10 things making me happy at the moment.


1) Red Oaks on Amazon Prime. Has anyone else seen it? I had been looking for a new series to get stuck into and it's really blimmin' good! It has some laugh out loud moments but it's not overly silly, so you care about the characters and what happens to them. 

2) Giving the dogs a bath so I can cuddle them without catching a whiff of cheesy Wotsits! 

3) Finding Bath & Body Works candles that had been stashed away because they smelt too Christmassy, and burning them to fill our house with festive cheer!

4) Finding unread books on my Kindle.

5) Michael Buble's new album.

6) The return of The Apprentice.

7) Getting into crafts again; handmade Christmas cards, cross stitched gifts, pompom garlands, and trips to Hobbycraft for supplies.

8) Another break from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to give me a bit of free head space to be more productive with other things and to focus on my health/recovery without comparing myself to others who can do things that I can't. 

9) A new drama to get stuck into; The Missing. Two episodes in and we're hooked! 

10) Submitting my Christmas list to Santa aka my mum.

5 good things (Autumn home decor and daily blogging in November?!)


This time of year is my favourite. I much prefer dressing for Autumn in lots of layers, woolly jumpers, tights and boots, and I love the leaves on the ground and the feeling of Christmas approaching, but my god it's cold isn't it? I don't know if it's my CFS or if I have always been such a cold person but it's so bad I can't seem to focus on anything else. I write this in a thermal top, hoodie, leggings, long johns (!), two pairs of socks, woolly hat, and a heated wheat bag! Oh and the heating is on. And I'm still cold. Seriously, if you know of any solutions for this please share as I fear I'm going to go mad!

I haven't done a 5 good things post for a while and I miss sitting down with my laptop and typing, so here goes.

1) After visiting Harry Potter Studios (see my last post) we have well and truly caught the Potter bug and we have been watching the films from the beginning. I have also been reading the books from the beginning, although my reading is very slow these days and I'm still on book one, whereas we're about to start film five next. I just don't think I will ever get bored of them! 

2) As I'm stuck at home 99% of the time I decided to set myself a little project to jazz up our fireplace with a cosy Autumnal vibe. I found the wire bird in a box of old things so he got a dusting off and now takes pride of place on the mantelpiece. The faux leaves were £7.99 from eBay and I'm really impressed with how good they are for that price! The pom pom garland was made by my own fair hands, and we have had the light box a while (from The Range). I don't think I did a bad job to say I'm not particularly blessed with masses of creativity! I can't wait to change it with the changing seasons!

3) I haven't bought any toiletries in about 6 months as I vowed that, with my lack of funds due to being off work poorly, I would use up the products I already have. Not only have I rediscovered some amazing things but it feels so satisfying to actually use products up and not spend money buying new things that I think I need but really don't. My streamlined cupboards and drawers and minimal skincare/makeup routine are making me very happy indeed! 

4) I have been debating whether to do a "blog every day in November" type thing. There are so many things I want to talk about and I think the challenge would spark some motivation in me and make me feel useful again. My issue is that my photography and editing skills are limited and I always feel that my blog posts aren't good enough if my photos aren't very good. If I can get over that mentality I might just do it. Novem-blog?! If you have ideas for posts you'd want to see from me please do let me know in the comments bit.

5) As sucky as being ill every day is, I am managing to find some positives from a negative situation and it makes things a little bit easier to deal with. I have also made some wonderful friends through talking about it on Instagram (on my main account @lilyloveslola and on my CFS account @thefogalwayslifts) and they really do help me to get through bad patches. Thanks ladies! 

A trip to Warner Bros / Harry Potter Studio Tour (and a mini rant!)


Wow.. I am actually blogging about something the same week that it happened. This is progress! You can tell I'm feeling a bit better can't you?!

We didn't manage to get away on a last minute break in the sunshine during Paul's two weeks off work, as originally planned, but we did manage a few days in Matlock, an overnight stay at a spa hotel, a weekend in Cleethorpes for a music festival, and an afternoon at the Warner Bros Studio Tour, so it's not all bad! 

I visited four years ago so I was itching to go back and I wasn't disappointed. As well as the amazing sets and props that were there last time there was a lot of new stuff too, like the train station section with the Hogwarts Express! We really took our time looking at all the detail, reading the information boards, having our photo taken in a flying car, and generally having a ball. 

I am as guilty as the rest when it comes to taking lots of photos and videos, and not always taking experiences in properly, so I have made a conscious effort lately to focus on what is happening around me with my eyes rather than looking through my camera or phone. 

One thing I found about this trip, which didn't happen last time, was how manic a few of the areas were. At times it was impossible to see/read things because of all the cameras, phones and selfie sticks attempting to take in every little detail. Don't get me wrong, I like to take photos as much as the next person, but some people seemed to be viewing the whole experience through the video mode on their phones and not actually looking at things with their eyes. One lady caused a huge pile-up spending ten minutes perfecting the perfect selfie with one of the sets in the background.

Anyway, rant over. I will stop being a grumpy old lady now! If you haven't been here yet I suggest you book tickets ASAP because it's an amazing attraction with so much detail; well worth the £35 ticket price. I won't spoil it by posting too many photos because I want you to see for yourself! 


A picnic at Kedleston Hall and a health/happiness catch up!


It's odd to look at these photos from a couple of weeks ago when the weather was absolutely scorching, as I sit here freezing cold and clutching a heat bag! We took the pugs to Kedleston Hall for a few hours to have a picnic and a stroll around. I'm not sure who handled the heat worse out of me or Lily but suffice to say we didn't stroll for very long, but we did have a lovely picnic and take in the beautiful surroundings.

Since these pictures were taken I have noticed some improvements in my health (not every day, but most days) and some of my chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms seem to be easing up. I'm sleeping so much better and I can feel the benefit of that, even if I don't ever really feel refreshed from the sleep itself. I am currently enjoying a lift of my brain fog and headaches, and my appetite appears sometimes which is quite nice after a year of being nowhere to be seen. I still get debilitating fatigue which can come on suddenly and render me pretty useless, but I am so grateful for everything else easing up for me.

Last weekend we went camping for one night and it made me realise how much I rely on my routine to aid my recovery. Just one night of being cold, skipping meals / not eating healthily, and only getting two hours sleep made the rest of the weekend a bit of a write-off in terms of my health, but I managed some laughs with Paul and our friends and looking back I remember the funny bits and not the bit where I had to borrow a friends hotel room to fall into a coma for the afternoon!

I've had another session with Rebecca at Hello Healing who has given me a few new things to try with food habits and supplements. I am now on magnesium and fish oils, in addition to probiotics which I have been taking since May, and I feel better for taking both already.

I hate to tempt fate but, touch wood, I really feel like I can get a handle on this CFS thing and get back to some sort of normality again!

Life lately.. yoga, detoxing, and quality time with the BF! (and more Isle of Man trip photos).


- After working what feels like every hour of the day Paul now has a couple of weeks off work. All being well with my health and finding a dog-sitter we are hoping to go on a short holiday or, failing that, do a few outings or overnight stays in this country. We don't really mind as long as we're together (#passthesickbucket) and get some rest and relaxation in!

- Yesterday I had another appointment with my nutritional therapist, Rebecca. We talked through my test results for my adrenal gland function (which isn't functioning so well!) so I really need to focus on getting good quality rest, reducing stress and finding more activities that I enjoy and make me happy. That can be difficult when I'm often too poorly to get out and about so if anyone has any suggestions for new hobbies to try please do leave a comment!

- I have started doing epsom salt baths (using these) three times a week as they are supposed to have amazing benefits such as; easing muscle pain, replenishing magnesium in the body, healing cuts, helping colds, and drawing toxins from the body. And I am ALL about getting toxins out of my body. They have overstayed their welcome now that's for sure.

- I finally found a yoga video that I enjoy! After persevering with it, trying lots of different youtube videos, and feeling frustrated with my body's inability to form the various poses, I found this 10 minute sequence (link!) by 'Yoga with Adriene'. Short but sweet and manageable for my lack of bendyness!

- As well as the salt baths I am body brushing before my morning shower and it ain't half making me feel rubbish! This is apparently normal as the toxins are moving around but I hope it settles down soon.

That's about it really. All health and recovery focused as usual. I have so many other ideas for blog posts but the problem is finding the energy to type them up and take the photos. I promise I will slot them in as and when I can. Thanks for sticking with me!

Quick hello and Isle of Man boat trip photos.


Happy Friday everyone! I hope you've all got nice plans for the weekend? My plans include rest, yoga, rest, making bracelets (I reopened my Etsy shop!), rest and watching telly. After a pretty rough week with my chronic fatigue syndrome, with appearances from my old friends the glandular fever symptoms, I have had a nice afternoon with Paul (we saw Jess Ennis!) and I feel a tad better this evening.. maybe something to do with looking at holidays online and thinking of sunnier places!

I haven't shared any photos from our recent trip yet so here we are. This lot mainly consist of photos from the boat trip we went on. "It will be a big boat" my sister said, "you won't get sea sick - they hold hundreds of people!" As we boarded what can only be described as a large fishing boat panic set in ;)

Apart from being inches away from being pooed on by a seagull, Paul being spat on by a child, and a lady nearly falling overboard because she was trying to do some crochet as the boat navigated some tricky waves, it was a great success! I wasn't sick and the sights were stunning!

More photos next time. Have a good weekend!

Weight Watchers limited edition summer meals [review] #WWspicysummer


When Weight Watchers asked me to review their limited edition summer flavours, inspired by Mexico and Brazil, I knew the man for the job. My wonderful boyfriend, Paul! He works long shifts with antisocial hours, and often has to work through most of his breaks, so eating healthy, filling food can be tricky and he finds it difficult to find the time and energy to prepare meals in advance to take to work with him.

Paul has been busy trying out the new flavours, Brazilian Bahia Chicken and Rice and Naked Enchilada and Mexican Style Rice, and has taken over this blog post to let you know his thoughts (psst, you can find these meals at Asda, Morrisons and Ocado for £2.59).

First things first, a quick roundup:

- less than 400 calories
- low in fat
- low in sugar
- source of protein
- contain no artificial colours or flavourings

Over to you Paul!

Hi guys! Hope you don't mind me taking over for a post!

Working in a hectic job involving shifts and no guarantee of a proper break means it's often difficult finding the time to eat properly. If I'm lucky there might be a ten to fifteen minute window at some point where food can be inhaled in between jobs, but it's all too easy to use the lack of time as an excuse to fill up on things of questionable nutritional value. McDonalds or whichever kebab shop is closest normally get my vote (don't tell Victoria ;))

All sounds great doesn't it?! But what happens if, like me, you're rapidly approaching your mid thirties and every bite of a Big Mac is a major blow in the losing battle against the Middle Age Spread?!

Despite my penchant for most fast food, I do really enjoy eating healthy and at home we love cooking together and trying new recipes. But at work it becomes a real struggle finding things that taste good, are good for me, and can be prepared and consumed in quick time. So when Victoria asked me to help her out and sample some Weight Watchers ready meals, I thought it sounded like something that might well tick both the speedy and healthy boxes. I was looking forward to finding out if the tasty box was going to get ticked too!

I was given two different meals from the new Weight Watchers range to try. Both came in nicely styled packaging with the picture of each dish looking pretty tempting compared to a dodgy doner (my usual unhealthy choice) or a tinned tuna and plain rice (my usual healthy choice).

Brazilian Bahia Chicken and Rice

I opted to try this one first because the other one came with a 3/3 chilli rating, so it scared me a bit. This one came with a 1/3 chilli rating, a much safer option for 3am in the middle of a night shift!

The Brazilian Bahia meal is a chicken, chorizo and rice dish all cooked together with a smoky tomato and vegetable sauce. As with most microwave meals, the food inside didn't quite live up to what the sleeve had me expecting, but undeterred, it went in the microwave for three and a half minutes. Then it came out for a minute. Then it went back in for two minutes. And then back out to stand for another two minutes. Eight minutes is heading towards the top end of what I'd say is a fair preparation time for a microwave meal, but it was definitely worth the wait.

It smelled great as I was sat waiting for it to cool. The first thing I noticed as I tucked in was that it was crammed full of great big chunks of lovely tender, fresh tasting chicken. The tomato sauce had a lovely smoky taste to it with just the right amount of tang. I thought the rice to chicken to sauce ratio was spot on, although as a chorizo fan I would've liked to have found a few more pieces.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed every mouthful and I had a good few jealous colleagues asking me what I was eating. I was a little worried when I saw the portion size but I can honestly say it was more than enough to keep me going through the rest of my shift. Amazing considering it only contained 300 calories!

Naked Enchilada and Mexican Style Rice

Next up was the quite spicy but not quite as spicy as the chilli rating would have you believe it'd be spicy, Naked Enchilada and Mexican Style Rice. This one came with the sauce and rice in separate compartments which is a good shout so you can keep the rice as a bit of a mouth cooler if needed! It takes about the same preparation time and certainly left me feeling nice and full. And I'm not going to quibble over the extra 4 calories this one sneaks in! If I was going to be picky I'd say there was possibly a bit too much sauce and not enough chicken in this one. The chicken pieces I did get were lovely big juicy bits, but just a little sauce heavy. The rice and bean combo was really good and worked well with the main dish.

Over all I'd say the Brazilian Bahia meal was more my cup of Caipirinha but you should definitely taco look at the Naked Enchilada meal too. Both were high on taste, low on calories, easy on the wallet and quick on time. Enjoy!

Paul X

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Life lately (one year anniversary, a new Instagram account and a shed load of colouring in).


It has been a little while since I did a "life lately" post (middle of June to be precise!) and I really need to get better at doing them because my memory isn't what it used to be and I forget what I've done (which is impressive considering I'm usually feeling ill and don't do an awful lot!)

With the help of bullet points and an afternoon where I've got a little bit of energy, here's what I have been up to lately. 

- The end of June saw us celebrate our "1 year since our first date" anniversary. I was surprised on the morning of our anniversary with a note to pack my suitcase and a swimming cossie. That afternoon I was whisked away to a hotel for the night. We relaxed by the pool and used the sauna/steam room, strolled round the grounds, had an amazing meal (where they catered to me being gluten free without batting an eyelid which was massively appreciated!) and enjoyed a Pug-free sleep-in. I was still on antibiotics and only just recovering from a nasty bout of mastitis so I wasn't feeling or looking my best, and I couldn't have any free prosecco (SOB!), but it was such a lovely treat and a welcome distraction from everything else going on. Paul really is a good egg.

In other news;

- I recently went to the Isle of Man to visit my sister, her husband and my beautiful niece Mabel, and Paul came along too! We had a few days together to see the sights before he headed home for work and I stayed on for a few extra days.

- I set up a new Instagram account (@thefogalwayslifts) to document my recovery from glandular fever/chronic fatigue syndrome. My regular account (@lilyloveslola) will still be the place for pug stuff, blog stuff and general life bits and bobs, but my new account will focus on my health/food/exercise/CFS/reviews and give me a place to talk about my condition more freely.

- In the last week I have binge-watched My Mad Fat Diary (apart from the very last episode which I can't bring myself to watch because then it's all over!) which inspired me to buy a fancy new diary, then I remembered how much my hand aches when I write because I don't hold my pen properly.. #niceone

- We threw a BBQ on one particularly sunny Saturday evening, I had too much to drink, and it took me a week to recover. Whoops!

- I bought a new colouring book and it's amazeballs!

- I started using a natural deodorant and I haven't turned into B.O. Bill!

- We went to see David Brent: Life on the Road at the cinema and laughed, cringed and thought it was pretty great.

- I've been working on a new cross stitch and getting back into enjoying stitching again.

- We have been working on our garden by adding a wooden border, plants, flowers and fairy lights, and it's such a lovely place to sit when the sun comes out or on an evening with a cup of cocoa. I feel really lucky to have a place to call home after moving around and feeling unsettled for so many months.

What have you been up to lately? :)