Thursday, 31 January 2013

January's Favourite Things

Linking up with AshleyKatie & Jena today 


This cheerful card that my beautiful girl made for my cousin's birthday.  She loves art but struggles sometimes with her muscle problems and I am so proud of all the effort she puts in.  It also shows that children with ASD do have a compassionate and caring side, that people often think is lacking.


That the snow has been and gone.  I really enjoyed messing around with my favourites in the snow, cuddling in the warm with blankets and hot chocolate and the beautiful scenery.  But the flip side of six days of school and not being able to get to work etc. even got the children down.  So now we are pleased to be back to normal!

This quote that I found on Pinterest led to this post (here).  I've referred back to it many times over the last couple of weeks and have made a few changes to the house already :) 

I know I blogged about meeting Anberlin yesterday (here) but it really was one of the best nights! I can't wait to see them again tomorrow!

Pinterest saves the day again! I have been looking up photos of tropical beaches and anything spring / summer related just to look at a bit of sun! I can't wait for some sun, warmer weather and the new spring / summer make up collections that are coming out. I may start wearing them soon in the hope the sun will take the hint and come out to play!!!

Katie Did What

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Help I'm becoming a groupie!!!

Linking up with Shanna for Random Wednesday 
 This weekend was amongst the best of them! Seriously good but I have learnt two things....

That you can buy fleece lined leggings! - seriously where have these been all my life?


I am seriously uncool when meeting my favourite hello who am I and what have you done with my real self???

I think it is safe to say that I should not have had more than one drink. Not that I had many but when I have more than one I become ridiculously talkative. Now throw that in with excitement and I think we can see where this is going!

First off though I am in love with my new shirt! We stopped off at the shops before heading to Bristol as it was still freezing out with the snow and ice and I wanted something to cover up my vest top and wear under my jacket.  Here I found fleece lined leggings (which were so much more comfortable than the jeans I had planned to wear) and this soft, brushed cotton shirt! Best bit, my sister works there and I got 25% off everything :) I'm so in love with the warm leggings I think I may wear them every day.
Red Pattern (Red) Red and Blue Check Shirt  | 269880969 | New Look
Shirt from New Look

Anyway, on to the gig. The support acts (The Getaway Plan and The Xcerts) were both great but I was also kinda distracted by Christian who was stood right next to us!  Luckily we got right to the front so had an amazing view :)  As always Anberlin were awesome and the gig seemed to fly by. 
Stephen Christian :)
So after singing, screaming, and getting my copy of Stephen's book, 'The Orphaned Anything's' signed as he left the stage, we decided to stay around for a drink as everyone else left.  I also knew from previous experience that the band would more than likely be returning once everyone left!

When they played Cardiff on a previous tour I was lucky enough to meet Stephen and had a long conversation and hug which resulted in lots of tears (non groupie moment, it was a bit of a deep and meaningful conversation which may or may not warrant a future post).  Saturday, it was my turn to meet Deon and Christian (below).  The conversation turned to Cardiff and rugby as they are playing there Friday (going to that one too!!) and the Six Nations Rugby Championships kicks off the next day. Dave had to put up with Deon and I talking about the rugby as he wants to go and me offering to show them around!! This resulted in me ending up with their tour managers contact details sorting out passes for the stadium! I think Dave got me back on the uncool stakes by questioning Christian on the Pearl Jam covers though.  He is a big PJ fan but seriously talking about another band at their gig was a bit embarrassing!
Deon - Bassist

Lead guitarist - Christian :)
As we left I was kinda on a big high and couldn't wait to share the evening especially when Stephen tweeted me.  The next morning I cringed when I woke up to find this Facebook status.....

....I seriously could have died, it may not sound too bad and I wasn't drunk or too OTT, but I seriously lost my credibility gushing over a guitarist, especially when Dave told my sister he was the cool one that night!! 

I'm still really looking to Friday though when we get to do it all over again, with my friend Tyler and Deb over at Walking By Myself. Although I am going to ensure that I am cool, calm and collected if we get to meet them again! I most definitely do not want to get to groupie status! I must also remember not to be too busy having photos with the band that I forget to have outfit shots taken and maybe also a photo with the bf...oops!! 

Friday, 25 January 2013

St Dwynwen's Day / Dydd Santes Dwynwen

Although barely known outside Wales, every year on 25 January we celebrate St Dwynwen’s Day, the Welsh patron saint of lovers.
The story of Dwynwen dates back to the 5th century, when Dwynwen fell in love with a Prince called Maelon Dafodrill. Her father, King Brychan Brycheiniog, was determined that she would marry another man.
Dwynwen was devastated that she couldn’t marry her true love and begged God to make her forget Maelon. An angel visited Dwynwen and gave her a potion. The potion was supposed to make her have no memory of Maelon and turned him into a block of ice.
Dwynwen was then granted three wishes. Firstly she wished for Maelon to be thawed (I would have personally left him as a block of ice, but that's why Dwynwen is a saint and I'm not!), secondly that God meet the hopes and dreams of true lovers and thirdly she wished that she would never marry.
Dwynwen devoted the rest of life to God’s service, founding a convent on the island of Llanddwyn. You can still see the remains of the church on the island today.

On the island, there is a well where, according to legend, a sacred fish swims. It is said that the fish can predict the happiness of relationships. Visitors still go to the well today, hoping that the water will boil, meaning that love and good luck will follow them.
We are a romantic country – we also celebrate St Valentine’s day on 14 February!

This 'n' That

Katie Did What

Linking up with Katie and Jena

This weather is so so pretty but is causing chaos. Thank goodness after six days the schools are now open and I can get into work. Not that I've minded being at home in the warm, with yummy food and pj days, or playing in the snow with my favourite people, but my bank balance has!

That this weekend sees the start of three weeks of gigs! Starting Saturday with my favourite band Anberlin :) I'm so excited, although of course pretending (not very well) that I'm a grown up and can control myself.... yeh, failing miserably!

This cat has made me laugh so much over the last week or so.  He hates the snow and has often been found sulking like this....

Have a good one....
A xx

Friday, 18 January 2013

Winter food - Chicken Cacciatore

Although I'm more of a fan of warmer days, the one thing I love about winter is eating hearty, warming foods and cuddling up with a blanket and by candlelight with those I love.

The icy weather over the last week has led to even more of these meals and I made this slow cooker chicken which lasted us two nights.  It was perfect to warm us up after coming in from the snow and ice and cost under £10 for both days :) 

I served it with vegetables the first night and then with rice for Megan and I the second.

Chicken Cacciatore
Serves 4
Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking: 5 hours

 3 tbsp olive oil
4 chicken portions (or 8 thighs), skinned if desired
2 onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
400g / 14 oz organic chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp fresh thyme
150 ml / 5 fl oz red wine
salt and pepper

  • Heat the oil in a heavy - based frying pan.  Add the chicken portions and cook over a medium heat, turning occasionally for 10 mins until golden all over.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to the slow cooker.
  • Add the onions to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 mins until softened and just turning golden.  Add the garlic, tomatoes and their can juices, tomato puree, parsley, thyme and wine.  Season with salt and pepper and bring to the boil.  
  • Pour the tomato mixture over the chicken pieces.  Cover and cook on low for 5 hours until the chicken is tender and cooked through. Taste, adjust the seasoning if necessary and serve.
A xx

Thursday, 17 January 2013

This 'n' That Thursday...Snow days

Katie Did What
This is my first post in almost a week.  I have been completely rubbish.  I'm not sure why. But I am back!
That it is snowing here! Actually mixed feelings about this.  It is only light at the moment but due to get heavier through today and very heavy tomorrow.  The landscape around here is beautiful when it snows but it causes chaos - schools close, roads close etc. The UK cannot cope with snow and although a snow day at home is most tempting at the moment, my man works and lives about an hour away (across the English border) and I need him to be able to get here for the weekend tomorrow! Plus my parents are on holiday and due back tomorrow so I'm hoping it doesn't get too deep before they get here tomorrow. After six pm tomorrow it can snow all it likes!
For now though Megan and I (she is off school unwell today) are cuddled up on the sofa, enjoying the view in the warm :)
 Our local scenery today c/o my friend Jenna

This is the perfect day to be sat in and looking through the new Spring / Summer collection from Next.  I love this store, the clothes collection, both adult and children's and home collection is particularly beautiful.  I'm thinking this outfit may be my new weekend / at home outfit.  I love how comfy it looks and the stripes.

I'm also loving the outfit below in both combinations! I'm thinking this day could prove expensive! 

That I have the most amazing boyfriend who has put up with me having 'one of those weeks' and still managing to make me smile.  We have finally narrowed down a couple of holidays for May and will hopefully decide this weekend and book one! I can't wait for some sun with two of my favourite people :)

I hope you have a lovely day, whatever you are doing.
Keep warm!
A xx 

Friday, 11 January 2013

Friday's letters

Linking up with Ashley

Dear home hair colour, thank you for giving me my lovely brown locks back. The Florida sun took it's toll and turned my hair three different shades and you surprisingly turned out well. Plus you saved me around £70 - bonus!!

Dear Friday, thank goodness you are here! It seems like such a long week and I am so so tired! So far has been great, a little lie in before the school run and a long hot soak in the bath whilst watching a history documentary on Queen Victoria (yes I am a geek, I LOVE Queen Vic!). I admit I have not done much housework today, but it has been such a long time since I have had a Friday off with Megan in school and even longer since I've had time to myself to prepare for a night out! Bliss :)

Dear window cleaners, UNLUCKY!! You thought there was nobody at home when you came to clean the windows this morning.  Unbeknown to you, I was actually lying in said bath with the window open listening to your little conversation!! Therefore, no it is not okay NOT to clean my windows because nobody is home but still charge me! That will not be happening - I look forward to you coming back to collect the money you did not earn!

Dear Sister, thank you so much for having your niece tonight so that I can go out.  It is much needed.  As much as I love her it is time for a night apart. Being a single mum is hard work and I need some time out.  I will pick her up tomorrow, I.....ummm.....promise! ;)

Dear Daddy, Happy 60th Birthday for this weekend.  I love you and can't wait to celebrate with you on Sunday :)

I hope you all have a lovely weekend...what are your plans?

Thursday, 10 January 2013

This 'n' That Thursday

Katie Did What

Linking up with Katie and Jena today.

This recipe for Southern style baby rack ribs from the beautiful Helen's blog, Ah, that's love has become a new favourite with all of us. I would have taken some photos, however they were not on the plate long enough! One thing I have learnt from my travels in America, you sure do ribs better than in Britain!

That someone who has played a big part in my life for a long time is being deployed to Afghanistan in a few days.  For twelve months there will be no crazy random texts at silly times of the night (he's in North Carolina, I'm five hours ahead in Britain) and no daily check ins, just because. A bit emotional about it all right now to be honest, a simple text from him saying "Don't be worried, everything will be ok" set me off. Not much else to say on this apart from please, if you pray, keep both him and his unit in your prayers to keep them safe and give them the courage to deal with whatever is ahead.  I must be positive but it is going to be a long and worrisome twelve months.

on a happier note...

This post (here) that I wrote on Tuesday, has made me more positive about my house. I'm excited to get on with the little jobs that I can right now so that it is a 'work in progress' rather than an 'if only I could afford...' :)

That I am feeling much better and the sun came out this week (before the rain started and the impending snow) and reminded me what a beautiful city I live in.  After not being out for a while due to illness I appreciated it all the more and Cardiff certainly looks beautiful in the sun.  May be a future blog post showing you around Cardiff is in order?
Cardiff Bay

Cardiff Castle

I hope that you have had a good week and have a lovely weekend.  I can't wait as I actually have fun plans out of the house! A grown up night out tomorrow and my father's 60th birthday Sunday :)

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Dream Home

In a couple of weeks I will have been in my home for a year.  In that time I have not really done an awful lot to it apart from putting up curtains and photos / canvases.  With funds a bit more limited at the moment I had become really fed up with not being able to do anything to it and haven't really found much inspiration of what I could do even if I did have the money with it being a rental.

One of my resolutions for 2013 is to make sure that I make the house my own this year and whilst browsing Pinterest yesterday I found this quote....

This really sums up how I have been thinking recently.  I have been so fed up that my furniture is mismatched and that I haven't been able to buy new that I have missed what I do have and what I can do.  Don't get me wrong I'd love some new pieces and there are things that I do need to go and buy new but, I have some lovely pieces that have been handed to me that I could make my own.  I have been preoccupied that some furniture has been given to me by other people instead of thinking of ways to personalise them, make them fit in and treasuring them.  

I'm not sure that I would want a house furnished with completely new and contemporary furniture anyway!!  I like contemporary pieces but I'm a historian and love vintage so a house full of new just wouldn't be in my character! I realised that I need to stop comparing my house and style with that of  my friends and make it work for myself and my family.

With this in mind I have scoured Pinterest for ideas that I could use to make my old furniture like new and fit in with my personality.  

What do you think?  I already have an idea for a chest of drawers I have in my bedroom, my late grandmother's rocking chair (on which she fed my father and subsequently my mother fed me) and also a few other smaller pieces.  All of which should keep me occupied whilst I'm saving for the new pieces! On that note, today I will be collecting some 'nearly' new sofas from a friend and raiding the garage for some sand paper!!!

Happy Tuesday :) xx

Monday, 7 January 2013

Monday Madness I wrote this first thing today and didn't get around to actually posting....

So it's the first Monday of 2013. I'd like to say that I'm starting my first working week of the year full of life and positivity, but quite frankly I'd just like to crawl back into my bed!

This weekend was short. Dave, Megan and I only had Saturday together as I had to work at the museum for a few hours Sunday. We managed a trip to Starbucks and a shop or two before I was tired and had to head back but it was nice to be out of the house.

Sunday, Megan went ice skating at Winter wonderland and Dave went to his parents for the remainder of the weekend. It was my first day back in work since my illness and as I've not fully recovered it completely wore me out.

This morning started early! Harley (our cat) decided he wanted to have breakfast at 5am and I couldn't get back to sleep knowing my alarm would be going off an hour and a half later. Typically though, I cuddled up to Megan (who had climbed into my bed) and started to drift back to sleep as the alarm sounded. Bummer!!

On a plus though my Mum took Megan to school this morning so that I could get to work early which meant that I didn't have to put up with Megan's first day back whinging! (I know, I sound like a terrible mum!).  It is also kind of nice to have done my hair and make up considering I've spent the days over Christmas and New Year in my pjs! 

I also have plans for this weekend that include a grown up night out - go me!! Not often that happens! It's also my father's 60th birthday this weekend so I'm busy ordering gifts and planning food for the family gathering on Sunday....that's if I make it through the week as it's quite hectic with sofas being delivered, Megan's play dates after school and a load of university work to get through.  I'm not going to stress about it though, as per my resolutions (here) I am going to worry less and prioritise.

Therefore you may just find me slumped at my desk sleeping, but don't tell anyone!!!

I also found this via Pinterest and although I've made my resolutions this year I thought it would be fun to include these!

I hope you have a good Monday :)