Wedding Prep, a Birthday and Wagamama

Last week was my sister’s 30th birthday, so we made plans to meet up as a family for lunch yesterday. As my sister lives 100 miles away, I got the train up north on Saturday and stayed at her house. It was also the perfect opportunity to spend some time with my brother-in-law and Squidge (my niece) who is now 5 months old.

As always, traveling up in the afternoon is always busy, and it didn’t help that my train was severely delayed, but by the time I arrived I was met with this gorgeous face, which made it all worthwhile. Her hair is beginning to grow so she is looking less like Grant Mitchell from Eastenders now, which is always a bonus!

 

Saturday night was fairly relaxed – the delayed train and the awful traffic meant that we didn’t get home until late – and my brother-in-law was out with his own siblings so after Squidge had been put in bed my sister and I over-indulged on the snacky treats and watched our favourite chick-flick – Only You – while catching up and generally talking nonsense. To save her the time and effort of setting up the airbed I stayed on the couch (which happens to be the world’s comfiest) and enjoyed the luxury of Sky TV, which The Bloke and I don’t have. Continue reading

Birthday Shopping, an Engagement and Blogmas!

It was my birthday the other day. The Bloke and my friends were at work and I had already been spoilt with lots of lovely presents and cards (personalised notebook, Mojito lollipops, money, lovely meal, the new Caitlin Moran book, voucher, TICKETS TO SEE RENT IN LONDON), so I decided that rather than attempting to organise a get-together, I would have a day to myself. I was in Birmingham city centre by 8am, munching my way through a McDonalds breakfast, armed with a voucher and birthday money and braced myself for the chaos that descends daily in the city around this time of year.

I had a plan to race round and finish off my Christmas shopping by 10.00am. I did quite well, managing most of it by 10.30am without being run over by a baby buggy or one of those really annoying wheeled suitcases (seriously, don’t even get me started on those…) and then got myself back home armed with lots of bags and bubble tea. I plonked myself under a warm duvet in front of the TV, where me and the cat (who was tired after running around, singing the songs of his people and attacking my face at 3am) caught up on some programmes we missed last week and had a snooze. Continue reading

I Went, I Shopped, I Bought Stuff…

imageAfter yesterday’s nonsense I decided that the only thing for it was to take myself off into town and have a shop. I’m going to a wedding on Saturday and needed a dress. At least, that’s what I was telling myself.

Now, while I can easily spend hours browsing through make-up and beauty products, I’m not exactly a patient person when it comes to shopping for clothes for a number of reasons:

1. Over the last five years I’ve put on quite a large amount of weight, which means that I now have a big ass to go with the large hips that all the women in my family have inherited from my grandmother, so finding something that a/ is in my size and b/ is flattering to my pear shape is quite difficult.

2. If I do actually find something, it’s inevitable that I can’t afford it.

3. I don’t particularly make an effort to look my best when I’m trudging around, so it’s a frequent occurrence that shop assistants are rude and unhelpful (make-up assistants at a very well known brand are particularly awful in my experience) and it’s not uncommon for me to be followed by some sort of security guard who has clearly made the assumption that I’m going to steal something and is waiting to pounce on me. Continue reading

How To Shop When You Hate Shopping

how to shop when you hate shopping

I had a day off yesterday, so took the opportunity to go to the opening of the new ‘Grand Central’ centre, complete with the new John Lewis store in Birmingham. I’ve watched it take shape over the last few years, and thought it might be a chance to get started on my Christmas shopping (yes, I know it’s September, but I’m using this particular ‘C’ word already…) ahead of the mania that sweeps the city every year.

The problem is, I hate shopping. Okay, to be fair I like buying presents for other people, but I hate actually going out to do so. I hate the crowds, in particular the people who seem oblivious to those around them, and over the years I’ve had lots of bad experiences that have involved rude staff, having my feet run over with pushchairs, long queues of people monotonously complaining about having to stand in line, and one particularly angry woman screaming at me to ‘get out of the way’ in her desperation to secure a box of biscuits from the shelf in Selfridges. Nice. They must have been fabulous biscuits.

Of course, the easiest and most effective way of purchasing items is to buy them from the Internet. However, many people I know are still wary of sharing their bank details online, and there are plenty of horror stories of people who have been scammed, had to wait for weeks for items to arrive or have experienced difficulties when trying to return or replace damaged goods. I use the Internet for specific items, but I often prefer to see a product, or in the case of clothes, try them on before I buy. Continue reading

Retail Therapy

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I went shopping this morning. It was quite a novelty for me – I haven’t been able to buy anything for months because of the astronomical bills I’ve had from the vets, but after a bad night’s sleep I decided that a little retail therapy was in order. The plan was to buy a new pair of jeans. However, it was bright and sunny and four hours later I found that not only had I managed to buy two pairs of jeans, but I had also seemed to find several summer tops to go with them.

And why not!

I don’t usually spend much time shopping for clothes, even when I do have the money. I tend to dress like a teenage boy, usually wearing sweaters and jeans and I shop like a man – I shop alone (I can’t stand shopping with other people because I’ll inevitably end up sitting outside the changing rooms for half an hour waiting for whoever I’m with to try something on that they won’t buy), I know what I want, I go in, buy it and leave – but today I wandered around aimlessly, trying on lots of items and silently cursing the disgustingly fashionable girls who were effortlessly wearing outfits that I would look like a sack of potatoes in. I’ve managed to find a few things that I can’t currently afford but I will revisit in the summer, I enjoyed a nice breakfast, and I was able to take a little bit of time just for me.

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It’s also the unofficial International Star Wars Day, so May the Fourth be with you! My best friend is at his Godson’s christening today. His Godson’s name is Lucas. It couldn’t be any more perfect – I have images of him saying “Lucas, I am your Godfather…” at some point during the day. Awesome.

Hope you’re enjoying the weekend! You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog and Facebook: facebook.com/suzie81speaks

Done, Done and Done

ImageI’m feeling a little delicate this morning. It could be due to the annual Christmas teacher flu that I always develop on the first day of the holidays. More likely, however, it’s because I consumed quite a large amount of alcohol last night at the staff party.

It was a really nice evening – my friend and I were on a table with the canteen staff, who are hilarious, and so we spent most of the meal in hysterical fits of laughter. Everyone looked very glamorous, the food was beautiful and after some initial reluctance most of us spent the rest of the evening dancing the night away to party classics from the 1970’s and 1980’s. At one point the Principal sat next to me to say hello and I’m a little concerned that I may have been slurring when I was speaking with her, but other than that I made it through the night relatively unscathed.

ImageWhen I got up this morning I decided to get everything finished off in preparation for the next few days. The Bloke and I are spending Christmas seperately with our own families so tomorrow we are going to have our own little celebration at home. We are going to start the day by opening our presents, then we plan to watch Disney’s ‘Frozen’ at the cinema, visit the German Market as it is the last day and then when we get back I am going to cook a nice two course meal. I would normally do three, but the children at work have been very generous and I have been swamped with enormous amounts of chocolate, so it seems pointless buying a dessert. This is usually followed by ‘A Muppets Christmas Carol,’ which has become a little tradition of ours to watch on the first weekend of the holidays.

I live one road away from the main high street, so by 8.30am I had been to the local supermarket, bought the food I needed and was back home snuggling with the cats on the couch. I think I’m done – presents, cards and food are sorted, plans have been made with friends over the next few weeks and I’ve even bought a novelty sweater to wear when I visit my sister on Christmas Day. However, I have made a little pact with myself that I will never be this disorganised again in the build up to future holidays…

After several weeks of stress, I plan to spend the rest of the day relaxing and hopefully catching up on some sleep. I’m done, done and done.

You can also find me on Twitter @Suzie81blog

Image Credits:

Picture 1: Mirror.co.uk
Picture 2: keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

The Festive Spirit Has Finally Arrived…

I must admit, I haven’t been feeling the spirit of the impending holidays over the last few weeks. I love Christmas, but I think the pressures of the last few months have taken over and the whole season has snuck up on me, tapped me on the shoulder and screamed in my face when I least expected it.

This all changed today, however, when The Bloke and I decided to go into town and stay there until we had finished getting everything we need. It was quite a dull and miserable day, but we got there early enough to appreciate the German Market before the rest of Birmingham decided to join us and it was actually possible to see what was on offer at the various stalls.

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The most popular stall at the market

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Stuff they never knew they needed… until now!

We were also able to move around successfully in Selfridges, which at this time of the year is virtually impossible. They’ve done an absolutely stunning job with the decorations inside…

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I love the lights…

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More stuff I didn’t know I needed…

I had a great time – I’ve bought all my presents and finished wrapping them when I got home. I was also able to treat myself a little by spending some of my Waterstones book vouchers that I received for my birthday. I bought Tom Cox’s ‘The Good, The Bad and The Furry,’ as I’ve been an avid follower of Tom and The Bear, his ‘Sad Cat’ on Twitter for a while now (@MYSADCAT). It appears to be customary to post a picture of your purchase with your cat and tweet it to Tom, so I did just that with Wobbly, my 19 year old tortie. She was clearly ecstatic by the early Christmas present…

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Absolutely delighted…

What a brilliant day! I may even go out again tomorrow to try and get a few last minute surprises for The Bloke – he was with me for most of today and therefore it was quite difficult to get anything for him.

Hope you’re enjoying the last part of your weekend!!