This Week I Have Been Mostly….

this week i have been mostly

It’s been a while since we had a little catch up, hasn’t it?

So in the past few weeks we’ve had Christmas and New Year! I hope your’s was good.

Mine was low-key and I didn’t do a huge amount, but it was just what I wanted.

I’m lucky enough to get the time between Christmas and New Year off from work, so if Gary’s off work we’ll take little day trips and such. But this year, he was very busy with work, so nothing was really planned.

Christmas Day was lovely and I got to see both sides of the family. From that point on my mind went into a little relapse and I didn’t want to do anything but curl into a ball and not see anyone. So that’s pretty much what I did. I honestly couldn’t tell you what I got up to because it’s all of a blur. That was until my bff (sister from another mister) got me over to see her lovely newly renovated house, and with her and another of my best friends we had a lovely normal morning chatting. It was lovely to get out of the house and be in a safe space with people I trust and can talk about these things with. And they don’t make a big deal over how I’m feeling – they just let me feel that way, make sure I’m okay and if I want to talk about it I can. And they know me well enough to be able to suss out whether I want to talk or not.

On New Year’s Eve Eve I attended a singing workshop with my Mum, where we learned two songs as a choir and then in the evening had a party and Bandaoke. My Mum and I had both signed up to sing with the band (scary) so we were both fairly nervous, but when each of our turns came up we were fine. I sang Young Hearts Run Free and people said I did well after I came off stage, which was a relief!

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New Year’s Eve was a quiet one spent at home with Gary. I normally spend my New Year this way, and it’s the way I prefer it! I can be in bed by half past midnight!

On New Year’s Day I began working on the first of my 2018 challenges – learning calligraphy. After seeing a friend taking part in this course throughout 2017, and seeing the progress she’s made, I decided I would give it a try myself. I’m already finding I’m learning things about myself as a person as well as my penmanship during this challenge – who knew?!

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Then it was back to work, and by the time we returned to the office I was very much looking forward to it and wanted to get back into a routine!

I didn’t find it hard to get back into the swing of things, and it was nice to see my colleagues again  – it’s great when you enjoy being around the people you work with!

During the first week of January I also had to kick off my second 2018 challenge – a new recipe every week for the entire year! I’ve already posted about my first recipe here, so take a look. I’m enjoying looking at recipes in a new way, this year. I’ll happily trawl through tons of books and Pinterest recipes, marking the ones I like the look of to make one day, but this time around I need something I’m ACTUALLY going to make! So I’m thinking more practically about them!

onion, dill and new potatoes on a chopping board

I’ve also been reading a lot of blogs related to New Year and resolutions (well, more those that gear towards self-improvement, since that’s what I relate too) and I’ve been very inspired by the positivity and how practical people are being. There’s less fad and more mind involved in what people are aiming for this year. It’s fantastic.

I’ve made a pledge to myself to be more active on social media – and by that I don’t mean posting more (although I feel like I will be posting more blogs this year just by default!) – I mean commenting on other people’s posts, sharing their stuff etc. Not just scrolling through instagram and double tapping then moving on – I’d like to comment on all of the photos that have meant something to me. Because it’s what we’d want for our own feeds, right?

I’m enjoying feeling the fresh positivity that’s come along with this year. In a time of uncertainty and bafflement, coming from a couple of years that were very trying for many people, we appear to be collectively coming together and finding our feet again. The ground seems a little more solid, and I’m personally enjoying how it feels.

 

Hosting a Share A Meal for World Vision UK

Back in September I shared World Vision UK’s latest campaign, Share A Meal. If you missed that post, head back if you want to read all about it.

This past weekend was my turn to host my Share A Meal meal, and I decided to make it Italian themed! Since my guests were vegetarian and I make a darn good tomato linguine (if I do say so myself!), it made sense to build a menu based on that!

Our new kitchen is a very social space, so I started the cooking once we’d settled in, whacked on a playlist on our Echo and we took the time to catch up whilst I cooked.

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Using my trusty Le Creuset pan (I love that thing!) I was able to make dinner easily, all in one pot which saved on the washing up and meant everything was a lot simpler.

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I chose to serve non alcoholic white wine, since I knew if I started drinking whilst I was cooking, we’d be eating burnt mush by the end!

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Dinner was served (albeit sloppily!) and we all had the opportunity to think about the simplicity of the food we were eating, in the comfort of a cosy house and how by eating this meal and coming together we could be helping people who were less fortunate than us.

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Next course was Sicilian lemon tarts, which I’ll admit were not made by me, but by Mr Iceland…..

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They were rather tasty nevertheless!

We finished the meal off with espresso martinis, though the creation of these was a little eventful when my makeshift cocktail shaker (a cheap Starbucks sippy cup) developed a large crack in the bottom and thus my kitchen sink got a good drink of our martinis….

Alls well that ends well, though, as my Costa sippy cup acted as a back-up and we ended up with some so-so martinis that still tasted good even if they didn’t look exactly how I wanted them (I think I need to invest in an actual cocktail shaker!)

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As the evening wound down, conversation turned to how my guests could use this meal to help World Vision UK. By visiting the Share A Meal site and clicking the Donate Now button, my guests can donate the value of their meal to World Vision UK. These donations will go towards helping vulnerable children in Uganda, who can’t feed themselves. No child should go without food and safety, so this money will help to provide a little more to those who need it.

At this time of year, when people are gathering together and sharing good food, it’s so easy to make your gathering a charitable one. For less than you’d pay for a meal out, by donating the cost of the meal you’ve eaten (or hosted) to World Vision UK, you’ll be making a difference.

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And don’t forget, by hosting, you could end up winning a meal cooked for you by star baker Selasi!

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See the World Vision UK Share A Meal site for more details on how you could win!

If you decide to host a Share A Meal event, I’d love to hear all about it. Please let me know in the comments!

 

EVENT PHOTO PROVIDED BY WORLD VISION UK. ALL OTHER PHOTOS ARE MY OWN.

This Week I Have Been Mostly….

this week i have been mostly

This past couple of weeks has been filled with glorious sunshine and warm weather (for the most part!) It meant I’ve been able to get stuff done and generally feel more productive just because they weather has put me in such a good mood!

A couple of weeks ago I met up with a couple of friends, one of which I hadn’t seen in a LONG time and we sat in the pub garden and enjoyed the sunshine on what was, at that point, one of the hottest days of the year. The sun shone, the cider flowed and the bunting flapped in the breeze. It was bliss.

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Last weekend was Glastonbury festival, and I watch it every year. It holds a special place in my heart, being the place I met my husband and every year I watch and wish I was there. This year was no exception, and I really enjoyed what I saw on the TV, my highlights being Radiohead, Chic and The Foo Fighters – all of whom I’ve seen live before and all of whom never fail to impress.

In true honour of Glastonbury and Somerset, I had to have a few ciders during my watching time, and I picked this little beauty up from the supermarket just to try it.

 

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In true Role Models style, I like the idea of Jack Daniels more than I actually like the taste of it, so I was intrigued by the idea of Whiskey Cider. I have to say, I was very impressed. The whiskey takes the acidic edge of the cider, and the cider takes the burning from the whiskey away so they compliment each other beautifully. I need to pick up some more!

Last week wasn’t so warm, and we had some rain too, but it was a nice break in the humidity and a chance for me to get some decent sleep – which I didn’t really achieve, for one reason or another.

We were gifted some beautiful flowers are work, which helped to brighten the office even when it looked grey outside.

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Thankfully, this weekend the weather has picked up a little more, which was fortuitous because I had plans in London which wouldn’t have been all that great had it been rainy and grey. I’ll share more about what I was up to in a later post, but I will say (and I’ve said it many times before) that there’s nothing like London in the Summer sunshine. If you haven’t visited in the summer before, you really must add it to your travel bucket list.

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We spent the majority of our day by the Southbank, however we ventured off to Covent Garden and Soho, and had a lovely vegan lunch in Veggie Pret (the vegan brownies are the things dreams are made of!) followed by a stroll through China Town before we headed home.

I keep alluding to things on my twitter account, that I don’t want to jinx by telling everyone (fyi. not pregnant) and I’m hoping to be able to share things with you soon. I’ve put a lot of things on hold for the time being, but soon I’ll be back to my blogging/vlogging social media self (I hope!).

In the mean time, I hope you’re enjoying this gorgeous weather! Stay tuned for my upcoming post, on my trip to London. It’s a quacker! *wink wink*

This Week I Have Been Mostly….

this week i have been mostly

December, you have been good to me. I have had a wonderfully festive month and even though it’s not been as packed as my festive season usually is, it’s meant that I’ve been able to relax and spend time on things I wouldn’t usually.

I had a fantastic Christmas week, starting with work’s Christmas party which was at a lovely pub. The week leading to Christmas wound down enough to allow me to get stuff prepared for the January return to my desk.

Christmas Eve Eve was lovely too. Despite Gary having to work in London we were able to spend a fabulous late afternoon and evening together. Then on Christmas Eve we had the whole day together which we can only remember having had once before in the whole 14 years we’ve been together.

We were able to take the day at a snail’s pace, have a lovely dinner which we decided would be a warm salad (it was so good) and then watch our traditional Christmas films until pretty much midnight

Christmas Day was spent with our families, but Gary did spend the later afternoon with my family at my Mum’s. We ate, drank and felt very merry. On Boxing Day we decided to head to the shops to see what the sales had to offer, and it wasn’t that busy in the morning. Gary surprised me by taking me into the Apple shop and telling me he had decided to get me a new phone handset but he didn’t know which colour I wanted so I had to choose. After the initial bamboozled shock had started to pass, I chose a black iPhone 7 Plus. And I’m in love!

I also picked up some bargains from The Body Shop and Boots and then we headed home, because Boxing Day is for being lazy too 😀

We’ve watched a couple of new films this week, an old one called Eye for an Eye and a new one called Lights Out. Both were very enjoyable!

For the rest of the holidays, it’s all about getting things done. Today I’m spending the majority of the day prepping and writing the content you’re going to read over the next week or so. I also have to plan in some time to begin editing my Disney World video, but I’ve been kind of putting it off because I know how big a job it is! But since I have the time whilst I’m off I really should start!

Gary and I have planned a date night for this evening, which I’m really looking forward to, and I get to see the Book Club girls a couple of times over the next few days. It’s been too long!

I’m feeling really positive for the coming year. I always love the start of a New Year because, and I know it sounds corny, things actually *feel* different. It’s a new page and there’s so much possibility.

This Week I Have Been Mostly….

this week i have been mostly

The weeks have been positively flying by. We’ve been having cold snaps, heatwaves, rain and wind. And all throughout this time I’ve been counting down to my awesome holiday.

At time of writing this it’s 29 days until we fly to Florida, and we’ve been trying to keep ourselves busy in the meantime.

We’ve been visiting friends, buying things we need for our trip, doing lots of planning, and I had a birthday too!

My birthday weekend was great. We went to the cinema twice, saw friends, did some shopping and watched some late-night Olympics.

Our cinema trips were to see Finding Dory in 3D and Suicide Squad in 4DX.

We knew Dory would be awesome, as we love Finding Nemo, and it didn’t disappoint. We really love watching movies in 3D and this film was perfect for that.

We saw Suicide Squad in 4DX. I don’t really know much of the back story for this movie, but I knew the 4DX element would help me to enjoy it even if I wasn’t following the plot. I really really enjoyed this cinema experience. The film was great. Though I lost the plot thread towards the middle, the beginning and end were great. And I know the 4DX experience made it a million times better than if I’d watched it on a standard screen. I’ve only ever seen Jurassic World and this movie in 4DX but I wasn’t disappointed either time. If you’re near Milton Keynes, I’d say make the effort to try it out. It’s worth the little extra cost!

I was also lucky enough to find the camera I have been lusting after for a while. Sony have been having distribution issues on some of their stock since an earthquake in Japan effected manufacture, and I’d been having massive trouble finding the Sony A5000 as a result.

I’d been after the white one, but knew I’d probably have to go for the black one and not be choosy. But G-Man managed to find a white one online and at the price I was happy to pay. I’ve been having great fun playing with it, and especially loving the wi-fi element, meaning I can send an image to my phone with no wires or computer needed. It’s going to be a real asset when we’re away, and I’ll be able to share more photos with friends and family (and YOU!)

I think the next month is going to be tough, trying to hold in my excitement for the trip of a lifetime coming up, but I’ve got some wonderful things coming up before then!

  • Luna Cinema at Waddesdon Manor to watch Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo & Juliet
  • Hot 8 Brass Band
  • Bank Holiday!
  • My 10 year wedding anniversary
  • An exciting anniversary weekend in London
  • Planning and packing for Florida!!

And all that in just 28 days – I have a feeling it’s going to fly by!

There are a few more exciting things to share too, but all in good time 🙂

I’ve also been looking into books to take away with me. I’m currently re-reading Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, which I’m loving again the second time around. I haven’t read the other two in the series yet, but I’m really looking forward to seeing film of the first book, once it’s out. I also plan on picking up the short story, The Grownup, by Gillian Flynn who wrote Gone Girl. I like the idea of taking short books with me, so I don’t feel like I’m having to dip in and out of the same book throughout the holiday. I often take a lot of books on my Kindle and don’t pick it up once. So I’m back to real books for this vacation!

So that was the past few weeks. Lots happening, and sadly I’m wishing it all away in the excitement for Florida. And before I know it it’ll all be over….. but I know I’m going to have the time of my life!

Ladies What Brunch

Having spent a lot of lovely time, but not nearly enough, with the Book Club girls in Cornwall, we decided we needed a girly meet up before Tash headed back to Vietnam.

I’d heard, through a girl in my office, about Jones & Sons in Dalston and their amazing bottomless brunch. We managed to find a date that worked for us all (which was also Caz’s birthday), made our booking and eagerly awaited the date.

Bottomless Brunch at Jones at Sons is awesome. You choose either ‘on the wagon’ or ‘off the wagon’, you choose which drink you’ll be getting served for 2 hours you have the table, and then you get to order as much food as you want off their menu for a set price. There are just two rules, once you’ve chosen which drink you want, you have to stick to that drink, and you can only order another round of food once everyone at your table is ready to order again too. This makes a lot of sense as it means the wait staff aren’t running around to each table multiple times over the duration of your visit.

We arrived at the restaurant slightly early, but were seated right away with no bother even though they were incredibly busy. Our drinks chosen and our food selected we waited patiently (yeah right!) for our food, eyeing up what other people were being served with hungry stomachs.

Inside Jones & Sons there’s a lovely buzz. Chitter chatter loud enough to create an atmosphere but not enough to make you shout – just how I like it. The wait staff were wonderful and really accommodating.

I chose to go with bucks fizz to drink, and every time my glass needed topping up we heard the sound of a new Prosecco bottle being opened! I must have drunk about 6 glasses over the time we were there so I was pleasantly merry by the time we left.

Now to eats:

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I started with poached eggs on sour dough toast with the most perfect avocado I’ve ever eaten. Well seasoned and perfectly ripe, the dish warmed up my stomach for what was to come. Next I went for a full english, which came complete with black pudding (which I love). Then after the girls had raved about the french toast, I decided to finish with that. It was soft and fluffy (could have been a little more custardy and a little less burnt, but they were changing to lunch service so I’ll let them off!)

I have to say I probably could have eaten another course but our 2 hours was up and we got the cheque. Even though Jones & Sons is a little off the normal track I’d take in London, I’ll definitely be back. The location, food and service was spot on, and I’d recommend a visit if you’re in the area.

After brunch we fancied another drink to headed to John Lewis on Oxford Street and to their rooftop garden. It’s open over the summer and I really wanted to see what it was like.

It being Pride London weekend, there were LGBT flags flying on top of all the buildings and down Oxford Street.

The John Lewis rooftop garden was very serene and lovely place to digest the food we’d just eaten. We all picked cocktails, though were surprised to find out that the only place you could get non alcoholic drinks had run out of juice….. I chose a cucumber cooler which has gin in it so I was happy!

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It was an awesome day, and brilliant to spend it all together on what seems like the last consistently pleasant weather day! If you haven’t been to Jones & Sons in Dalston, I really recommend it. The John Lewis Roof Garden is open until September 4th.

A Cornish Holiday

If you’ve read my last proper post, you’ll have seen that I’ve recently returned from a lovely holiday in St Ives, Cornwall. We went down that way for our friends Sarah and Nick’s wedding, but we had the place we rented for a week so took advantage of being down that way.

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Above was the view of Carbis Bay from our property. We’d been to Cornwall a few times, usually choosing to stay in or near Fowey, however we can now say our hearts firmly prefer St Ives.

The Monday after the wedding began with breakfast in a little cafe, whilst it drizzled outside, but within about half an hour of us finishing, the sun had come out and it was warm enough to walk around without a jacket over my vest top.

The streets of St Ives are so pretty. They wind, rise and fall and the shops are adorable.

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We ate some great food and drank some yummy cider (loving Rattler now!) I had a gorgeous rum and gin cocktail at the Rum and Crab shack along with some crab nachos.

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I was constantly amazed by how clear the water in the harbour and on the beaches was (and how vicious the seagulls were!)

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Other than the wedding on the Sunday, there were two other highlights of our stay in St Ives. The first was a ghost walk we took with Caz and Chris one evening. The guy who was guiding it was outstanding, and we were taken to some awesome locations. The grave yard and the beach were two stand-out places. So atmospheric and unforgettable. The second highlight was Amy’s birthday which fell on Thursday. We met up in the evening for sit-down fish and chips followed by cupcakes on the beach.

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It was an awesome break, and I can’t wait to get together with this lovely lot again! We’ll definitely be going back to St Ives soon! Whilst we were there we went into so many art galleries, and came away with three pieces for our house. I might have also come away with these beautiful works of art….

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Sigh, I’m in Love!

So, thanks St Ives. We’ll be back soon!

A Beautiful Wedding

We have just returned from a lovely break in St Ives where our good friends Sarah and Nick married at Carbis Bay.

The weather for the two important wedding days was perfect just when it needed to be. We arrived in Carbis Bay on Saturday evening just in time for the sun to begin shining. All gathered together, friends and family relaxed, caught up and ate fish and chips on the beautiful beach, which looked like something from another country.

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We even managed a dip in the sea!

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The following morning was the big day and the bridesmaids showed up early to get our hair done. We had been given free rein on how to have our hair, but Sarah had said we should all have a plait somewhere. I’d seen a picture a while back of the kind of thing I wanted, and showed the hairdresser. She nailed it!

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I was so pleased with it!

The weather had been grey and rainy, but the sun shone bright and beautiful as soon as Sarah put her dress on.

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After a few photos it was show time. The ceremony was stunning, with the back doors to the conservatory where we were seated open, we could hear the waves from the bay below, throughout.

Photos afterwards on the grass and then the beach, along with drinks and chats. It was perfect.

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We all got a little sunburnt, and I was delighted that my tinted moisturiser, which has spf, protected my nose and forehead which normally burn first. I’m planning another post describing the make up I used, soon. I was so impressed with how my face still looked perfect at the end of the day!

Wedding breakfast, coffee and then disco later we were all pretty shattered. But it was a wonderful day. The DJ agreed to play some corkers, including a Book Club only dance to Wannabe by the Spice Girls, which was definitely a highlight.

Thank you Sarah and Nick for including us in your day, allowing us to share a wonderful week with you and friends, and for asking me to be bridesmaid. The day, and week, was perfect!

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This Week I Have Been Mostly….

this week i have been mostly

Last weekend was Bank Holiday, and in true British style the Monday was grey and rainy. But thankfully I’d gotten all my good stuff done already.

Sunday was Sarah’s Hen party in London, and all us bridesmaids headed to Trafalgar square to meet with some of Sarah’s other friends and family for a day of girly fun. Donning pink feather boas, we hopped onto a London bus for some afternoon tea and sight-seeing.

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Yummy cakes and sandwiches were washed down with prosecco and then tea. We then headed to Shoreditch to Mixology for fun cocktail making – and drinking!

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We had great fun, and it’s awesome to think the wedding is now just days away.

Over the weekend, we watched two really great films. The first was The Gallows, which is a found-footage movie about a school play where one of the actors was accidentally hanged by a prop and then years later the school decide to put the play on again in homage. It’s creepy and very effective.

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The other was 10 Cloverfield Lane. We really enjoyed Cloverfield and were intrigued to watch this new one, which isn’t a sequel but is in a similar vein to the first. Again a very interesting film, and brilliantly acted. If you liked Cloverfield I recommend it!

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The rest of the week was grey and rainy and so so chilly. It felt like autumn had come back – we even had the heating on! But the forecast for next week is warmer and brighter and just in the nick of time because we’re all heading to St Ives on Friday and Saturday to celebrate Sarah and Nick’s wedding. We all can’t wait!

Before that though, Tash, one of the bridesmaids, lands in the UK after being in Thailand since September last year. I cannot wait to see her! It’s been too long but before we know it she’ll be heading back.

Oh one other fun thing – Gary managed to get us tickets to see Bad Company in October. I love classic rock and can’t wait to see them. We’ve been waiting for a UK tour for a while and finally they announced it! I’m gonna get my rock on!

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This Week I Have Been Mostly….

this week i have been mostly

I’ve had a lovely and relaxed time, this past week. On Monday evening I went for dinner with 3 of the Book Club 6. We talked house moving, work, life and the upcoming wedding of one of the bunch. Sarah’s hen was the reason we went to Ibiza last year. We hadn’t seen each other since before Christmas. Life keeps on getting in the way!

My down time has been mostly spent watching Pretty Little Liars, and I have no shame in admitting I’ve managed to watch 5 and a half seasons in just one month. Granted I got a lot seen during my week off when I caught the plague and spent most of it in bed.

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So I’m all caught up but that means I have to wait until Wednesdays to see the next episodes like the rest of the poor population. I’m loving what they’ve done with the story, and can’t wait to see what’s next!

I’ve been playing around with some of those beauty bits I picked up last weekend, and I’ll do a proper review at some point, but so far I’m loving the mini ‘It’s Potent’ from Benefit. It’s only been a week, and I might be totally wrong, but I’m sure the dark circles under my eyes have reduced. Could this be a miracle cream? I’ve also played around a bit with the colour corrector palette I picked up from Collection at Boots, and so far I’m impressed. The formulas aren’t amazing, but for a £5.99 palette what can you expect? The concept behind them, and how they work on my skin are a big thumbs up so far.

I posted up a review midweek of It Follows, which is a current favourite movie of mine. If you missed the post, check it out. I’d love to hear what you thought of the film if you’ve seen it.

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We started watching the new Judd Apatow min-series Love, which one episode in, is very intriquing. If you love watching Girls I think you’ll love this, since Judd Apatow is involved with both, they have a similar feel to them. I love his movies so I guessed I’d probably like this too. So far so good!

Gary and I, in our aim to eat healthily, took a visit to Five Guys for dinner on Friday…. We love the burgers there, but came away stinking of grease from sitting in the restaurant. We’d never noticed this problem before, but two days later we’ve noticed the smell is still lingering on our coats when we’ve been bundling up to leave the house. Really nasty – it might help to prevent us going back any time soon, which can only be a help towards our healthy eating plan. Tonight I’m trying out Nigella’s Mexican lasagne, and can’t wait to have it in my belly!

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Yesterday morning I had the pleasure of a Skype chat with my friend Tash who has been in Vietnam and Thailand since mid September last year. I really miss her so it’s been great to catch up with her, and see her face! She’s hoping to be back in about 3 months, so she can join us as bridesmaid for Sarah’s wedding. In the meantime I’m thankful for Whatsapp and Skype so I can chat with her at the click of a button.

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We’ve had a couple of snow flurries this week, and a hail storm this afternoon. The weather is so turbulent at the moment, but towards the end of next week we’re hoping to get back to double figures. I’m longing for light jackets and pretty clothes again!

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Today we saw some half marathon runners, running for the MK Festival of Running. I haven’t run properly since my injury last year, and have been happy to take some time off. I usually gauge how much my subconscious wants to run by how I react when I see other people running. Seeing these guys plodding along completing a half marathon race today made me wish I was there with them. So I’m hoping this is a sign for things to come. When the mornings and evenings are lighter I’d like to begin with short runs around the block again. I hate it when I’m doing it, but love the feeling afterwards. And I need to work off these visits to Five Guys somehow!