The Story of How I Know A Girl I Know

As this is my first ever blog, let alone guest blog, for A Girl I Know I thought the best way to introduce myself would be to regale you with a potted history of our friendship.

It was 11 years ago that a bubbly Londoner breezed into my life.  I was working as an office junior for a firm of solicitors in little old Leek and she had moved up from London and started working for her step-father (The Boss) who was the firm’s resident property developer.  We got chatting and realised that she was only a year older than me but had a boyfriend and baby at which point I jammed the franking machine as both were alien concepts to me.  I was a country-party-girl whose weekends were spent drinking in some pretty unpalatable establishments where your feet stuck to the floor and bucket dancing occurred.

Soon the boyfriend was no more and after she asked me to a hen do one night we became firm friends born out of a joint love of going out dancing (or darncing as they do down south) and having very random things happen to us on those nights out.  To me she was the cool city girl who brought me out of the country and to her I was the ‘It Girl of Leek’ who still helped old ladies across the road.

Along with another friend we had a Friday night ritual.  Firstly it was JD’s for a few drinks which always resulted in us doing our individual party tricks:  M a headstand, me the splits and S putting her leg behind her head (it seemed like a good idea at the time). It kept us so entertained I’m astonished that it didn’t stop the bar going under shortly after!  Then it was onto the town’s club (note the singular) Metropolis (or “Trops”) to dance to “Crazy in Love” and “Dirty”.

And then there was the time we went on a day trip to Blackpool………….we thought we were in Blackpool, we drove onto a beach where we could see the tower (in the distance) but we knew something wasn’t right.  It turns out we were in Southport! 

In the meantime I went to university and she progressed in the world of property development.  I met my husband through her, in fact it has been said that if she had not had a baby and moved ‘up north’ I may never have met my beloved.  She was at my graduation when he was in Afghanistan and then I started practising at the same firm of solicitors which meant we worked in the same building again.

By this time we were of course more serious, professional individuals or at least that was what The Boss thought when he sent us to a networking event together at The Panacea in Manchester.  This was our first time at such an event, our story was that she was property and I was part of the legal team but we knew nobody so we decided to take a seat to the side for a while, have a glass of wine and then spy who we could start to mingle with……………and that’s where it all went wrong. A few glasses of wine and cocktails later we were having such a merry time drinking between ourselves we got so drunk that we missed our train home, ended up paying £120 for a taxi back and not much networking was done.

And that is the story of how A Girl I Know literally became a girl I know.  These are a few of the highlights of our friendship and a few weeks later she was chief bridesmaid at my wedding.  Things have not always been rosy though, at times we have struggled to be there for each other as much as we would have liked to have been and there was a point where our lives had become so different we questioned whether our friendship could survive especially when I moved 200 miles away to Winchester.  But it did.  Through lengthy emails and phone calls we rebuilt our friendship again, indeed it has become stronger and now we are bonding through blogging.  I just hope that one day I get to pay her back for the stallion stripper she organised for my hen do!

Thank you for reading my post, I hope it made you smile as there have been many laughs throughout the 11 years we have known each other.  My own blog You Can Take the Girl Out of the Country will have it’s first post on there shortly.



A Big Fat Greeky Easter

Well, hello there blogosphere! While A Girl I Know is still off sunning herself I have been given the honour of being a guest blogger. This comes before even getting my own blog sorted. I was shocked to see the other day that I set up my blog in SEPTEMBER 2010 and STILL haven't posted anything. Not one word. I think my problem has been where to start. So thanks, A Girl I Know, for the kick up the κώλος / kollos (bum) that I needed!

It's bloggin' time !

'Happy Easter
Before moving to Corfu, Greece, nearly two years ago, I was told about Easter and how big a celebration it is here in the orthodox church. Bigger than Christmas. So I was looking forward to experiencing a Greeky Easter but my first one last year was spent working (boo). I got a little snippet of easter then as I was waitressing in a hotel restaurant where everybody else was celebrating but I wanted to be on the other side with them!

This year was different. I was supposed to be working again but unfortunately there weren't enough bookings taken for the hotel to open. More greeks were choosing to stay closer to home this year in times of financial crisis. Even so, this didn't dampen my spirits of wanting to get fully involved in the traditions - Greek-style!

The lead up to Easter starts 48 days before on 'Kathara deftera' (= Clean Monday). This marks the beginning of Lent when a lot of greeks take part in fasting. This is a holiday (one of the things I like about Greece- lots of holidays!) and it is usually spent with family, eating picnics of fasting food and flying kites (you can usually bet this day is going to be windy - I love non-British predictable weather!). My english mother-in-law (married to a greek & living here too) told me one year she went on one of these picnics taking with her a whole roast chicken. She thought it was her cooking when nobody touched it all day!

Next year I think I will take part in the fasting just for experimental purposes but probably just in the last week of easter. Meat, butter, eggs and cheese are all FORBIDDEN (great word) which would probably drive me round the bend for 48 days. While out and about, you can see menu boards outside of Tavernas showing special fasting dishes and even 'Goody's', the greek equivalent of McDonalds, has their alternative to burgers for this period.
Calamari burger? No? How about a Vegetable club sandwich? Still no? Maccy D's it is then. The run up to Easter weekend is called 'Megali evthomatha' which literally means 'Big week', otherwise known as holy week. People of the orthodox church attend services all week and then on Palm Sunday & Easter Sunday there is a parade with the mummified body (yes, mummified) of Corfu's patron saint, Saint Spyridon (why every other male in Corfu is named Spiros).
Being a musical island, there are also parades with the philharmonic band who play more sombre tones at this time.

On holy Friday, the lights at Liston in corfu Town, the place to be seen drinking coffee, switch to purple until the morning after.
Easter lights !
Non-Easter lights at Liston

On Easter Saturday, coinciding with the Resurrection of Christ, is the 'throwing of the pots.' I was looking forward to seeing this as it is a tradition unique to Corfu. It all starts at 11am when people throw large terracotta pots from their balconies onto the street below (great for anger management me-thinks) with the belief that bad spirits in the house will be thrown out with them. We went to watch this in Corfu town where different TV channels were filming and you could buy your own small pot to smash. I couldn't help but think this would be shut down in the UK for health and safety reasons ! I was shocked to see after that people had left their cars parked just a few metres away in the danger zone! It was a great and different event to see and was all over in a flash. I came away with a piece of pot for good luck (not won the lotto yet though) and an ache-y neck from craning to see them all.

My piece !


Corfu town on E
Just before midnight on Saturday we were back in Corfu town where people were slowly pouring out of the churches to gather in the park centre for the fireworks. Before this, people light each others' candles while saying "Hristos Anesti" (christ is risen) with the reply being "Alithos Anesti" (truly he is risen). The sight of all these lit candles would've been nice, but on this night it was particularly windy, and after three failed attempts at keeping our candles lit, we gave up!

 By the way, these decorated candles (lambathes) are big business, we went shopping for them especially with my boyfriend telling me that people compete to have the nicest looking one. My first thought was that it's 'just a candle' but then I suddenly got sucked into the world of lambathes and spent half an hour choosing the right one. We were happy with our 'His' n' 'Hers' pink and blue candles in the end! They even sell Barbies and Action Men with a lambatha in as a gift for godparents to buy their godchildren. I must admit I got lambatha envy when I saw one little girls barbie-candle!

Getting one of these next year.

At midnight the fast is broken and people may go and eat then with a 'Magiritsa' soup which is made from lamb offal. I was up for trying this until I caught a whiff of it which brought me back to my senses! I did try a fried dish of chicken liver, heart and god knows what else. This is the closest I've come to a bushtucker trail and I liked the liver but as soon as I saw the tubes on the heart, I had to say "I'm a Brit, get me out of here!"

Easter Sunday is a big family day spent eating lamb, usually roasted whole on a spit ( I try to picture myself carrying a whole lamb under my arm out of ASDA like you get it from supermarkets here), drinking and dancing (my kind of celebrating). It is not unusual for there to be warnings on TV, before Easter, telling people not to eat too much and even then, some still end up in hospital from over-eating (I love food, but this is taking it to a whoooole new level!).

That underneath the lamb is 'Kokoretsi' which is usually served as a starter. It is made by skewering the liver, spleen and heart of the lamb and then wrapping around that with layers of thin fatty membrane from lamb intestines, finishing with a pretty bow (OK, not the last bit). I can only guess that after all the fasting, they are so hungry they just can't wait to devour ALL of the animal.
Red-dyed eggs are also eaten now. People crack each others egg using the "hristos anesti" and "Alithos Anesti" greetings. You can find these in Easter bread too.
My dyed eggs !

Well, that was my Easter 2012! Maybe I'll work up to trying the Magiritsa soup next year! 

So how did your Easter differ? Have you been to Greece over Easter before or experienced Easter in another country?

Naomi @
My Big Fat Greek Adventure 


Hello, I'm new around here

So a little change from the normal today at A Girl I Know, I'm Niamh and usually I blog over at One Girl and the World, I say blog maybe I should say I write down whatever I happen to be thinking at that precise moment in time and hope I don't come across too strange! And I think it must be working because I haven't had any complaints (yet!). However in over a year of blogging (or putting random thoughts on the internet for everyone to see) this is my first ever guest blog post, and what a daunting prospect it is! I mean I have the responsiblity of writing something that will keep you guys entertained and it's not even my blog! :O Hopefully I haven't scared any of you off yet because I am a nice, normal(ish) person...honestly! :D So once I'd offered to do this I then had to think long and hard about what I was going to post and this was tricky you see (it's tricky to rock a rhyme to rock a rhyme...okay I'll stop there...this isn't my blog...ACT NORMAL! Relating everything you write back to song lyrics isn't normal!) but I guess the best place to start would be to tell you guys a bit more about myself? So let's try that...

Hello, I'm Niamh and I'm 18. I go to university where I study education which is all about different education theories, the history of education and this term we did a module about education around the world which was rather interesting! I have the idea of becoming a teacher at some point once I finish this degree; that's if I don't change my mind because I'm rather indecisive and like to keep my options open. Evidence for this? Well I did the International Baccalaureate instead of A Levels because I couldn't choose 4 or 5 subjects. Also, on the IB most of the decisions have been made for you, like you have to do Maths, a Science, English (or the language you're studying in) and a second a certain meerkat would say it's "Simples". Other things you might want to know about me... well I'm passionate about Guiding, now that sounds really cheesy but it's true! I think Girl Guides have so much to offer girls today and they give you amazing opportunities, but this isn't about Guides this is about me so lets move on! I'm also not very good at this growing up lark, but then do we ever really grow up or just grow old?! (Now there's something for you to ponder on!) I like colourful things and have an unhealthy addiction to the Internet, namely Facebook and Pinterest. My friends would also say I'm something of a Harry Potter addict as well but I as I like to point out, on a regular basis, I'm not one of those people making weird fan videos and putting them on Youtube and if you don't know the ones I mean then hopefully you will stay unenlightened...hmmm that's not quite the word I want, in fact I'm not even sure it is a word but it will do for now! I also like to read...a lot, it's quite sad really, I got over excited the other day when I found out that library at my university has actual books like ones that aren't textbooks and now as I've finished my exams...guess what I'm going to do :D :D

Okay so now you know a bit more about who I am I now actually have to think about something to write... racks brain for topics...something that relates to my blog...hmmm...*googles blog post ideas...not inspired by any of them* Well I guess to give you a true idea of what my blog is like I just need to continue rambling on in this fashion as that is what I do 9 times out of 10. You see I did think maybe I could write a blog post about a day in the life of a student but as I've just finished exams it would go something along the lines of up around half 10 (late I know but I was out the night before), checked Facebook and various other things I *need* to check (you never know what you might've missed whilst you were asleep!), texted a friend, watched Graham Norton, had some brunch (which was awesome might I add, consisting of a toasted, bacon and baked bean sandwich), spend more time on Facebook etc...not the most interesting of days now is it really?! But such is the life of a student eh! Real hardship! Not that I didn't have to do work ever, in fact I worked rather hard (even if I do say so myself) now we just have to hope that I've done enough to pass first year! :O Then I can continue to ramble on about the antics university students (or at least ones like me) get up too! As judging by what I've done since finishing my exams on Friday I don't think rambling about my life as a university drop-out would be that interesting so I'd better try and not get myself kicked out (which is generally a good move anyway, or so I'm led to believe)!

So this post hasn't really had much of a point except to say Hello! It's been lovely to meet you all, thank you very much for letting me have this opportunity, I've enjoyed it! I hope you have too, would be nice to see you guys again sometime! :D

That's all for today folk!


Just a little post to say........

Just a little post to say,
Unfortunately I'm not here to stay,
I'm buggering off,
But just for a week,
It is the sunshine I do seek,
I'm fed up with this torrential rain,
And how it makes us all complain,
But I'm leaving you in capable hands,
Whilst I'm away on foreign land,
So I hope you enjoy reading something new,
From three lovely bloggers,
Old and new.

Yes that's right in case you didn't get the jist of my little ditty I'm going on my sunny hols.  I'm leaving my blog in capable hands by way of two close friends and one new friend.
I wont rub it in anymore so for now it's Tatty Bye or should I say Adios Amigas, hope you enjoy reading what they have to offer. x


Time's A Healer

Sometimes I feel like my blog should be about happy things all the time but life isn't like that and I guess as this is a personal blog maybe I should share with you how I'm feeling lately.

For us in the UK last weekend was a bank holiday .  I normally look forward to these but that weekend I went to visit my dad.  He lives 160 miles away so I dont see him as often as I'd like.  I normally look forward to our get togethers but this particular trip was for a reason.  To help my dad sort through his wife's belongings.  You see in February she passed away.  She lost her second fight against cancer and although we knew she wouldn't win this battle, we thought she had more time.

As much as my dad wanted to keep all of her things, in some ways it can do more harm.  Everytime he opened a drawer or a cupboard her items were a reminder that she was no longer here to use them.  So he decided it was time to take a step forward. Watching everything put into bags was heartbreaking.  Most of her possessions bagged up, ready to be taken away.  In some ways it seemed wrong and I felt guilty.  Almost as if we were trying to remove all trace of her even though that wasn't the case.  It's just one of the many ways to try and move forward.  I kept some things.  Like the shirt she wore on my 30th birthday.  A necklace which reminds me of her.  Other things which have sentimental value

I think about my dad constantly and what he must be going through.  Every mornng when he opened a wardrobe or a drawer there was always a reminder of the person he lost.  Now the empty space is a reminder of what was there.  I hope in time the pain will begin to fade.

On the drive back home I felt so angry.  Angry that she was taken away and my dad is suffering.  That I can't take aways his pain or his loneliness.  He didn't just loose his wife.  He lost his bestfriend.  My anger didn't go away and I struggled to understand my emotions.  It wasn't until the Monday that I finally let it out and cried.  I spent most of the day in tears but I guess I needed to get it out because grief comes in waves.

For those of you who have never lost someone it's hard for you to imagine how it feels.  My dad says it's like living in a nightmare.  I know eventually the pain will subside and he'll be able to remember the good times.  He'll be able to look at her photo and smile but as the old saying goes, time's a healer, I just wish I had a time machine.

Super Earthling: Like a Filthy, Dirty, Disgusting, Obsessed, Dedicated, Fat Mannequin with a Cheap, Dusty Wig

Super Earthling: Like a Filthy, Dirty, Disgusting, Obsessed, Dedicated, Fat Mannequin with a Cheap, Dusty Wig

I just had to create a link to this post.  It's the funniest thing I've read in a while.  Note:  Do not read this if you should be working and need to display a serious expression on your face.


Guest Blogger Required

Sooooo next week I'm off on my hols.  Can't wait.  I think I speak for a lot of people when I say I'm sick of this rain! 

Anyway, as I'll be away for a week I'm looking for someone to do a guest post.  It doesn't have to be about anything in particular, just something that's relevant to your blog.  If you fancy it let me know before next Tuesday.  Hope to hear from some lovely bloggers :)


Happy Birthday Little Guy

Just a quick post to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my lovely little boy.  He's the big 12 today.  I don't know where the years have gone but I just wanted to say I am one proud and happy mummy. xxx


Photography - The Macro Button

Lesson 2 - Using the Macro button

So, for those of you who have been following my blog you'll know I enrolled on a photography course and am blogging about what I learn each week.  This week it was all about the macro button.  For novices like me you'll be thinking er 'pardon, the macro what?'  Well basically it's the button with the flower on it.  This button is life changing!  It lets you take really close up photos and keep them in focus.

Below is an example, guest featuring my basil plant, the only thing I have grown from scratch! 

 Macro Off                                              Macro On

Can you see the difference?  With macro off the basil leaves are blurry and the background is in focus.  With macro on the basil leaves are clearer and sharp and the background out of focus making sure all our attention is on the basil leaves.

Happy snapping.


Guest Post for Silken Spirits

Ok so today I'm really excited to be doing my first ever guest post for Marta at her lovely blog

Marta's blog really inspired me to continue blogging.  I'd been blogging for about a month and needed some encouragement.  Reading her blog really spurred me on, especially when she let me do a guest post.  I had a big smile on my face all day.  So below is my post for the beautiful Portuguese lovely that is Marta. 
Firstly let me tell you a little bit about myself.  I'm 31 and live in the UK.  I'm originally from London but now live in a small town near Manchester.  I have a son, boyfriend and a mad dog .  I'm pretty new to blogging but I like the idea of keeping an online diary and sharing your thoughts and life with other like minded people.  I'm starting the year as I mean to go on, by trying new things and to live my life without too many regrets.  When I started reading other blogs I noticed how many great blogs had fantastic photos.  It made me remember how badly I wanted to do phototgraphy when I was at college so I decided it's never too late to learn and enrolled on a night course.  I've decided to post a tutorial of what I've learnt in my lessons for other novices starting out, so here it is, Lesson One.  Hope you enjoy reading :)

Lesson One - Portrait shot

A portrait shot is a photo someone from the upper body to slightly above their head.  The idea is to get the person in focus but the background blurry.  This is so when you look at the photo your interest is on the person and not whats in the background.  Your subject must not be standing too close to whatever is in the distance i.e they should not be standing with their back right against a patterned wall  You must stand away from the person and then zoom in to take your shot.  This results in your subject being in focus and the background out of focus.  Voila, you have taken a photo in portrait mode :)

Can you see the difference between these photos?  Why not have a go yourself.  Happy snapping


I'm a hoarder. Fact.

So I've just been rummaging through my bag to find my memory stick.  It's always a worry putting my hand into the very depths of my bag.  Most things I need are at the top so anything that's fallen to the bottom has most likely been there for a long time and should probably be thrown away.  There has been many a time I've found an uneaten piece of fruit or something worse at the bottom of my bag.  However what I've just found has put a big smile on my face.  I found my sons tooth.  Now I don't know about you but I keep just about everything from birthday cards to er yes, teeth!  All for sentimental reasons I assure you!  I inherited this trait from my mother.  She keeps a newspaper each year for every birthday I and my sisters have had.  There are 4 of us in total.  Now that is a lot of newspapers!  It's a sweet thing to do, a way of looking back through history.  However she has now offloaded all my birthday newspapers onto me and I'm not entirely sure where I'm going to put them.  

I guess we've all got quirky things like this we do or keep.  Looking at my sons tooth has brought back quite a few memories from when he was young and for me keeping things like this is a way of keeping those memories.  Have you got anything strange you keep. Are you a crazy hoarder like I am?


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