Flashback Thursday: seeing Zooey Deschanel in the flesh!


Back in 2010, just after dying my blonde locks brown, before I lost a heap of weight and before Jonathan and I had met, I went to London to watch She & Him. I'm a huge fan of their music and have been since I first heard their beautiful, easy-listening sound, so when I heard they were coming to the UK I snapped up some tickets.

They were superb live, and the small venue meant we were super close to the stage. Zooey is absolutely tiny in real life and, of course, very beautiful.

Unfortunately the camera I had back then didn't cope well with their louder songs plus the sound cut out when I zoomed in (#fail) but never mind. I still managed to put together a few video clips and I thought, in the spirit of "Flashback Thursday" which I have seen floating around Instagram and Twitter, I would share the video once more.

I store all of my videos on Vimeo, as You Tube scares the living daylights out of me, so feel free to have a nosy if you're bored!

Loving lately #2.


I enjoyed writing about what I was loving the other week so here's part two. There have been a few things dragging me down recently so I'm keen to pull myself out of this funk and focus on the positives, of which there are many.

Be sure to tell me what you're "loving lately" in the comments box below or feel free to pinch my ideas!

Writing a diary. I am not usually very good at remembering to write diaries on such a regular basis but I have been writing in my One Line A Day diary for about 3 weeks now and so far, so good! There are only a few lines for each day which I think is nice, as it keeps each entry short and sweet. Also it's kind of perfect for those days where you don't really do an awful lot.

Making pizza. Oh my, Jonathan and I made pizzas at the weekend and they were incredible. We cheated and bought the bases along with some ready made "pizza topping" sauce which was SO much better than passata which we would usually use. I topped mine with red onion, mushrooms, pepper, green chillis, mozzarella and cheddar cheese (oh, and a crumbling of Danish Blue for luck) and it was incredible. Since then I have decided to cut down on my wheat intake but I found some wheat free pizza bases yesterday which I shall be road testing soon!

Getting out of the house. Sounds so simple but I have been spending a lot of time indoors lately and it's nice to have a change of scene from time to time. This also coincides with something else I have been loving lately and that's eating out. Last week we had a little date night to a local Italian restaurant, on Sunday we went to our favourite pub for a roast dinner (veggie option for me) and crumble and custard, and this week we are heading to Sheffield for tapas.

Pampering. I think we often forget to look after ourselves, even if it's just taking half an hour to have a bath or read a magazine without interruptions. I am prone to feeling anxious and stressed out, especially when I try to take on too much at once, and have vowed to take more time out from everything and lock myself away in a bubble bath from time to time. Zoe ("Zoella") did a great video about her pampering routine recently which is worth a watch!

Wildfox clothing. Yes their jumpers and tees are MEGA expensive, to the point where I'm not sure I could cope with venturing out of the house/eating food/going near the general public whilst wearing their clothes, but they sure are pretty. I've got my eye on this and this. And I'd quite like to look like her, thank you please.

Daft cross stitch patterns and finishing old projects. I am currently loving this, this and this. I also recently fished out a half-finished Ghostbusters project from last year and, in a blaze of concentration, focus and copious cups of tea, managed to finish it in one afternoon. It just needs to be ironed and framed, so stay tuned for some better pics very soon!

Charity shop book buying. A couple of minutes away from our house you will find four pretty good charity shops, one of which is always crammed full of books. I have picked up quite a few recently, including Before I Go To Sleep which I just finished and The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets which I just started. Expect some book reviews very soon!

Yorkshire Sculpture Park.


On Saturday morning we woke up feeling rather optimistic that it wasn't as cold outside as it looked, so we decided to take a trip to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park armed with woolly gloves, hats and a bag full of food.

I have been to YSP once before, probably about 8 or 9 years ago, but as it's not far from us and the sculptures are always changing (not to mention I can't remember what I did 8 or 9 months ago, never mind years!) off we went.

The Pugs sat this one out and stayed at home in their nice warm bed, which was probably a wise move. On the drive up there not only had the temperature dropped by several degrees but it had also started to snow ever so slightly. Lily and Lola are very particular about the weather they will venture out in and I'm not sure their little legs would have made it, as it's a pretty big place.

After about an hour and a half, spotting a fair few sculptures and taking a long walk round the lake, we admitted defeat, mainly due to frozen fingers and snowy faces.

We will be heading back in the warmer months (there's that optimism again!) as it would be a great spot for a picnic and a warmer stroll around the grounds.

The exhibition due to start in Spring of this year looks pretty interesting I must say!

Have you ever visited YSP?

Ugg Australia Dylyn boots and Mellow Yellow handbag c/o Sarenza

Instagram prints.


I am pretty much obsessed with Instagram. I love the idea of sharing my photos and seeing what my favourite Instagrammers are up to. There is a great community on there and I follow a mixture of people; from crafty folk to beauty bloggers, from health/exercise fanatics to Pug owners, so my feed is an eclectic mix.

I've captured some great moments and taken some terrific snaps of Lily and Lola for my Instagram account, which poses the problem of those moments being stored on my mobile phone and nowhere else. As you may know from my recent posts one of my aims for 2013 is to get lots of old photos printed and make albums to store those photos permanently.

I found Prinstagram not so long ago and subsequently noticed a few bloggers had used the site to get photos printed. They had good things to say about the quality of the prints and the service so I went a bit mad and ordered 3 lots of 24 prints, thinking I may as well make the most of the shipping costs and order a few.

I placed my order on a Thursday evening, late at about 9pm, and my order arrived on either the following Monday or Tuesday morning. How is that for quick service considering the company aren't UK based?!

I am really pleased with the quality of my photos and I will definitely order another few sets of prints in the future.

Simple cross stitched card (male friendly!)


It is Jonathan's brother in laws birthday today and, as we are big fans of making cards instead of buying them, I stitched and put together a card for him. I really don't like buying cards as there is usually such a poor selection and between Jonathan and I we have a huge stash of card making supplies. He is actually more into making cards than I am, believe it or not.

I had some blank cards and envelopes left over from Christmas so I covered the front in blue card using double sided tape, as I didn't think the brown card would go with my theme.

I picked a small design to cross stitch from a free booklet that came with Cross Stitcher magazine last month. As the recipient likes sailing/boats I picked a very simple two tone sailing boat design, but the booklet had a whole host of other designs to choose from which will definitely come in handy for future cards!

Once that was stitched up I frayed the edges of the aida, backed the piece onto blue felt and stuck the felt to the blue card (all using double sided tape, something I couldn't craft without!) and voila; a simple, easy and quick card which I hope will be well received!

Do you make cards? I do like to make slightly more extravagant cards sometimes but if I'm short on time I really like the idea of a small cross stitched design catered to the interests of the birthday boy/girl!

My friend made a similar card for me for my birthday (thanks for the inspiration Katy!) and I thought it was such a sweet idea.

Are you a fan of homemade cards?

Pug Life.


What a difference some sunshine makes. Being able to go for a walk with the sun shining and a slight hint of warmth on my skin makes all the difference to my mood. So that's what we did yesterday. We bundled the dogs and ourselves into the car and headed to some woods nearby for a wander.

We got stuck in the mud, saw dozens of other dogs, not to mention a man being pulled along on a bicycle by two huskies, and Lily and Lola had a good sniff around. It's not often Lily and Lola get to explore new places as they can't walk for very far, so they had a great time barking at other dogs and letting mummy carry them over the mud!

Today has been a lazy day, the best kind of day. Although we did go to the cinema this afternoon armed with a secret stash of sweets and biscuits to see Hitchcock, which I really enjoyed. Jonathan hasn't seen Psycho and the film is based around that time of Hitchcock's life so we hope to watch it next week or next weekend. It's one of my favourites!

Also I have consumed so much carb-tastic food, Mini Eggs, biscuits and cups of tea in the past 2 days (no, make that 2 weeks) that I declare tomorrow the start of actually registering what I put in my mouth!

Hope you all had a good one.

It is indeed!

Navel Gazing by Anne H Putnam.

As I have been getting into reading lately in a big way, when I was offered the opportunity to review a book* I thought "brilliant". I had another book to finish first, but once that was completed I got started on Navel Gazing straight away. 

The subject matter really intrigued me, being about weight loss, gastric band surgery and one woman's perspective on size, shape, finding confidence and dealing with body changes. I have never been obese but I was once slightly overweight (in BMI standards anyway) so I expected the book to be something I would enjoy reading and find interesting and maybe useful too.

I knew it would be a different kind of book to the usual "chick lit" I tend to favour, with it being fact as opposed to fiction, but I didn't really prepare myself for disliking parts of the book and struggling to finish it.

What did I like about the book?

I liked the honest and open account of gastric band surgery, why Anne opted to have the surgery at 17 years old and the process she had to go through. I learnt a lot about why someone would choose to go down that route and what is involved with the surgery as well as the aftercare which affects what you eat and the way you eat for the rest of your life.

I enjoyed the beginning of the book when Anne describes growing up and her relationship with food i.e. having a healthy, dieting mother which meant sneaking treats as opposed to being able to enjoy them openly.

What did I dislike about the book?

The book was repetitive, often describing the same experiences over and over again without going into much detail.

The writer was so full of self loathing for her body that it became really frustrating as a reader. It was relentlessness and repetitive throughout the book so it was difficult to connect with the author.

I felt like there was something missing from the book. I wanted to know more about certain times of Anne's life and, as mentioned above, some areas were repeated which meant the book didn't flow.

I thought the book would be more of a "journey" ending with less self hatred and a bit more positivity.

Would I recommend this book?

If you want to know about gastric band surgery or you're interested in the surgery yourself then there are sections of the book which would be useful to you. If you're looking for an inspirational read then I'd leave this one on the shelf.

* this book was sent to me, for free, to review. As you can see my reviews are always 100% honest!

Decoupage bunting.


When I shared my latest craft project on Instagram I received some great comments and questions so I thought I would take a few more photos of my bunting in action.

Decoupage is so easy (that's why I like it!) which means it's a craft anyone can do, including kids. It's quick and messy and you get to peel glue off your fingers afterwards. Who doesn't love to do that?!

Decoupage is a way of decorating different surfaces using scraps of paper and glue. The special "Decopatch" papers can be quite expensive which is why I think places like Fired Arts in Sheffield are a great idea as you just need to pay a studio fee, pick your item with one sheet of paper included, then they have boxes of scraps in all colours and sizes that you can use for your project. You can also purchase additional individual sheets if you wish, instead of a whole pack.

I'm sure there would be something similar in your local area if you fancied giving it a go. Fired Arts offer a mixture of pottery painting, decoupage and mosaic making so there's a little bit of something for everyone/all skill levels.

You can cover pretty much anything you like when it comes to decoupage. Before Christmas I covered a pottery bird in red and green scraps of paper to make a festive tree decoration. I recently covered a paper mache 'V' letter in a fun blue/multicoloured hearts design. I also have several wooden chairs in our spare room which are crying out to be covered!

I find it quite therapeutic and much more satisfying than other types of crafting such as cross stitching which is a much slower process. It's also easy so you can have a brew and a good chin-wag while you're doing it.

You can buy shapes and letters from Hobbycraft (although I don't think the selection at my local branch is very good) as well as a multitude of online shops and Ebay. They're pretty cheap and range in size from teeny tiny to humongous.You can also cover pottery items such as decorations, trinket boxes, money boxes and photo frames to name a few.

Happy crafting! If you do give this a go don't blame me for your new found addiction ;)

Loving lately.


As it's Valentine's Day I thought that instead of declaring my love for my boyfriend (I'm sure by now you all know I think Jonathan is pretty wonderful) and cooing over photos of Lily and Lola, who I also love dearly, I'd tell you what else I'm loving at the moment.

The Sorry Girls on You Tube. Before I found The Sorry Girls I would often watch You Tube videos but would find it hard to find channels with enough of a mixture of the things I like. Well, it seems that amazing DIY videos, home interiors, a cute hedgehog named Harley and two lovely Canadian girls are my cup of tea!

Blogging and blogs. I really love writing a blog and the times I have thought about stopping in the 3 1/2 years I have been writing Lily loves Lola have been few and far between. I'm lucky in that I receive such positive, kind comments and it makes it even more worthwhile knowing that my blog posts can be helpful or even inspirational to others.

In terms of reading blogs I am trying to make more time to comment and find new blogs. I particularly like lifestyle blogs with a mixture of beauty, clothes and day-to-day life stuff but I also like craft blogs and fitness blogs too. A handful of my current favourites are A Rosie Outlook, Love Audrey, junkaholique, The Pampered Sparrow, Trinket Box, the glue gun girl and the tea drinking english rose which was one of the first blogs I ever found and followed many moons ago.

Other things I'm currently loving: my new Primark hoodie / my meerkat / reading / drinking tea out of cute mugs / treating myself to beauty purchases

Making good progress with my resolutions for 2013. One of my goals was to see more of my parents. Since the new year I have seen my parents several times whether it was just popping round for a cup of tea, going out for dinner or sleeping over for a night or two. There's something about staying overnight and having my meals made for me which makes me feel 15 again, and I quite like it.

Another item on my list, and quite a huge task, was getting photos printed. It makes me sad at solely storing photos on the computer or on my phone, and I'd hate to be a Grandma and not have albums of photos to share with my family.

I have spent hours upon hours sifting through photos, deciding which ones to get printed, uploading them to Photo Box, seeking out special offers and discount codes to make it that little bit cheaper, and buying scrapbooks, pens and photo corners ready for some major sticking and note-writing once the photos arrive.

It has been a huge task so far but once it's done it will be worthwhile and something I can continue to do going forward.

Music. I am currently loving the Fun album (especially this), The Lumineers (particularly this song), The Vaccines (all of their stuff but this is my favourite), good old She & Him (this song/video combo will always be the one I adore the most. I don't know how much JGL has to do with that), as well as Doppio Music who I listen to on Sound Cloud.

Reading. My love for reading is still going strong, aided by my Kindle Fire HD but also by the great finds in my local charity shops. I just finished Don't Tell The Groom by Anna Bell as well as a book sent to me for review, which will be published on here shortly.

As it's Valentine's Day and I'm a sucker for anything cute I wanted to share this video and I strongly urge you to watch it. It could melt even the stoniest of hearts!

Pug print dress & my new favourite boots.


I got these boots ages ago as a welcome break from all the Ugg boots I own. I opted for a pair by the brand Blowfish called Texas with one of my Sarenza ambassador vouchers. I liked the fact that they are black, slightly slouchy and have a bit of studded detail, and I thought that they would be easy to wear with anything.

Blowfish boots c/o Sarenza

They then collected dust in my wardrobe for a while as I wasn't quite ready to venture into unknown territory or quite sure what to wear them with. Then the snow came a couple of weeks ago and I needed boots that would keep my feet dry and not get ruined like my Ugg boots would. So out came my Blowfish boots!

I have worn them pretty much non stop since, mainly with dresses. This particular pair are sold out on Sarenza now but the Blowfish brand have lots of other boots in stock at the moment, so worth a look if you like these.

I wore them to Beamish last weekend with some tights I got for Christmas which are about an inch thick (exaggeration) and keep my legs and feet SO warm. I wore a recent dress purchase in the shape of a Pug print dress from House of Fraser which got cheaper and cheaper in the sale until it became a huge bargain and I bought it.

The dress is nice as it's a really soft material so it's really comfortable. And obviously I think the print is adorable.

With the addition of a coat, scarf and mittens (the mittens were a birthday gift and are from Fat Face) I was ready to go!

Iconemesis "bows" case for the iPhone.


Iconemesis is a mobile phone case company with a difference. Their designs are beautiful, unusual and some very silly. They have a wide range of designs to choose from for the iPhone, many of which have been designed by the illustrators Fifi Lapin, Leah Goren and Gemma Correll.

"Bows" case for the iPhone 4 c/o Iconemesis

I was given the chance to own one of their cases and after much deliberating I opted for the "bows" design which feels very me. It's a girly design featuring bows of all shapes and sizes, and the case itself feels sturdy and good quality (I am always dropping my phone and it has survived thus far!)

I have had some lovely comments on my "bows" case and I would definitely use the Iconemesis site to buy another case in the future. There are one or two other designs I really like the look of.

Delivery within the UK is free, and at the moment if you used the code ICON220 you can get 20% off your order!

A birthday at Beamish.


As I mentioned here we went to Beamish on Sunday for my 28th birthday. For those who don't know, Beamish is a "living museum" in County Durham which is split into different areas such as the Edwardian Town, the Pit Village, and Home Farm, with trams every 20 minutes to take you from one area to the next.

It took a couple of hours to drive there but it was a nice easy route, although a tad hair raising in the strong wind in my little Smart car!

We were hoping it wouldn't be too busy which luckily it wasn't as I think the blustery wind and cold temperatures had put people off the idea of an outdoors museum. Us? We're hard as nails!

The Edwardian Town, where we ended up last, was our favourite bit. You feel like you have stepped back in time and it was so interesting wandering around looking at, and going inside, the buildings, shops and houses. The sweet shop was a particular favourite, as was the dental surgery and the singing teachers home which was crammed full of furniture and trinkets.

There were staff dressed up at every turn to explain a little more about each house or shop. Let's just say, I wouldn't have wanted dental treatment back in those days. Ouch!

It was extremely windy so you will have to excuse my hair which I gave up on. I will say that the weather conditions combined with everything being nicely spread out meant that it was nice and quiet, which meant we often felt like we had the place to ourselves.

We braved the chilly walk up to the top of a hill to see Pockerley Old Hall which represents the home of a wealthy family in the 1800s. After having a good nosy round, warming ourselves up by the many wood burning fires, and trying some oatmeal and cheese(!) biscuits that had just been served up in the kitchen we felt ready to head back outside.

If you haven't been it's definitely worth a visit. We would like to go back when there's a special event on or a theme such as Bonfire Night or Christmas. Our tickets give us entry for one year which is brilliant, so we may well go back.

I imagine it would be lovely in warmer months where you could take a picnic and sit on the picnic area by the Edwardian Town.

Blowfish boots c/o Sarenza

If you've been to Beamish let me know if you enjoyed it. I imagine it's not everyone's cup of tea but I personally love places like this (I'm a fan of Eden Camp too!) so I had a great time.

If you haven't been but you plan to, allow a good few hours for your visit (I think we took about 3 hours or so, but if you look at every little bit of detail it could take much longer) and wrap up warm! It's also worth checking the website for the opening times and days that they're closed, as well as checking the calendar for any special events you could go to!