This Week I Have Mostly….

this week i have been mostly

Hi guys. This is just a quick post to catch up with the past couple of weeks.

I’ve been busy making some exciting plans in my personal life and that’s kind of overtaken things, so I haven’t planned many blog posts.

That being said, my ColourPop cosmetics order arrived so I plan to do a post on the items I bought (there’s some crackers!) Here’s a preview:

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Last week I was also featured in John’s Road to Volunteering blog, in his Community Champions blog post. It was an honour to be asked to be featured and to be considered amongst such an amazing bunch of lovely bloggers was wonderful. John’s words about me were so kind. Make sure you click the link above and have a read. And whilst you’re there, check out John’s blog and the other ladies featured and follow them too!

In other blogging news, I had what I consider to be an inspired idea for a new blogging series which could even turn into a YouTube series too. I can’t get started on it just yet, but I’m hoping to be able to start working on it within the next few months. If you’re intrigued, follow me on Twitter @Shutterbug_Blog and keep an eye out, because I’ll be needing help from other bloggers!

In TV I’ve just gotten up to date with Riverdale (one of the worst shows I’ve seen in a long time, and who knows why I kept watching it), and we’ve been flying through watching Twin Peaks. We’re determined to watch it all, and the film, before the new season airs. I think we might manage it (fingers crossed!)

Spring seems to be making its presence known, and it’s been so nice to have warm sunshine at last. I’ve even been going outside without a coat on. It’s amazing what the weather can do to lift my mood, and I’m hoping this is the warmer weather here to stay until September. Fingers crossed!

So that’s it for now. Keep your eyes peeled for my upcoming ColourPop post, and I’ll be back soon!

 

This Week I Have Been Mostly….

this week i have been mostly

Here we are almost at the end of February. Where is the time going?

My last few beauty posts have been very well received and I wanted to say hello to all my new followers! It’s lovely to have you here and I can’t wait to speak with you via your comments. Welcome 🙂 Feel free to follow me over on twitter too, if you feel like it! I’m @groggits

The last few weeks have flown by in a whirl of work and play. Last weekend Gary and I took the opportunity to visit a local pub, The Swan at Salford and have a lovely date-night. So we popped on some nice clothes, I brushed my hair, and we headed out. Both of our meals were delicious and I had a yummy cocktail which tasted like there was no alcohol in it (the most dangerous kind…!)

Gary and I took receipt of a new TV we’ve been saving for for a while now – its 50” 4K and 3D. I’d been given a copy of Frozen for my birthday a few years ago, which happened to have the 3D version on it so we were able to really put the TV to the test, and the picture is amazing! We’ve since bought a few 3D blu rays to watch and I must say, Tangled in 3D got me a bit emotional at the end with the lanterns. We’re planning on watching Life of Pi on it soon. So excited! Oh and I can watch YouTube on it too, which is amazing – this might be old hat to some of you, but I’m loving watching my subscribed channels on there! The remote control even has a Netflix button….. woah!

The weather has been swinging between icy hell in the mornings and spring like sunsets in the evenings. I’m getting tired of having to layer up and I’m craving being able to wear some of my prettier clothes with a light jacket. Everyone dresses cuter in milder weather and I think this is the first year I’ve really missed the Summer throughout the whole of Autumn and Winter.

We received a wedding invitation for Gary’s cousin’s wedding in July. It looks like it might be a festival in the woods type theme so I’m thinking along the lines of Midsummer Night’s Dream for my outfit. I adore weddings and really can’t wait!

I spent a little while in Boots this weekend, just mooching and seeing what’s new, and picked up some amazing new things to try.

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I got this little lot for a little over £30 – I can’t wait to try it all out, especially the Collection #concealandlightlikeapro Palette (£5.99!)  Anyone else find it weird calling it Collection and not Collection 2000 or is it just me? I’m also loving that Benefit are doing these £5 minis because it means I can try a few bits out without committing to the size or cost of a full sized product. They have an offer on at the moment for 4 minis for £15 and there’s quite a few lines in the deal. Go have a look! I’m all about hiding my dark circles and fine lines at the moment, so most of the stuff I picked up was the try in that area. Keep an eye out later in March to find out what I thought of these!

And as we’re nearing the end of the month, stay tuned for my February Favourites blog, due to hit your blog reader next week. See you then!

This Week I Have Been Mostly….

this week i have been mostly

This last week the sun has tried to shine and it’s begun to feel a little Spring-like. I say that and two days of the past week I had to scrape ice off the car. But by around 10am the spring sun was in the sky. It’s amazing how much the sunshine can make you feel brighter and more positive.

Despite the cold weather I’ve been mentally preparing for Spring. The arrival of my Glossybox was welcome, with its beautiful Valentine’s themed box and amazing goodies inside.

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Inside was a pair of vintage printed tweezer, MUA lip glaze in a pretty pink, a Wilkinson Sword razor, brown eyeliner (so handy!) and an amazing hair mask. Some of these will no doubt make it into my February Favourites, so keep an eye out for that!

I was also surprised for Valentine’s Day, with an amazing gift of Laura Mercier bubble bath. I’ve been eyeing this up for a while, with its gorgeous jar and honey dipper. I’ve used it already and it’s amazing how you can really feel the difference in the quality of the bubbles. So luxurious!

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Last weekend I was sad to learn that one of my favourite clothing shops, Ark, was closing down. So I decided to take advantage of their closing down sale and discounts and bought myself 3 dresses and a skirt for under £30! They arrived on Friday and I was so excited by the skirt that I had to wear it out on Saturday. And I’m so glad I did. It’s so easy to wear and comfy. It’s going to see me through winter, spring and autumn – I’m sure I’ll be able to get it in during summer too!

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And so now it’s Sunday. And I managed to get done a lot of the chores I couldn’t do during my week off when I was so ill. I also managed to get a quick gym session in this morning, and the spring weather has gotten me in a motivated mood!

Here’s to improved weather and improved motivation – I’m excited!

When Did it Become February?

And all of a sudden it’s mid February. I’m not sure when that happened but for sure it crept right up on me. And the cheeky thing about February is that it’s a short month. I’ve spent a lot of my spare work time getting things prepped for when I’m away on holiday, to make things easier when I get back, and most of my home time training. And before we know it, it’ll be March!

I’m on a 9 month training plan (of my own making) to gain a bikini confident body by September when I go to Ibiza on my first girly holiday, and hen party. I have some kind of training planned for every day of the week apart from one which is a rest day, but I’m out on that evening anyway. I’ve maintained the same weight for the last 4 weeks and it’s 2lb under my topper most happy weight. So it’s all going well and I feel more toned and less wobbly. I’ve been taking progress photos and not seeing a huge amount of difference so far, but I’m only a month and a half in.

Eating has been the hardest thing at the moment, since discovering I’m lactose intolerant, all I want is cheese and clotted cream, but I’m experimenting with foods at the moment and seeing how they affect me. A lot of the stuff I normally eat is dairy free anyway, and I’m not having a hard time substituting ingredients in other recipes to create a dairy free version.

Since the weather has been so so cold of late, I’ve been really fancying soup for lunch, which is odd because I’m usually against soup. I feel like I need to digest something for my lunch and soup, to my brain, is just a hot drink. But I found a recipe for a lentil soup a while back, which I think I’ve mentioned before, and it’s so easy and filling (and healthy!) that I have been making a batch on a Sunday morning and dividing it between 5 tubs for lunches throughout the following week. I’m able to buy the ingredients and use any left over for other meals in the week, and also get a wholesome and filling meal in the middle of my way, all week! Win win. My affair with soup won’t last long, and as soon as the weather picks up a little I will be back onto salads, but it’s great for now.

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And speaking of the weather picking up, which it seems it might start to do from next week, it’s been lovely seeing all the Valentine’s flowers about and a recent visit to my Mum’s saw a lovely bouquet of tulips in her living room. Spring touches are out and about and it’s wonderful.

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G Man and I don’t really do much, or anything, for Valentine’s Day. I’m not about to go on about commercialisation and a fake holiday, but you get the drift. It doesn’t have any impact on us. And that’s not because we’re not romantic or we don’t love each other, but because we love each other just the same all 364 other days of the year and don’t need a card or stuffed animal to show each other that. But on that cynical note I hope you all had a lovely day. Our day was made more Valentine-sy but being invited over to our friend’s house for Valentine’s lunch and cuddles with their new baby.

Lunch was amazing – a huge spread of salads followed by afternoon tea cakes and scones.

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And of course the company was great and we got plenty of cuddles with little Leo. It made for a much more festive Valentine’s and we were able to spend it with friends we love!

So it’s all go here in the Mason house, with preparations for all kinds of trips and lots of eating, with some running and training thrown in to boot. Not at all bad!

Red Lentil Soup
This recipe serves 4, but I tend to add a little more boiled water once the stock has gone in, just so I can stretch it comfortably to 5 lunch sized portions. This doesn’t affect the thickness of the final soup.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lrg carrot, diced
1 sml onion, diced
2 lrg ribs celery, diced
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup red lentils
4 cups water or low salt broth
1 whole bay leaf
2 tbsp lemon juice
In a large non stick pan (with a lid), heat oil over medium heat. Add celery, carrot, onion and 1/4 tsp salt. Stir to combine and then cover. Let vegetables sweat until onions are soft and translucent (about 5 mins). Add the lentils, water/broth and bay leaf. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and let simmer, covered, until lentils are soft and starting to fall apart (about 20 mins).
Turn off the heat, and add 1 tbsp of lemon juice. Stir and taste. Add the other tbsp of lemon juice, if you’re happy to. (You do need both as the acidity cuts through the creaminess of the lentils, but please don’t ruin your soup!) Add salt to taste (this also reduced the lemony-ness of the juice and it all blends really well).
Don’t forget to remove the bay leaf! This will keep refrigerated for up to 5 days.

Here Comes The Sun

This week has been glorious! The sun has come out, the wind has died down and it puts everyone in a good mood. What’s also put me in a good mood has been spending time with friends this week.

On Thursday I had a visit from a friend that I worked with for a short period of time before moving on to my current job. We really bonded on a spiritual level and this week I invited her over to see my new house and have a cuppa. She brought some amazing Gu pudding which might be my new favourite indulgence. We had a few hours of wonderful conversation and I know I want to make it a regular thing. So nice to have found another kindred spirit.

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On Friday after work I headed to Willen Lake to meet a friend for a run. Sarah is training for the Race For Life and we’ll be running together with a bunch of other friend. She hasn’t been running for long but we did a gentle jog around the smaller of the two lakes and after a little rest did another loop, with one small jog back on ourselves to complete a 5k run. The weather was amazing and it was great to get out and stretch the legs again, since I haven’t been running as often since completing the half marathon.

Yesterday my Mum and Dad came over, all kitted up, to help Gary and I tackle our overgrown garden. They’d been over not too long before but what with the humid wet weather we’ve had it was hugely overgrown again. Gary mowed the lawn and I hid from the grass pollen in the conservatory, de-moulding the inside – it’s a hack job of a conservatory and needs a lot of work doing on it! We also think we saw (and killed) a mock widow spider in there! Scary!

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Mum and Dad did a great job! I also recently got a load of my photos printed and put into frames and Mum brought some picture wire over so I was able to hang them at last. The living room looks much more welcoming and homely now with things on the walls and I’m really pleased with how good my prints look in the frames. It’s inspiring me to take more photos too, which I need!

Today, after a little lie-in watching The Great Manchester Run on tv, we headed over to the MK Dons Stadium for a quick look around Collectormania. We saw a couple of the Dr Who Doctors which was cool. After lunch I put a new crock-pot recipe into action and the smells coming from the kitchen as I type are amazing, It’s sticky honey soy chicken which I’ll serve with rice and green beans. I love how easy slow cookers are and how they don’t heat up the kitchen at all, which is perfect for today. Some light house work completed I was really to welcome another friend to my new home for the first time.

I met Helen via a Buffy The Vampire Slayer message board. A group of us would meet regularly but Helen’s the only one who I’ve kept in good contact with. Since the garden was all pretty I put up the camping chairs (we haven’t bought garden furniture yet!) and we sat and chatted in the garden for a few hours. It was beautiful and relaxing out there and the company was wonderful!

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So for the rest of my weekend I have a few more chores to do and then I can’t wait to get stuck into dinner which is making us both rather hungry since it’s smelling so good. It’s been a great week of friends and family and the weather helped things along! Let’s hope this is a sign of a good summer – fingers crossed!

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This Week I have been Mostly

It’s been a tiring week! After last week’s 10k I hoped I could pick up my runs from where I’d left off, but apparently my legs don’t work that way. I gave myself a rest day on Monday and then Tuesday was supposed to do an easy recovery run. Instead I ran 3.5 miles at varying speeds and at one point broke the sub 9m/m because my legs were feeling so good. Naughty me. Wednesday was another rest day with yoga on Thursday and a rest yesterday meaning I only ran twice this week.

Another beautiful weather weekend meant that it was a no brainer to head off for a run this morning. I ran my fastest 5k in 29 minutes – so pleased I hit sub 30 mins at last. Again this was naughty as I was meant to be making today my long run at a slower pace, but apparently I’m not very good at following my own plans. The weather was so lovely though. I ran in just a vest and some new capris and was perfectly cool.

Gary and I on our Sunday run
Gary and I after our Sunday run

It seems an awful lot of my friends have started running in the last few months so I thought it could be a good motivator to suggest we all get together and run the 5k Race For Life this year. I sent a message around and the majority have said yes! It’s going to be an amazing experience to be able to run with and motivate all these wonderful ladies for such a great cause and also show them how much fun race running is! I’m planning on organising some training runs on weekends nearer the day too so they can all meet each other and we can see what levels we’re all at. I can’t wait!

Another big thing in my life at the moment is that my work is moving offices to a location about 10 minutes further away than it currently is. As a result I’m having to brush up on my driving and soon will be taking the plunge and driving myself to work every day. Not a big deal for most people, but those who know me or who have been following my blog for a long while will know that I have a major fear of driving. It’s something which I’ve been fighting hard to get over for a long long time and I think I’m almost there, but it’s a massive deal for me and something I’ll be relieved to get over once I do.

On a side note, last weekend Gary and I finished watching True Detective, an HBO show starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. What a show! If you haven’t watched it yet then you really must. One particular scene from one of the episodes in the middle was filmed in what appeared to be one shot and was so amazingly choreographed. This series has to win some awards – and it being only 8 episodes long, I’m tempted to re watch the whole lot again.

So the coming week is full of ‘who knows’ with the strong possibility of moving offices I can’t really plan my after work extra curriculars but the plan is to do a long run early in the week and then some easy ones. With the weather being so good at the moment, it simply screams for you to be outside and enjoying it so I plan to do as much of that as I can!

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What’s Rocking My Socks

As I have some free time on my hands at the moment, I have been trying to keep myself busy. Here’s what’s rocking my socks at the moment:

Sunshine and Blue Skies

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Gary enjoying the sun

It’s so good to see the sun shine without a cloud in the sky. It’s still a little chilly at the moment, but next week is promising to be better!

Seeing Family

I don’t often get the chance to spend time with Gary’s side of the family but in the last few weeks I’ve been able to see them much more. My Sister-In-Law and I are going to Thorpe Park next week too! I’ve never been and I can’t wait to get on the rides!

Listening to my iPod

why not?

I hadn’t used my iPod in ages because I never have the chance. The speakers on my laptop are über quiet and the walls in our house are so thin I can’t play my radio. So since the weather has improved I’ve been listening to my iPod in the garden when doing the lawn, and I intend on buying an arm strap for it for when I start running. (Incidentally: has anyone got any tips on ear buds that will stay in for when I run?) It’s been so nice to listen to my choice of music again!

Healthy Eating

Since Christmas my eating habits have been off kilter. I’ve had at least one box of chocolates in the house and I’d gotten used to just popping a choccie in my mouth when I got peckish or bored. I’m really not a chocolate lover but I seem to have gotten myself into a rut. So I’ve put on a little weight around the hips and my jeans are feeling a tad tighter than usual. At least I’m aware of it and thankfully my go to treats are normally something like fruit or yogurt. I’m loving The Collective Dairy yogurt. I found them ages ago in Sainsbury and bought their Russian Fudge flavour. It’s a tad on the expensive side, but amazing and like nothing else. They only sell it in Sainsbury, Waitrose and now selected Morrisons and Tesco – though not in my Tesco so I’m a little grumpy about that. They do seasonal flavours too. I recommend you try it if you see it! They knew how much I loved their yogurt that they send me a voucher at Christmas. Aren’t they lovely?!

My Kindle

I’m so pleased I got a Kindle for my birthday last year. It really has changed the way I read and also my choice of books. I also love that you can see how long until the end of the chapter or book based on my reading speed, since the last software update.  G Man wondered whether I needed one of the newer ones but I love the one I have. It’s just technical enough 😀

Incidentally, on one of my recent trips out, my Sis-In-Law and I discovered a store called Tiger, which sells some amazing things at super cheap prices. I went onto their website and found that they have an off shoot called Tiger Camera. They’re currently running a competition for a place in their latest photo book and a chance for a trip to Africa. Their theme this year is ‘Connection’ and I’ve entered! If you are so inclined, I’d love it if my readers could pop over there and vote for my photo, if you like! I’d really appreciate it 🙂 (P.s. There is a really annoying spelling error in the description I wrote for it, but I can’t edit it now it’s submitted… argh!)

I can’t wait for the Bank Holiday with Gary – and it looks like the weather could be good for at least 2 of the 3 days. Whoop! Enjoy it, whatever you do!

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Yay for Holiday

I’m on holiday for a day shy of two weeks! Whoop! I’d love to say I’ve got loads planned but some of my plans have fallen through, so I really don’t. BUT I do get to spend the whole Bank Holiday weekend with G Man which never ever happens. I hope the weather is good!

Last night I went out with people from work to say goodbye to the current manager who is returning to her home of Scotland and will be working in Edinburgh. I need to plan a trip to visit her – maybe during Fringe? We had dinner and then went and had a drink in a bar looking onto the real snow ski slopes and watched the skiers and snowboarders. It was really nice and relaxing!

I’ve got odd things planned during my time off, including going to the new house of one of my best friends and having dinner there, the night before I return to work. It’ll be really good way to end my holiday 🙂

The weather was amazing at the start of the week so I got into the garden and ploughed the lawn (you don’t mow our lawn…..) which was really satisfying to do. It’s already growing back though since we had rain at the tail end of the week. I’m really hoping it improves again though because everyone’s just so much happier when the sun’s shining!

I’ve got some nice meals planned for this week – using my slow cooker again on Wednesday as I have the time to prepare stuff and set it on cooking. I’m also planning on going into London again and have a mooch around – maybe even take some photos! I still really want to get into running too – I’m sure it’s more than just a fad – so I might go into the Asics store on Oxford Street and check out what they have. They have a running clinic where they can scan your feet and running movements and work out which shoe is best for you. I can’t wait to get started!

Yay for holiday!

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Today Was a Good Day

Yes, today was a good day!

I had a visit from our Area Manager which I had to hold by myself as the Manager is away. The visit went really well! I had some good news about the interview I went on last week – I got a second interview! And I also found out there is a position in the company I’m with at the moment which I want to apply for. Our store got a really good mystery shop result today too!

What also made it great was that the weather has been booming today. Such a beautiful day and tomorrow is meant to be even better! I even got my feet out of their socks today and wore sandals! Whoop 😀

In other news, I trapped my finger in a door yesterday and I still can’t feel the end of it properly, and it’s gone a little blue. The air went a little blue when I did it too…..

And in the spirit of the wonderful weather, here’s a song that always boosts my spirits.

Turn it up loud!

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