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[Mofette Co Uk]



January 1st, 2016

New Year's Survey!

New Fringe
I do this almost every year on Jan 1st 2004 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, I missed 2012, 2013, 2014 & 2015!

1. What did you do in 2015 that you'd never done before?
Bought a house!

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Last year's:
   Be Happier Yes!

This year's:
Be Happier.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My friend Rebecca, my workmate Hannah R

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No-one close

5. What countries did you visit?
None :(

6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?
Spare money, a pretty garden

7. What date from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
31/01/2015 we bought a house
21/02/2015 we moved into our own house!

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Another new job at Coors (Well, 2) and choosing a house, getting accepted for a mortgage and putting up wallpaper for the first time ever!

9. What was your biggest failure?
Being more assertive and in control of my own career

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Legs are still ugly, I still get chronic abscesses.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
All my gorgeous Stag furniture after the house, black velvet skull wallpaper, biker jacket

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
All my friends. They truly are the best people around!!

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
Religious Nutters, Racists, Bigots, Homophobes and Islamophobes. Same as last year!

14. Where did most of your money go?
Paying off old debt, bricks and mortar, car repairs.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Nail Polish, Stag Minstrel furniture, Seeing Zara again

16. What song will always remind you of 2015?
John Grant - Disappointing!

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Happier
ii. thinner or fatter? Exactly The Same!
iii. richer or poorer? Poorer!

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Buying sensible things, gardening

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

20. How did you spend Christmas?
With my Husband, Mum and Dad, watching Hobbit movies and playing Pandemic

21. Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?
Richard, demanding shopping!

22. Did you fall in love in 2015?
With a couple of amazing polishes and gins

23. How many one-night stands?

24. What was your favourite TV program?
RuPaul's Drag Race

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Only one, and hate's a bit strong. I just wish she'd go away. Same as last year, except this is now two women.

26. What was the best book you read?

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
John Grant

28. What did you want and get?
Tons of nail polish, a house, furniture.

29. What did you want and not get?
A certain bed. It will be mine, eventually!

30. What was your favourite film of this year?
Jurassic World, and that wasn't really that good

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was 32, we went to North Kilworth and saw Richard, Jen, Mel and Sarah!

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Not having to have my baby kitten put down

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?
Nail Polish and Black, skater dresses and biker boots

34. What kept you sane?
Painting my nails 3 times a week, gin.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Chris Pratt.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
The fucking general election

37. Who did you miss?
Zara, Laken, Hilary

38. Who was the best new person you met?
Sophie a pet friend

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015:
Beige Carpets are awful. Good neighbours are invaluable

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
Roller coasters and Earl Gray Malts,
Ocelot babies but not bath salts,
Harvest moon in the arms of a tree,
Which has been growing there for centuries.

Bassoons, trombones, and French horn sections
Bass clarinets and string art collections.
Owls and guitars when they do not match
Gilda, Kristen, Cheri, Tina, Amy and Rachel Dratch.

All these things, they're just disappointing,
All these things, they're just disappointing compared to you.
There's nothing more beautiful than your smile as it conquers your face.
There's nothing more comforting than to know, know you exist in this time, in this place.

John Grant - Disappointing

October 27th, 2015


New Fringe
Hello Livejournal!

January 1st, 2015

New Year's Survey!

New Fringe
I do this almost every year on Jan 1st 2004 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, I missed 2012, 2013 & 2014

1. What did you do in 2014 that you'd never done before?
Ran 10k!

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Last year's:
Eat breakfast at home - mostly
Stop wearing hoodies all the damn time - yes!
Take more pride in my appearance mostly

This year's:
Be Happier.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
sparklielizard gave birth to Hazel!

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Two, my mate Gary's dad, George (who I'd also call a good friend) and my dad's friend Roger, who I'd know since I was like 6?

5. What countries did you visit?

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?
My own house, spare money

7. What date from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
22/02/2014, I ran my fastest parkrun at 37:44

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Running parkrun under 40 minutes, getting a new job at Coors!

9. What was your biggest failure?
Getting healthier.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
My legs are still ugly, I just have a diagnosis now. It's Granuloma Annulare

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Seche Vite top coat, Cinema tickets!

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Lots of people, I can't really think of one now

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
Religious Nutters, Racists, Bigots, Homophobes and Islamophobes.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Paying off old debt. Almost all done now!

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Sekret Projekt 2015 and Nail Polish!

16. What song will always remind you of 2014?
Blue Swede - Hooked on a Feeling

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Happier
ii. thinner or fatter? Exactly The Same!
iii. richer or poorer? Richer!

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Travelling and seeing people

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Drinking :/

20. How did you spend Christmas?
With my Husband, Mum, Dad, Brother and his missus all playing Cards Against Humanity and watching stuff :)

21. Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?
Parents probably!

22. Did you fall in love in 2014?
With bricks and mortar!

23. How many one-night stands?

24. What was your favourite TV program?
The West Wing (I know, I came to it late)

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Only one, and hate's a bit strong. I just wish she'd go away.

26. What was the best book you read?
Pass, I read a few but none were great!

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?

28. What did you want and get?
Another cat, more gin

29. What did you want and not get?
Thinner, Gaga's new perfume

30. What was your favourite film of this year?
Guardians of the Galaxy, easily.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was 31, we went to Melton Mowbray and hung around with Mel and Sarah ♥

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Money stability, we're still playing catch up from when Rich was unemployed

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?
Nail Polish and Black.

34. What kept you sane?
Painting my nails 3 times a week!

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Chris Pratt.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
The state of the bigotry in the UK :(

37. Who did you miss?
All my leeds guys

38. Who was the best new person you met?
Laken, Hilary and Zara. My Nail Angels :)

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014:
Always look at more than 1 house!

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
'Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
Baby, I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off
Heart-breakers gonna break, break, break, break, break
And the fakers gonna fake, fake, fake, fake, fake
Baby, I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off

Taylor Swift - Shake It Off

January 19th, 2014

There and Back Again

New Fringe
Oh man, I'm all over the bloody shop.

I have been running parkrun since September 2011. it's an amazing 5k adventure for free, every Saturday morning. I rocked up at my first one in Leeds by myself, scared and shy and ran it in 47:02. Horrid

Since then, I went when I could, recruiting several friends to come too. By the time I left Leeds, I was edging closer to the goal of finishing under 40 minutes, ending around 41 minutes when I left in July 2012.

I went to Conkers, but missing my Hyde Park Harriers and not knowing anyone it was hard. At Leeds everyone always stayed to the end to cheer me on and at Conkers everyone goes in a cafe, not really hanging around. My time also got worse - the course was icy and wet and muddy and not tarmaced.

The second time I went to Conkers, in June, a lady ran past me and said "Hello Aileen" - I was remembered! It sounds stupid however to someone like me, to a little old runner like me, someone remembering you is a BIG DEAL. So I went back in August, then in September, then I started roping people into coming with me.

The thing is, I've never really tracked what I was doing, or trained in-between, or counted mileage or anything. I did better now and again but not by much and not because of anything I could think of. So I just ran. I ran when I could, as I could. I tracked it on my watch but never looked at the results. I got better, but not much.

Whenever people found out I was a runner, they looked at me stunned. I'm fat. I mean, I was 250lbs fat. They looked at me like I had a second head and I just had to remember "Even if i'm shit, I'm running more than most people". Then it all backfired and people who *do* run asked me what time I did, and I had to admit it was 41 minutes.

41 minutes for 5k? That's 4.54mph. People WALK faster than that!! The thing was, I went every week, I put in my time and it got no better. I couldn't break 40.

I promised myself that I would do it, that I would run 5k faster than 40 minutes before Christmas 2013.

I didn't do it.

I came close, I swore, I pushed my legs, but I couldn't do it. I went to Leeds on the 21st of December, an easier course (or so I thought) and though I walked less, I ended up at 40:53, AGAIN.

Then Jantastic came along. Nominate how many runs you will do a week, and do it. So I did. OH MY GOD. Running is so much easier if you do it regularly. I'm now doing at least 3 runs a week with friends and in the gym. The gym has been tough - getting a decent time involves some real effort, and that finally rang true with me.

Today I took my parkrun seriously and wrote my split times on my hand. The times I would have to hit each km to finish in 40:00; 8, 16, 24, 32, 40.

The first km was fine. I hit it around 7:45 - I wasn't feeling great physically however mentally I was strong. The mud wasn't too cold and sod it, I was going to do this.

The second km, no problem. I walked just after 1.7 (a mile) however I sucked it up and got to Cheeky Hill. That's where it almost unravelled. That bastard little hill is so steep and so gravelly that ALL of your momentum is sapped. You spend the first 200m struggling up a hill and then the second 200m you spend getting your breath back.

This is all so much harder when you're my age, my weight and my level of 'fitness'

For some reason the canal section seemed awful too. I never paid attention before, never looked at what parts I struggled with, at what time I was doing. This time every walk was noticed, ever bump in the path was scowled at. I hated every second and couldn't wait to get that part over with. I was slightly behind on my splits so I gritted my teeth and moved my legs.

The third km is puddles. Puddles, puddles and puddles. I decided to knuckle down and run through them! All the way down to the turn back onto the main trail and towards the last km. By this point I had 2 people in tow who had decided that I was their pacer! HA! Little did they know how terrible I was. They asked me how long I had been running and I told them truthfully. Ashamed with how long it had be, worried that I would put them off and embarrassed that they would still beat me. We all stuck together right until the end.

The last km. I hit it exactly at 32 minutes. I started breaking down where I would have to be in my head. Half a km is 4 minutes, 0.25km is 2 minutes. DO IT. I panicked, more than once. I started breathing every step instead of every other step. I panicked. I nearly sabotaged myself, like I have each and every time I've come close before.

0.7km, I glanced at my watch, I had 3 minutes to make it to the finish. I could do it. I promised myself that I wouldn't quit, I would run the whole thing and I would make it. I passed a photographer, she took a photograph of me smiling. I smiled so they wouldn't see my grimace. We kept on.

Down the hill, around the grass, I watched the lady in front of me, Fran, keep going. We turned left, we went right, we started to go under the bridge and she started walking.

"NO!" I shouted! She turned around and looked at me, turned back and kept going. She looked like I hoped I did, determined and solid. We ran.

I didn't have it in me for my usual sprint finish. Usually I run, legs pumping and arms swinging to the finish, today I knew I'd used it all and I had nothing left. I turned past the bridge and heard Milf shout "Mofette!!" I could hear everyone at the finish line screaming for me and willing me on. I looked at the finish line, I ran and I passed it!!!

I passed it, pressed stop on my watch - 39:25 and I screamed. I let open my lungs so everyone could hear. Could hear the anguish that I'd been holding in so long as I realised that I'd done it. My own nemesis - purely out of my own making and only because of me that I hadn't done it before. I wanted to cry but I was too happy, overjoyed, confused that I'd finally done it.

Several people came over to congratulate me. Mark shouted my time as I passed the timers. I knew it was done and we'd joked that morning that I would need to put effort in to do it. Fran turned to me and congratulated me and then there was Richard. My darling Richard, he had timed the run since the start whistle and he had let everyone know that I was there. I attempted to snivel on him but then rememebered that there were loads of other people still crossing the line. I stood and cheered them over - trying to subdue the adrenaline that was making me want to scream.

I have zero self-esteem. I seriously hate myself. Except this week. I have been trying to do this since 2011. I have been trying to break 40 minutes for as long as I can remember. I just did it. Do you know what the secret weapon was? IT WAS PUTTING SOME GODDAMN EFFORT IN!

I have wondered what the secret was, was it the diet the night before? How much I've drank, how much sleep I got? IT WAS JUST PUTTING SOME EFFORT IN, DAMNIT. IF YOU DO NOT DO 100% YOU WILL NOT GET 100%. SIMPLE.

I will no longer be ashamed when I talk to people about parkrun. My only fight was against myself. Maybe this week I will also beat 40 minutes, maybe I won't. I don't care, I have done it. I have done more than I ever thought possible and I am OUT THERE every Saturday, running. It may not be pretty, it may not be fast but I BLOODY DO IT.

Go outside, run, walk, jog but don't be surprised that unless you put effort in you won't get results out. You will only get your result, you won't get the result of the person who finishes in 17 minutes but you WILL GET THE REWARD YOU DESERVE. A healthier body, longer life, more calories to spend on booze that evening.

I love parkrun, I love Conkers, I love Leeds, I love Jantastic. Thank you world for putting those people out there to benefit the rest of us.









January 1st, 2014

New Year's Survey

New Fringe

I do this almost every year on Jan 1st 2004 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, I missed 2012 & 2013

1. What did you do in 2013 that you'd never done before?

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Last year's:
    Lose more weight - NOPE (I did, for a short while)
    Take a holiday - Kinda, almost
    Get better at running - NOPE

This year's:
    Eat breakfast at home
    Stop wearing hoodies all the damn time
    Take more pride in my appearance

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Yes! Fiona, a friend from high school, Gaz from work's wife- Kathie, probably more I don't remember...

4. Did anyone close to you die? Not this year, I don't think I could cope with it

5. What countries did you visit? none, again.

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013? blemish-free legs...

7. What date from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? 12th July - the day Richard got a job down here!

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Getting asked to apply for a job ;)

9. What was your biggest failure? my own health :/

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? My legs look like I've been kicked repeatedly, all the time. It sucks.

11. What was the best thing you bought? DAB Clock Radio Alarm! :D

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration? Malala Yousafzai - none of the rest of us come close to what that girl can do!

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed? David Cameron. Easily. Nick Clegg a close turncoat second.

14. Where did most of your money go? debt and garden!

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Gaga's new album, ARTPOP

16. What song will always remind you of 2013? Lady Gaga - Aura / ARTPOP

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
    i. happier or sadder? Happier
    ii. thinner or fatter? Exactly The Same!
    iii. richer or poorer? Poorer (collectively)

18. What do you wish you'd done more of? Seeing people, driving about

19. What do you wish you'd done less of? worrying about what others think

20. How did you spend Christmas? Just the two of us, lonely as hell really!

21. Who did you spend the most time on the phone with? Richard for the first 6 months, barely used the thing the second 6!

22. Did you fall in love in 2012? with our new house and garden, yeah!

23. How many one-night stands? 0

24. What was your favourite TV program?

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

26. What was the best book you read? I didn't read any, I'm a terrible person!

27. What was your greatest musical discovery? Stuart Maconie's Freak Zone

28. What did you want and get? Husband here!

29. What did you want and not get? under 40 minutes parkrun.

30. What was your favourite film of this year? The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I was 30, we went to the pub then helped a lady back home with her shelves

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? better windows in the house, these full-opening ones are SO AWKWARD

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013? ALL THE BLACK, ALL THE TIME

34. What kept you sane? Nail Varnish

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Karl Urban

36. What political issue stirred you the most? The bloody "Bedroom Tax"

37. Who did you miss? Most people in Leeds

38. Who was the best new person you met? Hannah Durber ♥

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013: Some people, me included, just want to talk ad be heard, nothing more, nothing less.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

What's the colour of v-neck's girl?
It's Red you bastard (It's Red you bastard)
I don't believe in God but believe in this shit - Not me
I like to bring them down - Not me
Some fool who's dumb dumb do - Not me

Some people get a freak outta me
Some people can't see what I can see
Some people wanna see what I see
Some people put an evil eye on me

Franz Ferdinand - Evil Eye

November 8th, 2013

MLIA: My Life Is Awesome

New Fringe
So, just a quick catch-up for y'all

  • I live in Burton-on-Trent with my husband, Richard as I moved for a job.

  • I still work for Molson Coors, although not in an Operational role any more - a year after I came down for one job, I was asked to come do another one! - I work on the interface between the systems of our partners and us and ad-hoc reporting and spreadsheets (YAY)

  • I still have 2 cats and they make my life hell on a daily basis ♥

  • The house I live in has enough free-reign that I can pretty much do anything I want. I have discovered that I have green fingers, and have turned the garden from a mess to a lovely place that I'm proud of.

  • I've had the most amazing 12 months, a holiday I took with some friends from the Internet in Parwich starting us actually spending time with people we want to!

  • I met a lot of new friends who actually like me for being me. That's nice

  • Running is still a hobby I enjoy, so I do it almost every week at parkrun, I should get my 50 T-shirt by next summer :D

  • Richard and I are trying to save money to clear all our debts. Should be done by next Christmas unless we need to move house again. Hopefully not again for a while until I find a house and we can find a deposit.

  • I paint my nails too much - I have around 240 different bottles.

  • I drink a lot of gin. I have 34 bottles!

That'll pretty much do it for now. I just needed a break from re-tagging .mp3s

February 19th, 2013

On my way!

So, to work in Burton-on-Trent I'd have to move in with my parents for a while, as we owned a house in Leeds and were also paying rent on a house three streets over. We couldn't afford a third house, so I had to stay with them until we could either give notice, or sell the house.

The house went up on the market, and we asked the landlord when the earliest we could give notice was. Luckily the landlord said that Feb was the earliest, and we started to plan to that date.

I knew what I was getting myself in for, before I moved to the Burton area, as I grew up just south of here, in a little village called Fradley. It's in the middle of nowhere, and it's far out on transport links - quite a difference from Leeds. The thing is, aside from our wonderful friends, Leeds never held that much magic for Milf and I, as we prefer a quiet night in a local rather than a nightclub, and as I'm plus-size I'm limited as to where I shop anyway, so I'm not going to miss that.

Of course, we talked it through extensively. It really began to get my goat whenever I told people I had a new job and I was moving, only around 3/4 people didn't immediately respond with "What does Milf think of that?" as if I'd not talked to him at all. It really hit me for 6 that people I thought were progressive and articulate were asking what the MAN thought about it.

Luckily, Milf was fine and when I moved the group of people I joined were great - making sure I was included in stuff and they really looked after me. It's hard having to travel, having nowhere to invite people to, never being able to come out, not even being able to cook properly, as I seemed to be always in the way! I was wearing the same clothes, day in day out and it was tough, but soon enough 4 months had rolled around and we finally got an offer on the house.

We made sure we talked every day, and I visited Leeds when I could. I started learning to drive in August, and passed my test on the 5th October, getting a car on the 26th. I could then make the trip without having to worry about buses at the Burton end (there is only 1 every 2 hours on a Sunday, finishing at 17:00).

As the sale progressed, we decided to start looking for a house in Burton. I say we, Milf pretty much let me get on with it, as I'd been around for a while and seen good and bad areas. I showed him everything I found on the internet, and I went to a couple of viewings. The first house was lovely but boring (magnolia walls, beige carpets, no character) but the second house was perfect and the landlady said she would allow us to do whatever we liked! Shelves, paint, whatever! We discussed it and I put down the deposit, moving in February 1st.

It was a bit of a clusterfuck - the signing fee was more than we thought it would be, they didn't want us to wait until Feb 1st, but it was such a good house that we had to. We booked a removal van and Milf took some time off work. It was go time!!!

January 1st, 2013

(no subject)

New Fringe

I do this almost every year on Jan 1st 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 & 2011 - I missed 2012

1. What did you do in 2012 that you'd never done before? Moved house for a job, drove a car, passed my driving test. 2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Last year's:

I was a horrible person and didn't fill this out last year - actually I was horrifically depressed and went on Prozac soon afterwards.

They would have been save money, lose weight and get a real job.

I did all three!

This year's:
    Lose more weight
    Take a holiday
    Get better at running

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?No-one

4. Did anyone close to you die? Milf's Uncle died, then my Grandma died, A work colleague also passed away on Boxing day.

5. What countries did you visit? None.

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012? A husband beside me in bed!

7. What date from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? July 9th - I started my new job.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Passing my driving test in just over 2 month

9. What was your biggest failure? Getting Milf moved down with me

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Fractured my shinbone, shin splints again too

11. What was the best thing you bought? A car!!!

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration? Emily Moss - for reasons that I'm sure you'll all see soon enough

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed? Amerikkka and the Mitt Romney brigade - at least they re-elected Obama though!

14. Where did most of your money go? Milf's mortgage. Thanks to the awful bitch who left us owing £1000 in rent.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Going to see Lady GAGA

16. What song will always remind you of 2012? Carly Rae Jepsen - Call Me Maybe

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
    i. happier or sadder? Happier
    ii. thinner or fatter? Thinner
    iii. richer or poorer? Richer

18. What do you wish you'd done more of? Travelling

19. What do you wish you'd done less of? Dtressing about work

20. How did you spend Christmas? Just Milf and I and the cats and a bit at Mavis's

21. Who did you spend the most time on the phone with? My husband for a change!

22. Did you fall in love in 2012? With my new friends in Burton :D

23. How many one-night stands? 0

24. What was your favourite TV program? The Big Bang Theory

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? The aforementioned rent-ower

26. What was the best book you read? GRRM - A Song of Ice and Fire

27. What was your greatest musical discovery? KoRn's newest album

28. What did you want and get? A job in Burton

29. What did you want and not get? Lady GAGA perfume

30. What was your favourite film of this year? The Hobbit

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I was 29. My parents were on holiday so my brother took me to The Bowling Green, where I spent it with Vicky's mum, dad, sister and sister's husband as Vicky was ill.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? A husband for a pillow

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012? Dresses and leggings

34. What kept you sane? LOTRO

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Barack Obama

36. What political issue stirred you the most? The American general election - it could've gone so wrong for the whole world!

37. Who did you miss? Milf :(

38. Who was the best new person you met? ll my new workmates!

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012: Out of sight, out of mind.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

I'm bulletproof, nothing to lose
Fire away, fire away
Ricochet, you take your aim
Fire away, fire away
You shoot me down but I won't fall
I am titanium
You shoot me down but I won't fall
I am titanium

December 25th, 2012

Our alarm went off, and Milf convinced me not to go out to parkrun – didn’t take much admittedly. WE finally awoke around 10am and I got the car ready to go pick up Sarah Orange and Daevid, so we could go over to see Mavis for WALL OF PORK.

After stalling about 6 times at a hill-junction, we droopped Orange and Daevid off and snuggled in at home to watch films, having steak for dinner and playing some LOTRO.

We opened the few presents there were knocking about, and had some Cava <3

December 24th, 2012

We didn’t always get to see our relatives often throughout the year – Christmas used to be the one time that we could guarantee seeing my aunties, uncle and grandparents.

I also used to like braiding my hair and wearing a pretty dress on Christmas morning.

December 23rd, 2012

Christmas Eve – snuggled up with friends and a shit movie and some booze.

December 22nd, 2012


8/9 ain’t bad – I missed Vixen! That’s not a child-proof name!?

December 21st, 2012

My tree is silver and red, with tinsel, plain lights, lametta, star and snowflake shaped ornaments. The presents underneath completely match the decorations, each having a personalised gift tag and fluffy bows.

If it’s a good year, there is decorating around the television, the fireplace, all the booze, the dvds, everything J

There’s a fridge full of cava and smoked salmon and hopefully we are sleeping soundly upstairs ;)

December 20th, 2012

That the house sells and we lose the last link with Quarry Place.

December 19th, 2012

ME! OH GOD ME! It’s always been me, and it probably always will be. I’ve already started planning the lights on the house I AM YET TO MOVE INTO!!

December 18th, 2012

LAPLAND! In a log cabin, in the snow, with egg nog and singing and a real tree decorated in vintage-style baubles. I’d want Milf, my family (maybe even my brother) and my aunties and uncles and cousins, and Milf’s Aunties and cousins. Then some extended family would probably get all butt-hurt like they did about my wedding (which I was only allowed 30 guests at).

December 17th, 2012

This isn’t an early one – it also goes back to the photos that I have – goes to show how powerful a mind-jog those are! I remember one year I had a camera, and my Granddad didn’t like having photos taken, so I sneaked up on him any time I could to take one.

Here he is!

December 16th, 2012

I don't actually have one, suggestions accepted!

December 15th, 2012

I don’t think I can remember a day that this happened, just that eventually, the circumstances were too much to take.

I’ve always been pretty skeptical / suspicious of things I cannot understand, or see or feel so I wasn’t that old. I think the fact that a tube of giant Fruit Pastilles came from Santa each year was a nice touch, and that continued until I left the house for good.

I remember a friend’s sister still believed in Santa at high school. We were both mortified that she believed and would be mocked, but simultaneously didn’t want to tell her, for fear of breaking her heart. I don’t remember how that ended…

December 14th, 2012

Oh I have not! Not as such anyway, but I do have one terrible habit...

...looking at the purchased items on Amazon.

It's so bad, when I notice something is missing, I try so hard to not go look what it is, but there they are, in black and white telling me what's been bought.

So like any responsible person, whenever I notice something's missing, I tell milfos to go and log in as me and delete them.


December 13th, 2012

We still don't have a typical, so I'll have to try and tell you what I'd like.

My friends, all curled up and warm on sofas with blankets and our legs up off the ground, with a terrible Christmas movie or two on the TV, mulled wine in the slow cooker and maybe even some egg-nog.

A snowball fight in the wee hours, along with a giant snowcock or two, and a glass of Chantemelle at midnight :)

December 12th, 2012

and I HATE My Chemical Romance, but this cover is hillarious :D

December 11th, 2012


Ok, I seem to be telling you that EVERYTHING about Christmas is my favourite, but oh man do I love the day I wrap presents!

I always get coordinated paper and ribbon, and I've already got my tags made. I make sure they all go together and match with my tree. Then I sit and wrap them while watching Home Alone.

Crisp corners, lined up patterns, all neat and tidy and OMG I wish I was sending presents this year :(

December 10th, 2012

Nope, never have. We're in such dire financial straights right now that we can't and maybe one day we will, but not for the forseeable.

If I could, it would probably be with volunteering rather than money.

December 9th, 2012

Watching Elf while putting up decorations

Buying the year's Swarovski decoration

Seeing family on Boxing Day

Drinks in the house on Christmas Eve

My Christmas haircut! <3

December 8th, 2012


too much sugar, too much chocolate, YULE LOG!!

We've never really had it at our house. Next year, it's mine!

December 7th, 2012

Day 07- Favourite memory

New Fringe
I don't know if it's too much of a memory, or indeed a favourite, but I remember one Christmas (maybe boxing day) we had Grandma Rippon to stay, and Granddad Lowther and Grandma Lowther came round. And all my grandparents I'd known were there, and we all sat around together. And now both my Grandmas aren't here any more.

Here they are! L>R My mum's legs, Auntie Gwynne, Grandma Rippon, Grandma Lowther


December 6th, 2012

Elf! Hands down it's Elf. Or maybe Home Alone? Oh dear it's actually quite tough!

No, Elf. I watch it every year while putting up the tree, and this Sunday will be no exception as milfos helps me and watches it for his first time.

December 5th, 2012

Oh man, this is a hard one!

Christmas Mythbusters! Or Christmas Simpsons!!

Mythbusters did some great stories, like "Can you set a christmas tree on fire with lights" but then again The Simpsons do great novelty introductions and themed stories.

I think I'll go with Mythbusters though. Nothing like blowing stuff up!

December 4th, 2012

Christmas 2004 I got milfos the giant Unicron thanks to a helpful friend posting it down from Sheffield Toys R Us.


He still goes on about how awesome this was, and I'm still proud I managed to get it for an absolute steal. This years presents still pale in comparison!

December 3rd, 2012

1991/1992 I received the Sindy Makeup Counter.



This thing was THE SHIT. It had perfume bottles, a working till, little presents, gift bags, allsorts. It came with its own makeup and was the absolute bomb, it was just a shame that it took so long to set up, and if you moved it at all, all the things you'd set up would fall over.

December 2nd, 2012

Christmas 2009, we had Amy and Gary our best friends over on Christmas eve, we drank shit sparkly plonk, we watched christmas episodes of Mythbusters and we just chilled out. Then when it neared midnight we went out in the snow and made a giant snow penis, followed by having a massive snowball fight.

Milf unfortunately had to work some of Christmas day, so he went to work, while I went to maviscruet's house for some pig in a bun. Then I came home, smiling and saying Merry Christmas at everyone on the way and we snuggled up together to watch some Christmas Simpsons and stuff.

I really like Christmas!

December 1st, 2012

I'm sorry.

November 30th, 2012

LJ Advent Calendar

New Fringe
Day 01- Post an audio of one of your favourite Christmas songs
Day 02- Which has been your favourite Christmas of all time?
Day 03- Best gift ever received
Day 04- Best gift ever given
Day 05- Favourite Christmas television
Day 06- Favourite Christmas film
Day 07- Favourite memory
Day 08- A holiday dessert of your choosing.
Day 09- Best holiday traditions.
Day 10- Do you give to charities or other people around the holidays? Which is your cause of choice?
Day 11- Are you any good at wrapping presents? Describe a gift wrapped by you.
Day 12- Another audio of a favorite Christmas song/carol
Day 13- Describe your typical Christmas Eve
Day 14- Ever sneaked a peak at a gift?
Day 15- Do you still believe in Santa Clause? If no, how did you find out he was fake?
Day 16- Favourite Christmas book.
Day 17- Describe your first Christmas memory.
Day 18- If you could spend the holiday any place in the entire world, with whomever you wanted, where would yyu be and who would you be with?
Day 19- Who is the most enthusiastic about the holiday season in your family?
Day 20- You have one Christmas wish. What is it?
Day 21- A detailed explanation of what your house looks like on December 25th.
Day 22- Name all nine reindeer without using a search engine.
Day 23- What is your absolute favorite part of the holidays? Only one.
Day 24- Why is Christmas important to you?
Day 25- Describe your day. Merry Christmas (:

March 7th, 2012

Japanese Honeymoon: Kobe

New Fringe
We decided to arrive really early into Kobe, so that we could go on to see some sights further down the train line. We walked to the hotel, all too easily due to Google maps, and they gladly took our luggage, and let us go back out for the day.

We travelled on the train to Hikone, one of only 8 original castles still standing in Japan (We wanted to go to Himeji, but it is currently under a massive tent for conservation work). As we got to Hikone, it was still really early, and the weather was a bit rainy, so there weren’t many people around. The walk down to the castle was quiet – all the shops and restaurants hadn’t opened yet, thwarting our plan of eating breakfast on the way over! When we arrived, the castle was in quite a large piece of land, surrounded by a moat.

Hikone castle is quite a humble structure, it doesn’t impose over the surrounding land like others, and you could be forgiven for not seeing it! The winding entrance road to the castle is still there, taking you past little windows for arrows and chutes for boiling oil! There are a lot of steps too, and after having climbed Mount Misen, that was tough, we were still aching! As we climbed the steps it became evident that the age group of the visitors was slightly different to anything we were used to – most people visiting were OAPs!

Once we got to the top of the keep, it was so worth it! The castle was amazing. We entered through the side and took our shoes off, placing them in a plastic bag to save the wooden floors inside. We wandered through, looking at the views through the tiny windows of Hikone. Once we got to the main building, all the crowds came to a stop, and we queued to get to the top level. The stairs were almost a ladder at this point, and to stop it from getting too crowded up there, we had to wait.

All in all there wasn’t a lot to see, the windows had chicken wire on them and there wasn’t any replica rooms or anything, just bare floorboards and walls and a lot of people queuing.

On the way back down to the museum, there was a guide dressed as Hikone-nyan. Hikone-nyan is a cat, dressed in the helmet from the samurai armour in the castle. He’s really cute and I was getting a bit giddy, so I asked him for a hug and he obliged, much to the amusement of several school kids nearby!

We went to the museum, and as we had been warned, there wasn’t anything in English. I picked up one of the Japanese leaflets in each room, intending to do some translating, but as Edwardscissors knows, my translating is a SLOW business :( When we walked around, it turned out that a better version of Hikone-nyan was going to be in a little meeting session in 15 minutes, so we bombed round the final part and stood in the queue to join 50 other people watching some guy in a suit dance around and pretend to be a cat! I videoed the whole performance, which was as tooth-rottingly cute as you’d think it would be, but once we finished, it turned out that the camera wasn’t on :(

When we got outside, we played peek-a-boo with a small child, who as normal was scared of the huge western devils, and then took ourselves back through the town to the station. We again tried to get something to eat, but we couldn’t decide, so made an executive decision to grab some snacks from the convenience store underneath the station, and then eat proper once we were back in Kobe.

Once back in Kobe, we checked into the hotel properly, and grabbed all these tiny little moo-card sized money off vouchers from the lobby, and started properly looking into eating Kobe beef in Kobe.

Throughout our stay, people had asked where we were going, and when we’d told them Kobe, they had always asked why. When we explained that we wanted to eat Kobe beef, they explained that we could eat it anywhere, and it would be just as good. We looked at reviews online, checked the vouchers we had and decided on 2 restaurants. We took the train down to the city and wandered around, looking for these restaurants to no avail. We were in the dodgiest parts of Kobe, with no idea what we were looking for! We also had no cash for today, so we were looking for someone that took credit cards (which isn’t many places in Japan) as the ATMS were shut as it was Sunday!

Add to this the fact that it was tipping it down with rain, and we had a couple of minor arguments, finally accepting that Japanese beef would be awesome anywhere, and we couldn’t really justify spending a hundred quid on dinner. We decided to go to a little izakaya that we’d seen on the way around in the morning that had offered beer at &jpy;200! We walked in, took off our shoes and put them in a locker, and went upstairs.

Mostly we were left alone here which was nice – I had my tattoos out and I heard a couple of mutters, but we sat and drank, before I decided finally to try a sukiyaki! I’d never had one before in all the times I’d been to Japan, so once I saw one on the menu, I asked the nice waiter how to do it, and we ate gyoza and actually some Kobe beef until we were stuffed!

February 29th, 2012

When we woke up, we found a care package we'd been able to purchase the night before in an amazingly drunken state! We sat around the TV in the hotel room 'til about 4pm mustering up the courage to go outside, when we looked for our shoes to go to the shop we found we'd already bought exactly what our hangover would be asking for! Pocari Sweat, inari sushi and some cheese strings! After a couple more hours of recuperation, we once again wandered out into the streets of Hiroshima. We knew the temple down the road was having a small festival to ask people to donate money, so we went down to sample some of the delicacies they had to offer.

The whole street was filled with red and white tented stalls, each one offering their own version of the very limited types of food. There was takoyaki (octopus in dough balls), octopus or squid on skewers, taiyaki (red bean cake things), pancake roll versions of okonomiyaki and some games stalls. I had my tattoo on display, so was causing quite a stir, the younger boys at one of the octopus stands giving me a really good look! We ate some things here and there, and took a slow walk back to the hotel, calling at a convenience store on the way back to pick up some beers.

The next morning, we woke up early to get the train down to the docks. We were off to Miyajima for the day, and we wanted to make sure we saw the Torii at high tide and low tide. We arrived at the dock, and took the JR ferry over to the island. We had been once before, so it wasn't new to us, but damn if it isn't the most beautiful place on earth! We wandered up past the temple, having seen it all and after our night of excess we were quite reluctant to spend any more money than we had to, so we walked behind it, through some Japanese style inns and to a park where the mountain trails started. Richard had decided that we were going to climb Mount Misen, being that it was reccomended on the internet and there was leaflets that suggested the routes you could take which MUST mean that it was totally do-able. At the park there was 3 options; Easy Medium or Hard. Obviously the easier the course the longer it took, so we went for the easy course, Momojidani, and started our ascent of the mountain.

At the bottom we met some schoolkids who were making their way back. They all seemed either drunk or high, and one of the lads had his jeans pulled down under his bum, showing off his pink leopard print pants! Turning to laugh at him as he pulled his jeans down further, I fell down a hole and laddered my leggings :( The climb up the mountain was horrible. It took us 2 hours of climbing stairs, with around 10 arguments up the hill to get to the top. Physically and mentally knackering! The view from the top was spectacular, as was the scenery on the way up, unfortunately I was in too much of a foul mood to notice it! Once we got to the top, Richard had decided his fear of Cable Cars wasn't worth angering me any more, so we looked at the price of getting a cable car back down. Turns out it was &jpy;1000!!! That's like a tenner, each! So we walked back down the mountain.

On the way up, we'd been accosted by a Japanese man who was running up and down. He explained that he did it twice a day and that this kept him fit and healthy. He gave me a "Yokoso Japan" pin badge, and chatted for a bit, before running off. On his way down we were near the top, so we took photos, and then on the way down again he caught up with us once again near the bottom. We chatted for quite a while, about football, beer, our jobs and our wedding, before he trotted off in his lycra back to his home. Turned out he ran that twice a week!

Once back in Hiroshima I got a massive hankering for sushi, so we asked at an information desk where the nearest one was. Unfortunatley it was a really expensive one in a massive mall and we couldn't afford to eat there, so we went up to the level that had more food on it and went to a little place called The Don. I hadn't had Donburi in years, so I was really happy with that. They even served beer, so we relaxed, ate some rice and meat and chatted. It was nice for a change to be somewhere were we wern't being bothered, and we could just be in each other's company, without having to read any Japanese (it becomes really hard work sometimes) or speak it, and without people constantly staring or talking to us. Afterwards we took a slow walk through the city, going in a few 100yen stores to buy tat, and picking up a couple of souvenirs here and there.

The next day we got up as early as we could, and via a combini for breakfast, we walked down to the Peace Museum. It opened at 8am and we wanted to do plenty in the whole day, so we started there at opening time. It wasn't the easiest museum to look through; no cool swords or suits of armour. There was clothes that people were wearing when the bomb went off in Hiroshima, covered in blood and ripped right through. It didn't leave much to the imagination, other than the brutality of the situation. There are no words that adequately explain how you feel after visiting - it wasn't enjoyable, or even 'interesting' feels like the wrong word. After this, we sat in the peace garden and chilled out for a little while, before walking past the A-Bomb Dome.

I know we'd been there before and taken a ton of photos, but I just couldn't resist it again. It was another beautiful day, peaceful blue skies contrasting against the bleack concrete and steel structure that stood, skeletal in defiance.

We walked for about 15 minutes, towards the reconstruction of Hiroshima castle. I'm not usually one for reconstructions, they are a big concrete mess, and the displays inside very rarely have any English f0r the exhibits, but Hiroshima doesn't really have the chance to have anything original any more, so concrete mess it was.

When we got to the grounds, there was a LOT of people there. It turned out we had decided to visit on the first day of an annual food festival! There was well over 200 stalls, each showcasing a restaurant from the local area. Anything you could think of to eat or drink, it was there - KFC included! Poor Richard could only stand and stare as I went a bit mental - my absolute favourite thing about Japan is the food. My eyes darted from stall to stall, searching for lunch as I really didn't want to end up having something that I could eat elsewhere. We settled on a stall that had some sweet potato fries, and deep fried Octopus. After we got a couple of beers, we settled down on the grass to watch the entertainment.

The first thing we saw, was some young girls, dancing to 'Hip-Hop'. Unfortunatley the song they had chosen was littered with the "N****R" word, and a LOT of swearing! We were desperate not to crack up laughing, and it seemed to go on forever. The dancing was very good though! We sat on the grass and finished our beers and headed off to the castle.

It was completely as we expected - no English translations, lots of reproductions of Samurai armour and a lot of stairs. It was worth it though, as we went up to the top level and took a lot of panoramic photographs of the entire area. Some people were taking a boat ride on the moat, and they waved up to us! We got a keyring with our names and the castle's picture on us, and headed back out to shop.

On the way home, we wandered through the shops, looking for a place to have a drunk, and came across a small izakaya where we entered, and I straight out said "we don't want to eat, we just want to drink" - this was no problem apparently, so we sat down and ordered some beers. Well, they probably knew this would happen, but we ended up ordering some chips and gyoza anyway! There was a lot of memorabilia on the walls for the local baseball team, and we chilled out and relaxed. We were off to Kobe the next morning, and we'd not been there before so we were quite nervous so we packed our luggage as we got home ready.

February 19th, 2012

The next morning we awoke with angry badger heads ready for a train journey to Hiroshima. We packed up our belongings, left the hotel and went to Mos Burger next door. I had been looking forward to a teriyaki and egg burger for years, so we had one each. Unfortunately they weren't half as nice as I remembered. After that we got on the bus into town, to the train station where we boarded a local train for Hiroshima.

One of the reasons we chose Hiroshima was that we got engaged there in 2007. We had been out to Universal Studios, taken the Shinkansen down to Hiroshima and we went to a Sushi bar. We had an amazing time at this sushi bar and Richard proposed when we got home. We really wanted to go back to the sushi bar, but several searches on Google Maps hadn't really shown anything we could identify. We knew we'd been extremely tired when we got there and had had more than a few drinks, so we weren't even sure which street it was down. Nevertheless, we were off!

We opted not to take the Shinkansen, as we weren't in any rush, and boy were we glad we did! We took a local train that changed at every stop and wound round the countryside instead of blasting straight through it. We passed down giant valleys and through rolling hills, each corner bringing a new pocket of life; a new village that jumped out at us with ornate roof tiles and allotments. In Osaka, the predominant colour of roof tiles is black or blue, in Hiroshima it's brown! Loads of the houses had shiny brown roofs, the sun dancing as it hit the rows of tiles as we sped past. I took loads of photos, unsure if they would come out due to the speed, but I had to take them anyway. The ridge tiles at the top had different family crests and dragons intertwined in them. Even with a hangover, there wasn't a place I wanted to be more.

We pulled up in the local station and arranged our luggage for the walk; the hotel we had chosen was the same one we stayed at in 2007 where Richard proposed, so we wanted to stay again, but it was quite a walk away! Thankfully, while we researched Hiroshima we had thoroughly planned how to get there, so it was plain sailing. When we got there, we found we had been put in a smoking room, but with a quick chat, they moved us and we paid the extra.

We wandered into town down the roads of Tankamachi, the area we were staying in and we found it! The Sushi bar was definitely where we had left it 4 years previous - it wasn't open but it was still there! We happily skipped off to go shopping, finding the covered shopping street, and stopping to eat somewhere that looked like Milf could eat. Only once we'd chosen from the menu did we realise that it was Bikkuri Donkey! (lit. surprise, donkey!) which was way more amusing than it should've been, not least because it reminded me of being in Japan in 2002/2003.

After a long hard afternoon of shopping, we popped back to the hotel and watched the Man Utd v. Man City game that had happened on the Sunday before we left! They showed the whole match which was a bit weird, not helped by the fact that the callled Manchester City "Manchestaa Shitty". Once we thought it was an acceptable time to go have Sushi, we wandered down and to our surprise, the chap in there recognised us and we had a lovely chat and sit while we ate everything he put in front of us.. This included some shrimp that he beheaded right in front of us, and then after we ate the raw tails, he grilled the shells and head and we ate those too!

We did mention that we wanted to do some Karaoke, so the Sushi bar owner suggested that we went over to a bar his friend owned. It turned out to be a very swanky bar, where 2 young girls and the owner's wife entertain salary men. I do kinda regret going, we spent a ton of money, but she did do the Tea Ceremony with us, which I hadn't experienced before. I ended up drinking Tanqueray 10 and several Asahi, and singing karaoke with old men, one of whom mocked me and called me a "New Half" (Transsexual), so I called him a stupid old man.

We were way more drunk that night than we ever ever have been, and when we woke up at 4pm we definitely had to decide to waste the whole day.

January 28th, 2012

Well, we'd been married for 6 months, and the time for the Honeymoon was finally upon us. We couldn't book it straight away due to money constraints and booking holiday off work, so we moved our 2 week holiday to October/November, and booked some flights to Osaka.

Rather than rush over to the airport at stupid o'clock in the morning, we booked the Travelodge in Manchester for the night before. We went for dinner in Hard Rock Cafe Manchester, and took a cab all the way out to the airport, where he dropped us off at Travelodge. When we got there, they couldn't find our booking, and it transpired that it never went through :( Panic! The lovely lady at the reception called all the other hotels in the area, while we paid a ridiculous amount for the internet, finding that one hotel had a room for £100 that night. Manchester United were playing Manchester City the next day, so everything was booked.

So after a lot of panic and tears, we got a second taxi over to the other hotel, paid and collapsed in the bed for the night.

Next morning we wandered over to the airport nice and early. We got through the check in queues with no problem at all and passed passport control ready to have a Burger King (our little tradition at Manchester Airport). Alas! There is no longer a Burger King, so we had to have overpriced scrambled egg and undercooked bacon at some little cafe thing. They didn't even have any balsamic or lemon pepper! >:(

We had never experienced Duty Free before, so we asked for some guidance from the chap in the shop. He told us we could have a litre of spirits each and 500 cigarettes. As we don't smoke, we picked a bottle of Bombay Sapphire, and a bottle of Bacardi Oakheart. He put them in a bag with the receipts and sent us on our way.

After grabbing a paper and calling my mum to say goodbye, we boarded a plane for Paris Charles De Gaulles. Neither of us had ever flew through Paris before, so it was quite exciting, and there were enough seats free that we could sit together. The lovely lady beside us talked to us and congratulated us on our Honeymoon, and we had touched down in Paris before we even realised.

Paris airport isn't the nicest. There are shuttle coaches from one terminal to the other, but the bossy way that they make you board, instead of assuming everyone isn't an idiot was a bit annoying. We only wanted to go from D>E or something like that, but apparently they have to hold our hand all the way. At least we didn't have to pick up our luggage.

Unfortunately, at passport control in Paris, the Duty Free that we had picked up in Manchester caused a stir. They hadn't sealed the bags!! The people at Paris were most unhappy with this, and sent Richard back to check it into the luggage in the hold. It took him over an hour to get through the service desk and back through passport control, and as it turned out, it had cost him &eur;30 for the box, and &eur;70 to check it into the hold as we'd already checked 2 bags! This was absolutely ridiculous, not the fault of Paris CDG at all, but Manchester, who hadn't sealed it. I was furious and I wish that Richard had just left the two bottles (they only cost us £20) but we were now around £190 out of pocket so far on the honeymoon, with the hotel room and now this!

The plane we were due to get on had been well into the boarding process by this point, but luckily was running well behind, so we joined the queue and got to our seats as by no means the last passengers. We had opted for 2 seats in the middle 4, as having to climb over/be climbed over by the 3rd person on the window seats is never fun. The flight to Japan was uneventful - we slept, watched some films (Pirates of the Caribbean 4, Little Miss Sunshine, Fargo) and drank some wine. The food was standard KLM fare, nothing too exciting but not terrible either, and as we touched down in Japan we were only slightly tired. Passport control was fine this time (last time, we'd filled the forms in pencil as that was what we were given, but that was wrong so we had to re-queue) and I actually got to go through a line that said "Native Japanese Only" as the foreigner line was crowded. I'll probably never do that again!

The first place we'd decided to stay was Onomichi, which was 3/4 of the way to Hiroshima. We should probably have thought better about travelling so far just after touching down, but hey, it was too late now. We got our JR passes, booked our Shinkansen ticket, and got on the train!

We changed at Fukuyama and transferred to the JR line, with a 20 minute walk to the hotel ahead of us. It wasn't too bad, we did end up on the wrong road a couple of times, but once we'd seen Mos Burger, the hotel was practically next door. Upon arrival the friendly staff at the Kokusai Hotel allowed us to check in straight away and go straight to our room. Once checked in we wandered out again, just to have a little look at the area. A little way down the road was a Kappa Zushi, which is a favourite fast food sushi-go-round of mine, so we mentally booked that for dinner and went back for a nap. On the way back we called at a convenience store, and there was a Hello Kitty raffle thing that had a ton of items in Pink Leopard Print, so I had a go and won some really cute fluffy socks!

When it got to dinner time, we went to Kappa Zushi, where the locals looked at us with wonder, small children made no attempt to hide their stares and the old people smiled at us unreservedly. Oh how much I had missed you, Japan! The best thing about Kappa Zushi was that they have changed the ordering system, and it's now not delivered by a waiter/waitress, a shinkansen model comes along the track beside you, and delivers the plates to your seat! We ate our fill and headed back to the hotel, where we went to the bar, taking all of the pamphlets we'd collected with us.

When we'd checked into the hotel, we had been given some vouchers for a whiskey sour (whiskey and soda) so we started off with those, then moved on to Guinness and bourbon. The waiter was very nice and started asking us questions like "Why have you come to Onomichi" and the like. He also showed us the best place in Onomichi to have Onomichi Ramen (which is very famous!) so we drew that on a map, planned tomorrow's excursion and retired to bed.

The next morning we woke up pretty early and went to a convenience store to get some breakfast. We had decided we were going to do the tour of the temples in Onomichi, so we set off at around 8am! We stopped halfway to eat our breakfast, and the heat was still sweltering so we sat and had a rest, admiring the tiny little winding streets that we were lost in. It's really a gorgeous thing, with a really safe path as it's been resurfaced to attract tourists. Once we got to the cable cars (called a Ropeway in Japan) we decided to ride up to the top of the hillside to see the walk of Buddhism. We didn't understand any of the writing (I couldn't be bothered to translate handwriting) but boy was it pretty!

After the walk, we took the ropeway back down (I didn't realise that poor Milf was terrified) and wandered over the main road, to Shukaen for Ramen. It must've been around 11:45, and there wasn't a queue when we got there, so we paid for our Ramen and received a token and waited for the deliciousness. It was everything I had imagined and more! We slurped our way through the bowls and left, only to find outside that the queue went right down the street! I guess we turned up at exactly the right time.

We went for a walk through the shopping area, purchasing a couple of mementos, and we stopped off for a coffee at a gorgeous little coffee shop which had a Mexican theme. The lady working there was amazing, and she taught me how to say "chilli pepper" in Japanese, while serving us the most amazing Jamaican coffee. There were several visitors came and went while we were there, and a lot of them commented on my tattoo, and congratulated us on our honeymoon. She took a couple of drinks off the bill for us, and handed me a cute little sachet of chilli flakes with sesame for seasoning my food.

We returned to the hotel and got changed for dinner. We had decided to go to an Izakaya to eat, as you don't actually have to eat much, you can just drink and we were still rather full from earlier. We researched some in the brochures, before deciding on one near the station. When we got there, it turned out to be a seafood izakaya and poor Milf was never going to eat anything there! We got given 2 bowls of octopus and 2 beers and it cost us &jpy;2000! (£20) so we left and went to the one closer to the station that we'd seen before. Boy were we glad we did! We had a few beers, some amazing food and then we noticed the "SUPER JOCKY" posters that advertised 3 normal glasses worth of beer! Whoops, 2 of those later we'd finally had enough, so we walked back to the hotel (Milf ran ahead early as he needed a wee, so I took blurry drunk photos of everything I could find) and we went back up to the bar.

In the bar there was one guy who knew a fair bit of English, so we sat with him and talked, while I sampled gin after gin and Milf had some whiskey bought for him. Massive mistake said our hangover the next morning...

January 5th, 2012

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