Monday, 30 December 2013

Good Bye 2013, you've been wild

This year has been very eventful.  I think it has been one of the best years of my life so far - so here's a little run down of some of my favourite/best/momentous bits.

1) My relationship ending

Weird one to start on, but I thank  my ex from the bottom of my heart for having the strength to end it once and for all.  We had a very complicated, amazingly brilliant and awful in equal measure relationship.  Getting over him was horrendous - like being weaned off a drug, and as dramatic as it sounds it was such a hard time and at times I couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel. I was incredibly down and lonely and couldn't imagine life without him and had to grip onto the rare moments of clarity when I realised it was for the best and we weren't suited for each other.  He taught and introduced me to a lot of things (Jazzanova, Fat Freddy's Drop, Volvo's are actually quite cool, I'm not very empathetic, amongst other things) and I learnt a lot. It's taught me how important it is to understand each other and to be on the same page - a lot of our arguments were borne from misunderstood intentions and different expectations.  The whole break up experience also showed me who my friends were and my relationships with some of them have really blossomed - I thank them for helping me get out of a bad place and being there when I needed them (sorry, really soppy!!).  Anyway - what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger and all that - I truly stand by this, and half of the great stuff that happened to me this year wouldn't have happened if I was still with him.

Didn't know what photo to use to signify our relationship so here's a plastic cow we both liked on holiday!

2) Amy and Rob's wedding.

Nothing beats seeing your best friends get married.  It was the loveliest, most beautiful, adorable, fun, happy, heartfelt and unique event I have ever been to.  I cried like a baby through the ceremony - the vows were handwritten and personal and took you through the history of their relationship and everything they've had to overcome.  The day was made even better by the fact I was asked to be bridesmaid (second choice but I won't hold it against the bride ;-) ) and so had the pleasure of helping the beautiful bride get ready with the other bridesmaids, and walking down the aisle with her.  It was just amazing - the entire thing was so personal, so "Amy and Rob", and is an experience that I think most guests will keep in their hearts.  The party after was immense - a teepee with a dance floor and a home made playlist - we danced the night away till 3am when we crashed in tents in a happy daze.  The best thing about moving to London 4 years ago was meeting Amy, Rob and Cesca (and everyone associated with them)- they've enriched my life in ways they can't imagine :-)

Lovely ladies

3) Singapore

(Yes Amy, your wedding beats Singapore!).  Singapore got me blogging regularly and I have blogged it to death so won't talk about it too much here - but it was just brilliant.  I felt so grown up and confident and happy - I was so proud of myself from being the girl who used to get homesick (even on holiday with my family) to living in Singapore alone for six weeks.  It made me feel like I could accomplish anything.  2014 - bring it on!!

4) Sri Lanka

The perfect heart mending get away.  Sri Lanka was borne out of my break up - I realised I had no one to go to on holiday with so asked Bex if she wanted to go away - Jen got involved and what started as a week in Italy became a 2 week tour round Sri Lanka.  We saw, we drank, we ate, we got sick (well I didn't), and we had a truly amazing time.

5) My work

Again, since the break up, I made more of an effort to go out with people at work and had some brilliant times.  My summer was spent in the Wheat Sheaf and other pubs around London Bridge, drinking too much and getting up to no good, but at least I was having fun and "networking".  I also got made permanent in my role that I was covering, and have the best boss ever.

Got a tour of No 10 :)

Others moments that made up a great 2013 are....

  • Conquering my fears of rollercoasters with a trip to Thorpe Park for Jen's birthday, I did Saw, Stealth and The Swarm and wasn't sick - amazing

  • speed dating - so much fun, met the weirdest people
  • sports - started doing netball, squash and badminton - only do badders now but at least I tried the others (the infamous 'Nuts', lolz)
  • freezing our balls off at Brockwell Lido with Bex
  • arts and crafts with Bex and Jen, knitting, lino cut printing, life drawing

  • fun Fridays with Barbra (especially memorable was Herne Hill fair ground and that awful ride)

  • random times with Amy and Cesca, Leanne, Jen and Bex - Peckham Kerb, food festivals, outdoor cinema, Amy's hen do (haha, the 10 yr olds giving us their number on an ipad out the car window, treasure hunt and picking up the poo), Namco showcase, Camden, Brighton

  •  Bruges with the ex even though we'd broken up - corr that was a tough one but I am glad we did it and ironically I think of it as the best holiday we have ever had.

  • all the parties, Sepha's leaving do, Brixton and Peckham nights, BBQs

It has been a busy, eye opening year and I hope for more of the same in 2014! Ideally I'll be married and owning a house by this time next year, however I think I am too selfish to be in a proper relationship and too poor to own a house, but you never know! As long as I am this happy next year then I have done alright :)

Sunday, 29 December 2013


Christmas was a fairly standard affair (usually is in our house - wake up, open santa presents, have lunch, open other presents, doss about the rest of the day).  However this year my brother wasn't hungover from the night before (unlike last year) and therefore much better company (take note, Jord! no more booze hell, ha!)

Christmas Cat

Unfortunately, most people's Kent and Surrey christmases were punctuated with stories of flooding.  Living in London, we have barely had any wind or rain, so I was very annoyed to get to London Bridge on Christmas Eve to see every single train delayed or cancelled, it was a bit chaotic and no one seemed to know what was going on.  I managed to get home in an hour and a half (I moaned at this until I heard much worse stories and seems that I was lucky).

On Christmas Eve afternoon we popped down to my old house which we still own but rent out.  As expected, the area surrounding the house had flooded pretty badly - this has only happened once since we have lived there in 26 years.  The garden had gone under and the house was inaccessible by car so we had to wade down there.  Mum and Tim both had wellies, but mine were in London so I decided to go in some old trainers whilst my brother, who's very hardcore, went bare foot.  There was no reason for me to go down there other than my curiosity - and oh my goodness was it cold.

The house itself wasn't flooded but there was water under the floor boards.   We weren't too worried because this happened before in 2000, and in the time we have lived there the house has never flooded.  We went home and carried on with our Christmas Eve festivities (snoozing in front of the TV) whilst my brother played on his computer and kept feeding us updates on the flood through a facebook group he was on.  At night time it was reported that some of the houses down in the town were being evacuated, so my brother and Tim went back to the house to see if it had got worse - unfortunately the water had come up through the floorboards and was now  about 3 inches in the house.  Such a pain.  Luckily the tenants are away for christmas, so my brother and Tim did a quick rescue job of everything they could that was on the floor/could get wet and put it upstairs, and then left.

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve
Christmas Day

Christmas Day

All gone!

As quickly as it had risen, it was gone again by the next morning, and by Boxing Day it had receeded from the garden completely.

As much of a pain as it is, we were very lucky - others in my home town were evacuated for the whole of Christmas and had nowhere to go, and their houses had at least a foot of water in.  It was really very bad timing - our next door neighbours had planned a christmas eve party for 28 people which had to be cancelled.

The force of it was really quite amazing - the river opposite my house is now a foot or more wider as the foot path next to it has been ripped away into the water, and a boat also got washed away.

I got a kite from my brother and was desperate to fly it, so badgered my family into taking me out for the day (i have no car therefore am stranded).  We didn't get to fly the kite as it wasn't really windy enough but we did go on a lovely walk in Tenterden and we did some geocaching. My brother brought his posh camera along and took some silly photos.

On the 27th Mum had booked Ice Skating at Calverley Park in Tunbridge Wells - she's never been before and wanted to try it.  It was nicely done, the area looked very festive and cheerful.  Both my brothers had been before and were pros (though Isaac took a rather impressive fall), and Tim was also quite good.  I have been a few times but it always takes a while to build up my confidence, so did a few laps of the rink holding on to the side before going hands free.  I think Mum enjoyed herself!  We then went for dinner at a local Tapas Bar - this wasn't the best decision really as Tim LOVES to eat and we didn't order as many dishes as we could have done, and the dishes that did come were really small portions.  I don't rate the restaurant that much - the meatball dish only had 3 meatballs which cost £5.45 which I thought a bit over the top.

It wasn't really snowing....

Monday, 23 December 2013

boobs, kisses and sick

On Friday I has a lovely night filled with boobs, kisses and sick. I won't elaborate too much on those points.

We met at Cesca's for food and drink before heading off to Brixton.  David was on top form, first of all pouring some peanuts into a tea cup of cava (he didn't realise there was cava in the glass - to be fair it was a tea cup, who puts cava in a tea cup??), then spilling the new tea cup of peanuts everywhere about five minutes later. Note - NEVER drink cava with peanuts in - it's FOUL.  Unless you want to trick someone into thinking it's the nicest drink ever for a bit of fun.

We made it to the Dogstar and wish I had been there more often. It's cheap, unpretentious, plays wicked music and has a good crowd.  The others chided me for switching to water when we got there but I had the last laugh when someone (I won't name names!) ended the night throwing up in a bin at the bus stop. Makes a change for it to be someone else throwing up, I was quite proud of myself! Swapped numbers and spit with some guy who turned out to be 23, does that make me a cougar?  The night was some what marred by some dick nicking Amy's phone (the second she's had stolen from Brixton).  She reported it to the police, and unusually they have taken it seriously, asking for a description of her so they can look out for her on CCTV and try and trace the moment it was stolen.  Amusingly for the police (and embarrassing for us), I am sure they'll get a good giggle at what we were up to when they look on CCTV.   We had to wait for a bus in the pouring rain for what felt like an eternity so huddled like Emperor penguins at the bus stop.

Saturday was spent sort of Christmas shopping. Met Bex in John Lewis where she was returning a broken christmas present where they'd messed up her order, and I wanted to buy some posh towels for my brother for Christmas.  Because they messed up her order twice, they gave us some vouchers for free tea and cakes in the restaurant, so we sat there for lunch and chilled out for a couple of hours. It's a nice venue if you get seats by the window, and the food is reasonably priced - I'd say same sort of price as a Pret, but more restauranty and better choice of food.  The Christmas display in the John Lewis window is AMAZING - they're created christmassy animals out of all of their stock, so they had reindeer made out of Dyson hoovers, cats made out of toilet brushes, bears made out of leather sofas - very creative.

A towel turkey

rainy kensington

John Lewis

Went on a date on Saturday night - an 'internet' man much to my mum and brother's dismay who spent a good twenty minutes on the phone to me about the danger I was putting myself in. I think they worry too much. It was fun - better than sitting at home. We met in a wine bar then had dinner at Tas, would definitely go there again, very good price for such a central location and the food was divine.  Unfortunately no spark but beat sitting at home alone. Going speed dating in January with two girls from work - so excited. Last time it was so much fun - some people are so weird and it's hilarious meeting them.  One of the guys refused to sit down for any date, so he was just standing whilst I sat down and talked to him, and another guy was apparently a stripper (he was practically a midget) and started to strip for me, much to my combined horror/amusement/embarrassment.

Sunday I chilled out and made some christmas presents and baked some of the most appalling looking biscuits I have made in my entire life, - Jen & Sam if you're reading then sorry it's your present haha!! Hopefully they'll make up for in taste what they lack in looks.

I went and saw Anchorman 2 with some friends - not as good as the first but still really funny. I think because no one knew what to expect with the first, it was so good, but the second had a lot to live up to.
Brick is easily my favourite character.  I won't give anything away but the ending is really good and I do recommend it.  I managed to persuade everyone to come see it at Peckham Plex rather than the Odeon in Cov Garden, Peckham is only a fiver and (in my opinion) no better or worse than the Odeon, except the floor might be a bit stickier. And once the movie was on upside down. And another time the sound didn't work. But they rectify all the problems really quickly and for a fiver I don't think it's anything to moan about :)

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Back to the 9-5 (well, sort of)

I have been really busy since coming back and thought I'd semi keep the blog going (more of a reminder for me of what I've been up to than anything else).

So, I left off on Thursday when I went to the Effra Social in Brixton with Amy and Cesca.  It was quiet night, just to catch up really.  A Jazz band came on just as we were thinking of leaving, and I felt guilty when we did leave because it looked like they had chased us out, but this wasn't the case (though to be fair I am not a massive jazz fan...)

On Friday I forced myself to get up early, went for a run and then did some personal admin stuff, the stuff that ought to be done but takes ages and you put off.  I then headed home to surprise my mum - she thought I wasn't home until Christmas Eve, but I decided to come down for one night only to surprise her (and off load holiday presents so I had less to carry home when I next went down!).  I think she was pleasantly surprised, and I got a free dinner out of it so everyone won. Say hello to Rex.

Saturday I headed back into London.  I went for lunch with Lisa and Mark in Nando's (got a free drink for being beautiful -waiter's words not mine!! score!) then headed off to a pub near Waterloo to meet a few guys from back home. On the way we saw this chap who made my day - he must have been FROZEN.

We had a nice catch up with people from back home, though I was really struggling to stay awake as the jetlag was creeping up on me.  I headed home for a quick nap before the most anticipated party of the year (my words, no one else's)- the McHoneysett Christmas Fest.  We had to wear a christmas jumper so I'd purchased a rather fetching elf suit tshirt which I am wondering if I can wear outside of christmas season.

The party was really good fun - Amy and Rob are the best hosts ever and always go all out.  We played pass the parcel (well a grown up's version) whereby every layer had a forfeit in it - I had to dress in a santa suit the entire evening, but I also got to allocate a shot each round. My forfeit was really rather tame, others had to stuff their mouths with marshmallows and then do a shot of cherry sourz.  As usual people started to get a bit naked, the flat got very messy and I left about 1am because I was struggling to keep my eyes open.  

I have no idea how this happened, I uploaded it to my google account and it put snow on it for me, for free!

Annoyingly I woke up at 5am Sunday and couldn't for the life of me get back to sleep, so caught up on some work, watched some TV then went for breakfast with the boys.  Met up with Cesca in Brockwell Park, had a quick walk, headed into Brixton to do some shopping (purchased an electric blanket - toasty) then back to hers where her lovely well trained boyfriend was cooking up a delicious roast. 

Monday was a bit of a write off work wise - I spent the day handing out keyrings from Singapore and catching up with everyone, then my boss took me and Becky (my cover whilst I was in Singapore) out for a hello/goodbye lunch at Coq D'Argent - I literally have the best boss ever. I had smoked salmon to start, followed by almond and cocoa nibbed venison with amaretto sauce, finished with creme brulee. It was DELICIOUS.  Setting isn't bad either ;-)  I then headed off to meet Jen and Sam in Camden. 

On the way there I noticed a girl rushing for the bus and leaving a trail of paperwork behind her, I scooped it up but she was already on the bus and  driving off.  The items she'd dropped included her ID, a $1 Guatemalan note and a card with a loaf of phone numbers on - luckily one of the names against the phone numbers matched the name on her ID, so I managed to get in contact with her and arranged to meet her the following day at London Bridge to return her items.  Apparently the $1 note was her lucky note and she was more upset at losing that than her ID, which goes to show you never know what sentimental value the littlest of items can hold. 

Catching up with Jen and Sam again was lovely, they're the kind of people who you always feel happy after spending time with them.

Tuesday I had badminton - it was a bit lame this week as barely anyone went, I guess cuz it's nearly christmas.

Wednesday I had my work christmas party which was actually really good, I usually dread these things but I know loads more people now so I feel more like I am out with friends rather than a bunch of people I barely know.  Got a bit tipsy, did some karaoke, got a taxi home cuz I couldn't work out where the bus stop was in my inebriated/tired state. 

Coast dress from a charity shop (£8!) and Primark jewellery, bargainlicious!

Today - writing blog, going to bed (it's 7pm)

Friday, 13 December 2013

The End

Well.  What an incredible six weeks. Let me give you a run down of the past few days.

I never got my laptop back.  I phoned both taxi companies and they asked their drivers if they'd seen it, and I also phoned the furniture warehouse I had stopped at on my way home.  No one saw it apparently - either someone is lying, or the next passenger in the cab took it. I have my theory that the first taxi driver took it - I noticed he had a long fingernail on his pinky finger so I developed a theory he's a drug lord and makes extra money from stealing passenger's forgotten goods.  No one at work had heard of the pinky finger drug association and I had to google it to prove I wasn't making it up. But apparently in Singapore, a lot of guys have a long finger nail because it's a good luck thing - the longer the fingernail on your pinky finger, the luckier you will be (especially if the nail is so long it goes past your next finger).

I also found out that apparently in Chinese superstition, if you wear shoes belonging to another then it is thought you will inherit all their bad luck, and so Chinese people will only wear their own shoes. Just some fun trivia for you there!

On Tuesday night I had booked a table at Wild Oats restaurant in Punggol Park, at Peter's suggestion.  We wanted to take the team out as a welcome/christmas celebration, and a farewell to me and my colleague celebration.  The restaurant was lovely - good choice of western and local dishes, and we had a table right by the lake. Unfortunately we got moved because other guests were complaining about mosquitos, so we ended up inside.

We had such a lovely time.  We have got a really really great team there - I am very impressed with their work ethic they've displayed so far, and how willing they are to help each other, the client and us.  They all made me feel so welcome and this sounds so cheesy but working with them every day was just a joy.  I was most worried about not getting on with my colleagues when I arrived, because I have learnt that no matter how shit a job is, it's always made bearable if you get on well with the people you work with, and vice versa - a job can be made really shit if you work with idiots you can't stand.  I was incredibly lucky that not only was the job really challenging (in a mostly enjoyable way), it was made all the more easier with the fantastic people we've recruited. I have high hopes for the contract because they're all so willing to learn and help others and the team has gelled so well in the short time they've known each other.

The meal was really good fun - lots of banter and laughs to be had.  We were right beneath the flight path for the air base which led to jokes about how when the jet planes take off, they have to land two minutes later because they've reached the end of their airspace. I can only presume they share airspace with their neighbouring countries!  Amusingly all the non locals ordered local food, and the locals ordered the Western food.  We also ordered two 'towers' of Heineken as it worked out cheaper than ordering pints, I really want one of these at home:

mmm my mumma said, good value for money!

Wednesday was my last day and the contract support came in for her last training session with me.  The day (in fact the last three days) was very busy and I didn't finish until 6.  One of the guys we have employed, Bernard, had brought in some Chinese sweets for us to try before we left, and he also brought a load of souvenirs for us to take back to the guys at Head Office.  He wanted to say thank you to every one back in London who'd helped with the contract too, and to say hello from Singapore. Isn't that lovely!

When I said goodbye to Peter and Bernard I actually had a tear in my eye which was a bit embarrassing - I had spent the most time with these two and they're so lovely. Peter is hilarious - such a great sense of humour and always happy and cracking jokes. Bernard is also a cheeky character but in a slightly more reserved way, and he was the one who took me to the doctor and waited for me.  I've got plans to go back to Singapore and cycle round the island with Bernard :-)

When I got back to the hotel I had about 4 hours before I got picked up for my flight.  I went and did my laundry, had dinner, then came back and finished off my packing.  In the laundrette I made the mistake of giving a cute little boy my money to put into the washing machine - he selected the most expensive cycle and I had to give him more money.

This is embarrassing to admit but I actually cried a little bit when I said bye to the hotel staff and got the cab to the airport, I really didn't want to go home!! I had spent the last six weeks blissfully happy nearly every day because the weather was good, the people were lovely and I was having an amazing time.  I knew I was coming back to a freezing house that's falling down,   dark mornings and evenings and a temperature of about 4 degrees. Sigh.

At the airport I wandered around the duty free for a bit.  I bought some perfume (which  I just compared prices with online and I didn't get it much cheaper, pants) then sat in the lounge until I was called.  Had a glass of wine just cuz I could, then regretted it when it made me feel a bit ill.

On the first flight I slept all the way through - the flight left at 1.20am so I was tired by this point.  At Dubai I had three hours to kill before the next flight, so wandered about the duty free again.  I bought the most gorgeous watch - I have been looking for one I liked for ages, and had my eye on a DKNY one but couldn't find it anywhere in Singapore.   I think I prefer the one I bought, and I got it for £67 when it retails at £95 in the UK - bargain :-)

I managed to lose my ring twice - once in the airport, and once on the plane - I got a really nice ring in Singapore and have been taking it off to wash my hands, and forgot it in the toilets both times. Luckily it got handed in both times, phew!  Though I did manage to lose another ring down the seat of the airplane - luckily it only cost me £3 but that was still a bit annoying.

My flight from Dubai to Heathrow was AMAZING.  I found myself wishing the flight was longer than 8 hours because I was enjoying my time so much on the plane.  It was the Airbus A380 which I have been so excited by the prospect of going on.  It's the double decker plane, where all first class and business class are on the top deck.  The seats are staggered so you end up with your own little booth, and I had done my research  before picking my seat and chose a window seat.  It was amazing.  The seat was really comfortable, you get a storage area to the right side of you so I didn't have to put anything in the overhead holder, and to the left you have your own mini bar and side panel to put stuff on.  The seat goes down all the way flat and you get an 'extension' for your legs under the seat in front of you.  I used up my mini bar really  quickly and put everything I didn't drink in my bag (such a pikey).  I then settled down to a movie marathon, watching World War Z (OK but the same as every other zombie movie I've ever watched), White House Down (really enjoyed it, I am in love with Channing Tatum) and Monsters University (not as good as the first but still funny).  The last two movies were funny and I was laughing out loud, forgetting that I had headphones on and my laughs were probably extra loud.  The last hour of the flight I went and sat at the bar for a bit (yes, there's a bloody bar at the back of the plane!!!!) and snoozed in my seat.

apparently this is Algeria

Flying over London was incredible.  You could see the Shard, Canary Wharf and the buildings in the City peeking through the fog.  I really love flying - it's magical at night time when you can see all of the stars from the horizon to the top of the sky.

the shard

When I landed in the UK it wasn't as cold as I thought it was going to be. For some reason my driver took a really long way home - he was using the built in sat nav in his merc and it took us an hour and a half to get from Heathrow to South London.  When we came back from Sri Lanka in May, the taxi took half an hour and that was with a stop off in Putney!  Ah well.

When I got home, I unpacked, had a snooze then headed out again to meet Amy and Cesca in Brixton.  It was great to see them again and we had a nice catch up.

If my company ever decide to open an office in Singapore, I will be the first on the plane :-)