Life lately (September 2015).


September has gone by in a blur, probably because I spent most of it counting down to my holiday then the last week of it on holiday! I've also spent the whole of September (and most of August) being poorly so to be honest I am thoroughly fed up.

What I initially thought was a virus (sore throat, swollen glands and fatigue) seems to have lingered on for all of eternity and 2 months later my glands are still swollen and painful. Hopefully October will be the month I get to the bottom of it once my blood test results come back and I can get back to feeling 100%. I have put a lot of weight on but I'm not well enough to exercise so it's pretty rubbish and I will be glad when my glands sod off wherever they came from!

My niece was born on the 31 August so September was ALL about baby Mabel Lucy. I flew over to the Isle of Man for the weekend and I could have stayed forever. I love her so much. She's absolutely adorable!

Paul and I had a rare weekend together before we went on holiday (he works!) so we cooked a roast dinner with all the trimmings. Our first ever attempt at making Yorkshire Puddings was a complete success thanks to his lovely neighbour Jean who supervised our measuring/mixing. Thanks Jean!

We spent a week in Lanzarote at an all-inclusive resort eating and drinking ourselves silly, sunbathing, swimming, sleeping and reading. It was absolute BLISS and confirmed that Paul is just as wonderful as I thought he was. We're planning our holidays for 2016 and I couldn't be happier. Did someone say Florida....?! Hurrah! I'll pop a few photos from our holiday up next week.

September has seen lots of walks with the Pugs, enjoying the last of the sunshine, eating far too many donuts and sweet treats, and being totally loved up!

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How I like #mybath (with Matalan Direct).


For me a bubble bath is a real luxury purely because I don't have a bath! So every now and again I pop over to my boyfriend's house and run myself a nice hot bath full of bubbles and try to shake off the stress of the day.

Matalan Direct recently sent me a generous Boots voucher to create my perfect bath to share with you. The first few bits I treated myself to were no-brainers; Soap and Glory products and a brand spanking new Yankee Candle! For me a perfect bath is all about lots of bubbles, great smelling products and a scented candle to transport me from drizzly Sheffield to somewhere a tad more exotic!

Soap & Glory - The Daily Soothe
This bubble bath is a thick formula in a tub designed to promote a good night's sleep with its calming and soothing properties. Simply grab a scoop and let it run under the running water to create lots of bubbles. I don't know about getting a better night's sleep because I always sleep pretty well but it did a grand job of providing lots of scented bubbles that left my skin feeling moisturised.

Soap & Glory - Whipped Clean
As shower creams go this has got to be my absolute favourite. It smells divine, all almond-y and vanilla-y, and leaves my skin smelling lovely and feeling incredibly soft. For me there's no better shower cream. It is perfect if you're lazy like me, as it acts as a moisturiser too.

Soap & Glory - Peaches and Clean
If you think Whipped Clean smells good you need to get your nose round this facial cleanser. After a bath I wash my face with this cleansing milk, designed to clear the pores and melt away makeup and impurities. It smells incredible and leaves my skin feeling really clean and soft.

Yankee Candle - Pink Sands
Pink Sands is one of my favourite Yankee's. It literally smells like a holiday in a jar! A perfect bathroom addition.

Last but not least I also picked up a pair of exfoliating gloves and a rather fetching hair turban to keep my hair dry. With a candle burning, bubbles bubbling and a good book (currently reading this!) it's the perfect end to a busy day at work.

What does your perfect bath look like?

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Titanic Spa.


Last month Paul and I had a day and overnight stay at Titanic Spa in Huddersfield to celebrate his birthday and as a nice treat after we spent the weekend moving my things into my new house. I had never been to a spa before so it was all new to me but I was ready for some relaxation and pampering after the house move and a hectic past few months.

We didn't book in for any treatments so after checking-in and changing into our cossies and robes we spent the morning sitting outside in the sunshine with a cup of coffee or two and doing a few lengths in the pool. Once we had done a token bit of exercise we headed to the heat and ice experience which is a series of rooms (saunas, steam rooms, aromatherapy rooms, that kind of thing), along with a foot bath station and some cooling experiences like a plunge pool and an ice bucket shower (I gave that one a miss.. brr!)

We got lunch included in our stay so we made use of the heat and ice experience before and after lunch, before finishing off in the outdoor hot tub and then the relaxation room where we lounged on humongous cushions and dozed off.

Our apartment was lovely and spacious, spread over two levels. We cracked open some Prosecco and chocolates before heading down for cocktails in the newly opened bar (Bar 1911) where we managed to nab the cosy snug area. Dinner was really tasty. I had a stuffed mushroom to start followed by the pork belly and both were divine. We spent the rest of the evening watching DVDs in our apartment before the relaxation caught up with us and we were beat.

The next morning we enjoyed a Pug-free sleep-in (a rare occurence!) and devoured the contents of the breakfast basket before heading back to Sheffield.

I could seriously get used to spa days now! I will be on the look out for future deals at Titanic Spa so that we can head back soon!

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This weekend I...


1) got to meet Mabel, my 6 day old baby niece, through the medium of Facetime (my sister and her husband live on the Isle of Man so I can't meet her in person just yet). She is an absolute beauty and I can't wait for lots of cuddles in a couple of weeks time. I look for cute baby girl clothes everywhere I go now and it's only a matter of time before Auntie VJ gets her in a headband!

2) dusted off my proper camera and headed out with Paul and the Pugs to get a few photos. I'm still clueless and just point, shoot and hope for the best, but it's nice to get some proper photos of the 4 of us to document our time together. 

3) sat in the sunshine, drank LOTS of tea, ate LOTS of banana bread (baked by my own fair hands) and had an epic nap to end all naps on Sunday afternoon.

4) had a surprise visit from my boyfriend on his night shift. I don't think I will ever get bored of seeing him in his uniform. HELLO.

5) felt anxious. Then cross with myself for being anxious. Then anxious for being cross with myself. And so on and so on.

6) spent about 4 hours solid on ASOS looking at bikinis and beachware before I felt like I was going slightly insane. I eventually ordered one bikini, so those 4 hours weren't entirely wasted. 

7) sat back and thought about how lucky I am to be loved by such a wonderful chap and by my two little Pug babies and felt pretty damn happy.

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Deliciously Ella: sweet potato brownies.


Without a doubt the Deliciously Ella recipe I make the most is for her sweet potato brownies. I've made a few batches and they get better each time. I usually freeze half of what I have made then eat the rest in quick succession.

With the frozen ones I just pop one out the freezer an hour before I want it and Bob's your Uncle, they are so delicious when they're still slightly frozen. They're also pretty delightful with a helping of nut butter on the top (hazelnut is my favourite).

They are really easy to make and don't require lots of crazy ingredients like some healthy baking recipes. The buckwheat flour was the most obscure thing I had to buy and I found some in Waitrose no problems at all.

I am definitely going to whip some more up next week in time for Bake Off!

If anyone has any similar healthy baking recipes please do share!
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Weekend shenanigans (and 5 good things!)


Monday's are always a bit rubbish after a really great weekend aren't they? That's why I reckon a 5 good things post will cheer me right up, and a quick flick through some of the photos I took on Saturday evening and Sunday.

On Saturday, after an epic Insanity workout, my friend and I went to the cinema to watch Trainwreck (pretty funny first half, good ending!) and had a good catch up over a cuppa. Later that evening my boyfriend and I (meet Paul everyone!) went out for dinner and a few drinks before swinging by Tesco on the way home, as you do, for a family sized sticky toffee pudding and a cosy night on the sofa.

Yesterday we took Lily and Lola to the Longshaw Estate for a stroll. Lily and Lola did so well and managed to walk a pretty long way, got fussed by everyone and made friends with a couple of little Chihuahua's. They were on their best behaviour for once. They might have been too tired to do their usual terrorising :)

Most things are pretty rosy at the moment but I have picked out 5 biggies:

1) 8 weeks with this one. I didn't think I would find love again (ever the pessimist) but life has a funny way of falling into place when you least expect it. The past 2 months have been bloody wonderful and I have to pinch myself sometimes to believe it's real!

2) Booking a little holiday for the end of September. I am so ready for some sunshine, relaxation and all inclusive food and drink. Cocktails by the pool, yes please!

3) Urban 1/4, Kelham Island (Sheffield). This is one of the best burgers I've ever had. SO. GOOD. I got the standard beef burger then added blue cheese, smoked bacon and onion chutney. Good chips. Good sides. Friendly service. I'll be back! I can't resist a good burger.

4) Being settled in my new home and having my own space to go to after work where I feel cosy and happy. I think I have just about bought everything I need to get me started so now I can pop my feet up and enjoy it all (and that's just what I'm doing now!)

5) Counting down to lovely weekend plans. Homecooked dinner and a spot of champers on Friday evening. A wedding on Saturday. Leeds on Sunday to meet my folks for lunch. Is it 5pm on Friday yet!!?!

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Life lately.


Life has taken a dramatic turn since my last update. I guess a lot can happen in a month! After a phone call with my sister where she told me to stop giving myself such a hard time I changed my attitude a bit then whaddyaknow, bit by bit my luck came in and, although my life is by no means perfect, it's pretty damn good right now!

Where to start...

After finding myself single at 30 with no single friends I dabbled with online dating for a little while which turned out to be a disaster but it did wonders for my confidence, which is a good thing because that meant when my old manager asked if she could set me up with (hang on let me get this right) her husband's brother's wife's brother I decided to go for it. By this point I was a bit of a first date pro and thought I had nothing to lose!

I didn't really know what to expect but I knew the second I saw him he would turn out to be pretty special, and boy was I right! I am going to keep him to myself a little bit longer as it's still early days, but I'm sure you'll see him gracing the pages of LLL in the not too distant future. It's fair to say I am one happy chappy right now!

After searching high and low for a place to live that would accept dogs I finally found somewhere. It's not perfect by any means but it's in a nice area and it's just the right size for me and Lily and Lola. So after 6 months of living with my friend it's time to move on. I get my keys on Saturday which is very exciting but also a tad terrifying! I have only lived on my own once before and I can't say I'm looking forward to sorting all the bills and things, but I am excited at the prospect of trips to Dunelm Mill and Ikea!

Lily and Lola are turning into little old ladies, getting very grey and very slow, which breaks my heart every day. As much as they make me crazy waking me up at 6am and terrorising the neighbourhood by barking at everyone and everything, I can't imagine my life without them. I've had 7 1/2 years with them so they've always been the one constant in my life when other things have been up and down.

I'm looking forward to getting them settled into their new home which is still fairly close to Meersbrook Park, so they will be pleased that they can continue their reign of terror.

I've been making the most of living next to a park and recently got back into jogging again. I gave up on it last time because I either ended up having a panic attack, shin splints or horrendous stomach ache/sickness, but something is different this time. I go first thing on a morning, every other day if I can, and instead of using apps to build it up I just set off and run for as long as I can.

I have always wanted to be able to run 5k non stop but I thought it would never happen in a million years. Well, after a couple of weeks of this new routine I ran 5k non stop! Then a week later I managed 6k non stop! I'm over the moon because, touch wood, I seem to have my breathing under control and my stomach hasn't been giving me any trouble. Next goal, 10k!

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5 good things.


It has been a couple of months since my last "5 good things" so it's about time I put another list together. I managed to survive last Saturday (aka the would-be-wedding day), my hangover has just about worn off from spending the day (and night) in the pub with friends, and after a pretty rough week I am ready to look forwards and stop looking back. Here goes!

1) I reached 4000 subscribers on Bloglovin' which I am pretty damn happy about.

2) Orange is the New Black is back and I plan to binge-watch as many episodes as I can over the weekend.

3) I have said it before and I will say it again, I LOVE Bath & Body Works candles. Having one or two around the house is always guaranteed to make me happy (plus it cancels out Puggy smells rather well).

My sister went to Dubai recently and brought some goodies back for me. The scents are so strong and they burn down evenly - I can't stand wasted wax! The Watermelon Lemonade is a firm favourite but the Cinnamon Sugared Doughnut is a lovely sweet scent which isn't sickly at all. It makes my bedroom smell like a bakery - not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing! I am constantly craving doughnuts but what's new there! :)

4) Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Just because.

5) Having a spring clean and finding things to keep my hands and mind occupied like all my craft supplies and my adult colouring book. The one I have is by Johanna Basford - Secret Garden - but I would love to get my hands on a book full of mandala patterns. Although I fear I would become obsessed and get nothing else done!
Now all I need to do is learn to colour in the lines...

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