Blink 182.

I really don’t like London. Okay, scrap that. I didn’t like London until last weekend and our visit to Canary Wharf. It’s just so damn NICE isn’t it? Clean. Quiet. Nice. And it only helps you love a place more when you get to watch a cool band play and meet OPTIMUS PRIME. Hell yeah. Like I’ve said before, I. AM. A. ROCK. STAR.

“That’s Optimus Prime.” Complete shock in my voice.

“Really?” said in tone of utter doubt as we walked up to the setting up of the London MotorExpo.

“Um, yeah. I would NOT get that wrong.”

“Huh, cool.”

“Stuff cool, this is IMMENSE. Where’s Bumblebee… I love me some Camero…”

And that’s pretty much how that went.

I first started listening to Blink when I was in high school, probably about fourteen years old. They were easily accessible and completely out there. Well, they were for an average kid like me.

I paired this new found love of anything outrageous with a pared-down scarlet red almost-mohawk and screamo music in my ears any chance I got- Fightstar, Funeral for a Friend, The Used, Bullet for my Valentine, those other lads with long fringes… Well, it was years ago…

So when the chance floated past OH he jumped at it. We were set to relive our youth in the O2 Arena for one night. I doubt OH new my youth was actually spent IN the mosh-pits, not watching from safe distances…

I’ve got to say, for it to be so huge and so commercial (I remember watching Bullet before they were ‘big’ in Fibbers in York; a tiny basement-type s**t hole that could only hold 80 people and always seemed to be stretched at the seams with 200) I did get the goosebumps thing going on. I couldn’t help myself, this was Blink. To be frank, I can’t even remember the name of the first act although it sounded a lot like Flip Atlantic. I’m sure of the second word, not so much on the first. The second warm up act was even better as I knew a fair few words to get involved singing along with. All American Rejects. Come on, who doesn’t love ‘Swing swing’ and ‘Give you Hell’?

Anywho, after a surprisingly long toilet-break queue that took very little time to get to the front of we settled back in for Blink. I know I’m biased but they are just as good as they ever were if only ten years older and a little tired. The encore was just as good as the set and they played all the favourites throughout.

The scary part of the night was not only how bloody steep the seating is within the arena but after we left and were heading to the underground. Aw heck, I love a good end of the world film (it’s a new passion of mine, along with Zombies) but I don’t want to live one. The crowd control procedures at the underground station and the reaction of hyped-up, mostly wasted arse holes around us really made me think the world was ending. Big yellow signs with ‘CROWD CONTROL IN EFFECT’ and the crowd getting tighter and tighter was a little scary but we got through in the end and were back at our hotel in about 25 minutes.

The next day, we decided to walk from Canary Wharf (where we were staying) back to Waterloo Station; along walk but one filled with many many tourist type photo taking opportunities.

So we walked. The whole way. And it was the best walk  ever. I Have never seen London so calm and peaceful and even though there were thousands of tourists around I didn’t once feel claustrophobic or caged (I think in a previous life I was a wild animal, possibly something with speed and claws if my inner-panic in city locales gives any indication).

I am now looking forward to revisiting my Capital again some time and would definitely spend more time around Canary Wharf and actually visit some of the sights along South Bank that we didn’t have the time or money to this time.

 

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Things to rant about.

I’m not above a good rant and I’m definitely not short on opinions and exhaustive commentaries on the world around me.

Sometimes, you just need to get it out. Tell someone. Write a blog. You know?

Firstly, and I do not mean to cause anyone any form of offence for I know it is the minority that spoil it for the rest of us but… BUGGIES. PUSHCHAIRS. PRAMS. STROLLERS. Whatever the hell you call them, I hate them. Well, like I said before, the minority spoil it for the rest of us and one day I know I’ll have to go out and buy one. The thing is, stupid women (I’m apologetic to my gender here but it is usually women) like to RAM them into your shins or into the backs of your calves like they have no idea you’re stood right in front of them when you’re out for that one day’s shopping a year. Or maybe they know fine well you are only three foot from their nose and are using their often empty pram/battering ram to get you the hell out of their way… Astute observation me thinks…

SO, I KNOW YOU ARE THERE. IT’S KINDA HARD NOT TO HEAR YOU WHEN YOU’RE YELLING ABOUT THE PRICE OF CIGGIES AND THE AMOUNT OF DSS THE GOVERNMENT ARE LETTING YOU SPONGE. I ALSO KNOW THAT IF YOU HIT ME HARD ENOUGH IN THE BACK OF THE ANKLES WITH YOUR LEGALISED BATTERING RAM I WILL COLLAPSE ONTO (AND POTENTIALLY KILL) YOUR SPAWN.

And when they push the baby-filled pushchair out between two parked cars when they come to cross a busy road. Oh now this gets my Dad mad too. The amount of times he’s had to slam on the breaks to avoid potential infanticide when brainless, callous, shouldn’t-be-allowed-to-breed mothers shove their tiny offspring out in front of them to then duck their heads out between parked cars to see if it’s safe for them to cross.

OKAY, SO DON’T THROW YOUR SPAWN IN THE WAY OF MOVING HUNKS OF METAL UNLESS YOU WANT JAIL-TIME instead, THROW YOUR GODDAMN CRAZY-ASS SELVES IN FRONT OF THE VEHICLES AND PULL YOUR CHILD AFTER YOU ONLY IF IT IS SAFE.

Wowsa, that gets me mad.

The Royal-Bloody-Mail. This makes me mad too. For so many teensy weensy reasons I seem to just despise the whole idea of the mail system sometimes. You used to get charged for weight of parcels. Now they not only charge for weight, they charge for size too. I can pay nearly £2 just to POST a card with a badge on the front. No, a first class stamp on an average sized birthday card is not adequate any more… You must be penalised for the sending of a tacky and horrendous badge on the front too. Hmm, Okay.

AND WE JUST PAY THE SUCKERS CAUSE THAT’S THE ONLY WAY YOUR YOUNGER BROTHER WILL KNOW YOU STILL KNOW HE’S ALIVE AND GROWS OLDER EVERY YEAR EVEN IF YOU NEVER PICK UP THE PHONE TO CALL HIM.

Anyone over the age of 68 driving a car. I’m sorry. I am so sorry. I know you’re old and need to enjoy every last vestige of freedom you can before the inevitable comes along and… Well, you know. But…

SERIOUSLY, IF YOU CAN’T SEE OVER THE BLOODY STEERING WHEEL THEN HOW ON GOD’S-GREEN-EARTH ARE YOU EXPECTED TO STOP- PLOWING DOWN ANYONE CROSSING THE ROAD/CRASHING INTO OTHER CARS AT JUNCTIONS/SMASHING UP OTHER PEOPLE’S SIDE PANELS WHEN YOU PARK IN CAR PARKS/JUST PLAIN OLD GET IN MY WAY?!

I live on a road where I am the youngest home owner by roughly (and I am being generous here) 40 years at least. Every one of these crippled old biddies has back/neck/leg/eye/hand problems that mean they walk with sticks/wear remarkably thick glasses/take such strong pain meds they are high as kites, yet they are still safe to drive? When they can’t SEE? Can’t FEEL THEIR FEET? Can’t GRIP THE WHEEL? Don’t KNOW WHAT DAY IT IS? Come on.

Working with anyone under the age of thirty. Yup, I know I’m not even 25 yet but it seems (as I still work in retail at the moment) anyone under the age of thirty (and unfortunately a lot over that age too) are so frigging immature I can’t bear to have them talk at me.

Hearing the tales of getting ‘smashed’ every other day and coming into work still hung-over, I really don’t care. Feeling ‘so extremely poorly’ for the ninth week in a row; basically either the part-timers hang-over excuse or they have a cold and can’t be arsed working. Whingeing about how mean/tight-fisted/miserable your parents are; primarily because they wouldn’t drive you to work/buy you a car/let you live for free in their house/give you money or anything else you want. I DON’T CARE.

I have only ever met one person in all my years working within retail that has anything in common with me, that lady is still one of my close friends. She’s 64. I own my own home, no-one else seems to. I am in a steady long-term relationship, apparently I’m an oddity. I cook like an adult, whereabouts I don’t live off beans on toast, pizza and pasta. I spend most of my wages on homey things first as I want to live comfortably, everyone else only cares about bags, shoes, online war games, makeup, alcohol. They talk to me about their failing relationships with other losers; jobless musicians, my idea of depressed and lazy wannabees; girls they met over the internet and subsequently proposed to 3 weeks after meeting face to face, my idea of loser bunny-boilers. The list goes on and I STILL DON’T CARE.

Yikes.

Farmers. The French (a hand-me-down from my parents). Politicians. Boy racers. Bankers. Anonymous PPI calls. Rugs (don’t ask). Clueless holiday makers. Chavs. Anyone who doesn’t respect Sir Patrick Stewart. Reality TV shows…

The list is practically endless, as I’m sure yours is too, and I laugh about these things as much as I despair but please, just let me live in peace general populous. Geez.

Guilty Pleasures Pt II.

I’ve had an honest think about what else I consider a ‘guilty pleasure’ and will continue the list I started a few weeks ago although really, this is probably just a list of true ‘likes’ of which I don’t feel guilty at all.

Magazines and books. I can’t help myself. I have gardening books, jewellery design books, dog breed and dog training books (I will admit here I own less cat-themed reading) Home decor magazines, wedding mags (no, no upcoming nuptials, just a love of pretties), travel books (a new thing for me) craft books, philosophy books, fiction (you all know my addiction to fiction) and pretty much everything in between! I ❤ books…

Eating and drinking al fresco. I love being out in the garden. I’m not usually so sun-worshippy as I used to burn easily. For some reason this is not the case this year and my tolerance to heat has risen, much to my delight. So any time I can be out in the garden, I will be. Especially with a glass of wine. Pub grub whilst sitting out under a parasol (usually only on holidays but hey) and a ice cold bottle of lager…

Olives. Aw man I could eat these for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’ve rediscovered them this summer and am trying to put them on everything, much to OH’s distress. Just a classic Caesar salad with feta and olives instead of Parmesan shavings, try it! Crushed with feta and sweet peppers as a topping for pork chops…

I went home for the Jubilee weekend (‘home’ here being where me and OH grew up, a little village outside of York) to visit parents and pick up some more of my stuff from their attic. I collected two HUGE bags of Ty Beanie Babies. Hell yeah.

I am such a Rock Star.

Oh my god I forgot how much I adore those things. The Bears that you just HAVE to collect. The one’s you HAVE to have. The one’s with the cutest faces and the most charming fur colours. Remember, I am 25 this September so this is probably one of my most guilty pleasures. I realised I have more bears than I picked up that weekend and have recruited my folks to find the remaining bags in their attic. I probably have well over 300. The one’s I picked up are PRISTINE. PERFECT. Tags protected and all safe in clean, thick plastic bags. They were (and have now become again) my pride and joy. The guilty secret here is once I saw them all, remembered where I bought each one (with my parents at beanie fairs, on holidays to Orlando, at the local toy store before it shut down…) I caught the bug again. Hiding it from OH, I went on Amazon.co.uk (my go-to place for EVERY online purchase) and started searching for more; new styles and old ones I never managed to get. Unfortunately I bought many when the craze was still strong and spent a small fortune along the way but now I am happy to announce, my new found addiction is a cheap as chips. I bought 2004 Signature Bear after I fell in love with his gold nose. I couldn’t help myself. I’ve hidden the purchase from OH and hope it arrives on one of my days off… 😉

IKEA ‘shopping’ days with my Mum. I have to admit I never need anything when I go shopping with Mum but I always buy something. And we always have either a full-english (if we get their for opening time) or a hot dinner. I love this place. Breakfast is about two quid a person with re-fillable coffee (surprisingly good coffee) on an IKEA Family card and me and Mother have been known to get to IKEA so early we have to wait for the doors to open. We have also been known to race through the store ‘short-cuts’ not even looking at any form of product, flapping through the store, even pushing toddlers out the way, just to get to the dining hall… Hmm… Crazy… But then, me and my Mother have a fair few quirks…

🙂

Puppy.

So, ever since I moved in with OH (three years ago on June 27th to be precise) I have wanted a dog. I think he secretly wants a dog still but he is, thankfully, too sensible to let me run wild with it. We lived in a rented flat and ‘rented flats aren’t allowed pets in them’. We were going on holidays and ‘you’d never leave your dog in a kennel’. We didn’t have a car and ‘we can’t pick up a puppy on a train’. He has preferences and ‘I’m not owning a girly dog’.

His excuses got steadily thinner until he just stopped acknowleging my research through adverts for pups. Our parents said ‘Oh, you don’t want the responsibility’ and ‘they tie you down’.

Well, one night as we were having a glass of wine I told OH (rather tearily I might add) that I didn’t want to be alone when I knew he’d be going away to work for six months the next year.

He looked at me and said ‘We can’t have a dog here Kirst.’

I squarked back through wine and tears ‘I know!’.

So he replied ‘So lets buy a house.’

So we did. That didn’t stop him going away to work for six weeks just as we were finalising purchasing details and solicitors. He has to work. I get that. I have to pick up the slack and know exactly what’s going on while he’s away. That’s my job. I’m pretty good at it and I am stronger than I give myself credit for. But I was in a new house on my own in a new part of town. I broke again one night and called my poor father at 2am. He listened.

The next day, on my way to work, Dad called.

‘I think I’ve found someone who can help you.’ (Aw hell, I thought, a shrink!?) ‘Just give her a call, we think this is the answer.’

‘What answer Dad?’

‘We want to buy you a kitten.’ I cried all the way off the ferry and into work. I love my parents but this was something I could never have guessed they’d do. The trick was getting it approved by OH.

‘You don’t even like cats.’

Hmmm. Incorrect. ‘I don’t particularly have an affintity for them.’

‘You’re Dad’s pretty much sold you on this hasn’t he?’

‘Yes.’

‘There’s nothing I could say is there?’ (smile in his voice now)

‘Well, there probably is but please don’t say it.’

So we got Jethro. A cat.

I think my desire for a dog has never really dissapated but Jethro was and still is my lifesaver. Now I see dogs on walks and I always shout to OH ‘Look at that! Isn’t he cute?!’ I am still missing a puppy and the more wild and rough Jethro gets, the more I want to find him a companion too. I have only ever had dogs (at home growing up) from puppies and for me personally, the benefits of this outweighs  getting an older dog.

So, here’s my wish list for dogs. I have carefully taken into account that when I’m on my own I may not be able/want to walk for miles and miles at night by myself so ‘big’ dogs are out of the question. Although when OH is home, we walk for miles and miles. There are a couple here that are probably too vivacious but I’ll eventually admit that to myself and NOT get a breed that would be bored or not excersised correctly.

The Basset Hound. The only things I really worry about with this breed are- how Jethro may bite or grab at dogs ears, their short stature is not reccommended for houses with stairs as going up and down stairs can affect their development and therefore their health and the fact that, despite it’s short stature this is actually a Big dog.

Hmmm. So, to the next.

The Dacshund.

Again, I worry about their health as they are considered an ‘extreme’ body type but the weight of these little dogs isn’t quite as tough on their joints as that of a Basset. This breed is on the ‘girly’ list of banned dogs OH has set.

So, onwards.

The Boston Terrier.

I am not sure if the Bozzy is on the banned list but they are peppy little dogs that apparently are couch-potatoes on the sly. A smaller dog, they have unfortunately become ‘trendy’ in England and now command rediculous ‘designer dog’ price tags which doesn’t always mean you are getting a healthy pup.

And the next…

The Beagle.

A sweet natured family dog (a must with Jethro around) this breed requires a lot of excercise and open running which would only ever be an issue occasionaly if OH was working away for months and I was left on my own with dog, cat and job…

I think, in reality that’s it. The only true contenders in my mind. I’m reluctant to pick one as I’m still trying to be objective and honest about our situation and I’m trying to be responsible, not to mention OH won’t let me have a puppy until I’m teaching which will be another two years at least. My thinking is, would it make us happy? Yes. Would it get us out the house and excersising more? Yes. Is now the best time as OH is definitely home for the next two years? Yes. I don’t want to be hearing what I want to hear here but at the end of the day, the more me and OH talk about something, the more we talk ourselves out of it i.e. the car dilemma.

But never mind, I’m sure we’ll get there and add another furry bundle to our little family eventually. Wish me luck 🙂

 

Remember to live and love ALL THE TIME.

What I mean by the obnoxious titling there is what I tell myself when I’m down and blue or when I’m bored or stressed.

I know I take things for granted, I’m only human am I not? The thing is, I know I shouldn’t. I know I should soak up every second and always find the flip side to a troubling situation or moment in the day. I know I should really revel in the successes in my life and the wonderful people I share it with. I know this, I do, but sometimes people piss you off or you get in a selfish mood and don’t see the beautiful bigger picture.

Thank the lord I’ve been lucky enough to grow up in a fairly tight nuclear family unit with healthy, happy family and friends. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters isn’t it? My parents are still together and will be forevermore. I didn’t grow up with two seperate parents and two seperate homes. I grew up in a really nice area, not posh, but nice. Country-sidy. I had what ever I needed and was given a good education- school, college, university. We had pets- dogs, cats, hamsters, rabbits, mice, snakes, rats, goldfish and since leaving home my Mum has aquired more…

I now have an amazing OH who has built a home around me. We compromise with each other and it doesn’t even feel like a compromise. Our tastes are similar, our humor is almost similar (he still doesn’t understand what me and my Mum find so funny sometimes…) we want the same things, we’re going in the same direction. I don’t ever want to take that for granted.

Many people do. I see it all the time. People so wrapped up in their own little bubbles they forget they share that bubble with the people closest to them. They forget to respect the people closest to them. They forget that the world doesn’t revolve around them and that their decisions and opinions aren’t always the only ones. Not having the world evolving round you is a good thing. Let me explain some more.

People forget to see the small things. They forget to enjoy every moment; your favourite store is nice and quiet while you’re browsing, the fact the sun is shining and that you are able to drive/cycle/walk to work, your favourite song is playing. Take pleasure in these things. Your OH cooks you dinner/makes you a cup of tea/asks you about your day or your colleges are in a great mood at work.

I know I don’t always take my own advice but I make a conscious effort to do my best and sometimes I catch myself and change the way I’m thinking in that moment. Positivity is the key. ‘Smile and the whole world smiles back’ as the saying goes…

Just love the little things and really live every moment, however basic 🙂

Leavesden Studios.

As you’ve probably all guessed by now; I love design, I love the making of it, the construction (hence my own degree in Jewellery Design & Silversmithing) but alongside this curiosity is the ‘I don’t want to believe it isn’t actually real’ feeling that my newly booked tickets and the subsequent Leavesden Studios Harry Potter Tour is making me feel.

This is going to be a bit emotional for me.

Like many millions of others I am a Generation Harry. I was read the very first book just after it’s release; sat on the thin velvety-feel carpet tiles in the reading corner in my tiny Primary School class room. Mrs Grey read it to us. We were all hooked. That one thing, that one story linked us in ways nothing else could. Twenty or so ten-year olds who had not a single thing in common would all feel the same, gasp the same, almost cry the same on that thinly carpetted floor.

That’s the power of a good story. For me, it has always been a struggle to recreate that awe-inspired, deep seated, so amazed I could cry feeling of stepping onto the cobbles in Diagon Alley for the first time with Harry, fresh from the ‘You’re a Wizard Harry’ comment and bursting at the seams with excitement.

Until now.

Leavesden Studios offers me just that. The reason I didn’t grab a broom and speed over there as soon as it opened this March is simple. I didn’t want to go alone. Dispite the many millions just like me, I don’t live with any of them. Other Half (as he is known on here) can’t abide fantasy telling me he’d rather poke his own eyes out with prickly sticks. The comment cut surprisingly deep. This is something I have a lot of time for, the world in which I grew up in, with the characters I’ve known for years. WWHD was a little phrase that practically got me through my GCSE’s. What Would Hermione Do? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t live in robes with a Hogwarts scarf  on but damn, sometimes just escaping to that world brings me comfort. When I’m stressed I read. When I’m lonely I read. Comfort in the form of old friends and familiar places I can access in seconds within these books.

So after my Aunt took her family to Orlando, Fl. and visited the Harry Potter World park-within-a-park at Universal Studios, I asked my wonderful Dad if he’d go with me on a slightly shorter trip to just outside Watford. Luckily not even leaving the country. He jumped at the chance, being almost as much of a kid as myself and even offered to pay for our tickets in. Leavesden has now become a possibility for me.

It’s not until October that I can get the time off to drive up to Watford and Dad can get the time off to drive down so we can meet in the middle. I thought it would be nice to go for some sort of occasion and since my birthday month is full of maybes and possiblys I thought we could do it for Dad’s.

The thing now is the wait. Having researched fully what we’ll get to see there I teared up a little when I saw the grand finale item. A 1:24 scale model of Hogwarts itself. This is definitely going to be worth the wait and I am even demanding a new camera for my birthday just to take high quality photos with on the tour (yes, it’s allowed) and now have to calm my breathing when I think of the very first moments after the curtain has lifted and I walk into the Great Hall for the first time…

Yes everyone, I LOVE THE HARRY POTTER WORLD.

Guilty Pleasures…

So, first on my list of guilty pleasures has to be baking… at 8 o’clock at night. Eating Double Chocolate Sticky Muffins practically straight out the oven. OH will winge he wants something sweet to eat after tea. I, being the most gracious of little-women, will happily jump up to make him my favourite DCS Muffins.

I’ll post the recipe soon.

Curling up in my squishy ‘Big Red’ chair wrapped in my dressing gown with my huge cat on my knee and one of my favourite books in my hands. I will sit for hours and hours, not eating and not talking, just reading. Heaven. The only problem I have with my reading addiction is the quality of story (and I only read series) cannot be written fast enough.

Then next on my list has to be fried chicken. Cold. Especially cold. With no sauce or fries or anything. I very rarely get to eat this take-out style and NEVER cook it at home. This special little treat is reserved for the rare occasion I have enough dosh and am walking past the big red building at the top of the high street and feeling in a particularly self-indulgent mood.

American TV shows. BIG guilty pleasure right there. From dramas like Grey’s Anatomy (come on, McDreamy right?), Private Practise, Dexter, NCIS, CSI- Miami, Las Vegas AND New York, Sons of Anarchy, The Walking Dead, House, Boardwalk Empire and Justified to Diners, Drive-in’s & Dives, Man Vs Food (see a running theme here?) Ace of Cakes, Ice Road Truckers (ask my parents what they call this program, it rhymes…) Bridezillas (Hell Yeah who doesn’t love watching the crazies now and again?) Well, basically any American TV show. Star Trek. Now that’s one not everyone wants to admit to loving. Any of the vast array of spin-offs and series- Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Next Generation… All of them. Wonderful.

So, what else… Home Wear Stores; kitchen and furnishings… gadgets and art prints. Window shopping ONLINE. Without crowds or noise or fuss. I like nesting.

Shoes. Dresses. Turning the heating on when you know you could soldier on with just your wooly jumper. Coffee. Lots of coffee. Grabbing a taxi home from work when it’s raining. That HUGE extra portion of home made, slow-cooked chile or Musakka.

The idea of building my own home. This consumes me so much and so vividly sometimes that I can see myself walking through the rooms as if they’re already built. The fact that even getting the kitchen done was enough to give me hives doesn’t get a seconds thought.

I know you adore half of these things too. I know you just want to curl up in a big squishy chair with a huge spotty cat, a mug of coffee and the bestest stickiest double chocolate muffin straight out the oven crying to an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. I know you treat yourself to that extra portion at dinner. I know you secretly want to own a Star Trek ‘United Fediration’ uniform. I know you’d wear your Uggs and PJ bottoms to work if they’d let you.

You know why? Cause I’m just like you.