Saturday, 21 May 2016

Friday Favourites

Sometimes it's nice to reflect on what's bought you happiness / contentment / joy, especially when times are feeling a bit stressful, and so I bring you a second instalment of Friday favourites!

1.       Amazon Firestick

I actually bought this baby a few weeks ago but I still get excited about spending time at home several weeks later!  I love my Netflix, but I’m not so good with watching regular tv.  Not having a smart tv (I made a good choice when I bought my set about 6 or 7 years ago and it’s still going strong and looking good), I’ve been relegated to watching Netflix on my laptop or iPad up til now, which usually means I end up playing on the internet instead, getting distracted or curled up like a teenager in my bedroom.  Now, however, I can watch in state, installed on the sofa with a blanket, and not having to worry about which device has got some juice in the battery.  It’s safe to say that I’ve been enjoying my Netflix more than ever, and I love being able to pop Spotify up on the tv for music while I’m pottering round on the weekend, plus having E4 and BBC iPlayer at the touch of a button.  Money well invested.

2.       Horse riding

Way back in the mists of time, I used to ride regularly.  Every weekend as a kid you’d find me gleefully hanging out at my local stable all day Saturday or Sunday – the lesson would only last an hour but I’d happily muck out stables, help with feed and generally hang out with friends and ponies for the remaining hours.  I rode with the University’s riding club when I went off down South to do my degree, but I had a pretty painful riding accident during my final year of uni that severely dented my confidence (and my back), and when I moved to London immediately after graduation I gave up .... there’s not too many places that a new graduate can afford to ride in the capitol after all!

Since then (a good 12 years or more) I’ve ridden just a handful of times and I’ve always loved it, but it was never a regular thing.  The time has come.  I spent a bit of time over the last couple of weeks researching local stables and finally had my first lesson 2 weeks ago on a very damp Wednesday evening.  I thought I was just going to be getting back into it gently with some walking and trotting, as I was booked into a novice lesson, but no – the instructor had me cantering and popping over a few little single jumps before the hour was up!  This week she had me on faster horse and we spent most of the lesson tackling runs of (small) jumps and at the end of the lesson she said I can join the advanced class next time if I’d like.  Two weeks ago I was scared I’d have forgotten and make an idiot out of myself, but it’s all still there and I’ve loved being back in the saddle.

 (Riding down in Exmoor a few years ago)

3.        House buying

As mentioned earlier in the week, this distant pipedream has suddenly moved forward to being very much a reality, and I can’t tell you how exciting that is.  Of course, me being me, I’d really like it all to just happen NOW, but it doesn’t work that way and I’ve still got a long, hard road ahead of me, trawling through all the processes and trying to find an actual place that I like, can afford.  There’s a huge problem in Bristol at the moment with houses all going to sealed bids and selling for about 15-20% above the asking price, which is terrifying when you have a strict budget to stick to, but I’m sure if I just persist, I’ll triumph eventually.

Just the thought of having a home, somewhere that is mine to decorate, furnish and improve as I please, that is not dependent on anyone else’s renting whims and is my own little haven at the end of the day makes the whole spectre of the buying struggle worthwhile.  Right now, I’m talking to mortgage brokers to confirm how much I can get and that someone is prepared to lend to me, as well as religiously scanning the listings to see what’s out there right now.  

4.        Bill Bailey    

We went to see this genius of comedy on Tuesday evening, and he was just as funny as ever.  During the second half I was literally doubled over, laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe.  Enough said.  I love a bit of live comedy and can’t wait to put some more in my diary.

5.        Bristol 10k Great Run

I did it.  It felt highly satisfying to be able to drag my very under-trained butt around the course on Sunday, and to be able to finish in a surprisingly decent time for me.  1:16 on Sunday, compared to personal best of 1:05 and my first ever time of 1:12.  Both when I had considerably more running fitness than I do now.  I was happy with that.  I still haven’t quite managed to re-find my love of running but it felt like a step forward.

(Liz and I looking relieved to be done last weekend)

6.        Friday nights with friends

There’s something deeply satisfying about finishing the week with a relaxed night with good friends.  Especially when it’s friends that you’ve only recently bought together, but you’ve thought they’d get on well for ages, and you’ve been proved right.  Time with these girls is relaxing, supportive and deeply satisfying.  There will no doubt be wine and chats about things both superficial and meaningful.

(Prosecco Friday from a few weeks ago)

7.       Somerset by Alice Temperley

I went shopping last weekend (whoops – I really didn’t have the money for that!) and was wandering round John Lewis and my eye was caught by the clothes in this section.  Sooooooo pretty!  There was about 10 things I would happily have taken home, but being restrained, I just tried on a top and trousers.  Well.  They were both gorgeous – so beautifully cut and perfectly sized and I soooo wanted to take them both home, but reluctantly put the top back for next month’s shopping basket.  But I am totally getting it then and I'm totally fan-girling over the amazing black lace skirt as well!  The trousers already got me about 6 compliments, so I’m guessing they’re good!

So that’s what’s been floating my boat this week!

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