Q&A part 1: being a vegetarian/living with a meat eater.


I have received a few questions about diet and exercise recently so I thought it could be helpful to answer each one in a separate blog post where I can go into a bit more detail. First up... 

Why did you go vegetarian? Does Jonathan eat meat?

I decided to become a vegetarian around the middle of last year. I'm very much into the welfare of animals and I often felt hypocritical buying and eating meat from the supermarket when I knew it probably hadn't come from an animal with a happy life. One day, all of a sudden, I just decided I was going to do it.

I have found it surprisingly easy to cut out meat considering how much meat I ate before, and it has made me try new recipes and new types of food. I also feel like my meals are much healthier and feature a wider range of vegetables.

Yes, Jonathan still eats meat but every now and again he will have the same as me which makes things nice and easy, and gives him a meat-free day.

It's pretty straight forward making slightly different meals. It just involves an extra pan here and there. For example, if I have pasta with veg (garlic, onion, mushrooms, peppers, sometimes courgette) and sauce, then Jonathan has the same but chucks meatballs in his. Or if we have fajitas then I cook his chicken separately with all the peppers and other bits, and make mine with just the veg.

(all images found on weheartit.com or Google images)

If Jonathan has a piece of fish with potatoes and veg then I have the same but swap the fish for Linda McCartney sausages or maybe something from the Quorn range. Also Morrisons do a great vegetarian range in the fridge section.

It was a bit tricky at first but now it is second nature and not much hassle at all. I'm lucky that Jonathan is easy going and really supportive. He used to do all of the cooking but at the moment I do most of it through the week so it's easy for me to keep things separate. On a weekend when we cook together we pick a vegetarian recipe using the BBC Food website or my Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall book (I highly recommend this!) which means we can eat the same thing.

The annoying thing for me is having to check packaging all the time as I have slipped up a few times making assumptions that certain yoghurts or certain biscuits would be vegetarian, before getting home and finding they contain gelatine (I'm looking at you Party Rings!)

Eating out is usually fine. It means I try food that I wouldn't normally have as the options tend to be limited but I always enjoy whatever I choose. However when we went on holiday I was pretty much limited to cheese pizza, side salads or vegetable paella which wore thin after a week.

Will I be a vegetarian forever? It's hard to say. For now though, I'm happy and feel healthy and will carry on as I have been doing!

Kindle Fire HD (& a LOT of book reviews).


I was always very "anti-Kindle", thinking they were the beginning of the end for reading and proper books. Then I went on a relaxing/sunbathing holiday for a week only taking hand luggage and two books which I got through in a couple of days.

Being the kind of person who can't sit still for very long I headed to the supermarket to scope out new books and bought a nice thick one (Maeve Binchy's Tara Road = loved it!) and a good old Danielle Steel book called The House on Hope Street which was a good yarn.

I got home and promptly stuck a Kindle at the top of my Christmas list (even though it was September) thinking how handy one would be for holidays and long journeys. If I'd had a Kindle on holiday I could have ditched one of the books I took that I didn't enjoy and picked from a whole host of others.

Being the lucky swine I am my parents surprised me by getting me a Kindle Fire HD! I'm not one for technology and gadgets and I didn't even realise it was a super duper model until my sister told me, but then I got it charging and instantly loved it.

Not only can I hop on to wifi and check my blog comments, Twitter, Facebook, browse the web and use apps such as Rightmove (daily obsession) I can also watch movies, download books, borrow books from the Kindle lending library and shop online. Brilliant!

Now it has to be said that I do go through phases of being obsessed with reading and then it wears off slightly, but since Boxing Day I have read 8 books and am onto my 9th (although a couple of the books were fairly short). Not all of them were on the Kindle, but my new gadget has definitely given me a new love of reading.

Things I like about it for reading:
- I can easily check reviews for the books before paying for them
- I am offered suggestions of books I may like and have found some future reads this way
- it's super light which means no arm ache when reading in bed (something I find with actual books)
- Jonathan can turn off the light and sleep while I read into the early hours
- I have access to the Kindle lending library which has a wide range of books available to borrow
- if I lose track of who a character is there's a way to find out who's who
- and finally, if I don't know what a word means I can press it to get a dictionary definition. I swear I'm smarter already! ;)

* I know I could refer to a dictionary or check reviews online, etc, but it's the ease of use and handiness of these features which I like!

That being said I will still pick up books from my local charity shops and I've got a stack of books that I borrowed from my friend a few months ago that I'm still ploughing through. But for night time reading and saving arm ache I'm definitely a huge Kindle fan now.

Here are the books I've read over the past few weeks. Let me know if you have read any of them!

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared - This was the first book I downloaded onto my Kindle. It was 20p (bargain!) and had rave reviews so I was really looking forward to reading it. There were two themes running through the book; the modern day story and the history of the old man's life from when he was younger to present day. I loved the present day storyline. It was funny and random and I couldn't wait to read on. But I found some of the history bits a tad heavy going and struggled to keep going about 50% of the way through.

In A New York Minute - A super short story! I downloaded this as it was free and had a pretty cover, then read it in about 2 seconds. It was an easy to read feel-good Christmas story so if you like that sort of thing you'll like this.

You Had Me At Hello - LOVED it. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes the "chick lit" genre without the mushiness or sappy characters. It's the only book that has made me laugh out loud over and over again. I'm really looking forward to Mhairi McFarlane's future books and hope they're as funny and well written as this one.

One Perfect Summer - I love Paige Toon books and I have almost made my way through all of her offerings (just one book to go!) I really enjoyed this book, reading it over a short period of time, although the ending left me wanting more and wondering what happened next...

One Perfect Christmas - enter One Perfect Christmas which is a short story follow up to One Perfect Summer. It was very satisfying to read more about the characters in the first book but at £1.99 to download this I felt that as this book was so short it would have been better to include it at the end of the original book. Or make this one into a full length book. Anyway, I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Johnny Be Good - This is another Paige Toon book (I told you I like her books!) I started it last year but couldn't get into it so I put it down and picked up something else, but gave it another go recently. Although I wasn't too keen on the main character I was gripped by the story and found the whole plot really interesting to read. Hearing about what a rock star gets up to makes for an interesting plot! However, I was fuming about the ending. I felt like there was no point to the rest of the book and hoped there was a follow up...

Baby Be Mine - enter Baby Be Mine. I was so happy when I realised that Baby Me Mine was a sequel to Johnny Be Good. As mentioned above, I found the main character a little cold and unlikeable at times but I enjoyed the book, liked the other characters and am glad to have some closure!

The Pollyanna Plan - Talli Roland is an author I hadn't heard of before I spotted some of her books in the Kindle lending library. I downloaded this one for free after checking out the positive reviews for it. The characters (especially the main male character) were really likeable, the story moved at a nice quick pace and the message within the story was a really positive and thought provoking one. I'm going to check out Talli's other books and I hope they're as good as this one!

Phew, this turned out to be a bit of a long blog post. If you made it this far give yourself a pat on the back and leave a comment to let me know what you're reading at the moment!

Abra-ca-Debora Dutch Pancakes giveaway! (NOW CLOSED)


Fancy getting your hands on a hamper packed full of goodies for Pancake Day? I'm so jealous of this giveaway as the hamper contents sound amazing and I'd personally love to win one. So, read on and find out how you can enter!

The Abra-ca-Debora Pancake Day Hamper is a luxury wicker hamper containing sweet and savory ingredients for a pancake party for 2 people with a retail value of £50. It will include a pack of Original and Sweet Abra-ca-Debora Dutch pancakes, a jar of chutney and a jar of Marmite, Green & Blacks chocolate, maple syrup, golden icing sugar and a lemon.

If you'd like a bit more information on the brand or you want to interact with them, they can be found on Twitter or Facebook.

(please note the contents of the hamper in the giveaway are different to the ones pictured above)

The giveaway is open to subscribers of Lily loves Lola who are UK residents (sorry!) until midnight on Wednesday 23 January 2012. After this date one winner will be drawn at random and that lucky so-and-so will receive the hamper.

To enter please comment on this post to let me know what you normally have on your pancakes, if you have pancakes at all! I normally play it safe and have sugar and lemon. Okay, now my mouth is watering!

Good luck folks!

Weekend summary (a new hat that hasn't left my head, Pugs, a shabby chic pub & The Hobbit).


You know when you have a really lovely weekend and you want it to go on and on.. well, that's what happened last weekend.

We went to watch The Hobbit on Saturday which was our second attempt after the first time was sold out. Jonathan was really keen to see it and I was kind of on the fence, but I really enjoyed it. It didn't drag on even though it's quite a long film, and I definitely want to watch the next installments when they come out (although I preferred Pitch Perfect! haha).

We cooked an amazing deep-filled homity pie on Saturday night courtesy of The Hairy Bikers then proceeded to stuff our faces until we (almost) exploded. We served it with peas and gravy and it was heavenly!

It was absolutely freezing on Sunday but we wrapped up warm and headed out for a walk near to where we had a booking for Sunday lunch. Being the wally that I am I forgot my gloves so after an hour had passed, and the feeling in my fingers had disappeared, we hotfooted it inside to get a pot of tea (me) and a pint (Jonathan).

The pub we went to houses a mixture of shabby chic furniture, amazing fireplaces and higgledy-piggledy frames on the walls and we love it in there. We'd move in and make it into a house if we could!

My only criticism is that they don't have many vegetarians options on the menu but as it was a Sunday, I opted for the veggie roast. And it was amazing. First of all there was so much food I could only eat 3/4 of it, but you know when it's so good you want to keep going even though you've long since run out of room? And secondly it was really, really good food.

I had a nut/sweet potato tart, honey glazed parsnips, loads of roast spuds, veg, a Yorkshire Pudding and onion gravy. Jonathan got a roast too but with duck as his main, and we shared a serving of cauliflower cheese (it would have been rude not to).

Feeling stuffed and tired after our walk we headed home to watch a dvd under a duvet, making room for some mint Matchmakers because, if you're like us, there's always room for sweet stuff after a big roast dinner :)

Bracelet giveaway! £15 / £10 / £5! (NOW CLOSED)


Fancy having £15, £10 or £5 to spend in my bigcartel shop? As it's January and purse strings can be a little bit tight around this time of year I thought I'd open up a giveaway for all of my blog readers.

All you have to do is complete the "rafflecopter" below. For one entry all you need to do is comment on this blog post to let me know if you made any resolutions for 2013 and if so, whether you're keeping them! Then confirm on the widget that you have commented. Easy!

If you'd like extra entries you can follow me on Twitter and all sorts of other things by working your way through the form, but that's up to you :)

I will draw the 3 winners at random after the closing date. Simples!

Good luck xo

How I lost weight: part 2 (before & after pics).


I recently updated the weight loss tab above as it was out of date considering I have lost a further half a stone since I originally blogged about my weight loss (here). That blog post was more about my tips and advice and hopefully a bit of motivation for anyone out there looking to lose weight. This blog post will go into a bit more detail about when and why I made changes and where I'm at now (with a few old photos thrown in for good measure).

It was tweeting about the updated tab and receiving a whole host of lovely comments that brought me here, writing this. I don't often think of myself as inspiring but I know before I started to lose weight that I was so unhappy and looked everywhere for inspiration, so I figured I should talk about it more. It is quite difficult to talk about some of these things (and to share old photos) so I hope you'll be kind to me in the comments.

The first half of 2010 was super stressful for me. I was trying to get out of a bad relationship but felt trapped and resigned to a discontented life. I had just started a new job in HR, which was all new to me, and I was trying to balance a difficult personal life with staying upbeat and positive in my new busy career.

My weight had been creeping up for a while and 2010 was my heaviest year. I was eating takeaways for dinner several nights a week, skipping breakfast, eating too much junk food and only exercising very occasionally. I didn't feel healthy or happy and I was desperate to make big changes.

To cut a very long story short, the relationship eventually ended in the summer of 2010 and after several difficult weeks of sharing a house with my ex partner we both moved on. I moved back in with my parents but this time I had two little dogs and a whole load of belongings in tow.

During the break up I lost my appetite. I rarely ate breakfast and would often forget to take lunch to work with me. For dinner I would have packet noodles, beans on toast or (my favourite at the time) fish finger sandwiches. I didn't know how to cook and was a pretty rubbish food shopper.

Once I moved back in with my parents I began to eat much better and felt happier in myself. Proper home cooked meals with veg were always on the cards and I started to feel ready to make some positive changes. Although I had started to lose weight the wrong way, I continued to lose weight once I had got my eating back on track and got into the swing of my new routine. I also started to do a bit of exercise, mainly jogging and the 30 Day Shred.

A couple of months later I met Jonathan and he was to become the driving force of motivation for me. Although he has a fast metabolism and can eat whatever he likes, he chooses to eat healthy food, rarely has takeaways and plays sport twice a week as well as visiting the gym most weekdays on his lunch break. Although I had dabbled in exercise before I met him it was only after we started dating that I really got into it.

By this point I had moved out into my own place and most evenings I would go jogging or do a workout DVD and Jonathan taught me how to cook and do my food shopping on a budget to make healthy dinners.

After 6 months of living on my own, my rent lease came to an end and I moved to Rotherham into Jonathan's house (poor Lily and Lola were sick of moving by this point, as was I). I continued with my evening workouts and on a weekend we would play squash together.

In 2010 I weighed around 11 stone 3lbs at my heaviest. Today I weigh 8 stone 12lbs. I'd like to get to 8 stone 10lbs and stay there, and that's my goal for 2013 (my height is 5'5).

I suppose the summary of my story is that whilst I was trapped in an unhappy place I didn't have the inclination to eat well or exercise. I couldn't cook and takeaways were the norm as opposed to being a treat once in a while. Once I got myself to a better place and surrounded myself with better people I had the desire to look after myself, exercise and eat well. I couldn't have lost the weight and kept it off without making some big changes and incorporating them into my everyday life.

I have managed to maintain the same weight for a while now which I'm really pleased with. I do have days and weeks where I overindulge and don't do much exercise so, if that happens, I try to work twice as hard to burn off those extra calories. I do worry about my weight creeping back up to what it was but I know that my lifestyle is so much different now and I am much more motivated.

It was (and is) hard work exercising several times a week and having treats in moderation. Working out is hard. It's sweaty and horrible and most of the time I'd rather not do it, but once I get going I really enjoy it and always feel better afterwards.

Picking up the biscuit tin and only having a couple of biscuits is a test of my willpower and still something I struggle with, often falling off the wagon and eating every sweet thing in sight (yes Christmas, I'm looking at you!)

I hope this has been helpful to some of you (if you made it this far!) and I'll definitely be back soon with more posts about food and exercise. If you have any suggestions or requests then please let me know in the comments section. I'd happily answer any emails too. I do like a good chinwag! :)

I felt the fear (& did it anyway!): the cinema.


I told you I'd pop something easy on the end of my "fear" list so that I could get the ball rolling. That's exactly what I did this afternoon, well and truly got the ball rolling by heading to the cinema. Alone! I didn't expect to get so many comments on that post but your quotes and kind words really spurred me on. Turns out there are lots of people out there who are just as scared as me to try new things and go to places alone, so look: if I can do it so can you!

I had a free day today so after a mammoth workout and some housework this morning I decided that a treat was in order. I have been dying to see Pitch Perfect and, as a sensitive soul, I knew that my solo cinema trip had to be a feel-good film rather than something that would have me sobbing in my seat. Although, it doesn't really take much to set me off! (I cried at an M&S food advert because the music was beautiful).

The film was awesome (and makes me want singing lessons even more than before - hey I could end up killing two birds with one stone here!) but not only that, I feel a bit more confident for doing something on my own that scared me a little.

As it turns out, lots of people go to the cinema on their own on a weekday afternoon. In fact, the majority of people were on their own including a lady in her 70s and a teenage boy who obviously has a penchant for feel-good singing movies too!

I could fidget away to my heart's content (those chairs are so damn uncomfortable), didn't have to share the Green & Black's chocolate I smuggled in and didn't miss out on something I really wanted to see.

Result! Right, which one to tackle next... :)

Feel the fear (and do it anyway).


As quotes go, the one up there in the title bar is one of my favourites but it's not something I put into action very often. You see, I miss out on so much and pass up invitations for things I really want to do/try because I have very little confidence and I don't like to do things on my own.

Although I love (and feel comfortable in) my own company and have a whale of a time if Jonathan is ever away on a weekend (sleeping, crafting, watching girly stuff on the telly, reading, baking, blogging, to name a few) I'm not very good at going solo when it comes to activities outside of our home. Thus, this makes it incredibly difficult to try new things and make new friends.

I have been this way for as long as I can remember and I suppose it stems from a mixture of low confidence and being too scared to make a fool out of myself to try anything new. I can ask myself "what's the worst that could happen?" until I'm blue in the face but it doesn't seem to help.

I'm also incredibly scared of criticism so the avoidance of trying something new means I can avoid any potential negativity. Mad I know!

There's an extensive list of things I want to do but haven't tried due to my lack of confidence or reliance on others to keep me company, but I thought detailing the main ones along with some quotes and awesome photos (via weheartit.com) may help to give me the boost and inspiration I need. Of course if you have any advice or words of wisdom then the comments box awaits you as does my thanks!

Photography course
I love finding new blogs and when I spot amazing photos on a blog they really draw me in and make me want to scroll through old posts (currently doing it with Love Audrey. From Gem With Love is another fave too!) I have a couple of cameras which are pretty good but taking photos on the "auto" mode isn't going to get me anywhere. I'd love to try a beginners photography course to learn what the dials and buttons actually mean and to improve the photos on my blog.

Singing lessons
There are a small select number of people who have heard me sing (usually accidentally and/or family members) who have told me I have a good voice. I'd love to join a choir but as you know from reading the above, I have no confidence and don't know whether I'd be good enough to join one. This is where the idea of singing lessons comes from. I've even done my research and found a singing teacher who practically lives on the doorstep but nope. I'm too much of a wuss to try it!

Exercise classes
Although I really like working out at home using my DVDs and You Tube, I don't get much variety and this can sometimes lead to a lack of motivation to do my workouts. I know which moves are coming up and how many times I have to do them so I don't always push myself when I've done the same workout 20 times before. There is a workout studio literally a 3 minute walk from our house which does Zumba, Pilates, toning classes, Cheerleading workouts(!) and a few others at various times through the day, evening and weekends so I have zero excuses apart from the fact I can't face turning up on my own.

Book club
I go through phases with reading where all I want to do is read and I get lost in book after book, but overall I try to read as many books as I can. I love the idea of going to a book club to meet new people and talk about books (I even found one that is run from a chocolate shop - how awesome is that?!)

Blog events
When I first started blogging back in 2009 I was so lucky to be invited to great blogging events for huge brands such as The Body Shop, Aussie and Loreal. Although I do think events like those aren't around so much anymore I am occasionally invited to launches and events which sound amazing but I always decline. My excuse of the travel being too far is partly true but there's also the element of not wanting to go alone as I'm shy and would hate to look like a billy-no-mates.

Cinema (for one)
I've thrown this one in as it's the one I could most likely achieve as it's not as scary as the others. I often miss out on films that I want to see as they're not Jonathan's cup of tea and, although I know he'd go with me in a shot, he works very hard and I'd hate to make him sit through an hour and a half of a "chick flick" in his "me time". I think a daytime showing of Pitch Perfect is on the cards for me soon. Ticket for one! ;)

A year in shoes.


As an ambassador for Sarenza I have been incredibly lucky and received some beautiful shoes and bags, handpicked by me and kindly sent for free, to style and share with you. From ballet pumps and trainers to cosy Ugg boots, slippers and handbags, I have been really lucky. Jonathan has even got in on the action too and struck a pose or two on here.

To read the original blog posts featuring these photos click here: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

Looking back on these photos from the last 12 months has brought back some lovely memories of day trips, birthday outings, catching small glimpses of sun in our garden and preparing for trips abroad. We were lucky to get two holidays last year and my Sarenza shoe and bag purchases accompanied me on both trips.

Looking through these photos also reminded me of the shoes tucked away in my wardrobe ready for (hopefully) the warmer months ahead this year.

One thing I noticed is that I sure do love skinny jeans and a pair of really good pumps! :)

To read the original blog posts featuring these photos lick here: 1 / 2 / 3

There's a big sale going on at the moment with up to 50% off so if you like any of the items I've shared here it's worth seeing if they have gone into the sale. I'm not a big fan of sales but I always browse online for potential bargains to avoid the sharp elbows and crowds in the shops.

My favourite sale spots are these Jeffrey Campbell Starynite shoes, this studded pair of Meline's called Mirwais, the pretty Oaker heels by Ted Baker, and the pretty pink Katie pumps by Ravel.

2013 will be the year I... (and an update on 2012).


♥ Join a club

♥ Reach my all time goal weight (even if I don't stay there very long..)

♥ Get photos printed and put into albums

♥ Remember birthdays earlier than the day before (i.e. be more organised)

♥ Try something new career-wise

♥ Visit my sister and brother in law on the Isle of Man

♥ See more of my parents

♥ Take better photos

(all from www.weheartit.com)

I did okay with my resolutions set for 2012. I started to use eye cream like I said I would (an Origins one to be precise). 

I learnt how to do nothing and take a bit of time out to have a nice bubble bath or watch a film without giving myself a hard time that it was a "waste" of time. 

I learnt new things (decoupage) and had a really crafty year, making Christmas cards and presents. 

I slacked a little bit with my exercise but I took part in Race for Life like I wanted to and I'm hoping with the help of You Tube, my workout dvds and the fitness centre round the corner 2013 will be my fittest year yet!

I didn't learn to cook a roast but then again I became vegetarian in 2012 so cooking meat for other people wasn't top of my priorities. We have tried so many new recipes and found some firm favourites. Even Jonathan has cut down on meat which I didn't think would ever happen.

I don't think I'll ever figure out what I want to do career-wise (it seems to make it onto my resolutions every year!) but I think it's time for a change in 2013. Time to try something different.

How did you get on with your resolutions from 2012? Made any for this year?