Sunday, 20 January 2013

19/01/2013 - Braving the elements

I think I've titled this post a little melodramatically. The elements really aren't that bad. This is the view from my back bedroom window:

Barney is an expert photobomber!
See - really not that bad! Ordinarily I wouldn't have left the house today, but I had made an appointment to try on more wedding dresses and I don't like cancelling! My Mum was supposed to come with me but as the snow was really bad in the Midlands, they decided not to risk their lives by coming to visit. I don't blame them.

The lovely Koran came with me, despite just having 3 hours sleep after a night shift! She's an amazing friend, yes? We picked her up and took her back home so she could get more sleep than trudging for public transport.

I tried on 4 dresses. We didn't take a pic of the last one as it was HUGE. I hated it. It was an immediate NO from Koran!

Two fit very nice. I have pics of me wearing them but I think I'll keep those for myself (and the mothers!) Here are the pics from the website:

Photo taken from Justin Alexander website
 This was plain satin with a cute belt. It felt bridal. They put a veil on me. I felt more bridal. Still it's missing something. Some detail. Plus I don't know if I like the really mermaid skirt.

Photo taken from Justin Alexander website
Lace! And straps! I thought this would be a winner with my Mum. She thought it was ok. It has blingy bits on the neckline and the belt. The straps were REALLY itchy. It made my bum look amazing though! :)

So back to the drawing board. Which means trying more on. Sigh. I hate shopping!

After we dropped Koran back home, Paul decided he fancied a drink, so we took a stroll through the slightly snowy streets to Lark Lane and had a couple of beers while discussing the wedding.

Paul and his white wheat beer which was very nice actually!

Walking home in the dark wasn't fun. The streets were slippy and you couldn't really see the snow. I was a big wuss.

Treated ourself to some mulled wine and a comedy dvd to complete the evening!

18/01/2013 - Brrr

It didn't snow much more over night. Phew. When Paul left the house at 6.15am he was able to drive away no problem.

However, as I was preparing to leave for work, I looked out of the front door and saw snow falling from the sky. Big ol' flakes of snow. Fan-flippin-tastic.

Time for a change of footwear. I'm not risking my pretty new boots in that snow. Nope - time for the big boys to come out to play!

Snow boots of champions
Another example of boots that Paul has bought me! In fact, I think most of the boots I own were purchased by Paul! :)

These were a Christmas present a few years ago but thankfully I haven't had to wear them before as the weather hasn't been that bad! Yeah. I wasn't going to take that risk today! Thank you, Aldo, for making these boots!

This is the view from my office window at about 11am. That's about 2 inches of snow.

As I have mentioned in an earlier post, England comes to a standstill when snow falls down. We haven't had it that bad in Liverpool but schools were closing etc. Which meant that our two colleagues with children had to leave early to go and collect them.

I might adopt some kids to get out of work early. Us childless folk never get to take snow days! I don't think I can use the cats as an excuse. Maybe in the summer...on the hottest day of the year... "Soz, can't come in today, Maia and Barney need me to put sunscreen on their belly dots..."

Reckon it will work?

17/01/2013 - Typical Thursday

 Our office internet SUCKS.

Due to this, yet again, I had to stay late at work to get everything. No-one else seems to give a damn about doing this but I can't leave things unfinished for the next day. I just can't do it!

Yes, yes I think I will log out! Thanks for reminding me!
 My darling fiance offered to come and pick me up, which was very much appreciated. Especially as when I locked the office, this is what I came outside to:

Snow. Urgh.

SNOW ON ME. Tiny iccle snowflake!

Not that bad, right? PHEW!


In the minute I was stood outside waiting for Paul, it snowed harder. One was not amused.

Still, when I got home I had a lovely mug of honey and lemon to wash down the leftover spanish chicken bake from Tuesday night. SCORE!

16/01/2013 - Pretty in Pink

It's starting to get a wee bit chilly out! After a fairly mild December, it looks as though the big freeze is heading our way. Again.

Still, the frost in the air does make for pretty pictures.

This picture doesn't do the scene justice
The sky was a gorgeous rich coral colour, with the sunrise adding firey orange to the mix. Such a beautiful scene to walk into work to!

To be fair, it's not THAT cold. Any hint of snow and this country grinds to a standstill!

The forecast doesn't look too pretty for the rest of the week...

Yep - that's snow forecast for the end of the week. Terrific. I HATE SNOW. Actually, that's not true. I hate the ice that lingers afterwards.

Long term blog friends will remember that 3 years ago I had a little 'accident' on the ice.  You can read about it here and here.

Needless to say, I am terrified of walking on the ice. Actual fear. I will get over it one day but I have small panic attacks just thinking about doing it.

Luckily for me, my lovely fiance bought me some new boots to keep my tootsies warm as the days get colder!

Very snuggly! Barney approves of the laces!
The day in work was pretty awful actually. But I am sick of moaning about work. It's all I seem to do these days!

Chris braved the cold and came up for #Whedonsday which was fun! It's always good to have something to look forward to mid-week! Although we can't next week as he and the lovely Ceri are going to Las Vegas for the weekend. Jealous. And they aren't having a spur of the moment wedding either. Waste of time if you ask me! Paul and I would TOTALLY be on that bandwagon! :)

15/01/2013 - Tasty Tuesday

It's starting to get a little chilly out!

Nothing better after a long day at work to come home to your warm house, watch new eps of your favourite TV shows and eat delicious healthy food!

We, like other friends of ours, recently purchased this book:

Forgot to rotate the image. Sorry.
For those of you not in the know, The Hairy Dieters are also known as The Hairy Bikers, two chaps from the North East of England who love food!

They both clearly loved food as well but they cooked themselves thinner, and published this book so we can too!

For more information, here's the link to their website!

Anyway, we've had this book for a few weeks now and have discovered a new favourite recipe: Spanish-style chicken bake.

In the book it looks like this:

Yummy nosh - Pic from The Hairy Dieters cook book
Basically, it's chicken, chorizo and roasted veg. That's it. No stock, the only fat coming from the meat.

It. Is. Delicious.

Our half-eaten version
Honestly, get this book. Or find this recipe somewhere. We feel smug eating it because we know it's so good and healthy to boot. Plus, any recipe with chorizo and sweet potato is a winner in my eyes! It's not that expensive and provides us with meals for two days. WINNER!

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

14/01/2013 - Just another manic Monday!

Nothing really interesting to tell you about today!

Country-wide we heard stories of snow and lots of it! Here in Liverpool...not so much!

Nothing but rain. Thank goodness! Snow turns to ice and I hate ice! Right there is the spot I broke my elbow on the ice 3 years ago last week!

I went to work. Paul went to work. I came home. Paul came home. We ate dinner (piri piri chicken pitta with salad, mexican rice and coleslaw...also known in our house as a 'Nando's'...based on the chain restaurant) and chilled out for a while.

I did no over time and feel cracking about it! :)

So for your pictures today, here kitties! YAY! You bored of them yet?

How gorgeous are Maia's eyes? Pretty and green!

Barney decided to pretend to be a vegetable. Like one does!

13/01/2013 - Back to life, back to reality!

I should probably have saved the title for the first post after honeymoon, but screw it! I have months to think of something witty by then!

Today I woke up pretty tired after yesterday's madness!

I had been planning on going to a wedding fair but the cold/people dropping out/crazy tall pile of ironing pretty much put a stop to that. I am secretly glad - it was flippin' cold today!

This wasn't even all the laundry!
The best thing about doing the ironing in the living room? I get these two as company. Although as you can see below, they find ironing as interesting as I do...

My gorgeous sleepy sausages!

Time for dindins!!

Sunday, 13 January 2013

12/01/2013 - Here comes the Bride (to be!)

Today I went shopping for my wedding dress!

I've been engaged 13 months and 3 days and today I tried on my first wedding dresses with under 8 months to go until the big day!


Anyone who knows me will tell you that I HATE SHOPPING! I am not a shopper in any way, and the thought of having to pick possibly the most important and most scruitinised outfit I will ever wear actually broke me out in hives!

But, as I need to have something to wear at my wedding, I may as well go and try a few dresses on and man up! Can't put this off much longer!

I took it as a good omen when I managed to get my contact lenses in without any bother! It's only the third time I've worn them, so I say go me! :)

Blurry contact lens!

I went into Liverpool to meet my uni friend Koran. She used to work in a wedding shop, and is also someone I trust to tell me exactly what she thinks about an outfut! We had a lovely coffee (MMM skinny hazelnut latte!) and then I gathered up all the butterflies in my stomach to go try on some pretty frocks!

The first place we went to is a small shop on the outskirts of the city centre. It didn't have a massive range of dresses in, but were relaxed and very helpful, pinning me in where necessary, and blinging me up with tiaras and veils!

I tried on quite a few dresses. I will show you a couple of pictures of ones which aren't contenders to be The Dress.

That's me. In a french wedding dress. With a veil. I have a skinny waist! Go me! :D Didn't like this one as it looks like the underskirt is on the outside!

This shop also sells prom dresses, hence all the gubbins behind me in this pic! They aren't specifically bridesmaid dresses - don't worry!

The lovely Koran also made me try on the biggest dress that they had in the shop. This one was SOOO heavy but always good fun! It was never going to be an option as the aisle at our venue isn't that wide but apparently I have to try it, just in case. I agree that it does make you feel more like a 'bride' but Just no.

We were at this shop for about an hour and a half. They were lovely, but by the time we had finished we were gasping for a beverage! With 90 minutes to kill before our next appointment, we went and had a little drink, then headed for our next appointment!

The next shop we went to is one of the larger ones in Liverpool, and it was definitely more wedding-y and formal! I think if I had come here first, it would have freaked me out a little too much as it was very intimidating!

I only tried on 4 dresses here, and 3 of them were lovely. The looks lovely in the picture we took but not so nice in the flesh! It felt more like the dress was wearing me!

Skinny waist skinny waist skinny waist!

Sorry. Actually, I'm not. :)

This shop was more expensive. By a long way. But wow, the dresses were lovely. Didn't get to try on many as there was another bride in just before me, and I think she was trying on similar styles to the ones that I was! I think I missed a few as she had them! It's not the end of the world though.

After gasping at the price of some of these gowns, I took the lovely Koran for another drinky of a more fun kind...

On the left: Cherry Fizz.
On the right: Dark and Stormy.


We may have had one or two or more of these! We stayed out far later than I had planned! I even got Paul to come out and meet us to join the party!

It was a long day but I did enjoy it. I know I can have my pick of any wedding dress and it should suit me. Which makes making a decision even more difficult! Terrific!

Just got to see what my Mum thinks about them now...that's scary!

11/01/2013 - ah...ah...ATCHOOOOO!

So I think all this work and no play has made Cagga a dull girl. And also full of cold. I feel lousy today!

This is how I started my day:

Cold-relief capsules, tissues and a large brew. Much needed.
I manned-up and made it into work at the usual 8:10am (less than 12 hours after I left the place) to which my new boss asked why I was in so early as I was there so late?! Because it's when I usually get to work?!

I had a crazy busy day, as I always do on a Friday, but my new boss pretty much insisted I left early! When I told him what I had left to do (my dishes, empty bins etc) he did it all for me to get me to leave! I like my new boss! Most definitely not an AssHat! :)

I had to go shopping after work to buy a few bits and bobs, so agreed to meet Paul. Whilst shopping in Primark (anyone who isn't from the UK reading this, Primark is a very classy designer shop we have over here...aherm...) I discovered the below:

 LEATHER STUDDED BUMBAGS. I believe they're called fanny packs in the US. Which makes me giggle!

Are bumbags back?! Can someone advise me on this? They were big over here in the 80s along with shell suits and corkscrew perms...but please say this isn't coming back?!

I had a hot pink bumbag and a purple shellsuit. I was a cool 80s child! I was about 6 so if I wasn't, it was my parent's fault, ok?!

I bought myself a new purse, not a bumbag. It's pretty!

It reminded me of ballet shoes...and was on sale too! I love it!

Early to bed for me after the shopping trip - big day of wedding dress shopping tomorrow! EEKS!

10/01/2013 - Longest. Day. Ever.

It's Thursday morning at silly o'clock! Once again, I hauled myself out of bed, persuaded Paul to get up too, and hot-footed it to the gym for a light (it really wasn't) workout.

6.08am. Running shoes are on! :)

I still managed to get to work by 8.10am, which I think it quite impressive, and cracked on with my day. What a day it was.

Our computer system has been awful ever since Christmas, and our IT guy said he'd come over to the office and have a look at it for us this morning. We took bets on when he'd arrive. BossMan said 11.30am, I said 3pm and Jimbo said "next Tuesday."

None of us were right. He showed up at 5.25pm. Bearing in mind our office closes at 5pm, this was a tad inconvenient. I had stayed late to finish some work off but as he was in working on our systems, I wasn't able to work until he had finished.

I didn't leave the office until 8.38pm. Yes. I was in the office for over 12 hours. Are you impressed? Don't be. I'm fuming about it! I wasn't even finishing off my own work! It was someone elses! I had said I'd get it finished and I'm a gal of my word. I regret saying that now.

Had a quick bite to eat when I got home, then straight to bed as Friday mornings are always an early start for us.

My beautiful Maia decided she wanted a cuddle before I went to sleep. Who am I to refuse a purring kitty?!

Friday, 11 January 2013

09/01/2013 - Beanie, Buffy and Bubbles!

Is it Wednesday already?! How can this be?!

I was doing dictation at work today. It's not my job, but as the secretary doesn't work Wednesday's, someone has to do it, right?!

At least I got a free lunch! The Bean Machine was feeling generous! My colleague went and bought his lunch, and came and gave me these goodies!

 Cheese and onion sandwich, spicy meatball and olive pasta, and Feta and Falafel Salad! I ate the meatballs out of the pasta and the whole of the salad. It was DELICIOUS! Set me up for a full afternoon of hard graft!

 Finished work at five on the nose and headed home! No homework for me tonight, as my good friend Chris came round and we had our first #Whedonsday of the year! #Whedonsday is where fans of Joss Whedon's work come together and tweet about it! Want it? Follow @Whedonsday on twitter and join the party!


As I have been spending so much time at work or working at home, I feel like I'm neglecting my kitties. So I decided to get out an old favourite! The catnip bubbles!

Maia is a little bit scared of them but as soon as Barney sees me grabbing the bottle, he sings away at the top of his voice! He talks to the bubbles and swats at them! When they start popping on the tip of his ears he gets a bit narked and hides for a while. 

Once the bubbles have settled on the ground, he is interested  again. Will the bubble pop itself or with Barney unleash the Paw o'Doom and pop it?

Pretty bubbles in the air!

Barney's favourite waiting game! He prefers it even to the piece of fresh ham on the left!

08/01/2013 - Operation Wedding Dress

 It's Tuesday the 8th of January. It's also the day that Paul and I got up at silly o'clock and went to the gym for the first time in 2013!

My gym, now open at silly o'clock for us crazy folk!
 The alarm went off at 5.45am. We got up, begrudgingly, and got our backsides to the treadmill! We were home by 7 and I was walking into my office at 8.10am!

A crazy busy day lay ahead. So much so that I couldn't finish it all in the office. So home I went, logged back on and cracked on.

 Yes. That is my daily work amount. I did do 418.3%. Do I get anything for it? Do I heck. Was it even all my own work? Nope.

I am a fool. I should stop being nice soon. Maybe tomorrow...

Also, in line with going to the gym, and linking us nicely to the title of today's entry - I booked my first wedding dress appointment today! EEK! My friend is coming with me on Saturday lunch time and I'm going to get my frock on! I am looking forward to it, but I'm also mostly terrified! I'll let you know how I get on!

07/01/2013 - Operation Stomp-less

Monday in work. Yawn. Everyone (except me) got shouted at for being lazy and not doing their jobs properly! Hopefully things will be different now and it will all look us!

I also accepted delivery of a new contraption I purchased as a desperate attempt to get a good night's sleep.

No, it's not for me, it's for Barney!

Yes, the above little blighter who looks like butter wouldn't melt? HE'S A DEMON! A GIANT STOMPER-DEMON!

Basically, if he wakes up in the middle of the night and decides he's quite like some attention, he demands it! From me! Usually between 3-4am. How does he demand it? Well he jumps onto the bed and walks over my chest.

Barney is not the lightest kitty on the planet. In fact, he's far from it. So as you can imagine, having a portly puss parading over your ribs/chest/shoulders is rather painful to say the least.

It's only me he does this to, by the way! Not Paul...oh no...can't disturb his darling Daddy's sleep, can he.

Little Beep.

So I bought him a self-heating bed. Basically it reflects the body heat back out into the fleece, so it's so snuggly warm he won't want to move. Excellent idea, right?

Zombie Eyes and Belly Dots!

I think it's safe to say he likes it! I had to sprinkle it with a little catnip to initially get him interested, but now he's a fan!

 He is a handsome blighter, is he not? I heart my Barnacle!

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

06/01/2013 - The Rave Cleanathon

It's Sunday. Day of rest. Yeah - no. We have a house to clean!

For Christmas, I bought Paulan AMAZING CD - Ministry of Sound Anthems - 90s. The soundtrack to our youth! We raved to this on the way to my parents' house on Christmas Day, and we were rave-cleaning to it today! In fact, we were even dork-ish enough to have our own twitter hashtag! #DinoAndCarries90sRaveCleanathon!

So I sent Paul to the supermarket (then set him to cleaning the kitchen), I set to and decided that the living room needed a bit of spit and polish.

Boy, was I right?! It was icky! To the extent, I didn't just dust around the edges, but took EVERYTHING off shelves and dusted them, took the candles out of the fireplace (we don't have a fire), polished those, cleared out the place itself...didn't get to finish the whole room! It's not even a big room! It didn't help that CITV were playing some of the kids shows that were on telly back in my day. Fun House, anyone?! Knightmare?

Clueless was on after that, AS IF?! Then Ghostbusters 2...needless to say, I got my best work done a lot earlier on in the day!

I snapped a few pics as I was going on with the day...but don't judge me on the filth of my house! I have a valid excuse for these next two!

Doesn't this candle look like the prop from a movie?! Alas, it's from my fireplace!

Just so you can see the filth - the one at the back has been washed. The other two are as found

Basically, there is no fire in my fireplace, as you can see. I put candles there to make it look a bit pretty. I've never lit them. Don't know why - there's no reason why I shouldn't! Anyway, the problem with not having a fire in your fireplace is that there is a big gaping hole that leads up the chimney! So my living room is freezing! AND, the worst bit, the cats like climbing up there. Yes, both cats have been seen climbing into the abyss that is my chimney. My worst fear is that they get stuck and we have no idea how to get them out.

I need to block it up at some stage, but as we aren't going to be in this house for a great number of years now, I feel like that might be a waste, as other people might want to put a fire in!

So when the cats go up the chimney, they have to come back down again. With them they bring reminders that there was once a fire in this house over the 100+ years that it has stood. There is a whole load of soot up there.

I need a chimney sweep!

So at some stage, I think I might shove an old single duvet up there, just to insulate a little, and to stop the kitties from making it their home up there!

Anyone have any other solutions to this?

I couldn't work out the order that the candles go back in... #Fail

I also took pictures of some of the bits and bobs that adorn my fireplace. They are dust traps but what's a house without a few quaint trinkets! I think they speak volumes about me!

My brother and sister-in-law gave me the wooden kitty. I think they got in on their honeymoon in Morocco. The ear-less donkey behind is from my parents' holiday to Spain a couple of years ago, and the odd china kitty in the front is also from my parents', from last year's holiday to Crete. I find it a little scary, but it looks good in that group!

I do love a good tacky present! Just me?

This was a gift from my future Mother-in-Law a few weeks ago. It's a VW Campervan bauble for the Christmas tree! We didn't have a Christmas tree, due to having destructive kitties, but this is a permanent fixture on display at our house now! It's no secret that I love campervans, and we have, in fact, ordered one as our wedding car! This was just meant to be ours!

After leftovers from last night's dinner for dinner, we had a vaguely early night. Busy day in work on the morrow!

Sunday, 6 January 2013

05/01/2013 - Start as we mean to go on

Saturday! Yay! Weekend! Time to do nothing, stay in bed all day maybe? Go into town and do some shopping in the remainder of the sale?!

Not us. No, today was the day that we picked up our black A4 ringbinder and opened it for the first time in ages. The folder containsall the documents to do with our wedding.

Yes, it's wedding planning time. See what we have to do and do it! After all, we get married THIS YEAR! EEEKS! 245 days to be exact. Extra eeks!

Yup. The page is blank.

Instead of sitting at home and being distracted by the various blogs I follow, or Paul reading his football sites, we 'spoilt' ourselves and went out!

Have you been to a cafe with a better name, EVER?!
We walked a little way to a place called Oomoo (always loved the name) for a drink and some serious plannage.

The only downside to our excusion is that we're being good for the next few weeks and cutting out as much sugar as we can (except natural ones) so WE COULDN'T EAT CAKE! Oomoo's cakes are amazing. They do a Malteser cheesecake which is

Anyway, I still got to have some excitement, in the form of 'Scouse Breakfast Tea'...which I'm pretty sure is English Breakfast tea, but it makes it sound more fun, so let's go with it!

How cute is that tea strainer?!
 We got a lot done. Plus we worked out all the stuff we haven't done yet and how scary that is! We also had our first spanner in the works, but I won't go into detail as to what that is just get.

I spent the evening creating our wedding website. The first one we tried was not at all easy to use. It was really disappointing. The second one we used, and it's pretty common among the people that we know who have got married recently, but hey - if it ain't broke, why try to fix it?!

Very pleased with our day's work. It wasn't easy but it's better that we bit the bullet and did it, right?

I think it's the problem with having quite a while to plan the wedding. By the wedding, we will have had 21 months, give or take a day or two, between getting engaged and our wedding day. We did a little bit, then nothing, then a bit more, then nothing...the momentum has been sporadic. Probably not ideal.

I'll keep you posted! :)