RIP Yvette

YvetterOn Tuesday 29th April, an old Primary School friend, and for the last 8 years, an online friend, Yvette Wray (aka Magependragon), lost her battle with cancer.

It came as quite a shock as even though she had been fighting cancer for 2 years, she had posted on facebook just the day before she passed. I knew she was back in hospital and had been having a really tough time for the last week or 2, but I didn’t realise just how serious it was. I was so sure she was going to beat it.

It’s been 4 days and I still can hardly believe she is gone. She really was a true fighter. I know people say that a lot, but she really was, and she fought bravely and strong.

She was was fierce woman who knew her own mind. She was smart, gentle, kind and honest.

I will never forget her.

Happies & Crappies – 01 – 06 Mar ’14



+ I’m still listening to audiobooks and and now onto my 3rd book in 2 weeks. I listened to The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger last week and it was fantastic! I’d highly recommend it, even if you have seen the film. There so much more to the story and I just fell in love with the characters. For me it’s one of those books that stays with you long after you’ve finished it and is now instant favourite of mine.

On the weekend I registered with the local library so I could stream the audiobooks they have available. I’m currently listening to The Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes but I’m not really enjoying it that much, and would consider it a summer throw-away read. I’ll finish it anyway as I’m about 20 chapters in and I’ll likely have it finished by the weekend.

BTW if you have any reading/audiobook recommendations I’d love to hear them & add me on!

+ On Friday Pete and I took the day off work and decided to go down to London to visit the Natural History Museum. I’ve been to the Science Museum next door many times, but never the NHM so it was nice to finally check it off the To Do list.


– I’ve been really tight chested and short of breath for the past week and I first thought it was because Pete has been sick and I was just staving of a recurrence of last weeks cold. But now the more I think about it I think it might be anxiety about going to South Africa. I’m obviously very excited to be going and seeing all my friends and family again, but I always get nervous when we go back for 2 reasons. 1 is the flight. I hate flying and get very anxious in the build up to the flight. 2 is the crime in South Africa still makes me nervous. It’s the reason I left and I hate that constant feeling of looking over your shoulder and having to lock your doors. I felt like a prisoner and going back to that even just for 3 weeks, scares me.

Happies & Crappies – 15 – 21 Feb ’14


Ahhh it’s friday! Don’t we all love Fridays? The promise of the weekend ahead, wine, lying in bed and unknown adventures! Though truthfully for me it’s often laziness, potentially a hangover and boredom. Ha! I need a hobby.

The past week in summary…


+ It’s only 3 week to go until We get to see our families in South Africa! We last went home in September 2012 to get married, so it’s been a long time since I got to cuddle my loved ones. Time to shift the counting to days instead of weeks I think. 22 Sleeps! 🙂

+ I’ve booked Vash into holiday care for while we are away. He’s going to be staying with Sam’s Species so it’s good to know he will be in capable hands while we are on our hols.

+ I’ve been listening to the Books on the Nightstand podcast and totally loving it! I love both books and technology, so a podcast about books is like heaven to me. I feel geeky and intellectual all at the same time. Haha. I listen on the Apple Podcast App while at work and always end up adding a book or 2 to my goodreads.comto read” list along the way.
This week I listened to Ann & Michael talk about audiobooks, and it has prompted me to blow the digital dust off my Audiobook copy of Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett and install the Audible App on my iPhone to listen to it. Though sometimes I find it hard to focus properly on audiobooks I’m slowly getting through it. I am able to listen at work as long as I’m not doing anything that requires reading (I can’t do the 2 together) or too much stop and start. Thankfully this week has been conducive to listening and have had it on the go for most of yesterday and today.


– I had a head cold at the beginning of the week. I started to feel crappy on Sunday when Pete and I went for a walk in the sunshine, and ended up taking Tuesday as a sick day. Thankfully it was short lived and I’m right as rain again.

– Before we moved house in December, my car’s driver door was keyed by some wanker and only just got around to getting a quote for the repair. £168! 🙁 I’m going to see what improvements I can make myself before forking out so much dosh on it.

My top 5 iPhone apps

Anyone who knows me will be aware that I love my iPhone. I’ve been an iPhone user since the first gen was released in 2007. As soon as I saw the TV advert for it I knew I would own one and bought it very soon after that. I finally owned the device I’d always dreamed of but never previously existed. Then they opened iOS to third party applications and it got ever better!

Here I am 7 years later (7 years!) with an iPhone 5S and still love it like I did my 1st gen, in fact probably more. In those years a LOT of apps have made it into my home screen, some for short periods, some for years, so here is a list of my Top 5 iPhone apps.
(List is based on apps currently on my iPhone 5S running iOS 7)

evernote40 Evernote
I’m an obsessive list and note keeper. As such I have used many, many note keeping applications but none have ever compared to Evernote. It’s cross device support means I can access it anywhere I like, work, home or on the go; and I know my notes will always be up to date and perfectly synchronised. I can have various notebooks with multiple notes for all sorts if different topics and finding the one I want is a snap with keyword and tag searching. Plus I can pin my most accessed notes to the top for super quick access.
And, it’s completely FREE!
instagram40 Instagram
A big hobby if mine is photography. I bought a Canon 400D in 2007 and carried it everywhere with me for months. I still have that camera but normally it’s packed up at home though and only comes out to play when I’m on holiday or at an event or family function, when I really want to capture the best shots. “The best camera is the one you have with you.” This saying is so very very true, and the camera I always have with me is my iPhone, and the app I still prefer to edit and share my photos with is Instagram. I’ve used it for about 3 years now and though many see it as a kids toy of unskilled photo editing, I still love the results it gives me. One of the things I love about it most is I can share it across all of my social sites so easily. It’s still loads of fun and I love the sense of community that is to be found by following challenges like Fatmumslim’s Photo A Day challenge.
snapseed40 Snapseed
Snapseed was given away during the Apple 12 Days of Christmas promotion at the end of 2010. I had purchased the app about 2 weeks before this. Annoying! However despite the fact that this app is now completely free I don’t regret handing some of my money over to the developers. It is a masterpiece of photo editing software and is simple to use yet complex enough to really get the most out of your photos. Colour correction, white balance and detail editing is easy yet produces fantastic results. If every you’ve taken a photo you loved but was too dim or yellow this is the app to use. There are so many other great features to this app like, filtering, tilt-shift, frames and textures, so there is something for everyone.
feedly40 Feedly
When Google Reader closed it’s doors I was devastated and didn’t think I’d ever find a news reader to replace it. I tried a few but once I tried Feedly I knew I would shed no more tears over Google Reader. Adding and sorting feeds is a piece of cake, as is sharing articles across a variety of other networks and mediums. Simple, clean, customisable. It’s doing a cracking job and I use it daily, both on my home & work PC and by iPhone and iPad.
kindle40 Kindle
If you are an avid reader like I am, having your current books with you at all time is essential. Knowing that my current location will be synced across my kindle and iPad is awesome, so I know I can pick up any device and carry on reading where I left of. The interface is simple and clean and the font can be customised to suit your preferred size, margin & spacing. You can also annotate, highlight and share quotes, read extra details about thy book synopsis, characters and popular quotes from other readers. It really is great for getting more out of the books you are reading.

Honourable Mention

chrome40 Chrome
Honourable mention because for me this is a no-brainer default app that everyone should be using. Tabs can be synced across devices by logging in to your google account and likewise passwords and logins can be cross-synced.

I’d love to know what some of your own favourtite apps are so drop me a comment and let me know what they are and if you find this list useful!

Move, lump & tattoo

So in my last post I mentioned that we were having troubles with teenagers causing us stress at our flat, and that we would be moving. We have since moved into a lovely little 2 bedroom house in a nice quiet cul-de-sac, and the only noise we hear is our next door neighbours kid running up the stairs, and I can totally live with that. For Britain that’s normal. Yay, terraced housing! (Lucky we are at the end of the terrace so have only one adjoining neighbour.) It’s really nice to be able to relax without hearing a noise and tensing up worrying about what would happen next. It’s wonderful 🙂

I’ve also had a few more checks of my armpit lump and the doctors say it was likely from an infection. The gland is still a bit swollen but it’s nothing to worry about. The doctor says it could take a long time to go away so we’ve made another appointment for April, but he said that even if it’s still lingering around then he is unlikely to be concerned. Phew!!!!

In December I made a start on my quarter sleeve tattoo. My artist is the lovely Esme from Alternative Art in Northampton. I first saw her when I went to the Milton Keynes Tattoo Convention in July ’13 and knew right away I wanted to get work from her. My first session was 3 hours and we have booked in another 3 x 3 hour sessions for 2014. She’s so booked up that I have to wait until April for session 2 but that fine as it gives me time to save. Plus we are going to South Africa before then so I’m currently saving every penny! I’m very very happy with the progress we made in the 1st session though and I can’t wait to get more work done on it.


Tonight I found out a friend’s son passed away this morning. He was only 9 years old. 🙁 It’s sobering to think how I can carry on with a normal evening tonight when my friends world is shattered into pieces. It’s incomprehensible to know what he is going through right now.

The week in review – Moving, dentist & OMG there’s a lump in my armpit!

So I don’t think I’ve mentioned it here, just on Facebook, that we’ve had some trouble with teenagers in our area. We live above a shop and naturally kids tend to hang out outside of it, which basically means right below our lounge window. That’s fine (mostly), but the little fuckers think it’s ok to throw things at our windows. I’ve told them off or chased them away a few times, but last month I confronted a group of really gobby shitheads. They persisted with knocking on our window so I literally told them to “fuck off or you are getting a bucket of water over you”. They carried on talking shit and being cocky, so I delivered on my threat. They scattered like cockroaches so I mostly missed with the water, but they ran away so that was awesome. About 20 minutes later though an egg was thrown onto our window, and a few others on the walls. Little shits. Luckily we still had another bucket of water ready from earlier so it was easily washed off, but now it looks like a vendetta has started. So that occurrence was last month, last Saturday however without warning a few more eggs were thrown. I know I should just ignore it, but it just makes me so angry so again I hurled abuse at them as they ran away. Afterwards though Pete and I decided we are sick of having to put up with all the noise from the shop, shutter noises, the intercom, people leaving barking dogs tied up outside and of course the kids. So we’ve decided to move.
Our lease ends in December so we’ve given our landlords notice of our intent, so we will need to be in a new place by 7 Dec. Pete started property hunting the very same night, and we’ve looked at 3 properties last week already. Nothings quite right yet though, but we still have plenty of time. We are looking at another place tomorrow, and Pete is always checking for new ones that become available each day. It’s a bit tedious to be moving again after only 1 year here and we will hopefully be in a place to buy our own house in another year, but we have no major love for this flat which is why the decision to move has been so easy.

So other than the property hunting, on Tuesday we both went to the dentist for the first time in nearly 2 years! Eep! Neither of us like going to the dentist and were a bit nervous. Thankfully I didn’t need anything doing other than a scale and polish, Pete however needed 2 fillings! Poor lad. He had to go back the next day which I think is torturous not to just do it while you are in the chair, but they have a schedule to keep I suppose. Of course it all went OK though, and we were joking around about it. “Make sure you wear a shirt it’s OK to bleed on!” & “She reattached your jaw really well!” So that’s our dentist visit done for another 6 months.

And finally I had an ultrasound done on a lump I’ve had in my armpit. It’s been around for about 2 months in total. I freaked the hell out when I first found it, as you do, and made an appointment to go to the doctors. A few days before my appointment though the lump seemed to vanish so I cancelled. We then went on holiday to Scotland and just after that I felt it was back again. I went to the doctor and she couldn’t feel anything so referred me to the hospital for an ultrasound. That appointment was on Thursday just gone. I was very nervous but the lump had remained static in size (small!). So off I went to the hospital and thankfully the lovely doctor managed to find the lump very quickly, and in fact found 2 lumps. He told me that they are in fact swollen lymph nodes and 99% of the time they are benign. *Huge sigh of relief!* but he is going to send me on for a full breast exam anyway just to be 100% sure. Of course there is always that small chance it could be cancer but I’m feel much more relaxed about it now than I was. I didn’t really tell anyone apart from Pete and my manager because I didn’t want to cause any unnecessary worrying until I knew myself what it actually was. Now that I’m 99% certain it’s nothing I don’t mind sharing the experience. I’ve only been through a small taster of the stress that possible cancer can cause and believe me I hope I never have to go through it again, but with the statistic of 1 in 3 people getting it in their lifetime, I’ll be very lucky if this is my only scare.

What a week!

Pet Peeves

scream via ralaenin.
scream via ralaenin.

So after reading this post by Ché I was inspired to share my own pet peeves after I had to endure one of them today. One of my colleagues was in the office, who is very rarely there (he’s field based) and he has this horrible habit that really, I mean REALLY, get under my skin.


Yes, that disgusting grunt-snort that makes you feel sick. What adult still does that? It’s a revolting bad habit that is normally insulted out of you by your friends when you are a kid. How did he miss those insults? Was he home schooled and his parents didn’t correct him on it? I don’t know, but I seriously HATE it.

It’s not my only pet peeve though. I’m riddled with them…

Spitting – This is right up there with snorting. It’s seriously disgusting. DON’T DO IT! It’s also surprisingly common here in England. You see teenage boys and grown men doing it all the time.

Chewing with you mouth open is another one. Actually, anything where I can hear or see your mucus is likely to disgust me immensely!

Being touched by someone with slightly damp hands – This one is because my husband won’t dry his hands properly and them come and touch me, leaving bits of moisture on my arm or hand. When I dry my hands I make them bone dry, and anything less irritates me. Thankfully Hubby no longer does this because he knows how much I hate it, and it’s not something likely to occur from a stranger. Ew!

Like many, bad grammar & spelling can irritate me. I’m not a huge stickler as I’m not perfect at it myself, but some things really annoy me. Like using the wrong word entirely. It’s common in the Midlands for people to write “are” instead of “our“, as in “Come to are house.” It’s not even the same word! Another one I’ve heard all over England is, “I went to the shop and brought a sandwich.” No you didn’t, you bought it.

Noisy crisp packets – Arrrrghhhh!!!! Why must they be so noisy?! Especially in an office environment, it’s so distracting from work. I know this is not the fault of the person merrily noshing their crisps, I just wish the manufacturers could develop a silent bag. As a result, when I eat crisps at my desk I tear the packet open flat. Generally this one doesn’t bother me at all times, just at work or in quiet places.

People who don’t leave things as they find them – This was drummed into me by my Dad. “Leave it how you found it” and this now stretches to all areas of my life, especially if you borrow something from my desk, put it back where you found it.  I often extended it to “Leave it how you found it, or better“.  Was there toilet paper on the floor when you entered this cubicle? No – so pick it up if you drop some. It was already there? Then just pick it up and throw it away for the next person (It’s gross you say? You should be washing your hands afterwards anyway). It’s not hard and makes the world a nicer place for everyone.

And lastly (for this post anyway)… Littering. Have some respect for your environment. I take pride in my neighbourhood, and it pisses me off when I see rubbish just thrown on the ground, or your McDonalds in the parking spot where your car used to be. There is no excuse for this one, it’s pure laziness.

So what are your biggest pet peeves? Let me know if you agree with some of mine.

Life as it stands – freedom

iEllen via boeke.
iEllen via boeke.

Tonight (Sunday, 23:03) I said to Pete “I wish it was Saturday night again. I don’t want to go to bed”, and then he made a very good point. Our life if not exactly hard or stressful at the moment. We go to work, then come home and have the whole evening to ourselves. We have no obligations. ALL of our spare time, and our spare money for that matter, is our own. We have the liberty to laze around for our entire Saturday & Sunday if we want to. Much like we did today actually. So really I have nothing to moan about for going to work tomorrow, especially as I really love my job!

It’s good to be introspective about these things and take the time to just sit back and realise just how freaking good we have it. We have spoken about having children, and it’s definitely something are planning on doing in the next few years, but at the moment we are really enjoying our time together. Normally it’s just the two of us sitting on our respective couches doing our own things, as we are right now. QI on TV, Pete normally playing games, and me pottering on the internet. If we fancy, we go for a bike ride together or I stick a movie on which we both slowly put our laptops aside for.

After drinking wine and going to bed at about 3am last night, today we watched about 5 episodes of Castle Season 5 and played on our laptops all day long. Pete did a load of washing, and I did the dishes, and that was the extent of our exertion! It sounds lazy, I know. And it is. Very. and we goddamn love it!

Are you a parent that went through this phase before making the big commitment? Tell me all about it 🙂 Temporarily Broken

Whoops!Oh my goodness. I only got to bed at about 1:15 am last night because I managed to break my WordPress install. I used to have my homepage redirecting to the WordPress install I had in a sub-folder, and yesterday evening decided to do away with the redirect and just have WordPress as my front page. It didn’t go well. I made a newbie error really that was irreversible,  and meant I have to change my file structure to a way I didn’t actually want but it was too late.

It took me hours to ge it fixed and only managed to properly restore things like the header this morning. *sigh*

Lesson learned!