Thursday, 26 December 2013

My first blog giveaway!

To celebrate my new blog look I thought I'd run a small giveaway. Last month my mum went to New York City, I asked her to bring me home some Covergirl mascaras as I love them. As we can't get Covergirl in the UK anymore I thought I'd run a giveaway to give one lucky reader an opportunity to win one. In addition to the mascara I'm throwing in a gift card to Starbucks, who doesn't love a chai tea latte in winter?

The giveaway will run from 26 December until 3 January. To compete you will need to complete the Rafflecopter widget. If you don't use twitter please leave me your email in the comments if you want to take part, I will announce the winner on twitter. I will verify all entrants before announcing a winner. UK entrants only sorry.


Sunday, 8 December 2013

Hello Wonderful's Christmas Tag

The Christmas tree is up and I'm feeling relatively festive. I love Christmas, always have done. I can't say that the shine hasn't been taken off things this year but I can still feel the magic. 

In order to try and get into the mood a little more I thought I'd give Ella's tag a go.

What time of the year do you start your Christmas shopping?
I don't have a set schedule, usually I'll pick things up from about July onwards if I see something that I think will make a good Christmas present. This year I started in the summer again, granted the only shopping I did was for my ex (I left everything in his office at our home with a note explaining what it was when I moved out - I couldn't stand to return everything). As I've started from scratch I've only started shopping in the last week, I've finished shopping for my mum but I've not done a scratch for anyone else! I really need to pull my socks up.

Do you have any festive recipes for food or drink you limit solely to the Christmas season to share?
Absolutely not! Christmas food can be eaten all year round in my book, it's never too warm or spring like to enjoy festive treats. Perhaps when I'm in my own place I'll gradually develop my own traditions at Christmas but for now give me Christmas food 365 days of the year.

Tell me how Christmas goes down in your home.
When I was small I was usually the first person in the house to wake, I'd sneak a look at my bedroom door and if my stocking was full then I'd jump out of bed and bound in to see my brother. Once he was awake (he was always less enthusiastic than me) we'd either go straight downstairs, making sure to make enough noise to wake my parents, or go in and see them. After that all the Christmas presents under the tree would be opened, a small quantity of chocolate would be consumed and eventually we'd move onto Christmas lunch at about 2pm. As my brother and I got older we started getting up later (no more 4am starts) and early morning chocolate would be accompanied by champagne.

I'm not sure how it's going to work this year. My brother isn't here as he bought his own house earlier this year, it's just me and my parents. I suppose I'll have a bit of a lay in, celebrate if I manage to wake up without wanting to cry in the first five minutes and then head downstairs. Perhaps this year I'll wait until my brother arrives to open my presents, I think it might be a little sad to open my stocking and presents on my own. The rest of the day will probably be business as usual, chocolate, champagne, turkey and BBC repeats.

Do you have any Christmas traditions?
Ignoring the fact that things were quite a bit different last Christmas, this year I'm reverting back to my family traditions. I help my parents pick out a tree, put the Christmas decorations up and on Christmas morning I always wrap the pigs in their blankets. In years gone by my dad, grampy and I would take a walk around the neighbourhood after lunch, now that my grampy isn't with us we've not done it for the last few years so I'm hoping that this tradition will return with just me and my dad.

Do you have a favourite festive coffee?
I don't like to drink coffee at all, I can't stand it. Love the smell, not the taste. However, it's at this time of year that the chai tea latte comes into it's own. It's Christmas in a mug, perfect for the festive season.

What's your favourite Christmas song?
It's a tie between Wizzard's "I wish it could be Christmas everyday" or "Merry xmas everybody" by Slade. I'm a fan of cheesy Christmas songs.

What do you do on Christmas eve?
I mainly sit around, eat snacky food and watch excessive amounts of TV. We don't have any Christmas eve traditions in this house. In the past I've gone to Christmas eve mass with my mum, but it's so incredibly boring that I'm not willing to go out in the cold for it anymore.

What's your Christmas wrapping strategy? Do you have a strategy?
Do people have wrapping strategies? 

I don't have one. I buy paper and bows etc in the sale after Christmas for use the following year. I don't wrap as I go, I have one night where I'll stick on a Christmas film and wrap everything. Typically I'd bring all the presents down on Christmas morning but for the last two or three years I've put them under the tree before Christmas day, mainly because that's what my ex did. I'm planning on sticking to his method as I like how it looks.

What's your dream gift this year?
Not going to happen - I'd like the man I married back. The happy, in love with me man. Failing that, an end to feeling down at the silliest of things would be swell.

More likely to happen - my Amazon wish list is bursting with lots of beauty goodies, mainly from John Lewis such as Estee Lauder's New Advanced Night Repair II. Anything from my list would be greatly received.

Describe your Christmas tree. How tall? Real or artificial? How is it decorated?
It's a beauty of a tree! It's real and just under 6 foot. We stick to traditional colours in our house, gold and reds. We also have clear and white fairy lights on it, plus a few chocolates (which we're not allowed to eat 'til Christmas day). 

Do you decorate just the tree or other areas of your house e.g. windows, banisters?
The banisters are adorned with Christmas cards, the hand rail has lights woven around it. The mantelpiece is decorated with a garland, lights, candles, ornaments. The kitchen windowsill also gets decorated too. Lights go up outside the front of the house too. Oh! The sideboard in the dining room is decorated with Christmas ornaments too. 

What do you wear to Christmas parties and what do you wear on Christmas day?
For the last few years I've worn a party dress in one form or another for work parties. This year I've decided to wear black skinny jeans, some sort of top - I can't decide between this, this, this, this, this or this. Decision making isn't my thing at the moment. I'll definitely be wearing these shoes whatever top I go for:

On Christmas day I usually go for a smart/casual look, sometimes a dress or sparkly top with jeans. This year I'll be slumming it in PJs or comfy clothes for most of the day. If I had a pair of tracksuit bottoms I'd probably wear those. Total comfort is the look/feel I'm going for.


Saturday, 7 December 2013

Two months captured with instagram

1. The stress of my marriage ending caused my skin to go crazy. I have pretty temperamental skin at the best of times and in the recent months I've turned to REN to help me. I'm putting the condition of my skin post break up totally down to them, it's so much better. 2. Mum's stew with champagne to celebrate my brother's house move. 3. My new bedroom set up. Got home from work one day to find a bed in my bedroom (I slept on the floor on a mattress for the first month at my parent's), the next night I got home to find fairy lights, new bedding and Lush bath bombs on my bed. I'm being well taken care of. 4. First pay day post split. I did what any self respecting woman would do and spent it on pretty dresses. 5. Started trying to take more care of myself, including getting out some gorgeous nail colour. 6. The best way to give my brain a break is to either watch an excessive amount of TV or to read, Harry Potter being my book of choice.

7. Started making travel plans. Currently pondering a trip to Dubai in 2014. 8. A girl can never have too many dresses, surely? 9. New purchases, the toner and foundation have become favourites straight away. 10. More pay day purchases. I've not really been able to wear perfume for a few years as my ex is ridiculously allergic to scents, unfortunately I'm not able to wear my two favourite perfumes (Alien and Coco Mademoiselle) as I associate them with happier times - the latter was my 'wedding perfume', I adore it but it's too soon. Hopefully I'll reach a stage where I can smell it again without my heart aching. 11. I was having a very mopey day so my dad suggested going to the Newport Wetlands to watch the mummuration, I'm so glad I went. If you get the chance to go and watch the starlings - go! 12. Sunset at the Wetlands.

13. Part of trying to get back to being me is colouring therapy. It was suggested in a book I've been reading and it definitely helps, especially when my mind is stuck on a negative loop of thinking. 14. On what would have been my third wedding anniversary the girls in work took me for lunch, I consumed the 'small' burger with fries. It was the size of my head. It was very good. 15. Not content with eating lots of food for lunch that day, I visited a friend who I used to work with along with another friend and her baby. She had decorated her house for Christmas early for us, it was a lovely night. 16. I don't work in the main uni building for our school so sadly I don't get to see this beauty of a Christmas tree everyday so this was a treat. 17. Hunters on for a muddy trip to the Ty Cerrig Christmas Tree Farm. 18. Me with our tree. I'll be doing a proper post about our trip to Ty Cerrig in the next few days.

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Tuesday, 3 December 2013

A place to call my own

Now that I'm on my own, I'm trying to focus on the positives that lay ahead. Dwelling on how terrible this situation is doesn't help me, I need to know that one day I'll have a lovely home, a greyhound and maybe someone who loves me. At the moment the most attainable are a lovely home and a greyhound. 

I'm not going to be in a position to buy my own place for a year so I'm back with my parents until then, I'll be saving like crazy as well as buying myself little treats after each pay day. Now that I don't have a home to run I have plenty of free time on my hands (which is a bit of a fib this week as tonight is my only night off - my social life has gone crazy lately) to think about where I want to live and what I want from a home. I've identified two places in the city that I'd consider moving to, both close to the city centre so I can get home quickly after a night out or I can cycle to work in the morning.

From this I've started to build a picture in my head of how I want my home to look. 

1. Source   2. Source

1. Source   2. Source

1. Source   2. Source

1. Source   2. Source
All of these images are on my pinterest boards, over the next year I can see me pinning a heck of a lot of ideas I like so I can eventually make my cosy retreat.

If you're on pinterest leave me your name so I can start following you!


You may have noticed my new url, which I guess reveals my new blog name. The name my blog currently has is really not fitting anymore. The name of my blog comes from the shoes I wore at my wedding (that's them in the header) and that my ex is from Kansas. Peppermint and Pearls has a meaning to me which I'll detail in the future when it undergoes a complete revamp, I'm currently talking to the very talented Tilly from Love, Tilly about my blog design so hopefully I'll be able to bring you a refreshed blog soon. In the meantime I'd like to say thank you to those of you who have commented on my last post. I've been astounded by how many hits that post had, the only one that has beaten it is my review of Hang Fire BBQ. I've really come to realise that there are some genuinely lovely people out there.

Onwards and upwards!


Tuesday, 5 November 2013

The end

How to start what is potentially the most sensitive things I've ever written on my blog?

I could start off with a quote found on Pinterest.

Will that do? Perhaps not.

The fact is, the horrible, painful fact is that I have separated from my husband. Actually, that's not totally accurate. My husband has separated from me. 

It has been 43 days since we separated. I thought I was leaving for one night to give him some space, then I decided that a week would be better. After one day he realised that actually, he had made up his mind. I was told two days later, he told me without looking at me and without any emotion in his voice. He didn't want to work at our marriage. He wanted to split up.

There were tears. There was anger on my part that night.

There was rage, a hell of a lot of rage three days after that. That's when I really knew our marriage was over, granted him spitting that our marriage was dead at me made it kinda obvious. My husband as I knew him was gone. 

He is now a stranger to me.

The man I married two years and 11 months ago is gone. I do not know the person he is now.

I do not love the person he is now. I have mourned what we have, although finding out that he had doubts about our marriage almost immediately after we married has made me not mourn our relationship quite so much as it feels like our relationship was a sham. He was faking it. The anniversary cards I've found from him where he has professed his love for me, his excitement of what was to come, him thanking me for being patient with him (something he said all through our marriage, which now seems like an odd thing to say) now seem laughable. Painfully laughable.

I have not spoken to or seen him in about three weeks. I have gone 'no contact' and it is suiting me, this approach has given me a chance to heal and to look back and reflect on our relationship. I think I may even be at the stage where I think this is the right thing. Towards the end of our marriage he treated me like shit, he was never abusive or nasty but he gave me hope. He was cruel without intending to be so. I had hope that he still loved me and he wanted to make our marriage work. 

He had already checked out of our relationship.

He has a new best friend. God, I fucking hate her. So much. 

At some point he'll go back home and I'll never have anything to do with him again. A month ago just thinking this would cause physical pain, my heart would ache, I would sob. It felt like I'd been told he was going to die. It's like he is. But now? I'll be glad when he's gone. My heart won't have to leap everytime I see a black clio, I won't have to worry about bumping into him in town and so on. He'll be out of the country, back to a country he loved more than me.

My friends, family and colleagues have been my rock. If any of you are reading this, I love you. My friends have been endlessly supportive, allowing me to rant at them, to melt down via text or on facebook. My family have taken me in and wrapped me up in love. My dad has cried more in the last 43 days than he did when his dad died two years ago, that fact alone is heartbreaking. My colleagues have been fantastic, the whole department deserves an award of some sort for just how flexible they've been towards me whether it's been my line manager looking at me in shock repeating "The bastard! The bastard!" at me or being told to come and go in work as I needed to at the beginning. They have my back and for that I am grateful.

The main reason I've put off writing all of this is because I want to change the name of my blog. My blog name comes from the shoes I wore on my wedding day, not entirely appropriate now! I have a name in mind for it, I'm not 100% convinced by it and need some sort of sounding board but I have no idea who to ask for advice from. I have scouted around for blog designers and I think I've found someone, but if you can recommend me someone please do.

There we go. The truth is out there. This has been cathartic to write if I'm honest, I thought I'd find it far harder to tell you all that my marriage was over but this has poured out of me. 

I think I'll end this as I started.


Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Shattered Dreams, Shattered Heart

My days are long, my nights are cold
Without you here for me to hold

The moment we kissed, I knew it was right
To love you and want you with all of my might

The hopes that we shared, the dreams that we dreamt
Then you turned around and said nothing was meant

The memories we've got, the joy and the pain
Are finished, forgotten - you won't try again

You said that you care, that's no longer enough
So you just up and leave - the man that I love

You want to be free, to chat up the girls
The tall ones, the short ones, with straight hair or curls

I hope that you're happy in all that you do
That my pain and my hurt you never go through

You weren't just my lover but my best friend as well
I gave you my all when in love I fell

If I meet someone else, and I'm not sure I will
This hole in my heart he never can fill

With you all my dreams looked like coming true
You've robbed me of those, what can I now do?

You said that you loved me, that we should get wed
We then bought a house, new kitchen and bed!

But now its all over, you want me no more
Swept out of your life like the dust on the floor


Sunday, 8 September 2013

A good weekend

This weekend has been one of the best I've had in a while. Yesterday I spent the day at the St Fagans Food Festival and today has been a day of chilling and eating lovely things. 

St Fagans Food Festival

Cakes bought for tea with my family

After much fuss in the blogging world regarding all three of these products I thought I'd give them a go

Lunch. The flatbread was better than I thought it would be considering it only contained 250 calories

This has been burning today

I've started planning our Thanksgiving feast. We've invited two other couples over to ours, I can't wait!

This still excites me so much

Hope everyone else has had a lovely weekend, here's to the weather getting colder as the week goes on so the knitwear, blankets and hot chocolate can come out from hiding.


Saturday, 7 September 2013

St Fagans Food Festival

Today I visited the St Fagans Food Festival along with some friends from work. I'd been looking forward to the festival for a while, Matt and I visited it in 2011 and really enjoyed it. St Fagans National History Museum is located on the outskirts of Cardiff, it's pretty much been a fixture in my life since I was a really young child. My parents would take my brother and I at least once a year, not to mention all of the school trips that took place there.

St Fagans has been open to the public since 1948, the museum is in the grounds of St Fagans Castle, a late 16th century manor house which was donated to the people of Wales by the Earl of Plymouth. Over the years over 40 original buildings from various historical periods have been re-erected in the grounds of the museum, these range from a farm, a school, a chapel and a number of farm houses.

As you wander around the museum there are native breeds of livestock dotted around fields and farmyards.

St Fagans is a really great place to learn how people in Wales have lived over the years, from how they worked to what they did in their spare time.

The St Fagans Food Festival has stalls that show off great Welsh foods and drinks, today I saw food ranging from samosas to chocolate brownies  there's something for everyone. 

As well as the stalls at the festival, you can also buy food at the Gwalia store and pop next door to see what food shopping looked like in the 20s and 30s.

I really want one of those teapots

As well as being able to buy food, there were also a number of craft stalls. My favourite was one selling pretty wicker hearts.

After having a browse around it was time to find something for lunch. Decisions, decisions. But then, in the distance I spotted something wonderful. 


For four of your British pounds there were three varieties of burritos on offer: veggie, chicken or beef chili. I ordered the beef and watched it get made to order.

Next up the other girls went in search of lunch, they landed on the wrap stall.

No, I won't share my burrito with you

We parked ourselves under the dappled shade of a tree and chowed down.

After this it was only natural that we wanted something sweet, and boy did we find just that in the food tent.

So many brownies!

I bought six brownies for £3, I chose honeycomb, oreo, peanut butter, nutella, double chocolate and rocky road.


Honeycomb brownie, amazing
The festival is on again tomorrow from 10 am, if you're in the South Wales area and looking for something to do I'd really recommend popping in.

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