Tag Archives: love

Happy Anniversary Mr Mullaney Jones!

27 Sep

Hello, and welcome to one of my first blog posts in a while. It’s been a crazy year, getting married, buying a house (if you can call our crumbling wee bungalow that!) and just a bit hectic.

Unfortunately for you readers this is a gooey slushy update as I want to wish my gorgeous husband a happy three-year anniversary! *Note, this is the anniversary of when we met, and I fully expect more gifts and breakfast in bed on our separate wedding anniversary too! 😉

Joking aside, I could never have imagined to meet someone who makes me this happy everyday, and even more so as my husband.

I love you millions Matt!

Rachel

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4 Days Until Valentines!

11 Feb

There is still time to get some lovely treats for your loved one. Spend the weekend on a bit of retail therapy and check out some of these lovely options:

Valentines Cocktails
Absolut have launched the latest of their limited edition bottles, Absolut Electrik. The metallic range – available in blue and silver – are available at supermarkets RRP £18.55 and is very very sleek looking. It would make a great valentines gift, as the cocktails you create can be shared with your loved one.
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Why not try one of Absoluts Electrik Cocktail Recipes?

Blue Mule
1 part Absolut Vodka
2 parts Ginger Beer
Garnish with lime wedge

ElectriK blue
1 part Absolut Vodka
1 part Blue Curacao
1/2 part Lemon Juice
Shake!

Neon Lights:
2 parts Absolut Vodka
1 1/5 parts Lemon Juice
1 1/5 parts Grapefruits Juice
4/5 part Simple Syrup
1/5 part Ginger Syrup

Verdict: A delicious 9 / 10

Jockey
The Jockey range is my partners all time favourite – the hug him in the right places just nicely! I won’t embarrass him with an in action picture, instead I will use one of the model below!
Visit www.jockey.co.uk and prices start from £10 in their current sale, so very cost effective!

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Verdict: 8 / 10
It’s in the Bag!
I love the Hello Gorgeous range from Zazzle. This cute personalised bag would go down well as a present this Sunday – or could even be used as the ‘wrapping’ to a jewellery or small gift. Available online, customised for £27.99. A little on the pricey end of the scale, but at the moment they also have a 25% off voucher code: GIFT4MUM2016

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Verdict: A gorgeous 8 / 10

Dotcomgiftshop
If you are looking for gifts that will get the ultimate girlfriend seal of approval head to the Dotcomgiftshop Everything is so pretty, functional and cute that you could literally just pick anything. Their Valentines range is gorgeous (and delivery is free over £10 – though get in there quick!) I have included some of my favourites below. Prices start at under a pound and all items can be bought at www.dotcomgiftshop.com

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Verdict: A very cute 8 / 10

 

Cook up a storm
Charlie Bigham‘s, makers of some very fancy dishes for two, have launched  limited edition romantic red packaging just in time for Valentine’s Day. The meals are very delicious (if at the higher end of the budget) and will certainly give you more time with your partner as opposed to cooking from scratch. I was very impressed with the yummy steak pies, in their own ceramic dishes. The Pastry was amazing!

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Verdict: 7 / 1o

 

Booze glorious booze!
Valentines may be on a sunday so the hard liquor might be out of the question, but a few nice beers with a romantic dinner would go down very well. The team at There’s A Beer For That has carefully handpicked a selection of quality beers for you to enjoy, but if that’s not enough, there are many more great beers available, which you can find at beerforthat.com

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Blue Moon (660ml)
Available From: Tesco’s, Morrison’s, Sainsbury’s
RRP: £1.95
ABV: 5.4%
Blue Moon is a refreshing, medium-bodied, unfiltered Belgian-style wheat beer. It has a uniquely complex taste with notes of citrus, banana, orange peel, coriander and a welcome spicy bite. Try it with a slice of orange to complement the zesty fruitiness of this classic wheat ale.

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Deus Brut De Flandres (75cl)
Available From: TheDrinkShop.com
RRP: £17.09
ABV: 11%
Deus Brut des Flandres is a champagne beer, of medium body and effervescence. You will detect complex, flowery and biscuity flavours as well as peach, gooseberry and lemon followed by a long slightly sour, dry bitter finish. Deus Champagne Beer provides a revolutionary taste sensation for those seeking a matrix of styles.

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Birra Moretti (660ml)
Available From: Tesco’s, Morrison’s, Asda, Sainsbury’s
RRP: £1.99
ABV: 4.6%
Inject some classic Italian romance with a Birra Moretti, a beer that’s brewed to a recipe first used in 1859. This pale lager offers aromas of vanilla, honey and corn with a refreshing sweet taste. There’s also an underlying grassiness that’s brought to life by decent carbonation and falls into a dry finish.

 

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Leffe Ruby (750ml)
Available From: Tesco’s, Morrison’s, Asda
RRP: £2.49
ABV: 5%
Leffe Ruby is a red, refreshing beer with aromas of raspberry, Turkish delight and roses – how very Valentine’s. It has a natural freshness that’s given depth by strawberry, red berry and sharp lemon flavours. You will also enjoy traces of spices, forest fruit and rosewood. There’s a sweet, fruity finish with a subtle dryness. Pour into a Leffe chalice to release all of the red fruit aromas.

 

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Meantime Indian Pale Ale (750ml)
Available From: Waitrose
RRP: £5.35
ABV: 7.4%
This fantastic fat bottomed bottle of British IPA comes champagne corked and cries out to be shared. Enjoy sweet aromas of toffee and caramel as you pour and taste, with extra earthiness and herbal notes leading to a spicy and bitter finish. Superb with Indian cuisine, English cheese and a perfect date.

Verdict: A very tasty 8 / 10

 

Orgasms or Chocolate?
I read a statistic once that said women would choose chocolate over orgasms any day. Why choose – have both!
It’s traditional to buy your partner some sort of treat for Valentines, and the Lindor range is nothing short of heavenly. What’s more you can pick them up in any supermarket – so great for a last minute option! (top tip – if you get the standard shaped box, put the Lindt balls in a heart shape around a baking tray for a Valentines breakfast suprise!)
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Verdict: 10 / 10

 

 

 

Valentine’s valentines valentines

10 Feb

It’s a touchy subject at times among my friends. Most of them are too cool to take part in such mass consumerism. Yet ironically most of the women that I know would be awfully disappointed if they received nothing at all! I think there can be that perfect balance of ‘thoughtful consumerism’ and of course more importantly just setting aside the night as a couple to be a bit romantic. I have put together some Valentines gift ideas:

Zazzle
Cute is a theme that always goes down well when buying gifts for women. Zazzle certainly has this covered, with a whole range of gifts (some personalised) all available to buy online.

Zazzle Mugs  These little cuties are a perfect Valentines pairing for bringing your loved one a coffee that morning! Available at www.zazzle.co.uk for £14.80.
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Verdict: A very cute 8 / 10

 

For the geeky beer lover
If your partner is a beer lover and a bit of a geek all in one then they will love the new 0101 range.

Customer engagement agency Havas helia has worked with IBM Watson to capture the mood of the nation during the New Year party season to create a world first – a beer that tastes of joy and optimism.

Data experts at Havas helia analysed thousands of New Year related messages on social media and matched them with a range of emotional states. The top most shared emotions were love, joy, harmony, cheerfulness, optimism, resolution and excitement.

By using Watson Personality Insights, a tool that analyses language to produce a personality profile, Havas helia was able to categorise each beer according to different human characteristics, such as assertive, friendly or intelligent.

I tried ‘Pure Joy’ and it’s incredibly yummy! it reminded me of a slightly sweeter Punk IPA from the Brewdog range.

beerVerdict: 9 / 10
Healthy Treats for Valentines Weekend
Coconut is one of the latest health foods on the supermarket shelves. Coconut oil in cooking, coconut water for drinking, it’s long been known for health benefits but has only recently become readily available. I love the new Ape Coconut Curls. In lightly salted and slightly peppered flavours they are certainly something different. And with only 109 calories per bag, it’s time to put away the potato chips and try something new! I was impressed with how flavourful they are – but I must admit the mind boggled at such a sweet snack being reimagined as savoury! The snacks are available at Ocado; Morrisons; Planet Organic; As Nature Intended; Revital, and Nourish (Ireland).

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Verdict: 7 / 10

Valentines Foodie Gift
I am a massive fan of any company that can deliver me a box, include recipes and save me a whole bunch of beans on toast with my questionable kitchen skills. The Riverford Organic Farms recipe box is called The Happy Pear, thanks to it’s two chefs, Irish twins, David and Steven Flynn, who are also are part of Jamie Oliver’s FoodTube.  All of the ingredients are fresh from the farm (mud and all!)

I tried a box and made the coconut Dahl (yummy!) the five bean chilli (easy!) and the Spanish bake (with a 70 minute prep time it’s the only disappointment of the bunch) over the course of a week.
Priced at £33.99 per weekly box of three meals, it’s certainly not the cheapest option. But for freshness and ease of use I was suitably impressed and (if I had the money!) would definitely be signing up.

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Verdict: 7 / 10

Matt Jones – My little space of calm

27 Sep

There is a common saying in this country, that ‘time flies when you are having fun’. In the past I had never really rated this phrase as I always thought sure, but it also flies when you are busy, or even when you feeling stressed. Think about deadlines at work or in study – the minutes never seem to go faster than at these times.

This year however has proven me wrong – as time really has flown by, and for all the right reasons. Instead of stressing, dwelling on my future or past, I have learned (for the first time since I arrived in London) how to fully enjoy the present moment. It is all thanks to one amazing man, and I want to wish my gorgeous boyfriend Matt Jones a very happy one year anniversary!

Sunday cuddle

Sunday cuddle

Last year, after I complained that I needed to be a bit less emotional in love, a close friend said to me, “Mullaney, you need to accept no less than a man who can not only handle all your loud crazy northerness but also love you more for it – find someone who can keep up with you!” I am so grateful that I took that advice and I have found that person. It’s more than comforting to know that I have finally found my ‘little space of calm’. Ironic I know, since we are both a bit intense – but my gorgeous boyfriend is someone who truly loves me for myself, just as I am. That acceptance and love is the best gift that life can give – and it allows me to believe that we can survive anything that universe decides to throw at us, together.

I wasn’t looking for love when we met, but as we all know life has other plans than those that we create for ourselves! He well be the grumpiest person that I have ever met in the mornings, but he is also the most kind, loving and awesome person and I know that we are going to have the happiest life together.

I love you Matt Jones!

(Soppy post of the year over – I promise!)

Rachel xxx

 

'Meet the parents' day

‘Meet the parents’ day

Smiles

Smiles

Cute Alert: Happy Valentines Day From Cleo!

14 Feb
Happy Valentines Day From Cleo!

Happy Valentines Day From Cleo!

Valentines Quote

13 Feb

“The only way a woman can ever reform a man is by boring him so completely that he loses all possible interest in life.”

― Oscar Wilde

I love this quote. Women and men never change. They an evolve and mature – sure. Life events can sway them one way or another. But ultimately the inherent bits within that make them ‘them’ will always be the same. It’s for this reason women need to stop finding men they hope to fix. Instead they should hold out for someone who they wouldn’t change a thing about. So hats off to all the single women out there who refuse to settle for the commitment-phobe, cheaters, losers and arseholes of this world! Disappointingly there are a few out there. Credit due to all of those loved up folk, I guess that you have found your version of Mr Perfect – or at the very least, become really good at ‘boring’ it out of him! 🙂

Hope that you all have a lovely Valentines Day tomorrow,

Rachel

x

A Year Without Daniel

19 Jul

It’s been a year since my mischievous little brother Daniel died, aged 24, after a heart attack in his sleep. As the year mark approaches, my inability to cope with the prospect of life without him is more apparent than ever.

My Brother Daniel

My Brother Daniel

Each day is different, but I find as time wears on I almost have to deny all knowledge of his existence just to get up each day. The irony in this is that I also fear about people forgetting him, and mourn the memories that he won’t create as we try to move on. One day I will get married, and he will never be there to hug me, one day I’ll have children and he won’t ever be fun uncle Daniel. It’s so vivid in my mind – I can see him chuckling with that classic Daniel ‘I’ve been caught’ look on his face as I tell him off for giving my future kids their first New Years drink, or giving a toddler e-number sweets by accident.

As humans we all deserve to live our lives, and the horrific catch 22 in life is that means things have to go on after death. Sometimes I see a certain beauty in this, our loved ones existing in our hearts forever, immortalised in memory. Other times I see nothing other than the cruelty of such love, as when you feel so much how can your life go on without it.

Small things can hit you like a punch in the gut, and stop you in your tracks. Last week one of Daniels ex girlfriends posted on Facebook that her new boyfriend was the only man to ever make her feel special. I cried for hours. How quickly had she forgotten my brother? In hindsight I also feel more than a little hypocritical. This girl has talked about Daniel positively on Facebook for months and she’s tried to keep in touch with my family. She has a tattoo of his name down the length of her arm. Each day she must see it and be reminded that he is gone. Doesn’t she deserve to move on with her life? Deep down I know that I want her to be happy. I realised it was more about how I feel. To be happy means to make new memories without him, and it’s a hard choice.

On holiday in Cuba recently, when buying gifts, I bought a Cuban cigar for Daniel and afterwards I felt a suffocating melancholy. I can imagine his excitement, and his face as he puffs it ‘like a boss’ and the ensuing Facebook photo that he would post showing off his cigar pose. Days later I started to smile a little at the image, thinking not what he wouldn’t be around to actually do this, but at the cheeky childlike nature in Daniel that allowed my mind to conjure up the image in the first place. For his birthday this June my mam bought Daniel a wham bar, and my dad bought him a bottle of Jack Daniels. I wonder if they felt the same, the happy memory of what simple treats he loved yet the bitter reminder of what we have lost.

When I’m with my family it’s a stark reminder of who isn’t there and I don’t want the 12th of August 2013 to be the last day I had a family. This past year, in between the moments of grief, and the days of denial where life could be fun, I spent the remainder of my time worrying that I had lost my parents on that day too. That my mam’s grief would consume her until there was no room for me or my brother John. That my dad would never again come running through the house on Christmas morning dancing, clapping, christmas carols blaring singing for us all to wake up. Recently, I see small glimmers of a strength in them that does give me hope. We can still exist, and more than that maybe one day we can be happy again.

As my grief counsellor is so prone to saying “It’s early days” and it’s normal to be grieving this way. It’s actually really nice to hear, in London it’s so fast paced that I worry it’s strange to feel so raw, and hurt so deeply this far on. Tied to that, I despair that I lost myself on that day. In the past year I’ve become emotional (I even cry at sad stories about pets these days!), pessimistic, less fun. If I spot a reminder of Daniel I become melancholic, to my friends I must just seem like a bore by now. I’ve stopped being as ambitious, I’ve gained tonnes of weight, stopped caring about my future plans. I lost a lot of my confidence, sure that everyone looking at me can see my sadness and in turn avoid me like the plague. I look at pictures of myself smiling before it happened and think how beautifully carefree I was, how never again will I smile like that, look so young and happy.

Get Busy Living

Get Busy Living

Daniel had a motto that he loved from The Shawshank Redemption. He had half tattooed on his arm ‘Get busy living’ but due to a scar he had to wait for the latter half ‘or get busy dying’. When his scar faded he decided against the second half, it was too negative, and he wanted to be happy, he only wanted to ‘Get busy living’. I hope that one day I can do this. That I can smile when I’m reminded of him, that I can look at his photo albums without running to the bathroom to be sick. Nobody has such a small ego that they don’t want their memory to live on, I know that Daniel would want to be remembered. In fact he liked attention so much I know he would need to be remembered. I’m just figuring out right now how to do this – how to remember his life – and not his death.

A year on – one thing hasn’t changed in the slightest. And that’s the blog post I made below about how much I love Daniel. So… let’s end on that post, and of course, happy pictures of the kindest, loveliest brother I could have asked for.

“Every day I will miss my handsome curly haired little brother more and more. I would give anything in the world to have him back, to cuddle him again, or even argue with him one more time. Thankfully, I always told Daniel that I loved him, and he always told me he loved me too. I hope that he knows just how much, and what an impact he had on our lives. Our world was a better place with him in it, and I am very proud that he was my brother.”

 

My brother

My brother

Dan and Daniel

Dan and Daniel

 

Amy and Daniel

Amy and Daniel

 

In Florida

In Florida

 

Mam and Daniel

Mam and Daniel

 

Dad and Daniel

Dad and Daniel

Brighter days

Brighter days

 

The chubbiest chheeks

The chubbiest cheeks

Little bro's

Little bro’s

 

Disneyland

Disneyland – chillin ‘like a boss’

Valentines Day 2014 Moodboard

14 Feb

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It’s a wrap!

11 Feb

This Valentines create something a little special with your own bespoke gift wrap from Dom and Geri it has dotted lines along the back to make for the perfect wrapping technique and photograph with text can be customised.

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Verdict: a glossy 8/10

Valentines Preparation

10 Feb

FOOD

They say that the way to a mans heart is through feeding him well. Combine that with mans other favourite consumable – alcohol – and you get cocktail cupcakes! I tested three different cake types oozing spirits and fruity flavours that replicate cocktails. Not only were they delicious but the recipes are easy to follow too. “Caketails – Intoxicating Cupcakes for Grownups” by Jill Collins and Natalie Saville can be purchased at Waterstones or on Amazon and offers all of the guidance needed to make delicious cupcakes for your sweetheart.

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Verdict: A yummy, boozy 9/10

If cakes aren’t your thing and you’re more of a Cookie Monster, I love these heart shaped cutters available from Asda

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My Little Brother Daniel

6 Oct

In August my little brother Daniel died in his sleep aged 24. People always say that there are no words to describe grief – but unfortunately there are too many. I can only apologise for my rudeness to everyone who has asked me ‘Are you okay?’ I was unable to politely nod, smile and pretend – which seems to be the desired response. It began to get to the point where it felt like a disservice to Daniel to say ‘yes I’m fine’ even if it was a lie anyway. As those who have lost someone know all too well, nothing is going to be okay ever again.

My Brother Daniel

My Brother Daniel

Coming back to London and leaving my family behind is the hardest thing I have ever had to do, even though I know that I can move closer to them one day. Today has been a bad day for some reason, and a day when I won’t pretend I’m fine but grieve not just for my loss but also Daniel’s loss. He has lost another 50 years on this earth, living, loving his friends and family and being loved – and when I think about this for too long it takes the air away from around me, and I can’t breathe. Every day when I walk up the steps to my front porch (where I first found out) I feel as weak as that first day, remembering that he is gone.

For the past couple of weeks I deluded myself that he would be in Northumberland alive and well when I next visit, and I was able to be ‘normal’ as a result. Friends commented on how strong I am and all the usual supportive stuff. I had worried about being a burden to my boyfriend, hence why denial seemed easiest. Given my worries the year before over my boyfriends cancer I feel that for two whole years I have now been the girl who is always sad – and who wants to be friends with that girl? But after my two weeks of pretending that I’m happy I have finally realised that I am allowed to grieve, it’s okay to be sad. I don’t want it to rule my life, but the recent acceptance that it will for an undefined amount of time is almost a relief to me – as it’s one less thing to feel guilty about.

I don’t want to end this post on such a negative note, but instead want to share some of my favourite photos and memories of Daniel:

Chubbiest Cheeks

Chubbiest Cheeks

Daniel was the laziest baby with the cutest chubbiest cheeks imaginable. He would roll around the floor and point and I would say “Mammy, Daniel would like some more juice” or “Mammy, Daniel wants some sweeties”.

In Kenya

In Kenya

In Africa when he was 16 years old while out on the ocean in Kenya, Daniel told our catamaran instructor to go back to shore and leave us – he had learned the ropes and would take over. After the man swam back to shore an unmistakable little grin spread across Daniel’s face. He had not remembered at all how to run the catamaran – he had just wanted freedom. Needless to say we had the scariest journey of our lives, which resulted in a crash into the rocks and two very embarrassed parents. I love how unpredictable life was with Daniel in it.

In Love

In Love

Here is Daniel with his ex-fiance Ami. It was clearly one of the happiest times of his life and I am so glad that was able to experience love.

Christmas

Christmas

On Christmas morning Daniel would always be first up, and on the run up to Christmas first to plot how we could find where the presents were stashed. He used to try and feed the dog the coffee flavoured quality street as nobody liked those ones!

My little brother

My little brother

I spent much of my childhood making signs for my tent or bedroom door that said ‘Daniel keep out’ and rebuilding the sandcastles that he had joyously stamped to pieces. We could battle it out in the back of my parents’ car, footprints on the seats, tear streaked faces, and five minutes later be laughing and joking together.

Every day I will miss my handsome curly haired little brother more and more. I would give anything in the world to have him back, to cuddle him again, or even argue with him one more time. Thankfully, I always told Daniel that I loved him, and he always told me he loved me too. I hope that he knows just how much, and what an impact he had on our lives. Our world was a better place with him in it, and I am very proud that he was my brother.

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