2008: The Year That Was.

1. What did you do in 2008 that you'd never done before? Hmm, let's see. I lived abroad (on my own for a good few months too), I travelled alone/with friends & I adopted a kitty.

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I failed at blogging daily for the year (by choice) but I think for the most part I was fairly good? I hate resolutions, yet I still randomly make some up every year. 2009 is going to be all about me. Literally.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? No-one super close to me, no.

4. Did anyone close to you die? No, thankfully.

5. What countries did you visit? Apart from England, I visited France, Denmark & a whole heap of states in America. It was a good year!

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008? I'd like to get out and explore more of London in my free time.

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? May 27th, when we brought Oscar home and November 5th, for obvious reasons.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? My independence.

9. What was your biggest failure? When I stopped running after hurting my shins. I've gone back to square one now. I suck.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Touch wood, but so far I've stayed quite healthy this year! I'm very proud of that, to be sure.

11. What was the best thing you bought? Definitely the Grand Canyon helicopter flight.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? I'm drawing a blank.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? I'm not sure.

14. Where did most of your money go? American travels, and random everyday expenses like groceries, etc. I did manage to save a little too, which was good.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? ROAD TRIPPING! And of course bringing Oscar home and loving every minute with him.

16. What song will always remind you of 2008? Sex on Fire - Kings of Leon.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
(a) Happier or Sadder? Happier.
(b) Thinner or Fatter? About the same, more or less?
(c) Richer or Poorer? Richer. For now!

18. What do you wish you'd done more of? Wandering around the city and spending time with friends. I am the most scatterbrained person ever.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of? Complaining.

20. How did you spend Christmas in 2008? Traipsing around a deserted Canary Wharf and battling it out with J's family in Mario Kart on the Wii.

21. Did you fall in love in 2008? I stayed in love.

22. How many one-night stands? What can I say, it was a slow year ...

23. What was your favorite TV program? Big Love, Supernatural, Grey's Anatomy.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? Nope.

25. What was the best book you read? Argh, I've read so many this year. A few honourable mentions that spring to mind are A Thousand Splendid Suns, The Book Thief, The Hunt for Atlantis & of course the Twilight series.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery? Kings of Leon.

27. What did you want and get? I wanted a pet & got my insane-yet-lovable cat.

28. What did you want and not get? A couple more travel expeditions would have been good.

29. What was your favorite film of this year? I actually didn't see all that many, up until recently. Memorable films would be Burn After Reading & Twilight.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 24 this year, and spent it at a Thai restaurant in South Kensington, small and quiet, just the way I like it!

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Snow!

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008? Jeans, coats, flat shoes. I never, ever liked flat shoes until now. Strange.

33. What kept you sane? Oscar.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Ha! I like the Cullen.

35. What political issue stirred you the most? Definitely the election, I haven't felt quite so anxious about politics for a really long time.

36. Who did you miss? I missed my family & friends, and the puppies.

37. Who was the best new person you met? My work colleagues, who are awesome. I wouldn't have met such a great group of people if it weren't for the move over here. Also Sarah and Carly from the States, who I can't wait to see back in Sydney for our big reunion.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008. If you let yourself get carried away with the bigger picture, you'll inevitably miss all the smaller, and possibly more important snapshots along the way. I'm all for the snapshots in 2009.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. "My friend assures me, it's all or nothing - but I am not really worried, I am not overly concerned. You try to tell yourself the things you try to tell yourself to make yourself forget.. to make yourself forget. I am not worried.." Anna Begins, Counting Crows.

40. What are your resolutions for 2009? Only one: don't worry, be happy.

Post Holiday Ramblings.

So in the craziness that was Christmas (as usual) I completely forgot to celebrate my London-versary. It's been over a year now since I started calling London home, and I'm well and truly settled. So settled in fact, that I'm really not looking forward to flying back to Australia next month. (I know, right?) In all seriousness though, I'd much prefer to stay in the colder climate, working, exploring and carrying on as normal - I'd take that any day over a minimum of eight weeks of summer (gasp!), unemployment and a very drawn out waiting game.

I've spent the last few days enjoying a whole lot of downtime. Movies, Wii sessions, and making a start on the 15 or so unread books I have piling up on my bookcase - it's been amazing. I'm also trying to plan for New Years Eve, because this year I'm determined to celebrate in the open air underneath the fireworks.

To finish up, here's a newly updated 'Seven Things' post courtesy of Nathan. I've done this one in the past, so I'll try and come up with different things this time.

1. I fidget a lot, and it gets worse when I'm nervous or excited. I'll play with my hair, with food, with jewellery, with utensils, with anything I can get my hands on - until it gets to the point where I feel like a dork and have to pry my hands away. (I've been known to sit on them, just to keep them still.)

2. I don't function if I don't have music around me. If I'm out, I'm with my iPod. If I'm home, I've got the laptop on. I've just bought myself a bigger iPod, and I can't wait to drag out all my dodgy music I've not been able to fit onto my old one. It could be dangerous. (As I wrote that, Thriller just came on. Cue the dance moves, people.)

3. I have a tendency to squish up my nose/face when I'm talking. You'd think it would be easy to stop doing it, but it's actually harder than it looks.

4. I'm very warm. Even in winter. If I'm outside and it's freezing, within minutes of being inside I've heated up again. It's like being my very own hot water bottle. Good in winter, bad in summer. Now do you see why I've moved to the Northern Hemisphere?

5. I don't think I match my star-sign (Leo) very well; so I'm a bit of a skeptic.

6. Opening mail & parcels makes me incredibly happy. Not bills, though.

7. My cheeks are always rosy. They get RED when I blush or when I drink. One of the downsides of being pale I suppose, the cheeks are always a dead giveaway.

Another Christmas..

I hope you're all having a wonderful holiday wherever you are, scattered across the globe - we had a quiet one at home, usually prying spare ribbons out of the cat's mouth and trying to stop him from devouring the Christmas tree. Today we're off to Canary Wharf for a bit of Wii action, and I'll have to try and hone in on my tendency to sulk when I lose - it's the holidays, after all.

Merry Christmas! (Oscar is not impressed.)



And as an extra special treat, here's a bit of karaoke for you all. Sing along. Just do it.





99 Things. (And they're not balloons.)

99 Things are below that I have done, want to do, or don’t want to do! This one is stolen from Mick, because I'm lazy and tired. And heck, it's the holidays!

————————————————-

Things you’ve already done: bold
Things you want to do: italicize
Things you haven’t done and don’t want to - leave in plain font

1. Started your own blog. (You're reading it!)

2. Slept under the stars. (Sounds dreamy.)

3. Played in a band.

4. Visited Hawaii. (I've been close, hopefully one day.)

5. Watched a meteor shower. (I'm having flashbacks to Armageddon...)

6. Given more than you can afford to charity.

7. Been to Disneyland/world. (I've been to both, and loved them.)

8. Climbed a mountain. (Ben Nevis in Scotland. In completely inappropriate footwear.)

9. Held a praying mantis.

10. Sang a solo. (Well, on Singstar. And in the shower.)

11. Bungee jumped. (And got dunked in the process.)

12. Visited Paris. (Twice now, and I love it.)

13. Watched a lightning storm at sea. (I've watched one over the sea, while on a plane. Does that count?)

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch. (I'm good with stick figures.)

15. Adopted a child.

16. Had food poisoning. (Blergh.)

17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty. (I went to Liberty Island but all the walking spaces had been sold out that day.) :(

18. Grown your own vegetables. (One day!)

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France. (And took a sneaky picture.)

20. Slept on an overnight train.

21. Had a pillow fight. (Love pillows.)

22. Hitch hiked.

23. Taken a sick day when you’re not (physically) ill. (Cough, Cough.)

24. Built a snow fort.

25. Held a lamb. (Love babies!)

26. Gone skinny dipping.

27. Run a marathon. (I need to un-bung my leg and start running again.)

28. Ridden a gondola in Venice. (Lovely!)

29. Seen a total eclipse.

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset. (Sunsetttttttttts over the beaches...)

31. Hit a home run. (Um, I can do this on the Wii.)

32. Been on a cruise. (No, but I'd really love to.)

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person. (I was so close, but yet so far.)

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors. (Lots of different places. I'm in UK now though!)

35. Seen an Amish community.

36. Taught yourself a new language. (I can't speak French.)

37.Had enough money to be truly satisfied. (I don't want your money, honey.)

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person. (Not actually that great.)

39. Gone rock climbing. (Sounds bone-breaking.)

40. Seen Michelangelo’s David in person. (And a couple imitations too.)

41. Sung Karaoke. (Hello, Singstar!)

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt. (Where is that?

43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant.

44. Visited Africa. (One day...)

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight. (A long, long time ago.)

46. Been transported in an ambulance.

47. Had your portrait painted.

48. Gone deep sea fishing. (I love fishing! Just hate fish!)

49. Seen the Sistine chapel in person. (And again with the sneaky pictures.)

50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. (Le sigh.)

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkelling. (I've snorkelled in New Zealand, and managed to step on a sea urchin in the process.)

52. Kissed in the rain. (Smooch.)

53. Played in the mud. (Love mud.)

54. Gone to a drive-in theatre. (Quite a bit, actually.)

55. Been in a movie.

56. Visited the Great Wall of China. (Oh, I'd love to do this one day.)

57. Started a business.

58. Taken a martial arts class.

59. Visited Russia. (On my to-do list.)

60. Served at a soup kitchen

61. Sold Girl Scout cookies.

62. Gone whale watching. (Would really like to do this.)

63. Gotten flowers for no reason.

64. Donated blood. (The last time I did it, I passed out. Sweet.)

65. Gone sky diving. (Hey, wasn't bungy jumping enough?)

66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp. (Did this in Austria, was a really bizarre experience. Very sad.)

67. Bounced a cheque.

68. Flown in a helicopter. (Over the Grand Canyon!)

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy. (There are boxes of these in the garage at home.)

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial. (In the pouring rain, and it was absolutely awesome. Except his eyes follow you around.)

71. Eaten Caviar. (Barf.)

72. Pieced a quilt.

73. Stood in Times Square. (Several times this trip. Love it.)

74. Toured the Everglades.

75. Been fired from a job.

76. Seen the Changing of the Guard in London. (At Buckingham Palace and in Windsor!)

77. Broken a bone. (Several in fact.)

78. Been on a speeding motorcycle.

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person. (Truly magical.)

80. Published a book.

81. Visited the Vatican.  (Gotta love European tours.)

82. Bought a brand new car. (My lovely Ford. I miss it.)

83. Walked in Jerusalem.

84. Had your picture in the newspaper. (In high school.)

85. Read the entire Bible.

86. Visited the White House. (I saw it. And took pictures of it.)

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating. (EWWWW.)

88. Had chickenpox. (I think I was 5.)

89. Saved someone’s life.

90. Sat on a jury. (Never done this!)

91. Met someone famous. (I'd like to.)

92. Joined a book club.

93. Lost a loved one.

94. Had a baby. (Not for a while yet. I'm happy with my fur baby.)

95. Seen the Alamo in person.

96. Swum in the Great Salt Lake.

97. Been involved in a law suit.

98. Owned a cell phone. (Er.)

99. Been stung by a bee. (It hurt.)

A Long December.

I can't believe it's December - the 20th of December to be precise. The last few weeks have seen me turn into a social butterfly, with lots of things happening here and there and everywhere. I think it's easiest to go through it all in picture format.

It all started with us bringing out our gigantic (!) 3 foot Christmas tree..


Which we subsequently had to introduce to our third housemate. That went well..




.. for about five seconds. (The tree now lives in the kitchen when we're not around.)


I tried to get some cute pictures for Christmas shots. That was painful, literally..



There was a work Christmas party, at the Cafe Royal on Regent Street, near Piccadilly Circus. It was masquerade-dress, and there may have been free champagne..



.. which resulted in cheesy self-portraits and quite a bit of drunken text messaging.



This week there was some window shopping along Oxford Street..



.. followed by my first ice skating attempt at the Winter Wonderland festival in Hyde Park, which ended up being hilariously fun. I can stay upright. Score!



And lastly, there was a farewell bash for one of my newest and dearest work-friends.



All in all, I'm knackered. I have three more days of work left, then will celebrate a strangely quiet Christmas & New Year at home with the boys this year.

Christmas Wishlist.

I'm already completely spoiled for Christmas (well hello there, return flight to Sydney, how are you?) but I couldn't help but put together a list of 'dream' items that I'd buy for myself for Christmas, should I win the lottery.

There are a few little things on here that are small and cute, and that I may just end up buying for myself - and then there are cheeky things that I couldn't help but hint at, but all in all, I reckon it's a pretty nifty wishlist.

(Click to enlarge - it's a bit squished!)


Christmas Wishlist

What's on your wishlist for this holiday season?

December? What?

I know, I know, it's like everywhere you turn you can hear people exclaiming that they can't believe it's already December - and I'm one of them too. I love December, it's my favourite time of the year - and now that it's cold and wintery, it's my ideal season. Love winter! Love the cold! Love Christmas!

This will be the first Christmas spent solely on our own for Jason and I. I went out and found a really cute 3-ft tree and we've decorated it with bows and baubles and lights, and it's awesome. So awesome, in fact, that the cat wants to devour it and all of its awesomeness. We've had to resort to locking it in the kitchen when we're not at home to supervise, for fear that he's going to electrocute himself or choke on tinsel. Oh cat friends, any advice on how to make the tree not a toy?

I'm done with Christmas shopping for Jase - I've caved and already given him/made him open his first two. The first was a new phone, as his old one was quite literally falling to pieces. The second was a Wii - and we've been playing it like loons ever since. It's possibly the most fun I've had playing a video game for a very, very long time.

Today was a productive day, too. We headed out to Shepherd's Bush in West London to visit the new Westfield Shopping Centre that's opened up, along with hundreds of other people. Jason bought a couple of gifts for me for Christmas (he dragged me along because he had no idea what to buy) and we finished it up with a Thai lunch near Chancery Lane. We then did some more shopping, a couple of Wii games & a visit to Marks and Spencer later, we headed for home.

I'm such a good little house-girlfriend, I've got a home cooked beef & vegetable stew simmering away in the oven, the heaters blaring and we're chilling out with the cat. It's a good time of year!

Third Year Running.

I think, for now, that this will be my last NaBloPoMo.

In the beginning, I posted daily anyway - so the idea of completing it in November as well, wasn't much of a challenge. It was the same last year: I had so much going on, so many changes ahead of me that it was easy to come up with daily blog fodder. This year though, is different. I've taken a break from the daily blogging routine, I've tried to get out there and experience things outside of the ordinary, and it's been much harder to plug on through November this time around.

I've met some amazing people through this blog, and through others that I've randomly stumbled across. Some of those friends I've met in real life, I email constantly, I feel like I know better than some people that stand right in front of me on a daily basis. But it feels like people are constantly moving in different directions, and I miss the way that it used to be. That's life, I guess.

I think what I'm trying to say is that daily blogging really isn't it for me, anymore. I'm happier posting sporadically about things that I love, that have happened, or that have tickled my fancy - rather than 'just because'. (Not that there is anything wrong with 'just because' posts, heck, I love my lolcats!) So, friends who are still reading, I hope you'll continue to pop around, even without the daily posts. I would miss you tremendously, if you didn't.

And who knows? I might just finish my USA recap sometime in the next decade or so - I'm halfway through, after all! Bring on December!





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