I'm dreaming of a wine Christmas....

I hope you all had a very magical Christmas! 
I've had such a lovely Christmas, it's been so good to surround myself with my family and close friends, especially as I don't often see them now I'm living full time in Winchester. But home will always be where the heart is, and Christmas is no exception. Christmas in my house has always been a bit different to everyone else, but this year it's certainly felt a lot more 'mature' than usual. I'm 20, and my brother Adam is 18, and with all of our family spread out across the country, the festivities were spent with just us and mum, and two energetic dogs. It's been a lot quieter than Christmases of days-gone-by, but it's been cosier and so much more relaxed.

(The Santa suit I bought Nelson in Primark was the best £4 I've ever spent!) 

We must be the only family who waits until the afternoon to unleash present mayhem. I know what you're thinking, how can you resist? Well that's the way it's always been. We've always tried to drag out the magic over the duration on the day, probably in the past as a way to keep us kids interested all day and not running off to play with our new presents. It's become a bit of a tradition, and every year always follows a similar pattern, although in the last few years there's been a lot more drinking involved on my part!
A typical Christmas in our house involves waking up, and not at the crack of dawn (we like our sleep so maybe about 9ish), getting your stocking which is usually crammed with chocolate, then some kind of wonderful breakfast. A short break and maybe the odd present before we crack on with cooking the dinner, and maybe try and squeeze in a dog walk while the turkey is roasting to perfection. Then it's dinner, followed by all the presents, and finally pudding and a lot of wine, rounded off with the Downton Christmas special (which was incredible this year, I totally cried. Twice.)
So although everything was on a slightly smaller scale just for the three of us, we certainly didn't skimp on the food. The key to my heart is, and will always be, a hearty roast followed by an insanely chocolatey dessert. And boy did my mother do it justice this year. Turkey stuffed with pork stuffing, which is then smothered in smokey bacon? My stomach was so happy it was practically bursting into song.
As for the presents, the family did not disappoint. My brother got me the most perfect and wonderful bag from monsoon. His secret? I picked it, he paid. It's a winning combination that's worked for years, why fix what isn't broken? He hates shopping, I love knowing what I'm getting, everyone's a winner. As for my mother, she pulled out all the stops and got me the most gorgeous boots I daresay I've ever owned. Perfume, a printer, and a plethora of other assorted goodies rounded off a very spoilt Christmas for me! My dad was very sensible, chocolate and vouchers, letting me choose whatever I fancy in the sales. He did make my Christmas dreams come true by ticking off one of the most important things on my Christmas list. I'm now officially the proud owner of a unicorn! (I'm perfectly happy to believe it's real, who cares if I'm 20)

I've been a very lucky lady this year, with all my friends and family spoiling me with gifts I absolutely love. I just hope my presents to them were enjoyed just as much as I loved receiving theirs!
I can't believe we have to wait a whole year before we do it all again, it seems like forever to wait, then you blink and it's over. Time has been flying by all year, and I'm not ready to close the curtains on 2014 just yet. It just feels as if there is so much more that can be accomplished..

Drunken festive dog selfies are the way forward 
Much love

All I want for Christmas is....

The older I'm getting, the more difficult it's becoming to answer that question we are all familiar with at this time of year -

"What do you want for Christmas?"

What do I want for Christmas?

Unfortunately, my first though these days is more, "What do I need for Christmas?", meaning I get shower gels and socks galore. And trust me, as useful as this is, I enjoy unwrapping something quirky and strange, with a lot of thought put into it. I'm fully aware this comes across a little selfish, and very "I want", and I'm really not into the whole consumerism side of Christmas, but presents are just such a lovely way to spread the love at Christmas.

So I sat down and wrote my Christmas list, which took a lot longer than you'd believe. It also went from being pretty genuine to getting pretty deep...

Alcohol - Yes, I'm old enough to get it myself. No it's not very creative. However, I do get through a lot of it, and I am very partial to a good cocktail or five. So having a large alcohol stash is always a good idea when I'm around.

Anything to do with travelling - It's no secret that as soon as I graduate, my life plan goes as far as getting on a plane to California. So anything that acknowledges my need to travel is awesome.
Chocolate - Because it's dark all the time and that makes me sad, and I need to just eat my way into a food coma and hibernate until the summer.
A plane ticket - This would be incredible, although I'd be tempted not to come back.
A unicorn - My dad asked me what I wanted and I said a unicorn. Why? Because why the hell not, that's why. It would be officially the coolest thing in the entire world.
A faster metabolism - I swear all I have to do is look at a Mars Bar and I just gain weight. No thank you. I'm not cutting out the great food life has to offer me for the sake of a body like a Victoria's Secret model. So a much better metabolism would be incredibly useful.
A sense of purpose - Ooooh deep. It's true though, all I'd really like is to know that everything I'm doing now in life will ultimately be worth it, and that all of this is heading in a positive direction somewhere.
So next time someone asks what you want for Christmas, go ahead and tell them you want a unicorn or a sense of purpose. At the end of the day, Christmas is really all about spreading the love between friends and family, and getting together and enjoying everyone's company. Ultimately, all I really want for Christmas is a lovely day with my amazing family with lots of good food, wine and films. Perfect. The presents are just a bonus really.
Much love

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....

It's Christmas!!!
Okay, so it's December the first, which means it's pretty much Christmas, and that I have no reason not to listen to the Christmas classics of Mariah, Wham and The Pogues at full blast for the next 25 days. I'm anticipating very pissed off housemates/neighbours/general townsfolk of Winchester.

I am completely in love with this time of year. There is so much to love, there's no excuse needed to watch Elf on daily basis, or drink Bailey's like it's water. Now I'm a proper grown up and everything and doing the very grown up thing of renting a house, I'm taking Christmas very seriously. There is no margin for error. As Bridget Jones said, "We are going to do this properly, or not at all".
I've bought a Christmas tree. Okay, so it cost me no less than £6.79 from Argos, and yes, we had to lug it back on a bus; but that aside, I'm considering it a big transition into being a fully-fledged adult. If this is the first Christmas in a home I'm paying for, it's going to be an event in it's own right. Poundland tinsel and all. I'm not usually one to buy into the whole consumerism need of things, but Christmas is something else. It's infectious, and I love how it brings people together, and how all of a sudden, people begin to appreciate all the little things.

Mia and I bought all the ridiculous decorations we could find in Poundland (we are students, and fabulousness on a budget is crucial) Now I'm talking hot pink tinsel, disco baubles and enough lights to make the Blackpool illuminations jealous. I'm considering our efforts to be a success.
We even have an inflatable reindeer.
 (She's called Prancer, Rudolph is too overrated)
On a sidenote, I'm sorry that November wasn't so much a lack of posting on my behalf, but more of a complete posting drought. I could run the whole speech about how I've been a really busy bee with uni and work (which is totally true), but I don't want to sound like a broken record. I'm not even going to give the false hope and promise that I'll post more, because I'm completely unreliable. God knows what I've got going on in my life in the upcoming weeks, I'm not even sure what I'm having for dinner tonight.
But know I'm completely grateful to all you crazy people who read my blog, reading all my stupid posts about drinking and being a general idiot for a 20-year-old. I have completely hilarious things in the pipeline, which I hope you'll enjoy tremendously, as much as I enjoy writing them for you.
Much love

October addictions...

Firstly, I'm well aware that I didn't do this last month. I won't lie to you, blogging is another item on the huge list of things I haven't had the time to do. But I have been incredibly busy, and ill for that matter. When I've not been coughing my lungs up, I've been trying to set up my new laptop (long story), attempting to get my uni work done, and learning the ropes at my new job. Having the time to find new addictions has been a bit of a challenge in itself. But don't fear, October addictions is here, and I promise a November one is on the cards. I'll try not to be so lazy next month!

American Horror Story: Coven - Confession, I haven't watched the first two seasons, Murder House and Asylum. I didn't want to. I don't see the point in scaring myself stupid, especially considering that I mostly watch TV shows before I go to bed. Luckily, the seasons are all stand alone, so you can take each one as an individual storyline. Coven intrigued me, and it's just so good. The plot was so twisted, that half the time I was completely confused about what was happening (although it does eventually all make sense); while the other half I was screaming at the TV in disbelief at how disturbing it all was. If you've seen it you probably know exactly what I mean. I was slightly horrified by some of the stuff that happens, such as the mutilation of slaves. It was a bit tough to watch, but completely necessary to the plot. Plus I've always had a bit of a girl crush on Emma Roberts ever since Unfabulous and Aquamarine, and now I can safely say I completely idolise Jessica Lange as well. She totally kicks ass.  Also, American Horror Story is created by the same guy who created Glee...let that one sink in....
Yankee Candle - Vanilla Frosting - I've had my Yankee Candle for months and months now, but now that the evenings are drawing in earlier (sad face), I've been lighting it more than ever. There's something quite atmospheric about lighting candles when the sun goes down earlier, romantic almost. The vanilla frosting scent is my absolute favourite, it's sweet and sickly, but gives my room a boost to make me feel more refreshed. Plus it helps to get rid of the this-house-has-been-rented-many-times mixed with painted-over-damp smell.

Benefit 'That Gal' primer - Being so down and ill recently has taken its toll on my skin, big time. I looked every bit as grey as I felt, so with nothing left to lose (except a huge dent in my savings), I went to the Benefit counter in John Lewis in Southampton, begging for a makeover. I made a few purchases, including a concealer and another powder box (I have 5 now, it's getting slightly out of hand), and the That Gal primer. It really gives my skin a bit of a shimmer and glow, with just enough hint of colour to liven my skin up. You can wear it under foundation or alone, but either way it makes such a difference. Completely worth it.

Taylor Swift: 1989 - I know this only came out yesterday, but I've had it on a continuous loop since. People had Taylor Swift down as a one-trick pony, a typical country singer, so what does she do to mix it up? Drop a pop filled album of joy of course. And it's every kind of amazing. When Shake It Off  was released, I'll admit I was initially completely against it, but it grew on me. So far my favourite songs are Welcome To New York, Style, All You Had To Do Was Stay and Wildest Dreams. I would definitely recommend this album to everyone who needs something to lift their spirits, and I'll be damned if this isn't the number one album this coming weekend.
Much love

Stop trying to set me up....

I've been single for nearly a whole year now, and honestly, it's not really bothered me that much. After my last break-up, I decided to enjoy all the things life had to offer me, and I've not regretted it at all. However, being single hasn't escaped the notice of family, friends, and pretty much everyone really. For some unknown reason, it's become the topic of many awkward conversations, with many people asking why I'm single (which if it isn't code for 'what's wrong with you?' I'll be damned). So since when was being single for a year such a big problem?

Being single is great, there's so much you can do without having to consider a significant other in your life. You don't have to worry whether you're spending too much or too little time with them, if talking to other guys bothers them, or if you decide to hang out with your friends instead of date night. It's amazing, I can do whatever I want, whenever I want, all on my own terms. I don't have to spend my money on other people, or feel guilty when people spend money on me. In every sense, I am completely independent for the first time in my life, especially now I'm renting a house as well, and I love the freedom I have. Why on earth would I give all that up?

Whilst some people (and quite rightly so) don't care about my relationship status, others have made it their soul mission to find me Mr. Right. Stop trying to set me up! It'll never work. I'm far too picky with guys, and seriously, if you know my dating history, I think it's fair to say this is a privilege I've earned. Why waste my time with someone if I know it's not going to last? I have far too much stuff to do in my life without wasting my time on guys who aren't worth it. I think that deep down there's too much of an old romantic in me to waste my time floating between guys if I'm not sure they're right for me.

I'm not saying that if the right guy came along tomorrow that I'd say no, I'm a true believer that the universe will sort something out eventually and that love will happen when it's meant to happen. There are definitely times when I feel a bit lonely, and having a boyfriend would be wonderful. But honestly, I'm alright. The world isn't going to end just because I don't have someone to go home to every night, or someone to text all the time and curl up to on the sofa. As great as these all are, it's hardly my biggest priority in life at the moment.

And for the record, no I'm not going to try online dating/tinder. No, I won't be a crazy cat lady. And please for the love of God don't tell me 'there's plenty more fish in the sea', and that 'I need to put myself out there'. No. No. No.

I'm a single lady who is happy doing whatever I want; not some sad, lonely damsel in distress who needs saving and setting up with someone. That's not how it goes. So stop feeling sorry for me. I'm fine honestly.
Much love

The many stages of being ill...

Winter is coming - and it's coming with a vengeance. I'm convinced that this winter might actually kill me, I've been ill for a solid month now, and my days are feeling very numbered. I've spent days struggling through uni and work, and then there's the whole Ireland creepy out-of-hours doctors incident to consider. It's safe to say I've had a rough time of it all, but as D:Ream taught me, things can only get better.

I warn, this may be complete overshare, and if it makes you feel slightly disgusted, I'm sorry.
The "I'm fine, I promise" stage - Ah the denial. You'll lie and try to convince everyone that it's just a passing moment of madness, but deep down you know that you need to rush to Boots and stock up on everything they sell pronto. Life will struggle on as normal, but not for much longer.
The "Could I BE making anymore mucus" stage - You've been blowing your nose for two days straight now, and you're certain you've blown out your entire insides within that time, so where the hell is it all coming from? The human body is a remarkable, yet disgusting, machine, and when you're ill you'll be amazed by the crazy things your body does.
The "I need to eat everything I have in the kitchen" stage - Junk food is the vice of every ill person. Cooking is far too much effort, when you're ill you definitely do not have the energy to slave away making the healthy dinners your body deserves. It is now more than ever you will order takeaways, and eat chocolate and biscuits as if your life depends on it.
The "I'm just gonna lay here and patiently wait for death" stage - When all else fails and life gets you down, all that's left to do is curl up in a ball and pray for the end to come.
The "I can't do this, I'm gonna get up and go something to make myself feel better" stage - When a moment of courage strikes, and you decide you can't live your life like this anymore;

which is shortly followed by the

"I should've stayed in bed" stage - You give up, you're ill and everyone should definitely feel sorry for you.
If you're ill. I hope you feel better soon, and if you're not, good luck. It'll get you.
Much love

20 things to do before you're 20...

So a couple of days ago I reached the big 2-0, and officially reached a new era of adulthood in my life. My teenage days are long gone, although I certainly don't feel any wiser for it. It shouldn't be this difficult for me to get my head around, being 20 now, but I don't really want to grow up yet. I'll admit I'm very pessimistic and cynical of everything, but to me, it's all downhill from now on. On a much cheerier note, I had an incredibly lovely birthday, courtesy of the wonderful ladies I live with. I had cake, bowling, confetti and amazing presents, followed by a great night of getting smashed in the Student Union.
So with 20 being such a whacking great landmark of life, I felt it necessary to mark the occasion with my very own list of things everyone should do before they hit their second decade.This is purely just a suggestion for a bit of fun.
  1. Had their first kiss.
  2. Gotten so drunk they can't remember what happened.
  3. Go on holiday with your friends.
  4. Stay up all night (and essay writing doesn't count!)
  5. Go see a band live.
  6. Learn to drive.
  7. Splash out on something expensive for yourself.
  8. Face a fear.
  9. Take time out for yourself, you're a human not a machine!
  10. Have a long conversation getting to know a stranger.
  11. Try something new, whether it's a hobby or food.
  12. Get obsessed with a TV show, and watch every episode.
  13. Discover what your drink is. (Mine is either Vodka/Coke, Cider or Tequila - mood depending)
  14. Get a job, whether it's your dream job or just because you need the money.
  15. Love your body, because it's the only one you're gonna have.
  16. Watch every Harry Potter film.
  17. Get down and dirty (My terrible attempt to avoid saying 'sex', I have family who read this!)
  18. Try to save some money, the adult world is expensive and you can't rely on parents forever.
  19. Ditch things in life that make you feel negative.
  20. Tell your family and friends how much you love and appreciate them.
So there it is. I really won't judge anyone if they haven't done everything, Lord knows I haven't, but I'll keep you guessing as to what I've done or not.
Much love 

The luck of the Irish...

I've been mulling over the title of this post for a while, and I can't help but see the irony in it. I had a fairly unlucky time in Belfast, but in some ways, I had a truly incredible time as well. As for the irony, well you'll understand that in a bit. I figured the best way to tell my tales from across the Irish sea would be to tell them like a story, maybe then you'll be able to understand the pure madness of it all.

Last Thursday, the 11th of September (yes, we flew on 9/11), both Emily and myself got up at the crack of dawn to make our 8-something-am flight, and from the moment I woke up I knew I did not feel good at all. Nevertheless we persevered to the station, and proceeded to get the train to Southampton airport to catch our flight. Emily had an asthma attack on the train, whilst I sat there trying not to be sick on her. The poor woman sat across from us looked as if she wasn't sure if she should be concerned or fed up with the two broken girls with a huge pink suitcase sat opposite her. To brush over the rest of the morning, Emily recovered whilst I was sick at the airport, then our flight was delayed by around 45 minutes. We eventually got the plane, and made our way to Ireland, convinced that as far as drama goes, we'd already had our fair share of it, and that things could only get better. 

Once we landed, we found our way into a taxi, and headed for the city centre well aware that we couldn't check in for another two hours. Whilst Emily was prepared to wonder around Belfast with suitcases in tow, I felt as if I was ready to find the nearest bench, curl up in a ball, and patiently wait for death. We called the hotel, who said we could come and leave our bags there, but when we arrived the wonderful lady on the desk said we could have a room. What a babe. And thank god we did, because as soon as we got in the room, I was sick again, then curled up in bed with a fever for the next six hours. So far, so bad. 

Six hours in bed was enough for me, and I was bloody bored. And hungry. I was genuinely running on nothing, so we ventured out and had a KFC. Obviously the only choice of meal for a recovering sick traveller. 

Friday morning I felt considerably better, which was just as well because we'd booked a coach trip to Giants Causeway. I felt almost like a pilgrimage for anyone visiting Northern Ireland, and we couldn't come all this way and not go there. We stopped off at a few castles along the route for some photo opportunities, as well as at Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. It's a really old rope bridge which you can walk across, after the 1K trek from the car park. So we walked a kilometre, I crossed the bridge onto the island of nothing whilst a vertigo-suffering Emily waited for me on the other side, before we trekked another kilometre back. Not bad for a girl who'd spent 6 hours throwing up and sweating in bed the day before. I bought a certificate saying I crossed the bridge (I was proud of managing it the way I was feeling), and a really cute Irish guy said my name (which I totally wanted to record but that would've just been a bit creepy). 

We stopped off for lunch at a Whisky distillery, called Bushmills. I've never drank whisky in my life, and the bar was free, so Emily and I managed to blag a shot of whisky for lunch. It wasn't too bad, initially I coughed and thought it tasted a bit like cough mixture, so I necked it, and that seemed to do just fine for me.

Giants Causeway was amazing. It was so beautiful, and you were allowed to climb all over it. We got so many wonderful pictures, and I climbed this really tall stack and nearly fell on my arse straight back down again. I would completely recommend a visit to anyone going to Northern Island, it really isn't that far away from Belfast, probably about an hours drive, but it really is such a wonder. The visitor centre there is pretty good as well, really interesting with all the old myths and tales about giants as to why it's there. Emily posed with a fake shark and we laughed about a definition of a rock, which sounded like the worst chat up line ever.

Friday night, we were on a roll. Not even tired, we glammed up ,well, we got changed and tried to look a little less like we'd spent 10 hours on a coach tour, and went out for dinner and drinks. It was my first ever time in Frankie & Benny's and I had a super lush cocktail called P.S I Love You, fitting as that was the inspiration for booking the trip, whilst Emily picked a Long Island Ice Tea. We then decided to try a bar that had really good reviews online, so we tracked it down and headed in. The bouncer stopped us, and asked for ID. He said we needed to be 21, but he let us in anyway. Shame the barman didn't feel the same when he said we weren't old enough and asked us to leave. Completely ridiculous. Officially the first time I've ever been asked to leave a bar before. So we headed round to another bar, and walked straight in, no ID or anything. We stuck with boring old double vodka and coke, which came to £8.40 each! We had one, decided not to waste our money on another, and called it a night.

Saturday morning, and I felt like shit on a stick. But still, I dragged my corpse out of bed, ate a tonne of bacon, and we headed out. Before we left England, Emily and I had a sneaky plan which we didn't tell anyone about, just in case it didn't pull through. We both hoped to get a tattoo each whilst in Belfast, and today was the day. We found a really amazing place called Skin Works online, and went in. They booked us for the afternoon, leaving us a little time to explore and shop before we got inked. Emily went first, and she kept a really stern face on, saying how everything was fine and that it only felt like a scratch. Lying bitch. My turn came around, and as soon as he began, it was so painful, maybe even the most painful thing I've ever done. I'm terrible as I can't hide expressions on my face, so I was gurning for England for the whole 10 minutes whilst he was repeatedly stabbing a needle into my foot in the shape of a four leaf clover. (See, there's the irony, I wasn't very lucky yet I got a four leaf clover tattoo - one of the ultimate symbols of luck!) Afterwards Emily confessed how painful she felt it, but that she knew if she said it, I would chicken out. She even told me how she felt the needle 'twang a vein' in her wrist... 

(Mine is the four leaf clover on my foot, and Emily's is the wings on her wrist)

We rewarded ourselves with a good sit down and some Come Dine With Me in the hotel room, before going out to the highlight dinner of the week. We'd found this place called The Dirty Onion online, and upstairs it has a Brazilian chicken rotisserie. Being called The Dirty Onion, we wrongly made the assumption it would be a pretty casual chilled place, but no, it was full of people in their dressiest outfits, killer heels and fanciest jewellery. We definitely looked like we'd walked out of the orphanage in Annie in comparison. The chicken was amazing, but I started to feel really ill again. I couldn't swallow, it was like my throat was closing, and my hearing was getting worse and worse as I was getting really light headed. Concerned, Emily dragged me back to the hotel and got the reception to find the number for an out of hours doctor. I ended up in quite possibly the scariest doctors surgery in the world. You had to buzz in and out, and then wait in what looked like a prison waiting room. I got a wonderful dose of pills to make me feel better though.

With money running out, and me still feeling pretty rubbish, we basically spent the whole of Sunday in bed watching TV. We did venture out so I could pick up a prescription for some more lovely pills, and we went to Tesco and bought an amazing feast of crisps and pastry goods. We also bought Ben & Jerry's, and well, spoons to eat it with. We spent the afternoon sat in bed eating ice cream watching Cats & Dogs. Bliss. In the end, we decided to go to the cinema just so we could do something, so we went to go see Lets Be Cops, which we wanted to see for ages. It was hilarious, go see it!

There's really not much we could say about Monday. We packed and left, and had one last wonder around the city centre before concluding that we were too poor to shop, and too tired to walk anymore.  So we called it quits, and headed for the airport. 

So my five days in Belfast didn't exactly go to plan. I didn't get to go to any museums because we didn't have the time. We didn't get to drink very much at all. And I certainly didn't meet the Irish man of my dreams. However, I did eat a lot of chicken, go to a creepy hospital, see the Giants Causeway and, as my dad put it, escaped the country to get a tattoo. So you could say, in some ways, I had a much weirder and unexpectedly better time than I could've planned. Here's a picture of me with a big fish, which I think sums up the pure randomness of the entire trip.

I'll be going back to tick off everything I didn't do this time around, especially continuing my search for Mr. Right. (That makes me sound like a middle aged woman on the prowl, I'm not proud of writing that.)

Much love