Shop local (Sheffield): Cocoa Wonderland.


One of the reasons I like living in Sheffield is the array of independent shops, cafes and restaurants there are to explore. I'm trying to make a conscious effort to support local businesses instead of automatically heading to the big department stores/chains for birthday and Christmas presents, greetings cards, tea and cake, etc, and what better way to kick off this series than talking about Cocoa Wonderland.

Not only is it a delightful haven for sitting down to have a luxurious hot chocolate and piece of cake, but there's also a shop counter at the front of the store that sells truffles and chocolate bars. They have a few dairy free offerings too, including dairy free advent calendars.

I picked up a box of 12 truffles for a present. The great thing is the boxes come in different sizes so you can pick whatever suits your budget. They had rum filled penguin truffles, champagne truffles, peppermint creams, pralines, you name it! I only wish I had popped a few extra onto my order for myself!

I would be delighted to receive a box of Cocoa Wonderland truffles as a present, or alternatively a gift voucher to pop back for tea and cake and a sit down, so if any of my friends and family are reading this you know where to go! ;)

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5 good things (first attempt at making shortbread, plans for 2016 and cheesy Christmas music).


How is everyone doing? I am absolutely over the moon about the fact I slept in till 11:30am this morning and I have a whole day of blogging, stitching, Christmas shopping and Pug cuddles ahead of me before Paul finishes work and we have a lovely cosy night in. Weekends like this are good for the soul!

Things are slowly returning to normal now that the worst of my glandular fever is over but I am still tired all the time, so for me now the weekends are about maximising sleep activity and taking it steady with everything else.

I love writing these "5 good things" posts for a bit of a positivity boost and to fill you in on what I've been up to.

1) Not all my baking attempts are successful but my recent dabble with shortbread was a winner! The recipe only uses 3 ingredients so it was a doddle plus it's a cheap and simple way to make biscuits that taste blimmin' lovely (just don't think about the amount of butter in them). I thought I would make another batch this weekend perhaps with chocolate chips in? Be warned, if you know me you may be getting a tupperware box of shortbread very soon!

2) Lots and lots of plans for 2016 to look forward to! A weekend away to a cottage in Wales with Paul and the Pugs in January, going to the theatre to see Hairspray for my birthday in February, tickets for Busted's Sheffield concert in May, hopefully holidays to Berlin and New York, and a few trips to the Isle of Man to see baby Mabel. And that's just the start!

3) New candles. I can take or leave buying new makeup and beauty bits and bobs but give me a candle and I am all over it! Bath & Body Works candles will always be my favourite and "Sweater Weather" doesn't disappoint. Can anyone recommend a nice B&BW scent for a bedroom?

4) Putting a Christmas playlist together on Spotify and listening to it a hundred times before it's even December. I love Christmas. I love Christmas music. I am in my absolute element at this time of year!

5) 7 years with these guys. 'nuff said! 

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New Paperchase baubles and Paperchase Christmas wishlist.


I ADORE Paperchase, especially at Christmas time when they bring out a whole host of delightfully kitsch Christmas decorations. I am trying to build up a collection of glass baubles and Paperchase never fail to disappoint. Last year I picked up 3 delights and I knew I would be back this year for more.

This year my new additions are delightfully tacky, but "bang on trend" ;) A pineapple, a Pug and a burger. Because who doesn't need a burger bauble?!

We were quite restrained and just picked up these 3 baubles, which Paul and I picked out together to decorate our first tree with, but we could have bought the whole shop! Although we don't live together we do plan to have a shared tree this year which we will decorate together on our "pretend Christmas day" (sadly for him he is working this Christmas and lucky for me I will be away visiting family on the Isle of Man for a week!)

If snazzy tree decorations aren't your thing then get your nostrils round their Christmas Pud candle. If you like all things kitsch then you will love this wreath, or if you're a bit more sensible with your decorations then you can't go wrong with this lovely stag wreath.

I personally am a fan of the sprout baubles and will no doubt be going back for them in the near future!

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Olive Clothing wishlist (basic tees, a cable knit jumper and button up skirts).


I recently discovered the Olive Clothing website and it is fair to say my bank balance will never be the same again. I want to order one of EVERYTHING! I really struggle to find clothes that I like when I go shopping, and I only occasionally spot things I like online, so finding a website that's full of amazing basic tees, coats, knitwear, dresses and skirts is a dream!

I have decided from now on to only buy things that are good wardrobe basics or a good investment i.e. things that won't go out of fashion or sit in my wardrobe with the tags on, so Olive Clothing is absolutely ideal for my future shopping sprees. I have got my eye on their roll up sleeve basic tees which come in grey, wine and cream. Does anyone know what the sizing is like as they are one size, S/M? I feel a cheeky order coming on!

I would also love a cable knit jumper and their version in either cream or beige is one of the nicest I have seen. I love the way Melissa from mediamarmalade has styled her jumper, with a classic coat and jeans. I am not sure I could pull off the hat but Melissa certainly can. Perfection!

Finally, as a fan of skirts with tops tucked in, I love the button up skirts that are everywhere at the moment. I really like this navy version which I would feel more comfortable styling than say a denim one. I also think I would continue to wear it long after it's no longer considered "trendy".
Do you know of any similar clothing lines that I would like if I like this kind of thing? Leave your links below!

P.S. This post is not sponsored, I just ruddy love their clothes!
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10 little things that cheer me up / make me happy.


Sometimes life can seem like a bit of a struggle, and the weather at this time of year certainly doesn't help. All grand ideas to "pop out for a jog" go out the window when the ground is covered in wet leaves. It's a health and safety hazard quite frankly! Going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark sucks. Walking two little Pugs in the rain / wind / snow is impossible. All I want to do is crank the heating up, drink tea / hot chocolate and feel sorry for myself.

When I get like this there are a few things that are guaranteed to perk me up. It's just a case of doing them!
1) Go outside. Sounds simple really, but when I was stuck at home for several weeks during my recent unwell spell I found that I rarely left the house. I always feel better for popping my trainers on and going on a walk either alone or with a friend/Paul, or taking the dogs for a slow stroll round the block or at one of the local parks. It's also a good excuse to go shopping for new scarves, gloves, coats, hats, etc!

2) Facetime my sister and niece. My sister lives on the Isle of Man therefore I don't see her very often, so we keep in touch by Whatsapp and Facetime. She had a baby recently and as I can't do my auntie duties in person I have to coo over her via the power of technology instead. When I feel sad I ask my sister to send me a few photos of Mabel and, like magic, her chubby cheeks instantly cheer me up.
3) Watch a feel good film. For me it is usually Pitch Perfect, which I watched 3 times last week. No shame!
4) Buy myself a small inexpensive treat. It could be a bar of fancy chocolate that I say I will eat in stages but I inevitably eat all in one go, or a bunch of flowers in the "whoops" section, or a new candle, or a Krispy Kreme doughnut.

5) Cuddle with Lily and Lola. This is usually best coincided with the days following their bath, as they tend to get a bit smelly sometimes. It's so nice having their company now that I live alone and I don't know what I would do without them following me around everywhere like a shadow!

6) Take a super hot, super bubbly bath. Self explanatory!

7) Work on some cross stitching projects. Yep, I am a massive geek and I love a bit of cross stitching, something I have been doing for a few years since my friend Katy taught me how to do it. I'm working on a big project at the moment which I'm chipping away at. It's a good way to relax as the repetitive motions are calming and at the end of it you get an amazing piece of work to frame and give as a gift.

8) Make myself a "toddlers tea", the kind of thing you should have grown out of but let's face it, we all still love. Fish fingers, hash browns and beans is a personal fave!

9) Do something nice for someone. I'm a sucker for leaving nice letters for Paul to find around his house, or buying small gifts for friends that I think they might like. Cheering someone else up always makes me feel happier.

10) Cleaning. I am in no way, shape or form a neat freak or obsessed with cleaning. I've got 2 furry friends with muddy paws running around who have other ideas, and most of the time I would rather be doing something else, but occasionally when I'm home alone and I feel things are getting on top of me I decide to clean the bathroom, or I tidy my bedroom, or I have a sort through old boxes of stuff and bag things up for charity/Ebay/the bin. I am guaranteed to feel calmer after doing this, unless I decide to tackle the whole flat at once and then that's a different story altogether...!

What would be on your list?

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October round-up and goals for November.


October 2015 will be remembered as the month I spent my time either in bed or on the sofa watching telly, which was just about all I could manage as I was still feeling the effects of glandular fever. Lifting a book to read or doing work on my cross stitching projects was too much. Pretty pants really! However, the end of October saw my health improve slightly and my energy levels increase and although I'm not going to be running a marathon any time soon I can manage my housework and walking the dogs on my own again, so hurrah for that!

I've given myself a bit of a hard time about not blogging and whenever I have sat down to write I've been side-tracked by other blogs with better photos and more readers and felt like my own blog is rubbish in comparison. I was close to closing it down a couple of times, but then I thought HEY, you know what, I haven't blogged because I haven't had much to blog about. I've spent the past few months living in jogging bottoms and hoodies, watching Netflix and eating bread, and that's okay! Whenever I have blogged I've probably bored you with my woes of being unwell, but I'm afraid that's life. It's not all hazy filters and sparkles, and that's okay too. So please bear with me. I promise this corner of the internet will be more consistent and less moany very soon!

As a side note I'm ALL about gerbera flowers at the moment. I like to have a couple of vases of them dotted around the house. I'm a bit of a noob when it comes to arranging flowers nicely so I welcome their lack of leaves and thorns and whatnot. Plus they're so colourful and brighten my mood when I see them. I get mine from Aldi for £2 a bunch!

My main goal for November is to start exercising again, just something gentle and easy until I can build up to my old workout routine and go out jogging again. For now I am sticking to walking and housework until my energy levels go up again. I can't wait to go out running and get back on track with my goals to run 10k without stopping.

I also want to blog more, which I think will come naturally when I'm out and about doing more with my time and I have the energy to wear something that isn't pyjamas or loungewear. I have roped Paul in to be my outfit photographer, Lily and Lola are on standby with their Christmas outfits and I have loads of ideas for things to ramble about and share with you.

Other than that I will be making a dent in my Christmas shopping and wrapping, catching up with friends, seeing my beautiful baby niece Mabel, supporting my boyfriend's band who have a busy month with lots of gigs, and enjoying life again!

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Our week in Lanzarote.


Not long after Paul and I started dating we established that we both NEEDED a holiday, and that holiday had to be a week of lying by a pool doing abso-fruit-ly nothing. A friend of mine recommended a place in Lanzarote and said it was ideal for an all-inclusive week in the sunshine at the end of September, with cava flowing all day and night, a good selection at the buffets, and spacious clean rooms. We were sold!

That week away was absolutely perfect. All our stress from work was left behind and we spent a week lying on sun loungers, people watching (but avoiding eye contact so as not to accidentally make any friends), eating well, drinking well, soaking up the boiling hot sunshine (a little too much on the first day, "hello" white rings round the eyes Victoria!) and getting to know each other better, having only been dating 3 months at that point.

Next year I think our holidays will be more action packed (potentially New York or Florida) so it was nice to squeeze a lazy holiday in and also get some sunshine before the baltic UK Winter arrives. My week in the sun also seemed to alleviate my glandular fever. It's the best I've felt in months. If only I could pack up and go back to Lanzarote to get 100% better ay!

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5 good things.


1) When you're STILL ill with Glandular Fever and in the no-appetite-not-even-for-a-cuppa-tea phase, and you're upset because you're hungry, but your boyfriend pops to the shops when you get a craving for something because he is bloody ACE.

2) When your favourite group on one of your favourite tv shows covers one of the best songs of all time, it is perfection. And makes me very happy indeed. MMMBOP!

3) Buying fresh flowers to dot around the house. Since living on my own I'm all about stocking up on beautiful (and cheap!) flowers when I'm doing my food shopping at Aldi. They make such a big difference especially when you live in quite a small space like I do.

4) Realising it's 2 months until Christmas Day which means it's not as shameful to be listening to Michael Buble's Christmas album at every opportunity.

5) Finding a whole shelf dedicated to American chocolate/goodies in Tesco including crunchy Cheetos and Baby Ruth's. They just need to stock Take 5s and I won't be able to stay away!

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