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3 Feb

Inspired by the lovely Livy, I have decided to complete this little quiz for 2010!

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?

Got married; bought a puppy; visited California. An eventful year!

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I can’t remember making any! I think we were just so smug at not having to pledge to quit smoking, because we had done so in 2009. I am definitely making them for 2011. There’s much to do!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

My neighbour, who has become a good friend, gave birth just before Christmas. Mostly people just fell pregnant, so 2011 will be the year of the baby.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No, thankfully. There have been too many in recent years.

5. What countries did you visit?

UK and US. We weren’t travelling due to wedding and honeymoon saving, so that was 11 months without a break! Painful…

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?

Job satisfaction. A well-behaved puppy.

7. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

7 August, our wedding day.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Bringing home the perfect puppy. Signing off the practising certificate and enabling job freedom. Ack, it’s hard to count getting married and falling pregnant as an achievement. We make such a huge thing of it, and most people do it, so it’s relatively mundane!

9. What was your biggest failure?

Lack of pre-wedding weight loss. Lack of post-conception weight gain. My body is fighting me!

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Nope! I had plenty in 2009.

11. What was the best thing you bought?


12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

Amazing friends who made me feel so loved – Ciara, Elly, Manuela, and baby sister Ellie. My husband, who never fails to surprise me with his awesomeness.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, and anyone else who encourages hatred or seeks to restrict the rights of others. Parents who laugh when their children bully others. People who twist their religion to use it as a weapon of hate and judgement. Anyone who will burn a book they have never read.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Honeymoon, then wedding.

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

Getting married. Getting Meg. Getting pregnant.

16. What song will always remind you of 2010?

One Night in Bangkok.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

(a) happier or sadder? happier

(b) thinner or fatter? same

(c) richer or poorer? poorer

Whoa. That was a life lesson, wasn’t it?

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Working, travelling

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

Stressing, spending, drinking

20. How did you spend Christmas?

At Dad’s with the family.

21. Did you fall in love in 2010?

Yes, with my beautiful pup.

22. What was your favourite TV programme?

I couldn’t pick one. Buffy will always remain my desert island DVD!

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

No. Hating people is far too tiring.

24. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Taylor Swift. I joined the party very late.

25. What did you want and get?

A lovely wedding, and a fun honeymoon. Meg.

26. What did you want and not get?

People to put aside their differences and share in the excitement.

27. What was your favorite film of this year?

I have actually seen so few films this year. Alice in Wonderland was a bitter disappointment due to the unspeakably weak story, Alice’s complete lack of character, and their bizarre idea to completely ignore the Opium Wars in her amazing plans. I’ll have to go with Toy Story 3, because it was funny and sweet and made me cry.

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

I went to work, then drove to Milton Keynes for my hen weekend. I was 28.

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Exercising financial restraint.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?

I’m sorry, what? I gave up magazines for Lent a few years back. Life is significantly better without them.

31. What kept you sane?

My boy.

32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I know I’ll never have a chance with  him, but NPH gives me butterflies. Charlie Hunnam, until I realised that he was the annoying one in Green Street.

33. What political issue stirred you the most?

Welfare dependency. Nobody should be undernourished, homeless, in danger, idle or without adequate healthcare. I believe that is the responsibility of the taxpayer. Anything beyond that is 100% the responsibility of the individual or charities.

34. Who did you miss?

Grandad. He would have been so excited to add “Great” to his title officially.

35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010:

Little yellow dogs are good luck charms.

Please feel free to post again and let me know so I can come and read!


Explain Yourself

14 Nov

This weekend has been an exercise in patience. Two of Patrick’s schoolfriends have been staying with us, and “school” is the operative word. It seems that when we’re around those who knew us best at a certain point in life have the ability to always take us back to that point. My husband is one of the most gently confident people I know, but something about old friends seems to take him to a place where he needs to explain his life choices.

Explaining why you’ve left London, moved to “the country” (the London-centric term for anywhere with a population under half a million) and got a Land Rover and a dog is difficult. They’re things that you do because you like them – because they make you happy. There are other reasons, but nobody wants to be negative about the place that people live to their face. Because paying three-quarters of your take-home to live somewhere with crime, litter and both poverty and wealth rammed in your face every day is somewhat soul-destroying. Because my face seems to be at the same height as the average commuters’ armpit.

I gave up women’s magazines some time ago for a couple of reasons. One was the absurd fawning over celebrities. Every issue would feature an interview with a celebrity who was “surprisingly” the nicest person ever, and oh-so-naturally beautiful without a hint of make-up. I kid you not – they would rehash the same actual article week after week,  changing only the name and a few personalising details. The main reason, though, was the unattainable lifestyle that they were pushing. A group of local, identical-interest girlfriends with whom you go drinking most evenings; a designer wardrobe with no mention of a career; a rich, successful boyfriend and acrobatic sex life (presumably after the drinks with the girls); holidays to far flung exotic climes or the Italian Riviera.

Living in a big city feels like living in one of those magazines. Where I am now, having designer labels and the fact that I’m not out every night doesn’t cross my mind until I have them dangled in front of me. The line “you can’t miss something you never had” isn’t quite it – more like you can’t miss what becomes irrelevant.

I’m happy here. It’s just difficult to put it into words, and any attempt sounds like protesting too much.

Anyway, it’s a new week, so I’m setting some goals.

1. Walk 10 miles.

2. Speak to my local Slimming World representative and get signed up for meetings!

3. Finish all the work I need to do for clients A1 and M1.

4. Book a doctor’s appointment! I know they won’t see me for two weeks, but I’m impatient and want to get started.

5. Have a total wardrobe clear-out.

6. Finish off our thank-you cards from the wedding. I’m 2/3 of the way there.

7. Buy all the copies of the Sun I need to get our £9.50 trip to Disneyland Paris! I swear I don’t buy that filth normally, but it’s too good a deal to miss.

8. Write up another honeymoon post.

Busy week! Is anyone else weirded out by the big picture of Jimmy Wales at the top of the Wikipedia page at the moment? He just looks so… sincere.

Is there anyone in your life who makes you feel 14 again?


28 Oct

I read an interesting blog comment over on Any Other Wedding yesterday. Little Wife to Little Mama shared her story about a friendship coming to an end as she and another girl found that their interests just weren’t compatible any more. Her friend was keen to go out drinking, but unwilling to compromise and have dinner or just hang out.

I’ve been in the same position, but for opposite reasons. My best friend from school stopped wanting to have big nights out, but also gradually phased me out while I tried to arrange lower-key gatherings that might be more suitable to her. We didn’t speak for four years. Our lives have come back into sync in the past few years – it’s still a little tentative, but we’re getting there.

I often think that friendships are far more difficult than relationships. With relationships, when you have problems, you make a conscious decision to either end things or try to work at it.  With friendships, when people grow apart, all that’s left is one embarrassed person trying to keep the lines of communication open.

I read a comment from the ditcher’s perspective recently, and was horrified to see her say how pathetic she thought her friend was as she tried to keep the friendship going, when she just wanted her to go away. It was so sad to think that someone could consciously treat someone they were supposed to care about that way.

I’m not suggesting that every random acquaintance should be formalised, but we all know the type of friend to whom we owe more than a “sorry – I’m busy”.

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