Harrods Christmas shop.

12.12.14

Buying a real tree this year has made me obsessed with finding pretty new baubles and this foursome from Harrods are no exception.

As far as Christmas decorations go they are pretty special. Hand decorated and covered in Swarovski stones they are the perfect piece of bling for any tree! The white colour are out of stock but they also come in green (link!) which I love too.

Our tree is a mish mash of all different styles, shapes and sizes. Presents from friends, keepsakes, things we have picked up from all over the world, with a few twinkly lights to finish it off. I am so pleased with how it looks this year.

Swarovski Christmas decorations c/o Harrods

I will definitely be paying Harrods a visit next year as they have so many lovely things in their Christmas shop. I have been coveting this embroidered reindeer, embellished ice cream decoration, vintage bottle decoration, and 2014 Christmas door ornament.

Is there anything that takes your fancy?


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Life lately.

11.12.14

1. Giving up on my trusty iPhone 4, which was becoming uncooperative, and upgrading to a super duper iPhone 6 in gold. It's nice to have a phone that responds straight away and I can finally take decent photos instead of very grainy ones through the scratched camera on my old one.

2. Discovering The Inbetweeners (which I must admit I poo-pooed the first time round) and finding it hilarious.

3. Making Jonathan watch Drifters, which is like a girls version of The Inbetweeners. So funny!

4. Buying a real tree for our home the first time which is so much nicer than a fake one. I love the smell of our front room (less Pug, more pine needles!) and our higgledy-piggledy baubles which we have been collecting together for the past few years. I popped to Paperchase yesterday and added a few more to the collection. I love our Liberty of London Pug which was a present from my sister one Christmas.


5. Trawling the shops for an outfit to wear on a night out this Friday. I'm sure I hit 29 and developed the inability to find suitable clothes because I seem to be in this predicament every time I have an occasion on the horizon! Nothing like a bit of panic buying the night before (gets ready to go to Meadowhall)...

6. Buying Rich Tea's (because they're a 'healthy' biscuit) but covering them in Nutella.

7. Experimenting with styling my short hair and adding more tongs to my collection (somebody stop me buying hair products, please!)

8. Having a catch up with my parents over lunch. Lots of wedding talk and making plans for Christmas.

9. Having 2 solid weeks of working out consistently and discovering stomach muscles! Thanks Fitness Blender :)

10. Lionel Richie lols with my friends at the office.


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Pug post - pet insurance.

8.12.14

You may remember the Pug FAQ post I did a little while ago which I hope was useful to some of you. Owning a pet is a big responsibility, it can be hard work and sometimes expensive but I hope I didn't put you off too much. I couldn't imagine life without a furry friend or two, and Pugs make the best companions.

One thing I touched on in that post was pet insurance and how much of a lifesaver it has been for us due to Lily and Lola's health problems so I thought I would elaborate a bit more on that side of things.

I would recommend taking out a policy for anybody with a pet because you just don't know what's around the corner and having something in place gives you peace of mind for the future.

Things to think about before taking out a policy:
- Pet insurance usually doesn't cover pre-existing conditions so if you're going to get it, it's better to take out a policy from the start as opposed to waiting until something goes wrong. That way there's no grey area surrounding what you can and can't claim for.
- Is the breed of your pet prone to health problems more than other breeds? If yes then take this into account when choosing your policy.
- Don't just go for the cheapest option. Weigh up the pros and cons for the different prices and, if you can afford to pay a little bit extra, go for a more comprehensive policy. 
- Some policies cover each condition up to a set price limit or a set period of time, so it's important to look out for that and bear it in mind if you think your pet may develop an illness which needs recurring treatment.
- Do you have more than one pet? Most companies offer a multi-pet discount.
- Do you have Quidco or another cash back account? Check for offers on taking out new policies!

Insurance can be paid for monthly usually at no extra cost.


Lily has had her fair share of visits to the vet. She developed an ingrowing eyelash 6 weeks after I adopted her. After weeks of visits back and forth to the vets trying eye drops I was referred to an eye specialist who charged around £100 for a ten minute consultation. Her ingrowing eyelash was diagnosed and an operation to remove it cost a further £650+. We were able to claim this back minus an excess of around £90.

A couple of months ago I found a small hard lump on Lily's leg. After going under anesthetic for an x-ray we were told it was a cyst which needed to be removed. This operation, along with the anesthetic and medication costs, came to several hundred pounds.

Lily isn't terribly good on her legs and I worry about her getting arthritis as she gets older. This is something that would be covered on our policy. Similarly Lola has a tendency to put weight on, and suffers from skin allergies. If we needed to do skin tests in the future, which can be incredibly expensive, this would be covered also.

Please think about insurance if you have a pet or you're thinking about getting a pet in the future!

(This is a collaborative post)
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Our (long) weekend.

7.12.14

We have had a lovely 3 days which have felt like a lot longer than 3 days which is always a bonus! We ventured into Sheffield on Friday for some lunch and to finish off our Christmas shopping. We spent an hour and a half in John Lewis alone, which I didn't think was physically possible, and by the time we got home we were exhausted.

Yesterday I went to the hairdressers to go blonder, as I'm stuck in a cycle of going blonder/going darker/going blonder. I am a dangerous mixture of being impatient, indecisive and having hair that grows at an extraordinary fast rate. Anyway, it is blonder and I like it, so that's that. In the evening we went to watch ice hockey (Steelers! Steelers!) at the Motorpoint Arena and took my cousin along to watch his first game, as he's at Uni in Sheffield.


Today we bought our first real Christmas tree which is huge and smells amazing. Then we hot footed it to meet my parents for lunch over near their house in Leeds. They live near an independent gift shop which sells a host of amazing things, so I popped in there to pick up a couple of things for my sister for Christmas. That means my shopping is officially done, thank goodness for that! Now the fun of wrapping can commence.

Tonight involves jam on toast, decorating the tree, watching The Inbetweeners (yes I am massively behind the times on that one!) and snuggling a couple of naughty Pugs.

Have a good night!
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My Accessorize winter wishlist.

6.12.14

Accessorize have really produced the goods this year and sadly there is a small store just around the corner from my office block so I have been popping in rather a lot recently.

They have a large selection of blanket scarves for £19, which I think is pretty reasonable. I got myself a pretty pink pastel number and a brighter checked version. The days of shivering at my desk are over now that I can wrap myself up in these scarf/blanket hybrids!

I am lusting after a pair of leather gloves as I can't seem to hang onto regular gloves. They end up getting holes in the fingers or if they have any decoration that always pops off after a couple of wears. I am torn between the two pairs below but both are rather lovely!

You can't get through the winter with a cold head, which is why I'm eyeing up all of their faux fur bandos along with a rather fetching grey bobble hat. The bandos are only £15 which I think is a steal.

Finally a girl can never have too many pairs of socks and slippers. I am partial to a boot-style slipper but I can't resist these adorable koala bears.

What is your favourite item from my list?


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Weight loss/fitness update.

5.12.14

This year has been a weird one for my weight maintenance/fitness progress and as much as I'd like to sweep it all under the carpet, that wouldn't be fair to the people who email me asking for advice who say I'm an inspiration for their own weight loss. I always try to be honest so here is a summary of what's been happening.

Last year I got down to my ultimate goal weight but I was being too restrictive to get there. I was eating very small meals and I developed a fear of eating anything that wasn't "clean". Then I would go out for a meal or something would happen which disrupted my strict routine and I would eat lots and lots for several days or weeks. It was all or nothing!


My aim, ultimately, is to reach that goal weight again by being healthy, eating enough, exercising regularly, losing the obsessive compulsive thought processes and being happy! Not too much to ask surely? ;)

Bad habits
I have a tendency to turn to food when I am really happy, really sad, anxious or worried. Chances are I experience one of those emotions on a fairly regular basis which means I am often reaching for the biscuit tin. I want to kick this habit to the curb and find alternative ways to deal with these emotions.

PCOS
Some of you may know that I have PCOS which I think is part of the reason why, even when I'm on track and working really hard, results can be slow or sometimes non existent. This can be a massive set back and leaves me wondering why I bother. I think the key is consistency and knowledge. I have been trying to read up on PCOS as much as possible to find out the best food options and types of exercise. If anyone can share any pearls of wisdom please do!

Looking forward to 2015
I need to try and remember the progress I HAVE made. It's easy to forget, so writing this has been really helpful because I've been looking back through old photos and have noticed the changes.

Compared to 2009/2010 my BMI is no longer in the "overweight" category, I have found exercise that fits into my routine and that I enjoy, I have learnt to cook and know how to make good choices. I'd say this is a pretty big achievement! 

I have put a few pounds on since last year and I don't feel as comfortable in some of my clothes as I did then, so I'd like to lose that weight slowly and steadily.

I want to work on being able to have a treat without it throwing my whole routine off balance. I want to get stronger and fitter so I will try to be more consistent with my workouts and ensure I always do something at least a couple of times a week, but more if I can. I have found that HIIT workouts are the most effective for me so I will mix those in with some strength training. I will post regular updates to check in and chat to you guys about things. Hopefully that will be helpful to me and you!


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How I did with my 2014 goals/resolutions.

3.12.14

How did I do with my goals for 2014? Not too bad. It could definitely be worse! I feel like I gave them a good go and I have definitely made some improvements but to sum it up; could do better.

I am looking forward to setting some goals for 2015 but for now, here's how I did this year:

Get fitter / be more consistent with my exercise / stay at my goal weight - this has been a tricky one this year and my weight has been up and down more times than I care to remember. I think 2015 calls for more health updates, weigh-ins and general chit chat to do with weight loss and exercise. I haven't made any massive set backs and have maintained my weight, or thereabouts, so I don't feel massively disappointed with this goal.

Try Yoga or Pilates - I have done a little bit of yoga at home and enjoyed it, but I prefer high intensity exercise. I may still try a proper class at some point, but for now I'm happy that I gave it a go at home.

Go indoor rock climbing - I didn't do this but it's not my fault. Hear me out! I was given a rock climbing gift voucher last Christmas and have been putting it off and putting it off. I finally plucked up the courage to ring up last week and I discovered that the climbing centre has closed down! It is something I plan to do very soon though.



Try to be a better friend - I try to be as good of a friend as I can be, but sometimes I think I am too hard on myself and I over-think things. Towards the end of 2014 I have tried to be a better listener and supportive to the best of my ability. But at the end of the day, nobody is perfect.

Comment on every blog post I read - I think I have done pretty well on this. It has definitely got me into the habit of commenting and it is something I will continue to do in the future. I think this is something easy we can all do that makes a big difference to the blogger behind the post!

Read 52 books i.e. a book for every week of the year- big fat FAIL. I started the year off doing really well as I used to get the bus into work which meant I had a good 40 minutes each way to read my book or Kindle. Now that I drive into work every day I only get to read here and there; 10 minutes before bed, in the bath, or occasionally on the weekend. I definitely won't put pressure on myself next year to read a certain number of books but I would definitely like to make more time to read, even if it's just a magazine!

Get to the bottom of my acne problem and have more confidence in my appearance
(But ultimately accept that appearance is not the be all and end all!) - my acne completely cleared up this year, hurrah! I *think* I have got it under control and my confidence has definitely improved.

Have more bubble baths and "me" time - I have definitely been doing this with the help of Comforter bars from Lush which are my current obsession. You can't beat a bubble bath!

Relax... (yeah right! ;)) - erm, this one is a work in progress!!

How did you do with yours?
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My ultimate Christmas list!

2.12.14

Just for fun, here are a few things I would ask Santa for if he had an unlimited budget and thought I had been extra good this year!

I have had my eye on a Kitchenaid for so long. Our baking has really gone downhill since we moved to our current house 3 years ago mainly due to a dodgy oven that either doesn't cook anything or cremates it. When we fix our oven (or move house!) I might have to take the plunge and invest. The blue version would look lovely in our kitchen. Look how pretty it is!

The Louis Vuitton Montaigne bag has been in my sights for a while now. I nearly bought it a few months ago but the exorbitant price tag eventually made me see sense and I bought the more reasonable "Neverfull" instead. One day, Montaigne, one day!


I am a sucker for scarves and have a rather sizable collection in my wardrobe, including a few Missoni numbers and an Alexander McQueen which I've had about 7 years so it's starting to look a bit tatty. I love big chunky checked scarves at the moment so the ultimate is obviously this Burberry tassled one. I'd love another skull scarf and the navy/white combo is my favourite.

Finally I wish I had a pretty pastel coloured bike with a basket. I imagine I would only ride round the block in it or pop to the corner shop but I would look fabulous doing so. I could even take Lily or Lola with me in the basket, imagine that!

What would be on your ultimate Christmas list?

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Blogmas!! 5 good things.

1.12.14

I have been feeling a bit 'funny' about my blog and the blogging world lately. It's such a different place to when I first started blogging where I felt like I knew so many other bloggers and so many people read and commented on mine. Now I feel a bit lost in the crowd, wondering where my blog fits in the grand scheme of things.

In a bid to battle that I thought I would attempt one blog post per day in the lead up to Christmas Day. It's not going to be easy, judging by my recent efforts, but I will give it a go. It will be a chance to catch up on my resolutions, set some more for 2015, chat to you all about life, wedding plans, Christmas, and share a few outfits and bits and bobs.

To kick things off, and as a nod to my old tradition of doing these posts every Monday, here are my 5 good things:

1) Buying comfy winter clothes and accessories. I am cold pretty much all of the time so the flurry of blanket scarves in the shops are a welcome sight! I treated myself to a couple of Accessorize numbers recently as I couldn't decide between the two. Next on my wishlist, a bobble hat and some faux fur lined leather gloves!

2) Getting my hair chopped off a couple of weeks ago. Gone are my dry ends, it's so quick and easy to blow dry and it looks great with a bit of curl!


3) It's almost time for our yearly tradition. We pop a Christmas film on, lay all the presents we have bought out on the floor, tick them off our lists and spend the rest of the night chatting, wrapping presents and eating Christmas goodies. The film is usually Home Alone FYI.

4) Packed weekends from now until Christmas and a 2 week festive break on the horizon.

5) Discovering Nutella hot chocolate!

What are your 5 good things?

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Gift ideas (the Pug edition).

27.11.14

So we have had the mug edition, now it's time for the Pug edition!

I feel like I am such an easy person to buy presents for because, if in doubt, go down the Pug related paraphernalia route. The shops are full of products featuring dogs of the squished face variety so there's definitely plenty to choose from. Plus there are lots of quirky online brands on Etsy and Not on the High Street who offer unique items that you might not see on the high street.

Here's my guide on what to buy the Pug owner/enthusiast in your life.

P.S. Family and friends, I would be more than happy to receive any of the following ;)


one / two / three / four / five / six / seven / eight / nine / ten / eleven / twelve

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Iconemesis: Gemma Correll Pug iPhone case.

20.11.14

I'm a big fan of Iconemesis and have had a couple of cases from them before. The designs are so quirky. When they offered to send me another case to add to my collection I didn't hesitate to say "yes please" when I saw the Pug design by Gemma Correll.

Anything Pug themed is always right up my street so this is no exception. It's super cute, sturdy and the best part is it's only £9.99 which I think is pretty good value, even for an old dinosaur of an iPhone like mine.

I'm deciding whether to upgrade to an iPhone 6 or 6plus, what do you think?

Pug pattern iPhone 4 case c/o Iconemesis
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Gift ideas under £10 (the mug edition).

16.11.14

If you're a tea or coffee drinker you will know the importance of having a varied mug selection and potentially even your own mug for work. After all, who wants to drink out of the same vessle that dozens of other people have had their lips round?!

If you're stuck for what to buy your 'Secret Santa' recipient you can't go far wrong with a mug in my eyes, the more comical the better.

Here's a round up of my favourite mugs to buy the hot drink enthusiast in your life, or, you know, the random guy in the office you're forced to buy for.







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Lily and Lola's letters to Santa.

15.11.14

Dear Doggy Santa,

It's Lily here. My mummy says I have been a good girl this year so I should write a letter to you.

I get very cold during the winter because I am only small and I get confused easily, especially when the ground is wet. It feels yucky on my feet and fur. I prefer staying in because my bed feels warm and cosy, especially when my mummy puts it near the radiator. When I do go out I like to feel safe in a harness and sometimes I like having a coat on over the top. The best kind of presents are the ones that keep me warm and dry.

I like treats (but not as much as my sister does). Please could I have something tasty to eat when I have been good like letting my mummy cut my nails? I don't let her do it very often so the treats will last me a long time!

Lots of love,
Lily xo


Dear Santa,

My name is Lola and I'm the best Pug ever.

I haven't been such a good girl but I'm so cute, can you forgive me? My mummy likes to dress me up as a reindeer which I don't mind so much, because I get lots of fuss (and fuss = treats) but I think it's time for a new look. A Pug has got to keep up with the trends you know. I would like a festive bow tie to wear over Christmas because I think it would make me look rather gorgeous. The Chihuahua round the corner would be so jealous!

I heard my mum talking about Pets at Home selling rocky road for dogs, which sounds like it would be very tasty. I promise I wouldn't eat the whole lot in one day.

Thanks a lot Santa!
Lola xo

P.S. I ate your carrot and mince pie, sorry about that.


All available at Pets at Home

* I have worked with Pets at Home to create Lily and Lola's Christmas wishlists in return for them receiving a few goodies under the tree.
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Going for the chop?! (again)...

10.11.14

My current obsession comes in the form of Julianne Hough who pops up on my Instagram feed from time to time as I follow the hairdressers in LA that she goes to. Not only is she beautiful with an amazing body but she has the cutest short hair-do!

The problem when you have hair that grows like weeds, like mine, is that the shall-I-chop-my-hair-off dilemma comes round all too quick. My hair has been super long, super short, and everything in between. When it's short I want it long, and vice versa. The grass is always greener, as they say! Earlier this year I had quite a big chop and found that I could style my hair really quickly and get lots of volume, something I struggle with once my hair goes past my shoulders.

Since going blonde again my hair has been pretty dry and it has always been knotty, making it a real pain to wash, dry and style. I love long hair on other people, when it is thick and luscious, but sadly that's never going to happen for me.

I am very tempted to go short again. What do you think? :)


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The Christmas Tag.

9.11.14

Borrowed from Becky

1) What is your favourite Christmas movie?
This is a tough one as I love so many, but I can narrow it down to one modern(ish) film and one old film. We watched It's A Wonderful Life for the first time a couple of years ago and fell in love with it. I cried and cried and felt like my whole perspective on life had changed! Jingle All The Way is my other favourite. You can't beat a bit of Arnie and Turboman action!

2) Do you open your presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?
Always Christmas morning. I don't think I have ever been allowed to open anything on Christmas Eve. Sometimes I sneakily open the odd present from work friends that are sitting under the tree calling my name!

3) Do you have a favourite Christmas memory?
When I was younger Christmas was always a two day event, where we spent Christmas Day at home and Boxing Day at my Auntie and Uncle's house. I have lots of happy memories of Christmas, especially from when my Grandma was still with us.

I have a funny memory (although I didn't find it so funny at the time) of playing charades in front of my family and I couldn't think of what to do. I accidentally let a little trump out, got embarrassed and ran away. My Uncle shouted "Gone With The Wind?" Mortified!


4) Favourite festive food?
I love pretty much any kind of festive food but Stollen is my favourite. I try not to buy it as it disappears immediately. Jonathan doesn't like it so I can't even share the calories!

5) Favourite Christmas gift?
I have received so many lovely gifts but I remember my Dad surprising me and my sister with a swing and slide set in the garden one year which was pretty exciting!

6) Favourite Christmas scent?
Tough question! I love burning candles all year round but at Christmas all of the amazing cinnamon, mulled wine, pumpkin-y scents come out and fill the house with a lovely, rich, warm smell. One of my favourite candles is Yankee Candle's "Merry Marshmallow".

7) Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?
Our Christmas Eve plans tend to change every year. When I lived at home it would be relaxing in front of the telly with my sister and parents, probably begging to open one present early (ha!) But now Jonathan and I seem to either have friends or family round to our house for games and food, or Jonathan goes to the pub and I spend the day at my parents house getting under my mum's feet! Hopefully when we have our own little family we can start some new traditions of our own.


8) What tops your tree?
Sadly, nothing! We are still on the hunt for something worthy enough to top our tree.

9) As a kid what was the one (crazy, wild, extravagent) gift you always asked for but never received?
I must have always been fairly sensible as I can't think of anything! When I was little we had 6 dogs, 3 cats, and a host of budgies, guinea pigs, mice, you name it - so I never needed to ask for a pet. Me and my sister had to put a Dreamphone on our lists a couple of years running as they sold out and my mum couldn't get one anywhere. She had a "Jingle All The Way" moment where she asked for one in a toy shop and got laughed at!

10) What's the best part about Christmas for you?
Seeing family that you haven't seen for a while, having some time off from work and generally feeling happy and content with lots of food and drink!

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