Tuesday, 31 December 2013

New Year, New Resolutions - 2014

It’s that time again. Time to make resolutions and reminisce about the ones you made (and broke) last year!

My resolutions from last year:

Go somewhere new this year that is on my list of things to do before I'm 30
Well I definitely did this one! Dan and I went to New York for our 1 year wedding anniversary. It was one of my favourite ever trips, I didn't think I would fall for NYC and expected it to be a slight let down because of the hype about it but I was wrong. I totally fell. I don’t get comfortable in a new place for at least a day, once I know my surroundings a bit better and seen my hotel etc but with New York, as soon as we stepped outside and I saw a street I just got it. I understood where things were, how to work the grid system and that made me feel safe.  
We did a lot but I feel like we didn’t even get a quarter done of what is possible there. We saw most of the south of the Island, did the Statue – she was amazing. Again I thought she would be a let-down because you see her everywhere but actually she was better than I expected and it was so surreal to be seeing this figure, in real life, that you have seen so many times growing up in films and TV shows. We went up the Empire state building at night, ran some of central park, went to Greenwich Village and the meat packing district – these two places were my favourite of all areas that we saw. We went to the building that is in the opening scene of friends – big deal for me! We went to the world trade centre waterfalls and rode the subway, went to grand central station and bought a book at the NYC library. We walked so much, shopped loads and ate loads. I couldn’t stop being overwhelmed and surprised by NY, the place is buzzing and I just remember looking around and being so happy to be there. I can’t wait to go back in another season and see new parts of it. Probably one of my favourite things to tick off my ‘to do before 30’ list!

Complete and pass a course (nutrition/fitness)
Well this is my broken resolution. I researched, spoke to my friend Jen and decided the sort of course I want to do and the sort of classes I want to teach. BUT as of yet that is as far as I got. I am going to keep this one for next year as I have every intention of doing it. Eventually.
Everyone has to break one though right…?

Get a hobby I am passionate about and enjoy
Well if you are a friend of mine on Facebook, twitter or read any of my blogs you will know I started my hobby in March and it is the best thing I EVER did. I am in love with Pole dancing; I feel so passionate about it and am enjoying it so much! I definitely nailed this resolution. I am slowly getting better and a few weeks ago I managed to do a move that I had set for my 2014 thing to work on! So now I just need to keep practising and make it better but that was a massive boost for me. 2014 is going to be the year for improving and practising and I cannot bloody wait!

Make Dan's 30th special
I think I managed this. Would have to check with Dan! I took him for dinner at his favourite restaurant in London and we stayed over, we shopped and then had a night out with friends and had a family party for him on the day of the Wimbledon final where Andy Murray finally won. It was a brilliant day. I would have loved to have done something more amazing like NY or Vegas or something really memorable but I think I did my best and there will be more birthdays that I can make even more special for him. Best start saving for the 40th

Make it to our 1 year anniversary..... that's a joke :)
We did it! Still here, 5 years together and 1 year married. The first year can be hard and I didn’t really realise that. But I am so happy in my marriage and can see us being as happy in 10 years’ time as we are now.  It always helps when you marry your best friend. You aren’t going to agree all the time and it isn’t realistic to think that, they will drive you crazy and you will hate certain things and habits but there has to be something more otherwise you wouldn’t be together in the first place. As long as you still love them and want them in your life, the other bits don’t matter so much. I’m not going to joke about making it to our two year anniversary, we just will.

My new year’s resolutions for 2014

×          Stop swearing so much (it’s getting necessary!) - £1 penalty fee
×          Do a course to be able to teach pole dancing
×          Do a fitness and nutrition course
×          Tick another two things off the ‘to do before 30’ list
×          Go a month with no diary (Again its necessary!)
×          Go to a country I’ve not been to before

I am really looking forward to 2014, this is the year to try and make myself happy and change things that are stopping that from happening.

Happy New Year to my family and friends. Hope you celebrate in style tonight and start tomorrow happy, healthy, probably mildly hungover and ready for 2014 to be amazing.


Sunday, 26 May 2013

2 Years

If you read my blog you might remember that I wrote a piece about my grandpa on the 1 year anniversary of his passing. Today hits the 2nd year.

It’s strange that so much can change in a year and yet nothing changes. Last year was my friend Helen’s hen do and I was sitting on a beach looking into the ocean thinking of my grandpa and how much I missed him. Today is no different apart from I am not on the beach.

I don’t think the pain of losing someone you love so much ever goes. I am lucky enough to have not lost many close people in my life but it really scares me to think of how hard it is when you do. When I was 18 I lost my Granddad, a really amazing healthy fit man who we all thought would live to see 100. There was no warning when we lost him, it was a complete shock. It was the first really close family member I had lost and my reaction to it was surprising. On the night we found out I was extremely upset, obviously, but the following day we all met up round my Aunties and I could not cry. I felt like I wasn’t upset enough, I must be an awful person.... I really struggled with my reaction as I expected to be crying for days. When my Grandpa died I was different again. I expected the first day being full of tears and then for them to dry up but for days afterwards just the thought of him got me upset and it took a long time for that to ease.

With my Granddad I was younger and I felt like he had gone to be with his love who died around 15 years before him. With my Grandpa I knew it was the right time and he was in pain but it was harder to accept because my Grandma is still here in the same house and it just brings up fresh emotions every time we go there. I don’t necessarily think that is a bad thing but I do think the grief stays a bit more prominent when you are faced with something so familiar that suddenly becomes so different.

Like I said last year, the best thing that has come out of losing the head of our ‘Peake’ (amongst other last names) family is that as a unit we are so much closer than we were before. As a family we were always strong but we took each other, and our good fortune at having such a great family, for granted. Now we understand how important it is to say ‘I love you’ whenever we can, to make more effort to see each other, to take time here and there just to drop each other a message when we are thinking about each other and really appreciate what we have.

Death is never going to be an easy thing for anyone and when you love someone so much it becomes a crippling pain that is hard to get past. Every time I go back to Gloucester I am hit with a wave of nervousness because I know what feelings are going to be brought up. However, to still have that reaction, after 2 years, is a comfort because it proves to me how truly and deeply I loved my Grandpa and no length of time will stop me missing him.

Whatever you believe about where you go after you die doesn’t really matter as long as while you are here you live a life that would make your loved ones - and family you’ve lost - proud. I believe, as a family, we all do that every day.

In my heart I believe my Grandpa, wherever he may be, is happy, comfortable and content and that one day we will all be united. But for now we just have to keep remembering to be there for each other, look forward to our future and work on ourselves as people.

Us Peake's are lucky to have a great foundation and that is because we had a great man start such a great family. An interesting and funny man that could entertain SO many children and a loving man that created such a loving, caring family unit – Our Gramps.

Big love to one of the biggest, most loving, emotional and crazy families. I feel so lucky that I got lumped with you all J

RIP Gramps xxxx

Thursday, 14 February 2013

The Big Day

If you have consistently read my blog then you would know that I am not a big believer in Valentine’s day. But this Valentine’s day is the first one for me and my husband so I thought it would be fitting to finally do a piece about our wedding day.

We got married on Friday 2nd November 2012. It was our 4 year anniversary and we had been waiting/saving/planning for the day for over 2 years. We got married at Kingscote barn (http://www.kingscotebarn.co.uk/), a beautiful barn in Tetbury, Gloucestershire. We fell in love with the place as soon as we saw it and luckily for us the date we wanted was available in our price range.
We originally wanted a small wedding with only 70 people invited BUT, when you have a large close family,  that is almost impossible! So our numbers went up to 100 during the day and around 150 for the evening. Even with 100 day guests I couldn’t invite my cousins because there are about 30 of them so they had to just be evening guests which was a hard decision to make but luckily no one made us feel bad about it.

SIDE NOTE: I think when arranging a wedding people can sometimes be a little insensitive and get funny about the decisions you make, we didn’t have too much of that but I know people that have and it is very sad. Weddings should bring you closer but sometimes it brings out the selfishness in people. If you are reading this and ever get invited to a wedding that aren’t to your expectations I would say this – DO NOT COMPLAIN! Most brides have a lot of stress put on them when arranging a wedding and the last thing they need is a fussy friend or relative making things more complicated for them. If the person making a fuss has already been a bride then shame on them, they should know better!

Anyway because Dan and I gave ourselves two ½ years to arrange the wedding we didn’t have that much of a stressful time, we had the whole wedding in one place so it meant people didn’t have to travel again once they were at the wedding. We had a choice of 3 caterers that the venue supplied and they also had preferred DJ’s. The florist was also one I found at the Kingscote open day and that was brilliant as I didn’t think it sensible to get the bouquets local to me to then travel up with them the day before the wedding.

My friend Jess recommended a lady to me that made lovely cupcakes (http://www.thecupcakeprincess.co.uk/), which we collected the day before and bought up with us, and the rest we pretty much did ourselves. We had friends that gave us bits from their weddings - which were amazingly helpful - and we rented birdcages for our centre pieces in which we hung handmade wooden hearts with the numbers of the tables. My sister’s boyfriend Will is an amazing carpenter so did all those for us as a wedding present and I kept them all and used them as decorations on our Christmas tree! J  

I got my dress from Miss Bush Bridal in Ripley (http://www.missbushbridalwear.co.uk/) and I would recommend them to any future brides as the shop is so beautiful and the staff were very helpful and honest, something we needed as my mum was probably the worst person to go shopping with – every dress I tried on she loved which became confusing because it meant I couldn’t narrow down a style! Eventually I went back to Miss Bush and bought the 5th dress I had tried on. It was a Maggie Sottero, was beautiful and because the size in the store was my size they let me buy it at a discount, cleaned and corrected for me for free so I just needed to have it taken up and in slightly. I also got my bridesmaid dresses from Miss Bush - they were emerald green and just beautiful. The designer was Kelsey Rose and was the only designer I had found with the perfect shade of green I wanted.

My maid of honour was my little sister Stevie. Originally she was going to be my only bridesmaid but I got a bit down about not having a friend involved as everyone I knew were having so much fun planning with their bridesmaids and I just had my sister - who was amazing - but I felt I wanted a friend involved too, so I asked my friend Imogen. Imogen has been one of my closest friends for a long time and was there when Dan and I started to date so it just seemed to make sense that she stand up there with me on day. She is also incredibly organised and a natural planner so my hen do’s were in great hands! J

The hen do’s went brilliantly and the day itself came around so quickly after those were done. Dan and I went up to Gloucester the day before the wedding and met my family up there. We spent that afternoon decorating the venue and making sure everything we could do got done. It was really nice as my brother, sister and nephew were over from Denmark so were there helping set up and my Mum and Dad spent most of the time making the centre pieces.... it was a really nice, family, effort. I finally had the moment I wanted where everyone was excited and helping out - it felt special.

The night before the wedding we had a family dinner in a restaurant fairly local to the venue, it was really nice but looking back I think I was already getting a bit nervous as I didn’t feel very chatty and was extremely tired. 6 of us stayed in the cottage on site; my Mum, sister, Imogen, Ellie (she did my make up) and Lucy (she did my hair). I didn’t really sleep the night of the wedding but I guess that is fairly normal!  Woke up the next day around 8am and it was all go from then. Getting my hair done, trying to eat, make up, dressing... I spent the morning checking the weather as well as it started out sunny and then around 10am it poured and I started to get really nervous about everyone being trapped inside and it being too cramped and the pictures being miserable. About 11, while everyone else was having their hair done, I walked over to the venue as I just needed to get some air and do something to stop myself going crazy. I had a look at everything and made sure all was ok with the wedding organiser from the venue and then when I walked back the sun came out! Luckily it stayed out for the rest of the day and we had the bluest sky in all our pictures, it was cold but sunny and that is exactly what we were hoping for! The rest of the getting ready went really well, I calmed down and enjoyed getting into my dress and seeing the girls and my Mum all ready... it was lovely.

There was a small blip when Stevie realised that her pretty wedding shoes weren’t packed and she had to wear my black heels that didn’t go, drama! In the end you couldn’t see the shoes so it was all fine but I guess something had to go wrong....

Just before I was meant to walk down the aisle I had a big bout of nerves and my lovely Dad kept whispering to me ‘just breathe’. I had a moment at the top of the aisle when I saw everyone and hid my face in my flowers but I just took a deep breath and clutched my Dad’s arm, he even admitted later that seeing all those people made him nervous!
 For anyone who is a bit worried about walking the aisle my advice would be, focus on the guy your marrying. I saw Dan and just kept focused on him and it really helped. 

We had a civil ceremony and had a lady registrar who was brilliant. The ceremony was probably about half hour and my sister and Dan’s brother both did readings which were perfect.  I can’t overly remember it all but by the look of the pictures it was a lot of fun as I laughed a lot! J 

The day was honestly more than we could ever have hoped for; all we wanted was good weather, food and everyone to dance in the evening. Exactly what we got! The speeches were so bloody emotional that I don’t think I stopped crying throughout my Dad’s and Dan’s. The table plans seemed to work well and people seemed to have fun. We didn’t run out of alcohol (as far as I am aware) and there was enough food for people to have seconds – just what you want from a meal!

After dinner we used our favours to have a picture that I had been planning for ages. Basically I wanted everyone to light sparklers and hold them around us at dusk for a picture. Well that didn’t really go to plan.... the sparklers we got were cute but rubbish so we all got outside and sparklers were going off all over the place at different times, people were having trouble lighting them and they went out in about 5 seconds BUT in the end it actually turned out better than we planned. The pictures looked brilliant and it really broke the ice between the dinner and the reception as everyone was laughing and ready for the party to start.

Our first dance was very unprepared and dopey, we didn’t practice before and my dress kept getting in the way so it was a little clumsy but the song was perfect for us and it was nice to have that moment. I thought I would be nervous about that part but you forget everyone else is there so it wasn’t scary. Our song was ‘I’m Yours’ by The Script from their first album. Our second song was ‘I’m Yours’ by Jason Mraz and we got everyone up to dance with us and from that moment the dance floor didn’t empty. It was exactly how we wanted it. The DJ’s were excellent - seriously didn’t play one piece of music we didn’t like and also didn’t play any of the cheese I told them not to so it was brilliant. All they did was look at our ages and pick music that was current but also things from our sort of era – couldn’t have created a better playlist ourselves to be honest. They were euphoria disco (http://www.euphoriadisco.co.uk/) and I would recommend them to anyone. They are Gloucester based so not sure if they travel but worth checking out!

The party went on until 12.30 and by 1am we had said our goodbyes to everyone and we went off to our honeymoon suite. We were so tired so it ending then wasn’t disappointing, we got all we wanted from the day and when it ended we were just happy it had gone so well.

So to sum up, our wedding day was absolutely the most perfect day we could have ever asked for. Everyone gave us advice to make time to spend 5 minutes together and take what is going on around you in because it goes so quickly... I can honestly say that it didn’t for us. The day and evening went at a perfect speed so I can remember everything and I saw Dan naturally throughout so we didn’t have to make special effort to see each other. I could continue to gush about how perfect it was but it would be boring. I don’t want to do it again mostly because I know that it would never be as good as it was the first time. I am happy with the memories and pictures and happy in the knowledge that we kicked off our married life in the best way. Now it is time to carry on my life with Dan as it was before... only now I have a husband and he has a wife J


Ps all the photos were taken by an amazing photographer Duncan Kerridge (http://www.kerridgeweddings.co.uk/) 

Wednesday, 30 January 2013


Yesterday there was a huge accident on the motor way, lots of cars were involved and the motorway was closed... needless to say it caused havoc all around the area because people were trying to find ways into work. It was a horrendous accident that resulted, unfortunately, in at least one death – though I don’t know the full details so it could be more.

It got me thinking about the responsibility we put on ourselves and others every day when we drive. Since I have thought about this I have noticed how many times I could have been in an accident just coming to and from work (5 miles) because of someone else’s stupid mistakes or my own impatience.
We all get complacent in our driving, you do it every day and normally the same routes so things just become habit but if you actually think about it, every time you get behind the wheel you are putting your life, your passengers, other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians in danger.  By saying this I am not trying to scare or change anyone but it is amazing that we are so at ease about the whole thing. You get people who can’t even get on planes because they are scared of it falling out of the sky but the dangers on the road are so much more risky!

The other day a cab driver got so impatient trying to turn into a road that he just started reversing, I was already going around him before he started so I couldn't stop and luckily he spotted me otherwise he would have backed straight into the side of me, wouldn't have been a major accident but a major inconvenience! And yesterday morning going to work I was going around a roundabout, indicating, and a girl decided to pull out in front of me! It was like she decided not to wait OR that she didn't see me, luckily (again) she slammed her brakes on and I managed to get past without any incident.  When I passed I looked at her and she didn't even acknowledge that she had done anything wrong so I really am not sure she was aware! That is a worry.

I think because I had a minor ‘accident’ it has made me a little more aware of all these little mistakes people make, including myself, that could result in something awful happening. I had a lady drive into the side of me while I was going around a roundabout. Initially she tried to blame it on me saying I cut her up but after I pointed out that there wasn’t a chance the marks on my car could have been made unless I was ahead of her she quickly backed down and said it was fine and we didn’t need to change details etc.... anyway because I was in the right and did nothing wrong – I was indicating, there was no one coming from the left and she was in place when I set off – it made me realise that you can have a accident just because other people are not concentrating on what they are doing...

I mean you really don’t know who you’re going to encounter on a drive, people get so frustrated by cyclists that they make stupid, impatient decisions that could result in accidents. In the same breath, I see so many cyclists breaking rules and almost causing accidents themselves. I had numerous kids run out in front of my car near where I used to live, they just didn't seem bothered by the fact they were almost run over and yet I am sitting in my car heart pounding thinking about what would have happened if I had actually hit someone – it is a scary thought. Even if it isn't your fault imagine if you were involved in an accident where someone died, I can’t imagine I would ever be the same after something like that!

My aim now that I have noticed and thought about all these things, is to make sure I think more about my surrounding and try to lose the impatience I have when I drive – if I know that I have done all I can to drive safe I can’t be held responsible if there is an accident. You can’t stop the way other people drive but you can try to be better yourself.... maybe a motto for life in general too J

Peace on the roads people – take care, you’ll get home eventually so why not do your best to get there without incident J

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

New Years Resolutions

New Years Resolutions

I found my resolutions that I made this time last year so it inspired me to get the old blog up and used again!

These were mine last year:
- Think Positive
- 2 weeks no dairy
- Work on patience
- Get back into an exercise routine
- Save as much as possible
- Stairs not lift at work
- Start using my blog

The last one COULD be what inspired me to write this blog... who knows :) 

I think I did ok at these, I mean lets be honest we make them and we break them usually quite soon into the year. I know how people feel about resolutions, that they are pointless because of the above. However I have decided to look at them in a different way, I am definitely someone who needs targets. I need to have something I have to do and a time scale to do it and then I will get it done but if I don't have that then I won't bother. So I class these as my 'targets', an aim for the year.

Think positive - probably my hardest, I think I have made a good start and hopefully made some changes to my way of thinking because of this resolution. BUT it was the hardest and I definitely didn't manage it all the time so I can't say I completed it. I am happy with the little change it has made so that should be good enough. It isn't going on my list this year but that is because I think I should now be able to make it a part of every day life naturally rather than putting it back on my list as a 'to do'. 
2 weeks no dairy - well I did this in January and actually managed to go the whole month so that was good. I definitely noticed a difference, and even though I have been weak since and not done it again, it is my intention to do it for longer at some point this year and really test the effect it has. For anyone who doesn't know me this isn't just a weird diet or anything, I have stomach issues and for years have tried to find out what is causing them. That is my reasoning. Again not on my list but something I will do this year and if I get the results I think I will then it will become something I have to make part of my life permanently.
Work on Patience - Broken. Next.
Get back into an exercise routine - NAILED IT. I think I have done more exercise, training, fitness in the past year then I did when I was training for the London Marathon back in 2011! And the thing is, I love it! I have written blogs on this subject but I definitely believe that getting to the gym makes you feel so much better in yourself. I was excited for January this year as it meant getting back to the gym and back to getting fit. A few weeks off set you back unbelievably so you really have to push yourself to get back into it but if you can then it is worth it.
My moto is simply 'you will regret it if you don't' and I stick by that, when I can't be bothered to go to that gym class or go for a workout I just remind myself of that moto and it gets me down there. The thing is it is so true, you plan to go to the gym but decide to drive home eat and laze about on the sofa you WILL regret that you didn't just take that time to get to the gym first, it makes the food and laziness afterwards so much more rewarding :)
Save as much as possible - Well all I have to say is wedding day, honeymoon, house. All done and no debt (apart from the mortgage of course) Dan and I managed to save (with wedding contributions as well) £85k for all 3 things and honestly it was worth every second of saving. I feel like my life has started, people talk about wedding blues but not once have I felt them. I had the best day possible on the 2nd November, we had great weather, great food, most of our family and friends made it and everyone danced - we literally could not have asked for more. Not once did the day feel like it zoomed past too quickly so I haven't felt the need to go back and do it again. I remember it all and I had such a good time that there is no way that doing it again could ever top the first time!  The honeymoon was once in a lifetime and it was amazing, it was a long time and we got so much out of it and did so much with the time we had that again I don't feel the need to go back and do it again (though I would love to be sitting on a beach in Fiji right now rather than in grey England but you know what I mean). I will do separate a blog about the wedding and honeymoon as I feel they need more than a few sentences!
As for the house, well never did I think that 1) we would be in our house for Christmas 2) we would afford the area we live in and 3) that would we manage to get a house with 2 bedrooms, conservatory, garage.... I am absolutely in love with it and feel so lucky and content at the moment. All I want is be at home, I don't want to leave there to go to work, go out ANYTHING. When we first got there we had no spare time to just be there, now we have a chance to just sit on the sofa together and watch TV and it feels like heaven! :) So yeah this was my most rewarding of resolutions to complete and we did it.
Stairs not lift at work - Broken at times but mostly stuck to it. I did adapt it to walking UP the stairs rather than up and down as that seemed too much :) and I did have a operation on my feet in November so that is when I broke the resolution. It isn't the best resolution but hey I did it and that little bit of exercise didn't hurt...well actually it wore me out every time I climbed the stairs at work!
Start using my blog - Well I did do this through the year and even though it hasn't been used for about 6 months I definitely enjoyed posting up my thoughts and get peoples thoughts back. It isn't a popular blog and it isn't going to break any records but I enjoyed doing it so am going to TRY and do a post a month (at least) this year. Writing has always been a passion of mine and even though I may never write a novel or get a job that involves writing this little blog gives me that outlet, a hobby to feed the cravings. Plus writing a blog is so much less demanding! So if you read my blog then look forward to more over the year people :)

And that's it for last year. Aims this year, I jotted down on a post it on my first day in the office (maybe putting them in black and white where people will see them will make me too proud to break them):
-Go somewhere new this year that is on my list of things to do before I'm 30
-Complete and pass a course (nutrition/fitness)
-Get a hobby I am passionate about and enjoy
-Make Dan's 30th special
-Make it to our 1 year anniversary..... that's a joke :)

Anyway time to get on with these resolutions! Happy New Year everyone xx