Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Happy Hogmanay

Well, as much as I adore Christmas, I have to admit that I'm quite glad that it's over for another year. I feel like I've been planning it since September (and I have, if I'm honest!) so it's nice to have a break on the horizon.
I thought it would be fun to fill in a wee New Year Questionnaire. I'm not a massive fan of Hogmanay but I love the fresh start and possibilities that a new year brings with it. I feel like it's a time to change and a time to put things into perspective. Although some people don't like making resolutions - I'm the complete opposite. I like to put plans into motion, to feel enthusiastic about the challenges and changes to come. No matter how far I get, it won't be a failure if I at least try.

So, onto the questions...

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?
I got a tattoo and got my ears pierced a further 3 times (taking the total to 5). I also visited a psychic which I had never done before. I'm sure I did other things, too, but I have a cold and my mind is fairly fuzzy as I'm writing this.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I haven't even looked to see what they were yet so I can't say for sure. But yes, I will definitely make more resolutions for next year. Love them.

3. What countries did you visit?

Erm - I'm not sure that I set foot outside Scotland to be honest.

4. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?
I would like to be happy and content. I would like the same for my family. I would also like to fall in love.

5. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Wednesday 10th July - our darling Rosie left us. :(

6. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Em - I think that I have two. The first is that I have managed to drag myself into a much better frame of mind than I have been before. It's been a struggle but I've come a long way. The other is to accept that some things aren't for me and just to walk away once the decision has been made.

7. What was your biggest failure?
I don't want to come across as all hippy but if you learn something - how can anything be a failure?

8. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Unfortunately, yes. Many and often.

9. What was the best thing you bought?

No one thing stands out above all others - I love everything I've bought!

10. Where did most of your money go?

Other than the usual - rent, food, petrol etc - most of my money has gone on books, clothes, shoes and Christmas.

11. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

I get overly excited about many and most things from seeing a robin through to winning money on the lottery (not that I've ever won more than a tenner - but that's okay!). I also got super excited when Andy Murray won Wimbledon - was fantastic!

12. What song will always remind you of 2013?
'I Love It' by Icona Pop was a fairly big tune of the year and one that I quite enjoyed, too. Later in the year, Katy Perry's 'Roar' struck quite a chord. And who can forget 'Let's Get Ready to Rumble' by PJ and Duncan?

13. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?
b) thinner or fatter?
c) richer or poorer?
All in all, I'm happier although not happy.
I'm fatter yet not fat.
I'm both richer and poorer, if that's possible.

14. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Smiling, laughing, baking, organising, doing more to be happy, sewing, crafting, reading, relaxing, writing and getting my business off the ground. Not much then!!

15. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Worrying, nagging, crying, getting angry and caring about people's feelings when they couldn't give a jot for mine.

16. How did you spend Christmas?

I spent Christmas with my family and lovely it was, too.

17. Did you fall in love in 2013?
No but hopefully that just means that something fab is waiting for me next year.

18. What was your favourite TV program?

My usuals - Big Bang Theory, Made in Chelsea, Great British Bake Off, Family Guy, Real Housewives franchise and I'm loving Death Comes to Pemberley.

19. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
I don't hate anyone but there are one or two people that have really shown their true colours this year.

20. What was the best book you read?

There were so many good ones that I couldn't possibly pick one. Nora Roberts, Sabrina Jeffries, Sarah MacLean, Molly O'Keefe, Julie James and a few others definitely deserve a mention for some fab books.

21. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I can't think that I've discovered any new music this year - not that I haven't loved a lot of the different types of music this year.

22. What did you want and get?

I got a little better which is good enough for me.

23. What did you want and not get?
I wanted to win the lottery and find love. Maybe next year!

24. What was your favourite film of this year?

I'm not sure if I don't have favourite films, music and the like or if I just have the worst memory in the world. I can't think of any outstanding films that I have seen this year!!

25. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

Funnily enough, I can't remember what I did on my birthday but I do know that I turned 31! I'm actually beginning to doubt that now.

26. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? 
Winning the lottery or, perhaps, having the superpower to mete out justice to those who annoyed me!

27. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?

A little bit individual but heading towards scruffy!

28. What kept you sane?

Moot question. ;)

29. Which celebrity/public figure
did you fancy the most?
I was about to be all smug and say 'no-one' but then Henry Cavill popped into my head. Yum!

30. What political issue stirred you the most?
Politics is just a tin-opener for a can of worms and I just don't want to go there!!

31. Who did you miss?

My Rosie.

32. Who was the best new person you met?
Did I meet any new people? I don't think that I did. People that are still in my life, I mean!

33. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learnt in 2013. 
A smile doesn't always indicate kindness. Not that I wasn't aware of it before but it was pointed out to me this year that people, by and large, are out for themselves only. They aren't necessarily against you (although sometimes they are) but they make their plans and their schemes for their own benefit regardless of what it does to other people.

And that's me for this year.

Happy Hogmanay and all the best for 2014.

I hope it's awesome!

J xx

Monday, 30 December 2013

Written in the Stars...

I'm not an avid horoscope reader and I certainly take the predictions with a pinch of salt. However, I do have a love for reading my stars at this time of year. I suppose it embodies everything I like about the New Year - it's got the positivity, the excitement and the hopes for the future. Plus, it would be fun to make a note of everything and see, next year, how things panned out.

In the Sunday papers yesterday, I found my 2014 horoscope for Taurus.

Okay, so since I'm being honest, the way I like to work horoscopes is to read only the things that apply to me, completely ignore things that aren't like me or don't apply to me in any way, shape or form and then marvel in wonder when things are so true, likely to be true, or I want them to be true. With me so far? 

Right, let's get on with the portion of this blog which will gush about how wonderfully accurate this particular horoscope is and then get very excited for the year ahead!

The first bit:
  • I wonder if being ruled by Venus and her 'sense of promise' is why I get so excited about the possibilities of a new year? So that sounds like me. 
  • And, lord knows, I'm stubborn as the days are long so that definitely hits the mark, too!
  • Looks like I'm off and running with this horoscope!

The year ahead: 
  • Interesting. Since I'm not currently working (and not just because it's the Christmas hols) I really hope the 'demands' means that I get a job in January. Either that or the demands that are coming thick and fast are from me finally having the courage to start my own business. That would be exciting!
  • Practical yet creative - did they follow me to write this horoscope?
  • Health and fitness are a focus from now - I'm not waiting until May! 
  • A new arrival announced in August? Wait until I tell Debs that not long after her wedding (or before!!), she might be in the family way!! Bwa ha ha!
  • Ooh and my man will finally step up in October - happy days!

In years to come: 
  • Ever since October my man is really stepping up to the plate - liking loving the promise of romance continuing into 2015! 
  • And I wonder if the little dig about my finances is another hint at finding my passion in work? Hmmmm.

For Fun:
  • That is me to the letter. Every single bit of it.

In Love:
  • That's a little freaky as it sounds suspiciously like what the psychic said to me (and is definitely true!). I like to think of myself as a hopeless romantic who is also something of a commitment-phobe! I can now revise that to being particular in order to find the right person.
  • The last bit - 'even if you don't always show it' - is definitely a nod to the fact that I can be a mean ol' sod on occasion!! 

Star Style:
  • Well cut styles? Well, I don't tend to follow fashions and I do like 'simple' pieces, however I really like quirky and fun accessory items so this is perhaps one of the things I will ignore.
  • The fact that it says that the throat is the body area associated with this sign gives me the willies! I have a phobia about throats (yes, I do realise it's a very weird thing to have a fear of!) so I don't really know where to go with this. *shudders*

At Home:
  • I do love my creature comforts, oh and definitely food. Spot on.
  • Ignoring the colour scheme bits because while I like earthy tones for my living spaces, my kitchen has to be retro black, white and red - like a 50s Coca Cola diner. Slightly different than delicate pink!
  • My garden is a picture - it's fab!

As A Taurean you... (my spell check wanted me to change that word to Tureen - snort!)

  • Definitely need a job with security - it's why my recent decisions about jobs was a MASSIVE step out of my comfort zone. (And why I'm now grumpy that I can't go crazy in the sales!)
  • I suppose I'm dependable - sounds a bit boring though!
  • Excel in creative stuff - that's so kind. I'll take it.
  • On a bad day I can be so much worse than this implies so I'll take this one, too!

Love Compatibility:
  • This is where I always think people take horoscopes too far - not dating someone because they are 'incompatible' with your own sign. Don't be silly! That said, from this and what the psychic told me, my man will be a Virgo. (Did I just admonish people for being lunatics then come out with a statement like my last? That's right - I did!!)

So, my life is going to be awe-some in 2014. A little positive thinking goes a long way and it what can it hurt to get a wee bit excited about what the future may hold?

Happy Hogmanay-eve!

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Time to let go...

Well, we're nearly at the end of the year. Definitely time to do some thinking and to let go.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Christmas can start...

The last day of work (I say work but I can guarantee not a soul did a shred of work today in my organisation - myself included!) was today and now the Christmas celebrations can properly begin. Yay!

I also have this feeling that 2014 is going to be an AWESOME year so, for that fact, I'm quite looking forward to Hogmanay, too! For once!

As I move forward, this is what I need to remember - every cloud has a silver lining.

5 more sleeps 'til Santa!!

B x

Thursday, 19 December 2013

A visit to the Dietitian

Today I had an appointment with a dietitian. In preparation for this appointment, last night I googled 'questions to ask a dietician' and came up with some, well, unusual responses.
  • Ask what your BMR is
  • Ask what your BMI is
  • Ask what your TDEE is
Wow! You might as well have told me to ask what my C3PO is for all the sense that the above made to me! Surely diet is a bit more simple than that?

As most will know, I have Ulcerative Colitis which does cause a little bit of trouble for me in the bowel department. Most people conclude that diet plays little to no part in the causing of, or the treatment of Ulcerative Colitis. Now I'm not a medical professional - far from it - but I have never been able to understand why most experts believe that what you eat doesn't make a difference to a disease that is all about the bowel. But that's just me.

So, being one to ignore people and find things out for myself, I have, over the last 7 years (since diagnosis) tried a variety of elimination diets to determine what I can and cannot eat. Or should and should not eat. Unfortunately, even by keeping a detailed food diary, I couldn't pinpoint any particular foods or groups of food that consistently had an effect on how I felt physically.

I was coming to the conclusion that all foods hated me.

Then, of course, there is the link with mental health. When I'm feeling low, that certainly does affect what I eat, how much I eat and if I eat. And how I feel afterwards.

So - what to do? My doctor decided to refer me to the dietitian for some help and advice and I was keen to go.

Other than the rather baffling questions above - I specifically wanted to know whether I was intolerant to gluten, to lactose or some other crazy thing! Basically, what should I eat, or not eat, to make me feel better?

This is probably a good time to mention, rather ashamedly, that my diet is, erm, not the best. I don't drink a lot of fizzy juices, I don't eat takeaways and I don't tend to drink alcohol. Good? Well...

I do eat a lot of chocolate, sweets and chocolate. Oh, and chocolate.

If I'm ever too tired to eat, don't have anything planned or am just looking for a pick me up, I turn to chocolate. Sure it hurts my stomach, but so does most food and I figure that at least I'm not eating full meals AND chocolate!

I know, I know - it all sounds a wee bit silly when you write it down but, as the dietitian mentioned today, food is such a big part of our lives, but it's also routine. You can almost switch off when you're doing it because it's so... normal.

So, the dietitian...

I went in and told my story, as above. She then asked me the question that I had dreaded - what have you eaten today? I answered truthfully that I had eaten an apple. And a chocolate orange. By this time it was 2.30pm so there were more things about that statement that were shameful than you would first think. I was trying to defend myself when I realised that my excuse was that I wouldn't have had the chocolate orange but my colleague didn't want to eat his birthday cake until the afternoon so I had to have something other than cake for breakfast/lunch.

As excuses go - it's pretty shit.

Luckily for me, the dietitian has seen it all - heard it all.

Then she said something that surprised me. She said that my first issue is making sure that I eat consistently.

What - does it not matter what I eat?

Of course it does but I was told to take it one step at a time. My first task is to eat consistently.

As the dietitian pointed out, on some mornings I'm eating breakfast, and others not. Then sometimes I eat lunch at 12noon, sometimes 1.30pm and sometimes not at all. Tea is rather the same story. So, my bowels, already not in pristine health, are being overwhelmed. When will she eat? What will she eat? It's very possible that my stomach isn't reacting to the food itself, but the fact that sometimes it gets healthy food, sometimes it gets unhealthy food and sometimes nothing at all.

It's an interesting thought and one which I hadn't actually considered before.

So, before I can decide if I have any intolerances, I have to make sure my body knows when it will get food and to feed it with consistent portions with protein, veggies and carbs in each meal. Only then will my stomach settle down enough to be able to conclusively say whether it's the food that affecting me or just the inconsistent diet and schedule.

So, as appointments go - it was useful.

And at least she didn't tell me to avoid chocolate, biscuits and good stuff over the Christmas period! Double bonus!

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

I claim you! (Or, Claiming your Bloglovin' Blog)

Follow my blog with Bloglovin
Although I was never a user of Google Reader, I was aware of the controversy when they axed it. Ironically enough, the big hoohah was probably the best piece of free marketing for all the other websites that allow you to follow your favourite blog. You couldn't pay for that kind of exposure. Well, you could, but you'd be bankrupt.

So this is where I learned about Bloglovin'.

As I played about, I was advised to "claim my blog". This sounded slightly primitive and definitely something I wanted to do. Who hasn't dreamed of claiming something in their own name? Okay, maybe just me!!

In Bloglovin', you press the little blue heart and choose to edit your settings.

Halfway down the page you'll see a button called 'Blogs by me'. Click to add your own blog.

It's time for the claiming. Click that claim blog button!

Now just add the name of your blog and search. If your blog doesn't come up the first time, try a few alternatives and it will suddenly appear.

When your blog appears in the list, click to claim. Yay!

Now some html code appears, asking you to add to your blog.

The html code that appears is thus:

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

So, what happens then?

Don't do what I did and get so confused that you go through the process about a hundred times! Then, you read the text that says, some blogs require you to put the provided html at the top of the blog post. Ooops.

Then don't do what I did next and keep going round in circles again.

Keep the window that has the code open. Now go to a separate window and add the code to your blog post - at the top just to be safe!

Once you've published your post, return to the window on Bloglovin' and press the button to claim your blog.

You are now taken to a page where you can change details about your blog on Bloglovin' to make it easier for new readers to find you.

You can add a description, thumbnail and category. It's like social media for blogs!

There's also a nice little statistic tracker where you can watch your followers as they (hopefully) go on the up and up!

You'll also get a shiny email with 5 top tips to find those readers. Good times.

So that's what I learned today. Every day's a school day!

Tuesday, 10 December 2013


I'm beginning to wonder if the depression medication actually takes away the emotions or if it just suppresses them.

I am back at work today after a week off to use up my holidays before my contract ends at the end of the month. I wasn't looking forward to going back but it's nowhere near as bad as it used to be when I worked at the bakery. (I didn't really work at a bakery - I'm just just substituting so I don't break out in a panic at the mere mention of the real name of the company I used to work for. I would *love* to work in a bakery!!)

Despite this, there are things going on at work, plots afoot (afeet?) and mind games being played - the kind of office politics that go hand in hand with most office jobs.

It's exhausting.

I feel emotionally drained and have learnt today that I'm considered even more superfluous than I could possibly have imagined. There's an interesting saying by Eleanor Roosevelt: "No-one can make you feel inferior without your consent. As much as I like this quote, I don't completely agree. If people are mentally beating you on a regular basis, it's just not possible to think well of yourself when they constantly tell you you're worthless. Or worse, imply that you are. At least if someone straight out tells you to your face, you can refute it. If it's said behind your back...

So, onto my question...

... here I sit. I've driven home, made my tea and now I have no obligations until tomorrow at 9am.

I'm just sitting here.

I feel like I should be crying.

I feel like I should be crying like my heart is breaking.

Instead I feel a little detached. Numb.

To be honest, I'm not sure which is better.

I feel a little lost.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Snow and the London Underground

Snow, snow, snow, snow, snowwwwww! (Fans of festive movies must sing that part!)

Yesterday was terribly windy but, for us at least, not as crazy as the wonderful hurricane bawbag from a couple of years ago. The Forth Road Bridge did close for a while and all our trains were suspended but apart from that we managed to escape much of the madness.

I have always thought that I would fit in well with the survivalists who are ready for any emergency that comes their way. I have no desire for there to be emergencies but I do like the planning and preparation that goes into being prepared! So, yesterday I calmly took stock of my bottled water, candles, non-perishable food and snow shovel. Just in case.

Then I went shopping.

There were a couple of flurries of snow and while it's still lying, it looks more like someone dusted the ground with icing sugar or polystyrene balls!

The first 'proper' snow of our season (I live in relatively low land and by the coast so while the slopes have been open for at least a month - we've seen nowt so far!) is set for tonight. The clouds are close and ominous and I'm looking forward to it. Hopefully it will give us a nice flurry - just enough to make it pretty but not too much that we all get stranded!

I love snow! I love Christmas! Put the two together and you get one happy bunny!

Now for the London Underground part of my day. Apart from driving round the outskirts of London on my way to Dover, I have never been there. It's on my wishlist but not something I've done quite yet.

Anyway, regardless of that, I have been battling with a game on sporcle for at least a couple of months now. It's something that I come back to every now and then - determined to list each and every one of the 268 tube stations using groupings of three letters! Bizarre and slightly pointless but a challenge nonetheless.

Today I did it!!!


It's the small things in life!

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

A healthy mind in a healthy body...

I went to the German Christmas Market in Edinburgh today - a family Christmas tradition that I very much enjoy. More on that later... but while I was there I did something that I have been determined to do for a while - I visited a psychic.

I'm not actually sure if psychic is the correct term but she was of gypsy origin and her family had always had 'the gift of sight'. She read palms and tarot and given the choice, I chose to have my tarot read. This wasn't for any particular reason - I just had to pick one and that's the choice that I felt like making at the time. As hard as it was for me, I was trying not to overthink things overly much!

To say that I was nervous was a massive understatement. My mum had waited with me in the bleeding cold for about 40 minutes while I waited my turn and she kept me sane (ish) during the wait. Thanks, mama!

After my reading, I felt (and still feel) a little overwhelmed by everything that she said. I'm not going to go into the details of what she revealed to me but let me just say that it was comforting and motivating at the same time. I have a bad habit of chickening out of things at the last minute so I'm glad I had people there to persuade me to go ahead with this.

So now I feel I have a little direction. Actually, I have belief in my own direction which is so much better.

When I came home, I spotted the word sophrosyne and this seemed hugely fitting for how I'm now feeling.

Let's go.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Happiness is...

It's been a tough week. As I'm determined to see the good in things - I will admit that despite all that has been going on, I have had a little bit of a wake up call as to how my illness (depression rather than UC) must have affected my family.

I have always been grateful of the way that my family have stood with me as I fell to my lows. They have given me advice and, when I didn't want to hear anything, they just held my hand and let me know they were there for me.

This last week, however, I have learned to appreciate them even more and am even more thankful for everything that they have done for me.

So the things that have been keeping me happy this particular week are...

Christmas started in my house with my trusty Christmas desktop and my fab USB lights:

The next bit of Christmassy goodness came when I attended my first Christmas concert of the season. The singing was superb (perhaps not so much the tunes with audience participation!) and I also doubled up by having my first mince pie and mulled wine of 2013. Needless to say, it will also be the last mulled wine I have this year! Mulled wine always seems like something that should taste delicious... but it's howfing. Plus, I haven't had any alcohol since my Snowball (retro 70s - yeah!) last Christmas so even a small glass gave me a good ol' glow!!


My tree is up! This is a picture of it in the daytime and everyone knows that Christmas trees are most magical at night so expect another picture soon!

I've also started a new book. Sarah MacLean's 'No Good Duke Goes Unpunished'. It's a historical romance and even though it's not a festive read - it arrived in the post the other day (I pre-ordered it in May in case anyone's reading this and thinks I broke the 'don't buy yourself anything in the run up to Christmas' rule!) and I just had to start reading it right away. The chilly nights, bundled up warm and toasty on the couch covered in a crochet blanket. Add in a cup of tea and book - what could be better?

And, of course, being Christmas, we have to get a cheesy pic of people snogging under the mistletoe! Or under the angel and rudolph headbands at the very least!

It's the little things!