Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Life Lately...

So, life has been a bit hectic of late! I've not slept in my own bed on a Saturday night since January and my weekends aren't showing any signs of quieting down for a long time! Since Rich has gone on tour, I have become a very busy social butterfly, which I love. Having things to look forward to every weekend is helping to make the weeks go quickly, so quickly that there is now less than two months until he is back on R&R. I'm getting so excited already, I keep having to tell myself to calm down or I'll take off!

I thought I'd catch you up a bit on what I've been up to. I'm quite good at keeping my Twitter and Instagram up to date, so if you follow me on either of those then I apologise for repeating myself, but I do that a lot.

So, starting from the weekend before Valentine's day! I had a wag meetup that weekend, Cat and Jen are two lovely girls who happen to be an RAF wife and wife to be of two of Rich's best work friends. Jen's husband to be is out in Afghanistan as well at the moment, and Cat's husband has been out before, so we meet up about once a month for girly times and cake and lots of chat. It really helps to talk to girls who are going through/have gone through the exact same thing I'm going through at the moment, and the fact that we've all become really good friends is a great bonus! The weekend involved a sleepover with Chinese takeaway and Sabrina the Teenage Witch boxset watching, with the addition of playing with Cat's hamster Snuffles who is the cutest thing ever and has totally made me want a hamster now (Riiiiiich?) and cake at Betty's Tea Room. The Betty's cake was something I'd wanted to do for the longest time but the queue outside the York tea room has always put me off in the past, however we managed to hit on a branch without a huge queue so dived inside for my first Betty's experience! I had Croque Monsoir, which was so naughty but so ridiculously good, and this pastry cream strawberry thing which was light enough to enjoy even after a heavy lunch, but still a real treat.

The next weekend was Valentine's day weekend. I'd been looking forward to this for the longest time. Poor Stacey had kept getting messages from me almost daily asking if it was Valentine's day yet. Brilliant when the answer was actually yes! I was a very very lucky lady and received a dozen red roses from Rich for the second year in a row for Valentine's day, delivered to work to make me blush of course. I then headed to Birmingham to see my bestie Stacey, and we had an amazing weekend of picking up her posh new car, which is the coolest car I have ever been in ever. It has lights in the foot-wells and the headrests, just for mood lighting! I was then chauffeured in style to a fancy hotel restaurant where we shared some amazing whitebait to start, then both had beasty burgers for main with sweet potato fries (of course!). Neither of us could finish our burgers we were so full and had to skip dessert, but I will be going back as the place was brilliant. We then headed out for an evening, unintentionally looking like a gang as we were in our leather jackets, whoops! It was a brilliant weekend and completely made up for the fact that I couldn't spend it with Rich. He's going to struggle to top the weekend Stacey gave me next year!

This past weekend I was at a hen do on the south coast. It was amazing, however it did require me travelling for 7 hours on Friday and 9 hours on Sunday to get there and back. Living up north has its disadvantages! We had a vintage craft party to begin with, and in the picture above you can see our corsagey creations and hair slides etc that we made. It was great fun, and I now want a glue gun. I don't know exactly why, but I used it a lot and I feel like I require one in my life. We then went onto afternoon tea, which I wish I had pictures of, but with there being a lot of people I didn't know, and after having to be awkward already and embarrass myself by having to ask for an orange juice instead of a tea or coffee, I thought I'd better keep my phone away and just eat loads instead. There was so much food we couldn't finish it all, although we had a good time trying! In the evening the group of us pictured above went out for pizza and cider and had a sleepover at Emma's house, which was great fun as I don't get to see these friends very often. After 9 hours of slightly hungover travelling yesterday though I was asleep in my bed by 8:30pm. Rock and roll kids, rock and roll.

So this has been my life lately! Add in work and Harry Potter movie-thons and far too much Orange Is The New Black and blogging and that is pretty much me in a nutshell. Good times! What have you been up to lately? Anything exciting? Let me know in the comments below!

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Sunday Confessional III

I actually confessed this last weekend to my best friends girlfriend, who just happens to be a hairdresser. The reaction I got was priceless so I thought I'd confess it here to you all...

I haven't had a haircut in a over a year.

Now, I'm not intentionally growing my hair, it grows, but I'm not on a quest for Rapunzel like locks or anything like that. I just am really really lazy about going to the hairdressers! Every time I go it takes about 4 hours because I have highlights, and they always straighten it afterwards, which I don't really like, and they never know how to deal with curly hair and it's just a waste of time and money in my opinion. Every time I do go, I get it cut quite short, and that means it'll be a very long time before people (my Mum) start nagging me to get a haircut again. It does mean that I have to trim my own fringe in between, which has lead to some very funny results when I've cut it far too short and had to put up with it until it grows again!

This picture was taken a couple of days after the last time I got it cut and highlighted, way back in October 2012, I'm wearing my old work uniform, and it was taken to show my Mum what it looked like curly, because of course, the hairdresser had straightened my hair after she'd cut it, so this was a couple of days later when I managed to style it like I usually do. 

This is me last weekend, with the lovely hairdresser girlfriend I mentioned above. If only I lived near to her so she could cut my hair instead of some randomer! This is getting to be about the longest I ever manage to get my hair before the nagging starts and my Mum convinces me to go to a hairdresser (my Mum is very persuasive, and to be honest, I think I need the nagging or I'd never get my hair cut!).

Now, the question I have for you lovely readers, is how short should I get my hair cut? I am planning on getting married next year and everyone else I know in a similar boat stop getting haircuts as soon as they get engaged so that they can have crazy long hair to be styled for the wedding. Should I have a trim? Go as short as I did last time? Or something in the middle? Also, does anyone know of any curly friendly hairdressers in Leeds? Or any good ones at all? It's a scary prospect moving to a new city and not knowing where is good to get highlights and a cut. Let me know in the comments below or on twitter m'dears and I will be very grateful!

Friday, 21 February 2014

2014 Blogger Challenge: High End vs. High Street - Food Edition!

Sigh. I am so not a stereotypical blogger. The topic for this blogger challenge is about high end things compared to high street versions. I think it was meant to be about makeup, but as I mentioned in last weeks Sunday confessional post, I don't really wear makeup. The makeup that I do wear -eyeliner- I have always bought from Boots. Not even a counter in Boots, just one from a normal makeup range (currently I'm loving Soap and Glory black eyeliner, which is very high street!) so I am so under qualified to write this challenge post it is crazy.

I began to wonder, how about doing it on high end vs. high street clothes? It still counts and would work well as a post, but then I realised I have exactly 0 designer label items of clothing in my possession. There are always far more important things to spend £70 on than one plain white t-shirt in my opinion, usually food to be honest as I am completely ruled by my stomach.

This is when my brainwave hit! Let's do this post on branded versus own brand foods in the supermarket, and give hints and tips on what's awesome, and what I've discovered is worth paying the extra for the branding. All of the prices and photos are taken from the Sainsbury's website, as I do my weekly food shopping there so have the most idea of what's good and what isn't.

Let's start with what is good from the basics range, chopped tomatoes come in at 35p for 400g, compared to the branded versions, the cheapest of which is £1.10 for 400g. When you are using them as a base for a sauce, so adding loads of tomato puree, herbs etc, as seen in this post of mine, you really really don't need to be spending a lot of money. I always have a couple of cartons in my cupboards as they are a great cheap way to knock up a meal out of whatever you have in.

My current addiction is pancakes with lemon curd spread on them. These pancakes are 20p for 6, compared to branded ones which are 75p for 6. Admittedly, these are a little bit smaller than the branded ones, however they taste just as yummy, and are nearly a quarter of the price. Why pay more when you could just have more smaller ones for cheaper?

These tortilla chips are really good for 50p a bag. Doritos cost around £2.30 a bag, even though they are on special offer quite often. The only downside of having the basics version is that they just come in one flavour, salty, but if you are dipping I find them just as crunchy and yummy as Doritos, and so much cheaper! 

If you are baking with chocolate, why would you pay £1.39 for a 120g bar of Cadbury when you can have 100g of basics chocolate for 33p. You are baking it and putting it on or with other yummy things, so chocolate is chocolate. I also tend to find that the basics chocolate melts a lot easier than the Cadbury or Galaxy versions do, probably because it's thinner. Seriously. Cheap chocolate for baking. Always.

I do tend to do the vast majority of the rest of my food shopping from the Sainsbury's standard ranges, but there are a few things which I will always buy the branded versions of, because I have tried to go Sainsbury's but it just isn't as good. Or it is something like Ben and Jerry's ice cream, which supermarkets don't even try to copy because they know they would get nowhere close!

If you know me in real life, you will know that I live off orange squash. I have tried and tasted most supermarket own brand versions, but my favourite by far is Robinsons Double Concentrate No Added Sugar Orange Squash which I buy the biggest bottles possible of, so it costs £3.65 for 1.75L. This is quite a bit more than the basics double strength orange squash which is 80p for 1.5L, but this extra cost is worth it to me as I get through a helluva lot of the stuff!
Baco Easy Cut Cling Film changed my life. I previously bought both Sainsbury's basics and own branded clingfilm but found that it didn't stick to anything. Not even itself. I am horrendously bad at using cling film as well so the amount of chuntering which went on in the general direction of it every time I used it wasn't good. Then Rich convinced me to try this, and my mind was blown. It sticks to things just enough but not too much, and the easy cut dispenser makes life so much easier. Because you recycle the outer and just buy refills, it doesn't work out at much more expensive than own brand clingfilm. The refill is £2.50 for 60m and own brand is £3.30 for 100m. Definitely worth the extra cost in my eyes. 

So that is my version of high end versus high street. I hope you liked it and I hope it is different to other versions of this blog post you've seen. Do let me know if you use anything I mentioned or if there is anything amazing in the basics range which I've missed out on! Thank you as well to all of my new followers, I managed to gain 30 of you a few days ago which is just mind blowing that there are that many of you out there wanting to read my ramblings. Thank you so much, I love each and every one of you!

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Corners Of My Home

I don't know about you but I love nosing at other people's homes and their decor, and have spent many a night on RightMove looking at gorgeous houses and getting ideas for the day when I can finally decorate my own home. I thought I'd post up some photos of my house, so you can have a nosy at where I live!

Let's start in my living room/lounge/front room (depending on where you live). I love that I have a fireplace again, as it provides a real focal point, and makes it very easy to display cards at Christmas and Birthdays. Having a fire helps to keep warm as well, because I can blast the fire when it begins to get chilly without having to heat the whole house.

My tetris lights are so awesome! Rich bought them for me for my birthday last year, and they only light up when they're touching each other through the metal on the edges of the pieces. Many a fun time has been spent trying to rearrange them to get a different look! The vase of fake flowers has been with me for the past 5 years whilst I've moved place to place and it always manages to fit in with the room. I'm appalling when it comes to keeping real plants and flowers alive so fake ones are the way forwards for me! The fairy lights have pegs on them, which was very useful when it came to Christmas as I could attach cards to them and it looked really pretty. My head ornament was a gift from my sister, and it was from Next originally. It's unusual, but I love it, because it has a globe etching all over it. It's really hard to describe but it looks awesome.

My snuggle chair is the most recent addition to my living room, and is the Ledbury one from Next Home. This is where I tend to spend most of my time in here, curled up on the chair with my laptop, watching Netflix. It's the perfect size for a person to sit curled up on (even a lanky person like me) and can fit two people sitting comfortably, as long as they know each other so don't mind sitting close! It was a nightmare getting it into the house, it required the door taking off and everything so I dread what it's going to be like when we move out! The little owl was made for me by one of my school friends' etsy shop, however they're not available on there anymore. I love owls, you might find them popping up here and there in these posts!

The living room light fitting is this gorgeous black chandelier, Rich isn't a fan but I love it! It came with the house though unfortunately so I won't be able to take it with me, which the taller members of my family are grateful for because they do have a tendency to whack their heads on it when they walk underneath!

So that's some of my favourite parts of my living room! I haven't shown you all of it because the rest consists mostly of a lot of DVD's, games and books, which will be mentioned at a later date.

Do you enjoy looking around other peoples homes? Where do you want to see me feature next?

Rachel xx

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Sunday Confessional II

I hope you enjoyed last weeks Sunday Confessional (read it here if you missed it). I found it so cathartic that I thought I'd do it all over again this week, and it may become a blog series if I keep spilling my guts out all over the internet (what a disgusting mental image!).

This week the big secret I thought I'd confess to you all is that I don't really wear makeup. I wear eyeliner every day at work, but that's mostly because I wore it so often that I look really ill if I don't now. Other than the eyeliner though I wear nothing else on a day to day basis, no mascara, no foundation, no lipstick, nothing. This tends to shock people when I tell them, as most women wear a full face of makeup every day.

Not that long ago I was at a sleepover and the girls got the makeup wipes for everyone to use to take their makeup off at the end of the night, I took my eyeliner off and one of the girls exclaimed "You hardly look any different without your makeup on!" That's because I don't really wear any! The picture above is me on a normal day (minus the bindi, I was at a Hindu wedding when I took that picture, I wish I could rock a bindi every day, pretty!). You can see all of my freckles, and my usual black eyeliner in place.

One of the main reasons I think I never got into wearing makeup every day was because my Mum only wears mascara, and doesn't own any foundation at all. Also, as the oldest sibling and cousin in my generation of family, and as my friends at school weren't "girly girls" I kind of skipped that whole part of being a teenage girl.

That's not to say I didn't experiment though, I remember some interesting looks I created when I was about 11 or 12, bright blue eyeshadow and red lipstick. There is photographic evidence somewhere, but I hope it never sees the light of day!

Here is one of my more pitiful makeup attempts for you to laugh at. If I become famous or something, please don't let this picture get used on the national news. It looks so awful! The blusher was an ill-advised attempt at being a proper girl, and I look like a clown. I've never touched blusher since this night out in 2009.

I would like to begin to wear a bit more makeup, and have the ability to transform myself into a gorgeous lady if I so desire, my main questions are:
"How do you apply foundation without it clinging to any dead skin on your face? How do you not get an orange tidemark around your jaw?"
"What do I wear on my lips for a complete lipstick/gloss virgin? Does it bleed? How do you stop it?"
"Can I wear blusher even though I go very red faced while warm? What do I do with it?"
and "Eyeshadow and eyeliner, how does that work?"

If you can help me to answer any of these questions then I would be very grateful, and there may be a follow up blog post to this if I ever manage to not look like a clown when I try to apply makeup!

Rachel xx

Friday, 14 February 2014

Nothing In This World Worth Having Comes Easy...

As it is St Valentines day I thought I'd jump on the bandwagon and post mine and Rich's love story for you all to read on this soppy day!

Two days before Valentines day in 2009 I ended a very bad relationship, I was very glad to be out of it and I spent the next 3 years being single, interspersed with some love interests who tended to go nowhere (particularly if they were 27, what was it with 27 year old guys and being weird?!). When it got to just before my 23rd birthday I thought enough was enough and it was time to try internet dating.

Having read a lot of Take A Break stories about women being murdered or other bad things happening to them after meeting a man on internet dating websites, I had put off joining a dating website for a very long time. Also, I didn't want the story of how I met my "one" to be read out on my wedding day to be "We met online." Such an anti-climax. Having tried everything else I could think of to be a way of meeting a man, joining clubs and classes and getting myself out there, and finding nobody, I thought it was high time I joined a website and at least that way when I met nobody but freaks, I could say "told you so" to all of the people who kept telling me to try it.

I have never lost the student mentality of free is (almost always) the best, I joined Plenty Of Fish as it was free and didn't have one of those awful huge quiz sign up things. I got chatting to a few guys and arranged a date with one to be in a couple of weekends time, but carried on chatting to another and kept my eye out for any other guys joining. I was very strict with my criteria, and immediately scrolled past guys who didn't meet my requirements. However if a guy messaged me, was tall enough (minimum 6'1 on his profile - guys lie about their height!) and messaged me with a personalised message rather than a generic "Hey bby u look sxy" I would reply, because you never know!

One day, a few days after I'd joined, this fellow messaged me. He'd seen that I'd looked at his profile but not messaged him, so he thought he'd send me a message. I looked, saw that he was in the RAF, which is why I'd not originally messaged him as I had stereotyped all guys in the armed forces, but his message was nice enough so I thought "what can I lose?" and replied. Messages flew backwards and forwards between us, getting longer and longer, and we just clicked. We arranged a date to be in a few days time, on a Tuesday because we couldn't wait til the weekend after (and besides, I already had another date planned but shh!). We swapped phone numbers, and the texts were pretty much constant. I loved that he wasn't just after one thing, and we got on so well, and he didn't use text speak, a pet peeve of mine!

The Tuesday came around nice and quickly and it was date night. We were going to Nandos and bowling on the retail park near to where I lived at the time. I got the text message you can see above, which made me like him even more, and yes, he was the awkward one stood outside Nandos. My first thought on meeting him was "Damn he looks even better than his pictures. Yum!" which is always a good sign! 

We spent the most wonderful evening eating Nandos, chatting a lot and tenpin bowling. After our games (I couldn't even tell you how many we had or who won, I was too smitten and on cloud nine!) we sat in the bowling alley bar and chatted until they kicked us out because they were closing. We didn't kiss on the first date, but as I walked from my car to my flat I danced and twirled and couldn't stop smiling because I was so unbelievably happy. I knew I'd found someone I would be with for a very long time, which sounds crazy, but I just knew. We were a perfect fit for each other, and the more I learnt about him the more and more I liked him, and the spark was so bright it lit us both up. We very quickly followed it up with another date that week, and then another on the Sunday, so 3 dates in the first week of meeting made it seem quite obvious we were into each other. Needless to say I didn't go on my other date I had arranged, and Rich has since told me he had another date arranged for that weekend as well which he also cancelled!

From there we moved quite quickly into a relationship and deleting our online dating profiles, and we said "I love you" pretty soon as well, because we both felt it and it was right. He said it first though! As Rich was still in training with the RAF he couldn't stay over at mine past midnight, so there were many nights where he got back to base with minutes to spare. Those first few weeks of discovering everything about each other in my little flat are some of my most favourite memories. 

About 2 months after we met Rich finished his training course and graduated, which I got to attend and I was such a proud girlfriend I nearly burst. However it did mean that he was moving away, and had no control over where to. It wound up being up North - where we are now - but I couldn't move with him at that point, and it would have been a bit foolish to, having not known each other for long! We then began being long distance, with Rich travelling 300 miles each weekend to come and visit me, as I had my flat and he was in a little room on base. We spent Christmas together which was the first Christmas I ever spent away from my family, a very strange experience, but amazing to spend it with Rich and his lovely family and friends. 

Finally this last summer I graduated from my degree and qualified in my job, and luckily as I was sitting my final exams a job came up where I am now, and I applied and got it (talked about a bit more here) so we could finally move in together and start our lives as a couple. We found the most wonderful house, and on one of our first few weekends here together Rich got down on one knee and proposed. I'll do a proper blog post on the proposal at some point, but long story short I said yes (of course!) and we will hopefully be getting married in the winter of 2015.

After a few months of cohabitual bliss (is that a word? It is now!) I had to say goodbye to Rich again as he went off to Afghanistan to do a tour of duty, which I talk about more herehere and here. He will be back this summer and quite frankly I cannot wait. I am missing him ridiculously much and I hate how used to him not being around I've gotten. Not long til he's back for a break in the middle though thank goodness.

So that's mine and Rich's love story so far, I know that this is just the beginning and there are many more exciting things to come, which I will share as much as I can with you all in the blog world! I hope this wasn't too nausea inducing for everyone, but to be honest, I love this man a stupid amount, and I want everyone to know about it!

Rachel xx

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

What's In My Handbag?

When I was just about to start my new job up here, my Mother sat me down one evening to have a serious chat. She told me that as I was going to have a grown up job now, I shouldn't take my beloved pink rucksack to work, I should use a handbag, and we were going to go and buy one. I have to admit, I agreed mostly just because it was easier, but my Mum was right, it is more grown up, and I have come to like having a handbag. Don't get me wrong, I still use my pink rucksack for day trips, but my handbag is the bag I pick up and pop out to the shops with now.

This is my lovely bag, it's from New Look, and is serving me well so far! The clasp on the first one I bought broke within a few days, but I exchanged it for this bag and the clasp on this one is holding up just fine. I like it because it has the options of a shoulder strap or hand straps, and the shoulder strap is long enough for me (curse of the tall girls!) to wear across my body without the bag being underneath my armpits.

This is what I have in my bag on a day to day basis. There may have been a few screwed up receipts I didn't photograph, but who has a perfect bag all of the time?

1. My red purse. I would say where this was from but it was a gift from my Mum about 3 or 4 years ago now. It's got a good amount of card holders in it, and a decent coin section. One of the stud hole things has fallen out at the bottom now though so a new one might be on the cards in the next few months. 
2. My Kindle in a Belkin e-reader case. I'm one of those people who doesn't go anywhere without a book to read, so having a Kindle certainly saves my back when I'm reading a particularly thick book. Or that day when you know you're going to finish your book during lunch, but don't want to have nothing to read afterwards, so I used to take two books with me. The pain! I'm not a fan of the leather open book style Kindle cases either as in my opinion they make them too bulky to hold comfortably. I also like that this case has a little zip pocket on the front to keep the charger cable in. Handy. 
3. Lush Popcorn Lip Scrub, I talk more about this here but it helps me to keep my lips lovely and soft. 
4. Random nail varnishes. This stems from when I was stuck in two monstrously long traffic jams where I had the engine off for a long time whilst waiting. I figure having nail varnishes in my handbag will mean that if I am ever stuck in a crazy traffic jam again I can always give myself a manicure. 
5. A pen. A Paperchase pen to be more precise. Never be without a pen in your handbag because you never know when you might need one! Paperchase pens are my favourite because they write really nicely and look pretty too. 
6. Nivea pure and natural milk and honey lip balm. The cold weather means I get terrible chapped lips, so this, along with the lip scrub is to try and look after them a bit more! I talk more about this product here
7. Benefit They're Real mascara. This is my just in case makeup to transform me from day into night. I don't wear mascara very often because it can make my eyelashes itch, but this doesn't! 
8. I am a nightmare for biting my nails, and if one chips or splits whilst I'm out I will tend to bite it until there is no more nail left, which is not good. My solution to this was to carry a nail file with me everywhere so I can smooth down rough edges with a file rather than my teeth. It's working quite well so far! The stylfile is well worth the money, it's really easy to use, and the shape is much easier to handle than a normal straight nail file. 
9. My journal. I use this mostly for writing down streams of consciousness, but I also use it for meal planning, writing down useful things and wedding ideas. It's so cute!
10. A sanitary towel tin. This was free with an Always pack recently and is very useful because if people look inside my bag it isn't immediately obvious when I've got towels inside there! It also stops them from getting all flattened and scrunched up, which is awful. This may have been a bit TMI, but we're all girls here and it's only natural!
11. I don't like chewing gum. At all, I find it really weird to chew something without swallowing it, and because I can't swallow it I immediately think I'm going to. I have the same problem with mouthwash. So for those moments where I've eaten something pongy, I have tic tacs with me as my mint of choice.

12. These are really cool Nordic Grip shoe attachment things. Rich bought them for me for Christmas this year, as last year I managed to fall over quite spectacularly in the snow leading to a cut up face and a scar underneath my chin. This year Rich won't be around to mop me up afterwards, so he bought me these to try and help me to stay upright. I've only used them once so far, as there's only been one icy day, but they really do work! Everyone else was walking like they had a full nappy and I could stroll into work at a normal pace. They just stretch and fit over whatever shoes you're wearing that day and because they're black they kind of blend in to my normal shoes so don't look really weird. Thank-you Rich!

So there we have it, the contents of my handbag! Normally my phone or my keys can wind up in there as well, but not very often and I thought they wouldn't be that interesting to photograph. I'm planning on doing a phone review post at some point soon anyway. What do you carry in your handbag? Is there anything really useful I'm missing? Comment below and let me know!


Sunday, 9 February 2014

Sunday Confessional

I have something to confess. There is this thing which I really enjoy, and am slightly scared to admit to people that I do it. Rich caught me at it a few times, and now he can tell what I'm up to as soon as he hears the tell tale noise...

I am 24 and I love watching YouTubers.

This wouldn't be so shameful if I was under the age of 18, as are most of their viewers, but because I'm the same age, or even older than most of them, I get scared to admit my habit to other people.

It all started with Louise @ Sprinkle of Glitter (I blame it all on her infectious happiness and fabulous accent!) I was looking for ideas of how to wrap Christmas presents a couple of years ago and I came across this video and from that minute I was hooked. I watched so many of her videos that first night, and that is where the love affair with YouTubers began. Darcy, pictured above with Louise, is the most adorable little girl ever, and every time Louise features her in a video I do a little squeal of delight. Poor Rich has been subjected to so many of these videos to be proof that little kids can be the cutest thing ever!

From Louise's channel I quickly found Zoe @ Zoella. She is another young woman who has an infectious personality and she has a zest for life which I can't get enough of. The fact that Zoe is an amazing singer and so pretty helps as well! Zoe and Louise are best friends and when they do a collaboration video you are guaranteed a lot of giggles. 

I also love danisnotonfireJim ChapmanPointlessBlogTanya Burr and ThatcherJoe (just in case you want to check them out and fall down the rabbit hole with me).

I would love to meet these YouTubers, and they do meetups in the summer at various events. I'd love to go but the fear of being the oldest there by a good 5 years always holds me back, even though my 14 year old cousin also watches some of them so I could always pretend I'm supervising her! My response to meeting them would hopefully be a bit more mature than a scream, as I feel as though I could be genuine friends of some of them, however I can see myself getting caught up in the atmosphere and turning into a 16 year old again and making a complete fool of myself. I've even got to the stage of dreaming that I'm friends with some of them now as well. Is that freaky to admit? It is Sunday confession time!

Do you like any of these YouTubers? Do you feel the same as me? Let me know in the comments and help me to not feel quite so alone!

Rachel xx

Friday, 7 February 2014

Lodge Holiday in Yorkshire

So sorry about the delay to this post, I took far far too long in sorting out the photos from this holiday, but it was too lovely not to post on here! So, here goes!

As Rich had some annual leave to take before he went to Afghanistan (see this post and this one for more information) and my parents had kindly given me and my sister some money for our graduations this summer to be spent on a holiday, we thought we'd go and stay in a lodge for a week in November to relax before Rich went away. Rich's only stipulation was that the lodge have it's own hot tub, so off I went to Google to search "lodges with hot tubs".

The place we found was Ribblesdale Park (http://www.ribblesdalepark.com/) where we booked the Chatterley Lodge midweek. It was near to Skipton, which Rich fancied visiting, and the ability to have in lodge massages really appealed to me, along with the Jacuzzi bath.

The lodge was a gorgeous size, just big enough for two people, but not cramped in the slightest. We had a TV in the living room, and one in the bedroom, both with DVD players to watch either DVDs you could hire from the cafe/reception, or our own. The hot tub was nice and secluded around the back of the lodge, and lovely and warm, apart from when we had to run back into the lodge wet and wearing just swimming things and a towel!

On the first day we woke up and Rich went for a run (crackers!) whilst I booked us both an in lodge massage for after he got back. The lady was very accommodating and we managed book her in for the same afternoon. She turned up with her massage table, towels and oil and asked us what types of massages we wanted. I went for a relaxation massage, with a bit of a deep one around my shoulders and back, where I tend to carry a lot of tension. Rich went for a sports deep tissue massage, as he has been doing a lot of sport lately and his hamstrings get very tight. I went first (of course) and it was amazing, I didn't want the hour to end. At £70 for the two of us I thought it was well worth it, especially as it took place in our own bedroom!

Afterwards we went to Hindelinis, which is the on site cafe, for afternoon tea. It was £25 for the two of us, including a drink, and it was the biggest, best afternoon tea I have ever eaten in my life!

The top tier had mini burgers, home made pâté, which came with hot toast, and a warm cheese tart. The middle tier had three varieties of sandwich - smoked salmon with lemon mayo, ham and mustard, and cheese and pickle, all served with a watercress salad garnish. The bottom tier had a strawberry and white chocolate cheesecake, a fruit scone and a cherry scone, a carrot cupcake and a fruit and cream tart. We had jam and clotted cream to go with the scones, and a cute strawberry milkshake. As Rich and I don't drink tea or coffee, they offered us a can of pop instead, which was really good of them, as we often get told that it's tea, coffee or nothing. 

The burgers were lovely, moist, juicy and just perfect. The cheese tart and the pâté were both very tasty, even if there was loads of pâté! The sandwiches had their crusts cut off, and were very tasty. The only complaint I had was that there were too many of them! So by the time we reached the bottom dessert tier we were both beginning to get very very full. The cheesecake and the carrot cake were to die for, and the strawberry milkshake was a great touch. The scones however were a bit dry, and the jam was very very runny. They were still enjoyable, but definitely disappointing when compared to the rest of the afternoon tea!

We visited Skipton Castle on one of the days which was really interesting as it had information about how the people in the castle lived, which is the part of history I always find the most fascinating. I even took a picture of Rich on what they used to use as the loo in the castle which was very funny, but probably not for posting on the internet!

I love going to visit caves, so had to visit the White Scar Caves whilst we were nearby. It was really quiet when we visited so there was only us and another 3 people on the tour which made it really personalised and we could go at our own pace. There were sections in the cave where you had to bend double to get through a low section, or breathe in to squeeze through a narrow part. This make it seem far more like an adventure, and I bet kids would love it!

We had a wonderful week away and it was just what we needed to spend some quality time together before Rich went out on tour. Hope you enjoyed nosing at the photos and let me know if you've ever been to any of the places I've mentioned!


Tuesday, 4 February 2014

2014 Blogger Challenge: Once Upon A Time...

This time the topic for the blogger challenge is writing about your most favourite or most hated book. I find it almost impossible to choose an individual book to be my most faourite ever, so I thought I'd choose my latest read from my most favourite author, Lesley Pearse.

She isn't the most well known author among younger readers, and this makes me sad as her stories are always heart-wrenching, exciting and complete page turners which have me gripped from beginning to end. My Nanna got me into these to begin with, but I'd soon read all of the books she had, and began compulsively ordering them from Amazon, then on my Kindle once I got that.

Her books always center around a young girl and follows her journey throughout her life, following the ups and downs that she encounters. Each and every book has a different main character (with occasional sequels, but they can all be read individually) who has faced adversity and overcomes it.

The book I have chosen to focus on for this review is Lesley Pearse's latest, which I got for Christmas this year, Forgive Me. The blurb on the back states:

"Eva Patterson's life is forever altered by the devastating discovery of her mother, Flora, dead in the bath leaving only a note: 'Forgive Me'.
Until Flora's suicide, Eva's world had been secure - but overnight everything changes. For when Flora leaves Eva a London artist's studio in her will, she finds her mother had a secret past.
In the studio's attic are Flora's paintings and diaries, and Eva learns her mother was a popular artist in the swinging sixties. Eva's hunt for answers uncovers clues to a shocking crime which led Flora to hide her past.
But will discovering the truth destroy Eva's belief in everything she holds dear? And will this journey lead her and those she loves into danger?"

This book is one of my favourites of Lesley's, it was particularly gripping, so much so that I had to have slightly longer lunch breaks a few times because I simply could not stop reading! There were more twists and turns than usual which I also enjoyed, and I really felt the pain that Eva was going through at several points.

As for most of Lesley Pearse's books, this was an easy read, making it easy to pick up, and if people interrupted me whilst I was reading it was easy to jump straight back into the story, making it the perfect work lunch room book to dip in and out of during my dinner break. I also found myself falling in love with the main love interest in the story, which is a very good sign!

Overall I would give this book 4 out of 5 stars, very very good, but not one which I have to tell everyone I meet about. Instead I will have a long chat with my Nanna about it as if we actually know the characters involved!

Have you read any Lesley Pearse books? Are there any authors who have a similar writing style that you know about? Do let me know in the comments!

Rachel xx


Sunday, 2 February 2014

Sunday Cool Internet Things

I spend a lot of time surfing the internet. A lot. So much so that I even have a bit of a reputation at work now for it, and if I mention something weird people will even say "Did you see that on the internet?". I like Googling, I'm a naturally interested person in the universe!

So here are some of the things I've been loving this week:

24 amazing hotels from around the world. This is serious honeymoon inspiration!

Which Decade Do You Actually Belong Quiz from Buzzfeed. I got the 90s, not really a surprise!

One of my all time favourite bloggers Bon had a big announcement on her blog this week which actually made me squeal with glee!

What's Your Cheese Horoscope on Buzzfeed again. I'm a cancer so I got brie. Yummy! I especially like that one of the signs' cheese is Babybel.

Another of my favourite bloggers Becky Bedbug posted about her MRI scan this week. This is such a good thing she's done, the NHS needs to learn that people want to know about what various scans and tests feel like from a human perspective rather than an outdated pamphlet like it tends to give out, if at all. As a NHS worker I always try and give my patients as much information about what something will feel like so they can be reassured, rather than the old "it won't hurt" thing.

Monday tomorrow. Already! These weekends go so fast, but that's a good thing because it means I'm even closer to seeing Rich again, yay!

Rachel xx

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