“When we’re together, darling, every night is Halloween…”

Hey guys! Long time, no speak!! I know it’s been a long time since I posted, but I’ve really missed you all, so I wanted to make sure that when I came back to blogging it was with a post that is really meaningful and special to me.

Naturally, I couldn’t think of a better or more… “on-brand” date than Halloween! Since I got married TWO YEARS AGO today, this is probably going to be quite a mushy ‘open letter’ type of post, so if you’re not into that type of thing, please feel free to check out some of my older Halloween content, such as this last minute “vampire” make-up tutorial! That being said, to my readers: I thought for this post I could formally introduce my husband to you, along with our love story so far. I hope you enjoy it, or at least find some comfort or joy from it in some way! To my closer friends and family who have probably heard lame renditions of this story a thousand times, I’m sorry!! 


Dear Austin,

Growing up, as a chubby, bespectacled girl with THICK, frizzy Hermione-esque hair, a massive beauty mark, no top lip, and eyebrows the size of the sun… I got bullied a lot. I never felt like I was much to look at. Even as I hit puberty, got some contacts and discovered tweezers- the effects were lasting. As I grew into a young woman, I put up with a lot from boys, because I was grateful and flattered that anyone could see me as attractive at all. Some of them treated me abysmally, and totally skewed my opinion of love. Until, as I hit 18, I had a very real doubt that it existed at all.

In actuality, I liked being single. Naturally fiercely stubborn, wildly independent, and a true introvert- being alone was familiar, and comforting. No one to disagree with me, smother me, control me… or hurt me. By 21, I had almost completely absolved any expectations of finding “the one”, or realistically, any kind of long-term romantic partner.

The day I first talked to you (I think) was the 2nd March 2016. Shortly after you sent me the first tinder message, I’d just walked into the theatre to see the film “How to be single” in the cinema with a group of girls I was close with at university. The film basically is about a girl who was so “in love with the idea of love” that when she leaves her long term partner she doesn’t know how to function alone. I related to her a lot in the way that she actually found solace and adventure in being alone. Overall, the film left me feeling fulfilled, and confident in my singledom. As I left the theatre, you had hunted me down and messaged me on all my social medias, panicking, thinking that I had gotten bored of talking to you. Luckily for you- that wasn’t the case, and I found your pursuit endearing as a pose to creepy… (haha!).

Soon, I found we were talking all day, almost every day. I remember finding out you were American, and worrying that I’d find you obnoxious, loud, or that your accent would annoy me to tears. The first phone call we had, being the romantic I am, I said “Oh, your accent doesn’t actually piss me off”. Instead of finding my frankness rude, you found it hilarious, and I felt comfortable talking to you almost instantaneously, which is extremely uncommon for me. I remember thinking, “I could actually really be friends with this guy!” every time you hung up the phone.

The next week, returning from a night out early, as one of my girlfriends was too drunk to get into the club- I was complaining to you when I accidentally dropped my location pin on messenger. I had no idea that from that, you would get the idea in your head to spontaneously drive over to see me in the middle of the night. You arrived at 4am, I was still a touch under the influence and had no makeup on but the remnants of alien themed fancy dress, my hair was in a messy bun, and I was wearing my PJs under a big coat so that you wouldn’t get lost in the city. I told you “you shouldn’t have come”, and that I looked like a toe. You said I looked beautiful. I didn’t believe you, but then you came back, and you said the same thing every weekend thereafter.

I told you I didn’t want a boyfriend. That I didn’t have time while I was finishing my Bachelors. I was too career-oriented. Too perpetually single and selfish. You knew I was lying. I remember the way you refused to take my crap “You’ve been hurt before, I get it, but I won’t stop trying”. I thought you’d looked right through my soul to pull that out of the bag.

Within a month, you told me you loved me for the first time. I thought I’d misheard you because you were drunk, and laughed it off awkwardly. The week after, you left a post-it note on my ceiling saying the same thing- only this time, I couldn’t ‘mishear’ it. I slipped a similar note into your pocket as you left my flat the next weekend.

Loving you was easy. It wasn’t scary, intense, suffocating or anxiety inducing like it was with other guys. It was natural, easy, free. Like coming home after a long day. You never let me doubt you, never let me feel insecure, and never gave up on me when I was difficult. Most amazingly of all, you made me believe in love again when I was so adamant that wasn’t on the cards for me. You made me realise how much I DESERVED to be loved.

Finishing my degree, moving back home and becoming your girlfriend felt like a whirlwind. You were spending all your free time staying with me, until my grandma’s tenant moved out and she offered to let us stay at her empty property until it was filled. Deep down, after our first weekend there, I think we both knew that this was how things were meant to be. After about a mere month of staying together, we talked about how we would love having this house to be a reality. Tentatively, with the threat of you being deployed/stationed back in the US, or someone else moving into this house, you suggested that if we got married, the military would make things easier for us to make that happen. Again, I laughed it off. In the grand scheme of things, we’d been dating roughly half a year. “He must be crazy!” I confided in my Grandma. But after talking to her, she suggested that I was afraid of the wedding, and what people would say, and not the commitment. We soon realised that while this was true, I was never afraid of a marriage with you. Living with you and being with you felt so natural and normal- and I just knew.

Not long after, we were discussing moving in together more objectively. I was upstairs in front a mirror next to our mattress on the ground, dying my hair “boring poo brown” for a job interview, and you suggested it again, this time a bit more certainly. “We could get married?” I laughed… “Yeah, we could”.  There was a lot of “WAIT WHAT?” and “Oh my god are we engaged?” before you immediately ran downstairs to ring your parents and let them know. My hair hadn’t even finished developing.

At the tender age of 21, despite our parents knowing us well enough to understand, and though they wished we’d had a longer engagement, they understood why we were rushing. Other people however, besides a select few, thought we were insane, or that I was pregnant. (Two years on and still no unplanned offspring, just a healthy relationship and too many cakes thank you very much lol!). It’s really uncommon to get married so young in the U.K, outside of religious groups and cults- so I can understand why, but I became hyper-aware of people discussing my relationship, doubting our sincerity, and being pretty negative. I’ve always been way too concerned with what people thought about me, but you helped me to realise that nothing mattered outside of our happiness. If anything, it became “me and you against the world” very quickly. It made us stronger where a lot of couples might have waivered. I knew then, that your loyalty would almost be able to rival mine, and that we would be able to tackle anything together.

We knew what we were signing up for. We knew we were young. We knew we were stupid and giddy and in love. But we also knew we would be able to grow together, to change together, to choose to love one another even when it was hardest. We’ve had times like those. But in a much greater quantity, we’ve had the best time of our lives.

We brought a fur baby into the house, and argued a great deal about parenting the most obnoxious kitten ever, but we managed so well that we have the most confident, affectionate and dog-like feline dude I’ve ever known. We’ve struggled through finances, through my battles with employment and career stability, through arguments about washing up and even Mental Health.

Through it all, I’ve never doubted your love for me. You’re my rock, my team, my player 2, my support, my lover, my best friend and my biggest fan. We are so vastly different, and yet, you compliment me in ways I never knew possible. Your extroversion, your confidence and your Labrador-like zest for life makes me smile every day. You know when I’m too shy or uncomfortable in social situations and take the focus easily and subtly (or not, as the case may sometimes be). You lift me up and try tirelessly to lift me up when I’m low. You cry enough for the both of us. You put up with me when I’m feeling sick and sorry for myself. You think I’m pretty even when I look like I’ve been sleeping in a bin for a week and a day.

But most of all, you love me for my truest, most vulnerable and natural states. I used to worry about marriage, because I thought I’d never be able to truly be myself around someone else. But the fact is, I’m more myself with you than I was before, and I don’t know how that’s possible. So that I don’t ramble on any further, I just wanted to say that I love you. It’s been two years and I’m still not over the novelty of calling you “my husband”. I don’t even mind being that 1% gross statistic that actually married someone from Tinder anymore! 😂 This piece is a testament for you, the incredible man that I’ve come to know and love on a level I never knew possible. I’m so damn grateful that it’s you that I get to grow old with. I can’t wait to annoy you for the rest of my days!

Happy Two Year Anniversary!

I love you always.

Francesca.

X


morticia addams quotes

Dear Readers,

I hope that If you’re reading this and you’re feeling lost, un-loveable or down about love, the best advice I can ever give you is to love yourself. Appreciate yourself. Meditate, look inwards and learn about what you need or desire from a romantic partner. Remember you deserve happiness, and until you find someone worthwhile, don’t give up your singlehood, because actually, it can be great. You’ll know when you find ‘your person’, because it will make your life even more fun. I promise. xx

My thanksgiving to-do list!

Hey Guys!
Believe it or not I am one of the few bloggers out there with the worst organisation skills ever. Therefore, as promised this morning, I thought I would share with you the to-do list I created to assist me with the lead up to Thanksgiving! Let me know in the comments if I’ve forgotten anything or if you’d like to see any recipes from my menu! I really hope you enjoy!! 

My To-Do List Includes:

3-4 Weeks Before:

Write a guest list

Invite family and friends you are genuinely thankful for. In my case this involves missing out toxic individuals, or those who I know or suspect would disrespect the house and the beautiful environment I’m working hard to put together (especially if there is alcohol involved). After all, this is my home.
Don’t feel pressured to invite people who you or other guests may not feel comfortable around. Drama free evening please!! (I divided my thanksgiving in two, not to prevent drama, but because my family isn’t very social, and I don’t want to force them into an uncomfortable situation with strangers- a.k.a. my potentially very drunk friends.)

Purchase an outfit

If you’re planning on wearing something a bit special, like a new dress or possibly something a bit Autumnal, think about ordering this a few weeks in advance in order to avoid heartbreak and paying next-day delivery.

Read magazines/browse for inspiration

Find recipes and decor ideas either online or in magazines. Even in the UK magazines this is possible, because most places will already have released Christmas magazines that probably contain a lot of recipes that can translate for Thanksgiving as well. This year I loved reading the Tesco 2017 Christmas mag because it had some amazing recipes and visual stimuli. As usual, for decor, I was obsessed with Pintrest. I spend way too much of my life on Pintrest.

Order decor/other

Order or craft any decor you’ve seen on Pintrest that you just ‘need’. Also, consider whether you need extra cutlery or plastic cups. For example, I ordered an ash-tray to put outside, and a drinks dispenser for the punch.  

Write your menu

 Of course, this is the most important one of all! and needs to be done ahead of time so you don’t waste money on food that won’t be used, or forget to order certain items.
Consider any guests with dietary requirements or allergies; for example, my mother is what I like to call a sh*tatarian. She is technically a pescatarian, meaning that the only meat she eats is fish- but she can be very fussy with vegetarian options. I worry about her nutrition often, as she has a tendency to cook for her omni family and forget about herself. Normally with a roast we would cook a bit of salmon, but for this occasion I bought her a Linda McCartney pie, because even as a meat eater I think they are absolutely delicious. Mine includes:
***
Starters:
Frozen Hors d’oeuvres (cheating I know),
Bacon and Cranberry Puff Pastry Snowflake, with Melted Brie
Main:
Roast Turkey,
Roast Pork,
One Linda McCartney vegetarian pie,
Green Bean Casserole,
Cranberry Sauce (both smooth and whole berry),
Roast Veg with Seasonal Roots,
Asparagus Tips,
Pigs in Blankets,
Mashed Potatoes,
Carrot and Swede Mash,
Roasted Sprouts with Bacon,
Broccoli & Cauliflower,
Cauliflower Cheese,
Homemade Yorkshire Puddings (Just try serving a bunch of Brits a roast with no Yorkshires, & their faces contort in disgust!),
Stuffing (meat inside and vegetarian outside the bird),
Meat Gravy (Plus vegetarian one separate)
Dessert:
Sweet Potato Pie,
Chocolate Tart,
Pear and Chocolate Crumble with ice cream.
Drinks:
‘Apple Pie’ Punch
“Open Bar”

***


1-2 Weeks Before:

Write a shopping list & Order Non Perishables

Make a list based on your menu, then divide into 2 by frozen/non perishables, and food you need/want to order fresh. Order frozen and non perishables such as alcohol, then put your other list somewhere for safekeeping. That way, later on you can grab fresh food such as veggies + add any thing you forgot onto the new list.

Think about a punch that would be widely enjoyed– for example I held off on the Malibu as I know many people dislike/have allergies to coconuts. I love to watch Tipsy Bartender on YouTube- even though I rarely drink outside of big events/Christmas nowadays.

Think about areas where it may be possible to cheat! It doesn’t make you a bad person to cut corners in some places. For example, I realized my life would be made substantially easier if I purchased a pre-made shortcrust pastry for my sweet potato pie. No- it’s not that difficult to make- but it saves time and energy later on when I will be rushed off my feet.

Make Placeholders

This is especially useful if there are attendees who don’t get always along. In my case, Due to being extremely picky with my invites, I hope they will just serve as whimsical keepsakes.

1-2 Days Before:

Clean/tidy house

This may seem obvious, but make sure your home is guest ready. For me, I had to make  a list including chores I would normally put off- for example things such as bleaching skirting board and treating my bathroom for limescale. (Norfolk is an area that has very hard water, which causes a frequent build up). Austin and I also had a small domestic regarding whose duty it was to catch the unwanted guest in the bathroom… he is terrified of spiders! Make sure all your dishes are clean, or else you might find yourself scrambling on the day looking for something that is in the dishwasher!

Entertainment!

Bring your speakers downstairs, make a playlist. Consider games/activities for when it gets quiet. Cards against humanity is a must- but as massive nerds we actually are planning to introduce D&D to our friends for the first time. Not to mention probably some drinking games later on. My favourite is the nomination game!

Pamper yourself

 Pick an outfit, do your nails, shave, pamper yourself for the long day ahead. Speaking from the experience of last year, you won’t have much time to do this on the day- even despite the precautions you have taken. It is probable that you will still be standing in the kitchen until the very last minute!

Prepare your veg

Clean, peel, chop and vacuum pack vegetables so all you have to do is cook them the day after.
To do this, place your vegetables into a ziplock bag, and pop a straw into the outside corner. Do the zip up all the way to the edge of the straw, then use it to suck out all the excess air. Seal the bag, and pop in the fridge!

Cook the desserts

Hot ones such as crumble that can be refrigerated and then warmed up on the day. The day before Thanksgiving I’m setting some allocated time to make all three of the desserts on the menu. Luckily, the crumble is a fairly easy one, as the temperature required doesn’t necessarily matter-  so it can go in at the same time!

Put up decorations

Set and lay the table, as well as placing any center pieces and pretty bits where you would like them to go. I added an autumnal wreath, some themed balloons and candles for ambiance.


On the Big Day:

Consider roping off areas

Yes, they are guests, and you shouldn’t make the night feel too artificial by enforcing a 2 page list of rules. However, they should respect your boundaries, especially if there is alcohol and or children involved. Don’t feel bad for roping off a certain area of your house if you think it may cause issues or unwanted mess.

Cook

Obvious, I know (as though you need to be reminded). Cook the foods you have planned out in your menu. This should be much easier with your squeaky clean kitchen and ready-to-go vegetables. However, if you find yourself extremely stressed or short of time be sure not to push yourself too hard. There will almost definitely be enough food regardless of whether or not you miss out or forget one or two dishes, as it’s the custom for guests to bring something along.

Get Ready!

Lay out all the beautiful food on the table, get yourself dressed and ready and have a glass of wine while you wait for your guests to arrive! You’ve earned it!