dear autumn

2015, October

dear autumn,

i love the way you dress the trees (and the streets for that matter). in that fiercely fire-blazing kind of way.

and those crispy leaves. that “crunch” makes me giddy.

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the way you end the days with darker, cooler nights, that allow me to go home, wrap up and drink something warm.

i get to wear boots. brown ones, high ones, black ones and wedged ones. and my feet are oh so thankful.

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in some ways you make me forget that the harshness of winter is what’s next. deceitful? maybe. but your warmth lasts longer than i think it should. so i forgive summer for the lack of. well. sunshine.

pumpkins. cinnamon. hot chocolate. scarves and coats. bonfire night and fireworks. chocolates, golds and sunset yellows.

oh and i can also just about handle the cooler nights because christmas.

love,

me

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thirty things before THREE-0 *** plus a life update

2014, Blogging, Career, December, Inspiration, Travel

hiiii there.

i managed 6 days of the 12 days of christmas. i know that every time i do a blog-every-day style series i usually pre-write the posts because i know life can sometimes get crazy busy. and with christmas it sure did! with prepping for christmas day, family, and work (oh boy work……sooooooo busy) i barely had a moment to breath.

so with that i apologise.

christmas was good. quiet this year. but i definitely can’t complain when i got (amongst other things) harry potter books 1-7 (the bookworm in me seriously did the electric slide), a fabulous new (and much needed) handbag & gorgeous shoes from the bf….and a spongbob squarepants onesie from my brother — A SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS ONSIE PEOPLE.

30 things before 30

i also wanted to give you a quick update on my 30 things before 30 list. remember when i gave you the list this past july? well you can check out it here. i did say that wouldn’t update/change the list but let’s face it. i like to be able to actually tick things off a list and with 6 months to go till the big three-o (6 MONTHS!!!!!) – i thought i could change the list a little to include things that i have already achieved (that i think are 30-things-before-30 list worthy).

so here we go, my updated 30 things before 30 list:

  1. visit paris
  2. three courses, three countries: breakfast in london, lunch in paris, dinner in brussels
  3. eat at a mitchelin starred restaurant in london
  4. try something i wouldn’t normally eat
  5. start a small business
  6. run a 5k (this one scares me to death)
  7. unplug for a full day (or maybe a week!): no phone, social media, tv etc.
  8. kiss someone on nye at midnight
  9. live abroad for at least a year
  10. buy a meal for a homeless person
  11. lose 2 stone / 12.7 kg / 28 lbs
  12. have a morning routine
  13. climb to the top of the eiffel tower
  14. go the cinema on my own
  15. see a play at shakespeare’s globe in london
  16. sort out a pension and life insurance (eek!)
  17. go to a music festival
  18. learn to speak conversational french
  19. do a “once-in-a-lifetime” thing
  20. splurge on an item i can’t afford  but that will last a life-time
  21. serve at a soup kitchen
  22. take a poetry class
  23. re-read all 7 harry potter books (hello christmas present)
  24. start a work-out routine
  25. write a short story
  26. go a on british countryside walk
  27. serve a full-time mission for the lds church
  28. re-watch fringe
  29. visit new york
  30. go hot-tubbing under the stars

that’s 10 things out of the 30 – yay! i’ve started to watch fringe again, love that show. the eating something i wouldn’t normally eat was escargot (aka snails) in paris – check it out here. i started an online shoe business in 2011 – neneh stiletto.

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and check out an interview i did for the business here!

i lived in utah for 2 and a bit years.

and the once in a lifetime thing? being a participant in the 2014 miss africa utah pageant

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from twenty to thirty. it’s been phenomenal and not what i expected. a non-stop ride. and it’s not over yet!

here’s to making lists. being 30. and embracing and enjoying the ride.

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twelve days of christmas | day 6: let’s get comfy

December, Fashion
here are a few of my favourite christmas/winter comfies {disclaimer: comfies is not a real word}.
the christmas jumper

ONLY snowflake sweater
$34 – thehut.com

Mela Loves London shirts top
$39 – houseoffraser.co.uk

Christmas top
$27 – marksandspencer.com

Christmas top
amazon.com

can you tell i’m a little obssessed with polyvore right now?

also SANTA IS COMING!

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twelve days of christmas | day 4: winter date ideas

2014, December, Food, Love
all you need is love | winter date ideas
whether you want to brave the cold or snuggle up, winter is still great for dates! here are 10 date ideas for the winter season:
  • ice skating
  • serve at a soup kitchen
  • visit a winter wonderland
  • cut down/buy a real christmas tree together
  • visit santa’s grotto at your local mall
  • watch a classic film with blankets for a cosy night in
  • make each other a playlist of your favourite christmas music!
  • get a hot chocolate and go see all the christmas lights and festive window displays together
  • go watch a pantomime!

what are your favourite things to do with your significant other during the colder months?

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twelve days of christmas | day 2: gifts for him

2014, December

ok now I can say I am fully caught up. kind of….

whether it be your significant other, brother, father, uncle or grandpa, i sometimes find men hard to shop for! (especially when i want to steer clear of the typical socks / tie / shirt combos).

here are some gift ideas for the man (or men) in your life:

chocolate tools (how cool is this?!!! or maybe it’s just me)

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the boyfriend and i sampled some from shokolat this past weekend and they are yummy!

experience days

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whether it’s a tour at his favourite football stadium, ice climbing or driving that slick sports car he’s dreaming of buying in his 50s, check out lastminute.com, redletterdays and virgin experiences for some great deals!

gaming
while i don’t like it i have to admit that both my brother and my boyfriend like to unwind by playing on the game console of some sort on an evening. this year i bought my brother football manager 2015 (don’t worry it’s what he asked for – though i still don’t understand the love for it – and i never will!). my boyfriend will also be getting something gaming related **sigh**

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whether it’s a game, controller or another gaming accessory your local gaming or electronic store will be fully stocked!

aftershave/cologne
because let’s face it, a man spritzed with aftershave is 10 times more attractive. {disclaimer: spritzed is not a real word, but just roll with me}.

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onesies for him

just because.

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check out a gift guide for him (way more sophisticated than mine) from one of my favourite bloggers lovetaza.

CHRISTMAS IS COMING!!!

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twelve days of christmas | day 1: gifts for her

2014, December, Family and Friends

i should have posted this yesterday but i was still in the holiday mode {as in i just got back from poland on friday – i will be posting about that trip soon!}.

gift giving season can be tricky and i recently spent a good 4 weeks racking my brain about what to get my girlfriends for christmas this year. if you’re like me then you are someone who likes to make each gift special on some level, while also trying to be creative about it.

if you find yourself at a bit of a loss this year here are a few gift ideas for the woman {or women} in your life, whether that is a girlfriend, mum, sister, aunt, g-ma or wife!

the girl’s night in hamper
create something for a self-pampering girl’s night in (who doesn’t want that on a cold winter’s night?) – you could include the following:

  • hot chocolate (with mini marshmallows!)
  • dvd (chick flick or comedy)
  • nail varnish
  • bathing items (salts, bubble bath etc.)
  • fluffy socks or slippers
  • box of chocolates

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i found cute hamper baskets at wilkinson’s with ribbon and cellophane but there are plenty you can find on the world wide web such as this and this one too.

spa deals
i signed up to receive groupon emails – it’s fab! i get great offers on spa deals, massages, manicures + pedicures from local beauty spas and nail salons. definitely worth it! lastminute.com, timeout london and travelzoo also often have great spa deals.

perfume

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shopping gift card from her favourite store

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jewellery

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12 days of christmas pack
if you want to get creative (and have the time!) create a 12 days of christmas pack. this is something a friend did for me some time ago but i received 11 small packages and 1 larger to open in the build up to christmas – i thought it was ace! plus it made the build up to christmas that much more fun.

want some more ideas? check out some of my favourite bloggers and their gift guides:

IT’S ALMOST CHRISTMAS PEOPLE!

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merry christmas!

2013, December

it’s 7:49am on Christmas eve and i’m just about to leave for work. having been up since 6am to prepare food for our Christmas breakfast/brunch at work i’m actually feeling quite lively!

i wanted to wish you all a very merry Christmas. wherever you are, and whoever you are celebrating it with enjoy. make the most of it. be kind. love. be happy!

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Christmas traditions. don’t you just love them? they are unique to this time of year. i grew up in a Mormon/Muslim home but both of my parents made sure us kids understood the meaning of Christmas. my dad joined in on Christmas eve when we got to open up a small present from under the tree, then watched a Christmas movie.  he joined in on Christmas morning when we would read from Luke 2 {i remember at a young age just being all “i know, i know…i just want to open up the presents!”} and as i’ve gotten older i’ve appreciated this experience so much more. after presents are opened it’s breakfast time and we have a fantastic english brekkie which includes bacon, sausage, egg, baked beans {of the heinz kind}, toast, hot cocoa or herbal tea. we eat and eat till our hearts are content and till our stomachs beg for no more. bless my dad, he’s Muslim so doesn’t eat pork but will join us at the table and eat his porkless english breakfast anyhow {all the while giving us slightly gobsmacked looks that we would even eat such a thing…literally every year}.

after breakfast mum and i would go into the kitchen to finish off cooking Christmas dinner while my brother and dad clean up the wrapping paper and set the table. they may also fall asleep during this time as it always takes us forever to finish cooking. by 4/5pm it’s dinner time. Christmas crackers on the table {they are awesome things you pull apart and whoever gets the larger end gets the Christmas hat, gets to read the joke and keep whatever prize it contains}.

then we feast! we are originally  from sierra leone so we mix traditional sierra leonean dishes with english ones. i’m talking about turkey, roast potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, roast pork and apple sauce {so yummy}, veggies {we stopped eating brussels sprouts a while back}, pigs in blankets, gravy, joloff rice and stew, roast beef, salone salad, fried crab in breadcrumbs, fried fish. there’s probably more that i’m forgetting.

this amount of food obviously induces a food coma so after we have eaten {no one clears the food off the table, we all know we’re coming back}, we head to the living room to watch endless hours of movies and Christmas specials.

i just love it.

i asked friends on facebook to share their Christmas traditions. i loved reading each and every one. the running theme? family.

Every year with the extended family we do a white elephant gift exchange and every year is a different theme. Two years ago it was home decor with a limit of $5…. You can only imagine what we had. And this year is as seen on tv. It’s so fun and it’s always interesting to see what people come up with.
Katie, Utah

My family watching the lakers game.
Rudy, Utah/Georgia/Detroit

Christmas eve my girls have an early bath then open a Christmas present that will be christmasy pyjamas,  we then watch poler express, after we read twas the night before Christmas, then the girls will set out the mince pies and milk, and one of them will put the Santa key by the door.
Kerry, UK

We stay up Christmas Eve and celebrate – food, music. opening  gifts at midnight – the next day we go to grandmas we eat Guatemalan tamales breakfast and lunch !
Randy, Utah/California

We always have breakfast pizza and cream cheese muffins. Like most family’s, we ALWAYS record the descent down the stairs.
Evan, North Carolina

Reading the book  A Christmas Carol or watching the film Scrooge every December. Also, set a challenge re gifts; one year it was to give a gift that money can’t buy so I gave blood at a transfusion centre (for which we are not paid) and did some temple sealing work. Another year I’ve done an anonymous 12 days of Christmas.  This year I did 12 deeds of Christmas.
Sarah, UK

Family party with extended family. We sing – ending in Silent Night in English and German. We all recite Twas the Night Before Christmas and then Grandpa reads from Luke 2. After that, we all get to open one gift – it’s always pajamas. Everyone – aunts, uncles, mom’s dad’s, kids and guests – throw on their new pj’s, half the time on over or regular clothes. It’s wonderfully chaotic and an altogether glorious mess of children, wrapping paper and cousins wearing boxer shorts Superman-style.
Casey, Utah

Christmas eve = carols & a curry.
Kimberley, Australia/UK

We open one present,  (kids usually the fluffy pj’s), then sit in our duvets and watch a dvd surrounded with yummies.
Jill, UK

Candlelight dinner on Christmas Eve, raspberries saved from the summer for use in dessert, a surprise box of breakfast foods left on someone’s doorstep, and always – homemade gifts for each other.
Kristen, Utah

Christmas eve get the kids to bed, put the prezzies round the tree, get the stockings for santa to fill get up. Then Christmas day open prezzies, watch a bit of Christmas telly till 4 then off to mum’s for Christmas dinner with the family.
Ruth, UK

Watch the 1984 (or 83?) version of A Christmas Carol. Best one ever!
Derek, Califronia

what are yours?

i hope you enjoyed that as much as i did. wishing you all a very merry Christmas!

m.

life lately.

2013, December

i can’t quite believe it’s almost Christmas…where did december go? life has been a little crazy to say the least. good and bad.

remember that post where i said i would tell you what’s been going on in my life? or at least why i was awol for a few weeks? {not that my blogging has improved much since then…}

well i guess the biggest news is… this girl is moving back to england in march! {i don’t know why i’m referring to myself in third person but just go with it}. **say whaaat** i know, i know. i was planning on staying stateside for a little longer but things work out a certain way and you have to roll with it. not that i’m too devastated. i mean i get to go home. do you know what that sounds like when it’s two nights from christmas and i am nowhere near the shores of the great british isles? pretty. bloomin. fantastic.

what does that have to do with blogging i hear you ask? yes i can hear you. well, i read the paragraph back and asked myself what that had to do with blogging so i assume you’re asking the same question.

 i digress.

i don’t know about you, or anyone else for that matter, but when i’m making a big decision or a pretty big life changing event is about to take place, i turn into a recluse. or at least i don’t really want to socialize. this also happens when i’ve had a few boy issues {which has also happened recently but alas i choose not to share my dating life on here}. so i needed a breather. to step away from social media and just be quiet. because i feel with the constant twiterring, blogging, texting, facebooking, snapchatting … you get the jist, it all becomes quite noisy.  i have yet to take a proper social media break…when you have friends who live on different continents it’s hard not to. which also leads me to ask, is it too much to ask to have all my favorite people and places on one continent? i don’t think so!

it actually worked out cheaper for me to stop over in new york before heading back to london, rather than flying straight from salt lake city. so i thought ‘why not?’ i have friends i’m staying with and other friends who live in nyc and d.c.  i am so excited! i’ve been to d.c. before {for about 2 hours} but never to new york! if you have been what would you recommend? i am planning on taking a day just to walk around and take everything in.

in other news, i’m moving from my apartment to live with friends in taylorsville. i have just a little over a week to sell almost everything i own. i shall be spending a lot of time on ksl and craigslist i can tell you that much.

i emailed one of my married friends about me moving back and how excited i was to see them {one of those rare instances where i was friends with both of them separately before they even started dating!} and this is by far the best response yet. i just had to share:

that’s great news!! we’ve had just about enough of you living as the prodigal daughter, we’re glad you’ve come to your senses and you’re returning to claim your birthright in the land that flows with fresh, hormone-free milk and fsa approved, minimum 80% honey, where good old fashioned porridge oats and shreddies really do have no added sugar and you can gorge yourself on tesco’s finest at no real cost cos in return you get 1p for every £ you spend and every little helps, where you’re in good company hating on ‘the yanks’ and panicking over the inevitable EU takeover with the best of them and you can look forward to your state pension in ummm…not sure anymore cos they keep pushing it back so probably not till our 80s or funerals, whichever comes first. welcome back!

you might only get some of those references if you’re british or have lived in the uk or possibly obsessed with british culture. either way it made me laugh out loud and of course no offense is meant by it!

 i do love Christmas and my heart aches a lot just a little because i’m not home this year. first time ever {i don’t count my mission, that was different}. but at least i can skype/facetime/call them on the day. anyway this year i made my first ginger bread house {where have i been?} and was especially fun because i got to be with my old colleagues from the lds business college library.

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i do love Christmas!

m.