Saturday, 31 December 2011

Resolutions, resolutions, resolutions.

So, it's that time again and yes, they may have all gone to pot by the end of January (if you're extra good), but I'm a firm believer in New Years resolutions. The change of the year forces us to reflect on the past year and think about how to make the next year better, and resolutions provide just that bit more focus.

However, I don't buy into the whole "self-improvement" thing. I think putting pressure on yourself like that only sets you up to fail and forces you to put pressure on yourself which in turn makes the thing you strive for more difficult. So, this year, my new year resolutions are simple:

  • To smile more often;
  • To live in and enjoy the present;
  • To make more time for myself.

I want to remember this feeling, the one I have today, feeling completely happy and content. I want every day to be like that and to do whatever I need to to make that happen. Taking more time for myself I guess comes into that, but that also involves making sure I see more of the people who make my life special, do more of the things I love and do more of the things that I want to do. I want to be on my own, loving every second of this year as I find out more about myself, watch my best friends get married, take steps in my career and really settle in my new life. I want to be happy, all day every day and make sure I don't get stuck in another rut with someone or doing something that brings me down.

2012 is the year of the selfish... Bring it on!

Friday, 30 December 2011

It's almost time to say goodbye.

Goodbye 2011, you've been a year of ups and downs. I think I will miss you, but that will depend on where 2012 takes me.

I'll give you credit where credit is due, the ups were definitely more numerous than the downs. In fact, this was the year my dreams came true and the year that I truly proved myself. You gave me the opportunity to move to London, the one place I have always wanted to live; I got my dream job at a school which is more perfect for me than even I realised when I started; You are letting me live the dream, on my own, and you have helped me to find out who I am and what I want from life.

I knew that this year would be my year. You didn't disappoint. Thank you for letting me be selfish and finally get to where I wanted to be without anyone or anything to hold me back.

Thank you for bringing me closer to the people in my life who I love, and thank you for helping me get rid of those who dragged me down. All I ask is that next year I meet lots of new people, or get to know the new people in my life at the moment and don't end up wasting any more time with anyone who can and will bring me down.

Oh, and thank you for giving me confidence. I've never had it before, it feels good.

I guess my only complaint would be that you helped me to find out who I am and what I want through a few too many "learn from your mistakes"-type of experiences. Sort that out please, none of that rubbish next year. Not that I regret any of it, you always regret the things you don't do more than the things you do, but I would rather just learn through positive experiences, i.e. learning what I am and what I like rather than working it out based on what I'm not or don't like. But all in all, I can't complain.

So, 2012, you have a lot to live up to. Bring it on!

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

The dreaded NYE kiss...

The dreaded kiss at midnight on New Years Eve, as the clock strikes twelve and we welcome in the new year... surely it only serves as a reminder that actually, you are going into this year completely on your own.

Don't get me wrong, I'm loving being single. But not having someone, even a friend, to kiss as the year turns? That's plain sad, and to make it even worse, I will be the only single person at this party. All of my other girl friends are in relationships and are bringing their other halves along, and so are all the other guests. I will literally be sat there, on my own, without so much as a peck on the cheek to see in the new year.

This is the first time that I'm single for NYE and the first time I'm having plans which I am actually looking forward to but yet, I am beginning to wish that I weren't going. It never occurred to me that this was one of those "couples only" evenings, how stupid of me not to notice.

I feel your pain my little gummy friend :(

Plus, I think I'm passing into the third phase of my "stages of being single" plan and being at a party full of couples means no new people to meet so no chance of meeting anyone half decent. Which sucks, because I think I need to go through that pulling someone just to prove that I'm still desirable phase. A bit trashy, but true.

So all in all, the being single/new year's eve/couples only party combination could not have come at a worse time.


Sunday, 25 December 2011

Merry Christmas!

Just a quick post to wish all my lovely readers and followers a very Merry Christmas! I hope this Christmas lives up to its expectations and you get everything you have wished for :)

Merry Christmas! :)

Thursday, 22 December 2011

The best gift ever.

Linking up with Mama Kat's writers workshop today, following the prompt: "The best gift ever!"

Why does my wrapping never look that neat?!
My first thought when I read the prompt was that I should, through the course of writing, come to the conclusion that the best gifts you get are the ones which are free, i.e. love, happiness etc. So I sat and soul searched, rummaged through photos of Christmases and birthdays past to find some inspiration but it turns out that, if I'm being honest, I'm a bit too materialistic to remember most of the "priceless" gifts that I feel like I should be sharing.

Of course I have priceless memories (my Dad dropping the flaming Christmas pudding on the carpet, my Grandad getting drunk and trying to reverse his classic car out of his garage at my birthday party, so many classic nights out with my amazing friends I couldn't recall them all), but I don't consider them gifts as such. Yes, they are the things which make a day memorable, but the presents are the cherry on the cake. Or, at least, they should be. This got me thinking about last Christmas and how the gifts I received really do stick in my mind, but probably for the wrong reasons.

My boyfriend, last year, bought me a whole array of presents, but each one was selected to correct one of my faults. By this I mean that I asked for a new watch so he bought me two, and wrote on the tag that the second one was for when I lose the first one. Charming. And basically, everything in the bag was either to replace things I had lost or broken in the last few months (complete with little gift tag reminding me that he had bought me new ones because I was too useless to have kept the last ones) or gifts I just didn't really get.  So why am I writing about this? Because these presents gave me the gift of knowledge - he didn't love me despite my faults, he liked pointing them out because he was one of those people I tend to attract who need to put other people down to make themselves feel better. I was then able to keep an eye out for more of this, more times when he made me feel shit and eventually things, not through lack of trying, finally came to an end. If only I had paid more attention to the sign, rather than putting up with more attempts to put me down, maybe I would have had a better year. But hindsight is a beautiful thing, and you can only learn from your experience.

The Christmas before that gave me the knowledge that actually, my family didn't know me. The presents they chose were so far away from what I would have chosen for myself that I realised it was no wonder they didn't choose things I would like because I had so badly distanced myself from them. I therefore made it my new years resolution to spend more time with my family. I did, and we're closer than ever, plus, I finally have a non-volatile relationship with my Mum.

So I guess, whilst probably not having approached this writing prompt in the way that was intended, without those presents I would be living a different, potentially worse life. They made me realise what needed to change and I hope now that those things have, this Christmas and my whole future will be better for it.

Or they taught me just to ask for money to buy my own presents in the sales. One of the two...

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

A new haircut.

It's funny how a new haircut can make you feel a million times better. Not that I needed much of a boost, I'm feeling pretty good right now (famous last words, but life is actually good in every sense for once), but  I feel even better now.

Yay for self-esteem! I've missed you...

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

The stages of being single.

I go through stages when I'm single, and I'm sure I can't be the only one? So I thought I'd share my stages with you all in the hope that someone relates to me, confirming that I'm not completely mental and heading for a life as a spinster... although this may be a real possibility anyway (hurray for cats!)

My stages of singledom.

1) The initial break-up - This includes the initial upset, anger, guilt, denial, attempts to rebuild the relationship or any combination of these.

2) The "men/women are wankers"stage - You convince yourself that actually, being a spinster with a lot of cats isn't actually that bad. (I'm at this stage right now and I'm still convinced my life will be better if I'm on my own and independent).

3) The "men/women are still wankers but I still have needs" stage - Yes, I mean sex. This is when the desperate attempts to pull on nights on tends to occur, along with the dreaded one-nighters which always seem like a good idea at the time.

4) The "total independence" stage - You realise that actually, you are doing fine on your own. The desperation has gone and you've realised that when the time is right, someone will come along.

5) The "what do I have to lose?" stage - You begin dating again. Nothing comes of it, but you go out with one or two guys and are not really bothered about the outcome. Your love life settles for a few months with a few short-term relationships or the odd fling, between which you are happy to be single.

6) The "oh shit, I'm actually going to be single forever" stage - If you don't end up in a relationship out of the previous stage, panic sets in. Online dating profiles are made and standards are lowered.

7) The "I've given up" stage - This will then, ultimately,  result in a repeat of stages 2-6.

Please tell me I'm not alone in this?

Monday, 19 December 2011

This week I have embraced...

I'm linking up with FTLOB's hop today (and Mingle Monday, of course!) and thinking about the things I have embraced over the last week. However, I feel that the last three weeks have been such a rollercoaster that I've had so many new things to embrace I couldn't just limit it to this week! I reckon this well and truly deserved its own list post and we all know how much I love a list post.

Things I have embraced in December

  • I have embraced being single!
  • Therefore, I have embraced having time to myself to indulge, do the things I love or just sit and do nothing.
  • So, I have re-embraced knitting and baking.
  • Oh, and blogging!
  • I have embraced having a disposable income for the first time since I started university. Overdraft paid off, money back in my savings account and hitting the shops.
  • I have embraced Christmas. Normally I don't really "do" Christmas as I find it boring, stressful, expensive and generally over-rated but this year I'm looking forward to spending it with my Dad for the first time since I age 5. I'm well and truly in the Christmas spirit this year!
  • I've also embraced the new people in my life since having moved. I've started to form friendships with a few which extend outside of school and have something resembling a social life.
  • So I guess, to sum up, I'm just embracing life! Makes a change from feeling like life is a constant battle to balance a million-and-one things, it is just about what I want to do and what I want to achieve. 
Happy, happy happy :)

What are the things you have embraced recently?

Mingle 240

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Relaxing Sunday.

This must be the first day I've had off since August. No school work, no housework, no Christmas shopping, no travelling... just nothing. Normally this makes me anxious, I guess because I generally live my life at 100mph, however today I didn't feel a shred of guilt or anxiety. Just pure relaxation and indulgence.

It has definitely made me realise that one of my new year resolutions has to be to make this a more frequent occurrence. I want to get back into those hobbies I have neglected so badly over the last few months which I really enjoyed doing today. I've baked for the first time in months (chocolate fudge, nomnom), I've knitted and I've given my little blog a HTML overhaul. I've started re-reading my favourite book, watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (the old version, of course!) and had a long bath just for the hell of it.

I will definitely be making more of an effort to prioritise this sort of day more often. I should have more spare time now I'm rocking the single boat, and seeing as I have no intention of finding another man any time soon (yes, I'm still going through my "men are wankers" phase), I should have plenty enough time. No, strike that: I will have enough time. I need to find more time, I need to regain my life...

So, how have you all spent your Sunday? I hope you've had as relaxing a day as mine! 

P.S. Any feedback on the new blog design would be much appreciated (does it look fine in IE, Chrome, Firefox? etc).

Friday, 16 December 2011

Christmas is here!

I did it! I made it through my first term of teaching (pretty much) in one piece! I may have seen the back of a healthy diet, hobbies, weekends, time off and a relationship but I am achieving in the one area that really matters right now and tonight we are out on the town to celebrate our survival. Then (hangover permitting), I'll be heading back to Devon tomorrow to see my lovely friends and family, before heading to my Dad's for Christmas. I'm sure that, for the first time in a few years, this will be a truly special Christmas and one I cannot wait to get stuck into as of tomorrow.

Plus, who wouldn't feel happy sat wearing these shoes?
Dotty P's (here)
Bring on the festivities! (And, of course, by "festivities" I mean copious amounts of wine)

What are you all excited about for the upcoming celebrations? 

Monday, 5 December 2011

Reasons that I hate winter.

I chose the blogging alias "Summer" for a reason and that is very simply because I love the summer! I love the sun, the long days, the warmth, the barbeques, the time on the beach, the time spent in beer gardens drinking chilled cider... I really could go on forever. I won't, however, because this post is geared for the exact opposite - an "I hate the winter" rant.

I mean, seriously, who likes winter? All this nonsense about loving to snuggle up indoors is a load of rubbish. The only reason we have to snuggle up indoors with duvets and hot water bottles is because the weather outside is horrible. It's cold, rainy and windy and without looking like the michelin man, there is no way to escape that once you step outside. And yeah, don't get me wrong, being snuggled on the sofa with a hot chocolate and a duvet is great... once in a while. When it becomes a necessity because otherwise it's just too cold to sit there, the novelty very quickly wears off.

I'm not denying it's pretty, just better to look at than
to be outside in.
The short days are the worst, and there is nothing more depressing than getting up in the dark, walking to school in the dark and getting home in the dark. When the only daylight you see is when you are on playground duty you know this is a season that cannot end soon enough. It makes everything harder, particularly getting up, and even the smallest of trips outside becomes the ultimate chore (taking the bins out, walking to the corner shop etc) because not only is the weather foul, but nipping out even for a minute involves putting on layer after layer to avoid completely freezing.

I guess in some ways I could be swayed by the food (when has my stomach not dictated my mood?), because the warm, hearty meals you can indulge in at this time of year are a treat which wouldn't be so pleasant if it weren't for the cold outside. But even that is with its downfall because the heavy food only instills even more lethargy than is already being felt due to the lack of daylight. Bring back the lighter salads any day, as much as I do love a stew.

And please do not get me started on snow. I mean, in what way is snow fun after the first 15 minutes? The whole country grinds to a halt, it's cold, wet and debilitating. Not fun.

Christmas might just save it for me this year, because it's all new being in London and, for the first time since the age of 5, I will be seeing ALL of my family over Christmas. But even so, I'd be much happier doing that in the sun...

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Happy Sunday.

Happy Sunday everyone!

I've had an absolutely lovely day to round off a great weekend. I went out for the afternoon with a couple of the other teachers from school and one brought her little'un along. We went to Greenwich park to play on the slide and swings (and the adults blatantly enjoyed this more than littlie in the cold), then we went for lunch in an absolutely lovely restaurant where I had a goats cheese tart with caramelised onions and rocket salad with dripping chips on the side. (I realise you didn't need/want to know that detail, but I tend to remember places and events through the food I ate. Is that weird?)

It was such a lovely, relaxing day and so nice to finally get to know some new people. Obviously I see everyone at work and we get on when we're chatting in the staff room, but having friends to call upon outside of school really is my aim right now and it was lovely to have that today. I think this is another one of the many things I missed out on through having to traipse across London to see my ex every weeken but now that my time is my own, I can make new friends.

Yay for me :)

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Another new era.

I began this week as if the last six months hadn't happened. Single again.

And, in all honesty, I love it.

I love being on my own, being completely in charge of my own life and making decisions purely based on what I want. This may sound selfish and make me sound like a complete spoilt brat, but having to think of someone else first has pretty much ruined me over the last few weeks so perhaps, actually, having it all thrown back in my face in the way that it was simply was a lucky escape. Maybe it means that it's OK to think about myself for a while, to focus on what I want my life to look like and spend some time making sure I reach those goals. I've been able to do that this week and I can already see the rewards. I'm happier, less stressed and generally feeling more like my usual positive self>

So, to celebrate, I had a Single Saturday (which a few friends and I came up with to describe a completely self-indulgent day). I...

  • Slept on my sofa so I could fall asleep watching telly (it's a comfort thing...);
  • Had a lie in and then sat curled up in my duvet with a cup of tea watching Saturday Kitchen;
  • Made a sausage sandwich for breakfast and sat with a pint of tea;
  • Sat and read a trashy magazine;
  • Spent over 2 hours online shopping;
  • Made a lovely stew and baked a small cake just for myself;
  • Listened to cheesy music and danced around the flat with my hoover;
  • Watched crappy telly and aimlessly surfed the internet;
  • Had a long bath with a hot-oil hair treatment and a face mask;
  • Finally sat back in the same spot I have been in all day with a cup of hot chocolate and my duvet.
Bliss <3

How have you spent your Saturday?