January 2018 Things

Husband persuaded me to use some of my precious leave for the first week of January so I had a very quiet start to 2018.  Still managed a couple of things to get me out of the house though!

Celtic Manor – again
The Celtic Manor has rapidly become our hotel of choice for last minute breaks.  We managed to fit in afternoon tea and I had an incredibly relaxing Elemis facial where I managed to suppress my ongoing cough for a whole hour.  I was quite impressed with myself.  On the way home from Cardiff, we managed to fit in a visit to the McArthur Glen Outlet in Swindon (of course) but also Ikea – it was a breeze as everyone else had gone back to work.

Everyman Esher
I love an Everyman.  When Husband demands I see a Star Wars or a Bond with him, I will only go if he can promise it’s going to be an Everyman.  Esher is our fifth different branch – to be honest, it’s not really that close to us, but we felt like a change and couldn’t be bothered to go all the way into London.  We had an excellent hot dog and fries, I bought a bucket of popcorn, and we settled into the sofa in their beautiful art deco screen.  I was a little worried as there were a bunch of children scattered around the auditorium, but Husband actually enjoyed listening to their animated chatter about his favourite franchise.

As for the film – eh, it was ok.

Sara Pascoe – LadsLadsLads
I love her.

Network at the National Theatre
An astonishing piece of work which I have yet to write about (I need to get on that).

Coffee and fries in Brighton
Someone in my team went to Brighton for the weekend and I recommended she visit BeFries because it’s just the best.  I told Husband that we were talking about those beautiful Belgian fries at work, and the next thing I knew, we’d booked a weekend away at The Grand.

An entire weekend break just to eat fries.  I can’t think of a better reason.

December Things

December 2017 will be remembered as the month I sat around feeling sorry for myself.  The last post I made was about how I thought I had bronchitis – apparently, it’s “just” a cough, albeit a cough which made me actually vomit during a meeting at work (oh god, the shame).  Just when I thought it was getting better, I then picked up another cold which has made my cough worse again, so spent the week between Christmas and New Year’s on the sofa.

It’s so ridiculous and pathetic – I’m normally such a well person, so I can’t really understand why I’m so run down.  At least I have another week off work for more lying around feeling sorry for myself.

There were some highlights in December though.

Crafty Fox at the Mercato Metropolitano
The perfect timing for some Christmas gifts, I met up with an old friend to visit the Crafty Fox market which was held at the Mercato Metropolitano which is just gorgeous.  I wish I had another reason to visit Elephant and Castle – they currently have a Backyard Cinema there but I think they’re mostly booked up.

As for the market, I managed to get a lot of gifts there, and some fun things for myself.  I do love a Craft Fox event.

Liberty Beauty Advent Calendar
I normally blog about this weekly, but I just did not have the energy.  It was packed with all the usual goodies, with some new items like the iconic Brazilian Bum Bum Cream and QMS Medicosmetics.  It does feel like a lot more items have gone to my Mum than in previous years, so maybe this one hasn’t been as good?  Still enjoyable though.

Christmas
I mentioned last year that Christmas has become incredibly difficult for me to cope with but circumstances this year meant I was able to have a very quiet Christmas day with both my in-laws and my Mum (and Husband of course).  We didn’t go insane with gifts or anything like that – the commercialism of the holiday is getting truly ridiculous and makes me feel quite uncomfortable at times.  That said, I did get the latest Mr Jones Watch for my collection which I was incredibly grateful for.  It was a very relaxed and peaceful day with wonderful food and good company.

Dark
We got addicted to Dark, the first German language series on Netflix.  It blew my mind – the level of detail, the intricacies of the many stories being told.  On several occasions, a reveal happened on screen but the implications of it wouldn’t hit me for a while.  This meant I frequently turned to Husband at random moments and screamed excitedly at him.  Cannot wait for series 2.

First trip to London
My Mum had my niece for a couple of days over the Christmas break, so we decided to take her on her first trip to London.  On the itinerary – Liberty, Carnaby Street, and of course Hamleys.  She was a little overwhelmed when we first stepped into the famous toy store, but as soon as she saw Peppa Pig cuddly toys, she figured out that this was her shop.  It was very adorable seeing her excitedly spotting different things, and I managed to convince her to get a Supergirl doll (they didn’t have Wonder Woman).  Walking round the busy streets with her yelling at people to get out of the way is a memory I’ll cherish!

November Things

Working in higher education, I don’t really get any time off from August to October (no, we don’t get the summer holidays off – I wish), so November saw the arrival of my much needed holiday.  Plus, a video game addiction from the past returned, and there was a bit of TV catch-up.

Dungeness
I think I pretty much covered our stay in Dungeness in my two posts about it – both the estate and the Fog Signal Building where we stayed.  It was exactly what I needed after a busy few months.

Animal Crossing Pocket Camp
Many years ago, I remember husband coming home with a new Nintendo DS for the sole purpose of playing Animal Crossing: Wild World.  I demanded he go straight back out and buy me a DS because I wanted to play it too.  I very quickly became obsessed, and fell in love with a little blue squirrel called Filbert.

So of course I immediately downloaded Pocket Camp and have been playing it non-stop since then.  I appreciate that it’s got very bad reviews, but for a free-to-play mobile game, it’s pretty cute.  It’ll tide me over until something is released for the Nintendo Switch.

And I was over the moon to have Filbert move in to my camp.  He’s still just as adorable.

Tom Allen
I can’t remember how I found Tom Allen, but have been listening to his and Suzi Ruffell’s Like Minded Friends podcast for a while now.  We saw him at our friendly local arts venue and laughed so much that both Husband and I lost our voices the next day.  I adore him.

Audi Mania
November was the month of our new car arriving.  Unfortunately, he wasn’t quite ready on time so I’ve ended up driving three different Audis in November.  It’s been quite odd – I’ll be posting about my new baby soon.

Search Party
Continuing my theme of coming to TV shows late, we’ve just finished season 1 of Search Party.  We had every intention of watching it when it aired, but for whatever reason have only just started.  We binged watched the whole of season 1 in two sittings – what an ending.  Bring on season 2!

October Things

Good lord, what a wash out.  October started fine, but ended with me bedridden for an entire week with a mystery virus which I’m still trying to get over.  Nice.

Little Lord Stinky Butt
Over the course of a few weeks, we’ve had an adorable vulpine visitor to the garden.  He set up house for himself behind our shed, but would come out to stretch his legs and catch some sun every so often.  He didn’t seem fazed by me peering at him as he snuggled up in his temporary den, or by Husband and I taking a million photos.  We think he’s moved on now, but we’ll remember Stinky Butt for a long time (so named because… well…. he smelt quite strongly).

Buffering the Vampire Slayer
I’m trying to remember how I found the Buffering Podcast – I think it was a recommendation on another blog – but however I found it, I am now OBSESSED.  It’s a weekly Buffy the Vampire Slayer podcast hosted by real life married couple, Jenny Owen Youngs and Kristin Russo who are just precious!  If that description alone is not enough to get you listening, I don’t know what’s wrong with you to be honest.  They love Cordelia to the same degree I do, give awards for sexual tension of the week, and are people I desperately would love to be friends with.

All this, plus an original song each week – I don’t usually like silly made up songs, but these are slices of genius because Jenny is a brilliant musician.  I’ve bought the albums for season 1 and 2, and will no doubt buy season 3 as well.  All together now – When Daryl was in high school he played football, till he fell from some rocks and died…

Everything Everything
Speaking of music, I have listened to the new Everything Everything album a million times this month.  Can’t Do is a phenomenal song, and it’s firmly placed the band in my top ten bands of all time list.

Glossier
Thank goodness Glossier has finally launched over here, as I was experiencing some serious fomo.  Despite going to NY twice this year, I somehow managed to forget to visit their showroom, so snapped up their phase 1 set and some Cloud Paint on launch day to see what all the fuss was about.  So far, I’m really enjoying their moisturiser and Birthday Balm Dotcom.  Not so keen on the Milky Jelly Cleanser, although that’s mainly because rose scent makes me feel a bit queasy.  I now need to figure out what to try next.

Lurgy
I always boast about how quickly I can bounce back from an illness.  Not this time.  I spent the overwhelming majority of the last week in October under the duvet, only emerging to watch Strictly and The Defenders finale.  The prolonged recovery time has been quite unnerving for me – I know I’ve been run down so that’s probably part of the reason but I’m genuinely not used to being out of action for so long.  Nearly time for our holiday though, so that will give me some more time to get over it.

September Things

There has been a distinct lack of posts this month, due to the fact that in my industry, September is crazy times.  That’s not to say it’s been all work and no fun and there were two particularly awesome things I did which I haven’t had a chance to blog about which I’ll briefly mention.

They’re back
As already mentioned, this month is start of academic year madness.  At least we were expecting the madness though – it happens every year so it’s doesn’t take us by surprise.  I did have a last minute meeting at another university which I had to fly to however.  That was definitely unexpected, and involved me getting up at 4.30am, driving to Heathrow for my 7am plane, 4 hours of meeting, then flying home at 8pm.  It felt like a long day, but I did manage to squeeze a facial into the afternoon whilst waiting for my flight home so it wasn’t all bad.

Green hair, do care
I’ve always scoffed at people who accidentally turn their hair green.  I’ve been dying my hair since I was 18 and believed myself to be a bit of an expert.  Which is why it came as a bit of a shock when my hair went from reddy-purple to godawful green a few weekends ago.  That’ll teach me to be smug

Grown-up perfume
I’ve never really worn fragrance, other than the old cliche of Vera Wang on my wedding day, but having experienced Byredo scents in the many Liberty advent calendars over the past few years, I started to become a bit obsessed with them.  I’m a semi-frequent visitor to their counter in Liberty and can never resist a spritz, and fell in love with Velvet Haze when it was released, so my Mum bought me some for my birthday.  My first grown-up perfume.

Richard Ayoade
One of the fun things I managed to do was see Richard Ayoade interviewed by Adam Buxton for Guardian Live.  I’ll be posting about that at some point.

Theatre Nerds Day
The final day of September was spent wandering round the South Bank on two tours – one of the National Theatre, the other of the Soutbank Centre.  Blog post to follow about this as well.

August Things

August is birthday month in the Untold Blisses household.  And what do birthdays mean?  A trip to the…

Celtic Manor!
Our new birthday tradition – a trip to my favourite UK hotel which this year included afternoon tea, a trip to the spa, and much booze.  WIN.

We bought a car
I adore my car.  His name is Kasper and he is my favourite possession.   But he’s getting on a bit, and I feel like he needs to retire to a nice farm in the country, so Husband and I took a trip to the car shop to look for something new.

The new one won’t be here for a couple of months yet so I have plenty of time to find a name for it.  And also to say goodbye to Kasper.  Oh no, I can feel the tears coming already.

Jessica Jones
I have resisted Jessica Jones for such a long time, dismissing it as too similar to Veronica Mars, or too superhero-ey.

I was wrong about that – it’s amazing and there are not enough episodes.  We’ve now moved on to Daredevil to see if that gives me the same feels, after which we’ll get started on The Defenders.

Bicester Village
I do feel bad for Husband this year, as I haven’t really helped him figure out what to get me for my birthday.  We’re both still trying to do this mindful/purposeful shopping thing so he didn’t want to buy me something for the sake of it.  So we took a quick drive up the A34 to Bicester Village to see if anything took my fancy at the Liberty Outlet store.

It turned out to be the quickest visit I’ve ever made as we just dipped into Liberty and Kate Spade, I decided on a Liberty purse, then we were back on our way.  We’re nothing if not efficient.

Much skincare
I’ve talked enough about my first online Sephora order but this month I also managed to scoop up a silly amount of K-Beauty from TK Maxx, and bought the Net A Porter On The Go Beauty Kit which has an awesome amount of fun things to try.  I really do need to start using this all up (what was that I said about mindful shopping?).

July Things

I started July in New York which was as wonderful as ever, continued with two average weeks, and finished with a week alone as Husband is away at a work trip.  He’s off in South Africa seeing giraffes and elephants, whilst I’m sat feeling sorry for myself on the sofa.

Hot, sweaty NYC
New York in the summer is a very different city to New York in winter, but we had an awesome time, as it evidenced by my many blogs on the topic.

Hampton Court Flower Show
Still feeling a bit jet lagged, I went to Hampton Court with my Mum a couple of days after getting back from NY.  Flower of the show this year seemed to be the echinacea which I had just seen on the High Line, so I needed some of those for my garden.  It was insanely hot and really crowded, but we did get to see lots of pretty flowers.  

Netflix
Guys, have you heard of this thing called Netflix?  It’s got TV shows and films… and OK so I’m very behind on this but with Husband away, I got myself a free trial.  I’ve started on Riverdale but have mostly been mainlining How I Met Your Mother.  I am so modern.

Treating myself (after a bit of pain)
I had some additional leave to take at work, so booked in an Elemis facial and Aveda hair cut last week.  Unfortunately, my two days of me time started with a horrific hour in the dentist chair – god lord, I have never experienced anything like it.  And it seemed relentless.  I felt really bad for bursting into sobs as my dentist went into overdrive with apologies, and I did make him feel quite guilty but it was just awful!

Fortunately, the facial and hair cut were 100% less stressful.  Very much needed.

A trip to Bankside
With Husband away, my Mum challenged me to find a nice, reasonably priced hotel in London so we could do a bit of shopping.  I found the Hilton Bankside which was super nice with gorgeous decor, and just behind the Tate Modern which is one of my favourite areas of London.  We spent the afternoon getting absolutely drenched, followed by a relaxing Bobbi Brown make-up lesson at Liberty, and then dinner in the hotel.  If you’re looking for somewhere reasonable to stay in London, I highly recommend it.  

June Things

Is it time for the second instalment of my monthly things already?  But I’ve barely done anything all month!

June has whizzed by, with my downtime spent mostly online researching my next holiday (New York, very imminently).  So what else have I done (*scrolls through Instagram and my bank account…)

My Garden
At the end of May, my Mum very kindly tidied my garden and planted some flowers, so I spent June worrying myself over them – are they getting enough sun, too much sun, are they thirsty, have I drowned them?  It’s a lot of pressure.  I have been rewarded with some gorgeous roses however, and am very much looking forward to adding to my garden at the Hampton Court Flower Show next month.  Is this middle age?

Reading
My Kindle was getting old and tired, ironic considering it’s named after my favourite robot from Humans, Odi who was also old and tired, so Husband kindly bought me a new one which I have named Mischa.  This month has seen me read a few blah books, and a couple of good ones including Eddie Izzard’s memoir and The Portable Veblen which I’ve been meaning to read for a while.  If you want to see what else I’ve been powering through, check out my Goodreads shelf on the left side of my blog.Footloose at Liberty
Watching the Backyard Cinema showing of Footloose at Liberty was everything it should have been – sand, deckchairs, excellent company.

Family Time
My Mum was in charge of my adorable nice one Saturday, so asked if I’d like to join them for some shopping in McArthur Glen in Swindon, which is pretty much my favourite shopping centre in the UK, so of course I said yes.  Driving the tiny blond one around in a one of those Little Tikes cars was so much fun – she’s such a joy to be around.  
The Election
I don’t understand this country.  I really don’t.

May Things

Wow, it has been a while.

For a bit of a kick in the butt, I’ve decided to follow a lot of other bloggers and post a monthly review, because then I’ll at least have one post a month.  Hopefully, this will get me back in the habit of regularly writing though.

No real format here – I’m just going to pick five things of note each month which I might have already blogged about or not, but definitely memorable for good (or not so good) reasons.  Let’s get started with May 2017.

Miami Trip
This deserves it’s own post, and is definitely my highlight of the month.  After a series of events and conversations, my Mum decided to take me and Husband, and my baby brother and his family to Miami, specifically my beautiful Surfside and I cannot emphasise enough how much relaxing we did.  It was perhaps a smidge too warm for some of us, but I spent most of the time lying in the palm garden not doing anything.  And the rest of the time shopping, which brings me to…

Sephora
What is a holiday without a trip to Sephora?  This isn’t everything that I bought – I also picked up some essentials like a million sheet masks – but I was really happy to find this Summer Hair Saviours kit – the Sephora at Aventura Mall has actually moved since I went last year, and is now much bigger so has more of these sets in stock.  The photo missing a couple of items that I’ve already used, but I’m excited to try the rest.  I love miniatures!

Eurovision
Once again, I failed to pick the popular songs.  I actually hated the twee-ness from the winning song – Eurovision for me needs high energy, bouncy, Europop and the Portuguese winner was the absolute antithesis of this.  Never mind.  My favourite was I Feel Alive by IMRI, and it has not left my playlist all month.

BFF Dinner
I have been an entirely crap friend of late, but I couldn’t miss celebrating the BFF‘s birthday, so we met for dinner at the National Theatre Terrace – what a great restaurant.  Once we’d actually found each other – for some reason, we both got to the table from entirely different entrances – and once we’d realised it was tapas and not just an odd menu.  I had deep fried veg with aioli which were so moreish, and delicious patatas bravas.  After dinner, we went for coffee and I had some very much needed chatty time.

Reflection
I didn’t really know how to title this.  Part of the reason for the time away is that May has become a tough month for us.  It was the first anniversary of my Dad’s death which is obviously something none of us will ever get over, so I took the day off work and had some time to myself to reflect.  I feel really close to my Dad when I’m outside as he loved nature, so I went for a long walk around the Pond on my own.  I felt it was the best way to mark the day.