101 things in 1001 days: Go to a music festival and visit Stonehenge

101 things in 1001 days

I think I should start this post by pointing out that I am not the festival/outside camping/ being one with nature sort of person. I get cold easily, I have no balance (in muddy areas this has caused a number of soggy muddy bottoms) and I dislike all bugs. However one of my closest and longest friends the wonderful Leanne Carr asked me if I fancied a gander to Newquay to go to the Board Masters festival. A slightly bored Lizzy thought, hell, why not.

Two days later, a chipped windscreen, a confusion over tickets, a trip to Hertfordshire to pick up a new ticket (thanks parents) a near miss on the train down to Silverstone and a very tired Lizzy who had forgotten her toothbrush (darn) we made the six hour journey down to Cornwall. Leanne being an adult and a very organised person suggested we go to Stonehenge which has been on my list of things to do but due to my very lax knowledge of the geography of the United Kingdom had no idea where it was. However, we made a little detour and ended up at the very busy but utterly mesmerising Stonehenge.

Tickets at £15.00 weren’t cheap but when we got to the stones we were both in utter awe. I, not knowing really anything about them, had imagined them about waist height. Much to Leanne’s amusement they are just a little bigger. We spent the next hour taking selfies with the stones, listening in on a tour guide’s spiel, and weaving in and out of the reconstructed houses of the prehistoric people who built the monument at the time. We learnt so much about the spiritual importance of the stones and came out a little enthralled.

Four hours later we drove into the sunny town of Newquay; taking our tent, bags and my haul of food down to the entrance we found out you had to take all of your alcohol down first time round. So back up to the car again, we checked in to have a mirror quickly taken off of us. Setting up the tent we went back to the car to pick up the roll-mats forgetting to pick up our confiscated mirror. Four trips down we cracked open the cider, with our friend Jenny who we met there, and made our way down to the arena to see Everything Everything and Faithless. I took this time to a little drunkenly eat a steaming hot tub of mac and cheese, which was everything.

We spent Saturday at the beach, legs out, arms out, sunning ourselves and eating ice-cream; clotted cream for le adults (ie Jenny and Leanne) and a mega chocolatey one for yours truly #noregrets. Back at the campsite we had a proper catch up after not seeing Jenny in over four years, and drank too much wine and & cider before stumbling down to the arena. Pushing our way into a mosh pit (well done ladies) we were bashed about a bit whilst rudimental lit up the stage. Incredible stage presence and so many of their hits played, bloody bang on.

The final day we were all feeling a little exhausted despite getting quite a bit of sleep. I decided to spray my hair pink managing to get most of my neck and pyjamas involved in the process. Deciding to go back to Newquay, once arriving to go to the aquarium we decided instead it was time to find one of Char Balds suggested pasties; pork and apple. We found one in a dinky little pasty shop and my god it was beautiful. Back at the tent we drank the rest of the cider (rip liver) ate both a bag of salted caramel popcorn and doritos. We managed to see both Clean Bandit and I wolfed down a burrito before we finally went to see Bastille. Foot tapping, lighters out and hands swaying it’s one of the best live vocal performances I have seen to date. Tired out and exhausted we went back to the tent, waved goodbye to Jenny and snuggled into our sleeping bags.

The last day of the trip was spent packing up the tent, (getting a pop up tent is brilliant for putting it up but getting it back down again is another story.) picking up all our rubbish and making the seven hour trip back to Silverstone for me to later get the train back to Stoke-on-Trent. Armed with energy drink and minstrels we were immediately in traffic. Taking the alternate route we ended up on a road only big enough for a single car. Tired and exhausted we were happy to finally speed along the motor way and make it back pretty much on time. The next couple of days were exhausting but back at home wrapped in a duvet after a long hot shower the festival was just, brilliant. Not only something I’ve wanted to do for a long time but sharing it with two wonderful people was just spot on. Festival = done.

 

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101 things in 1001 days: Donate Blood

Today, I gave blood. Yes I finally got round to signing up and booking myself an appointment with the donor center in Stoke on Trent. I’ve been meaning to donate for a long time but there’s been a couple of problems to say the least.

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(Me before giving le blood: Panic!)

1) I avoided going at university by making the excuses of lectures, rehearsals and meetings but really was being a terrible wuss.
2) Having my rook pierced and then having to wait five months and then at the end of that getting my tragus pierced. Idiot.
3) I didn’t realise how much time waiting times were for an appointment so yep has taken foreverr.
4) The last reason is a bit personal but I wanted to check I was all okay so I was tested for everything under the sun to make sure I wasn’t donating blood that was unfit for use. (Alllll clear readers, just to clarify)
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(Where I donated the bloooooood)
But, the reasons for donating are more than that. I’ve always tried to help people, volunteering and the like and with something my body does naturally I thought it would be a shame not to give something that is replaced so easily.
The process was super simple; a lazy twenty minutes walk to the centre and a quick iron test; just a prick of blood which when dropped into a solution dropped to the bottom saying it was good to go. Then I was taken into the room where several people were already giving blood.
Unfortunately a lot like Mumma B and my Grandfather it was a struggle to find a vein. Apparently small veins run in the family and the nurses were quick to pass me over to one another before one declared finding a suitable one on me left arm.
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(My welcome brochure – Thank you NHS)
A cleaning of the area and a prick of the arm and it was all go. Due to my tiny veins I had to keep opening and closing my hand to keep the blood moving. I was a bit grossed out by how warm the tube was (I actually really detest blood) but it was easy and the general giggling of the nurses in the room really kept me at ease. It was wonderful.
A quick glass of water and a double checking I was all okay, I was sent on my way with an appointment for the 19th of January. Overall I had a wonderful time, oddly enough and I feel like I did something really worthwhile today. I really would recommend, if out can deal with the needle/blood/doctors then I really would recommend going and donating. It really is worth it and if I can do it (blood phobia and all) you could save a life or two.
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(Bless you Mumma B)

101 things in 1001 days: Read ten classic novels

101 things in 1001 daysClassic books; from Tolstoy to Fitzgerald, Bronte to Lee we’ve all at some point come into contact with a classic from the cannon of books that are recognised as the cream of the crop. I have avoided them as like the plague for the majority of my book blogging life as it were. I refused to read classic books at school with Enduring Love being a particular sticking point. Why? They just weren’t really me, and pulling apart the commas, certain word use and the like, as well as being asked to read the book a number of times, by the end of the semester the book was ruined.

However, when I started writing my 101 things in 1001 day list I decided it was time to start reading the classics again and give the cannon another chance. I picked books that interested me; historical fiction based and picked authors that I had already read books from such as Orwell, Fitzgerald (although that didn’t work so well) and also books at school that I hadn’t got the chance to read. I asked friends and family what they would suggest and I created a list of sorts, with extras being added along the way.

My final list included
1) Down and Out in Paris and in London by George Orwell
2) Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
3) Girl 20 by Kingsley Amis
4) The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
5) Factotum by Charles Bukowski
6) Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin
7) Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote
8) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
9) Animal Farm by George Orwell
10) Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
And, because I’m a little bit dopy
11) Gerald’s Party by Robert Coover

the-bell-jar2 Book review of, Of mice and men factotum1  Breakfast-at-Tiffanys-Truman-Capote-711x1024

On this list there are some utter stunning books, that I have had the pleasure of reading over the past few months and each has taught or shown me something about reading. Coover, Amis, and Plath all showed me how the writing of classic books can differ so greatly and yet still be incredible reads. Orwell showed me that all of his books are so different in content and yet they can be linked so quickly through the sheer in-depth nature of the meaning interwoven into every single word. Capote gave me one of my favourite books and brought Holly Golightly to life in a way I didn’t expect possible.

Harper Lee and John Steinbeck showed me that not all books taught in education are painful and that I need to go back and look at the books I so quickly dismissed. Reading Alcott finally allowed to me get through a childhood reading block and James Baldwin’s book almost reduced me to tears. Finally Bukowski and Coover showed me that even classics can be incredibly exciting in terms of the style and that I have read nothing like them in any of the contemporary novels I’ve come across so far.

I guess you could say in the last few months I’ve taken my hat and eaten it. I had it all wrong about the classics, but then, when you’re forced to read books it’s unlikely to make it more enjoyable. Being able to choose my own books; Wuthering Heights, (which I have read) and Dickens are unlikely to bring rave reviews but give me grit from Orwell and Bukowski and I’m a happy bunny.

One way to really show my new found love of classic fiction is recently for a Top Ten Tuesday post I was allowed to pick my own topic and, you guessed it, I decided to pick my next ten classics. I have learnt so much through this 101 thing to do and I have created a love of classic fiction which you will definitely be seeing more of as MLBB continues. *eeee*

101 things in 1001 days: A catch up

Today is going to be a 101 things catch up day because I’ve done a couple of tasks but are yet to write them up. Some are not quite enough to warrant an entire post so I’m going to wait till I’ve completed a couple and then let you know all about them because that seems like a more concise way of doing it. Four things to let you know about today.

101 things in 1001 days

Create an inspiration note-book

I’ve mentioned it a couple of times, but I was recently diagnosed with anxiety and the last few months I’ve been diligently attempting to quash the feelings of panic and live a happier less ‘panicked’ existence. Including (attempting) fitting in regular exercise, walking to and from work (public transport is just, awful,) and managing my work/blog/life balance better, I’ve started an inspiration note-book. I essentially bought an adorable notebook, stocked up on coloured biros and pencil crayons and in it I write Ten Things that have made me happy for today messages, photographs that make me smile, quotes that help to perk me up when I’m feeling down. Essentially it’s my go-to when I just want to get into bed, make a fort and hide from the world. I draw pictures, doodle and come up with blog-post ideas. It’s just something to make me feel more me.

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Write a letter to open to yourself in ten years’ time

Gah, this is was a toughie. I couldn’t decide whether to wait a couple of months, because I did write my letter to open at the end of the challenge not that long ago, but in the past ten months I’ve come so far from where I was. Existential crisis + Lizzy + living alone = a miserable, dejected, tired, unwashed mess of a woman who didn’t want to leave the house. Since then, I’ve moved, I’ve tried to take every single day as a new one and never to let one waste (to a point.) I’ve come to terms with not being the best person I can be, understood that where I am now is going to lead to something better (and I’m probably not going to have my shit together during my twenties) but I’m working towards that, and I’ve met someone. Someone very special who I think is just, well, wonderful.

The letter therefore is a collection of things that I have always wanted myself to come to terms with and make peace with and by the time I’m thirty I think I will be. It’s not a very long or demanding list but just one that tells it how it is.

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DIY Spa Night

If I’m honest I’m not a terribly pampered human being. I take my make-up off every the majority of nights, and I like to take a bubbly bath once a week but I’m not a huge, nails/tan/salon type person. I do however, love a do-it-yourself, low budget, hair mask/face mask/ pedicure/nail painting kind of night with some snacky bits whilst watching catch-up tv. Taking time to yourself is so important as a self-confessed extrovert (dangerous mix with anxiety) I’ve learnt that taking time to be alone can be calming.

So, I made myself a pot of camomile tea, wacked my conditioner laden hair in a towel and painted my face in a clay mask. I then painted my toes and hands a deep navy blue and snuggled down in front of celebrity master-chef. I then exfoliated everywhere and jumped in the shower, applying a moisturising and body-butter all over whilst letting my hair dry naturally. Perfection.

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Learn to sign the alphabet 

Back in September I learnt to sign the alphabet at a Philosophy Social. One of the members of the society had been taking part in another society that taught sign language and after a little pestering he showed how to spell out each of the twenty six letters. Surprisingly when I came about doing it again, whilst at dinner with friends, it was quite easy to remember the letters and despite our inability to pick up our phones (first to touch their phone or answer a call would have to pick up the bill,) we somehow managed   to spell out the entire alphabet. A couple of days later I went over  it again and again many of the letters that had become a little confused (N and M,) had stuck in my mind. Tapping it out on my fingers now I have no idea how long this knowledge will stick however it’s another simple thing to cross of the list. I’m tempted to learn more however we’ll have to see how it goes!

There you have it, four more things to check off of the list which you can see here. Can’t wait to check some other bits and bobs off sooooon.

101 things in 1001 days: 60,000 hits for my little book blog *eee*

101 things in 1001 days

Hellllllo readers, and happy Tuesday; I’ve quickly popped this post together because something a little brilliant has happened. As of today my little book blog has received 60,000 hits. 60,000! I can’t quite believe it, but when I put this post together a year or so ago I never thought I would hit this number, it seemed like an impossible feat at the time, and yet today, here we are. It’s a little crazy, a little emotional and just a bit shocking but thank you to you all that have wiggled over and had a ponder on all my bookish thoughts.

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Now I’m over two years in, stats and followers and the like mean less to me as a blogger. As long as the people that come and read my posts still enjoy them I will continue to be over the moon, but this number just felt like the one that would say, “hey Lizzy you’re doing something right,” and I’m going to continue trying to do things right, now and onto the next milestone. But thank you for all you wonderful followers, tweeters, commenters, readers, authors, bloggers and publishers. You’re one in a million.

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101 things in 1001 days: Travel somewhere new in Europe

101 things in 1001 days

On Thursday the 19th of May, six wonderful friends travelled to Manchester in preparation for an early, yawn-inducing, flight to Copenhagen, Denmark. Denmark may not be the first country that comes to mind when envisioning a ‘friends holiday’ but the image of six, recently employed graduates, struggling round one ageing laptop and eating Sainsbury’s basic salt and vinegar spirals may help. The headline would read “Stony broke recently graduated human beings try to escape Stoke-on-Trent.” Three hours, a headache and one rebooked flight later we had secured a three night stop over give or take one flight, one of the nights in a hotel and any idea of getting to the airport.

Friday morning full of the obligatory cooked breakfast and a vodka and orange (with at least one shot incorporated) we boarded the flight and two hours or so later we arrived in the bustling capital. As I nearly caused a queue meltdown, mistaking out ticket numbered 006 for 900 and nearly queue jumping over one hundred people we boarded the train to the hostel. Checked into our darling, quirky hostel our minds turned to food and our second drink of the day.

We ambled down the stunning cobbled streets of this wonderful city. The streets were incredibly beautiful and I was shocked at how many cyclists were on the road. A number of times cyclists rang their bells to get us to move out of the way and make room. We ended up finding ice-cream, going to an Irish bar and the hostel and drinking a lot more than we thought we would. A day well done in my eyes

On the Saturday it was the birthday of the wonderful Ollie Birch. Deciding to explore the city and make our way to a number of Botanical gardens we set off into the city. Accidentally veering off course we spotted three swan pedalo’s and with the sun streaming down on us we took to the water. At one hundred Krone for the hour (five pounds each) we spent the next sixty minutes pedalling up and down the water, chasing each other, naming the swans, and generally causing a great deal of trouble. The park was beautiful and we could see the runners sprinting round the water, gearing up for the Copenhagen Marathon scheduled for the very next day.

Leaving the swans, with not too many scratches, we made our way to the Botanical gardens. Filled with every flower you can imagine, poisoned, flowered, blossoms, we entered the greenhouses that were hot and humid and spent the time spotting tiny little orange frogs. Tom and Harry continued their want to re-create statues and artwork from around the city and many giggles were had as they attempted the regal poses. That evening we hunted out a bar to watch the Eurovision Song Contest. Drinking cider, diet coke and red square vodka and singing along to the acts we finished the night in a local McDonalds. Bang on.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY OLLLLLLLLIE

The next day, we finally sought out the Little Mermaid statue. Although we decided not to really plan every day to the minute it was the one attraction that kept being mentioned when people learnt of our trip to Copenhagen. Not before our first Danish pastry and coffee for breakfast. Walking down towards the coast line we spotted a little café; orders ranged from chocolate and custard to croissants to covered in coloured sprinkles. I chose a terribly sweet pastry covered in little seeds and a black coffee and it tasted oh so wonderful.

We passed the harbour, a replica statue of David, a number of fountains, boats and the weather really picked up. Beautiful sunshine splayed out across the harbour. The little Mermaid although beautiful was squandered by the sheer number of people desperately trying to climb upon the statue but we had a good view and she is a wonderful statue to say the least. We spent the rest of the day exploring; we found a windmill, an old abandoned army barracks, a memorial, saw the Marbled Church and ate loaded open sandwiches.

We spent a lot of the trip exploring and walking around the vast and beautiful city and it felt so wonderful just to see it without any preconceptions.

Later than evening the city was incredibly busy but seeking out a restaurant we were lead to the back of the establishment and taken down a number of steps. Realising a little later that we were in a completely different restaurant we ordered and were quickly dismayed. The food was cold, wrong and damn right horrible and the female pirate model in the bathroom who had lost both of her arms was the last straw (although cause a lot of giggles.) We quickly left, with a little money off the bill and went to find some drinks. Finding a bar we asked if we could have the menu the reply ‘We do whiskey, gin, vodka, what more do you want?’ went down a storm and we spent the rest of the night in the hostel bar, drinking Piña coladas (renamed Penis Colliders,) doing tequila shots, and playing pool and air hockey.

One of the more surreal adventures along our trip was a boat excursion to an abandoned fortress set upon an island. We stumbled upon the chance to go thinking that it would be an informative trip and we would learn a little more about Denmark and Copenhagen. As we neared the fortress it soon became clear that this maybe wasn’t the place you would like to be left for two hours waiting for the boat: it honestly looked like a still from Shutter Island. We entered the fortress and read a few of the informative signs. However as we wandered through it felt as though they had just run out of money. The ceilings were covered in both stalactites dripping down onto the grubby floors. Harry decided around this time to pretend to be a terrifying zombie and scare the living crap out of me. His zombie impression is perfect to say the least saying that

On the suggestion of the boat guide we went down a staircase into the cellar. There, there were no lights, and odd noises echoed through the rooms. Inside were odd pieces of materials, rusty pipes, old machinery and linen. It was terrifying to say the least. Deciding to film our endeavour, Sarah’s camera decided to corrupt the video adding more fear and after I stepped on something and shrieked loudly we ran back up to the safety of the light. Deciding the café was better for us, we spent the next hour drinking frothy hot-chocolates, fluffy chocolate cake and cooing over a six week old Labrador puppy named Melly.

Deciding to venture back into the fortress, we found a bike, albeit with a flat tire and decided to teach our friend Harry to ride a bike. With Tom and Ollie grabbing the back and Sarah, Dani and I screaming “pedallllll” we all fell into fits of giggles as Harry *cycled* through the musty fortress.

We spent the rest of the afternoon talking in a tiny little bar, drinking cider and coffee with baileys and set out to find somewhere for dinner. We ended back at the first restaurant we found on the first day, and truly loved reminiscing about our trip.

It’s a little difficult to get it all in but I honestly had the most wonderful, wonderful time away. Not only did I have an incredible time seeing a stunning, exciting, interesting city but I did it with the most wonderful people possible. I haven’t managed to get everything in (we did so goddamn much over four days) but hopefully you’ve had a little insight into our trip to Denmark.

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101 things in 1001 days: Learn to eat with chopsticks

101 things in 1001 days

Afternoon readers, hope you’re having a wonderful day. I haven’t blogged about my 101 things in 1001 days in a little while so I thought it was time to start writing them up and getting them blogged about. I have so many to talk to you about and I promise I will start writing them up so you can see all the wonderful things I’ve been up to!

Today’s 101 things in 1001 days is one that became apparent a little while ago when faced with the embarrassment of asking for a fork at a Chinese restaurant. Having a mother who really doesn’t like Chinese food and having a wonderful vegetarian as one of my closest friends, Chinese restaurants have never been a real problem for me. My only real experience is spooning it out of a foil case and digging in furiously in front of Masterchef or the like. It’s never really been an issue. However a couple of times in the past twelve months it’s happened a number of times where slightly disbelievingly I’ve had to cajole someone into supplying me with a fork. After starting the list this one was a little lower down on the priorities however after a rather embarrassing date  where I went a little pink when failing to pick up the little morsels of dim-sum without spilling it all over myself I realised this might be something that needed addressing.

So, installing a pair of chopsticks in the fridge almost in a permanent residence style situation I have mastered my own way of eating with chopsticks and yes it is with one hand. For the past six months give or take I have eaten almost everything in the fridge with chopsticks; some obvious including rice and noodles, and some a little less, pasta, pizza (that didn’t really work) grapes (they are a little fiddly) and even cereal. Yes, this has prompted a few odd looks, however it seems to have worked. I’m not saying that I’m an expert or even very good at all however a few weekends ago me and three of my closest friends went to a Chinese restaurant in Northampton called Felix Yu. Apart from a few spoons of rice I managed almost everything and honestly felt a little proud of my efforts. It’s something silly but once you get it, I think it’s something quite difficult to forget. Chopsticks: Done.

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101 things in 1001 days: Host a dinner party and make it beautiful

      101 things in 1001 days

So, I’ve been meaning to do this for a while and with many of my 101 things being to improve my ability to cook this one seemed like a good one to test out my newly improved skills at the stove. It’s not that I’m bad at it, I just never make the time and when I do it’s something easy or quick. Although it often tastes rather wonderful it’s never exactly a culinary masterpiece. Now, as you all know I recently moved into a new house and despite telling myself I would have a housewarming it’s been a couple of weeks since I moved in. Perfect excuse for a get together and to invite a couple of wonderful friends round; on the menu, dips and chips to start, vegetarian chilli for main and chocolate fudge brownie dessert for dinner. Pretty simple but pretty tasty.

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I started by buying a number of little tea light candles and crimson napkins. The house is so beautiful and the colours are so warm that once I had set the table with the round smooth chocolate coloured plates and had put out the jewel coloured coasters; a criss-cross design of ruby, emerald and sapphire squares it all looked a little wonderful. I then set about on the chilli. I started by cutting up two onions into little squares and two peppers; one red and one green. These were gently softened in the pan with some oil which took a little longer than thought but all in good time; let em get all soft and yummy. I then added the Quorn and browned that off which is a little difficult to do when it starts and ends the same colour but I cooked it off a little. Then I made up 400ml of vegetable stock. It did say 200 and a glass of red wine but I had none in so I just popped in a little more stock. After adding this to the pan with a tsp of chilli powder, ground coriander and cinnamon I pushed up the heat and let it bubble away. I then added two tins of chopped tomato and a tin of kidney beans and turned down the heat. I then let it cook for a little longer and then added a few more shakes of chilli powder.

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When my guests arrived I stuck the rice on and popped a stick of garlic bread in the oven and turned the chilli onto a low heat to warm up. I served the food with guacamole, sour cream and a bowl of chopped up chilli just in case it wasn’t hot enough. Chilli probably wasn’t the best choice because I had no idea for the life of me how hot people like their chilli. If it’s my mother cooking it you better be ready for some serious heat but I just wanted a kick at the end and then everyone could add heat accordingly. I must admit I think it tasted pretty good and was just the right amount. The only small error is I didn’t quite cook enough rice which is a little silly because when it’s me I always end up with a huge amount left over but for five I wasn’t sure how to judge it. Saying that people did have seconds and there was a little left over for dinner the next night. I then served the pudding with passion fruit frozen yoghurt which I think went down a treat.

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Overall I think it was a roaring success but then it is me. I’ve always marvelled at my mother’s ability to organise a three course meal and even with almost everything ready I was a little stressed and flustered despite being overly prepared. (Printing out four different chilli recipes and having dinner cooked an hour in advance, I was looking pretty good.) I’m really intrigued to do this again and serve something a little more complex. I make a mean Thai green curry and think that would go down a treat. It was the perfect way to celebrate my new house and the move, and something I will definitely be doing again.

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101 things in 1001 days: Stop Biting Nails for a month!

Today’s post comes from a sick little bunny as I seem to have contracted what my mother would call a head cold. I’ve got a hacking cough, sore throat, headache, runny and blocked nose and I feel just a little bit rough but I’m feeling a little better today so I can’t complain to much. Today’s post is a lovely little 101 things in 1001 days and it’s been a long time coming.

 I’ve always been a bit of a nail biter, since before I can remember and it’s a disgusting habit. It’s a tendency that seems to have occurred through two paths; firstly being a cellist and secondly a rather long standing penchant to pick when I’m nervous. So number one, being a cellist or a string player at all you really need to have short to the bed nails. If you don’t the nails will hit the strings, will add different notes and will additionally make it a little messy. I remember a girl coming into the practice with false nails attached to the ends of her fingers. Our sectional leader was horrified and was less than amused with the girl’s efforts throughout the practice so biting them became a bit of a habit that I’ve never quite got out of. Laziness is all it is!

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 The second is my terrible habit of picking when I’m nervous; if I’m having a bad day or I’m anxious about something I tend to pick at my nails and then often end up biting them. The rough edge on them then drives me nuts so I tear them down to the bit which then aches and hurts. It’s honestly a mixture of laziness and nervousness.

So I’ve stopped biting them, in a word. It’s been a little bit of a challenge because it’s been so many years I tend to not even notice that I’m doing it anymore. I did try and do this last month but on a typically stressful day at work I ended up biting them to a pulp and then obviously had to start all over again. However, I think I’ve pretty much done it. Last night I painted them with a clear undercoat and then I painted on two coats of a coral colour and they honestly look beautiful. The idea is to keep them clean, trimmed, polished and wonderfully lovely. A little extra care and a little lovelier. It’s a silly thing but they look rather gorgeous.

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101 things in 1001 days: Grow a plant from seed to flower

Evening readers and happy Friday, the weekend is upon us and tomorrow I will be travelling down to Silvy for Mother’s Day which I’m really excited for. My little pudding of a sister has rather hurt her leg and I cannot wait to give her a cuddle and make sure she’s okay! It’s been a really busy, emotional and tiring week but it’s ended pretty perfectly and today’s 101 things in 101 days is pretty darn cute.

So as always a little background as to its inclusion on the list. It is a well-known fact in our family that my mother is pretty awful at keeping plants. It doesn’t seem to matter what she does they just wither and die. Sorry mum. But my Grandmother is an absolute whizz; she is the ultimate green fingered lady and I thought I’d find out whether I possessed any of her gardening skills. The last time I tried to honestly grow anything was back when I was in year two, attempting to grow cress on a wet paper towel in a Tupperware box for a school project. The results were pretty awful and although at the ripe old age of six I think the fault of this lies elsewhere I wondered whether it was time to have another go.

In my tiny little terraced house in Stoke on Trent, there isn’t much of a back garden and with my very little knowledge of what soil to use, when you should plant flowers and how often you should water them I traipsed off to my local supermarket to see if there was anything a little more basic. Upon arriving I found the most adorable purple pink bucket with a handle with a number of purple hyacinth bulbs included. I wandered home and after reading the instructions buried the three bulbs under the soft soil and gave it a water, and the waiting game began.

To start off with it didn’t look good, after calling my mother, never a good idea seeing her track record keeping plants alive is pretty low she told me that the bulbs should have been poking out the soil not buried underneath. Then the plant disappeared. I live with two other lodgers and one had decided that I wasn’t watering it enough and had popped it outside which confused me for a number days until upon taking the rubbish out I unearthed it. I stubbornly brought it back in but the next day it had once again been placed outside. After upending the culprit, my housemate Gabriel told me that he had noticed it was getting a little dry and as I’ve been so busy thought it would survive better on the wall outside. Anyway, it’s been a couple of months but slowly but surely one of the buds has broken through and with a little bit of extra sunshine last weekend has opened its petals.

Because of the way the sunshine travels over the garden I think it would have been better to place it in the middle of the garden but no knowing a huge amount and worrying it wasn’t getting enough water I think it’s been a little deprived of potential growth however I’m going to keep it and maybe add a number of others to our little patch of concrete outside.

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