Monday, 28 July 2014

Happiness Is... (vol. 77)

Can you believe that this time next week I'll be living and working in London!? I certainly can't. Or rather, I can, which led to a meltdown of slightly spectacular proportions on Sunday morning- to the point that it involved three hours on the phone to Mama CupandSaucer. It took most of that time for me to stop crying. That woman is a saint for putting up with me, helping me out, and general just sorting my life out for me. Honestly, I would be utterly and completely lost without her.

But hey! This isn't about the meltdowns, or the sadness, or anything else. This is about the happy things in life, and of those there are plenty. It's chin up, best foot forwards, and understanding that sometimes the scariest things are the best things that ever could happen to us. I am unbelievably excited for this next chapter, and a few tears are only to be understood.

(As an aside I think I talk more about being sad and stressed on a Monday than on any other day of the week. Perhaps it's a Sunday-night-itis type thing?! Who knows)

So! This week, happiness is...

... donut peaches. Good lord, aren't they incredible? I managed to get five of them, and 300g of fresh English raspberries (in Cardiff. In Wales) for £2. I love the fruit man on Queen Street! But mostly, I love those peaches. Absolutely summer all over- they're perfect.

... Gossip Girl. I may have been slightly (very) naughty and signed up for Netflix this weekend, and I'm steadily ploughing my way through season one of Gossip Girl. I may have watched it the whole way through when it first came out (in the pre-Netflix age when we couldn't gobble up entire series in one go), but I can't resist Chuck Bass again.

... lovely last days. Oh, I had the nicest last couple of days at work last week! Such sweet, thoughtful gifts, a lovely leaving lunch, and being made to feel like a really valued member of the team by the director, who insisted I kept in touch. It was great. (As an aside- can you believe that I have had three last days since I started this blog!? I really need to pipe down and settle down)

... absolute bargains. One way or another (the sale and an exchange were involved), I managed to get the Cath Kidston dress I have been coveting for weeks for £17 instead of £65. I was bloody delirious.

... lazing on a sunny afternoon in the summer time. Even if it was actually spent indoors with laptops, M and I had the most relaxing pre-evening chilling in the lounge while we waited for other M to get home from work so we could BBQ. It was amazing, and I'm going to miss her more than I can say when I leave in two days.

What's making you happy this week?

Sunday, 27 July 2014

News from the Ranch

I don't live on a ranch. I kind of wish I did, as it would give me an excuse to learn how to ride a horse. I always wanted to learn to ride when I was little, but Mama CupandSaucer is afraid of horses- so instead, I learnt to swim, trampoline, and play the piano.

I know I did an update post not so long ago, but this isn't really that sort of post- this is more "funny stories from this week". Annoyingly, as I drifted off last night I thought of another funny story involving me- but now I can't remember what it was, so that will have to wait for another day.

On Friday, MH went missing. Seriously. We had plans for supper at 7pm, and as 6:30pm rolled around and she still wasn't home from work, so I started to worry. I sent her a text- no answer. I called the restaurant as was told that as long as we were there by 8:30, there was no problem. 7pm, and I'm frantically whatsapping Jenny and trying to text MK casually to find out if he knew where she was. Turns out, this just ended up worrying him too, though he did tell me that she didn't have her phone on her. OK. By 8pm I was in a blind panic, on the phone to my mum and looking up whether there had been any traffic incidents she could have been involved in- when she came through the door, having been at the hairdresser for four hours because they nearly ruined her hair. Honestly, I've never been so relieved.

Friday morning didn't start well in our household either. MK has a Very Important Job. Like, the sort of important that means he really really has to be on time for work. As a result, he's got his morning routine down pat and is normally very self sufficient. But on Friday morning, he didn't get up at his normal time- so I just carried on through my morning as usual, getting ready to leave for work, and just thought that he probably had a late start or something. Turns out, he'd actually overslept and woke up ten minutes before he needed to be at work. Oops.

And me? Well, my last day went off without a hitch- other than telling my boss, who was off to the dentist (and who hates the dentist), "well, last week a boy in India had 232 teeth removed from his mouth in one sitting- so whatever happens, it can't be as bad as that!". I don't think it went down quite as well as I had intended...

So, how are you?

Friday, 25 July 2014

Four Layer Chocolate Ombre Cake

Yes, you read that properly. Four layer. Chocolate. Ombre. Cake. It's like a blogger dream cake, I swear to god- even more so because it goes perfectly with both tea and coffee.

Today is my last day at work. It's a very, very strange feeling- the last six months (and in particular, the four weeks since I handed in my notice) have flown by. I've learned a lot. I've met some wonderful people- colleagues, students, and Kate Granger included- and I genuinely am sad to be leaving.

It's a funny sort of sad though- I'm so excited for the next stage, and as this job was always maternity cover I never really had the full sense of ownership as I did in my last job. It also took so long for my colleagues to get to know me, and me them- I've previously been a real chatterbox and practical joker at work, and in this job have been forced to be a little quieter. No turning my boss' entire desk upside down in this job (which I previously did).

I've had my ups and downs- high points included pulling off an incredible student session at a big national event, and lows included being made fun of at work in a reverse snobbery kind of way (apparently, not knowing what a Toast Topper was equated to me being the sort of person who only shops in Waitrose. I'm not that person).

Over the past six months I have baked numerous cakes, taken a trip to Llandudno, attended multiple events, charmed the director, listened to colleagues rant, written six e-newsletters, scheduled more tweets that I care to think about, and learnt an awful lot about myself.

As I write this, it doesn't even really feel like I'm leaving. My handover document is unfinished, my desk is very clearly still mine, and I really don't believe that I won't be going back on Monday. It's baffling, really.

So it was only fitting really that I took my colleagues a fairly spectacular cake to say farewell. As a number of my colleagues were scheduled to be out of the office today, I took this in on Tuesday. In a team of seven, it lasted two days- which I think is quite impressive going, and tells just how good this cake really is.

I'm not going to post the recipe here, as I followed Kathryn's instructions to the letter- just with gluten-full flour rather than gluten-free, because none of us are gluten intolerant, and in 8 inch pans, so my layers were slimmer than Kathryn's 7 inch ones. And when you make it- maybe put slightly less than a full tablespoon of cocoa powder in the third layer- for me, there wasn't quite enough of a distinction between the third and fourth layers. Still bloody delicious though.

It's a wonderful cake, and I strongly suggest you make it. It might make your colleagues wish you weren't leaving- or it could just make a really great birthday cake for a friend.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

A Workwear Wishlist

Last night, as M, M and I chattered over supper, it suddenly dawned on us all that I'm moving out in a week. One week. Seven more sleeps. It's really sad.

Of course, I'm crazily excited for my new adventure in London, but I'm also so sad to be leaving this beautiful home behind. I've adored living with M- and now other M has moved in too (they're being real, proper grown ups!), it's even more fun. Last night, we discussed an incredible sounding fistula M had treated that day; M's colleague's duck, Bananas; and how we buy class, and the differences between different levels of "middle class", as I'm currently reading Consumed- it's so interesting. 

I love intelligent conversations. But that's by the by.

I'm so excited for the move, because I might use it as an excuse to buy myself some new workwear. I'm just not equipped for the prolonged sunny weather we've been having!! I'm having to hold off though because a) moving is expensive and b) I have no idea what the dress code in my new office will be like.

It's also quite difficult as I'm having a body-confidence crisis at the moment. I live with the most tall, beautiful, toned, active girl on the planet, and I'm carrying extra weight at the moment and boy sometimes does it hit you in the face when she's looking like a supermodel at breakfast and I'm there hiding in a floaty dress. So body demons, be gone! I'm lusting after...

Workwear Wishlist

Top row, L-R: ReissMangoMangoWarehouse
Bottom row, L-R: NextReissJoulesJoules

I'm not 100% sure where this sort-of colour scheme came from, but I like it! Of course, the Reiss dresses are just pipe dreams, but the sale Joules dresses might theoretically be an option... who knows!

What are you lusting after at the moment? Do you struggle to get dressed for work in the summer too!?