Wonderful weddings, disastrous dates….

Well, where has the last two weeks gone? It seems like only yesterday I was sitting in a hot tub in the Alps drinking rose & eating cheese.  Yum…..

Its been a strange couple of weeks to be honest.  Lots of catching up with old friends, lots of training and even more yoga.  Its been a fortnight of highs and lows if Im brutally truthful.

Both weekends have been all about beautiful weddings & great times.  Always melts my heart to see my good friends find happiness with that special someone, and always lovely to catch up with friends.. we are all so busy with work, families and general life its great to see everyone and catch up on all the gossip.  Mind you, thats the sign of a good friend, you don’t see each other for ages but when you do there’s no bad feeling, no resentment, just good conversation, gossip, food and usually a beverage or to (or maybe thats just me!)

The day after is always weird, its almost like a totes emot roller coaster post weddings.  Why? Well, you build up to them for ages, go on hen nights or stag nights, buy beautiful new outfits – especially the ladies – its like a military operation! Shoes to match the dress, bag, maybe a hat (not me, my heads to weirdly shaped). Its all part of the fun from the moment you get that invite.  You arrange hotels, babysitters, taxi’s all in anticipation of a bloomin good time.

The day itself, dare I say it, is a long one, wether you are travelling from afar to get there, or just taking your time and enjoying getting all dressed up for the event itself.  Usually its a 12 hour shift for a wedding – some are longer (usually involving far too much alcohol) and they are exhausting – both mentally and physically.

I sob at most happy and sad things – I cry at DIY SOS for goodness sake (such a brilliant program), but weddings always make me emotional.  I do not get invited to loads, and Im glad as the ones I am lucky enough to attend are for the closest friends and family.   I’m so happy for the special people in my life, they mean the world to me & it always sets me off when they take those vows to spend their lives with another.  Marriage is still a very special institution in my mind, not always necessary, and doesn’t always work for some, but I am of the old school crew mentality – if I am ever lucky enough to do it it will be for the right reason – of which there is only 1 – love.  Not because I’m lonely or if I am ever lucky enough to have a baby, but because I want to spend the rest of my life with one special bloke.  In my mind thats the only reason, I can do the rest on my own without that commitment.  If I want to have children, either with someone or by myself I will.  Its perfectly possible in these times.  If I meet someone who doesn’t agree with Marriage then thats ok too.  I wouldn’t pressure anyone, do it for tax or pension reasons or for the sake of a child – only for a mutual loving, respectful and damn right head over heels in love relationship.  Maybe that comes from my upbringing from my parents who were lucky enough to be happily married for over 40 years.

I’ve come close to feeling that way about someone a few times, but something was always not quite there – I wasn’t convinced.  Sometimes I wonder if I am too set in my own ways, I do love my own space & I am perfectly happy in my own company – maybe too happy.  So when I see friends taking the plunge because they have that magical connection it lights my heart up with joy for them.  So Congratulations to you all, and thanks for inviting me to share in the special days – even if I have had two massive hangovers and accumulated some balloons………

The quest to find a bloke isn’t getting any better I am sad to say.  This fortnight I have been on two dates, one was ok, called Russ Abbott. And he was ginger. Honestly you couldnt make it up. Yes, all those nicknames ran through my head too (Rusty top, Rusty bin) and i was humming ‘oh what an atmosphere’ (YouTube it kids) but no spark (thank god) and the other one – well theres a 4 letter word I could use to describe him rhyming with front…

Boys – even if you meet someone and you realise they aren’t your type – don’t ever feel the need to tell them how you feel about their physical presence.  OK, I was a little hungover, but to be told “your too big for me to find attractive’ and ‘I don’t think you have made enough of an effort’ really isn’t a necessary conversation to have – especially when you are no David Beckham yourself! I do realise not everyone is attractive to everyone, and sometimes you need to get to know a person before that physical connection starts, but common courtesy and mutual respect for others – even for complete strangers – is a basic in life.  Maybe I’m just naive & Alison land is a wonderful place!!

Anyway on a more positive note the training is going well, I feel great.  This week I managed a 7km run, a distance I have not achieved for at least a year without stopping or throwing up.  I feel stronger than I ever have physically, I am lifting weights I never thought I could, and I’m nearly there mentally – still some bumpy days, but you bloomin lovely lot have been so kind and considerate I am never down for long.

The website build has started – a place for all my blogs, reviews, tips and travel.  Think Gwyneth Paltrow’s site but much more fun!! I will keep you posted on the progress – too excited!

The next two weeks bring the biggie – not smalls, the holiday.  I know, I know, all I have done is swan around for the last few months enjoying myself, but now its time to spend a few days in Aruba & a quick 48 hours in NYC to celebrate my BFF Birthday & shop.  Now, wheres my Bikini, martini boots & Dollars….

Speak to you all soon!!!

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Holidays, Health & Happiness

Bonjour!

The last fortnight has flown by, with 5 airports in as many days during the first week! So much for slowing down……

The first stop was a brief 48 hours in Spain to finalise everything there & get the house up for sale. I managed to squeeze in a couple of great evenings out with two of the wonderful people who helped my Parents and I all the way to the end. They know who they are, & I cant thank them enough.  Here’s to a brighter future for us all hey!

The plane home from Spain was unfortunately Easyjet. It never ceases to amaze me how poor the service is. We landed 10 minutes early at 1am only to be told we would have to wait on board 20 minutes while they “found’ some steps. Well unless they were looking for the pop band I would have hoped they could find some fairly sharpish on an AIRPORT runway…

We finally got off the plane half an hour later. No apology, no explanation. Back to BA for sure in future. Lesson learnt!!

After 5 hours sleep i dragged my bleary eyed self off to Yoga. As always, after an hour of that I felt amazing. Mind, body & soul all regenerated. So off home to do all the washing & repack! Why? Well I am off to the Alps to a very kind friends ski chalet for a week in Chatel with my partner in crime for this week. A week of fresh air, walks, rose & cheese. The simple things in life.  Both of us needed that!

Friday morning and off to Heathrow my favourite airport. I know some of you disagree, but T5 works. Its efficient, speedy, & i love it. Although we are only flying to Geneva which is a mere 1hr and 15 minutes away, we are flying business. Why? Well for £20 more i get lounge access & priority security clearance and fast track luggage arrival. Worth every single penny.

On board the wonderful stewards try to ply us with champagne and food. We stay sober (only because I need to drive) so they even give us bottles to take away with us. We disembark happy and clunking along with our mini champas & kettle chips. Thanks BA!!

Now for the tricky bit i have been dreading. Driving from Geneva to Chatel up a mountain. My experience of driving abroad on the other side is limited to Spain which is pretty traffic free, so this should be interesting! Avis give us a Vauxhall Astra turbo. The make of car I dislike the most in the world is Vauxhall. My Mum used to have to drive one for work, and I have had hire cars since that are Corsas and they are shockingly difficult Cars.  Heavy steering, rubbish gear boxes, but im willing to give it a try. Open mind and all that!

Geneva isn’t too tricky to navigate due to the large quantity of traffic lights, pedestrian crossings every 100 metres and speed cameras! Allow lots of time to get around the town! However, the views of Lake Geneva & the picturesque countryside are more than enough to keep me & my companion amused. Along with some hilarious road names & signs… Well, if you call an area Melon what do you expect!!

As we wind our way round the clear roads, we reach the beginning of our mountain ascent where it takes about 2 minutes to realise how poor this car is. You cant actually see to turn left due to a ridiculous design that had a huge piece of plastic blocking your view – the ‘turbo design’.  Well, I would like to be able to see fort then worry about the aesthetics after!! Ffs. So at every bend to the left I was having to lean forward to see round the windscreen or my poor passenger was having to assist!!! We carried on up the road slowly, and at the second tight corner a huge coach just flies round without looking.  Misses us by centimetres! Well at least the brakes work!! Not the best start…..

The car did not improve when it came to refuelling.  Now, most cars have on the inside of the petrol flap what fuel should be put in.  Oh no, not this one.  Was it in the manual? Noooo, why that would be too helpful.  So after ringing Avis several times, we finally got to know its petrol.  Vauxhall, you really are as bad as you always were!

The only good thing about the car was the most excellent Sat Nav.  Mrs Sat as she became known, although she does need to work on her pronunciation & her definition of a slight right or left turn…… but she got us to our chalet safely –  and what a beautiful chalet it was. Of course the view was spectacular, but the chalet itself is a stunner. It has all the mod cons, hot tub overlooking the mountains, sauna, beautiful decor & for me the piece de resistance – the master bedroom. A magnificent view over the Alps looking down onto Chatel, which I would just lay in bed staring at!  Night or day the view is spellbinding.  With a private balcony I would sit and gaze into the mountains, and i could literally feel every little bit of worry & stress leave me. What a totes amazeballs place.

Both of us needed a chilled out time, especially my hard working guest.  So, our 5 days consisted of walks into town, shopping, eating good food & drinking some very good wine. (Only 1 night of excess!, I know, progress hey!)

We even managed a few day trips to Yvoire, Evian, & across the wonderful Lake Geneva to Laussan in Switzerland for a brief wander & a look at the Olympic Museum (great fun if you are ever there).  We also had time for a cheeky ice cream stop – mainly because I cant seem to be able to read a ferry timetable correctly.. but it all turned out ok!! (Sorry T)!

Obviously we were in Chatel out of season, so a lot of places were shut which was not an issue. But it was highly entertaining to see how all shops close at 12 till 2.30 for lunch.  Even the large supermarkets. We always seemed to mis time it, but no harm done, just a good old giggle and another coffee!!

It was interesting to see the lifestyle though. The 2 hour lunch breaks and how vermently that is adhered to.

The thing that struck us was was the simplicity of everything. Simple food – cheese, meats, bread, fish, wine. And how healthy everyone is from walking, running, but from being outdoors. It certainly made me think about how our lives can get so tangled up we do not get time to or notice the beautiful thing around us. Why it takes us all to go away to another country to wind down

Sometimes you need that distance, but we all need to start taking more breaks, nearer to home, shorter periods but equally regenerative.

The main thing i realised is how important taking regular holidays is. I am not very good at that even when life isn’t throwing up its daily challenges & testing times.  I seem to think the place will fall apart without me.  How arrogant of me!! Thats what your work mates and colleagues are for, to take the strain when you are recharging, and then you return the favour for them.  I can understand why some Companies enforce a minimum holiday break to be taken-we all know how it recharges us, but we get so caught up in our jobs & loves we forget that feeling. Even just a long weekend being at home with the laptop away & the evil red light of the blackberry switched off – YES SWITCHED OFF –  is enough for us to feel better. I guess the moral is the big wheel of anyones work does not stop turning without us.

Don’t let life pass you buy, work and no play! You are not here for half as long as you think, so get out there, have those crazy evenings with special people, get your exercise in and good food, take those long weekends away to be selfish and restore yourself – your friends, families and colleagues will thank you for it!!

But just do not hire a bloody Vauxhall to drive up a mountain………

Time to go, off to yoga then I need to pack again for a special weekend with my girls celebrating one of the crew’s beautiful wedding day.  Too excited!! Now, I hope my dress fits post cheese eating! See you all in a fortnight!!!!

Au Revoir!!!

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