Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Wonderful Wednesday 08

Oh my goodness, it feels so great to be back with another dose of Wonderful Wednesday - last week felt so wrong (and about three weeks longer) without it! Granted things were really busy at work but I can't use that as an excuse. The whole reason for joining this merry little gang was to make me take some time out to reflect on the good and happy, and not doing that really took its toll.

Enough with the woe though - we're off to Germany over the long weekend and I'm so excited! It feels like ages since we've been on holiday and to somewhere completely new. If you have any Germany/Dusseldorf tips, please do drop me a comment and let me know. I'm a little concerned at the prospect of what gluten free food will be available but I suppose as we're near a city, there will be a range of food options to choose from (I hope!) Also, it's a slightly different trip because we're going to visit the mister's half sister who lives there and so I know I can totally rely on her to talk all things gluten on my behalf when we go to a restaurant. Phew! I'M SO EXCITED! Have you picked up on that yet?!

Here are a few other things which have made me just that little bit happier over the last week or so...

♥ 
Glorious exhibitions... The Sunday before last, the mister and I went to the Tate to see the Painting with Light exhibition, which focuses on the links and overlaps between British art and early photography. If there's even a hint of Pre-Raphaelite artwork on display, I'm there like a shot and I loved all the Pre-Raphaelite gorgeousness on display in this exhibition but there were also many other really stunning works to lose yourself in by Singer Sargent and Turner, to mention only two. As I mentioned on Instagram afterwards, I discovered some other artists whose work I'd never seen before but also saw some new Pre-Raphaelite pieces, including Millais' stunning landscape painting 'Dew-Drenched Furze':
'Dew-Drenched Furze' (1889-90), Sir John Everett Millais
Image found here
Don't you just want to walk right into the painting? Look at the amazing light!

♥ New furniture... On Saturday we received an exciting Ikea delivery - two bookcases and a day bed for the spare room. Wholeheartedly recommend their delivery service by the way, they email you in the days preceding the delivery date to let you know if it'll be a morning or an afternoon delivery, then phone you an hour before they're due to arrive. Ace service. (No, I'm not sponsored by Ikea.) So this weekend was mostly spent building (by the mister) and then arranging (by me). We've unpacked all the boxes of books that we had sitting in the spare room - not all my books, which are mostly still at my parents' house - but having them out has made our house feel so much more like our home already. It's wonderful. Sunday was spent constructing the day bed, which also folds out to a double bed, so we can now welcome guests chez nous...as long as they don't mind bedding down amongst yet more boxes of course. Things are so much better already though. We can start to plan getting a desk and yet more bookcases, but first a wardrobe and chest of drawers for our room. I think it speaks volumes about us that we ranked bookcases above a proper wardrobe but I'm happy with that.

♥ Scott Walker albums... I can't get enough of Scott on the record player at the moment. It could be a combination of a few glasses of red wine of a weekend evening and the fact that those very same evenings have been quite grey and rainy, but I've loved cosying up to the sound of Scott's dulcet tones. Good times.

Found here
♥ Great British Sewing Bee... Is anyone else so excited that this is gracing our TV screens once again?! On paper it's not something I really think I'd enjoy - a group of people in a room, carrying out timed sewing tasks but there's just something so gloriously comforting about it. They're all so talented, for one thing, I'd love to be able to create such wonderful items (loved the little capes this week!) And they're all so lovely to each other. Yes it's a competition but if someone needs a hand putting a popper on or tackling the layout of a tricky pattern, they tend to help each other out. It's fab. Next week's episode will show them tackling lingerie - can't wait! Also, Patrick Grant, one of the judges, who's a Savile Row tailor... I'll just this little piccy right here and say
no more...

♥ Four Day Weeks... Work always seems to triple in volume just before a holiday and I'm working late every night this week but at least I can hold onto the thought that I only have to do this for another two nights (including today!), which leads me seamlessly on to...

♥ Imminent trip planning... Is it too soon to mention our little holiday again?! I'm excitedly writing lists and planning what to pack, I went to Boots yesterday to stock up on supplies (small shampoos mean it's time for a holiday!) and now I'm on the hunt for books to bring along too. I'm hoping to get some reading done on the plane at least and to have some time to relax with a book when we're not pacing the streets of Dusseldorf. Something that I can just pick up and lose myself in... Any suggestions?

♥ Do let me know what's made your week a little rosier by leaving me a comment below (I do love comments!) or dropping me a tweet (I'm @happygoluckycat) or better yet, why not join the fabulous bunch of #WonderfulWednesday bloggers? Pop over to their blogs for a dose of mid-week happiness - SallyMichelleHelenKateJoEmma and Kate - and then join me in counting down the days until the weekend. It's in sight! 

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Wonderful Wednesday 07

Where has all the sun gone?! Just when I put my winter coat away and start to dig out my lighter tops, the sky darkens and the rain begins. Tuesday in London was the worst of both worlds - rainy but also humidly warm. Not a good time to be incredibly busy and rushing around at work, I felt incredibly frizzy by 9.01am yesterday - not the best start to the day.

So thank goodness for Wonderful Wednesdays eh?! Something to make me look beyond the woe and search out the little things that are just that little bit shiny and wonderful over the course of a week. It's a fantastic exercise, try it!


♥ Adventures in the sunshine... Did you happen to see my recent witterings about our adventures in the sunshine on Saturday? I won't go into great detail about it again here but suffice to say, the memories of that day will make me smile for quite a while. Beautiful weather, wonderful company, gorgeous surroundings, a dash of adventure (barefoot through muddy paths and braving nettles!), new reads, a water-side pub for lunch and ice lollies in the garden in the afternoon/evening - it was the perfect day!

♥ Turning the day around... Hmm that probably didn't make much sense but let me explain. The mister and I travelled back from Norfolk on Sunday. We'd booked an early-ish train (1pm) to give us a few hours at home rather than rushing back into the week. For the first time in what feels like months, there were no rail improvement works on the tracks and we didn't have to go via Cambridge/take several rail replacement buses. But then we arrived at Chelmsford, all on schedule before then. It was about 2.15pm and the sun was beating down overhead, and a voice came over the tannoy that there were problems with the lines into London and no trains would be running any further. At first we waited on the platform but it got hotter and hotter, and the announcements weren't giving any indication as to when the problem would be fixed. So we decided to wait inside the train that had pulled in after ours and was simply sitting there, much shadier. Then eventually an announcement came (at about 3pm) that the problem wouldn't be fixed for several hours and trains weren't expected to start running again until after 7pm. All our plans for the rest of the day went out of the window! But, rather than wait around feeling miserable or joining several other people queuing for ludicrously-priced taxis to London, we decided to just wheel our cases into town, go for a few drinks and then pop to Pizza Express to while away the time. Spontaneous date-afternoon! It wasn't so bad after all!

♥ Happy clients... Last Thursday afternoon I received a really wonderful surprise at work - a lovely thank you card from a client, together with a bottle of wine and a beautiful calla lily plant.  Such a treat. As I said a few weeks ago when we moved in to our new place, gifts are somehow even more special when they're completely unexpected!


♥ Katie Fforde novels... Having spotted one in an honesty box of books outside a church at the weekend, picking it up and devouring it over the course of that day and the next, I'd forgotten how much I enjoy her novels! They're really cosy reads, like snuggling into fresh bed sheets after a hot bath. I'm sure there are some new ones out there I haven't read, I must investigate.

♥ Lovely neighbours... I adore our new neighbours - they're the kind of people you can just chat to, who you feel safe letting know that you're away for a weekend and asking them to keep an eye on things. Our neighbour popped round yesterday evening to let us know that she's growing heaps of tomatoes and peppers in her green house if we'd like some - yes please! (Along with a slight twinge of guilt that my planned vegetable patch has not been touched yet!) Also they have the loveliest little twins - real mischievous little kiddoes. I adore them!

♥ Crochet... After a loooong long wait, my crochet hooks have finally arrived! I am both excited and terrified because it means actually braving some of the tutorials on Youtube and having a go. I think I need to track down someone in 'real life' who can help me too - there's nothing like actually watching and following along in detail, and being shown where you're going wrong! (Positive thinking already, Catherine.)

Hope you're all having wonderful weeks! Join me in counting down the days until the weekend - it'll be Friday before we know it!

♥ Do let me know what's made your week a little rosier by leaving me a comment below (I do love comments!) or dropping me a tweet (I'm @happygoluckycat) or better yet, why not join the fabulous bunch of #WonderfulWednesday bloggers? Pop over to their blogs for a dose of mid-week happiness - SallyMichelleHelenKateJoEmma and Kate - and then join me in counting down the days until the weekend. It's in sight! 

Monday, 9 May 2016

Saturday, glorious Saturday.


Wasn't this weekend absolutely glorious?! It seems like a long time ago now, on this rainy Monday evening, but the memory of it will keep me going for a few more days at least.

The mister and I went to Norfolk to visit his mum over the weekend. We travelled there on the Friday evening, as we usually do to ensure that we get at least one full day together before we travel back to London again on the Sunday. As I've mentioned on this wee blog before, a visit to his mum's usually entails a list of hearty chores but this weekend was to-do list light and, as the sun was shining so very beautifully when we woke up on Saturday morning, we decided to drive a short way and walk along the Broads.


We parked in a little village called Surlingham, just by a beautiful Saxon church. I can't resist an old church so we popped in first of all for a peek and just by the entrance, spotted a little honesty book sale - something else I can't resist! My mother in law and I excitedly pored over the books for sale - she found a selection of lovely old embroidery magazines and I found several lovely romance novels, which are my guilty pleasure. I was very restrained though and only came away with one - I can't resist a Katie Fforde novel and I may have already finished it...

We picked up our purchases and went inside the church, which was very simple and beautiful, and (perhaps explaining the embroidery books for sale in front of the church) had a beautiful tapestry illustration of the village hanging on one of the walls. It was amazingly intricate, with beautifully-worked rivers, roads and farmlands, and I even spotted a tiny heron, hedgehog and scarecrow. We could have spent much longer examining the tapestry and all the old tombstones in the church but didn't want to miss the sunshine so we headed out...


We left the graveyard surrounding the church, after giving a friendly passing moggy a scritch behind its ears,  and headed down a small path shaded by trees, following signs for the Broads and before long we could see water in front of us. Patches of the walk were really muddy, with boards to walk across every so often but in unlikely places (and few and far between) and surrounded by damp muddy stretches. Once we'd got past those though we were able to walk along for quite a way with dry shoes (my Converse probably weren't suitable for walking great distances on muddy paths!) looking at the sunlight glittering on the water, and the butterflies zipping around happily.

It was so peaceful, almost silent apart from the sound of the birds and a light breeze stirring the leaves of the trees and bushes, and the occasional puttering of a boat passing on the water - I know there are busier stretches of water along the Broads but this one was just perfect.


We passed a little bird spotting nook, where eager bird watchers had made a note of the birds they'd spotted and, hilariously, some local kids had spotted a heron 'in da sky' and a crocodile 'in da water'. And to think I thought it was just a rat stirring the reeds as we passed a shady spot earlier in the walk...

Before long we came across a little pub on the waterfront and we sat out under a large umbrella sipping cold drinks. It was so lovely that we decided to stay for a spot of lunch...well that and I saw that I could have a baked potato (tempting despite the heat!) so I wouldn't have to sit and enviously watch the others tuck into their fish and chips.


Full and satisfied, we headed back along the waterfront re-tracing our steps to the car. Disaster struck! The water had risen slightly and started to flood the bank in places... Remember those boarded stretches I mentioned earlier? Full on streams now. We jumped across where we could, with my poor loyal Converse getting soggier and soggier, until we got to an impassable stretch. There was only one thing for it, the shoes and socks had to come off and we squelched through the mud and water until we got to the other side (while I desperately tried not to imagine what lurked inside the mud! Crocodiles - oh no!) It was a perfect ADVENTURE, in the manner of an Enid Blyton novel...I even got my first nettle sting in several years! What a day.

And the perfect end to the day? (In the absence of lashings of ginger beer, of course.) Curled up in the shade of an old beach-windbreaker in my mother in law's garden, with an ice lolly and my new book. Bliss.


What adventures did you get up to this weekend? I'd love to know! 
If you fancy more of a photographic peek into my adventures, such as they are,  pop on over to my Instagram feed where you'll find most of the above!

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Wonderful Wednesday 06

Gorgeous blossom on sunny May Day

Ok, Wednesday really snuck up on me this week. I suppose a three day weekend will do that to a person, but a short week is the best kind of almost forgotten-surprise, right?! I do feel like I'm owed an extra day to tack onto the end of the weekend though. I went to a bar after a concert on Friday night (more on that below), ordered a gin and elderflower cocktail, was drinking and chatting happily before suddenly feeling all kinds of horrid. It turns out the cocktail also contained a dash of pale ale, which made this coeliac feel eight hundred different shades of awful. I spent all day on Saturday in bed feeling terrible with the worst migraine I've had in a long time. Bad gluten.

It's funny, things are getting so much better for coeliacs and the gluten-intolerant in general, and my knowledge of it is so much better but there are still some things that surprise me. Ale in a gin-based cocktail? No, still doesn't make sense to me. Could be another sign from the universe telling me to avoid gin though...hmmm can't be that.

The next few days were tip top though so without further ado, here are some of my weekly highlights...

♥ Cheese... I'm sitting here nibbling a small chunk of cheddar writing this round-up, while the mister makes our dinner (I know, I'm very lucky) and musing on how much I adore cheese. Cheese isn't just for Christmas, you know, it makes a fantastic snack, a wonderful accompaniment to port and crackers, goes superbly atop a pizza and is smashing when grated onto a baked potato or bowl of rice. I've heard some people don't like cheese, crazy thought that that is. What's this world coming to?! They may have a point when it comes to blue cheese though, that's the stuff of nightmares.

♥ Tindersticks in concert... I know that Tindersticks' new album made it onto a previous Wonderful Wednesday list and on Friday night we saw them in concert at the Barbican. It's the second time I've seen them live and they always do a great concert - on Friday they played their new album in its entirety, which was stunning, as well as performing some of my favourite songs of theirs amongst others. The Barbican is a great venue too and even if you're right up in the Gods, as we were, you still have an excellent view of the stage.

♥ Three day weekends... How many of us will be putting this on our lists this week...or am I just very predictable? They are wonderful treats though - I feel like I've been looking forward to this one for weeks. Saturday's migraine aside, it was a wonderful weekend. On Sunday, the mister and I went to my parents' house for lunch. My brother and his lovely girlfriend were there too, and my nanny who I don't see nearly enough. Lots of love, laughter and good food, an excellent day. On Monday I went to watch the new Captain America: Civil War movie, which I was SO geekily excited about and I'm happy to say that it did not disappoint. Loved it. Afterwards, we went for beer and burgers to talk about the movie - the perfect ending to the day.

♥ Five year diary...The mister bought me a five year diary for Christmas and I'm already excited at the prospect of completing it and being able to look back on random days that I would otherwise completely forget about. I'm not going to lie, some days it's hard to even fill the few lines set out but this week I've really enjoyed writing in it - it must be the three day weekend making things just that bit easier!

♥ Old friends... Particularly the joy of long conversations with old friends who you haven't spoken to in a little while (work / babies tend to get in the way) but can pick up exactly where you left off and it feels like you're laughing the entire time. I had a lovely catch up over the phone with one of my oldest friends this week - come September, we'll have been friends for 24 years!

♥ Holiday planning... Having been on honeymoon last year, we agreed that this year would be a little light on the holiday-front - we have a trip to Ireland for a wedding in summer and a short trip to Germany at the end of this month. I need to find which box we packed our Germany guidebook into and start to ramp the planning up a notch - exciting times!

And look at that, we're at the halfway point in the week already, good ol' three day weekends! Hope you've all had wonderful weeks!

♥ Do let me know what's made your week a little rosier by leaving me a comment below (I do love comments!) or dropping me a tweet (I'm @happygoluckycat) or better yet, why not join the fabulous bunch of #WonderfulWednesday bloggers? Pop over to their blogs for a dose of mid-week happiness - SallyMichelleHelenKateJoEmma and Kate - and then join me in counting down the days until the weekend. It's in sight!