2015 summary.

31.12.15

I know everybody always says this but 2015 has bloody flown by hasn't it? For me it has been a real mixed bag of ups and downs. Ronan wasn't wrong when he sung about life being a rollercoaster was he?! I thought it would be nice to look back over the year however I didn't blog too much this year so it has been tricky to piece the months together. Note to self for 2016: must blog more than once a month!

January
In January I made lots of important decisions which would shape the rest of my year. I packed my things up ready to move house. I started studying for my HR qualifications. And I was ready for a fresh start!

February
February was the month I moved from Rotherham to Sheffield to live with my friend, who was also going through a break-up. I set myself a few goals (here) and I managed to smash them all! I really got into going to the gym. I learnt how to cook meals for myself that weren't beans on toast. This was the start of the new more confident and independent Victoria. I turned 30 in this month too! And I changed my hair from full blonde highlights to ombre (and loved it!) 

March
March saw the build-up to my skydive which I had signed up to do in April, for Rain Rescue (a South Yorkshire animal charity). Lola needed an operation to remove some stones from her bladder. I started to explore Sheffield (here) and got settled in my new house (here) and started going out a lot more. The hermit was no more!

 
April
April consisted of going up and down the motorway to see my mum and dad in Leeds every weekend. I got back into cross stitching and was on the look-out for a new big project to start. I did my skydive which was amazing, terrifying and mind-boggling, and left me feeling incredibly proud of myself for doing something so far from my comfort zone. I also raised a lot of money for charity. Hurrah!
 
May
May was tough! My housemate was away for a large chunk of the month so I spent a lot of time alone, which probably wasn't a wise idea! I ended May with a visit to the Isle of Man to see my sister (here), which was lovely. While I was there I ordered a cross stitch kit for a sampler which would be a gift to my niece when she was born, and I got cracking with some stitching. I also got my nose pierced there! And I got a few pep talks from my sister ("PMA = Positive Mental Attitude") and I tried to focus on the positives instead of feeling sorry for myself.


June
In June I reached 4000 subscribers on Bloglovin' and I am grateful for every single one of you. I got into running in a big way and managed to run 5k non stop for the first time ever, after years of trying! And in other news I went on a date on the 22nd June and met the man I would fall in love with shortly afterwards, so I guess you could say things started to look up from this month! That PMA stuff seemed to be working!

July
Sadly in July I had to move out of the house with my friend as she was selling up, so after 6 months of living together we waved goodbye to our daily gossip sessions, wine and Dominos evenings, and being able to share clothes, jewellery and hair products. I was heading out to live alone (with the Pugs of course) from the end of July. The end of an era but the start of another. Learning to live alone!

August
This is the month I got Glandular bloody Fever, although I didn't know it was that at the time. I started to experience hot sweaty flushes, sore glands in my neck, and fatigue, but it would come and go and I put it down to being run down. Little did I know it would hang around for the remainder of the year and try to ruin everything! In between feeling poorly we celebrated Paul's birthday by heading for an overnight stay at Titanic Spa (here) which was wonderful. But most importantly, on the last day of the month... MY NIECE WAS BORN! Mabel Lucy came into the world at a very healthy 8lb 1oz and I could not wait to meet her!


September
I popped over to the Isle of Man for one weekend in September to meet Mabel. She was so tiny and precious. I enjoyed two days of cuddles and important Auntie duties before heading home to get ready for a week in the sunshine with Paul. At the end of September we went to Lanzarote (here) where we spent a week doing nothing but sunbathing, eating, drinking, reading and sleeping. It was bliss! It was our first holiday together and the first of many more!

October
October was the month my Glandular Fever hit me like a ton of bricks. I was really struggling to do anything and a full week of work would wipe me out, leaving me unable to move or speak. I was in a real pickle! After a lot of to-ing and fro-ing to the doctors some blood tests confirmed what it was. I was relieved that I wasn't going crazy but devastated because there's no treatment for it. It was one of those things I would just have to ride out. I had to take most of October off work as I was massively poorly and all I did was rest, rest and rest!

November
November was all about taking one day at a time, trying not to overdo it. I dabbled in a bit of baking and had the energy to do things like housework again. I tried to focus on the little things that made me happy (here) and focussed on getting better.
 
December
And here we are, the end of the year! December has been all about Christmas shopping and counting down to a 2 week break from work in the hopes that it will get my health back on track. I am in the process of moving my things to Paul's house so from January we will be living together and I just can't wait! There couldn't be a more perfect way to end the year.


I am SO ready for 2016. A full year with Paul. Moving in together. Weekends away. Planning holidays (New York next December hopefully!) Lots of time with the Pugs, going on some nice walks and exploring new places. Getting back into exercise. Seeing family. And being happy/content.
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Christmas 2015.

28.12.15

December 2015 has been just wonderful. Paul and I had our 'faux' Christmas Day on the 20th and, even though it was a Sunday and I had work the following day, it felt like a completely legit Christmas Day. It was ace! We swapped presents in the morning, cooked a turkey dinner with all the trimmings, wrapped up warm and took the dogs on a walk, and fell asleep on the sofa after dinner from all the festive food and fizz! It was perfect.

For the actual Christmas Day I was away to spend time with family. I sailed off to the Isle of Man on the 22nd until the 27th where I stayed with my sister and her husband, and my gorgeous baby niece. I got the ferry over with my parents which was an experience in itself but I just about managed to keep my lunch down!

I loved spending such a long stretch of time with my niece, and it was nice to be with family soaking in all the Christmas telly and going on lots of long walks with the pram. My sister and her husband went to so much effort to host a nice family Christmas. There was so much food/drink!

I am not back to work until the 4th of January so the plans for the remainder of my break are to spend time with Paul and the Pugs, relaxing as much as possible to shake off the last of this glandular fever. I've got a new book to get through, some cross stitching to finish, television to watch, and chocolates to plough through. Happy holidays indeed!




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(NOW CLOSED) Merry Christmas from me (and Cornishware) to you! GIVEAWAY!

21.12.15

It's no secret that I am a massive fan of the blue and white Cornishware range. I used to collect it and had built up a fairly sizeable collection but sadly it is no more! So when the people at Cornishware asked me if I would like a couple of personalised mugs I said "yes please!" and the best bit is, two lucky readers of my blog will get two personalised mugs each! The two lucky people will get to pick the style of mug, the colour and the text of their choice. 

I umm'd and ahh'd over whether to stick with the classic blue and white or go for something a bit different. I decided the other colours were far too pretty to resist, so I ordered violet (for me) and tin grey (for Paul) in the 12oz size. They are perfect! I love making us a brew now, it's just that little bit more spesh!

The possibilities are endless, you don't have to just stick with names. You could pick nicknames for you and your fella! Or give them as gifts for your "Mum", "Dad", "Sister", etc. Or go for a private joke to give you a chuckle every time you make a brew.


All you have to do to be in with a chance is complete the rafflecopter below. This giveaway is open to subscribers of Lily loves Lola only so if you don't subscribe pop on over to Bloglovin first (click here!). The only mandatory option is to leave a comment on this blog post telling me which mug, colours and text you would have printed on your two mugs. If you fancy some extra entries you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram, but no pressure!

On New Year's Day I will pick two winners at random and contact them both shortly after. Good luck everyone, and Merry Christmas!


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Life lately (Christmas preparations and cute farm animals).

15.12.15

I am so ruddy excited for Christmas!!! I have been quite organised with my Christmas shopping this year, with just one tricky customer to buy for, and it's all waiting in a rather large pile to be wrapped. It may have to be a 'glass of prosecco in one hand, sellotape in the other' job for a rainy day, although saying that I've only got until the 22nd as that's when my parents and I hop on the ferry to go to the Isle of Man.

Last Saturday evening we went to a concert at Sheffield City Hall to see the Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus and the Black Dyke Band and it well and truly got me in the spirit of things. They were amazing, finishing with Oh Holy Night which is my favourite Christmas song (and may have triggered a tear or two!)

I am really looking forward to a faux Christmas Day this Sunday with Paul. We're opening presents in the morning, having a full Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, an evening buffet and lots of lots of fizz! It's going to be great. We just need to get the Sky planner filled up with festive films to keep us occupied when we're too stuffed to move. Lily and Lola will be there too, with their little reindeer outfits on (well, Lily will, Lola may be a tad too rotund for hers these days, hehe!)

The other weekend we went to Graves Park Farm so I thought I would illustrate this festive post with lots of non festive photos in the form of us and some rather cute animals. It was such a lovely afternoon. We had a walk round the farm and the park, and stopped at the cafe for some food (pie and peas, SO yummy!) and a coffee to warm our cockles. I love doing things like this on a weekend. Something simple with someone lovely. Perfect!


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Christmas jumpers: my favourites!

12.12.15

With a Christmas jumper day at work and an invite to a festive party where a Christmas jumper is mandatory coming up, I realised my wardrobe is severely lacking in this department. So, for the past few weeks I've been scouring the internet for the best ones.

Finding a winner was quite easy this year as the first one I ordered was perfect! I ordered the Bah HumPug number (below) from Dorothy Perkins as it was on offer for less than £20 and I was pleasantly surprised. It's a really flattering fit, not shapeless like some festive jumpers can be, and it is obviously perfect for me with the Pug design. The sequins add some sparkle and pizazz and I can dress it up and down for both of my festive occasions.

It is running low on sizes online but if you like it I'm sure you could track it down in store!


As much as I love my Pug jumper though I do adore the Ellie Ellie jumpers from Not On The High Street; Full of Christmas Spirit and Prosecc-ho-ho-ho, amazing! They come in 4 different colours (slate grey, red, denim blue or coal black) with 4 size options, and you're bound to get plenty of "where did you get that from?" wearing one of these designs!

Bah Humpug jumper

I have had my eye on the Little Miss Christmas jumper for a while now, but it seems so has everyone else as sizes are running low on the Truffle Shuffle website. BUT it can be tracked down on eBay herehere and here and I also spotted it in a gift shop in Sheffield so it is out there!
  

Prosecc-ho-ho-ho jumper / green Pug snowflake jumper / sequin deer jumper / pom pom sausage dog jumper (in store only) / Little Miss Christmas jumper

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Gift ideas (stocking filler Pug edition).

6.12.15

When I first adopted Lily and Lola I'm fairly certain you couldn't buy anything Pug themed in the shops like you can now. Everywhere I turn I see a Pug gracing a pair of socks or slippers or a mug. That being said, I do love having a few Puggy themed things dotted around my house and they're such easy gifts to buy the Pug owner in your life.

I have got together a few small items that would be make a great Secret Santa present or stocking filler, or perhaps a Christmas present to yourself. I'm permanently cold so the Pug shaped microwaveable "hottie" would be most welcome under the tree for me this year and I could definitely make good use of a stressball! 
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Life lately (brunch, babies and special baubles).

5.12.15

I love this time of year as it brings lots of festive nights out and cosy nights in. I've had a busy few weeks with lots more plans to squeeze in between now and the 22nd when I go to the Isle of Man for Christmas. I'm starting to feel fairly back to normal health wise (hurrah!) but I am conscious that I don't want to overdo it too much as I need to fit some exercise into my routine again at some point, and the way things are going I just don't have the time to! So tonight I am relaxing with the Pugs, a cup of tea and the telly and I may do a workout in the morning depending on how I feel when I wake up.
 
Last weekend was bloody wonderful. Not only did I get to see my gorgeous baby niece, Mabel, and my sister and brother in law (who were visiting from the Isle of Man) for a big family lunch but Paul had a rare weekend off so we managed to squeeze in some brunch, some Christmas shopping and I went to watch his band play (they're called Black Thunder Revue - you should check them out on Spotify if you're on there!)
 
 
Last Tuesday saw me and a couple of work friends go for a long overdue catch up, heading to Bill's in Sheffield for the first time. After a few drinks, an EPIC buttermilk chicken burger each and a good chinwag we headed home feeling full and fully up to date on each other's lives. It had been far too long since our last night out!
 
We decorated our Christmas tree last Wednesday evening (a real tree, at Paul's. I'm not bothering with one at my flat - bah humbug! ;)) and we had a perfect evening together combining our bauble collections, adding a couple of new ones; a delightfully tacky but wonderful fox that Paul picked up from Liberty of London when he had a flying visit to London last week, and a personalised bauble I got for us from a brilliant shop called Toasted Glass.
 
Once the tree was finished we settled down on the sofa with a bottle of cava and It's A Wonderful Life on the telly which is guaranteed to make me bawl my eyes out. I'm SO excited about our faux Christmas day on the 20th, it is going to be amazing!
 
 
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Share the love: Cheerz photo printing!

2.12.15

I'm a massive fan of Instagram, I love having a place to store all of my favourite photos (and sticking a flattering filter over my mug is always a bonus) so when Cheerz got in touch with me about personalised products using Instagram photos (or indeed photos stored anywhere else, Facebook, your computer, etc) I was all ears!

I was lucky enough to be treated to a couple of things. I spent ages debating on what to try as they have a really good range of products. I love the La Boite a Photos box which comes with string, wooden pegs and photo corners for making displays to pop up around your home or desk. I think this would make a pretty fabulous gift or a neat idea for decorating a wedding venue. 

The great thing about the website is the potential for buying gifts. For only £7.45 you can buy a box of 9 magnets for a friend using photos from their Instagram account. It's such a simple and cheap way of giving someone a really thoughtful gift. In the end I opted for a set of 9 magnets for myself, the only problem was narrowing it down to 9 photos when you take a gazillion photos of your dogs!


I am really pleased with the magnets which arrived in a display box along with a couple of freebies. I also ordered a square frame containing 4 prints (but you can also get larger frames with more photos). I wish my originals had been slightly better quality (that's what you get for taking only iPhone snaps on holiday) but it's still a lovely addition to the house and a sweet keepsake from our first holiday together. 

I will definitely order something from Cheerz in the near future. It's a complete doddle to use, the prices and P&P are reasonable and there's a good range of products to choose from.
 
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Shop local (Sheffield): Cocoa Wonderland.

22.11.15

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).

21.11.15

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.

16.11.15

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).

15.11.15

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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