Posts Tagged ‘birthday’

U is for….

UNWILLING…

…which is how we left Capri on Monday morning. We had our fruit, yoghurt, granola and honey combo which has become our standard breakfast in Italy, checked out of our room and went to a little gelateria we had visited a few times already to get our last coffee on Capri. We then headed to the funicolare and down the hill, away from the quiet relaxing ambience of ‘our’ part of town…

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…to the crowded buzz of the port below.

Boat tickets bought, we headed sadly for our ferry and left the perfumed streets of Capri for the unknown shores of Napoli. We had read a few different things about Napoli, things like ‘dirty’, ‘run by the Mafia’ and ‘untouristy.’

I shall now give you my first impressions of Napoli.

1. Lots of graffiti. Everywhere. And I mean everywhere.
2. Lots of washing on lines hanging off people’s balconies.
3. Lots of concrete apartment blocks. In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen any houses. Everything is an apartment block. Painted yellow or pink.
4. Lots of people running. Not to get places. For exercise. But not even doing it properly, like putting any effort in, just kind of plodding, like they’re running lazily for a bus or something. And not even wearing sporty clothes. Strange.

The reports about it not being touristy were right. On the waterfront, it is a little. But most other places, people are just going about their lives and there has been no nod to tourism, no sugar coating, no gelaterias sprinkled inbetween every shop. It’s gritty and, yes, a little dirty and lively. It’s a completely different kettle of fish to Capri.

But the waterfront, where we are staying, is beautiful. The water is blue, the sky is blue, our beloved island is just across the bay, tantalisingly close, as we debate throwing in the towel and just going back and staying forever.

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By the time we got to Napoli, it was afternoon and we had read about a place called Pozzuoli, with an amphitheatre better preserved than that at Capua. We were excited. We jumped on a train and headed over there.

We went first to the top of the highest hill in the town, to see the Solfatara volcano, which is semi extinct and is described as having a ‘rotten egg ambience’ in our guidebook. We didn’t need much more persuading!

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And yes, it really, really does smell like rotten eggs when you get up close to the sulfurous gases.

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As the wind changed and the steam was swept into my face, my nostrils were filled with it. The warmth of the eggrot smell travelled into my nostrils and down into my throat and the steam heated up my face. Mmmm…. Happy birthday…. Egg-face. For indeed, it was my birthday on this day. And what better in the absence of candles to blow out, than some egg-steam in my face?

After being egged out for a while, we headed back down the hill to this amphitheatre. Danda was so excited. He loves a Roman ruin. And he loves an amphitheatre. Since seeing the Colossuem in Rome last year, I had been wanting to see one where I could walk all around, unrestricted, and see the area below the stage.

We found it near the train station and looked in through the side gates…

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It looked fab. We found the main gate and…. Come on, put your hand up if you got it? I’ll give you a clue, it happened twice in yesterday’s post… Yes, you at the back in the red, would you like to guess what happened when we got to the gate? Yes, well done! You got it! It was closed. Closed.

So we got on the train, came back to Napoli and dealt with our disappointment by eating bruscetta and pizza.

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Welcome to the party!

Yes! Yes, everyone! It’s my blog’s first birthday! I bet you’ve all been hiding behind furniture waiting for my blog and I to come home from work so you could jump out and yell “SURPRIIIISE!”

Well, thank you. Thank you from both of us. Blog is doing well, learning to walk unassisted and eat with cutlery, all the usual stuff a one year old does. Still a little messy and un-spell-checked if I write whilst sleepy but, yes, well. Hard to remember when she was small and new born. We are both well. Thank you for coming to the party.

We welcome you to our humble abode, here in cyberspace. Do you like how I got the place ready for the party? O, the balloons? All five hundred of them? Yes, I blew them up myself. I am Supermum. No, I didn’t let little Blog help me. Blog was busy sticking down pictures of the sky and playing with food.

All these exquisite little snacks which look like they were made by a gourmet chef? O, you flatter me! Yes, it was me. I made them. And the petits fours and lovely mini tarte au citron? Yes, those are mine too. Har har. I just knocked them up in ten minutes. It was nothing, really.

My dress? Yes, it’s one of Viv’s. I mean Vivienne Westwood, of course. I call her Viv. She loves me calling her that. It’s like a little private joke.  And the bag is Dolce & Gabbana obviously. I know, haha. I look great, don’t I?! And I just came from work like this. I’m dressed down if anything!

What’s that you say? This is the best party you’ve ever been too? Really?! Well, yes, that is understandable. Fab. I’m glad you’re enjoying yourself.

O, Blog? Where’s little Blog? I dunno. In a corner somewhere. It’s all about me, really, isn’t it?

O, is it not? Is it really about little Blog? Ok, little Blog. You take the limelight. You would like to give a little speech? But all you do is talk, don’t you want to give it a rest? Ok, go on then. Do your bloody speech then.

Blog: *clears throat* Hello, everybody! Thank you all for coming! Thank you for supporting me over this past year. I’d like to say things like, “It’s been hard and I almost gave up and thanks for keeping me going” but in actual fact, I’ve never almost-given-up. It’s just been loads of fun. I’ve never made numbers a priority. I’ve always just spoken my mind and talked about things I wanted to. It’s a nice compliment, however, when you see that people click ‘Like’ every so often, or even make a comment. Oo, the commenting. What lovely fun. I’ve made what I’d consider real friends via that little box underneath the posts that encourages people to share their thoughts! Ah, how lovely. And now, everybody, dig in! Grab a canape! Have a glass of bubbly!

HAPPY 1ST BIRTHDAY ME!

A letter to the world

Dear World,

How are you? What’s that? A bit messy and need some work doing? Ah. Ok. Yes. I did promise I’d help with that, didn’t I? And I did, World. I did. On Day 1, I donned my best dirty Crocs, grabbed a bag and walked around collecting rubbish. I then divided this rubbish into different recycling bins and even recycled the bag itself. On Day 2, I changed my energy supplier to a local renewable energy company. And World, I would like you to know that it was my close friend’s birthday and I sent him an electronic birthday card instead of a paper one, to save your trees.

You see, World, I had had an idea. I would do at least one good thing every day to look after you, to make life a little easier for you, to ensure your health for future generations. I was excited about looking after you. I guess it’s that maternal instinct in me. I like looking after people and things. I also like playing the SuperWoman role when I first get an idea in my head. I will do and be everyone’s hero. I will single handedly cure all of your ills. I will be the answer to every problem. It doesn’t take me long, World, before I realise that I am not capable of this. But I still think I can, every time a new idea comes along.

So Day 1 and 2 came and went, World. I had picked up litter and I had not sacrificed your trees for a birthday card. Then Day 3 came. Let me describe Day 3.

Wake up late. Meet a friend for lunch. Go a friend’s birthday party.

Day 4 looked like this. Wake up early. Work. Go for lunch with a friend. Have friends over for dinner.

Day 5 was as follows. Wake up. Go to work. All day. Come home. Eat. Watch The Tourist. Marvel at the twist at the end and wonder how much weight Johnny Depp had to put on for the film. Go to bed.

You see, World? I had resolved to do something good every day for you. And then life got in the way. But I did do small things for you, World. I turned off the tap when brushing my teeth instead of letting it run like I usually do. I used only public transport to go around seeing my many friends (I’ve got loads! Honest). For dinner, I had food that would have otherwise been thrown away. I didn’t fill the kettle with water to boil it. I only put in as much as I needed. So although Day 3, 4 and 5 rolled by in a haze of work and friends and hardly any sleep, I did a little for you, World. I did a little.

Day 6 is a new day though, World. Out will come the book of tips and out will come my lycra superhero outfit (otherwise known as my dirty purple Crocs). I will do better. There is always room for improvement, after all.

Actually, on that note, you could do with being sunnier in England, World. I’m not criticising. I’m just… You know…. I’m just saying…. You could work on that.

Thanks.

Yours sincerely,

Laura SuperWoman Maisey

Last minute post

Ok, I got in late from a friend’s birthday party and am going out early to work so it’s just going to be some pictures from the party, I’m afraid.

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Some of the pretty food

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Bloody Mary shots!

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Pass The Parcel

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The two prizes I won during Pass The Parcel – an Angry Birds pen (which I promptly broke) and a Lego aeroplane kit.

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The big prize at the end of Pass The Parcel – a Super Mario mug and chocolate egg. What every 28 year old needs.

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No party is complete without a party bag!

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“Oo! Let’s all blow our balloons up and let them go at the same time! Ok, ok. Are you ready? One! Two! Three! Hahahahaha!”

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Oooooo… Bubbles!….

A bit of world-saving and a bit of award-receiving

My instructions for yesterday went as follows:

Install solar panels for your water heating
(Going Greener by Simon Gear)

Say it with pixels – save a tree and send an electronic greeting instead.
(The Difference A Day Makes by Karen M. Jones)

The first one, unfortunately, wasn’t the best option for me. I had some rubbish news about a friend and felt rubbish so needed things I could do from the sofa, drinking a cup of tea. So, my version of installing a solar panel was getting in touch with a green energy supplier, called Good Energy, and enquiring about switching my gas and electricity to them. All their energy is local and renewable eg wave and wind power. I did the initial stages of giving them my details so that’s in motion at least.

The second challenge was easier as it is a good friend’s birthday today so I sent him a silly e-card of three pigs singing happy birthday, instead of buying an actual card. Done!

And now onto an award, presented to me by the wonderful JumeiraJames who, coincidentially, lives in an area of Dubai that I lived in when I was a baby.
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The rules for this one are as follows:

1. Display the award logo on your blog.
2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
3. State 7 things about yourself.
4. Nominate 15 bloggers for this award and link to them.
5. Notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award’s requirements.

Ok, here’s my seven things…

1. When I was younger, my favourite chocolate bar was Yorkie. Then they brought out that advert saying ‘Not For Girls’ so I stopped buying them. That showed them.

2. I don’t definitely know the difference between bio and non-bio washing powder.

3. I love wildebeest. I just think they’re quite majestic and beautiful.

4. Last night I stayed up quite late doing a jigsaw puzzle.

5. At age 27, I still sometimes put my shoes on the wrong feet. I did it yesterday actually.

6. Today I have a day off. I have been waking up quite early every morning for a little while. To celebrate not having to wake up early, I slept in til 10.20am and am seriously considering eating strawberry cheesecake for breakfast.

7. I don’t drink alcohol. Not to make a statement about anything. I just don’t. Herbal tea is my preferred drink of choice.

Now for my fifteen nominations. Here goes …

1. Lovefoodlovefashion – new on the blogging scene but fabulous. I can’t understand what took her so long to start!

2. The Waiting – following the adventures and photoshoots of the little one is the backdrop to my days.

3. A Londoner in Dorset – once an adventurer in far off lands, she is now exploring parts of England in her new home. Always something lovely to read here.

4. Fiammisday – beautiful clothes, beautiful shoes. Despite being childless by choice, I sometimes wish I had someone small to dress in these outfits!

5. Bagni di Lucca and Beyond – the first place I look when planning a trip to Italy (Naples in April).

6. Someone Fat Happened – what’s not to love about a farting dog accompanying your yoga session or childhood pictures which prompt laughter? All of life is here. Wedding jitters, work frustration, family life.

7. Jump For Joy Project – the perfect pick me up if feeling rubbish or wondering what to do with your life.

8. Campari and Sofa – there is tons to love in this blog (a mutual appreciation of the Tube being one of them) but I think the recent post about the treatment of women is one everyone should read.

9. Blogging For A Good Book – you can never have too many good book recommendations!

10. Our Adventures In Croatia – reading this blog gives me adventure-envy. Lots of beautiful pictures. I must travel more! The recent post on Venice bridges got me planning my next-next trip to Italy (the next one is already planned and waiting to come to fruition!).

11. Ordinary Lisa – just lovely honest writing. If ever there was a blog that encouraged me to notice and appreciate the things and people around me, this would be it.

12. British Museum Blog – loads of great stuff here. They are doing a small series of posts called London in 20 objects which is fascinating. Have a look!

13. Le Zoe Musings – now it might just be the Instagram effect but this woman’s life appears to be lived in varying shades of beautiful.

14. Live To Write – Write To Live – if I can’t think what to write about or just need some inspiration or writing advice, I don’t need to look any further than this blog.

15. Belle Grove Plantation Bed and Breakfast – I have been following this blog almost since I started blogging. The stories this plantation has to tell from the past and the present are amazing. I can’t wait to visit, which I will do one day!

To my dearly departed Kindle

Last night, my Kindle – and my heart – broke. I am sad. Almost too sad to write. But not quite.

I put it in my bag yesterday morning and took it with me on the train to Cambridge to visit a special birthday girl. I opened the cover and looked at it. It had the battery empty symbol on it. I was annoyed. I had been looking forward to getting stuck into A Tale Of Two Cities. O well.

I had to wait until I got back home today to plug it in. This I did, at about 7pm. When I looked at it about half an hour later, there were lots of lines and white patches all over the screen….

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My heart sank. This happened to my first Kindle. The one I have now is a replacement after the exact same thing happened. I called Amazon up and they can sort me another one but I have to speak to someone in the office when it opens on Monday about seeing if they can do it on my warranty.

Readers, I’m sad now. All the joyous celebrating after completing my first ever Nanny Rhino successfully within the deadline seems to have been forgotten. I am just very sad.

I miss my Kindle already….. (Yes, I have the Kindle app on my phone, but that’s not the point, alright?!)

Danda and the birthday card

Yesterday was Danda’s friend’s birthday. I know this friend pretty well too so proposed dinner made by Yours Truly then set off into town to get a little card and a little something else from Danda and I.

I didn’t forward plan anything or scout around online to get ideas. I just figured something would catch my eye. I went into a card shop first and I looked.

I looked at all the pretty pinky red cards with owls and hummingbirds and cakes on them. I saw cards which looked like they had been stitched together. I saw cards with golden looped writing and sincere messages of birthday wishes and many happy returns. I saw fun cards with bubble writing and ages written on them. I saw cards with old photos and funny quotes on them.

And none of them were right. None of them quite suited a slightly older gentleman with an interest in World War II and programmes about true crime, who enjoys his own company and has a silly little dog that was kind of forced on him but who he’s actually quite fond of.

I saw billions of cards for women. Quite a lot for children. And a fair amount for people who think quotes on old black and white photos are funny. But not that many for men like my friend.

Eventually I tracked down two which I thought might fit the bill. One was a humorous card about the internet, prompted by my friend’s total impatience with anything computery.

The other was a green coloured one which looked like an old poster from the war and it had something about football on it, about how shouting loudly at your TV set helps them win. I didn’t know which to get and in my indecision, I got both.
I thankfully had a much easier time with the present and just got him a DVD set of stuff about the war.

I was still fretting about the cards and called Danda for his opinion. He said the football one would be best. I said I’d show him it before writing it.

When I saw Danda later, he was watching a programme called Minder, a classic from years ago, apparently.

“Danda,” I said. “Look at the card. It is just on the table there. I had such a hard time choosing it. I was in the shop for a long time and it is very important to me that you tell me if the card is ok.”

“Yep, I’ll look in a minute. I’m just watching Minder. It’s my favourite.”

“But Danda, we should write the card soon, before our friend arrives.”

“Yeh…. What you said….”

“Danda, something tells me you’re not really listening.”

“Mmmm.”

I got the card off the table and showed it to him. He looked at it briefly.

Silence.

“Do you think it’s ok, Danda?” I asked.

“Pardon?”

“Do you think the card’s ok? Is there anything about the card you’d like to say? I had such trouble finding a suitable one.”

Danda looks. He looks and he tilts his head slightly and he squints his eyes a little and finally he opens his mouth to give me his verdict.

“It’s a bit green.”