Hart of Dixie - a new show.


I was contacted whilst having a ball in Vegas by a lovely lady to tell me about a new show called Hart of Dixie on a channel called Really, which I admit I hadn't heard of until now. I'm not a massive telly-watcher so it takes something pretty good to get my attention, however with the lure of a special advanced screening and a little bit of intrigue into what the program would be like I watched it the evening we got home, through tired, jet-lagged eyes.

I was quite pleasantly surprised. I do quite like Rachel Bilson already (not as much as Jonathan does though!) and I found her easy to watch and quite likeable. She has an amazing wardrobe in the first episode and I did feel quite envious at her perfectly put together ensembles and the waves in her hair which I can never seem to achieve.

I've never had a Doctor who looks like this...

This is a show I will definitely give another go, maybe watching another one or two episodes before I decide if I will stick with it. It's definitely easy viewing and has the promise of lots of romance, twists and turns, and of course, great outfits!

Hart of Dixie airs tonight at 8pm on Really but if you'd like to watch it online you can catch it here. You'll have to let me know what you think!

Las Vegas: part 2 - our hotel (the Bellagio).


I couldn't blog about our trip and not mention the fabulous hotel we stayed in - the Bellagio. We knew it would be very luxurious and of course we saw pictures on the website before our trip, but it was even better than we had imagined.

Even the lobby, with its 18 foot ceiling and huge glass sculpture display, is stunning. The sculpture is comprised of around 2,000 hand-blown glass flowers. It is very impressive as you can see from my photos.

As you pass through the lobby and towards the back of the hotel you can see the Botanical Gardens where you will find plants, flowers, ponds, water features, bridges and a merry-go-round. All inside a hotel you say? It is Vegas after all!

Our favourite part of the hotel was the fountains which put on a show at the front of the hotel throughout the day and night. The first time I saw them I was blown away by how incredible they were. We never got bored of watching the different routines which were put to different pieces of music each time, and we would always stand to watch if we were passing.

At night they were even more spectacular especially from above which we were lucky enough to see, as my Sister's room overlooked them. 

The fountains at the Bellagio - Las Vegas. from Victoria Jackson on Vimeo.

(This is my own music played over the top as the video didn't catch all of the music which was playing at the time)

I have put together a video of one of the fountain displays we watched which should give you a good idea of how brilliant they were (you can skip to the end if you want to see the big finish).

Have you stayed here, or anywhere else along the strip? I loved having a nosy at the different hotels! If you visit Vegas but don't stay here I would definitely recommend that you watch the fountains, especially on an evening if you can!

Las Vegas: part 1 - our Instagram photos.


It has been a little while since I posted anything and that's because I've been on holiday, and subsequently suffering from terrible jet lag! But it has been worth it as we've had an amazing time.

On Monday 16 April Jonathan and I travelled down to a hotel by Gatwick airport with my parents, where we met up with my Sister and her (now) husband plus some of their friends who were also staying over the night before the flight. The following morning we jetted off to sunny Las Vegas and that's where we stayed for 7 nights, at the Bellagio to be precise.

We all had a great time and the wedding, which took place on the terrace at the Bellagio, was beautiful. My Sister and her husband, Steve, are currently sunning themselves in Hawaii before returning to Las Vegas for a few nights before coming home.

I have tons of photos to sort through and organise so in the meantime here are a few photos I put through Instagram which some of you may have seen if you follow me on there. Some of them turned out pretty well, especially the Grand Canyon photo. 

I'll be back very soon with lots more photos and stories of what we have been getting up to!

 Adele & Steve on their wedding day (we popped to the Vegas sign after the ceremony)
The Bellagio fountains at night, from Adele & Steve's room

Inside Caeser's Palace hotel
In the Botanical Gardens inside the Bellagio hotel

Sitting up front with the pilot on our helicopter ride over the Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon and the 'strip'
A view over the Grand Canyon

 Jellyfish at the Shark Reef inside the Mandalay Bay hotel
Cookie dough cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory (we only made it as far as pudding once!)

Part of our bathroom at the Bellagio
& the lifts

 Some of the American sweets we bought
The lobby ceiling inside the Venetian hotel

Some of the hotels, including Paris, at night
Gambling time!

Liz Earle (first impressions) & my skin troubles.


I have been suffering terribly with my skin for approximately 16 months now. All through my teens and up until just before my 26th birthday I had perfect skin with just the occasional break out. I could use any kind of skincare products, very little makeup was required to look human and I was fairly confident in my own skin (quite literally).

Then all of a sudden I started to get sore red lumps and spots on my cheeks and round my jawline. At first I just had a couple of them and was able to disguise them with makeup, but eventually they took over most of my cheeks and chin and were very noticeable, even with makeup on.

I tried all manner of ways to make them go away and nothing worked, they just kept flaring up and down.

I tried PanOxyl from over the counter at the chemist which is designed to dry spots out and reduce the redness. It was quite effective at reducing the redness but left my skin so sore and dry that it didn't seem to be beneficial to carry on using it.

I increased the amount of water I was drinking and improved my diet which was already pretty healthy, but this made no difference.

I vowed to cleanse, tone and moisturise properly every morning and evening without fail. I tried Eucerin and Botanics products which were fantastic and made a difference initially, then their effectiveness stopped as time went by.

As a last resort I visited the doctors and was prescribed a gel to use which made little to no difference.

Fast forward through time and fortunately I no longer suffer with the red lumps and spots but what I am left with are scars and the occasional spot here and there. After hearing so many good things in the blogging world about Liz Earle products I decided to place an order for the Hot Cloth Cleanser and the Skin Tonic.

My order arrived really quickly, even though I only selected standard shipping, and it was so beautifully wrapped that it was a shame to tear open the packaging.

My first impressions are that I love both products and I wish I had found them sooner! After just a couple of uses my skin felt cleaner than it ever has. The cleanser works so well and removes every last scrap of makeup, so that when I dab some toner on to a cotton pad and wipe it round my face, the cotton pad is pretty much clean. Normally during this stage I would still be trying to remove some last traces of foundation and makeup.

These products are more expensive than others I have used in the past, with the exception of Eucerin, but I think the prices are reasonable taking into account the size of the bottles and their effectiveness. When I have used up these bottles I plan to place another order and continue to use this skincare routine.

Hopefully over time my scars fade and my skin continues to look clearer and back to its old self.

Have you tried Liz Earle products?

Not long to go...


It's not long now until we head on our travels to Las Vegas to attend my Sister's wedding, and now that we have our dollars we're pretty much organised and there's a buzz of excitement in the air! Although there is still the small matter of packing our suitcases...

We're staying at the Bellagio hotel for 7 nights which is also where Adele's wedding will be held, and judging by the pictures/website it looks fan-bloody-tastic. You may recognise it from the film Oceans 11?

My Sister and her fiance have been to Vegas a few times now, and got engaged there, so I always knew there would be a good chance the wedding would be held there too. Quite a few family members and friends are heading out to attend, and also make a holiday of it too.

Jonathan and I plan to act like full on tourists and see as much as we can while we're there. We're also planning on a trip to the Grand Canyon and have got tickets to see Penn and Teller on one of the evenings.

I'm sure some of you reading this will have been so you must tell me your recommendations/favourite places to give us lots of ideas!

Life lately (through Instagram) #3


It has been a busy few weeks for us mainly due to being out and about over the Bank Holiday weekend and having lots to organise for our trip to Las Vegas. All of the important stuff is sorted now but there's still the small matter of buying a dress for my Sister's hen night and actually finding some holiday clothes that I like in the shops. I must have been shopping half a dozen times and left empty handed.

One of the things on my to-do-list was to get contact lenses so that I can actually see where I'm going on my Sister's wedding day (I don't want to be tripping up!) and also so that I can wear sunglasses as I don't have any prescription ones. Well it has been a testing few days trying them out at home and subsequently spending hours and hours trying to get the damn things back out. I'm getting better though! I'll get there eventually. It is nice to have them in and have a break from my glasses. I'd almost forgotten what I look like without them on!

I will miss Lily and Lola dearly while I'm away but I'm sure they'll be grand. As long as they have sleep and treats (plenty of 'em) they're happy as larry.

My friend and I visited The Button Tin in Rotherham the other weekend after I spotted a feature in Mollie Makes magazine. Well, we not only fell in love with the Imperial Buildings (which Diane talks about here) which houses The Button Tin but we also loved this treasure of a place itself. At The Button Tin you can take part in workshops using fabric and as much artistic flair as you like. My friend and I are certainly up for doing one as soon as we can!

We also secretly dream about owning our own shop in the Imperial Buildings and helping to restore it to its former glory!

I'd love to go back to get some photos of the Imperial Buildings as the history and detail was wonderful to see.

I've gone a bit cross stitch mad recently and I've got two rather adventurous projects on the go at the moment. One will take me a fair while and is one of those things I will pick up and put down whenever I get a spare half an hour (it doesn't happen often!) but the other is something for our kitchen which I'm hoping to finish as soon as I can.

I started a new book recently (When God Was A Rabbit) and a few people have asked me if it's any good. It's quite different to the style of books I have been reading recently but I love the way it is written. It is very descriptive and almost dreamy in the way the words flow on the page. I'm looking forward to seeing how the story unfolds.

I hope you all had a good Bank Holiday weekend and you're enjoying a short week this week (if you were lucky enough to get the Bank Holidays off work that is!) Some of mine was spent in Leeds and some of it was spent like this:

... and it was glorious!

Roxy 'Bianca' flip flops.


If there's one thing that can put me in the mood for a holiday it's getting a fresh new pair of flip flops. I really wanted a Havaianas pair but the sizing is rather odd and I would have had to buy a pair too big or too small. After a fair bit of scrolling I saw the pink striped Bianca pair by Roxy and thought they would do just nicely (purchased with one of my ambassador vouchers c/o Sarenza).

Now pass me my suitcase and let the countdown commence!

Giveaway: RockpoolBoutique jewellery, Etsy (NOW CLOSED).


Rachel from RockpoolBoutique on Etsy has kindly offered to run a giveaway and is offering one Lily loves Lola reader the chance to pick two items from her shop.

You may remember I wore a pair of Rachel's earrings here which were sent to me to wear/share with you. They're so pretty and I have already worn them 2 or 3 times as they instantly dress up whatever I'm wearing. I love the vintage feel to them and that they're small and dainty, as I'm not too keen on huge earrings.

I love the Vintage Bloom studs on the right - the pattern is so pretty and they're only £4.00!

Rachel is new to Etsy and working on expanding her shop at the moment. It can be scary starting out and hoping that people find your items amongst the array of other lovely things on Etsy, but I'm certain you guys will love the things that she sells.

The giveaway is open to anyone from the UK and will be open until midnight on Tuesday 10 April 2012.

All you have to do is leave a comment on this post saying which 2 items you would pick if you were to win. A winner will be picked at random after the giveaway has closed.

Good luck and happy browsing!

Lemon cupcakes.


I made some pretty successful cupcakes for Jonathan's birthday last week. I originally wanted to make a giant cupcake cake using a mould like this which someone at work kindly lent me, but on the evening of the baking I didn't get home till later than expected and the giant cupcake called for a few things I didn't already have in the baking cupboard, so I opted for good old cupcakes. I've made them before plenty of times so I knew I could whip up a batch and be finished in time for The Apprentice, and indeed I was!

I made more than this don't worry ;)

I used Rachel Allen's lemon cupcake recipe as a starting point. For the first time ever I used Stork instead of butter purely because the local shop didn't have any unsalted butter and the Stork packet said "perfect for cakes". I was a bit wary but it was so much easier making my cupcake mixture as Stork is already very soft and easy to mix with the other ingredients, whereas it can be difficult with butter even when it has been left out of the fridge for a bit.

As well as a winning mixture I also managed to put just the right amount of mixture into the cases, so all in all I was very pleased with the result. I also got the chance to use my new buttercream spreading device thingy (no idea what the proper name is!) which I got for Christmas which made the job so much easier and look much prettier.

Some of the cupcakes got a covering of lemon buttercream and either a sprinkle of sugar stars or some Mini Eggs, and some of the others had a dollop of lemon curd inside and some sprinkles of crushed meringue on the top of the buttercream. They were all yummy!

Now I'm well and truly hungry. I'll just pop the kettle on...

Meet Me At The Cupcake Cafe by Jenny Colgan.


It's not very often that I read a book and make the end pages last as long as possible to avoid the story being over, but that's just what happened with Meet Me At The Cupcake Cafe by Jenny Colgan. I patiently waited until I had the house to myself, a Yankee Candle burning away, cup of tea in hand, PJs on, and I finished the book genuinely sad that it's not real.

Maybe I need to get out more, or perhaps it's just a very well written book with all the makings of a winner - a loveable main character, baking (complete with recipes throughout), romance and plenty of ups and downs to keep you gripped.

I really wanted this book to be brilliant, purely because the cover is so damn pretty and with the promise of cupcakes in a "chick lit" style book I was instantly drawn in. Initially I was surprised at the thickness of the book and wondered how the story could possibly be so long, but I could have happily read on and on and on..!

Issy Randall can bake. No, more than that – Issy can create stunning, mouth-wateringly divine cakes. After a childhood spent in her beloved Grampa Joe’s bakery she has undoubtedly inherited his talent. So when she’s made redundant from her safe but dull City job, Issy decides to seize the moment and open up her own cafĂ©. It should be a piece of cake, right?

Wrong. As her friends point out, she has trouble remembering where she left her house keys, let alone trying to run her own business. But Issy is determined. Armed with recipes posted to her from Grampa, and with her local bank manager fighting her corner, Issy attempts to prove everyone wrong. Following your dreams is never easy and this is no exception. Can Issy do it?

I have read a fair few "chick lit" books in my time and often the characters can be hard to relate to, sometimes downright unlikeable. Issy was caring and warm, and it was easy to like her character and will her to do well.

This is the second Jenny Colgan book I've read, having not enjoyed the first one all that much. I'm glad I didn't give up and I gave Jenny's books another go. Next on my list is Welcome To Rosie Hopkins' Sweetshop Of Dreams which I'm hoping will be a fab read. A book about sweets? Yes please!

Have you read Meet Me At The Cupcake Cafe? What did you think?

L-O-L-A Lola.

Boston Dog.


I had a lot of lovely comments on yesterday's post about my dress so I thought I'd show you a few more photos and share where it is from. I originally saw it on Becky at milkbubbletea and loved it, then I ummed and aahed about it for a while then decided to treat myself! At £40 it's quite a big treat for just one dress but it is ever so lovely.

It's from Brat & Suzie, and having visited the website just now to get the link I've spotted the Boston Dog vest which is just as adorable. 

I got free P&P on my order which is always nice, and delivery was very quick. I do wish the material was a little thicker as you can see my bra, but that's nothing that a skin-coloured bra or a vest popped underneath couldn't sort out.

If only it was a Pug print I think I would be in dress heaven!

Sunshine & shandy.


Oh what a lovely 4 days off we have had. As always it has flown by but we managed to fit lots in. We had an impromptu barbecue with some friends on Friday afternoon/evening to celebrate the arrival of our garden furniture and the sunny weather, which was great until I banged my head and cut it open. I'm not sure how I didn't faint at the sight of a handful of blood.. needless to say my head is very sore 2 days later. Ouch!

We have eaten non stop for 4 days which isn't good considering I have to be ready to be seen in public in a bikini in just over 2 weeks time! Lots of salad and exercise for the next 2 weeks me thinks.

It was Jonathan's birthday last Thursday so, thanks to the glorious weather, we had a drive to Totley to the Cricket Inn pub and sat in their beer garden for hours and hours. We ate lots of food (breads and dips & whitebait to start followed by steak & stilton sandwich (me) and roast pork & stuffing sandwich (Jonathan) with chips). All of the food was great, especially washed down with a shandy or two.

Thursday saw some amazing weather over in our neck of the woods and it was nice just to feel some sun on my skin after months of covering up in woolly jumpers.

As it was Jonathan's birthday I had woken up early that morning to make a big birthday breakfast, and made a batch of cupcakes the evening before (more on those soon). We took a couple with us on our trip, and munched them in the car on the way home.

After a drive through some rather adorable places and nosying at some impressive houses, we drove home and relaxed in the garden to enjoy the rest of the sunshine.