Thursday, 2 March 2017

I made it to the TOP 100!

Sometimes you can be reaching out to someone and not even be aware of it. 

Around a year a go, I posted a video on YouTube in an attempt to get my story heard in relation to the illness that I live with; Ulcerative Colitis... earlier this week I was awarded in the Top 100 for my channel and it made me feel so content that in doing such a small action, I've actually managed to reach out to a bigger audience and raise awareness for the illness. 

It was a little reminder that even though things aren't always ideal for yourself, as a person you can still make an impact on others even when unaware you're doing so. 

When I was awarded I was shown where I featured and this meant that I too was provided with more contacts and blogs and so once again I'm reminded I'm not alone with my journey. Take a look at the site if you want to check out some of the other brilliant and brave bloggers battling Crohns and Colitis. 


Oh and by the way, this has definitely made me want to do another long awaited video on my channel, so be sure to let me know what you'd like to see. 

With love, hugs, kisses and special wishes,
From Katy 



Wednesday, 28 December 2016

It's never too late...

I was meant to write this post a little while back but what with it being the busiest time of the year for me, I have kinda let it slip (much like my whole efforts with my blog and channel - again, i'm sorry about that) but since it's still December and technically festivities are still acceptable until New Year, I thought, what the heck... here's what I got up to the weekend before Christmas... the thing I like the most - baking!



Inspired by the fact I had to make a cake for Tracy's Blog I left my apron on and also whipped up my first batch of mini mince pies and this year, was so pleased with how they turned out (if you've been reading my blog since last year, you'll know of my disaster back then)...

So here's the lastest and best recipe I've found so far, (oddly enough, it's actually a recipe I adapted from back in the school cookery lesson days!)



I'm not going to teach anyone to suck eggs here... but basically, combine all the ingredients (obviously not the mince meat!) once formed into pastry, wrap in clingfilm and put in the fridge for around 15 minutes... I have no idea why but apparently this helps! Then you can get to rolling it out, cutting the circles for the base, and the stars for the topping and adding the mincemeat for the middle. Head's up, the best mincemeat we found this year was from Aldi but my mum had already used that batch up, so I was stuck with Tesco's for mine, so I added a shot of Brandy to give it a kick. Then I put them into a tray (I went for minis) and chucked them in the oven for 15-20 minutes and gave them a pretty dusting of icing sugar.

I refuse to believe that Mince Pies are just for Christmas, when they taste so good and if you think they're vile... do what I did, force yourself to like them and end up loving them. They go with tea, perfectly. 

By the way, if you're at all curious about what I baked for Tracy's post... be sure to check it out: Gloriously Ungraceful - if you like ginger and you like cake... you'll love my recipe for Ginger Cake! 

With love, hugs, kisses and special wishes,
From Katy 


Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Love Actually... is all around...



Aside from Harry Potter, Love Actually is the greatest film ever to grace our screens. It has everything to offer, comedy, heartbreak, innuendos and LOVE.. ACTUALLY. 

Once again, Tracy (Gloriously Ungraceful) have come up with a series of questions to celebrate such a  perfect film, so here we are:


1. What is your favourite part of the movie?
This is so hard, as there as so many amazing bits but the bit that sends my heart racing the most, is Sam running after Joanne in the airport, after THAT song! It's totally and utterly adorable and the perfect amount of ridiculously unrealistic-ness and innocence. Sam's little face - awwww. 
2. Given the chance, what storyline would you have changed and how?
I would have loved to see Sarah and Carl find a way of getting together because it just seems so harsh that they can't be but then, what would a film be without a bit of longing for a different scenario?!
3. What love story would you want for yourself and why?
There's so many that I would love to combine, to make the perfect movie scenario my heart always longs for; but given my New Year's resolution to be more spontaneous, i'd have to say Colin's story line is pretty up there (minus the multiple girls) but just the fact it's a last minute trip to America and a scenario like no other... I love that idea of pure selfishness and spontaneity. But as I said, there are elements of each story I'd love for myself, right down to the style of the funeral!
4. Which situation would you least like to find yourself in?
My heart hurts for Mark; I mean seriously, what could or would you with yourself in that situation? (Although, a question I always do ponder... what would have happened if Peter opened the door?! - movies eh!)
5. Who is your favourite female character?
Natalie. What a girl. So natural and down to earth. She doesn't change to make someone love her. She has some of the best lines in the film and if you think otherwise i'll tell you to SHUT YA FACE.

6. Who is your favourite male character?
If I were basing this on who I would like to find myself in love with - John (is it bad I never knew his cast name until now?!) just simply because it's Martin Freeman. 
However, character wise, I love Billy. I feel like the whole story starts and is centralised by him in a way. He is a big inspiration to Sam's drumming part. He's utterly hilarious and also, he is the voice behind the song that makes the movie.
7. What makes you love this film?
As I said, it has everything you'd want from a movie. I love films like that, where they can make you feel a whole range of emotions. There's a story line to fit any scenario of love and therefore is relatable throughout any time of your life.
8. How many times have you watched it?
My biggest regret is not keeping a tally of this (maybe I should start in 2017, for this and Harry Potter) I literally wouldn't have a clue. One year, I honestly watched every day for about a month. I'd also say at least 3-4 times a year without fail. 

9. What part makes you laugh the most?
I have a real nervous laugh when it comes to movies... when something is so endearing, I get a nervous little laugh that begins with a lump in my throat - if I don't laugh, i'll cry. There's so many moments in this film that make me feel like this. One of my favourite scenes is David's trip to find Natalie in Wandsworth (the dodgy end), those kids. LOL.


10. What part makes you cry the most?
So. Many. Tears... Happy and Sad. The most heart wrenching tears of all though is when poor Karen doesn't receive the necklace. That scene is so cleverly acted out. So realistic and true of a mother to hide her own emotion for the sake of her family. The song has the perfect feel to it and particularly as we know that Karen has an emotional connection to Joni Mitchell - just such a tear jerker.


Bonus question: Do you think Hugh Grant would make a good Prime Minister?
Hugh Grant, no. Hugh Grant in his acting role of Prime Minister - ABSOLUTELY. His speech is everything (particularly as he celebrates Harry Potter too) and although it's a reflection of occurrences back in 2003, it still has so much meaning to this day. I'd love to hear our prime minister take control of a situation like that. Plus the fact he falls in love with Natalie - just perfect.



If you've watched this, let me know what you can relate to and if you haven't, I probably don't want to talk to you until you get your bum into gear and watch. I hope you enjoy my take on things! Be sure to check out Gloriously Ungraceful for her answers too. I could have answered so many other questions, there's so many other favourite parts and characters I could or should have mentioned and I kept thinking of lots of other questions as I was answering these. I really do love this movie.

(p.s. Tracy, please can we do one of these for HP?!)


With love (actually), hugs, kisses and special wishesFrom Katy  

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Tell me about your Christmas...

You're probably full up from Christmas Dinner, all your presents have been opened and now is the time to just 'veg out' on the sofa and check your Facebook, which is probably why you clicked on this blogpost!

Tracy and myself came up with 25 Christmas related questions, so you could get a feel for what our Christmas' are all about, so sit back, relax and enjoy getting to know more about my favourite subject!

________

1. What was you favourite thing about Christmas as a child?

I feel like this was very much all down to the way my parents went about it all, everything was based on family tradition (question five explains more!) and that just made Christmas Eve and Christmas Day feel so special, so it's really hard to pick out one thing. My parents filmed everything from Nativities to the big day, so I don't think they're actual memories but more the fact I've watched those videos on countless occasions and therefore feel as though those 'memories' are etched in my head. I guess Christmas Eve and the excitement of waking up to a sack of presents was pretty up there!

2. What is your favourite Christmas memory?

I really struggled for this question at first, but thinking about it, it doesn't seem hard at all. 

I'll start in November 2008, when I forced my mum to put on an Early Christmas Day, so that we didn't miss out in December, this was specifically so that my best friend and her parents could come to ours, as both families were going to America (separately) over Christmas. We had everything as Christmas Day should be; the tree (albeit fake), the dinner, the presents, the cheesy after dinner games and all fuelled with plenty of Baileys.

It was a day i'll never forget and something that Tori and I still talk about every year - by the way Torz, if you're reading this, please let's repeat this soon, 2018 maybe... ten years later!?! 
And then December came which meant... America! I feel like all I need to say here is... Disney... At Christmas. MAGICAL!
But I will just also mention the fact, my parents and sister got in the Naples, Fl, local paper that year, for being the only people on the beach on Christmas Day in Santa Hats - am I gutted I didn't go on the beach with them... yes! Oh, and I'm still un-sure on steak replacing the traditional turkey but I'd do anything to be there this year, again!

3. What has been your most memorable present?

This is a really tricky one to answer because my birthday follows the next day, so I always tend cross the two over and usually if I've not received the present for Christmas, I will have for my Birthday, which is the only saving grace of a birthday the following day. But one present I remember quite vividly was when I was taken to the end of the garden, to find my very own Wendy House that had been decked out with curtains and miniature chinaware! Definitely something I hadn't expected, although i'd probably dropped a few hints because Sophie Foster had one! So that was a particularly special present.

4. When do you start to feel like Christmas is on its way?

I always start to sing Christmas songs in August/September but I would NEVER decorate until December, shops have ruined that part for me, I feel like it takes away so much of the excitement of December as my favourite month - although I'd never complain about Christmas coffees in November. Also, it doesn't mean I don't start planning gifts before then too. Oh I don't know. I'm mixed up when it comes to Christmas - I don't think it ever truly goes away in the year between. 

5. Do you have any Christmas traditions, either family ones or your own?


So many! Here's how it is, in short(ish):
Christmas Eve: 
Every year, we go for hot chocolate, somewhere cosy. This always used to be in a really sweet little restaurant in Rochester, until it was changed to an Italian, which was a heartbreaking time and obviously now we've moved, we're still on the hunt for the perfect location, but anywhere with a fire, usually does the trick! Not usually a church goer, but I admit that on Christmas Eve, some sort of carol service has always been welcomed, I've not been able to do this for a few years but this year, we're bringing back tradition.
I also HAVE to make Mince Pies on Christmas Eve... what else is Santa going to eat? Talking of which, right after watching Mickey's Christmas Carol (if you haven't seen this, you need to!), I still to this day, put a plate with a brandy, a mince pie, a carrot and some milk down for Saint Nick and his Reindeer. Something I will only stop doing, when I have children of my own and they can take over the role. And another maybe slightly childish tradition, I still make my mum read to me before bed... every year, for as long as I can remember, she reads The Night Before Christmas, to me. I don't ever want this tradition to end.
Christmas Day:
The one day of the year, I will willingly be up and awake before anyone and full of excitement! I still get a sack of goodies from Santa (we never had stockings, always a pillow sized sack and the same sack, since I was tiny!), I drag the sack to my mum and dad's bedroom, sit on their bed and open Santa's gifts. In more recent years, Santa has also put together a little stocking for Mum and Dad (just to re-pay the favour, you know!) No one is allowed downstairs into the lounge until properly dressed for the occasion and then, we make our way into a room where the underneath of the tree is exploding with gifts, the most magical feeling, even to this day. We have some bucks fizz and croissants and then it's time to open the family presents, one by one, in a clockwise order! Dinner is usually around 3 or 4pm and the remainder of gifts comes after that and then we all collapse, suitably full up and watch some naff tele, inclduing Eastenders, before a few games of Charades and a round of Turkey sandwiches. (God, this has got me excited!)

6. What would be the top three songs on your Christmas playlist?


Paul McCartney: Pipes of Peace - no one else really cares for this one but I love the words and the sentiment behind it all. 
Shakin' Stevens: Merry Christmas Everyone - just because it's so jolly and festive! 
The Pogues & Kirsty McColl: Fairy Tale of New York - I mean, why are you even questioning this choice?

7. What is your favourite Christmas film?


Love Actually - so much so that myself and Tracy created a tag all about it - be sure to look out for that on the 27th! 

8. If Christmas were a scent, what would it be?


Gingerbread but the kind of gingerbread that's heavily Cinnamon and Spiced based, not so much the vanilla sort. (I think one day I might turn into a Gingerbread Lady, you know!)

9. Celebrations, Miniature Heroes, Quality Street or Roses?


I'm a really fussy girl when it comes to chocolate but tins at Christmas are the best because they are bitesize and that for me is the perfect size but Roses went and got rid of Bourneville and Heroes went and changed the shape of Dairy Milk, so I guess that leaves Celebrations but I only like two of those too. Quality Street is an absolute no though!

10. When do you put your Christmas tree up?


As a child, my parent were always pretty mean about this and made us wait until we split from School but actually now, it's made me realise that is was always more special to do that, as it meant we were all together as a family. In more recent years though, the first weekend closest to the 1st December means that a tree will more than likely be up. Never before then though, please!

11. Do you favour a real tree or a fake one?
The past few years, living alone, I was forced to have a fake one, for it being the easy option but at my parents, ALWAYS a real tree. (actually, this year we have both, so I had somewhere for my gingeys to go!). Oh and, every year they make a joke that we won't get a real one but it would be Christmas without going to pick one and THAT smell. 

12. What are your feelings on tinsel?

Tack-fest for a house (soz not meant offensively). Great in an office. Although, the smell of it really does contribute to those nostalgic Christmas scents. 

13. Do you prefer clear or coloured lights?


I think coloured lights are perfect, in the right setting but personally I love clear and a preference on that is, they have to be warm and not cool. It just makes it so much more cosy. 

14. What do you put on top of your tree: an angel or a star?


A star (although don't think that angel ornaments don't feature!). As a child, it was always a big deal as to who would be the one to put the star on! Little did my brother or sister know, that, if it were their turn to do it, later on, when they weren't looking, my dad would lift me up to re-do it, so that technically - I put the star on the tree! 

15. What is your favourite Christmas decoration aside from the tree?


I feel like all of my Gingerbread Men account for something but infact, one decoration that truly stands out in my mind is the most tackiest decoration ever created, a door knocker, which, as you press it, exclaims HUMBUG HUMBUG, MERRY CHRISTMAS! This plastic mass of tack has been in our house for as long as I can remember, the mere sound of it brings back so many memories from Christmas' gone by and I just love it.

16. On Christmas Eve do you stay up to hear the sleigh bells or go to bed early so that Christmas comes quicker?


Stay up! As a child, i'd move my sleeping position to wherever was closest to the window and look out for him! 

17. What is your idea of the perfect Christmas Day?


As cliche as it sounds but a day where everyone can just get on and put all differences aside, to follow old traditions and feel incredibly cosy and smiley all day. Oh, and is a bit of snow too much to ask for?!

18. What do you wear on Christmas Day?


After our stocking presents, we weren't allowed downstairs until we made a bit of effort for the day, usually a nice dress or skirt, something sparkly and all topped off with a Santa hat!

19. What's the deal with presents in your house? How, when, from who?

Sacks from Santa, in the morning. Under the tree from Family before dinner, under the tree from Friends after dinner.


20. You've just pulled a Christmas cracker and it's the best you've ever had. What gift do you have and what is the joke?

Firstly, I always swap my hat to correspond with my outfit, because I am an OCD freak (or maybe I just want the better colour hat!) The present I got was actually something useful for once, like, you know, a ticket to America or something... and surely I can't be the only person who secretly loves the jokes you already get... they're all cracking... get it?! Crackers... Cracking... oh suit yourself.

21. What does a typical Christmas dinner mean for you?


I know everyone says this but really, my mum does THE best Christmas dinners. We have the traditional turkey (never dry!), sprouts with chesnuts and bacon bits (and yes, I pick out all the bacon and don't eat any of the rest!), pigs in blankets - (more bacon for me), all the normal veggies and potatoes, yorkshire puddings (because who said they were just for beef!), red cabbage (one of the best parts!) bread sauce, (there's more options but not for me thanks) anddddd all that again in a second helping!

22. What do you do on Boxing Day?


Celebrate the second best day of the year! The day a very special person was born! 
More presents in the morning, turkey sandwiches for lunch, cake, turkey sandwiches for dinner, bed! 

23. When is Christmas 'over' for you?


NEVER! When Christmas Day passes, I start to think about next Christmas! I'm not even joking! My heart breaks with every decoration I have to remove on the 5th!

24. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? No cheating!


Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donna and Blitzen - oh, and Rudolph!

25. Do you believe in Santa?


No question about it! Of course I believe in Santa!
Okay, okay... in all honesty, if my brother hadn't have brutally told me 'he isn't real', I'd probably have preferred to still be in denial about it.

__________

So, there we have it - 25 Christmas Questions!

Be sure to check out Tracy's answers too on gloriouslyungraceful.blogspot.co.uk and also make sure you leave me a comment if you share or completely differ in your Christmas feelings!

In the meantime, I hope you have a very Merry Christmas! 

Lots of love, hugs, kisses & special wishes
From Katy 

Friday, 16 December 2016

1/4 of a century...

With my birthday being only ten days away - TEN! I've decided to come back to my somewhat, recently, neglected blog (sorry about that!) and post a letter to myself in preparation for my 25th year in this strange world, so here goes:

________


Dear Katy,

                So, you made it to 25, a whole quarter of a century(!) and according to the plans you made in primary school, you haven't quite achieved your goal of being married with two children (preferably twins) and you're not exactly in the job of your dreams (not that you were ever sure of what that was) but I think that you've come to learn that not everything goes to plan and that's okay. 

This year hasn't exactly been the kindest to you and I know you're hoping that the next one will be much smoother and happier for you but I want you to remember that sometimes, it's out of your control and that's why I wanted to write this letter to you, so that if things are starting to look as bleak as they have done this year, you can look back on the words you've written to yourself and it can offer you some sort of guidance and act as a reminder that you got through the tough times once before so  you can get through them again.

Relationships

Now of course, this topic covers everything from boys, to friends, to family, to work colleagues but I want you to remember that ultimately the one person you need to concern yourself with the most in any relationship is YOU. 

Sometime it's your right to be selfish and I promise you that's okay. 

Speak up for yourself, don't settle for anything less than you think is right and don't belittle yourself with un-happiness just to suit the other party. 

And of course this doesn't mean you should be horrible with your selfishness but just remember this quote:

'more often than not, tough decisions are tough, not because you don't know what you want but because you know that what you want is going to be hard and has potential to hurt others'. 

Remember that sometimes, in the end, being selfish can actually result in selflessness so... be brave and trust your gut instinct. Your head and heart are usually a good source to go by, so listen to them and go with them.

Work

You've left a job, been un-employed, been rejected and accepted and put it this way... throughout each scenario, you've survived, no matter how tough it may have been at the time. 

Much like with relationships, take each day as it comes, put yourself first, and just enjoy new experiences and take all the learning you can, and if you don't think it's for you, walk away because there's always something new out there and ultimately in any business that's not your own, you are just a number, so don't get too caught up into the unnecessary. The door closes on the business when your shift is up and that's where your mind should too. Every day is different, so take each day as a challenge and remember that there's always a tomorrow.

Please don't get hung up on the fact that you've not found 'the one' and just look at every new step as being one closer to the dream you're so keen to find. 

Oh and remember, money isn't everything - yes, you may have got yourself into debt this year from taking time out of work but I think it taught you that you don't always need what you think you need and luxuries can be put aside from time to time (although don't get me wrong, it's so nice when you can treat yourself!)

Health

Okay, so your health isn't a particularly safe subject because it comes with it's own ups and downs but let's put it this way... you're still alive and all the time you're trying new methods to help, is all the time you're trying to keep this shitty (excuse the pun, if you get it) disease at bay. The doctors are intent on keeping you as much in remission as possible and you can help yourself by working with them and listening to your body. Do what you can and when you can and live your life to the fullest. Always remember that it could be worse, just as much as it could be better but don't let this define you. You're stronger than you think!

_________

So there we go, three main topics that have got you feeling down and really, when you think about it, you've known the positives from them all along but you've just been to blinded to put them first whilst in the situations and so have forgotten to take your own advice. So, as I said, re-read this when you need to and let's hope 25 can bring you all the happiness you've been longing for and deserve.

Oh, and just as a side note...

Remember that time when you let all your nerves go out of the window and you put your brave face on and just went for it and said yes to the things you wouldn't usually? Remember how good that felt?  Live by that. Say yes! Do new things! It's exciting and can show you a whole new you, you didn't know existed. Make 25 the year of chances and challenges and just keep smiling, Katy!

With love, hugs, kisses and special (birthday) wishes from...

Me! 


(just a few selfies from this year!)