Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Longleat Christmas 2016 50th Anniversary

"2 blog posts in a week Annie?" I hear you cry. Well yes, I have some things to talk about and I'm enjoying it!

Last year was the first time Kathryn, Miranda, Louise and I went to Longleat for their Christmas spectacle. (Wrote a blog post on it here) We had the most incredible time and swore we would do it again. Unsure of what to expect the first time we were totally overwhelmed by how great the safari was, the house and all of the Christmas lights which had been installed all through the Capability Brown gardens. So we decided it should become a yearly tradition. It's so Christmassy and we giggle so much as we go round the safari in the car with our packed lunches like kids on a school trip!

It doesn't feel like a whole year since we went, but it is. And now it's the 50th Anniversary of Longleat they had a bit of a special treat for the light show. Beatrix Potter! It was all Peter Rabbit themed, which works perfectly in the location and the little rabbit has a soft spot in all of our hearts!

Anyway, I can't recommend it enough. Book early next year and go if you can.

My favourite attraction has to be the monkeys. There is nothing like driving through and watching the naughty little guys steal windscreen wipers and aerials. They were fascinated with the leaves under the car bonnet this time and did a lovely job of cleaning them out and eating remains inside! Two of them may have had sex on the roof.... we know this because the people in the car next to us had full view.... um.... yes! haha! 

Little fight.....

 Post Safari we went down the impressive house..... gosh it's breathtaking huh?!
We want through the maze and when we finally found the centre, the sunset was incredible. 
^^The View of the house over the maze just before the lights switched on^^
Group selfie. I'm getting good at this selfie malarkey! 

^^And we waited on the tower for the lights to go on, and they did. Pretty! Now we just had to find our way out of the maze.^^

Back near the house, we had some penguins to visit. 
These guys below had been a bit naughty, they were stood facing a wall like that for at least ten minutes.... didn't move the whole time we were there! 

And then it was properly dark and after a wonder round the house it was time for the light display. I would have taken photos in the house but this year they weren't allowing us. I think it's because they had some very special exhibitions of Peter Rabbit costumes from the Ballet and first edition signed books. It was stunning inside this year, the costumes were exquisite. 

How incredible are these Elephants made from china cups, bowls and spoons etc?

Another selfie attempt!

Monday, 12 December 2016

5 joys number 3

This week has been really busy, and really stressful, but also full of many joys. Actually I think it's a couple of weeks since I wrote about anything cheery in my life, so here we go.

1) Mum and I went to The Ideal Home Christmas exhibition. This is now a yearly tradition and we love it. It's £10 each and we go around trying all the free food and drink we can get our hands on and getting all of the free samples. The music is brill and the atmosphere really fun. There was a really good Four Seasons cover band there this year ( Frankie's Guys ) and if you like that sort of thing (I do) you end up dancing like a mad woman before it's even lunchtime. I was also possibly the youngest person watching and dancing to them... ah well. Bovvered. It was fun! Here's me and mum posing for our obligatory Christmas tree photo out the front!

2) I moved into the New Flat. I want to do a blog on it, tell all about how I've done it up, some of the lovely things I've bought, some of the furniture, I'm upcycling and creating. That will all come in time. Life is far too busy right now. For now, here's a picture of my first real tree, bought by me on my own. Chosen by me on my own. Put in my little mini, by me on my own and driven home and decorated, all by me, on my own! I am an independent lady with a proper real tree in my gorgeous little one bedroom flat. I love it there. It's so cosy and I can't wait till I've finished filling it with lovely things. 

3) Longleat festival of lights. I'm going to do a whole blog post of all of my photos. Everyone should go, it's the most wonderful day out. Get the full ticket, do the full safari, house tour and light show. It's worth it. Book early. You might have to wait till 2017 now! 

4) My friend Lesley came over and brought me a lovely new microwave, brand new! Friends are so generous and loving sometimes and despite all that they have going on in their lives, they still take the time out for little old me and bring me such a lovely gift and have tea with me in my new flat. I love her and all of my community group. Which leads onto my joy number 5....

5) The Bernays Gardens Community Group Christmas dinner. We all went to The Hare and had a beautiful 3 course meal. Who would have thought that 2 years ago when I met these humans at a volunteer gardening day, that we'd still be friends 2 years later and having Christmas dinner together. Wonderful! 

And that my friends, is my latest 5 joys. Hopefully it put a smile on your face! 


Wednesday, 23 November 2016

5 joys number 2

It's time for round two of my five little joys. I need to concentrate on the positives in life right now, we all do, but I feel it strongly at this moment! It's been a bloody hard week!

• I went to my friend Lottie's 30th birthday at her incredible family home up in Bleathwood and it was the best party I've been to in a long, long time. Maybe it's because I don't drive a lot, but I do really enjoy a drive up the country on my own, music blaring in my little car with my road trip picnic, music and thoughts to keep me company. It's a total disconnect from my normal life where I'm glued to screens and technology and as I got deeper into the heart of the countryside, I felt myself breathe deeply and immediately like I'd gone on a mini break holiday. The party was amazing and filled with some of the most delightful, interesting people I've had the pleasure to talk to and I had the opportunity to dress up for the night and wear a long dress. I loved it and I didn't go to bed till 5am! Go me! I don't really have any photos of how dressed up I was, but 3 friends didn't recognise me! I took a selfie in the mirror to have a memory! Look how charming that bathroom is! 

• I move to my new flat this weekend. It's felt like ages coming along, but now it's nearly here I'm a little bit nervous! I've ordered the sofa and it's supposed to be delivered the same day I'm moving in. I have loads of furniture and bits and bobs gathering up and a moving crew of no less than 3 men with a large van. I am really lucky that everyone has offered to help, and in theory, I should be all moved in in no time! As I've been feeling some anxiety recently which I'm trying to address, the offers of help have been heartwarming and really made me feel better.

• Deadly Ponies Gang has been released for free on Vimeo. Free! It's such a fantastic little film which I watched a few years ago during the NZ film festival, it deserves to be shared and better known. It's made me so happy to know that I can watch it whenever I like with any of my friends. I feel a Christmas movie night coming on in the new flat! Watch it here!

• I've been spreading my wings outside of my comfort zone when it comes to networking. It's not something that comes easily to me. "But you're not shy" I hear you say. But yes, I am. I struggle with new people, or people who I'm not as close to as my core friends. I have also always struggled with the concept of crossing friends over with business. But I'm getting better and more comfortable with it and have had some good meetings lately with friends and ex-colleagues I haven't see in some time. Feels great!

• Getting ready for Christmas. I have a love hate relationship with Christmas. Loving the fact that my little sister decided she wanted theatre tickets, I bought them, she's happy, job done! Loving the fact that I am making her and my mum a personalised advent calendar with lots of little gifts. I won't talk about the bits I'm not loving, because this is meant to be the joyful post! Going to the Ideal Home Christmas show this Friday. Mum and I went last year and it was soooooooooo festive and we got soooooooooo much free stuff! I love free stuff! Who doesn't?! I'm very excited about doing our new yearly ritual for the second year in a row!

Go back to my last post of Joyful happiness by clicking here: 5 joys number 1

Thursday, 27 October 2016

5 joys number 1

I recently bought a book for Miranda's birthday. It was a small diary and you have to fill it out every day with 3 happy things which have happened in your life that day.

I've spoken about this before but it's all far too easy to look on the negative side.

So a few things which have made my life great lately, so I can look back and see that having man flu wasn't the worst thing that ever happened to me!

• I got a new flat! It's one bedroom, has a cute little garden and is near my family and friends. I move into it in just over 4 weeks and am currently enjoying looking at furniture online and buying various bits. I wish it was sooner, but it's actually quite nice to have time to find the new things I've been saving up for so I can get them ready for moving day. It's such a relief to finally have my own place.

• I visited my brother in Leeds last week and had the best drive up there, even though it rained most of the time. We went shopping, drank red wine and visited our aunties and cousin who we hadn't seen in far too long. It was lovely!

• We got an extra floor in our office, we were waiting for some previous occupants to move out. They are finally gone and now we have a bit too much space, but it's lovely not to be squashed up! We also purchased a Tefal egg toaster machine thing. It's going to change our day to day working lives for the better forever. EGGS!

• I cleared out my wardrobe with Kathryn over a few glasses of wine in preparation for the move. We got slightly drunk in the process but I rediscovered some great old clothes. One dress in particular was a winner last week!

• I made lunch for the last 3 days instead of buying it in expensively. Proud of myself!

5 little joys.