Friday, 28 March 2014

10 Things That Will Happen During Deployment

Following on from my 5 Happy Things About Deployment post earlier this month, I thought I'd post some more of my experiences of Rich being on tour. These are things I wasn't expecting to happen, but have happened.

You Will...

  1. Become supremely glued to your phone, especially around the time you know you usually get messages from them. I've become very adept at taking my phone everywhere with me, even to the loo, because if you miss the one message they get chance to send that day, you will kick yourself! Phone calls produce even more crazy behaviour, if I know Rich may ring that evening, I even shower looking at my phone, ready to leap out the second it does ring!
  2. Cry a lot more than usual. I'm not normally a crier, adverts and TV shows don't tend to affect me, and even when a book or a film does make me cry, it's usually just a few tears which roll down my cheeks and that's it. Since Rich has been away though I've been like a waterfall at times! The other day I was watching Wild Child, which I've seen before, and I started crying during the fire scene. It's not even sad!!! The pre-deployment me is disgusted with myself.
  3. Get into a proper little routine. Without another person to add some variety into the mix, my evenings have become so routined it's a little strange. It's comforting though, and helps me to not feel so lonely of an evening with nobody to talk to.
  4. Find out who your true friends are. A true friend is one who will listen to you moaning for the umpteenth time about how much you miss him, or how annoyed you are at him that day. They will ask you how you are, and really want to know the answer, and will tell you what every person left behind on deployment wants to hear: "You are doing so well". They will always be available for a random message, and will get excited with you when the countdown begins to homecoming time. I'm lucky to have found a good number of true friends during Rich's deployment, and I'm so thankful for it because it has made the time go so much more quickly.
  5. Become an expert avoider of war zone news. As soon as any war zone news comes on the TV or radio, I tune it out for as long as needs be, I start thinking about something else or turn it over immediately. I don't need to know about any of the bad news that happens out there, I need to keep positive for my own sanity, and the news doesn't help with that.
  6. Have little sympathy for couples lamenting over having to spend one evening apart. Man up. Seriously. I have learnt to keep quiet now when I have to witness these situations, because I'll get myself into trouble otherwise, but ranting just occurs inside my head instead! 
  7. Get very impatient as soon as you can see the end. Once I passed the half-way point between Rich leaving and coming home, I became very impatient, and time has started to go really slowly. It was different when it was near the beginning of the tour because I knew I had ages to go, but now it's getting closer and closer to the end, time can't go fast enough!
  8. Not be able to watch homecoming videos on YouTube. I made this mistake one night, thinking I could handle it. I couldn't. Don't be as daft as me, avoid them!
  9. Get to know your local Post Office staff very well by the end of the deployment. You'll constantly be on the look out for things to send in care packages, and then be going to the post office a lot to send them out (they're free to send, which is a bonus!) and get more blueys (the free letter paper that we can send) so expect to get on first name terms with the staff in there.
  10. Know your relationship is iron strong. Nothing tests a relationship like a deployment does, if you can make it through the inevitable tough parts, and still love each other as much as you did in the beginning, you were meant to be together and can get through anything!
They're 10 things which have happened to me during Rich's tour, if you're in a long distance relationship can you relate to any of these? Any other things which have happened to you? Let me know!

Rachel xx

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

2014 Blogger Challenge: 10 Packed Lunch Ideas

My mega birthday packed lunch from last year.
This blogger challenge post is a little late (5 days... oops!) but I figured better late than never! It was supposed to be all about food and therefore an unusual post for beauty bloggers, but as I do write about food a lot this isn't a difficult post for me at all!

I was writing my shopping list on Friday night - rock and roll - and as I was trying to think of something different to take to work for lunches this week I thought I could write some of my ideas up on here, as it might give some of you a few different ideas. It is really easy to get stuck in a packed lunch rut, and I like to be excited about my lunch as it makes the day go quicker (just me?) so I hope these ideas come in useful!

1. Hummus and Veg Sticks
This is my current favourite lunch of the moment, some low fat hummus with sticks of celery, cucumber and carrot for dipping. It's filling and really healthy, so especially good for when I know I'm having a naughtier tea.

2. Greek Salad
Another of my frequently made lunches, spinach, cherry tomatoes, celery, cucumber, feta cheese, olives, sun-dried tomatoes and jalapenos dressed with balsamic vinegar and onion crispies. Seriously yummy, and only the feta is particularly bad for you!

3. Spaghetti Hoops
Before you all pull your faces at the childish lunch, it is cheap, fun, and not as bad for you as you'd think. I like to stir in some grated low fat cheese, and add cracked pepper and chilli flakes to give it a grown up edge. 

4. Melba Toast
Melba toasts with cheese triangles and wafer thin ham. It has to be assembled as you eat it, so it's one for eating at a table rather than on your lap, but it's decadent without being naughty. Laughing Cow blue cheese triangles are amazing as well, I recommend them!

5. Last night's leftovers
Not really an idea, but if you have leftovers which aren't a full portion, but you don't want to throw it away or eat more than you should, putting it into tuppaware means you can take it to work the next day, and usually give everyone in the room lunch-envy (it's a thing!) when you heat it up.

6. Roasted Vegetable Wrap
You can either use leftover roast vegetables for this, or roast some and keep them in the fridge for use in the week. I like roasting courgette, sweet potato, cherry tomatoes, red onion and peppers, then pile them into a large wrap with hummus for a filling and tasty lunch.

7. Hummus and Pesto Sandwiches
The combination of hummus and pesto is amazing. I like it on Warburtons Thins, pesto on one half, hummus on the other, with wafer thin ham and spinach in between. If you wrap them tightly in clingfilm it helps to sandwich them together and tastes amazing... this may have to be had next week I think!

8. Pasta Salad
This one always reminds me of my Mum as she makes the best pasta salad ever. It's cold pasta (rinse freshly cooked pasta in cold water for a minute or so to cool it enough to make a salad with), Mattessons sausage, then whatever salad veggies you have knocking around. Drench in salad cream and freshly cracked black pepper and give it a shake in your lunchbox. Beautiful.

9. Homemade Vegetable Soup
This is a bit of a standby lunch for me. Every now and again, I'll buy a ton of veggies, sling them in my slow cooker with whatever odds and sods are in my fridge, vegetable stock and chilli powder and leave it to cook whilst I'm out. I then use my stick blender to blend it all up and just like that you have yummy vegetable soup which is crazy filling and a load healthier than tinned soups. I portion it out into lunch boxes and freeze it for future use. Yummy.

10. Leftover Pizza
If I have Dominos for tea, I am always sure to buy a large size pizza, just so as I can save 3 slices or so for lunch at work the next day. It tastes amazing, and is yet another lunch which always induces lunch envy in your colleagues. That is definitely one to make you look forward to lunch time!

I hope you found this post useful, and if you try any of them do let me know, and if there are some obvious favourites of your own that you think I've missed, do tell me! After 20-odd years of packed lunches, some things do begin to get a little boring.

Rachel xx

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Sunday Confessional VII

Something I have enjoyed since school is acting. I'm no Emma Watson (I wish!) but I do enjoy being up on stage, being a character in front of a live audience. I had a part in the school musical every year, and absolutely loved every second of it. However, I stopped acting when I got to college, as the musicals were the domain of the theater studies students, and as I was taking all science A levels, I really wasn't one of them! (I will get to the confession part in a minute, I promise.) After a few years without treading the boards I really began to miss it, and joined an amateur dramatics society back in the midlands. It was brilliant, getting to act in a variety of plays from comedy, to murder mystery, and getting the buzz from being on stage again, I had so much fun!

However, in the last play I did with the group before I moved, my part had one line in it which gave me loads of trouble, because it had to be spoken in an accent so as it wasn't obvious that it was me speaking. No problem for most people as they always have one accent they can put on when required. Not me though, because:

I cannot do accents.

It is so embarrassing, everyone in the group looked at me in disbelief when I confessed about my awful accent abilities, it was only when I gave it a go in front of them (going bright red in the process I might add) that they finally believed me. That one line, "I found the duvet sir" is the most difficult line I have ever had to deliver, and is possibly my least favourite moment on stage ever, ranking above the time when I completely forgot my line on stage at school, and when I had to kiss a guy on stage in front of Rich. It's simply awful, I just sound like I am trying to do an accent, which I am, but it is completely unidentifiable.

To prove to you all how bad I am at accents, I made my first ever YouTube video, demonstrating my complete lack of ability... Watch it if you'd like a laugh!

Hope you like it!

Rachel xx

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

When the Sister Came to Stay Part 2

I covered the first part of when my sister came to stay in this post, so you can catch up there if you like!

The day after our York trip, you'd think we were fed up of food... Nope! We headed into Leeds to do some more shopping and to eat of course! We did wonder about visiting Trinity Kitchen, but the sheer amount of choice was a bit overwhelming, so we headed to Handmade Burger Co as Nat had a real hankering for a burger. What a decision. I had never been there before as it is situated right next to Yo Sushi, which is one of my favourite ever places to eat, so Yo Sushi had always won in the past.

We were seated straight away, and asked if we had ever been before. As we were both new to the place, the waitress explained the menu to us, and told us that once we had decided, we should go order and pay at the counter. It is Nandos style service, even down to the help yourself unlimited soft drinks. The menu looked so good, with so many viable options on it, we spent far too long perusing and trying to decide what to have. Eventually we settled on a choice each and went to the counter to order. 

During the wait for our food, we saw what other tables were having and it all looked amazing. I don't think I have ever anticipated a meal so much after seeing what else was coming out of the kitchen! There were proper looking shakes in the metal containers, and amazing looking burgers a plenty. The coleslaw came in the biggest bowl I have ever seen, and the chips looked so good. I think we were both seriously salivating by the time our order arrived!

Doesn't my burger just make you want to lick the screen? Just me? I had the mexican burger, which had salsa, crushed avocado, jalapenos, chipolate sauce and homemade tortilla chips on it, as well as the standard 7oz beef patty, red onion, lettuce and tomato. It also had half a lime on top to squeeze over it which I thought was a nice touch. Certainly made it look impressive! 

I didn't manage to get a good photo of Nat's burger, you can just about see it in the picture above, but she had the peppered beef if you're interested, and she was full of nothing but compliments about it. Nat's burger came with onion rings on top, and she kindly let me swipe one. It had crispy batter, with a good onion to batter ratio, they were lovely. We shared a portion of peri peri chips, which were some of the best chips I have ever eaten in my life, and nicely spiced, with just the right amount of heat. We also opted for blue cheese mayo and cajun mayo as sides. The cajun mayo was spicy and creamy, as to be expected, but the blue cheese mayo was amazing. It had huge chunks of blue cheese in it, and it went superbly with the chips, probably not the one to have if you're not a huge blue cheese fan though.

We were both massively stuffed at the end of the meal, and neither of us could even contemplate the thought of dessert! I would highly recommend Homemade Burger Co for any burger lovers, and I know I will be going back again to try out some of their lamb and chicken burgers, and to devour more of those fantastic chips.

We managed to waddle our way back to the train and my sister headed home after a very fun and food packed two days. 

This post isn't sponsored in any way, I will always state on this blog if something has been gifted for the purpose of review, I just had an amazing meal, and have been raving about it to everyone I know, and now this includes you lovely lot!

Rachel xx

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Sunday Confessional VI

This weeks Sunday Confession probably isn't the coolest thing in the world, in fact, most people will probably think I'm quite sad for doing this, but it is something I really really enjoy, and I'm glad I get to do it...

I love going to Download Festival with my Dad.

It all started 3 years ago, I hadn't been to a festival in a few years, and I'd spotted that the Download Festival line up was looking pretty good that year. My friends were all too skint to go, or didn't fancy it, and as I was single, there was nobody to drag with me. So one evening when my Dad had drunk a couple of gins, I started telling him who the headliners were, and they were some bands he quite liked. He was turning 50 the next year and had loads of things planned for the year to mark the age, so as another part of him turning 50, we bought tickets! I was chuffed I was getting to go to Download, and I was looking forward to taking him to his first ever modern style festival. 

Apologies for the awful photo quality, it was taken in a tent when it was very sunny outside, so making it black and white was the only way I could make it so you can actually see us!
Luckily, my parents live within a reasonable driving distance of Download, so me and my Dad decided that I would drive every day, so my Dad could have a drink. Drinking really doesn't bother me at all, I'd rather drink pop, remember everything, and not have to go to the toilet as often, as festival toilets are never very nice! Me driving and Dad drinking did mean that every night on the way home he'd tipsily be turning the music up in my car, as I'd be going mad at him telling him to turn it down again. Quite the role reversal!

My Dad loved his first ever Download experience, getting to check out loads of new bands, and having lots of father daughter time, and I really enjoyed being there with him. I'm a bit of a sedate festival goer anyway, and Dad didn't mind going a bit closer to the front for the bands I wanted to be in the thick of it for. Jumping up and down to the Prodigy with him, right next to a couple of mosh pits is one of my favourite memories of me and my Dad ever.

The only slightly awkward moment was when we were watching Tenacious D and they started playing the song "F*ck her gently". I was singing along merrily, as I do when watching most songs I know the words to, when it struck me that it was very weird to be singing those lyrics whilst stood with my Dad, but he didn't mind, so I carried on!

We had such a good weekend, that we did it last year too, and I can sense it becoming a frequent thing. We have been to a few gigs together again since Download, but in a much cooler way than when I was a kid and my Mum took me and my sister to go see Steps!

Have you ever been to a gig with a parent? Can you imagine yourself going to a festival with one? Do you think I'm a loser now? Tell me what you think in the comments below!

Rachel xx

Friday, 14 March 2014

When the Sister Came to Stay Part 1

My little sister is amazing. We are such good friends as well as being sisters, and always have a laugh together, we can tell each other almost anything, and we understand each other completely. However we don't get to see as much of each other as we'd like to, mostly because I live in Leeds, and she's back at home in the midlands, and she works all day on a Saturday and Sunday, so when I do go home for a weekend, she's working the whole time!

When I found myself in the position of having 2 days of annual leave to take, and nothing to use it for, I knew I had to get Nat up to see me in Leeds on her days off, and make the most of the leftover leave I had. She had last Thursday and Friday off, so on Wednesday night after work she drove her little car up to see me and we had the best two days!

On Thursday I decided to take her to York as it is a gorgeous city, and Nat had never been before. We arrived nice and early and it was the first bright and slightly warm day of the year, so we had a wander around all the sights before making our first food stop of the day. Now, anyone who has been to York will be well accustomed to the huge queue outside Bettys tea room. When we walked past and saw that there was no queue at all, we had to pop in for some cake and lemonade, it would have been rude not to!

We both went for the Citron Torte, with raspberry sauce and fresh berries on the side. Wow. It was divine, moist, creamy, lemony, all without being sickly or too tart, and the raspberry sauce was clearly made from real raspberries. The berries didn't taste like frozen ones, and the silence that fell over us both as we devoured this gorgeous specimen is proof of how good it was.

For lunch (yes we did eat dessert before lunch, but we did shop in between food stops!), we decided to go to Jamie's Italian, I had only been the once before and loved it, so wanted to know if it was consistently good. Nat had the Sausage Papparadelle, which she thoroughly enjoyed, and I had the Wild Rabbit Casarecce, partly because I'd never tried rabbit, and also because earlier in the day Nat had asked whether rarebit had rabbit in it. This made me giggle, so I got her to try a bit of rabbit from my plate. Both the dishes were lovely, Jamie's Italian is the place to go for posh pasta at a decent price!

In the afternoon, after a spot more shopping, I took Nat to York Chocolate Story. In my opinion this is miles better than Cadbury World, as you get to eat so much more chocolate, it seems a lot more interactive, and it has a way cheaper entry fee! For £9 each we learnt all about the origins of chocolate in York, and how chocolate is made. We got to make a chocolate lollipop each as part of the tour, and watch how truffles are made. The chef who made the truffles showed us the Japanese Kit Kats in the picture above. They are some crazy flavours, including squid ink, wasabi, cheesecake, as well as slightly more normal sounding ones like citrus and cherry. They have 4 times the legal amount of caffeine in them than is allowed in British chocolate, so can't be sold in this country, but I am desperate to try some as they sound insane!

We returned home tired, full and very happy, and watched movies in our pyjamas until we fell asleep on the sofa, as is decreed by our genetics - it isn't unusual to find all 4 of us asleep in the lounge on an evening in front of the TV! 

To save this becoming a picture heavy post, I'll save what we got up to on Friday for another post. As a sneak preview though, it includes one of the best burgers I have ever eaten in my life, and the best chips in the world ever. 

Rachel xx

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Liebster Award

So, on Sunday in my confessions post I mentioned that Rebecca had done a blog post about me and I was really honoured. Very soon after I published that post though I found that Chloe-Ellen had nominated me for a Liebster Award, and not only that, she mentioned me in the favourite blogger question! I was so touched by all of the lovely compliments; I can't believe that anyone even reads this blog, nevermind that people think it's good! (You can read the nomination here).

Just in case you aren't aware of the Liebster Award, it is for bloggers with less than 200 followers and the word liebster is German and means something like "lovely" so effectively is meant for lovely bloggers.

Chloe-Ellen requested 15 random facts about her nominees, so here we go!
  1. I utterly loathe baked beans. The juice alone can impregnate other foods and make the whole plate taste awful. Ew. I do love spaghetti hoops though, which people say has the same juice as baked beans, but to me they're totally different.
  2. I have an extra hole in my right ear which doesn't go anywhere. I've never seen it myself but I'd love to one day!
  3. I'm quite tall for a girl, I'm 5 feet 11 and a half inches tall. Luckily I never quite hit 6 foot as finding clothes is difficult enough! Both my Mum and Dad are tall, so I was kind of doomed really.
  4. Leading on from point 3, I have only ever kissed one guy who I had to go on very tip-toe to reach, and even then he had to bend down a bit because he was 6'7! I got so excited that I ran to my friend straight after to have an excited squeal at her!
  5. Films that everyone's seen, I haven't seen. I discussed this on Sunday, but I am working to change this fact about myself!
  6. Me and my little (not so little really, she's 23!) sister are very close, we shared a bedroom growing up and we still share most things now. We don't look very alike, but we can have a conversation without speaking when we need to!
  7. I don't wear makeup every day (except my eyeliner, but does that count?).
  8. I know pretty much the whole script and dance routines to Bring It On. Mainly because I've watched it so often that the original VHS tape I had of it wore out. And me and my sister spent most of our childhood creating dance routines and learning them from videos, before performing them to our very lucky family.
  9. Not such a random fact when you consider my layout, but I love love love Harry Potter. I must have read the first book about 30 times by now, mostly when I was a kid, and then every time a book or a film came out I had to read the whole series so far from the beginning! I went to midnight launches for the books and visiting the Harry Potter Studio Tours last year for my birthday was one of my most magical birthdays ever!
  10. love watching YouTubers even though I am probably a bit old for that.
  11. Gas masks terrify me, and the fact that there is one in my house is not something I am happy about. Luckily Rich keeps all his kit under the spare bed, and I refuse to look under the bed just in case I stumble across it. *shudder*
  12. When I was a teenager I was a rocker. I loved band tshirts and baggy jeans, sweat bands and spiky jewelry, skate shoes and chains. I went into Claires Accessories on Sunday and all the type of jewelry I used to wear back in the noughties is back in fashion and back in Claires. I got so excited, and so nostalgic!
  13. I can get mega high scores on End of the Century on Dance Stage Megamix in arcades and on the Playstation game. I know the whole step sequence off by heart, and me and my sister love going on it in arcades to show off how cool we are!
  14. Singstar on the PS2 certified me tone deaf, yet I have sung at the Birmingham Symphony Hall in a choir whilst I was at school.
  15. I broke my left ring finger playing Netball a couple of years ago, and that is the only bone I have ever broken.
That's my 15 random facts! It was harder than I thought. My questions for my nominees are:
  1. What is your favourite colour?
  2. Can you roll your tongue?
  3. What was your favourite subject at school?
  4. Where are you going on holiday this year? (If you're not, where would you like to go?)
  5. Why do you like blogging?
  6. How was your day today? 
  7. Who is your favourite blogger?
  8. Do you watch any YouTubers? If yes, who do you love?
  9. Pineapple on pizzas, yay or nay?
  10. Tell me an embarrassing moment that happened to you recently?
The bloggers I nominate are:

Rebecca at itsrebecca
Becca at iateskinny
Amy Elizabeth at Amy Elizabeth
Aimee at Aimee Dot

If you want to take part as well, feel free to do so and let me know that you've answered the questions!

Rachel xx

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Sunday Confessional V

This is a confession which, when I make it to people in real life, usually results in loud shouts of "WHAT?!?!" and lots of shocked faces. Then people start to quiz me, and eventually tell me I'm a lost cause, or something similar. It makes me laugh a lot, and I quite enjoy seeing the shocked look on peoples faces. What is this deep dark confession do you ask?

I suck at having seen movies that everyone has seen.

If you take the IMDB Top 250 movies, I have only seen 37 out of the 250. If you took out the Pixar and kids films from that the number would be a lot lower! Some of the films I haven't seen which people are most shocked about are: 
  • The Shawshank Redemption
  • Godfather films
  • All Star Wars apart from the first one which I was made to sit through because it was so tragic I hadn't seen any of them
  • Fight Club
  • Pretty much all horror films - This is because I have one of the most vivid imaginations ever, so I have to make sure I'm not going to be in the house on my own for the week after watching a horror film because I will wind up too scared and freaking myself out. 
  • A fair few Disney films, I may have watched them once as a child but I don't remember films such as Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Little Mermaid etc.
I'm trying to fix this, and as I have LoveFilm and Netflix, I've been trying to watch at least one new film a week. However, my love for really really bad chick flicks has meant that I don't always watch the films I should, and instead I wind up watching things like The Perfect Man, Sydney White, What A Girl Wants, Raise Your Voice and Holiday In Handcuffs. They were all films I hadn't seen before though, so technically they still count, right?

It doesn't help that sometimes when I watch a film which is meant to be amazing, it winds up so boring, or just a bit naff. Casablanca was one of these. A friend had recommended it to me as one of the best films ever, and it is quite high up the IMDB list, but on viewing it, I thought it was one of the most boring pointless films ever! Nothing really happened in it, just a load of people chatted about things!

So. Are you good at having seen all the films? What do I need to watch next? Bonus points if they're on Netflix. Let me know in the comments below!

Rachel xx

PS- Today I have been featured on Rebecca's blog itsrebecca as her Blog to Love for the week. I'm really honoured to be featured, as some of the other blogs she's talked about are bloggers I really look up to. If you want to have a read check it out here. Have a look at her other posts while you're there if you're into beauty with a smattering of lifestyle thrown in. She's one of my favourite beauty bloggers around!

Friday, 7 March 2014

One year, five years, ten.

My favourite American blogger, Bonnie, wrote an amazing post this week where she talked about it being 10 years since she graduated high school, so she looked at where she thought she'd be at 1, 5 and 10 years after graduating and where she actually was at those points. You can read the post here. It was made into a link up and I had to jump on the band wagon because my life certainly didn't wind up as I thought it would at the age of 16!

In the limo at prom night with a couple of friends from the time. Don't even mention the hair. That was done at a hairdressers. Yes really.

One Year:
What I thought: I knew I was going to the local sixth form college to do A Levels, and I thought I'd have a huge circle of friends and be getting top marks in my classes still, with a proper boyfriend and be very grown up and an adult as I was no longer at school.

Where I was: I was at the local sixth form college doing my A Levels, I had a pretty decent circle of friends, and by the summer between first and second year at college I had met my first serious boyfriend. So far so good right? However I wasn't getting the grades I was expecting in my classes and exams, as I was finding lessons a lot more difficult than I did at school. Having a social life and boyfriend was seriously distracting me, and the different learning style of college compared to school were mostly to blame for the drop in my grades, which took some getting used to! I was beginning to become less naive and a bit more grown up but there's no way I was actually an adult at the age of 17, even if I thought I was.

One of my first ever experiences of clubbing at a local rock night. 
Did I mention my rocker phase? I was so hardcore. 

My 17th birthday camping in my parents' garden. 
Lots of good sober fun!

Five Years:
What I thought: To be fair, at 16 I didn't think much further at all than the next year, so I'm going to talk about where I thought I'd be after each point. So at 17 I thought by the age of 21 I'd be graduating with a degree in Maths and Computer Science from a top uni, ready to get married to the serious boyfriend I mentioned before. I'd have an amazing job to walk into, and I'd be a complete grown up and a real adult. When I was 17, 21 seemed so old and so far away!

Where I was: Well. My life changed an awful lot in these 5 years, I'll try to summarise as much as I can. I went to university to do Computer Science as my A Level grades weren't good enough to do the Maths portion of the degree. This was all good, and I was at the same university as the serious boyfriend. We were engaged and life looked pretty on track. That relationship ended pretty soon after starting at uni, and after returning from the Easter break I decided to drop out after my first year finished as the degree really wasn't what I expected. This meant that I moved back in with my family whilst I decided what to do next.

I had a gap year which was full of fun, change and planning, resulting in deciding to apply for the training scheme for the NHS which lead to my current career. I moved to a new city, with a full time job and began to study for the vocational degree required for my job. Things had got a whole heap better! Life settled down at that point, and by the age of 21 I was half way through my degree and my training scheme, renting a flat on my own and having things pretty sussed out. Not where I thought I'd be when I was 17, but I was very very happy.

At uni before one of many nights out aged 18. 
The school uniform meant we got in for free. Very important as a student! 

My 20th birthday. You might spot fellow blogger Rebecca of itsrebecca on the back left!

Out for a meal on a block week aged 20 with my uni girls.

Ten Years:
What I thought: At 21 I thought by the age of 26 I'd have graduated with a good result in my degree, have progressed some in my career, be married and be beginning to think about children. Pretty simple, but it was all I wanted in life!

Where I will be: Now, I'm not 26 yet, but I think I can safely say that I will be married to Rich before I turn 27 as we got engaged a few months ago! I did get a very good result in my degree *proud face* and luckily secured a permanent job which included a promotion! Children aren't on the cards yet, because we are a bit traditional and would like to be married before we start to expand the family. My life is really good, I'm very happy and I can't think of anywhere I'd rather be right now than where I am!

This is a very different and yet very similar position I thought I'd be in at the age of 24 when I was 16. To be honest I wanted to be in love, with a good job, and most of all be happy and healthy. I am all of those things. Let's hope that life continues getting better and better!

I hope you enjoyed this post and it wasn't all a bit TMI. It was brilliant trawling through my old photos again to find the ones I used in this post, and I've got right down memory lane!

Where did you think you'd be one, five and ten years after finishing high school?

Rachel xx


Tuesday, 4 March 2014

5 Happy Things About Deployment

As regular readers will know, Rich has been on tour now for a few months, click here to read all my posts about deployment. This is the first time that either of us has ever been through this and now I feel a bit more qualified to start blogging about it all as I've been through a lot of highs and lows.

I always try to look on the bright side of things, as when you make the effort to see the good in something, it never seems quite as bad anymore. So here are my top 5 happy things about Rich being on deployment.

1. The house to yourself.

This is a simple thing, and quite obvious really. I am now living alone, so I have the house entirely to myself. This is heaven to me! When I leave the house in the morning, everything will be exactly as I left it when I get back, so if I've spent ages tidying and cleaning, then nobody else can mess it up for me. It is also a bonus that if I really don't fancy doing the washing up one evening there's nobody to judge me or moan about the mess, and I can also have whoever I want round to visit whenever I want without having to check if it's ok with anybody. Best of all though, I have full control of the TV remote. That means my house is a no football zone for 6 months, utter bliss!

2. You get all the benefits of being single, whilst getting some of the benefits of being in a relationship.

Remember being single? The very hairy winter legs, the chipped toenail polish, the comfy leggings and threadbare pyjamas, the no makeup and hair in a topknot days? Well all those are yours again. You also get all the time in the world to spend with your friends and family, without having to balance it all out with going to watch the football, or trailing round shops you don't want to go to. However being single can get pretty lonely, and you get fed up after a while, especially with people hassling you about your love life. When the other half is away, you get no probing questions asking if you're courting yet, and you can still message, call and write to each other as much as you want, so you get a lot of the relationship perks! Also, I can't wait until Rich is home again because I'm imagining we'll be like when we first got together again, inseparable and disgustingly sweet towards each other, because we'll have missed each other so much. Can't wait!

3. One message/letter/phone call from him will make your day.

When you're together normally, getting a message which says "hey" or a phone call at half past one in the morning is very unlikely to make you smile, however when he's away and you haven't talked in a while, and seen him in months, getting those messages and calls will make your day, even if it wakes you up in the middle of the night, or interrupts something important. It's a rare thing to be happy about things like that, so treasure it!

4. The words "cuddle", "big hug" and "kisses" take on whole new meanings.

Because it has been months since I had my last cuddle from Rich, or a big hug or a kiss, if I'm having a bad day and he says "cuddle" it is almost like I am being cuddled by him. It is the thought that counts, and this becomes even more evident when you are thousands of miles apart. I'm sure the words will cease to have as much meaning when he's home and I can have any of those things whenever I want, but I'm enjoying it whilst it lasts.

5. You will get a lot closer to his family and friends.

Before Rich left, I would never see his family or friends without him, so we always had the buffer of him being there. It wasn't a problem, and I did get on well with them all which was lovely. However whilst Rich has been away I have been talking to his family and friends a lot more to keep in contact, and as I mentioned here I went down to his home town last month for one of his best friends' hen do. I stayed at his Mum's house without him, which is something I'd never done before, but because of all this I feel much closer to all of them, and a real part of the family and friendship group. He was very jealous of me getting to see everyone though so I had to Skype him and get him passed around his friends so they could say hello!

So there we have it! My top 5 happy things about deployment. Don't get me wrong, there are flip sides to some of these things which make me sad at times, but I wanted to write about this so any people who are potentially going to go through something similar soon can see that it's not all doom and gloom, there will be perks and benefits!

I hope you don't mind these sorts of posts if you're not in the military way, I have a few more ideas for other posts but if there is anything you'd like to know let me know in the comments.

Rachel xx

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Sunday Confessional IV

This is a real confession. Even Rich doesn't know about it, however I may have discussed it with my bestie, as I needed to make sure I wasn't on my own with this!

I dream cheated on Rich.

I have always, always had crazy realistic dreams, more than one a night, and 9 times out of 10 I remember them in great great detail. Often they're like being in an episode of a TV show, and they're usually harmless, and do quite often involve people I know, from the past or present. I have had the ability to slightly control my dreams in the past, and have woken up from giggling or crying in a dream as well. I put it all down to my insanely overactive imagination

However, this is the first time since being with Rich that I've had a dream about romanticness with anybody other than him! I woke up feeling so so guilty, and immediately sent him a lovely message, trying to soothe my guilty conscience, even though I'd done nothing [hysically wrong. It's most likely because I'm missing him so much, and because my brain likes to mess with me it substituted him for some random guy. WHY BRAIN WHY?!

As the guy my brain put in Rich's place is a random guy from work, that day was so awkward, luckily the guy in question I have only ever said hello to a couple of times as he works in a different area, but I caught a glimpse of him in the tea room and I felt so awkward and must have blushed a bit. Thanks pale skin. Luckily the shame and the memories have died off a bit now it's been a while since the dream, but I still feel really guilty about it! The guy is married, and far too old for me and I'd never look at him in that way ever if it wasn't for my stupid brain and the things it dreams, even though I can barely look him in the eye at all anymore because I feel so awkward.

Do any of you have weird strange dreams? And have you ever dreamed about cheating on your other half? What did you do? Please tell me I'll forget about it in time?

Rachel xx
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