Getting Engaged

One more update on life events this summer, after my birthday and celebrating our 10 year anniversary, is that on Thursday, 30th August 2017, Ben and I got engaged!

So let me tell you the story, as it was lovely and romantic and so perfect for us. 20170827_Cornwall_Camping_Day6_0128_v2We were in Cornwall, on a camping trip with Ben’s older brother Jake and his girlfriend Giorgia. We travel with them often and were having a great holiday exploring during the day, eating good food and finishing the night drinking around our campfire under the stars.

On this particular day we found ourselves at St Michael’s Mount. The island is accessed by a causeway across the beach that can only be used at low tide. Arriving at high tide, we caught a boat out in to the island and  spent the afternoon exploring the island. 20170827_Cornwall_Camping_Day6_0074Coming back we took our shoes off and walked barefoot through the receding water along the cobbled causeway.  I had already decided this was a pretty cool place and the others seemed to think so, too. We all agreed to fish’n’chips on the beach for dinner.

We sat in our picnic chairs overlooking the island as the sunset in pink and orange over the town of Penzance in the distance. Once the causeway was fully exposed the boys went down to take photos in the last of the light, calling Giorgia and I down to get some couple shots.

They posed for a few pics, then Ben and I got in front of the camera although Ben was constantly running back to the tri-pod to reset the camera. After a couple of shots he suggested we do one posing with our backs to the camera, so I turned and stood with my back to the camera as he did the camera reset. As he ran back to me I went to take his hand and then realised he was down on one knee.

Jake took a film and on it all you can hear is me emitting a very guttural and shocked “Ooooohhhhhhhh” at this moment. Ben said lots of nice things and then asked me if I would marry him. EEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

I was crying by this point and he was a bit choked up himself. The ring box was opened upside down but eventually as the last of the light disappeared I was wearing a beautiful engagement ring and hugging the guy I love. 20170827_Cornwall_Camping_Day7_0059Eventually we re-joined Jake and Giorgia for more hugs and (well planned) bubbles on the beach. It couldn’t have been a more perfect night under the stars.

So now we are engaged and talking about weddings. I’m excited about the next chapter in our lives and making more plans with my favourite guy.

Ben – thanks for making me feel so special on this night and always.

Photo credits: Ben took the one of St Michael’s Mount and me and my ring, Jake took the one of us together on the causeway.

 

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2017 Resolutions

20170110_175912.jpgThere is nothing like the start of a new year to make you re-evaluate your situation and inevitably, set some lofty goals. Ben and I have been having some big adult discussions lately about what we’re aiming for in life. It’s exciting. 2017 is also the year that we both turn 30 and we will have our 10 year anniversary so there will be lots to celebrate over the summer.

My resolutions are pretty simple this year and I’m thinking they will stick. I’m optimistic mostly because I’m so excited about them. So here goes…20170204_resolutions_blog_0065My 2017 Resolutions

  • Read!

With the change to my commute this year my reading has slowed down dramatically. I miss churning through the books on my long commute, it was the perfect, distraction free reading time. Now that my commute involves more exercise (and sometimes photography) I need to carve out some reading time while at home. So that’s what this goal is about. I have set up a Goodreads account to track my reading this year and set a goal of 25 books.

I have possibly bitten off more than I can chew here but I signed up to run this 10-12 mile obstacle assault course with Ben. The website says “You can expect undulating hills, thick mud and a range of mind-bending challenges to test your mental grit.” Yikes! We started (sort of) training in New Zealand and now that we’re back in London we have committed to this in earnest. There is a lot of ab crunches and pull ups (when I can do them) in my future.

  • Use what we have + only buy essentials
  • Save to buy a house

These two resolutions go together. This year is the year of saving for Ben and I, we really want to put in a big effort to save on the little things, like takeaways, buying coffees, and make the most of the stuff we have. We’re not going completely frugal but just trying to get smarter, I would much rather my money went on holidays and our futures than Uber rides.

  • Learn to code in Visual Basic

This will be a huge step for my Excel skills and will help me streamline the work I do so much. I wish I had thought of it sooner. I have a few projects at work that I’m going to attempt this year.

  • Refresh my blog

It’s nearly two and a half years since I started this blog on my 27th birthday and it still looks pretty much exactly the same. I think it’s about time to refresh, I love writing this little online diary so I want it to keep growing with me. 20170204_resolutions_blog_0055What are your resolutions for this year? Did you make any? Oh and does anyone want to train for Tough Mudder with me? I’m going to need so much support to get through that. .

2016 Resolutions: How did I do?

20170204_resolutions_blog_0066I feel a bit different coming into this year, so much of my focus in 2016 had been on our month long New Zealand holiday over Christmas that I really hadn’t thought much about afterwards. But we’re just into February now and already so much has happened and changed. I’m really excited about what this year has in store.

I have a post coming really soon on resolutions I am adding for 2017 but for now I want to look at my 2016.

2016 Resolutions

  • No More Snoozing! I want to wake up and get up in 2016.

I’m starting off with a bit of a failure, I definitely haven’t shaken my snoozing habit. I used this progress checker by Elise Joy to help me stay on track, you can get a 2017 one here. It was stuck to the wall beside my bed in our Tottenham flat, and then by my mirror in our current flat. It’s a really good way of seeing how far you have come and tracking that daily effort. But as you can see, I started strong then I completely drop off over the period where we were looking for and then moving flats. There were a couple more flurried of activity during the year when I thought, yes! I’m getting back on track, but ultimately I’m still not jumping out of bed. 20170204_resolutions_blog_0043

  • Complete 10 full press-ups.

A bit like my snoozing, I had periods of really good effort during the year, but ultimately they didn’t stick. I still can’t do one press-up, let alone 10!

  • Make cards and use a bit more of the paper scraps that I am always collecting (hoarding).

Yes! I’m pretty proud of this resolution, I think 90% of the cards I gave this year were home-made or cards that I’ve collected over the years. I used home-made gift tags at Christmas time and used home made birthday cards. This is something that I’m sure I’ll probably continue doing forever. It’s creative, personal, eco-friendly (I really only recycle or re-purpose), cheap and I love doing it. I do sometimes worry that it’s a bit childish to be making cards but I remind myself that a card is really about the message and as long as it’s thoughtful it doesn’t really matter how professional it looks.

  • Say Yes! more and be an available and willing friend in 2016.

I’ve had so many good times with friends in 2016. I made some new friends through netball, I got to know my new flat-mates and we mesh really well and I got to catch up with family and friends back home, some who I don’t keep in regular contact with while over here.

I also had it on my mind to see more gigs in 2016. Here are some of my ticket stubs from events I’ve seen in the year. There is comedy, theatre, travel and sport in the mix but most excitingly is all the cool music acts I managed to see Mumford and Sons at British Summertime festival; a solo show from Amanda Palmer of the Dresden Dolls; Birdy who was a new find for me in 2016 and a bit of NZ sound with Fat Freddies Drop. The stubs aren’t in my pile but I saw Newton Faulkner in the Union Chapel which is an amazing venue in a church and at the Hoxton Hall I saw The Head and The Heart.

The biggest gigs I saw this year were Beyoncé and Bruce Springsteen at Wembley Stadium. Two very very different gigs but both so memorable. 20170204_resolutions_blog_0059

I have finally sorted myself out with a SongKick account too. I can’t beleive I missed this for so long. For those that don’t know it’s an app that tracks bands and lets you know when they’re touring and reminds you when the tickets go onsale. So essential if you’re going to try and beat all the touts before they sell out.

I also managed to keep at my 2015 resolutions which were to

  • continue working through my 27 Lista couple more were completed in 2016 but there is still 9 to go
  • save for a house – still going strong and will be ramping it up for 2017.
  • print photos – Yes, lots went on in 2016.

I hope you’re all looking forward to 2017. Thanks for reading xx

My London Project

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I’m going to share even more about my life.. ! Yay!

There are many times while writing this blog that I have wished I had started writing earlier. I wish I had documentation on my first explorations of London when everything was new and overwhelming. It would be nice to go back even further, to when I was living in Japan and travelling in Asia. I wish I had a diary of that weird and wonderful time in my life.20160720_Primrose_hill_sunset_0471In that spirit, I have started a series on my life in London for posterity. In the next month or so I am going to share how I’m living and the ups and downs of big city life, because even though right now it is the normal and every day, I know one day I will look back wistfully, at least I hope I will.

I started with my visa story and hope to have a few more posts for you in the coming month on:

  • A day in the life
  • How I’m living
  • work work work work work work….
  • Why I love living here
  • My London Tour: Where I will take you if you come to visit
  • anything else I can think of..

Is there anything else you want to read? Let me know and I’ll add it to the mix..

I’ll leave you with some pics I took on Primrose Hill one night after work last week. Summer has finally come to London and I can’t get enough of the parks and outdoors.20160720_Primrose_hill_sunset_0464

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Such a beautiful skyline..

Thanks for joining me, Andie xxx

 

2. Watch the entire series of Sex and the City

_MG_0028I went one better, not only have I watched the entire series these past two months, I have also watched both movies and read all the behind the scenes trivia on IMDB. Apparently Sarah Jessica Parker, who plays Carrie, and Kim Cattrall, who plays Samantha, despised each other right from the first series. Who would have known?? I thought Carrie and Samantha were besties! Mind = blown.

I got quite attached to the ladies over the 94 episodes. Over 50 hours of TV, that I watched pretty much every evening I was home and some mornings, and well, well into the wee hours of the night often. I binge watched hard, and I loved every moment.

Sex and the City originally aired from 1998 – 2004, so I could have watched this as I grew up like most of me peers did. I would have been 17 when it finished and 21 when the first movie come out. I wonder what I would have made of it as my younger self, I’m sure I would have been so taken in by the glamorous lifestyles of the characters. But for what ever reason, most likely there was something Dad wanted to watch on another channel, I never saw it.

_MG_0034Yes, its super cheesy and so far removed from real life. It’s painfully 90’s in the beginning, too. There is an early episode where the girls all having lunch, as they often do, when Samantha brings up dildos. The other three are intrigued about this, which was endearingly quaint for me watching this nearly 20 years after it first aired. Brazilians, Botox and boob jobs are also covered off by Samantha as the series progresses, met with varying degrees of surprise by the other three, but would not raise an eyebrow with the viewers of today.

I found it sweet (Charlotte’s earnest hunt for The One), annoying (How many times will Carrie let Big hurt her?), unexpectedly topical (Miranda trying to prove herself in the ‘boys club’ law firm – she would totally be a feminist if written today), and hilarious (Samantha, always Samantha, the sushi dinner, the humpy dog, the condom incident in Abu Dhabi). I was chatting with a friend about Sex and the City the other day and she asked, ” So, which character are you most like?” and I came to the conclusion, as cliché as it sounds, that we’re all a little bit like all of them. Which is probably why I found the show unexpectedly relateable, considering my life comes no where near the glamour and drama that they experience evereyday.

The characters may be relatable, but their world is certainly not. Along the same lines as Desperate Housewives and Gossip Girl, Sex and the City portrays a life that could only exist on TV. Endless lunches and bar openings, ball gowns and pick up lines. It makes New York seem like an adult equivalent of Disney World, Big even takes Carrie through Central Park on a horse and carriage at one point. It’s an escape into a fantast world, and a fantasy wardrobe. Watching this series has sparked so many great conversations with friends and workmates. Whenever I am asked “What have you been up to lately?” I respond with something like “Watching Sex and the City! I’m addicted! I’m up to the part when……..” and we go from there. Usually ending up with ” OMG! I want all Carrie’s clothes… sigh… If only….”.

Finally though, and I am surprised to say, I’m going to get deep here. The part that really resonated with me was their friendships and in the end, ability to stay true to themselves. After the final credits rolled I was so moved I messaged my two best friends in New Zealand and set up a Skype date – thanks for being there ladies, miss you always.

The series ends, as it always does, with Carrie saying something ‘profound’. I say profound very loosely here as Carrie’s profound is usually something very flip like “Are we all just playing games?” or “Denial: Friend or Foe?” or my personal favourite “Are men just women with balls?” But with this statement she’s on to something.

“The most exciting challenging and significant relationship of all, is the one you have with yourself” – Carrie’s parting words in the final episode.

So, that was my surprisingly long review. I hope it inspires you to watch again, or like me, give it a go for the first time. Putting this on the list was an easy win for me, I knew I wanted to watch it, I knew it would be easy viewing and I knew I had a lot of free nights ahead of me to binge watch. I did not realise though how much I would gain through watching this show. What did you think of Carrie? Are you a fan of Sex and the City? Team Big or Team Aiden?

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I’m Team Aiden….

27 while 27

I started this blog around my birthday. In fact the goal was to go live before my 27th birthday and, being the procrastinator that I am, this meant my blog went live exactly on my 27th birthday. I took the day off work, researched blog hosting sites, settled on a domain name and clicked the publish button all before rushing out the door to meet my friends for celebration drinks.

Done. Goal achieved, I had taken the first step.

I then populated a few more posts, tinkered around with the layout and themes a little and quickly lost momentum. Fail.

So in an attempt to revive my blog and complete one of the 27 things on my year’s to do list, I am going to blog my way through these 27 goals for the year. Some of them are big, some are expensive and some are really time consuming, but I hope all are achievable and all will help me grow, meet people and mark my 27th year with accomplishments.