#100happydays Days 14 – 20

Day 14 – I went for a run – with my tree trunk legs – so the feeling of taking my shoes off afterwards was brilliant, followed by a hot shower. I really do need to get out there more.

Day 15 – My car was being repaired so I had to get the bus to work. I’ve often said I’d like to work in the city centre and walk through the hustle and bustle every morning, and on Tuesday I did – and found the trees at the Peace Gardens full of blossom!

Day 16 – We went for a little walk through town on Wednesday evening, to take photos that we’re hoping to use in our wedding. Here’s the library to show our lovely sunset walk through town!

Day 17 – Calming stressed girls down since the dawn of time. A calm chocolate moment at lunchtime during a very stressed day at work.

Day 18 – First day of the Bank Holiday weekend and we went to eat in the evening at a local Mexican place, Chilacas. They are finally getting the fact that Mexican is not just tacos and tequila, they now do Jarritas, and Guava is my absolute favourite so I was very happy to discover these in the UK.

Day 19 – The buttonhole flowers from my sister’s wedding. We had an invitation to see them in Nottingham for viewing the wedding and honeymoon pictures. Cue making biscuits and getting very excited!

Day 20 – The wedding photos, a lovely reminder of a beautiful day. My sister as per usual, messing with the technology until it’s perfect, nothing changes! A lovely lovely day of laughing and nostalgia.

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Legs like Treetrunks

I went for a run, around Bristol Street and the Ring Road. If I did it again I’d do it reverse, the long down-hill of the Middleway made me lose stride and I felt uncomfortable in my shoes. Since we moved house I’m looking for new routes that don’t involve too many main roads – where we lived before was so close to the canal it was ideal.

Not my photo, but City Centre running!

Not my photo, but City Centre running!

Last time I went running a friend of mine showed me how to work the app on my iPod, so I can now track my pace, distance and time. I must remember to make a proper playlist too, I was stuck with Adele followed by Lana Del Rey to start off with this time! Then Revolution by the Beatles kicked in and I picked up the pace. It probably really helped that I was running with Daniel too, seeing him run off 20 metres ahead made me a bit more motivated than running alone.

We did about 4.5km (just over 2.5 miles), and my Random Moment of Delight actually came at the end while stretching. Not because we stopped, but because I felt I could have carried on. My pace and technique aren’t fantastic, but I’m sure I’ve said before that I’ve always grown up thinking “I can’t run, not with these tree-trunk legs!” Apparently I can…

#100happydays Days 7 – 13

Day 7 – I was told it was cheating, but I was just so relieved to get those files off my desk at work. Even the little victories at work make me happy, as soon as I know that vessel has sailed it’s like a relief that my part in that shipment is done and finished.

Day 8 – We did some campfire songs at Guides, no matter how horrible a day I’ve had at work they can always make me laugh. They are full of riddles and card tricks they all want to show me. This one was for the Bunny Badge, a version of A Penguin Came to Tea.

Day 9 – We tried the new French patisserie the The Cube on Wednesday, Madeleine. Here’s the yummy plum tart Daniel and I shared with a hot chocolate and a coffee after work.

Day 10 – Looking through my old blog blog from uni, I came across this little vocab gem!

Day 11 – After talking about having a curry all week at work I realised I hadn’t had a proper curry in months. So when a friend suggested it on Thursday I couldn’t refuse, the Balti Triangle really is the best place to indulge!

Day 12 – Saturday and we did a lot of things around the house, so in the afternoon I decided to be all domestic and make some cakes. It’s not really the cakes I was happy about, but the recipe book. It was the same one that my Mom had when I was a child, so the delight in recreating the same recipes from 25 years ago always makes me happy and nostalgic – I wouldn’t dream of using anything modern!

Day 13 – A lazy Sunday morning reading in bed in the sun. The weather’s still lovely at the moment, and hopefully it will stay like that.

French Fancies in the City

Hidden away with so much promise at the back of The Cube on Commercial Street, we’d walked past so many times over the last few months, dreaming about little French pastries, hoping for it to open. We were supposed to go running, but I had a phone call from Daniel at about six o’clock on Wednesday evening to ask if I wanted to go for a coffee because Madeleine Fine Coffee House was finally open for coffee and cakes.

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Madeleine Fine Coffee House

My first impression was that it was very quiet, it’s a bit hidden so what if nobody knew about it?! But we asked the waitress who said they’d had a big rush at lunchtime so we felt quite good that we’d caught them at a quieter time to enjoy the atmosphere. I was expecting something quite opulent like La Durée, and in comparison it very stark and modern, but the wooden tables and seventies print upholstery still gave it a very rustic and traditional feel. I love the exotic flowers on the table at the door, and the cakes on the counter looked divine, from little muffins to enormous chocolate chip cookies and a bowl full of madeleines. There’s also a range of flavoured lemonades, tangerine, rose, grenadine, everything looks delicious!

Yummy Plum Tart

Yummy Plum Tart

They will start doing a full menu from Monday, I assume to include baguettes and yummy salads. And they open for breakfast from7am! It’s actually the same owners as the Brazilian Rodizio Rico which we’ve been drooling over for months too, and reading this interview with Mr Nayla in the Birmingham Post, it looks like they are here to stay! There’s another restaurant next door that’s not quite open yet, Bun and Bowl – a burger place – that’s owned by the same family, so we’ll be trying that out as soon as we can too.

We had a hot chocolate and a coffee, each came with a little madeleine cake and the hot chocolate was so rich and full of flavour. Our bill was a bit more than the size of the portions, but that rich chocolate was worth it. Coupled with a plum tart it was a lovely little surprise visit and I can’t wait to go back there for a proper look!

Eight Years Later

Do you remember when the internet first came out properly, about ten years ago? Before facebook and Twitter and even before MySpace, at 20 to 22 years-old we were obsessed with Bejewelled, and Celebdaq, and Quizilla quizzes. Which Evil My Little Pony are you?, Which Care Bear are you? Which City should you live in? etc… All seriously, defining issues.

There was a massive thing going round about surveys, you answered the kind of questions that are now freely shared without even realising it in all the social media. So I was going over some old blog-posts earlier today and found one that I did in 2006 – eight years is such a long time ago. I’ve taken the Name and Birthday and where you were born questions out, because they haven’t changed, but I thought it would interesting to see how my answers differ now from back then (new answers in green) ::

TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF – The Survey
Your Heritage: Real life: Brummie … Spiritual: Spanish / Birmingham, UK, Europe, the World
The Shoes You Wore Today: Walking boots / Knee-high boots
Your Weakness: Not being assertive enough / Not being assertive enough, strangely still rings true now
Your Fears: Dogs, failure / Losing loved ones, losing my job, running someone over
Your Perfect Pizza: The Works with sweetcorn instead of black olives / Goats cheese and caramelised onions
Goal You Would Like To Achieve This Year: Lose weight / Keep running, decorate the house
Your Most Overused Phrase On an instant messenger: Hmm.. / I never use instant messenger anymore, not even on facebook
Thoughts First Waking Up: Why does my mom have to talk so loudly to my dad??! / Nooooooooo!!
Your Best Physical Feature: Eyes / Eyes, hair
Your Bedtime: Anywhere between 11pm and 1am / Between 22h00 and 23h00
Your Most Missed Memory: ERASMUS / My Dad
Pepsi or Coke: Fanta Naranja…? / Whatever it is it needs to be diet
MacDonalds or Burger King: MacDos! / McDonalds, although I rarely eat them anymore
Single or Group Dates: Single / Single, although I am now happily living with my Mexican now, but still enjoy dinner parties and pub nights with friends
Lipton Ice Tea or Nestea: Nestea..? / Lipton Ice Tea, peach flavour
Chocolate or Vanilla: Vanilla / Vanilla
Cappuccino or Coffee: Yuck neither!! Espresso at a push / Still neither!
Do you Smoke: Only when too drunk to stand.. / Nope, not even when drunk
Do you Swear: Yeah! F*ckin’ yeah! / Try to avoid it, only at very strong emotions, pain, fear, instinct.
Do you Sing: Haha! Only when very drunk! / In the car, in the house, at Guides, cooking, all the time!
Do you Shower Daily: Sometimes even twice! / Always
Have you Been in Love: Yes / Yes
Do you want to go to College: I went. I’d love to go back / I went, the only thing I would want to do again is Erasmus, and study harder for my final exams.
Do you want to get Married: Yes, to the right person.. / Yes, the right person is here and we’re getting married in a year!
Do you believe in yourself: Sometimes… / More than I used to but still suffer from severe lack of confidence at work sometimes
Do you get Motion Sickness: No, thankfully! / If I’ve been on a plane too long, or too many times in a short space of time
Do you think you are Attractive: Not so much at the moment.. / In the face yes, could stand to lose the belly. Keep running!
Are you a Health Freak: I’m hoping to diet and exercise now! / Not really, it’s always a phase, I lost a lot of weight and am managing to keep it off, but it’s hard. Keep running!
Do you get along with your Parents: Everyone gets annoyed by their parents! / There was a very difficult period but we’re all seeing the light now and I’m sure it will be lovely again
Do you like Thunderstorms: Yesssssss! / Yes! Looking forward to seeing them  from the new flat, the view over the city must be wonderful!
Do you play an Instrument: The triangle..? / No, not even the triangle, the easiest of all instruments!
In the past month have you Drank Alcohol: Yes, not much though.. / Yes, lots and lots of beer!
In the past month have you Smoked: Passively at the pub / No!
In the past month have you been on Drugs: Neurofen count? / Wouldn’t dare
In the past month have you gone on a Date: Haha! / With Daniel we went to Oxford, it was lovely!
In the past month have you gone to a Mall: The Bullring rocks! / The Bullring is still brilliant
In the past month have you eaten a box of Oreos: No.. Milk Chocolate Digestives maybe… / No, Oreos, no. Chocolate eclaires, yes.
In the past month have you eaten Sushi: No, fish doesn’t do it for me.. / No, still not a big fan of fish
In the past month have you been on Stage: Pff, not since the Guide’s 40th anniversary do and I had to lead campfire songs! / Err, I don’t think so…
In the past month have you been Dumped: Dumped, no. Shitted on, yes. / No!
In the past month have you gone Skinny Dipping: Me..??! / No!
In the past month have you Stolen Anything: Err.. Not that I can remember.. I think my record was the Loch Ness ashtrays..! / I don’t think so
Ever been Drunk: Y e s . . . / Yes, come on
Ever been called a Tease: In what context? / Still, what is the context? I tease the Guides and the Brownies all the time
Ever been Beaten up: All the time by my sister! / Again, even now in our late 20s early 30s, I still point you in the direction of my sister
Ever Shoplifted: Not to my recollection.. / By accident, once I put a KitKat in my pocket while juggling other bags and didn’t realise until I was halfway down the road!
How do you want to Die: Peacefully as an old lady.. / Peacefully as an old lady
What do you want to be when you Grow Up: The Me that I want to be.. / I’m now grown up, sometimes I’m the Me I wanted to be, other times I’m just an idiot
What country would you most like to Visit: Russia / Russia still, and now Guatemala
Best Clothing Style in a man/woman: Any really apart from townie and kev-like / Grown-up, and nothing beats a sharp suit to make any man look so dapper!
Number of Drugs I have taken: Number of types? 2 / Are we including alcohol and coffee and cigarettes? Then 5
Number of CDs I own: Millions! / Two, the advent of digital music means I got rid of them all when I came home from uni
Number of Piercings: 4 / 4 still
Number of Tattoos: 0 / Still 0
Number of things in my Past I Regret: A great many..! / If we dwelt on all our regrets, life would be very miserable

It’s strange actually to see how most of these questions are now answered on the pages of this blog, or on facebook, or on Twitter. First thought waking up is usually expressed on Twitter. Been on a stage, drank alcohol, sometimes down to the shoes worn today, are found in photos on facebook or Instagram. Goals to achieve, fears and weaknesses are discussed in blogs. Health freak, and believing in yourself comes in what motivational pictures you post on your facebook walls, or find on Pinterest. And again, you only post the pictures that put you at your most attractive, if it’s the eyes or the hair or your figure.

Things move on, and life changes in so many ways, I can see my innocence has been worn away over the last eight years, good for bad for good, it’s all learning how to be yourself!

#100happydays Days 1 – 6

Day 1 : My Guides have been badgering me for ages about Rock Climbing, so I finally booked it for after Easter. Couldn’t wait to give them the letter and see their faces light up!

Day 2 : Listening to the radio in the car, Danny Dyer’s version of “Selfie” by The Chainsmokers made my giggle all the way to work.

Day 3 : We’ve been in our flat 8 weeks, and finally have curtains in the bedroom. Waiting for payday, and finally getting a decent night’s sleep made me happy on Thursday morning!

Day 4 : I was invited to a Go Karting night with ex-colleagues from my old workplace. Lots of fun with familiar faces.

Day 5 : We never take advantage of the market in Birmingham, so we went and bought all our meat for the next three months, and saved loads of money doing it!

Day 6: The happiest day, knowing it is less than one year until the happiest day of our lives!

Le Français : Mon Mal Nécessaire

À Marseille

À Marseille 2008

Ma relation avec la langue français est pertubante – j’ai toujours « n’a pas aimé » apprendre, lire, voir des films de l’art, traduire – mais je peux la parler, et j’aime parler, écrire, voir des films de romance… En fait, sur mon sac à l’université j’avais écrit « I hate French » pour n’importe quel raison. Donc peut-être ma relation avec le français est plutôt créative.

En comparaison avec l’espagnol, j’ai plus de vocabulaire en français mais j’ai plus de fluidité en espagnol. Les Français sont vraiment fiers de la langue, et la langue est si attaché à l’identité, que les fautes des étrangers est comme un trahison ! Comme je travaille avec des français, et j’ai beaucoup des amis français, je ne peux pas vraiment parler des Français, et ils sont tous vraiment sympas – mon problème est la langue.

Je m’ai enregistrée avec le groupe Meetup Français de Birmingham en 2008, pour améliorer ma fluidité. J’aime beaucoup, mais après presque 6 ans je connais les gens – et comme nous nous voyons hors du groupe et nous avons nos partenaires qui ne parlent pas français – nous nous parlons en anglais !

Bon, j’ai une toute petite liste des choses français que j’aime : Les marchés de fruits et légumes aux centre-villes · Meringues · Cosmopolitain (magazine) · La mode · Franglais · L’Auberge Espagnol (film) · Les Poupées Russes (film) · Les châteaux · Sephora · Macarons · L’Evian · Marseille · La vue des Pyrenées à Pau

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My relationship with French has always been troubling – I’ve never liked it, learning, reading, artsy French films, translating – but I can speak it. And I like speaking it, and writing it and watching French romance films… I actually wrote on my schoolbag at uni “I hate French” for whatever reason. I often think then that my relationship with French is much more creative.

À Marseille 2011

À Marseille 2011

Compared with Spanish, I’ve got much more vocabulary in French, but more fluency in Spanish. The French are so proud of their language, it’s so linked to their historical national identity, and any foreign mistakes turns out like treason! I do work with French people, and have a lot of French friends, but I don’t want to talk about the people (who are lovely by the way!), my problem is with the language itself.

I joined the Birmingham French Meetup Group in 2008 to improve my spoken fluency. I love it, but after 6 years you get to know people – and as we see each other outside, or have partners that don’t speak French, we just end up speaking English!

Here’s just a very small list of things I like about France : Little fruit and veg markets in city centres · Meringues · Cosmopolitain (magazine) · Fashion · Franglais · L’Auberge Espagnol (film) · Les Poupées Russes (film) · Castles · Sephora · Macarons · Evian (water) · Marseille · The view of the Pyrenees in Pau