Novemblog #30 - the end, and a little rest.


Day 30! November has been the longest month ever, probably because I have a chronic illness and decided daily blogging would be a good idea! ha. In all honesty I have enjoyed putting more time and energy into my blog. I know it's not the best or fanciest out there but it makes me happy that it's still going after 7 1/2 years. 

It's certainly not the last you've heard from me for 2016 but I'm going to have a few days off to enjoy a break on the Isle of Man and I'll be back to share the photos from our trip and maybe a 2016 round up of some sorts (spoiler: it has been shit).

In the meantime I will leave you with links to all of my November posts below to make things easy for ya. Ciao for now and thanks for reading! x

Novemblog #29 - 5 good things.


1) Finding somewhere that sells gluten free stollen; my absolute favourite of all the festive food. The shop in question is The Free From Bakehouse which has an online shop with lots of gluten free cakes so I don't have to miss out on eating myself silly this December!

2) Frosty mornings. I absolutely hate snow due to the fact it is usually slushy and disruptive rather than picture perfect, but I love waking up to see that it's cold and frosty outside. Even better if I get to stay warm indoors and look at it from afar, with a hot cup of tea. 

3) Having a huge clear out to take to a charity shop. I'm nowhere near living a minimalist life but I do enjoy being free of clutter and not hanging on to things that I don't use or need. Recently we have both had a clear out of clothes, books and kitchen paraphernalia ready to take to Rain Rescue later in the week. 

4) We just booked flights to go to the Isle of Man again to visit my sister. I am really excited to see my little niece for a few days, as it has been a few months since I last saw her and she is changing so quickly! 

5) From Friday onwards Paul is on annual leave for a couple of weeks which means lots of quality time together and, most importantly, buying our Christmas tree and decorating the house! 

What are your 5 good things at the moment?

Novemblog #28 - my favourite crafty Christmas DIY projects/the things I want to make!


There was a time I didn't really "get" Pinterest then I gave it a chance, had a browse, and resurfaced about 6 days later after looking at every photo that ever existed. I can be found here - and my favourite thing to do is look for DIY and craft ideas.

I have put together some of my favourite festive DIY ideas for cards, wrapping, home decor and baking. You can find the source of each photo by visiting my Christmas board using the link above and clicking on each photo.

I seem to have a fondness for reindeer shaped ideas; I'm obsessed with the fudge and the idea of dressing up a simple crate of beer using brown pipe cleaners, boggly eyes and red fluffy noses.

This year my mum has tasked me with taking crackers to our family Christmas day, which got me thinking that this highly important task can't be taken lightly ;) I really want to have a go at making my own, either from scratch or using the "fill your own" kits which come with hats and jokes included. I love the idea of crackers containing mini gifts that people actually want; mini toiletries, mini bottles of booze, scratchcards, lottery tickets.. have I missed anything?

I like the idea of decorating my own crackers using Pinterest for inspiration of course.

Something I love year after year are the melting snowmen biscuits. They would look adorable as part of a festive spread, and if you use shop bought biscuits they're even easier. How amazing are they with peanut butter cup hats?!

I recently decorated our small living room fireplace to give it a cosy Autumnal vibe, so I thought I would give it a festive Christmas themed update once we pop our tree up at the beginning of December. I'm thinking lots of pom poms, a garland across the ledge and some snow globes or trinkets amongst the garland?! I am obsessed with the fireplace in the photo below which is decorated to perfection!

I am really looking forward to Christmas this year; it will be a nice mixture of relaxing, eating, a drink or two, and catching up with family. We are splitting our time between the Lake District and Leeds between our families, and over the next few weeks I hope to use a little energy for some small DIY projects and presents. I'll let you know how I get on with my crackers!!

Novemblog #27 - five more kind (and easy) things you can do today.


Click here to read the first five ideas.

1) Send a Buddy Box to someone having a hard time or feeling under the weather. It's a wonderful idea described as a "hug in a box", which can be purchased as a one off or by subscription. Everyone likes receiving surprises in the post, especially if they contribute towards feeling more relaxed or happy. 

2) Pop positive and encouraging notes in random places either for a loved one or strangers to find. 

3) Send a postcard, letter or small gift to a poorly child using the Post Pals website. 

4) If you get good customer service tell them/their manager/your friends. We are so quick to be vocal about the bad service but we also need to shout about the people who go above and beyond! A quick compliment about someone to their manager can go a long way. 

5) Offer to babysit for friends or relatives with young children so they can enjoy a (probably much needed and long overdue) date night. 

Novemblog #26 - Lily loves Lola on Etsy / raising funds for my treatment.


I've run out of steam this afternoon so it's just a super quick post from me to say that I recently reopened my Etsy shop (here's the link). I make and sell simple friendship bracelets at really reasonable prices, and I will ship anywhere. I have a good selection of charms from owls and elephants to wishbones and stars. 

From now until Christmas I will be popping a free bracelet in with every order under £5 and two free bracelets with every order over £5. Any funds I make through my shop go towards my treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome so you really will make a difference to my life if you place an order. Thank you in advance to anyone who does.

Enjoy your Saturday evenings! It's X Factor and an early night for me! x

Novemblog #25 - park life.


Today has been a fairly lazy day with the exception of a trip to the park and a trip to Pets at Home, which should have taken me half an hour but took twice as long because every man and his dog seemed to be on the roads this afternoon! 

Walking Lily and Lola at the same time has become a bit of a nightmare due to Lily's tendency to give up after about 3 minutes and Lola's fondness for chasing after joggers, passing cars, and anything else remotely distracting. So I took full advantage of having Paul at home today on his day off and we all wrapped up and went to our nearest park.

Lily seems to walk better off the lead so with two sets of eyes and plenty of space to keep away from everybody she managed a little wander around today. Although she did stop and sit in the mud for a large chunk of our trip.

After a steady stroll, spotting approximately a million squirrels and taking a few photos for our family album we headed home for a cuppa, a biscuit, and The Apprentice on catch-up telly. Tonight is going to involve a sausage and bean casserole with roast potatoes, cuddles with the pugs and not a lot else!

 Have a good Friday evening folks!

Novemblog #24 - Lily and Lola, then and now.


Lily and Lola came to live with me just after Christmas of 2008. You can read the story of how I adopted them by clicking > here. I have always had a soft spot for Pugs and I couldn't believe my luck when I was able to adopt two. I often wonder how different my life would be if I had turned up at the Dogs Trust ten minutes later, when other people enquired about them but lost out to me.

I remember when my mum and I picked them up, between Christmas and New Year's Eve, how nervous and excited I was to be adopting two dogs. We attended an adoption meeting with other people who were also collecting dogs that day, then we were allowed to take Lily and Lola home. I drove home so my mum had them on her knee; they seemed so small and fragile. They seemed happy having a snooze on her lap, probably wondering where the hell they were heading to next!

The story with Lily and Lola is that they were dropped off by a young woman, along with another Pug (Lulu), who claimed that her mum owned them and had passed away. I believe a few days later she dropped more dogs off at the centre. The story didn't quite add up to me and I think they may have been at some sort of puppy mill. Lola had already had a litter of pups which had apparently all died, and she was only 18 months old. Lily probably wouldn't have been able to have puppies because she is so tiny and had a few health problems. They hadn't been lead trained or toilet trained so wherever they had been living can't have been very nice. 

It didn't take Lily and Lola long to settle in with me and my family. They had a whale of a time chasing my parents dogs round the table, jumping up on the sofa for cuddles, and wrapping me round their little fingers paws! They loved going on long walks with me, my mum and the other dogs; their little legs trying to keep up with my mum who they both love to bits.

Life certainly hasn't been plain sailing since I adopted the girls, with me moving house a fair few times, going through break ups, and going up and down the motorway with them in tow. At times it has been almost impossible to find places to rent that would allow pets, and when I lived alone it felt like such a huge responsibility to have two little critters depending on me, but they have saved me from feeling down on so many occasions. On days where I didn't want to get out of bed they gave me purpose and a reason to get out the house for a walk. 

They have such huge personalities for little dogs, and they are little indeed. Much smaller than most other Pugs we come across. As they get older they get lazier and love sleep more than ever but their personalities are still there. Lily is very gentle and sweet, but if Lola barks at the telly she is more than happy to step in and put her in her place. Lola is like a bull in a china shop, barking at everyone and everything, but she's such a cuddly little thing when she feels like it. 

We have all been so lucky to find Paul who loves them both to bits. The four of us live together in our lovely home and I know the girls are happy that there's no sign of moving again on the horizon. Our next door neighbours often pop round with leftover roast chicken for them, so they are quickly becoming their new favourite people.

Who knows how many more years we will all have together but I hope they will both be around for a bit longer. I would be lost without them that's for sure! 

P.S. If anyone knows a Pug called Lulu who was adopted in 2008 in Leeds do let me know. It would be lovely to have a reunion!

Novemblog #23 - Christmas gift guide (from independent businesses - all under £10).


It's so important to support independent and/or local businesses at this time of year when we're all looking for places to spend our hard earned cash. A great place to start is either Etsy or Not on the High Street who have an array of independent sellers selling beautiful, weird and wonderful products. One of the things I love about Etsy is that you can search for shops in specific locations, so it's super easy for me to find lovely Sheffield sellers.

I have picked out a few of my favourites which are all under £10 so they are great for stocking fillers or main gifts if you're on a budget this year (I know I certainly am!)

just be // wonderful // deer // 
Harry P // joy // good vibes // 

I bought Paul one of the map key rings when we moved in together, which shows the street where we live. I thought it would be a nice keepsake for us to always remember the first house we lived in together. I've also tried Ailey Mae's raw chocolate in the past and I can safely say it tastes incredible. It comes in a variety of flavours and you can buy bundles if you want a few bars at a time.

I love the idea of the self care kit, and I know a few people who would go wild for those Mean Girls pencils (me included!) I am also now seriously craving marshmallows... dammit! 

Let me know if anything tickles your fancy!