Tuesday, 20 January 2015

How to Live Together

Myself and Rich have been living together now for well over a year (if you ignore the 7 months he spent in Afghanistan) and it has been my most enjoyable experience of living with another person I have ever had, and I've lived with a lot of different people over the years - an entirely different story I'll tell another time.

We manage to get on pretty well, and from conversations I hear at work, we're quite rare in that we managed to settle into living with each other pretty quickly, with minimum fuss. I thought today I'd share with you my top tips for how to live with someone without wanting to create a pillow fort that you never leave.

The biggest tip I can give for getting on well and not spending all your time arguing is to compromise. You can think that you're the best person in the world to live with, but I can guarantee that some little thing that you do will be driving the other person insane. For myself and Rich it was the age old leaving of the toilet seat up (Rich) and squeezing the toothpaste from the middle (me). So we compromised over it. I made every effort to squeeze from the bottom and Rich tries his best to always put the seat down, and it works, neither of us is cursing the other one now.

laundry on a line

This can also work to help you get rid of having to do chores that you hate. My most loathed chore of all time is taking the bins out. It's dirty, it's gross and it's such a pain in the bum, so Rich does that for me in exchange for doing the laundry, which he can't stand, making both of us happier.

You might think from all this that I am a believer of chore rotas. Nope. I hate them! To me, there is nothing worse than slaving away doing chores whilst the other person is having fun, gaming, watching TV or just messing about on the internet. It makes me instantly grumpy, as I would love to be doing whatever it is that they're doing, but instead I have to do chores. So Rich and I designate a block of time every week where we both work at cleaning and tidying the house, I'll figure out what jobs need doing, and then we both set about doing our own tasks, but at the same time. This means that neither of us resents the other for having fun whilst the other is working, and we get to spend more time together hanging out after it's all finished.

We use this technique for doing the washing up as well, I hear of so many couples having domestics about who's turn it is to do the pots, and them not being done for ages in protest, yet Rich and I simply do them together. I prefer to wash, and he prefers to dry, so we stand together and catch up on our days whilst doing them. I actually kind of look forward to washing up now, because it's often the first time all day we can just talk to each other without anything else distracting us. (We do eat together but as our dining table is in the conservatory it's chuffing freezing in winter so we eat in front of the TV instead).

So this is what works best for myself and Rich, we manage to live quite an argument free existence together, whilst still getting the chores done. I hope this has been helpful for at least one person out there, chores aren't often a common topic for blog posts!

Rachel x

Friday, 9 January 2015

This time, it'll be different...

I was dreading the New Year for the first time ever this year, and not just for the usual reasons of going back to work and the end of Christmas. It was because Rich went away with work a few days ago. Luckily it's not for anywhere near as long as last time he went away, but it's still for longer than 3 weeks and is abroad, which is what I classify as a deployment. I'm missing him terribly, things had been so brilliant between us lately, and he really is my best friend as well as my boyfriend. However, we have vowed that this time it is going to be different.

There will be no huge bucket list of things I decide to do to fill my evenings and weekends. I put far too much pressure on myself last time, planning to do a lot of projects and take up a lot of hobbies, meaning that when I didn't manage to do everything, the perfectionist in me kicked in and I beat myself up about it. My bucket list this time just consists of "be calm". I keep reminding myself that it doesn't matter if the washing up doesn't get done one evening because I'm too tired. It doesn't matter if I don't manage to spend all of my evenings crocheting. It doesn't matter if my house isn't perfectly clean and tidy at all times. It doesn't matter if I'm not blogging 5 days a week, commenting on other blogs and taking part in all of the Twitter chats. I am a human being. I have a chuffing long commute to and from work every day. Just because Rich isn't here doesn't mean that those facts go away, instead I have double the amount of housework to do, and I have to do all of the cooking myself, which takes up more time, so I actually have less free time than I did before.
I kept finding myself saying "when you go away I'll do..." and I had to stop myself. It's too easy of a trap to fall into, and I won't do it again.

We also know how to be apart now, how to deal with each other, and how to keep the connection there. It's harder, of course, but it's perfectly do-able. My expectations of Rich last time were far too high, and only exacerbated by hearing stories of other couples going through similar things - meaning that when I didn't receive the letters and phone calls, I was disappointed. I know this time to not expect anything, all of the contact I do get is a bonus (he does get huge Brownie points though if he sends me a postcard to add to my collection!).

Why am I telling you all of this? I hope that anyone else facing their first deployment can learn from the mistakes I made the first time around. Expectations are bad, for yourself and your partner. Don't make them! I'll keep you updated with how I'm doing, but things are looking good so far. I had a little cry when I said goodbye in the morning before heading to work, but luckily the girls I work with are amazing. I told them they weren't allowed to be nice to me or it'd set me off again, and they took great delight in pretending to insult me all day, making me laugh a lot. It's still strange being on my own in an evening and not talking to anyone, but it is awesome having Taylor Swift on all of the time and being able to sing as loudly as I want. My poor neighbours.

Rachel x

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Best Blogger Recipes: Ones to Try

In my 15 Things in 2015 post I mentioned that I wanted to start cooking more blogger recipes as I have loads in my Bloglovin' likes. I did a post about the ones I've tried and tested back in November, so go to that one to see the recipes which I know work!

First up is this Spinach & Lentil Curry by Amy Liz which seems to be stunningly simple, yet tasty and healthy. It'll freeze well, and fits into my unofficial plan of eating vegetarian one day a week in order to save money and hopefully be a bit healthy. 

I am a huge fan of substituting vegetables for carbs as a way of eating food which feels naughty, but is actually a lot healthier. This aubergine cannelloni recipe looks fantastic from Janey at Slice of Slim. She posts Weight Watchers recipes, so I know that this one will be low in fat and calories as well as being tasty. It's basically bolognese wrapped up with spinach and cream cheese in aubergine slices then covered in melted cheese. Yum.

Just look at that picture. Eggs, cheese and mushrooms in bread. I'm drooling! It's officially called Wild Mushroom & Gruyere Egg Baskets and it was created by The Londoner (of course). This needs to happen one weekend morning, and soon I hope.

This is a very savoury recipes to try post so far, so to give some sweetness is this White Chocolate & Strawberry Bread & Butter Pudding by Sammie at Little Blonde Life. My Dad really hates raisins, so whenever I normally make bread and butter pudding it means that just my Mum and I have to eat it all to ourselves, but this bread and butter pudding doesn't have any raisins in it whatsoever, so it's perfectly Dad friendly! The use of strawberries and white chocolate also means that it's a bit summery, so this will be one that I'll make when it gets a bit sunnier. Looks gorgeous though.

I am still completely obsessed with my slow cooker, so finding new recipes for it always makes me excited, and this Slow Cooker Beef Rendang from Nine Grand Student looks amazing. It's very different from my usual soups and stews that I make in the slow cooker, and I love that you make the thai paste from scratch in a very budget friendly way. This is another one which will freeze well.

So that's 5 of the recipes that I have liked on Bloglovin' which I can't wait to try out myself. Are there any others which I've missed and you think I need to try? Or does anyone have any slow cooker recipes which I can try? So obsessed...

Rachel x

Saturday, 3 January 2015

15 Things in 2015

So, as every blogger in the world (or just my Bloglovin' feed) seems to be doing a New Years Resolutions post, I thought I'd hop on the bandwagon too. Instead of these all being resolutions, I thought it would be fun to include some bucket-list type things as well. So here we go, these are the 15 things I would like to accomplish in 2015.

  1. Get Married.
    Well, this is pretty much guaranteed to happen as we have the venue booked for November. It still merits being included though, as it is a thing I am seriously looking forward to, and to do it I need to do a hell of a lot of organising first.

  2. Be Calm. 
    I spent a lot of 2014 very stressed out, and it wasn't good for me at all, so one of my biggest aims of 2015 is to be a lot more calm and relaxed. I'm going to make a conscious effort to not let the little things get to me, and spend a lot more time chilling out and looking after myself. But with the wedding planning, who knows if I'll stick to it? Wish me luck!

  3. Recycle More.
    As our recycling bin only used to get emptied once a month, it always seemed to be full, so I never really bothered with recycling. Now that Leeds Council have changed it to be every other week, I want to make the effort to actually recycle everything that is recyclable, including loo roll innards which seem far too much effort to bring downstairs to the recycling pile when the bathroom bin is right there...

  4. Do Something Nice Every Day.
    Whether complimenting someone, letting a car out at a junction, or donating to charity, I want to spend more time doing nice things this year. Sounds easy but it takes a lot of effort to remain conscious of it and not just get wrapped up in day to day life.

  5. Make Another YouTube Video.
    I made one back in March about how bad I am at accents and really enjoyed it, even though it took me hours to edit. I'd love to do another one, but I'm not sure what about yet, and I'm struggling to come up with ideas of where to film in my house as it's a bit of a dark house. Watch this space though.

  6. Improve My Photography.
    I feel as though I've improved my photography this year, and I'm definitely feeling a lot more confident about handing my DSLR than I was before. The next step is moving off auto, and that scares me, it scares me a lot.

  7. Go to the Thackray Medical Museum.
    This is a museum in Leeds and ever since hearing about it I have really wanted to go. I love medicine and medical things (good job I work for the NHS then) so I would be fascinated by this. I'm thinking it might be my birthday activity, but whenever I go I'll take my camera, so again, watch this space!

  8. Read 30 Books.
    I've seen a lot of book challenges knocking around, and I'd love to join in. I've pretty much always got a book on the go, and I thought 30 books seemed quite manageable for a first year of trying to hit a target. I'll try and post more book reviews as well on here, so you can keep up with what I'm reading.

  9. Watch 15 New Films.
    When I like a film, I like to watch it over and over, so I am a bit of a nightmare at having seen films that everyone else has seen, as I talked about in a Sunday Confessions last year. So this year I'd like to watch 15 films I haven't seen before. They can be new releases or ones which have been out for ages, it doesn't matter which. I've just signed up for a trial of Amazon Prime, which has some good films on it, so that should help me on my way.

  10. Become Comfortable Around Dogs.
    Time for a confession here, I am a bit scared of dogs. As a child I didn't really have much to do with animals, so I never really learnt how to deal with dogs, and this has meant that I am very cautious around them now. Rich loves dogs though, and his Dad owns two very excitable young dogs, so when we go round Rich has to spend most of his time shielding me from them and trying to distract them from jumping all over me. My ultimate aim is to be able to pet dogs and play with them, so that I'm not just hiding behind Rich whenever one starts coming up to us. We'll see how it goes.

  11. Visit London.
    My amazing little sister moves to London on Monday to start a new career in film production. I am super proud of her, and will definitely be using visiting her as an excuse to go to London a lot more often this year. Train tickets aren't that expensive, and when I have access to a sofa to crash on, it'll mean I can have a lot more adventures without my bank balance suffering (too much).

  12. Blog at Least 70 Times.
    As I mentioned in my Best of 2014 post, I blogged 69 times in 2014, a definite increase on the 22 times in 2013. I'm hoping to improve on this in 2015, and as long as I blog at least 70 times I'll be a very happy lady. Hopefully you think this is a good idea as well, as you'll be getting a lot more ramblings from me!

  13. Sell/Donate my Old Clothes and DVDs.
    I dropped from a size 14/16 in 2013 to a size 12 in 2014, which is brilliant news for my health, but not so great for my wardrobe, especially as I'd been a size 14 for 9 years when I lost the weight, so pretty much all of my clothes didn't fit as well any more. I've managed to do some sorting through of my old clothes, and have a huge pile which doesn't fit, and I can't still wear as oversized. Also, when me and Rich moved in together we had a lot of doubles of  DVDs which we don't need, so these have been sorted into a pile as well. The only problem is, these piles have been sat in my spare room now for quite some time, and they need to go! If you think you might be interested in some of my clothes or DVDs/games, just tweet me or leave a comment below, they'll be going for very cheap prices!

  14. Figure Out How to Wear a Red Lip.
    Red lipstick is one of my favourite looks on other people. It screams out cool, feminine and sophisticated, and I would love to be all of those things. I've never really worn any lip colour before, but I have now bought some lip glosses and crayons, so my aim for 2015 is to wear a red lip for an outing, and feel comfortable. I hope I can do it!

  15. Cook a Blog Recipe Once a Month.
    My Bloglovin' likes are choc-full of recipes that bloggers have posted which I think sound amazing, and you can see some of these recipes in this post from November. I want to work my way through the rest of the recipes, instead of just periodically drooling over them, and actually transcribe the ones which work into my recipe folder. At least that's the aim anyway. Doing one a month seems reasonable, and hopefully I'll be able to do another tried and tested blog recipe post soon.

Oops, I didn't realise this post was going to get quite so wordy and long. Well done if you've made it to the end though! I'd love to know if you've posted your resolutions, or a bucket list like this, link me in the comments below. Right, now back to the New Years feast of Christmas chocolate - I think I received enough this year to keep me going into March!

Rachel x
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