Image by mandj98

Image by mandj98

This week’s roundup is a little late – much of my time has been taken up with last-minute Xmas shopping! There have been some amazing posts this week, so sit back with a cup of coffee (or a glass of mulled wine) and enjoy!

* For those of you organising Christmas or New Years parties, Angela has a guide on “How to plan a successful event” so you can ensure you have everything under control.

* Starting your New Years fitness regime early? Erin‘s “Fun ways to get fabulously fit” is what you need! Find an enjoyable way to exercise and it’s not a chore!

* Feeling a little poor after this year’s Christmas shopping? Doe Deere has a brilliant article on “Keeping positive during the recession” a must-read for anyone right now!

* Follow that article up with Pony‘s “Things to do that don’t cost much” and you’re all set to have a great time no matter what the financial system’s doing!

* Coop‘s “Secrets of a Morning Person” has been a bit of a revelation to me! Following the advice has certainly helped me get up and go on workdays, so I’m sure it’ll be useful to others too!

* If you’ve had a long trip abroad or a gap year and now you’re stuck in the real world again, you need to read Sarah‘s brilliant article on “dealing with the “real world” after a vacation“.

* Sadly, Gem has stopped posting her novel online now, (though not sadly for her, as she’s trying to get it published and from what I’ve read so far, I really think she’s in with a great chance!) so instead she’s posted a beautiful short story which I really enjoyed!

* Smaggle‘s “When you were 14 years old…” fashion article made me giggle and reminisce about the sartorial disasters of my youth!

Have a lovely Friday and a brilliant weekend! If you’re getting your last-minute shopping done, good luck! If you’ve already done it all, congratulations, now it’s time to relax!

xx


Image by sunshinecity

Image by Sunshinecity

It is my great pleasure to announce that I have been asked to be part of a fabulous new blog: The Secret Society of List Addicts which has been launched today!  The brainchild of Bridey and also featuring the fabulous ladies Chrissy and Sarah, this blog promises to be a haven for anyone as addicted to list-writing as we are!

The first post is about secrets, so if you like finding out about other people you won’t be disappointed!


*shivers* It’s been a cold week so far, and I’m looking forward to a weekend of relaxation in the warmth with some good movies, hot drinks and catch up on all the sleep I’ve missed! Aside from the chills though, this week has had it’s good bits!

* Being invited to participate in a fabulous blog project, which will get it’s own official announcement shortly! I was sitting in a hotel room when I read the email and I think I must have confused the people staying either side of me when I squealed loudly with delight and excitement!

* Cake, chocolate and other delicious things being brought into work to celebrate birthdays, Xmas and various other occasions! It certainly makes the day sparkle a little!

* Presents! OK, I’m over buying presents for other people now, I’m getting excited over mine arriving! There’s a pile of gifts from the boy’s parents in the living room and I can’t wait to open them!

* Finally being organised about Xmas – I think I have most things ordered and sorted now!

* Planning the year ahead – This year I intend to make resolutions and stick to them, for the first time ever! I’ll post them here so that I can’t go back on them!

* Making jewellery again– I’d abandoned it for a while but I’ve had a few moments spare to start creating sparkly wearables again recently!

What’s made your week sparkle?


Christmas Songs

10Dec08

Image by ninahale

Image by ninahale

Between calls and comments about customers, the sound of hummed Christmas music is currently drifting through the office as people are getting into the seasonal spirit. Most of the larger shops have had the same five or six songs on a loop since the 1st and the lights make the town sparkle as soon as it gets dark.

Is this all a bit… premature though? I for one find listening to Christmas music from as early as the end of November, as seems to be the convention these days, to be a little counter-productive. By the time the party season really kicks off, later on in the month, I’m so sick of most of the songs I don’t want to hear them anymore, which is something of a spirit-killer. One Christmas song that always makes me smile however, is The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl’s classic Fairytale of New York.

This song brings back memories of wandering through town with friends, fortified with mulled wine, singing at the top of our lungs and not caring how stupid we probably sounded. The only Christmas song I never tire of, even if I’ve heard it every week since mid-November!

How about you? Are you fed up of the Christmas music already, or do you enjoy every minute of it? What’s your favourite song to get you in the festive spirit?


Image by kawanetImage by kawanet

Inspired by Miss Corrine‘s post, “Sniffles Be Gone“, in which she shares some excellent ways to get rid of the colds I think everyone I know has or has recently had, I thought I would share mine – my curried pumpkin soup which contains lots of natural cold-fighting yummyness! Sadly, I don’t have a photo of the soup I made, but the one above is similar in colour.

Scientific studies have also shown that the main ingredients of curry such as garlic, onions, ginger, chilli and turmeric may help to fight the symptoms of colds. Chilli peppers are a rich source of vitamin C and are reputed to have anti-viral properties, onions are also a source of vitamin C, while garlic and turmeric both have antiseptic properties. Dried ginger is known for its natural anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects.

(Source: http://www.vhi.ie/hfiles/hf-025.jsp)

This soup contains all of those delicious anti-cold ingredients, as well as lemon juice for extra vitamin C and of course, the main ingredients, pumpkin and sweet potatoes which are also nutritious and good for you.

Ingredients:
A large onion
The flesh of a small pumpkin (or a can of pumpkin, drained)
Two large sweet potatoes (or a can thereof, drained)
A pint and a half (ish) of fresh stock (though cubes are fine too), chicken is good but vegetarian works really well too!
As much garlic as you like (I tend to use about 12 cloves in this – I love garlic!)
4 tsps of Turmeric
About an inch of ginger, finely chopped, or a couple of teaspoons of ground ginger
A fresh chili – choose the type according to your tolerances!
6 tsps medium curry powder
Salt and Pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
The juice of half a lemon
Some fresh parsley
Optional: A splash of cream

1. Soften the onions in a large saucepan with the oil, adding  the garlic after a few minutes. Add the turmeric, curry powder, ginger and chili stir-frying it all for a few more minutes until the onions are translucent and the spices are lightly roasted.

2. Throw in the chopped, peeled sweet potatoes, pumpkin and stock. If the vegetables are raw, add a little water and bring to the boil, simmering them until they’re soft. If they’re canned, skip the water, just let the soup simmer for about 30 minutes.

3. Add the lemon juice, salt, pepper and some chopped parsley, and stir it in. Add cream if you wish, then taste it to see if you need to adjust any of the spices or seasonings. Once it tastes perfect, take it off the heat, liquidise it and enjoy!

After eating a bowl of this,I always feel a little better, even if it’s just because the chili has cleared my nose! A word of warning however, if you make this whilst you have a cold and freeze some of it, taste with caution once you’ve recovered – last time I did that, the chili blew my head off since my taste-buds were working again!


Ten Things

06Dec08

Image by cesarastudilloImage by cesarastudillo

Various bloggers including the talented Nubby Twiglet (who I believe may have been the original poster) have already done this and once again I’m taking a flying leap onto the bandwagon! Here are ten random facts about me, hopefully without any repeats from previous memes, but if there are then I apologise. I’m feeling quite good about myself this evening so I thought would be a good time to make a post all about me. In addition, one of our lecturers today asked everyone for an interesting fact about themselves. By the time he got to me, people had shared such amazing things (such as singing in a professional chorus, helping the Red Cross in war zones not to mention the wide variety of countries members of my course are from) that I felt rather boring  and couldn’t really think of what to say! This is therefore an exercise, a way of reassuring myself that I’m just as interesting as everyone else, even if I’ve always lived in Britain! This As always, let me know if you choose to post one of your own, I’d love to know more about the lives of other bloggers, I’m terribly nosy like that!

1.  I’ve never had anything pierced not even my ears! I’ve always worn my hair down so there never seemed to be any point. I’ve toyed with the idea of various other piercings including a bridge piercing, but I didn’t go through with it – too scared of needles!

2. My fear of needles isn’t actually of the needles themselves, but of someone else wielding something sharp and stabbing me with it. (Quite rational I think!) I have to get a ‘flu jab every year and I always tell the nurse to let me look away and not to give me any warning, otherwise I’ll instinctively jerk my arm away.  If I was allowed to give myself the jab however, I’d be fine!

3. I feel the cold a lot, so I like the house to be nice and warm, however I also prefer to sleep in a cold room, as I find it hard to sleep without a heavy duvet! I must be a pain to live with.

4. I’m constantly challenging myself! I can’t take on just one thing at once, I have to have several projects or schemes on the go at any one time or I get restless.

5.  I have the best excuse to spend a fortune on shoes – my feet are so narrow I often have to get them from specialist stores, but also it appears that Jimmy Choos will fit me quite well! I don’t own any (yet) mostly because I really can’t walk in heels, but as soon as I learn to I’m treating myself!

Image by woodleywonderworksImage by woodleywonderworks

6. Amongst my many lofty ambitions such as getting books published, being a great lawyer, etc. are some really mundane, domestic ones too. Possibly my biggest ambition is to own and decorate my own home. First however, I need to find somewhere I want to spend the rest of my live – somewhat bizarrely, Birmingham is becoming a strong candidate!

7.  When people ask me what kind of music I listen to I find it a really hard question to answer. I used to be able to at least narrow it down to “alternative”, but nowadays I find myself listening to a lot of classical, some conventional pop, and various other genres as well, so I can’t even pigeon-hole it to any particular collection of genres anymore. One day I’ll listen to Nine Inch Nails, the next Mozart’s Requiem (last Monday – I sang it when in my school choir, it’s a truly beautiful piece of music).

8. I really relish my alone time. I’m not antisocial by any means, but when I’m, for example, alone in a hotel room as I am now, it’s great just to get some time to myself somewhere I can relax, blog and watch TV in bed.

9. I love plushies! I have a small collection of Beanie Babies and other plushies that sit on my bookshelf in front of the books (I’ll post a photo sometime if I remember!) and various others that “live” around my room. My favourite (ssh, I don’t want any of them to feel left out) is a black and white cat called Frobisher.

10. For someone who has back problems and therefore can’t carry that much weight, I’m terrible for taking too much with me in my bag! I always have a handbag full of things I barely ever actually have a use for, but all of which seem completely essential, and when I go away somewhere I take about twice as much as I need! I’m only staying about 20 minutes walk away from the College of Law yet I’m going to get a taxi over in the morning as I’ll have all my bags with me and will barely be able to move!

I’d love to know more about all of you, so if you have some time, share a few facts! It doesn’t have to be ten, it can be as many or as few as you can think of! The total over-use of exclamation marks is entirely optional.


Image by SpiegelImage by Spiegel

The blogosphere appears too have gone Xmas shopping crazy this week, as all the Internet shopping deadlines get closer and closer! Hence, many of the posts featured here are Xmas or Xmas shopping-related, however for those of you who are sick of it all already (though I could never get tired of any holiday that allows for the tacky over-use of fairy lights) there are lots of non-Xmas posts featured too!

Seasonal Guides!

* Erin‘s guide to spreading Xmas joy, “Deck The Halls” is brimming with ideas to make the season even more fun than it promises to be!

* Sarah Von‘s gift ideas post “Giving the Gift of Non-Stuff” is brilliant if you need ideas for that family member who seems to have everything already!

* The Glamourous Grad Student’s gift guides are great First she posted a “Guide to the Lush Christmas Presents” followed by “Christmas gifts for the grad student in your life“, which is great if you have a friend or relative studying any of the subjects she features who’s difficult to buy for!

* Lady Smaggle presents “How to Give Christmas Gifts on a Budget” a great guide filled with brilliant ideas to get you through the festive part of the credit crunch!

* Girl Meets Business writes “The Complete Guide to Holidays at the Office” excellent if you’re stuck in a 9-5 job and aren’t really sure how to cope with the season of parties, cheap decorations on desks and extreme chocolate consumption!

My Pick of the Non-Seasonal Posts!

* Along with her fabulous daily outfit photo, Andrea’s post contains some great information for aspiring writers out there in the form of a brilliant guide to getting published!

* Mavis has written a thought-provoking post entitled “Satan’s Children” about the witch children of Africa, certainly a sobering read.

* As is Sarah Von‘s post about her students, “Ready the Kleenex“, you’ll certainly need it.

* On a lighter note, Amber has posted a guide with “Ten Easy Ways for Women to Look Sharp” great if you have a job interview or a smart engagement coming up!

* Coop‘s post on “How to get along with someone you don’t like” might be exceedingly useful on the work Christmas party circuit but is equally great at any time of year. She offers some great advice I’ll be trying to follow!

Have a great Friday and an even greater weekend! I’m looking forward to another week of fabulous posts to come! xx