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Not So Rosey On Quality Street

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Christmas is over, the decorations have long been taken down, and we’re all heaving a sigh of relief that we won’t have to look at another turkey until the end of the year. However not all traces of Christmas have completely disappeared as we’re still surrounded by a huge mountain of chocolate that we couldn’t manage to get through during the festive season – even though we had been dutifully stuffing our faces with the stuff!

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Among the stash which is going to take us another year to finish – I won’t need to bother buying chocs this Christmas – is a plastic tub of Heroes which is now half full of miniature chocolates, which I don’t mind but I’m not over the top crazy about, so I’m contemplating turning them into a scrummy, yummy fondue or a brownie so that they’ll be fully appreciated and not sit lingering in the tub for the best part of a year.

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But despite consuming an amount of chocolate that would make an oompa loompa very happy (actually my brother often calls me an oompa loompa but we won’t talk about that!) what was missing this year was the mammoth tin of Roses or Quality Street we used to receive every year since we were knee-high to… an oompa loompa! To us, those tins of chocolate are as synonymous with Christmas as tinsel covered trees and nativity cribs – Christmas just isn’t Christmas without them!

I remember these!!! image from timeplan.com

I remember these!!! image from timeplan.com

 

One of the highlights of our Christmas involved working our way through a tin, tub or glass jar of either Roses or Quality Street (if we were extraordinarily lucky – both!) We couldn’t wait to take the lid off the tin and get stuck in. Even though Roses and Quality Street are available all year round in their standard box form, there’s something about seeing those beautifully wrapped sweets in bright jewel tones at Christmas that makes them very apt for that festive time of year. Opening a tin of Roses or Quality Street was like entering Aladdin’s cave; all those interesting colours, shapes, sizes and textures… no wonder it was such a huge hit with young children.

I still have one of these - minus the lid and label sadly. Image from ebay.com

I still have one of these – minus the lid and label sadly. Image from ebay.com

 

The chocolate tin was the equivalent of the Olympic gold medal in our house – it was regarded as something special that everyone wanted to get their hands on. And it was ideal, no, a necessity for Christmas telly viewing. All six of us would be gathered together in the living room. Dad would be sprawled out on the sofa, rummaging through the tin and gobbling up chocolate as though his life depended on it. Chocolate wrappers would be scattered on the floor much to Mum’s annoyance and our amusement. This would soon be followed by a surprised cry of “Oh! It’s all gone! Who finished it?” Er, you did, Dad but I suppose we should thank you for having the decency to finish the orange fondants and coffee creams. We may love our Roses and Quality Street but I seriously do not know anyone who actually likes these.

As Quality Street tubs appear today.

As Quality Street tubs appear today.

Now that I’m married, I wanted to continue the tradition. Buying a special Christmas edition tin of Roses or Quality Street that is, not having Dad scoff the lot. As Hubby is from the States, he’s never had either before, so he left it up to me to decide which one to get. As it was our first Christmas together in the UK, I thought I’d go all out and get both. However, I was soon left sorely disappointed.

First of all, they now come in a plastic tub not a lovely metal tin as in years gone by which was ideal for storing biscuits or if you’re like my mum – rice! Then I discovered that for both types of chocolate collections, many of my favourites had been discontinued. The selection of chocolates available were greatly reduced and if I’m being brutally honest, I didn’t like most of them. What have they done to my beloved Roses and Quality Street?

A quick look at reviews and forums indicate that I’m not alone. There have been many complaints regarding both quantity and quality of the chocolates. Many have noticed that the flavours have changed and that the chocolates tastes sickly sweet. Some have put the change down to takeovers by different companies while others believe that it’s due to having to be economical in times of financial crisis. But whatever the changes may be it doesn’t change the fact that it’s not the chocolate assortments that we once knew and loved.

And although it’s a more minor issue, I can’t say I’m too thrilled with the new look designs. Although they disappeared fourteen years ago, I wish that Nestle had not got rid of the image of the two characters Major Quality and Miss Sweetly – who incidentally were inspired by the knowledge that people in the 1930s craved nostalgia. And as for what’s supposed to be an abstract rose which features as part of the Roses design, well it just looks more like a child’s scribble. The design on my mum’s old tin has a beautiful design from either the late 70s or early 80s. I know things have to change as years go by but I thought change was supposed to be for the better.

With Major Quality and Miss Sweetly

With Major Quality and Miss Sweetly

Roses and Quality Street appeared in the 1930s; a time when boxed chocolates could only be afforded by the wealthy. These assortments were reasonably priced and nicely presented, low-cost packaging thus making it available to most working people. And over the years it has been a massive hit. Christmas aside, we knew we were in for a real treat if someone gave us a box of Roses or Quality Street as we were growing up. I also bought into the slogan “Say ‘Thank You’ with Cadbury’s Roses” and it would always be my go-to box of chocolates if I ever wanted to give a small token of appreciation.

Sadly, it’s not something I would do now. And unless the quality of these chocolates improve, I think it’s safe to say that it will be another tub of Heroes again this Christmas.

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Welcome 2014: The First Blog Post Of The Year

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Hope everybody’s had an amazing Christmas and New Year. I just can’t believe how fast the time has gone. Two weeks ago I was running around trying to do a whole bunch of last minute stuff – and now I’m sat here anticipating my return to work tomorrow and the only reminder of Christmas is the last remaining Christmas pudding in the cupboard!

2013 has been a very good year and I do hope that 2014 will be just as good. I don’t bother with new year’s resolutions – they’re pointless for someone like me – but I do have a list of things I would like to at least attempt this year so we’ll see how I get along with that.

I’ve also thought a great deal about Nostalgia Pie and my plans for the blog this year. All my blogs are very special to me but I love Nostalgia Pie just a little bit more because it’s the blog that kicked off everything. I’m still going to be looking at everything that’s associated with my childhood years but I’d also like to feature interview people who’d like to share childhood stories from their era. If I’m lucky I may even be able to get a well known face or two who used to be on screens ‘back in the day!’ But of course, all the usual favourites from Nostalgia Pie will still be here. Here’s hoping the blog will be bigger and better than last year!

 

Happy new year everyone!

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Posted by on January 5, 2014 in This, That and the Other!

 

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Goodbye 2013 – You’ve Been Awesome!

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Christmas is over and we are about to embark on a new year which holds promise, endless possibilities and adventure. Or another 365 days just chilling out! Either way is fine by me!

It’s been a blissful Christmas and the break is not over for me and Hubby as we have taken extra time off to relax before we get caught up in our hectic schedules again. And we have had the most relaxing time. I almost feel guilty that we didn’t make better use of our time and head off somewhere but hey, we’ve got the whole of next year to go gallivanting if time (and work!) will allow.

It’s given me time to catch up with blogging as I’ve been quite neglectful in the run up to Christmas. Oh and I’ve taken to watching early episodes of Neighbours partly because I’ve been feeling especially nostalgic and think that the old stuff is so much better than the show is now (sorry, Neighbours!) but also because I was very young when Neighbours first hit our screens and don’t remember the earlier episodes very well. In fact when Neighbours was first shown in the UK it used to be on at around 9am while I was at school so there was no chance of me watching it (it was before they started repeating it at 5:30pm.) Anyway, I’ve come across a whole bunch of characters and storylines I never knew about – so stay tuned for further blog posts about that.

What a year 2013 has been. To say it’s been eventful is something of an understatement. Let’s take a look at the year we’re about to say goodbye to:

MAJOR EVENTS:

  • Sad passing of Nelson Mandela
  • Pope Benedict XVI steps down as pope due to failing health
  • Pope Francis becomes the 266th pope; the first pope from South America and the first Jesuit pope.
  • Building collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh leaves 1,129 people dead.
  • Croatia becomes the 28th member of the European Union.
  • Syrian civil war
  • Typhoon Yolanda hits the Philippines
  • Lostprophets’ lead singer Ian Watkins is convicted of some of the worst crimes against children
  • Stuart Hall is jailed
  • Zara Phillips announces that she is expecting…
  • …as does Gwen Stefani.

BIRTHS:

  • Prince George of Cambridge, future king of England
  • Controversially named North West – the most talked about baby since Prince George!
  • Kate Winslet’s baby Bear!
  • Jennifer Love Hewitt’s daughter Autumn
  • Holly Valance had a little girl called Luka
  • Parker Bridge, son of Wayne Bridge and Frankie Sandford
  • Halle Berry and Olivier Martinez had the obviously gorgeous Maceo
  • Azura, Alesha Dixon’s baby girl
  • Michael Buble’s son, Noah
  • Jessica Simpson’s son, Ace Knute
  • Peaches Geldof’s son Phaedra
  • Josh Duhamel and Black Eye Peas’ Fergie had a son named Axl
  • Alec Baldwin became a dad for the second time to Carmen
  • Baby girl Everly was born to two very gorgeous parents – Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan-Tatum
  • Marvin and Rochelle Humes’ daughter Alaia-May
  • Jamie Cullam and Sophie Dahl’s baby Margot – a great-granddaughter for the late Roald Dahl
  • Edith Bowman had a son Spike
  • Ferane Cotton’s son Rex
  • Bryan Adams’ daughter, the exotically named Lula Roseylea!
  • We didn’t think it would happen but Hugh Grant became dad to son, Felix
  • Shakira’s baby boy, Milan
  • Elton John’s second son, Elijah
  • Lily Allen’s daughter Marnie

DEATHS:

  • Nelson Mandela
  • Larry Hagman
  • Margaret Thatcher
  • Bernie Nolan
  • Anna Wing
  • David Frost
  • Alan Wicker
  • Michael Winner
  • Mel Smith
  • Paul Shane
  • David Coleman
  • Ronnie Biggs
  • Peter O’Toole
  • Lewis Collins
  • Paul Walker
  • Lou Reed
  • Nigel Davenport
  • Sean Edwards
  • Ray Dolby
  • Tom Clancy
  • Ken Norton
  • Davis Jacobs
  • Christian Benitez
  • Cory Monteith
  • Louis the Chimpanzee
  • James Gandolfini
  • Bill Pertwee
  • Richard Thorp
  • Bryan Forbes
  • Sir Robert Edwards
  • Richard Griffiths
  • Richard Briers

May they rest in peace.

WEDDINGS:

  • Chad Kroeger and Avril Lavigne
  • Jimi Mistry and Flavia Cacace
  • Keira Knightly and James Righton
  • Theo Walcott and Melanie Slade
  • Halle Berry and Olivier Martinez
  • Coronation Street’s Helen Worth to Trevor Dawson
  • Dawn French and Mark Bignell
  • Example and Erin McNaught
  • Jessica Ennis and Andy Hill
  • Amir Khan and Faryal Makhdoom
  • George Lucas and Mellody Hobson
  • Tina Turner and Erwin Bach
  • Elle MacPherson and Jeffrey Soffer
  • Kate Bosworth and Michael Polish
  • Victoria Pendleton and Scott Gardner
  • Patrick Stewart and Sunny Ozell
  • John Legend and Christine Teigen
  • Pharrell Williams and Helen Lasichanh
  • Rose McGowan and Davey Detail
  • Kelly Clarkson and Brandon Blackstock
  • Christina Ricci and James Heerdegen
  • Jonny Wilkinson and Shelley Jenkins
  • Zoe Saldana and Marco Perego
  • Sally Lindsay and Steve White
  • Leslie Phillips and Zara Carr
  • Kaley Cuoco and Ryan sweeting
  • Lacey Chabert and David Nehdar

So it’s been quite a year with so much going on. Some of it memorable and some of it things we’d rather forget! I wonder if I’ll be talking of the events of 2013 in years to come – if Nostalgia pie is still around of course.

2013 has been quite a year for me in terms of blogging. I’ve been working on several blogs this year but it’s Nostalgia Pie that is very special to me because it was my very first attempt at blogging. I started the blog back in 2012 but began posting on a serious level at the beginning of this year. At first it was a little bit like shouting in an empty room but slowly but surely the likes started… followed by the comments… and then the follows. All the feedback I received has been extremely positive and it gave me the encouragement to keep going. It’s great to share memories and have people know what you’re talking about. And I remember the two blog posts that caused everything to skyrocket: Top Twenty Childhood Sweet Treats and Baked Alaska. That’s when I knew people were actually reading my blog!

And of course I got to know some awesome fellow bloggers and without Nostalgia Pie this would not have been possible. And being nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award pretty much made my year! Of course I plan to keep blogging in 2014 and bringing that wave of nostalgia back into everyone’s lives.

I’d like to wish all my fellow bloggers and everyone out there a very happy new year. Best wishes for 2014.

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Posted by on December 31, 2013 in This, That and the Other!

 

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Still Open All Hours: Nostalgia At It’s Best!

BBC viewers were treated to a mini trip down memory lane on Boxing Day this year in the form of a special one-off episode of Still Open All Hours based on the popular sit-com of the 70s and 80s Open All Hours. The original series starred the late Ronnie Barker and David Jason as the uncle and nephew team running a grocery store in Doncaster.

Over the years in our household, Open All Hours was hardly ever off the box. Even when the show ended in 1985, we would watch an endless stream of reruns and we even bought Dad the DVD collection one Christmas. It was definitely one of his favourite comedy programs and to this day he still laughs his head off as though he’s watching it for the first time. In fact my siblings used to joke that Dad was an awful lot like Arkwright, Ronnie Barker’s character – but a lot more generous!

Open All Hours was a relatively slow moving sit-com but that just reflected the pace of life in the sleepy Yorkshire suburbs and the fact the most of the customers who frequent the shop are old-fashioned, homely characters of a ‘certain age’. I didn’t always get the jokes due to being so young but I knew the show wasn’t low on humour.

Writer Roy Clarke who penned the original series has now brought the show into the twenty-first century with Granville, played by Jason, stepping into Arkwright’s overalls after having inherited the shop from his late uncle, and he is now assisted by his son, Leroy (James Baxter.)

Although Still Open All Hours is set in 2013, it could well be back in the 70s as nothing seems to have changed at all. Very little is different about the shop which is still called Arkwright’s; I’m sure the overall’s Granville’s wearing could very well be the same ones Arkwright wore; the clapped out old bike along with the cash register which is in danger of guillotining your fingertips are still there. Nurse Gladys Emmanuel, Mavis and Mrs. Featherstone are still regulars, and the put-upon errand boy still exists but it’s now Leroy instead of Granville – with the former finding a novel way to make deliveries thus avoiding the dodgy bike!

 

I’m glad that this new episode didn’t stray too far from the original formula which is what sometimes happens when a show returns after a hiatus of several years. The show’s distinctive theme tune, “Alice, Where Art Thou?” appears to have remained unchanged and not revamped for the twenty-first century (thank goodness!) And not only was it great to see some of the old regulars but I’m thrilled that they were played by the permanent cast members from the original series: Lynda Baron (Nurse Gladys) Stephanie Cole (Mrs. Featherstone and Maggie Ollerenshaw (Mavis.) It would have been lovely, however, to have seen the return of the milk woman, with whom Granville had once had a romantic liaison. Mrs. Blewett’s absence was also noted but Kathy Staff, the actress who played her had sadly passed away back in 2008. It just wouldn’t have been the same to see another actress step into her shoes.

Still Open All Hours saw Granville unsuccessfully trying to shift copious amounts of anchovy paste (“They’re staunch potted meat round here, ” declared Nurse Gladys) and eventually managing to sell a couple of tins by claiming that they had aphrodisiac properties. This echoes Arkwright’s ginger cake situation which many viewers remembered (not me, so I’m going to have to watch Open All Hours Again!) And whereas Granville had to grow up dealing with an absent father, history repeats itself slightly with Leroy having to deal with an absent mother after having been abandoned by her as a child. And of course, shop closing time just before the credits still exists with the voice over that begins “It’s been a funny old day…” Classic!

However, the presence of new characters prevented the old format from becoming tired and stale. Granville now has a grown-up son Leroy, who helps run the grocery store with him. But unlike his father, he has more success with the ladies. There are also ethnic characters – something that was missing from the original series – which reflects the cultural diversity in Yorkshire. ‘Wet’ Eric provided some of the biggest laughs in this episode, and we also met Mrs. Agnew, Granville’s potential new love interest and the tea salesman among a whole host of characters.

Fans of the original show didn’t have time to miss Arkwright because although he sadly wasn’t physically present, writers made sure he was very much there in spirit. His overalls are still in use; there is a photo of him hanging up at the back of the shop which shows him looking almost demonic as he watches over his beloved shop; Granville’s impersonation of his late uncle’s stammer was spot on, and then there are the constant references to Arkwright by Granville, Nurse Gladys and Mrs. Featherstone. In addition to all this, it seems that as well as inheriting Arkwright’s shop and overalls, Granville seems to have morphed into his late uncle. He’s become as penny-pinching and desperate to make a sale as Arkwright. He also harps on about the merits of the old cash register and bike to Leroy in an attempt to get him to use them – but won’t go near them himself! As Nurse Gladys declared, “You’re an old tightwad like your uncle… he trained you well.” The transformation of Granville’s character is understandable on many levels. However, it means that while a great job was done to ensure that we didn’t feel Arkwright’s absence – I did miss Granville; the old Granville who was somewhat bumbling and a bit of a dreamer.

There were a few things that I found strange. Granville says to Nurse Gladys that in time Arkwright would have married her but I’m almost certain that Arkwright did marry Gladys. I remember an absolutely hilarious episode where Arkwright and Gladys got married – while Arkwright wore Gladys’s trousers! Furthermore, the character Cyril who was originally played by Tom Mennard is now played by Kulvinder Ghir!

But there was still so much to like about Still Open All Hours: the array of famous faces including Ghir, Nina Wadia, Sally Lindsay, Brigit Forsyth and Johnny Vegas who played ‘Wet’ Eric; the ‘aah’ factor came in the form of a dog who was sent on a shopping errand and Mrs. Featherstone taking Granvile by surprise with an unexpected snog was hilarious. Admittedly, there wasn’t much of a strong storyline; it was more of an introduction to the characters and a summary of the events that had occurred in Granville’s life but then what more could be done in a thirty minute slot? David Jason is adamant that Still Open All Hours is a one-off – there will not be a series following. However according to Wikipedia “If viewer reaction is favourable, the programme may return for a full series in 2014.”            

We’ll have to wait and see who’s right. Reviews have been fairly mixed but for the most part it seems to have been very well received and many viewers have said that they thoroughly enjoyed it; it was a great piece of nostalgia; and Ronnie Barker would have been proud. I agree with all of the above and feel it was definitely the best thing on TV during the festive season. How would I feel about an entire series? I have mixed feelings about it having seen numerous comebacks and spin-offs being ill-recived but given the success of the one episode, it could work. Roy Clarke apparently wrote the script for Still Open All Hours in two weeks – and it’s been brilliant. He has done a fantastic job – I always did say the old comedies are the best.

 

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2013 in Comedy Shows

 

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Literally The Coolest Lip Balms Ever!

Being a typically girly girl, I am so excited about the new range of lip balms based on Wall’s ice-cream classics. Whoever came up with this idea is a legend in the making!

The new range of lip balms

The new range of lip balms

The new range comes in four fantastic flavours: Feast, Strawberry Split, Twister and Mini Milk. These old school classics definitely take me back to my childhood: a time of ice-cream vans; walks in the park; summers spent hanging out with our little friends, and not being able to walk past a newsagent’s without dragging Granddad in to buy us all ice-lollies.

Feast

Feast

Mini Milk

Mini Milk

Twister

Twister

I honestly can’t decide which was my favourite out of the four as I’m sure I scoffed them all in equal measure. However, Feast may have had the edge simply for being super chocolatey! It’s just too bad that the ever fabulous Fab isn’t part of the line up as I loved those as well but sadly it was unlikely to be included as Fab is not a Wall’s ice cream. Oh well!

Strawberry Split

Strawberry Split

Anyway, I cannot wait to get my hands – or lips – on all four great flavours. Proof that a moment on the lips doesn’t necessarily have to mean a lifetime on the hips!

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Posted by on May 19, 2013 in Old School Stuff

 

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Tears For Boston

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Nostalgia Pie changes direction from it’s usually skippety-skip type posts and how I wish it hadn’t. The bomb blasts that occurred at the Boston Marathon on 15th April 2013 shocked, saddened and disgusted the entire world and I feel compelled to share my thoughts even if it isn’t necessarily nostalgic or dripping with feel good sentiments.

Beautiful Boston

Beautiful Boston

It is beyond belief that what should have been a fun day out and a chance to raise money and awareness for some well deserving charities should culminate in such a senseless act of violence which has claimed the lives of three people – one of whom is an eight year old boy – and seriously injured countless others. How ironic that good intentions should contrast sharply with evil actions. The images that are being shown around the world and the reports that are coming through are so disturbing that I can’t bear that for the sake of my own sanity I have had to switch off. Which raises the issue that if I feel this way then the suffering of those directly affected by the blast is just too much to contemplate.

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As far as American cities go, Boston is not as high profile as some of it’s more talked about counterparts which makes it that much harder to understand why Boston was targeted for such a gruesome act. But that’s not to say that Boston is a city with little significance as it is famed for it’s colleges as well as its historical and cultural heritage which attracts millions of tourists a year. But one of the reasons for which I will always be grateful to Boston is because it’s the city which brought us New Kids On The Block; my first ever childhood crush and it is because of them that I developed a huge fascination with Massachusetts’ capital city. During my teen years, it was my secret ambition to move (admittedly in the hope that I might bump into my idols) and it’s still on my list of places to see.

Boston sure knew how to throw a great Tea Party!

Boston sure knew how to throw a great Tea Party!

As a matter of fact, NKOTB’s Joe McIntyre was running in the marathon in a bid to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association and it has been reported that Joe narrowly missed the explosion. His very worried friend and bandmate, Donnie Wahlberg, took to Twitter in order to discover his friend’s whereabouts. Thankfully Joe was safe but he and the other New Kids as well as Donnie’s younger brother, Mark, have all expressed their utter despair at the atrocities that has hit their hometown.

NKOTB: the original and best boy band ever!

NKOTB: the original and best boy band ever!

Everyone who knows me will know that I am always banging on about how great life was ‘back in the day.’ It wasn’t. There were just as many social and political problems back then too. The difference was that I was too young to fully understand what was happening. However, I do vehemently believe that the mentality of people has changed a great deal and there’s definitely a lot less generosity and compassion in the world today. Who in their right mind would think it is acceptable to plant explosives where people were running for good causes… where children and elderly people were likely to be present… where innocent people were likely to be killed? People who just don’t care and that is exactly what is wrong with the world today.

NKOTB's Joe McIntyre turns marathon man!

NKOTB’s Joe McIntyre turns marathon man!

My heart truly goes out to the victims; their familes and friends and all those who call Boston home. Please keep those affected by the atrocities in your thoughts – and pray that such mindless atrocities will cease to occur.

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I’m Back!

I hate that I’ve been away from my beloved blog for longer than I care to think about but it’s all been for a good reason. I landed a great gig at an English language college and I’m loving it, loving it, loving it! The hours are longer than a pair of longjohns belonging to an NBA player; due to excessive tiredness, I’m constantly OD’ing on caffeine so much it would be cheaper to develop a crack addiction and I hate that I don’t get to spend enough time with my lovely hubby and other equally loved ones but… I really love my job. I’m based in one of the best parts of central London; I get to work with a fantastic bunch of people everyday and I enjoy the work immensely. The hours may be crazy but they do fly by which goes to show that I’m definitely having fun; I can’t believe that I’m getting paid to socialize!

 

However much I’m enjoying life at the moment (not to mention having regular money coming in. Go me!) I won’t be abandoning my blog any time soon and cannot wait to start reminiscing again. Remember when…

Watch this space…. I’m coming back real soon!

 

 

 
 

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