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Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Highlights: 2014 Edition

"Over and over I marvel at the blessings of my life: Each year has grown better than the last."
Lawrence Welk

It's the 30th of December and that means we have one full day and a bit left of 2014. I know I've been saying it a lot lately, but I can't quite believe it. It seems like just yesterday we were on the cusp of 2014 and everyone was saying how terrible 2013 was and that they hoped 2014 would be better. For those people, I hope it was everything you wanted and more.

For me this year had many ups and downs, but all in all I feel like I've grown and improved a lot. I thought for my last post of the year I would reflect highlights and things I'm most grateful for this year.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Pets 'n' Stuff | Puppy's First Christmas

This is my final Christmas 2014 post. I know you've probably had enough, but I wanted to tell you about what I got my pets and I'd rabbited on in my last post and didn't fit it in. If you missed my last post about A Merry Tipping Christmas, please check it out here. Anyway! On with this post.

It was Edwin's first Christmas, and we don't usually get the pets Christmas presents. That sounds so Grinchy, but in the past getting in on the grub has been their present. I remember the year before last when my rats were healthy (RIP my little ladies), I made them up their own little bowl of Christmas dinner. They LOVED it. However, this year we decided to do it a little different and they all got presents. I guess maybe because I'm getting older and a little broody (despite not wanting actual kids), Christmas shopping for them was a way to play house. We wrapped the presents and set them out late on Christmas Eve before we went to bed, much like my parents do for us.

Edwin wasn't exactly full of the Christmas spirit at first. He just wanted to go to bed and sleep like any other night. We had to carry him to open our presents at 4am. Baby and Berty were more awake, and I don't know where the cats were. Eventually the flurry of Christmas paper and excitement helped Edwin wake up. Baby didn't want to open her presents herself, but we gave Berty and Edwin one each. Although they were great at tearing the paper off, they started fighting over each other's. So much for festive cheer! We ended up putting off opening their presents.

It wasn't until Boxing Day I actually opened their presents. We were all too shattered on Christmas Day. I wish I had got photos of Edwin tearing off the wrapping, but he kept lifting every present I gave him and running out of the room to go hide and do it. I guess he's not used to being allowed to rip stuff up. Here's a little video though!

So here is all their presents together. The cats both got a packet of Dreamies each. You can see Effy sitting waiting for hers thinking 'Can you hurry this up please...?' and the rest of the treats are for Baby and Edwin to share, over an extended period of time because they're both actually on diets right now. The monkey teddy is Edwin's new girlfriend because he's too big to hump his old sheep girlfriend. The turkey is also Edwin's and the ball and robin are Baby's. However, she wasn't interested in the robin so Edwin claimed it too. She played with the Santa ball a bit though. All presents were bought from Pets At Home.

They also got two other chews, but I gave Baby and Edwin them before I took the photo above. I thought this little bag of coal chew was perfect for Edwin. He's been pretty bad lately. Baby's was a little Christmas star lolly chew. I tried to take a photo, but she wouldn't stay still long enough.

So yeah, all and all I think they enjoyed their Christmas and Edwin definitely enjoyed the presents. I definitely think we'll do something similar next year too. I love a new tradition!

I can't believe this is my last Christmas post. I've had a wonderful Christmas this year, and it's been an awesome first blogging Christmas too.

I hope you and your pets had a wonderful time too.
Did you do anything special for your fur babies?
If so, tell me what! 

Friday, 26 December 2014

A Merry Tipping Christmas

It's Boxing Day, the day after Christmas Day and I can't quite believe it. There's always such a build up and then Christmas Eve and Christmas Day just fly by. Usually on Boxing Day or even the evening of Christmas Day, I have a little bit of PCB. Post Christmas Blues. However, this year I've been able to avoid that as I've still got plenty to look forward to with my older sister coming home for a few days, amongst other things. So I can write this post and reflect on the last couple of days without the slight sadness that it's all over for another year.

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve started like any weekend day, with my dad making us a breakfast Ulster fry. We didn't really do anything too special during the day time. We'd planned to go to the cinema, but opted to stay in instead.

Eva and I baked some buns, while watching the movie Big Miracle. Not a Christmas movie, but it was awesome. Eva went for a nap and I wasted time. I tried giving myself festive nails as I watched the Switched At Birth Christmas Special, but it turned into a disaster. I guess I'll practice for next year. At around 7pm our Christmas Eve traditions finally got under way. Eva and I opened our Christmas Eve present, which were lovely matching penguin pyjamas and red slipper boots. We then had our showers and got changed into them.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

My Christmas Week Eve Week

"Maybe Christmas, the Grinch thought, doesn't come from a store."
Dr. Seuss

My weekly round up for last week is a little late again this week. Part of my new years resolution is definitely to get on top of my scheduling and over all organisation of my blog a little better. However, I do feel like I have a little bit of a good excuse this time. Though, I tend to always tell myself that anyway. Apart from the usual Christmas stuff keeping me busy, my anxiety got a little worse last week and then to top it all off over the weekend I got the cold again. My head was (and still is, so don't hold it against me if this post is more nonsense than usual!) a little fuzzy, so I put off writing this post. But tomorrow is Christmas Eve! 

So I figured it was now or never where this post is concerned, because the next one will be all about how Christmas Eve and Christmas Day went etc! I fully cannot believe it's here already. I feel incredibly old saying it, but it seems to come round faster and faster every year. But I digress, on with what I got up to last week! 

Friday, 19 December 2014

I Dropped My Bundle

"Panic is a sudden desertion of us, and a going over to the enemy of our imagination."
Christian Nestell Bovee

If you don't recognise the quote from the title, it's a reference from this season's The Apprentice. Mark Wright was making a pitch and totally fluffed it and told Lord Sugar when called on it that he 'dropped his bundle'. Anyway, I dropped my bundle in class last night. 

I can't remember if I mentioned, but I had a presentation to do last night in class. I had decided to do it about the documentary Blackfish and my stance on keeping Orcas in captivity. It's a topic I feel strongly about and I had prepared, and felt confident it was something I could talk about in detail, in a persuasive and passionate way. Also it was something I had wrote about a number of times. You can see my review of the documentary here

I got to class and the teacher asked who wanted to go first. Our tables are kind of in a row, and the guy on the other end said he'd go first. Which meant I was going last. I didn't want to go first, so I didn't think much of it at first. But suddenly my anxiety started to rise as the presentations started. I felt shaky and warm, and then nauseas. I could tell a panic attack was starting, but I've gotten pretty good at talking myself down from them so I started taking breaths and such. It did help, and I guess because so many were going before me I kind of found sort of an eye in the storm type thing. I thought I was going to be okay. However it came to the person before the person before me, and it all hit me again. Full panic mode, and I felt like if it got to me and I got up in front of everyone I was going to choke. Even worse, I felt like I was going to throw up in front of everyone. I don't usually eat before class, but sometimes I feel sick if I don't. So I ate before class this time so I wouldn't feel sick, but I felt sick anyway and because I'd ate all I could think about was the fact I actually had stuff in my stomach to throw up. My mind was just racing.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Bloo's Reviews | Hate: A Love Story

“No bottle is big enough for human emotion. Love, hate, anger, happiness, and deep melancholy. Each one exists for a reason. Emotion is real. It’s meant to be released. It’s meant to be lived.”
Hate: A Love Story

Title: Hate: A Love Story
Author: Laurel Ulen Curtis
Rated: 18+ (adult content)

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Not Another Christmas Tag!

"Christmas isn't a season. It's a feeling."
Edna Ferber

I mentioned a few posts ago that I was nominated by Eva to do the Christmas Tag. I'm not going to lie, I was hoping someone would tag me. So yeah, here I am. I'm not going to tag anyone specifically because well, I'm not sure who's already done it etc. What I am going to say is, if like me you were hoping someone would tag you then... I tag you! Those of you that have done the tag, please link yours below. I'd love to have a look-see. Now on with the questions.

1. What is your favourite Christmas movie?  

Well, it's funny you should ask. Aha. I actually just blogged about this very thing a few posts ago! I don't actually have one overall favourite. There are too many awesome ones to choose from, and it depends what mood I'm in. So I'll show you one of my favourites instead! You can see some of my other favourites here.

Okay, so I'm a sucker for cheesy movies. And you don't get much better than some of the movies Channel 5 plays on the run up to Christmas. One year I was lucky enough to catch a Hallmark original Christmas movie called The Christmas Card, and it's been one of my favourite Christmas movies since. It's about a soldier in Afghanistan who is touched by a Christmas card he receives from a woman as part of a Christmas goodwill effort. During leave he decides to visit the small picturesque town the card was sent from and you can imagine how things unfold. This is just a simple old feel good Christmas movie. I can't wait to watch it this year!

2. Do you open your presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?

Very early Christmas morning. We've had the same tradition since we were little and still do it now. I always find it weird when people sleep in late on Christmas morning because they can't be bothered to get up. I remember my younger friends having to wait because their older brothers and sisters didn't want to get up. I'm lucky that my sisters and I are sticklers for tradition and equally big kids. We hang our Christmas stockings on the bedroom door and from about 1am check every now and then to see if Santa's been. Usually between 2 and 3am they're full and we go get our parents up and open our stockings then go check the living room. After we open our presents my parents go back to bed and sometimes we do too. I don't know why, but there's just something so much more exciting getting up in the middle of the night.

3. Do you have a favourite Christmas memory? 

It's really hard to choose one. The one that sticks out most, I'm saving for the favourite present question. Something I love to remember from my childhood is my Santa sightings. Every Christmas Eve we go present delivering. The last place we go to is my grandparents' house. I remember my dad would say we had to get home because Santa would be coming soon. He'd carry me out to the car and some years I'd look up and there'd be something flashing in the sky, which non-believers would probably think was nothing more than a plane. I'd say 'there's Santa!' and my dad would tell me we'd have to be super quick! I remember feeling so excited and a little worried we wouldn't make it home on time. I feel really lucky that even at 24 I still capture most of that excitement. 

4. Favourite festive food?

To be honest, my whole Christmas dinner is my favourite festive food. I always tell the story of how Christmas dinner saved my life. After my back surgery when I was ten I was really unwell and basically wasn't eating, which only made me more unwell. My parents decided if I didn't pick up after boxing day they'd have to take my to hospital. I LOVE Christmas dinner and since you only get it once a year, I didn't want to waste my chance. I even ate the bits I didn't usually eat, the ham, the carrot and parsnip and even the brussels sprouts! And the rest is history. The more I ate, the better I got and the better I got, the more I could eat. BUT, if I had to choose one thing it would be my dad's stuffing. It's like a meal in itself. After we open all our presents, my dad see's if the turkey is done and usually at least the stuffing is, so he makes stuffing sandwiches and we have some before we head back to bed for a nap. Another of my favourite traditions!

5. Favourite Christmas gift?

Sixteen years ago my parents went to pick up a little ball of fluff without any of us knowing. On Christmas morning after we'd opened all our presents they said there was one more. They told us all to hold hands and they left the room. A few minutes later they came in with Gracie, an eight week old Shih Tzu puppy. No present could ever top the year we gained her as a family member. For almost sixteen years she was my constant. Always there for me. Even when she lost her marbles, she was right by my side. This is the first year she won't be with us and as much as it breaks my heart, I feel incredibly lucky we had her as long as we did have. She was a special little lady and she'll forever be my favourite Christmas memory and gift.

 6. Favourite Christmas scent?

Does the smell of the Christmas turkey cooking count? I love waking up on Christmas morning to the smell of turkey and stuffing filling the house. Gosh, even thinking about it is making me hungry! Other than that, the usual cinnamon type smells always get me in the festive mood. This year I have some lovely candles from Yankee like Christmas Cookie and Merry Marshmallow. I can't wait to get them burning. 

7. Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?

Yep! Most of the day we just lounge around and relax while my parents nip out and do some last minute bits and pieces. Some years we've gone to see a Christmas movie in the cinema with our aunt or watched one at home. In the evening my sister's and I open a present each from our parents which are always pyjamas and something for our feet like slippers or fluffy socks. We then shower and change into our new pjs. Sometimes we have some party food then, before we go deliver presents. Yes, we deliver presents in our pjs! The last stop is our grandparents' house, where we have another bite to eat with my grandparents and my aunt Karen and swap presents. After that we go home and put out food for Santa and his reindeer. Last year was the first year I forgot to do that, and I was so annoyed with myself! After we put that out Eva and I head to bed to watch a movie and try and get a little sleep, waiting for Santa to come. I love the routine and how it hasn't changed since we were little.

8. What tops your tree?

This is the star that tops my tree. I got it in Paperchase a couple of years ago. I noticed this year that some of the little stars had fallen off. I was a little bummed, but I don't have the heart to get a new one because this is my first. I might try and see if I can find some little stars to replace the ones that fell off. If you'd like to see what else is on my tree, check out my What's On My Tree post.

9. As a kid what was the one crazy, wild or extravagant gift you asked for but never received?

I actually can't think of anything crazy or extravagant that I asked for that I didn't get. That sounds so spoiled, I know. Santa was always really good to us, and I never really asked for anything like ponies etc. I remember talking to my best friend as a kid about Santa and discussing how he HAD to be real because there was no way my parents could afford to get me a Game Boy and an Adidas jumper, trainers, bottoms and whatever else I got that year. My parents are so good to us, I never thought to dwell or remember the things I didn't get.

10. What’s the best part about Christmas for you? 

Oh gosh, just everything. I LOVE everything. I love that it's okay to be a big kid. I love that it's so family orientated and brings people together. I love all the memories, the traditions and the food. I love the decorations and seeing everybody's little personal stamp on the holiday and how they celebrate and decorate. I love the wrapping paper and wrapping presents. I stress about buying gifts, but I do love giving them. I love everything, and I hope it always stays that way.

Friday, 12 December 2014

DIY | Paper Craft Christmas Trees

"There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them."
Ray Bradbury

Up until I started blogging I would have listed arts and crafts as my biggest hobby. Art and crafts was always my thing. Whilst I still love drawing and trying my hand at different crafts, it has admittedly fallen to the wayside as I've spent more time writing. That being said, I still love arts and crafts and I would love to incorporate that more into my blog. It feels like it's a big part of me that I've never really talked about here. So yeah, I've decided I'm going to change that! And what better time to do that than Christmas?

So I figured my first arts and crafts post would be a DIY Christmas decoration! My mum's been getting really into paper crafts and found a tutorial online for awesome Christmas trees made out of old books or magazines. I thought they looked fun and decided to have a go, too.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Last Week In Words

"We do not remember days, we remember moments."
Cesare Pavese

My last couple of posts have been about Christmas, so I didn't tell you the couple of things I got up to last week. So I figured I'd do my weekly round up now, even if it is a little late. It'll also include a bit of this week too.

Lets go back to last Sunday the 30th of November! Eva and I were going to yet another Belfast Giants game. It'd been two weeks since the last game, so to say I was itching for my ice hockey fix is an understatement. It was the first home game against the Sheffield Steelers this season. It was also the first chance Eva got to wear the jersey she got during our stay in Belfast! (link 1, link 2). It was a very exciting and stressful game. One of my favourite players Jeff Mason took a puck to the face and had to be taken off and play was stopped so the zamboni could come out and remove his blood from the ice! The Steelers scored twice not long after and we also lost another player to a facial injury, David Phillips. By the end they were up my one and it seemed like it might be all over until another of my favourite players Mike Kompon scored with only 30.3 seconds left! I almost missed it because by that point I could only watch from behind my hands. Neither scored in overtime, so we had to go to a shoot out. I both love and hate shoot outs. They're exciting, but highly stressful. I needn't have worried though, as we won! It was probably the most nail biting game I've been to all season.

Monday, 8 December 2014

What's On My Tree

"He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree."
Roy L. Smith

My dad finally got our Christmas decorations down yesterday. My mum was visiting my granny and sister in England last week and as she's in charge of the main decorations, my dad didn't want to get anything down from the lost until she got back. I felt left out seeing everyone else's decorations up, so I was glad to get mine up last night! While I've called this post What's On My Tree, it will include all the decorations in my bedroom. We've only had our own trees for our bedrooms for the last three or so years. So while it's a new tradition, it's definitely one become a favourite.

Our main tree and decorations in general have always been a very traditional and old fashioned, red and gold theme. While I love that for our main tree, when I got my own I wanted to do the complete opposite. I wanted it to be as colourful as possible. It might look a little tacky, but I love it. So on with the decorating fun! Before I started, I decided to put Edwin's Christmas jumper on him to get him into the festive mood too. It was pretty cold last night, so I think he appreciated it. He kept it on all night until we went to bed, and Rudolf's nose even remained intact!

Friday, 5 December 2014

Festive Film Favourites

We are five days into December and I am yet to post this month. Any other month I wouldn't care so much, but it just feels wrong to have posted so little about my favourite time of year! I don't know why, but it really feels like Christmas snuck up on me this year. It feels like Halloween was just yesterday. Anyway! I decided to start of my December posts with the obligatory favourite Christmas movies post. So here are some of my favourite Christmas movies to watch over the festive period, in no particular order. 

Saturday, 29 November 2014

My Belfast Black Friday

"I went window shopping today! I bought four windows."
Tommy Cooper

I assume unless you live under a rock, you'll probably have heard that yesterday was Black Friday. Or as I've been calling it, Black Eye Friday. I swear I made that joke before I'd seen anyone else had. Although I'd been battling a cold and missed class on Thursday, I felt I'd picked up enough to venture out to Belfast on Friday with Eva and our friend Hannah. We weren't going because of Black Friday, but because it was the only day Eva could go. I'm not going to lie, after hearing all the horror stories about how people were fighting over bargains, I was a tad nervous about going into Belfast. My mum didn't ease my fears any by telling me how they didn't care if someone was in a wheelchair or not! 

Well, I'm happy to say I survived. In light of some of the stories people have to share of the day, ours was your average shopping day in Belfast. We seen none of the battle scenes and even if it would make an interesting blog post, I'm quite happy to say it. Town was busier than you'd expect on a Friday afternoon, but no more than you'd usually see on a weekend. Well, at least in the stores we were in.

We got off at Botanic and planned to go to a place called Maggie May's that Hannah wanted us to try, but there was a step in. Botanic is the worst for places not being wheelchair accessible. I guess it's because it's all old buildings. We ended up walking across one side of Belfast to the other for no reason. Luckily it wasn't a long walk, plus it meant we could stop off at a vintage store called The Rusty Zip. It's always fun to explore. I wish I could go up stairs. My sister's pretend it isn't that good up stairs, but I know they're lying.

Anyway, Eva bought a top and I bought a cute little brooch.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Bloo's Christmas Wish List 2014

So Christmas is well and truly on it's way. This time next month (at the time of posting this entry at least) it will be Christmas Eve! I don't know if I mentioned it before, but Christmas is my favourite time of year. I love tradition and hate change, so our Christmas routine has changed very little over the years. If anything we've added traditions rather than take any away. I can't wait to tell you more about them in later posts. But on with my Christmas Wish List! Every year we write a list for Santa of ideas. So no, I don't expect to get everything on this list. I'm not a greedy monster. 

Click on the collage for a larger view.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Under The Weather Week

"I am sick and tired of being sick and tired."
Fannie Lou Hamer

I mentioned in my last post, I felt like I was coming down with something. Turns out, I was. As I also mentioned, I have a few ideas for future posts, but I really haven't felt up to writing. Friday was a particularly bad day. I was in a lot of pain, felt very warm and even a bit faint. Which resulted in me having a panic attack. It wasn't very nice at all. Because of my cough, I had decided to get an antibiotic. It might seem a little rash, but doctors prefer me to nip any potential chest infections in the bud. So on Friday night my dad picked up my prescription for Augmentin. It really just made everything worse and gave me ANOTHER panic attack. I felt very nauseous, which made me nervous going to bed. The rest of the night I had to rationalise and keep my anxiety in check. Luckily I got through it without any more attacks.

After that I decided to hold off on taking any more of the antibiotic and see if the cough really did take hold or if I could get over it myself. Taking an antibiotic that was making me feel so ill seemed counter productive, because it would only make me weak and it more difficult to fight off whatever it was that I'd picked up. Once the effects of the antibiotic wore off, I felt a lot better. I'm hoping I'm on the mend now in general. Hopefully I'll be ready for class on Thursday and I get those planned posts under way!

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Christmas Baking Practice

"People have got to learn: if they don't have cookies in the cookie jar, they can't eat cookies."
Suze Orman

I hadn't planned on doing a post today, but my sister and I had a practice run for some baking we plan to do on Christmas Eve. So I figured I would show you how it went. I do have some ideas for future posts, possibly even a new weekly series... but I think I'm in the process of getting a cough, cold thing. Hopefully it won't develop into a full blown chest infection, but at the moment I'm feeling a bit crumby. It started as just a little bit of a scratchy throat this morning, but has steadily got worse over the course of today. I'm usually unproductive as it is, but headaches and a cough make it a lot worse. But I digress, hopefully this will pass in a couple of days and I'll be back on track with what I wanted to do. Now on with the baking!

We asked our mum to pick us up what we needed when she was out, and well... we probably should have just got it ourselves. We wanted to make sugar cookies and decorate them. The end game being something a long the lines of these...

Saturday, 15 November 2014

This Week In Words

"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years."
Abraham Lincoln

I've been feeling a little off my blogging game this week. I started a couple of posts, but decided to put them on the back burner because I just wasn't feeling them. I'm not sure if there was actually anything wrong with them, or I'm just over thinking it. I've been feeling a little antsy the last week or so and I didn't want to push myself to blog when I felt like that because don't want to associate blogging with that feeling. I don't know why I've been feeling my anxiety levels rising again. I hate to say it, but it's possibly because Christmas is right around the corner. I'm excited for it, but I feel totally unprepared. Which is something I'm going to rectify as soon as possible. I did finally start Christmas shopping this week, so I guess that's a start. More about that in a bit. Lets start at the beginning of the week!

Friday, 14 November 2014

Operation Christmas Child

I was going to include this in my weekly round up, but instead I thought I would write it in a post of it's own so it's less likely to be over looked. My posts tend to be a little long, so I imagine a lot of people tl;dr them. 

I've always wanted to take part in Operation Christmas Child, but every year Christmas tends to just come out of nowhere for me and I always end up missing the date. The lovely Dee reminded me of it this year when she wrote a post about it. I thought this year would end up another year I'd be unable to participate as being disabled it's difficult for me to get out to buy stuff and such on a whim. I looked up and found out the boxes have to be dropped off by the 18th of November, so it definitely was looking like I'd ran out of time. 

If you're unaware of what Operation Christmas Child is, it's basically a scheme set up by a charity called Samaritans Purse in which you fill a shoebox with little gifts for a boy or girl of a particular age range (2-4, 5-9, 10-14). You then drop it off at a designated drop off point and they send them to disadvantaged children in countries such as Serbia, Haiti and Romania. You can watch a video on how to pack a shoebox here.

Like I said, I figured I'd left it a little late to do that, but when I was on their website reading about it I noticed they had a Build A Shoebox Online: Shoebox World option. For £15 + £3 for shipping you can fill a shoebox online, picking from a small assortment of items. 

Sunday, 9 November 2014

If I Had The X Factor

"Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness."
Maya Angelou

Lets pretend we're in some alternate universe in which I am a super talented singer and musician, but for some reason feel my only road to musical success is X Factor. I started to wonder what songs I would sing if I happened to be one of the contestants, while watching X Factor this week. And so the idea for this post was born! Obviously in my alternate universe I am so talented I make it right to the end of the competition. I looked up all the categories they had week by week last year and thought about what I would sing. I think the trick is to try and pick something you like, but what you also think they audience will be familiar with and like. I know I tend to tune out when someone sings a song I'm not familiar with. So here are my picks, week by week!

Friday, 7 November 2014

Links 'n' Stuff

"I don't like to give advice. I like to give people information because everyone's life is different, and everyone's journey is different."
Dolly Parton

I wasn't planning on doing a post today, but I spent most of today doing some page tweaking and I figured I'd let you guys know!

First, I've updated my About Me page. I've attempted to condense it a little and make it more general so I have to update it less. 

Then finally finished my My Disability page. I had hoped to just link to an official fact sheet, but I couldn't find one. Plus I realised that because my disability is a spectrum I might be better explaining how it affects me personally. Sorry I couldn't keep it shorter, I didn't realise how much there was to my disability until I started explaining it!

Also in my about me I included a link to a page about my pets, complete with photos of each of them. I don't think I've done a post about them all so far. Can't believe it took me so long!

Lastly, a week or so ago I made a Facebook page for Bloo 'n' Stuff. I'd really appreciate any likes or shares. Thanks!

Gosh, I think this is the shortest post I've ever written. Don't get used to it! 

Not much to say about this week. I had class last night and it went well, although I almost cried because we watched half of Of Mice and Men. The scene where Carlson take's Candy's dog totally got me. We also learned we're doing a discussion based roleplay next week. I'm not too nervous, yet. 

This weekend I have a Belfast Giant's ice hockey match, and possibly some shopping on Sunday. Can't wait for ice hockey tomorrow night. Games against Cardiff are always entertaining, but we also have a new player! 

Anyway, have a good weekend everyone.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

My First Liebster Award!

I've seen the Liebster Award tag floating around a lot lately and every time I see it I think how much I'd love to be nominated. I mean, it's basically writing a whole bunch of random stuff about yourself. Who doesn't love a chance to do that? It's basically the reason I became a blogger.

Well you can imagine how happy and flattered I was to have woken up a couple of mornings ago to find that I had been nominated for the Liebster Award by the lovely Prompts By Dee.

The Liebster Award is to recognise and help people discover and learn about smaller blogs and the bloggers themselves. The nominations are passed from blogger to blogger.


- Post eleven random facts about yourself.
- Answer eleven questions asked by the blogger that nominated you.
- Write eleven questions for your nominees.
- Nominate five to eleven bloggers (pref with less than 200 followers).
- Let those bloggers know you nominated them. 

So here we go...

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Belfast Adventure Part Two

"On the one hand, shopping is dependable: You can do it alone, if you lose your heart to something that is wrong for you, you can return it; it's instant gratification and yet something you buy may well last for years."
Judith Krantz

Yesterday I posted up Day One of mine and my sister Eva's weekend staying in Belfast. Read all about where we stayed, our first night away without our parents and what we got up to here. Saturday was dedicated to shopping. I'm not going to lie, I'm not a BIG fan of clothes shopping. As much as I enjoy fashion, as I've mentioned before being a tiny out of proportion human being presents some challenges when trying to find things to buy. However every so often I will have a good shopping day, and I'm glad to say Saturday was one of those days. We decided to opt out of breakfast at the Premier Inn and had a lie in, getting up around 10am. We got dressed and headed into Belfast. We weren't really sure how to get there, but it was easy enough to figure out and was luckily wheelchair accessible the whole way.

I broke out one of my favourite jumpers I've not worn since last winter! And also realised my Belfast Giants' coloured nails went with it pretty well.    

For breakfast we hit good old Costa. By that time it was almost 1pm, so I guess you could call it brunch. Eva got this sandwich thing and an iced latte and I got a panini and tea. I never had one from there before, but it was so good. I'd definitely get it again. I usually don't like the premade ones from Starbucks etc. But yeah, that set me up for the day of shopping ahead!

Monday, 3 November 2014

Big Smoke Adventure Part One

"I know some sisters who only see each other on Mother’s Day and some who will never speak again. But most are like my sister and me... linked by volatile love, best friends who make other best friends ever so slightly less best."
Patricia Volk

As you might know if you're a regular reader of my blog or follow me on Twitter I had quite a big weekend away with my sister Eva Paige. At twenty four and nineteen, it was our first time away together by ourselves. Granted it was only a thirty minute train journey from where we live, we were excited nonetheless. It wouldn't seem like a big deal to most people, but it's slightly different when you're disabled and rely on the person you're with for everything. Not to mention the responsibility put on them. Then there's the regular nervousness of two young women in a city by themselves, but I digress. We got up early on Friday morning and got our stuff ready. We loaded ourselves up like pack mules and headed for the train. My puppy Edwin wanted to come with us. I felt so bad leaving him, as it was the longest I'd been away from him since I got him.  We'd hoped to stay one night, but as fate would have it by the time I booked they had a two night policy. Our little getaway for £80 between us turned into a little getaway for £180 between us. In hindsight, I'm glad.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Halloween | Blood 'n' Stuff

"It's said that All Hallows' Eve is one of the nights when the veil between the worlds is thin - and whether you believe in such things or not, those roaming spirits probably believe in you, or at least acknowledge your existence, considering that it used to be their own. Even the air feels different on Halloween, autumn-crisp and bright."
Erin Morgenstern

With one more day to go I guess we're almost at the height of the Halloween festivities. It's been awesome being part of the blogging community this year and seeing all the different things people have been doing in the run up to the big day. It has made me a little regretful I didn't put more effort in and decorate my room or bake gruesome cupcakes. Still, I'm very excited for when I get my own place and can get super creative with decorating it all spooky like. I think Eva and I will have tons of fun with it. I can't wait to try out some of the ideas I've seen, like the ones on Underland to Wonderland!

This year my sister and I have decided to forgo the Halloween parties and instead we're going to an ice hockey match and staying at a Premier Inn in Belfast for two nights. It will be our first time staying anywhere without our parents and even though it's only 30 mins or so away from them, it's still exciting and I'm still a little nervous. So I guess we're still doing something scary! We didn't intentionally pick the Halloween weekend, but it just happened to be the same night as the game. Still, we're going to maybe go a little Gothic and stuff. They have a fancy dress competition, but I think it'll be mostly kids dressing up. After the Game we're going to head to the bar like we did last time. It should be a lot of fun. Then on Saturday we're going to go on a shopping spree and treat ourselves. I can't wait to hit Lush! All the Lush hauls have put me in the mood to get some Snow Fairy. It'll be an adventure, and one I'm sure you'll hear plenty about in another post... so on with some Halloween fun!

Like I said, I'm not going to be home for Halloween. The last few years I've not had anyone to do stuff with, so I've spent it at home. I'd have some fun with make up and take photos. Last year I dressed up as Divine. I decided to do the same this year, but a couple of days early and share it with you lovely people! It's never anything elaborate, but there's nothing I love more than making a mess. And what's more fun to make a mess with than face paint and gooey fake blood! Definitely my favourite part of the whole experience yesterday.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Stockholm Syndrome

"Stockholm syndrome, or capture-bonding, is a psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors, sometimes to the point of defending and identifying with them."

Okay, I wasn't kidnapped... but I'm not going to lie, it felt like I had been for a while. I'm attempting to make a funny in relation to my three and a half hour trip to IKEA on Monday (27/10/14)

IKEA > Swedish > Sweden > Stockholm... get it? 

I'm always super excited to go to IKEA. The only Swedish thing I like more than IKEA is the men, but I digress. I mean IKEA is a nifty place. However, I find the novelty wares off about half way through. But it's so big and a one way system, you know there's no going back. You must carry on! You end up like a zombie, mindlessly picking random things you probably don't need but hey! It's super cheap, so why not? By the end you have a trolley full of stuff that you don't even really remember picking up. Or maybe that's just me...  

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Button Button, Who's Got The Button!

"Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising."
Mark Twain

Okay, this is my week round up about what I got up to this week. But first I wanted to mention something I got to working on last night. If you follow me on Twitter you might already know I fashioned myself a button for my blog. You know, the type you swap with other bloggers you enjoy to promote each other etc? Yeah, one of them.

I started out with an idea I liked, but when it came to doing it digitally I just couldn't get it right. Then I had another idea and drew my kitty character for it instead. But then my sister kinda reminded me I hadn't really explained my kitty character thing on here so that might be confusing. SO, I compromised and this what I came up with.

I'm pretty happy with it. I was worried it didn't really reflect the look of my blog, but at the same time I think it reflects me. My blog is a little more gray scale than my personality is. If that makes sense. I'll get around to explaining the kitty thing soon enough. Also, I know it's probably a little bigger than someone people would be happy displaying, so I'll either offer different sizes of this or possibly make one smaller/simpler. We'll see! Any feedback would be appreciated. 

Okay! On with the week...

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Sorry, Not Sorry

"If you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all."

Okay, I didn't want to write about this. I didn't want to dignify Chloe Hamilton's article with a response, but at the same time I just felt like I needed to get this off my chest. Not just as a feminist, but as a decent human being. I apologise in advance if you're already thinking, "Oh gosh, not another post about this. I've read/seen/heard enough about it!" Anyway, here we go.

I recently read a post by an awesome blogger I follow on Twitter by the name of Holly Cassell. It was about internalised misogyny. Which is a phrase I'd never actually heard before, but something I, as well as I'm sure many of you are familiar with. That post can be found here. She even mentions the reaction to the launch of Zoella's beauty line as an example. It was such a refreshing read when so often all you see is people resenting the success of others and trying to tear each other down and find fault to make themselves feel better. Most of us are guilty at one time or another thinking 'that person doesn't deserve that thing! Etc'. But as I've gotten older I've learned to put that immature little voice in a box. Sure it pops up now and then when someone I like gets kicked out of xFactor rather than the person I don't want to listen to, but on the most part I'm happy in the success of others. Because at the end of the day, holding someone's achievements or differences against them isn't going to do anything positive for me. Resenting another's blogging success or methods, isn't going to make me better as a blogger or writer. Positivity breeds positivity, and I think more of society need to remember that.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

If She's Singing, She's Happy

"Spend some time this weekend on home improvement; improve your attitude toward your family."
Bo Bennett

This is the last instalment of my three part week round up for last week. Most of the time I do it in one post, but it was just going to be too long. So I split it into three separate posts. You can find the first two here (link) and here (link). 

After the stress of Edwin and his neutering fiasco (see link 1 above), practising for my presentation and worrying about my group discussion (see link 2 above), it was nice to have some quality family time on Saturday. I mean, I was worried about leaving Edwin in the house by himself for a little bit, but I knew it wouldn't be long and my mum would be home to make sure he didn't get up to mischief. He eventually did get up to mischief, but that happened to be while we were all home, not when I was out. Anyway! I've already told that story. This post is about the non-Edwin related stuff that happened on Saturday.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Presentation Smesentation

"The most splendid achievement of all is the constant striving to surpass yourself and to be worthy of your own approval."
Denis Waitley

I may have mentioned in one of my past posts that on Thursday (16/10/14) I had my first informal presentation in front of my class. We had to talk about our favourite movie or book. I was completely bricking it. This is one of the reasons I wanted to do the course, even though it's just a GCSE in English language that I already have a C in. I wanted to challenge myself, build my confidence. When it came to my turn I thought I was fine. I didn't feel overly anxious. I had practised talking slowly and clearly, and I had my cue cards. But after about two lines in, my nervous hit me like a wall. I suddenly felt like I was visibly shaking and my mouth went dry. It felt like words were tumbling out a mile a minute, in clouds of dust. I had told myself to look at the audience, not my cue cards. But I ended up feeling like my eyes were darting around the room like a crazy person. Despite this, I got a good reaction and my classroom assistant said I did really well and sounded and looked really confident. Though, she may have just been trying to make me feel better. Still, it felt like a small achievement. Back in the day I probably would have skipped class and put it off as long as possible!

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Pets 'n' Stuff | Man Part Removal

"What a dog I got, his favorite bone is in my arm." 
Rodney Dangerfield

I had originally planned to do one of my usual week round up entries, but as I wrote it I could tell it was going to be a super long post. And I'm starting to be conscious of the fact my posts might be having a tl;dr effect (or is it affect?) on people. So I decided to split this week in to two or three posts over the next couple of days. I mean, I already know this post is going to be pretty long by itself. I really need to learn to condense my writing, but I digress. On with the show! 
I mentioned in one of my last posts my Chihuahua puppy Edwin and my sister's Chihuahua puppy Berty, turned 6 months last week. So on Tuesday (14/10/14) he and Berty were booked in to be neutered. Not going to lie, I was a little nervous. I always get nervous when anything involves sedation. When an animal needs to be sedated for a procedure, the animal has to be at the vets for about 9am. Usually it's annoying for whoever is taking my pets to get me up and dressed in time for that, so in the past I haven't gone. I mean you basically just hand them over anyway, but I wanted to go with Edwin. I just threw on joggers to make it easier. I wish I had gotten a photo of him before he went in, but I guess I was too sleepy to think of it.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Bloo's Reviews | How I Live Now

"Before the war I used my willpower for stupid stuff, like not eating chocolate. I think I thought if I could control myself, then maybe the world around me would start to make sense. I guess I was pretty naive back then."
How I Live Now

Today I am reviewing the 2013 movie How I Live Now.

This review may contain spoilers.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

This Week Was Pretty Epic

"Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It's perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we've learned something from yesterday."
John Wayne

A quick little follow up to yesterday's post (link). (Okay, it turned out not very little at all... I had good intentions though!) While I found it cathartic getting that stuff off my chest, I always feel a little guilty when I complain. When I started this blog I wanted to convey a positive image of disability and show being disabled doesn't mean you're a depressive shut in. Because even in this day and age, that is how some people imagine disabled people to be. People wonder how we get through the day and I hate that. However due to unforeseen things that happened after I started my blog, I ended up blogging about anxiety and struggles related to my disability more than I anticipated. I felt like my blog was doing the opposite to what I initially set out to do.

But then I realised that is just real life. I wouldn't be doing anyone - least of all me - any favours by holding back. While I might write about things I'm going through that suck and those things may or may not be related to my disability, it doesn't mean that's all my life is. Everyone has their shit, and the important thing isn't to seem invincible by never having struggles, it's by showing how you overcome them. And that translates to anyone, not just people with disabilities.

So while I felt a little guilty about being such a bummer yesterday and felt like I wanted to do a follow up today so the last post on my blog wasn't me complaining about feeling a bit shitty, I know being honest about these things is really for the best. I'm not infallible, emotionally or physically. And my blog wouldn't be an honest representation of my life if I pretended I was. Now! On to other stuff.

While I was too busy complaining in my last entry, I totally forgot to mention the other stuff that happened during the week. On Monday my sister and I were in the kitchen with our chihuahuas and out of the corner of my eye I seen my Edwin chase something across the kitchen. At first I thought it was a bird, but as my sister grabbed the puppies and the thing ran under my feet, it became obvious it was actually a mouse. It ran straight out of the kitchen and into my sister's room. Obviously one of the cats had brought their new toy home more alive than usual. When Eva was afraid, I was all "Psh, it's just a mouse. It'll be fine." Well, it sure didn't take my bravery long to disappear when lying in bed that night I heard shuffling around MY room. At first I thought it was my imagination, and then I heard it eating some kinda crumb. Amazing how something so small can be so loud. I totally freaked out and made Eva and Berty sleep in beside Edwin and I in my single bed. She was super annoyed because I ended up not being able to sleep and kept talking to her until 5am. I was fine during the day, but I was scared I'd wake up and the mouse would be staring at me! We'd set up a home made live trap by putting some chocolate in a tub, thinking it would fall in and not be able to get out. When we looked in the morning the mouse had ate some of the chocolate and jumped back out. My cats couldn't have been any less interested in trying to look for it, but I was a little glad because I didn't want them to kill it anyway. The next night we made the trap again using my bin instead because it was deeper. I didn't have Eva stay with me because I felt a little braver. True to form, I heard Jimmy (yes, we named the mouse) rustling about. A little while later he started making A LOT of noise and it took me a little while to realise maybe the trap had worked.

We had indeed caught Jimmy!

It felt good being able to release him. There's only been one other time the cats brought in one that was still alive and it ended up dying in my sister's room. Rodents are one of my favourite kinds of animals. I've owned both fancy mice and rats. I don't see them as disgusting vermin, just wildlife. So the success of Mission: Catch & Release Jimmy was a good thing that happened during the week.

A second good thing that happened this week was this...

Okay, you probably don't know what this is and that's okay. You may or may not remember me posting about a Canadian Ice Sledge Hockey player that favourited one of my Tweets a while back. (link) Basically he went one better this time and replied to my Man Crush Monday post. It doesn't seem like a big deal to others because in the grand scheme of things he isn't really famous, but I had a total fan girl moment. I've been following him since Sochi and he is such a positive and inspirational person. So yeah, once I got over the embarrassment of seeming like a creeper... I was super chuffed he replied. 

I also had my first practice controlled assessment in class on Thursday. I spent the three days before solid revising. My family thought it was a bit much, but I wanted to give it my best. I remembered a lot of what I was supposed to write, but I didn't get the assessment finished. I have much the same problem in class as I do on my blog. I'm a long winded writer. Something I'll have to rectify when I go to do the real thing. For this Thursday we have to prepare a short informal presentation on our favourite book or movie. I've decided to do Rent. I'm looking forward to it, but I'm also terrified. Speaking in front of people isn't my strong point, but challenging myself is what I wanted to do when I decided to take this course... hopefully my anxiety won't get the best of me. 

And that brings us to the last good event of this week, and the one that really turned my mood around. The reason I felt like I could do a follow up to yesterday's post and say I'm feeling good. Last night Eva and I went to an ice hockey match. Belfast Giants vs Dundee Stars. The actual game itself was a little boring. I mean, I still enjoyed it but...

Yeah, landslide wins are never as entertaining. Still, a win is a win! It was my first time seeing Dundee and they looked promising at the beginning. Before the match there had been a lot of talk about the fact the goalie was the younger brother of one of the Giants, Evan Cheverie. Cheverie vs Cheverie they kept saying. Well, it wasn't much of a competition. He ended up letting 6 goals in and was swapped for Dundee's second goalie. When we were 6 ahead and 1 down, they let the Giants second goalie and token Norn Irish player Andrew Dickson play. It was my first time seeing him play, and he didn't let us down! Oh, I also painted my nails in the team colours for the match...

There's a bar called McCool's that stays open after the game where fans can go and some of the players go too. Eva and I ended up going there after to wait for my dad as he was out for dinner with my mum. Sadly I didn't get any photos with any of the Giant's as they were just turning up as we had to leave. Andrew Dickson, Jeff Mason and Mike Kompon were there. On the way out I drove passed Mason. It was difficult getting passed the crowd, especially after a vodka and cola, but luckily I did not run over his foot. I really wished I could have stopped to take a photo with him, but I didn't have time. I said as much on Twitter after and...

Gotta love social media!

I love zipping around the Odyssey in my electric wheelchair when I'm leaving and it was particularly fun last night because it was mostly empty. I was driving backwards towards the lift and Eva was like "Careful there's someone behind you!" and when I turned around I realised I almost ran into one of the Giant's, Mike Kompon. He was all, "You're alright!" Glad I didn't mow down one of the Giants. Wouldn't make me a great fan. But yes, it was pretty awesome seeing them so close up. Hopefully next time I'll have the time and courage to ask for a photo. We've decided we're going to book a room at the Premier Inn next to the arena so we can stay later at the next match on the 31st of Oct. Hopefully more Giant's will be there that night. Plus there's other bars in that area and it's Halloween. I won't be dressing up for Halloween again, but oh well

So yes, this week wasn't all bad. It was actually pretty darn good. I guess I just needed to vent the bad to be able to remember and appreciate all the good things. I'm just lucky that having my blog gives me the opportunity to do that. I hope everyone else had an awesome week too. 

PS! I mentioned in my last post that Edwin was 6 months a couple of days ago. I wanted to show you a photo of him and I on the day I got him (07/06/14) compared to a photo of him and I yesterday (11/10/14) before I left for the match. Can't believe how different we both look 4 months later...

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Pity Party For One

“I am both happy and sad at the same time, and I'm still trying to figure out how that could be.”
Stephen Chbosky

I wasn't planning on writing a life post this week because I didn't really have any inspiration for one, so I was just going to skip ahead to another review. I watched How I Live Now last night and plan to put a review up about it on Monday, all being well. But now I find myself writing this post because I feel like throwing myself a pity party. Okay, it's not really a pity party. Things are okay. I'm happy. Well... I've been a little off. I've been feeling sad and I guess, empty? I can't really explain it, but I also feel happy too. I feel excited about the future and the things I want to do and have planned, but at the same time there's this heaviness in my chest. Not in the 'is my breathing or heart fucked up' kind of heaviness. Like an emotional heaviness or emptiness, and I have no idea why. Because in most respects I'm pretty content.

Aside from that, I've been feeling a little run down. My appetite is pretty non-existent (unless you count an addiction to Lidl's Snicker's rip offs), so I'm not eating much. And my skin - particularly my face - feels really dry and sensitive. I've been using Diprobase my doctor prescribed me on it, but it's not really doing anything. It still feels really tight, particularly the bridge of my nose. I don't know if it's possibly the fact I've been using Nivea face wash and my skin is too sensitive. (Anyone recommend a good moisturising face wash?) I've also been wearing make up a lot more often since I'm going out more.

To be honest, I'm wondering if it's all related to the fact I'm doing so much more than I used to do. I used to think I was going well if I went out once a week, but I have so much more of a desire to do things these days. I don't enjoy wasting time half as much as I used to. Even when I'm in the house I'm usually working on blog stuff, puppy minding or doing homework. It used to take me a couple of days to get over going out and want to go out again, but I don't feel like that anymore. I have so much more motivation than I used to, and I love it. But I just wonder if it's taking it's toll without me really realising. Or maybe it's completely unrelated. Maybe I just need to look after myself better and be more healthy.

I'm really enjoying life at the moment and I'm really happy with the progress I've made with getting out more, being more independent and trying to be more social and less anxious. I really hope my body and introverted nature aren't trying to tell me to slow down, because I don't want to.

On a small side note. My little sister Eva posted up her first post of her new blog today. She finally got herself a new laptop, and wanted to start fresh after her last attempt at blogging which ended up being all of one post. Anyway, hopefully this time she'll stick at it. I think she could be really great. Please check out her blog and show her some blogging community love! http://evostick.blogspot.co.uk/

Also! My little man Edwin turned 6 months yesterday. I can barely believe how much he's grown up since I got him. It happens so fast. While we were out for a walk yesterday, Eva and I booked him and Berty in to be neutered on Tuesday. It's probably silly, but I'm nervous about it. I always am when it comes to anything that involves them being sedated. But yeah, he's really grown into a typical chihuahua. Barks at everything, and he's pretty possessive over his territory... which includes me. Still, I wouldn't change him for the world. Well I mean, probably the barking and the possessiveness that we're trying to train out of him... but I mostly wouldn't change him for the world.


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