You're so sweet I can hardly bear it.

29.3.12

I have been buying Cross Stitcher magazine for a little while now, and received a subscription for Christmas. In my opinion it really is the best magazine out there for cross stitching and I always find lots of inspiration. Recently I fancied making something quick and I had some brown and black thread and rustic aida going spare so I decided to make the Penelope Waits chart from issue 248. I'm sure you will agree it is adorable! 


It was really easy to stitch up and I completed it over a couple of evenings. I decided not to fill the bear in as 1) I didn't have enough brown thread and 2) I think it looks quite nice as it is. Plus I had another project I was dying to start!

Once the stitching was finished I ironed the reverse to smooth out the ridges from the embroidery hoop and backed the fabric onto some card and framed it (the frame was from Ikea and dead cheap!) It now takes pride of place in our bedroom and I love it.


Penelope's shop has some other designs as well as the ones that have appeared in Cross Stitcher so if you're a fan of modern cross stitch patterns be sure to have a look. I think the bear design I made would make a lovely gift for someone, especially in a frame.

I'd love to have a go at designing patterns! Anyone else cross stitched their own design? What do you think of Penelope's patterns?

#marchphotoaday - Instagram (days 9 - 16).

Day 9 "red" / Day 10 "loud" / Day 11 "someone you talked to today" / Day 12 "fork"

Day 13 "a sign" / Day 14 "clouds" (picture taken of this) / Day 15 "car" / Day 16 "sunglasses"

Life lately (through Instagram) #2

27.3.12

A couple of weekends ago I went to visit my parents in their new home as my Sister was home from the Isle of Man for a couple of days and Jonathan was away in Belfast watching ice hockey. As my Mum and Dad were heading back to the Isle of Man with my Sister on the Sunday we all had an early Mothers Day tea on Friday night. Their new house is great with lots of character and a couple of ponies that peer into their windows (they're owned by a lady in the cottage at the end of the lane).

After a good fattening up by my Mum on the Saturday I headed home and spent the rest of the weekend on my own catching up on some blogs and relaxing with L&L.

I'm really into cross stitching again at the moment. I go through phases where I don't do any but then I find a pattern I love and I catch the stitching bug! I usually get my patterns from Cross Stitcher magazine but I've ordered a couple of books from Amazon today so I'm hoping they will give me some inspiration (I love Etsy for PDF patterns too!)


Can you believe the weather we've been having? At the weekend I was taking pictures of horrible misty mornings, and on Saturday night (well, more like the early hours of Sunday morning...) we had a rather terrifying taxi journey home where nothing was visible around us and we ended up going up roads the wrong way!

Fast forward to this week and it is just glorious. I could get used to getting home from work at 5.30-6.00pm and sitting out in the garden in the sunshine. Our back garden is a sun trap so I'm looking forward to the months ahead if this week is anything to go by. Everything is much better when the sun is shining isn't it?!

(greedy Lola with cream on her face!)

Jonathan and I have got 2 days holiday left to use before the end of March so, as it's his birthday on Thursday, we have got Thursday and Friday off work. I'm looking forward to some lovely weather, spoiling Jonathan and spending some time at home with Lily and Lola. We also might venture out for a walk in the countryside somewhere and more than likely end up in a pub for a beer. Well, it is for a special occasion after all. It would be rude not to! :)

I hope you're all enjoying the sunshine (if you've got some!)

In case of emergency....

25.3.12

How awesome is this "in case of emergency" framed sign complete with Monopoly pieces and money. I came across Yana's shop on Etsy and had been tempted by this one but unfortunately it can't be shipped internationally. However, when I saw the Monopoly sign pop up in my "new items" feed I had to buy it! Jonathan loves Monopoly and I knew he would love this (and he does!)


It arrived really quickly from the USA and was well packaged. Unfortunately a couple of pieces hadn't made it in transit but this was fine because Yana left the box unglued so all I had to do was get my double sided sticky tape out and secure the pieces back down. I'm not surprised this happened as my parcel went to the Sorting Office for me to collect so no doubt it was bounced around a little.

There are quite a few different designs to choose from and you can also change the colour of the frame if you like, or buy an empty frame to put your own things inside. It would be great to customise one for a friend as a gift as I'm sure they would love the amount of thought put into it.


We have hung ours in our hall and it looks great! I'm sure it will attract a lot of comments as I've never seen anything like it anywhere else.

Which design do you like best?

Rocket Dog - Ohno Satin heels.

24.3.12

I have been on the hunt for a while for some black, dressy shoes that will go with pretty much any outfit, have a fairly sensible heel (I am getting old I know...) but are pretty and feminine. I've had no luck finding a decent pair as most shops tend to favour massive platform heels which are fine, but not always appropriate. I found a pair of Rocket Dog heels on Sarenza, the Ohno Satin pair to be precise, and thought that they fitted the bill so I snapped them up with one of my ambassador vouchers.

Rocket Dog heels c/o Sarenza

They're only £45 which I think is very reasonable for a pair of heels, and after giving them their first outing (here) I can confirm that they are really comfortable and easy to walk in. I'm going to wear them again this evening for a night on the tiles, with black tights and a little dress. Hopefully they won't let me down!

They also come in blue which I really like as the bow detail stands out more, but for me black are so easy to throw on as it goes with anything!
Who are Rocket Dog?

Behind the Rocket Dog brand are two shoe manufacturers who have been responsible for the design and marketing of labels such as Candies, Esprit and Sam & Libby for forty years. Their dream was to create a young, dynamic shoe and clothing range that would appeal to anyone and everyone who refuses to grow old.

Awards night.

22.3.12

Remember I told you about Jonathan being a World Record Holder?! Well, there was an event a couple of weeks ago to congratulate those who took part which we attended along with our friends Richard and Katy. Richard took part too and is therefore also a World Record Holder. Well done chaps!


It was a great evening where each member of the Badminton club were invited on stage to receive a trophy engraved with their achievement, some gifts and a message from family (or in some cases, celebs!)

I wore a pink and black dress from a brand stocked at Dorothy Perkins, my new Rocket Dog heels from Sarenza and a pair of earrings from Rockpool Boutique (the shop is closed due to Rachel being in Florida at the moment *lucky thing* but definitely worth checking out). I love their vintage feel and I know I'll get lots of wear out of them on special occasions.


I'm so proud of Jonathan (and Richard too!) for achieving something so fantastic. I can't imagine playing sport for a couple of hours never mind 29 hours. I think it would probably kill me. Come to think of it, I can't think of anything I could do for 29 hours. Even sleeping for that long would be a challenge, and I do love my sleep. Perhaps Katy and I could do a Craft-a-thon?! :)

 
The club raised lots of money for the NSPCC which is such a worthy cause, and I am a very proud girlfriend indeed.

Have you ever tried to, or managed to, break a World Record? I'd love to know about it if you have!

Becoming a book worm (again).

Sometimes I can be a little bit 'all or nothing' and this is definitely the case when it comes to reading. Until a few weeks ago it had been ages since I'd picked up a book in contrast to my younger days when I collected them and would spend a large chunk of my wages on new purchases from Amazon and Ebay. I had shelves full of books and I was very proud of my collection.

Then slowly time got more precious and I rarely had time to read a magazine, let alone a whole book (although saying that, it is quite difficult to read a magazine with Lily and Lola around. They like to clamber over me if I sit still for more than a few seconds).

A few weeks ago somebody lent me the Chris Evans autobiography which I had been wanting to read for a while. Jonathan and I listen to him on Radio 2 every morning on the way to work and I knew his book would be a good, juicy read if past tabloids were anything to go by. Well, I was hooked and finished it within just a few days. After hearing his side of the story I was dying to hear what Billie Piper had to say so I bought her book and literally couldn't put it down.

Now I know the above aren't the most intellectual reads but they were just the ticket to ease me back into reading and I would definitely recommend both of them.


I have bought quite a few books, old and new, recently. I got a couple of new ones from WH Smith as I've been intrigued by When God Was A Rabbit for a while having seen the cover, and fellow bloggers reading it, numerous times. As I could get something else half price I saw the word chocolate and a girly cover and I was all set.

I visited a couple of local charity shops last week and I was like a kid in a sweet shop when I saw the boxes of books outside. There are obviously some chick lit fans in our area, and I perused their cast offs. I love Chris (Chrissie) Manby books so I was pleased to spot one of hers in the mixture and a couple of the other authors are familiar to me already.


Since I dabbled in the world of Chris and Billie I've read 3 more books and I'm officially a book worm again. Only problem now is I may have to buy another bookshelf....

"It wasn't me".

20.3.12

Ombre tights.

19.3.12

I'm not a huge fan of the ombre hair trend but ombre tights on the other hand...

via Etsy

Wahanda Spa Giveaway (NOW CLOSED).

18.3.12

Wahanda Spa Deals have offered a reader of Lily loves Lola the chance to win a £50 voucher to redeem on their site. 

After suffering with the Winter blues I think we're all in need of a little bit of pampering to prepare ourselves for the warmer months ahead (hopefully!) and £50 will buy you something very nice indeed. Perhaps a Spa day or a massage? The deals occasionally have the chance to take a friend along for free so be sure to look out for one of those.

The website is easy to navigate around, and you have the option to search by region, price, type of treatment, etc. There's plenty of choice so have a look and see what you think!

If you fancy being in with a chance simply leave a comment on this post between now and midnight on Wednesday 21 March 2012 telling me why you'd like to win and what you would like to use the voucher for.

Please leave some form of contact unless you have a blog and this can be found on there.

Good luck everyone!

Life lately (through Instagram).

Jonathan and I visited a local garden centre the other week and had I known it would be so awesome I would have visited sooner. The upstairs level is an antique shop absolutely packed full of furniture, trinkets, pictures,
records and an array of other things. We had a good nosy round. Jonathan was keen to find some records as we want to have some framed in these down our hallway. A 50s radio caught my eye along with a million floral cup and saucer sets which I could have easily filled our kitchen cupboards with.

 
We've had some sunny weather in our part of Yorkshire recently and if there's one thing Lily and Lola like to do it's find a sunny spot in the house, or outside, and have a nap.


Currently obsessed with: fudge porridge. I am having it every morning for breakfast at the moment. Yum!

Not enough sleep and too much stress at work is playing havoc with my skin and I thought it was time to mix things up with my skincare routine. I tend to wear heavy foundations to cover up my blemishes and although I really like the Botanics products I have been using for a while, I'm not always convinced they're removing every last bit of makeup. So I paid a visit to the Liz Earle website and purchased a couple of things. I hear only rave reviews about Liz Earle products so I think I'm in good hands. Early impressions are certainly very good indeed but we will see if it lasts.


My friend and I are taking advantage of the lighter evenings and drier weather and have started our Race for Life training. We're using a "Couch to 5k" program but have gone in at week 3 as week 1 was a little too easy for us. We've been going out 3 times a week and plan on sticking to this until the Summer when we will be doing our 5k. I find it a lot easier jogging with a friend as I get ever so bored on my own.

What have you been up to lately?

Etsy treasury: sweet treats (featuring Raw Chocolate).

17.3.12

It has been far too long since I did some proper baking (e.g. not Rocky Road!) but to compensate for this I spend my time looking for homemade tasty treats made by other people, and I may have made a couple of sneaky purchases too...

All of the treats below are sold on Etsy but not all of the sellers are based in the UK. However, I think some of them do ship to the UK if you don't mind paying a little extra (and waiting).

Check out the detail on those hat cookies! They would be perfect for a special party in the Spring/Summer or a Wedding party.

I'm also really keen to make some mince pies myself (who says they're just for Christmas?!) so I'm on the hunt for some tasty mincemeat for the filling.

Also, as you may be able to tell, I'm a bit of a marshmallow fiend. I can easily eat a whole bag of the regular pink and white ones without thinking twice.

Top: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4
Bottom: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

 Top: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4
Bottom: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

Recently I bought a couple of bars of Raw Chocolate from Ailey which arrived quickly and beautifully wrapped with a little handwritten note. After a LOT of deliberation I went for the Cashew Blonde bar and the Orange & Brazil Nut bar. I didn't actually plan on eating both bars, I was going to give one as a present. I'm not sure what happened but both bars have been consumed in their entirety by me!


Raw Chocolate by Ailey Mae has only pure, high quality ingredients and absolutely nothing artificial. It is dairy free, sugar free and gluten free.

I'm not a huge regular chocolate fan but I do like to dabble from time to time, and I guess I was curious to try raw chocolate. Out of the two bars I preferred the orange and brazil nut. The consistency of raw chocolate is totally different to regular chocolate. It almost reminded me of ice cream, as it was so soft and creamy. I kept my bars refrigerated and would have a few bites at a time, with a cup of tea.

After reading the note that came with my bars of raw chocolate on why raw is better, I will definitely be back for more:

When cacao is cooked, almost all of the nutrients, minerals and antioxidants are lost in the process. Cacao in its raw state is actually considered a superfood - it contains over 300 nutritional compounds, it is one of the richest sources of antioxidants and is full of essential minerals - especially rich in iron, zinc and magnesium.

It even contains the natural "love" molecule PEA.

Most chocolate is made with cacao that has been cooked and chemically treated - it is also usually full of refined sugar, processed oils, artificial preservatives and emulsifiers.

Have you ever tried anything like this?

Hug a Pug.

15.3.12

When I stumbled upon an Etsy shop called Hug a Pug Studios I knew I was probably going to like it. As it turns out, I did! Hug a Pug Studios sell a variety of quirky pet tags which can be personalised with your name and telephone number if you like. My favourites are the tiny VIP tag and this one which I decided to buy.

As "Daddy" does not scoop the poop round here I asked for my tags to say "Mummy" instead. I also got my name and mobile number printed on to the back should L&L ever go missing (heaven forbid!) 

We all took to the garden this afternoon to get some much needed Vitamin D plus Lily and Lola wanted to show off their new tags and their modelling skills. 

Lily posed like a pro, taking in a few rays while she was at it

 Lola kept still long enough for me to get one decent photo. I'm sure she has doggy ADHC. I actually can't look at this photo without laughing. Check out her leg and expression! What a character :)


I am very pleased with my purchases and although it look a little while to receive them from across the pond, it was worth the wait. The tags are really unique, quirky and come complete with a mini pooper scooper!

Wish list (featuring Vivienne Westwood/Melissa & Bloch ballerina pumps).

13.3.12

Sarenza have launched an array of new shoes onto their site ready for Spring/Summer which means I have spent a whole lot of time perusing the new additions. 

They have so many pretty new ones to choose from but I have put together my favourites to share with you. I'm being drawn to bright colours, wedges, classic trainers and pretty pumps, all perfect for my holiday next month. If only they would all fit in the case!

 




The Bloch ballerina pumps are so pretty and look like they would be the perfect pump! Plus they come in quite a few different colours, although I'm pretty much in love with this pale turquoise pair. They would look great with skinny jeans and a floaty top (once the weather warms up of course).

I'm also dead set on having a pair of yellow Converse after spotting a pair on prettygreentea. I'm so easily lead astray!

Happy browsing :)

11.3.12


Good food (in the form of salmon burgers, lamb, & probably the best sandwich I've ever eaten).

10.3.12

When it comes to food we tend to eat fairly healthily through the week. We get our fruit and veg in, drink plenty of water and do as much exercise as we can fit in, although sometimes admittedly I get home from work and put my pjs on. One or the other.

The above means our weekends can be indulgent and full of amazing food, trying out new recipes and sampling food we haven't tried before (although with the prospect of wearing a bikini in a few weeks time I must admit I'm cutting back ever so slightly!)

Most weekends we try out a new recipe which usually involves going on the BBC Food website and finding something that sounds immense with ingredients that are likely to be stocked at our local supermarket. Then away we go, armed with a list and a trolley!

Now, don't let me fool you into thinking I'm some sort of cookery queen. I take full credit for the baking posts on here but Jonathan is the talented one when it comes to cooking, I'm merely the helper/chopper/cleaner-upper-er(?!) He can glance at a recipe and then he's off, throwing ingredients in, multiple pans on the go and mess everywhere (thanks Jonathan). He also has a tendency to use every utensil in the kitchen which makes washing up a real delight.

We have made some really tasty food lately so I thought a food montage was in order along with the recipes. I hope they inspire you to try something new!

Salmon burgers with basil and lime mayonnaise

Jonathan was a bit disappointed that the cooking time took a lot longer than the recipe stated, but we thought they were absolutely delish!

I love salmon anyway and could probably eat it every day if I had to, and this was a different take on it completely. We served ours with chunky chips, a token bit of salad (just to be healthy y'know) and Jonathan whipped up a basil and lime mayonnaise which was HEAVENLY!


I never thought I would see the day when Jonathan ate a chick pea but he did. In fact he ate quite a few. We had a jar of M&S tagine paste in the cupboard so he whipped up a lamb tagine (that word always makes me chuckle..) using a mixture of this recipe and the directions on the jar of paste.

It made such a pleasant change and was really tasty. First of all we rarely eat lamb and never eat chick peas as much as I would like us to so this was great. It was filling, spicy but not too overbearing, and full of flavour.

Probably one of the best sandwiches I've ever eaten...

During one of our days off the other week I had a brainwave to make club sandwiches for lunch. It was a lovely bright sunny day so we got to work building our sandwiches to eat outside. Now I know you all know how to make a sandwich (I hope!) but this was so, so amazing.

Door stop proper bread + mayo + cheese + salad + crispy bacon + chicken that Jonathan fried in all sorts of herbs and things (I wasn't concentrating during that part, sorry). It was incredible. In fact we had 2 days off and ate this for lunch on both days.

I have well and truly made myself hungry typing this! Happy cooking :)

Race for Life 2012 & my new trainers.

9.3.12

It's that time of year again when Race for Life announce their dates for 5k and 10k runs around the UK and I find myself signing up for the 3rd year in a row! I'll be taking part in the Clumber Park (Sheffield) race this year along with my friend Katy.

Thinking that there's no time like the present to get started on our training we headed out for our first jog together on Monday evening after work while our boyfriends headed out to play badminton. We surprised ourselves and did nearly 30 minutes of 2 mins jogging/1 min walking. It flew by and confirmed that jogging in pairs is so much better than going out alone. Not only did we feel safer but it was great having the company and I didn't get bored which tends to happen when I jog alone. So we went out again last night and did a full 30 minutes of 2 mins jogging/1 min walking (except when I lost track of the timer and some may have been 3 mins.. oops!)

If we can keep this up, gradually increase the jogging and decrease the walking, until the Summer we will be all set!


Nicely timed with signing up to Race for Life came the arrival of some new trainers from Sarenza. I recently ordered some new ones as my current trainers are looking a bit sad and sorry for themselves, and I haven't quite felt the same about them since I stood in dog poo (not Lily or Lola's I hasten to add!)

I spotted the Response cushion 20 w trainers by Adidas and thought they were actually quite pretty as far as trainers go. The addition of the lilac colour make them just the right amount of girly, and after a couple of jogs in them I am very happy with my choice. The fit is just right, they're really springy and comfortable, they don't rub at all, and they allow my feet to breathe. I can feel my toes getting blasts of fresh air as I'm running along. It's great!
Adidas trainers c/o Sarenza
I was apprehensive about ordering trainers online as my feet seem to be either a size 6 or a size 7 depending on the brand and I wasn't sure which size to go for. The returns process on Sarenza is very good though so I knew I would have no problems returning them for a different size if needs be. However, I didn't need to as I ordered a size 6.5 which was the right choice.

If lilac isn't your thing this style come in different colours. Sizing goes up to a UK8.

Do you plan to sign up to a 5k or 10k this year?

#marchphotoaday - Instagram (days 1 - 8).

8.3.12

As I mentioned here I am taking part in a little challenge which involves taking a photo every day using the theme for that day and uploading the photo to your Instagram account. It sounds like such an easy concept and it is, except I have a terrible memory and have almost forgotten to do it a couple of times. Must try harder!

Anyway, I thought you might like to see my efforts so far and perhaps share your own photos in the comments section if you're also taking part. If you're too late to the party then perhaps you can have a go in April. I won't be able to as I'll be far too busy sunning myself in... where is it again.... oh yes, Vegas! :)

Day 1 "up" / Day 2 "fruit" / Day 3 "your neighbourhood" / Day 4 "bedside"

Day 5 "smile" / Day 6 "5pm" / Day 7 "something you wore" / Day 8 "window"

Etsy treasury: comfy cushions & pretty pillows.

7.3.12

Etsy is the best place, in my opinion, to search for wonderful handmade items for the home. Since Jonathan and I moved into our new home at the end of last year I have seen a whole host of things that would look perfect here. I have a particular crush on cushions and after purchasing my Pug pillow (Earl) I'm always on the look out for quirky, individual additions to buy for our new place.

I have put together a selection of my favourites below of which I'm sure there will be one that takes your fancy, there's a good mixture of styles and materials.

Top: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4
Bottom: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

Top: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4
Bottom: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

Which one of my picks do you like the best? I have a soft spot for the Pug cushions of course but I love the Ctrl, Alt, Del set. They would look great in a study. Also don't get me started on the crochet French Bulldog and Penguin. How adorable can a cushion be?!

DIY: vintage playing card framed picture.

4.3.12


When I spotted some vintage playing cards in an Etsy store called Peony & Thistle I knew I wanted them and would have to turn them into something awesome, so I decided to make a framed picture to hang in our study.

The cards arrived really quickly and beautifully wrapped and the best part is they were only £2.00. I then purchased a wooden frame from Ikea which was a few pounds (I can't remember exactly how much but Ikea are brilliant for frames - they're so cheap and come in all sorts of colours, shapes and sizes!) I got a pack of card for 30p and I already had some double sided sticky tape which would be perfect for this project. I decided to use cream card for my picture because it fits in with our study better but you could pick any colour you like. WH Smith sell packs of card in all sorts of colours including pretty pastel colours.

Lily: my shadow little helper

The rest is easy: stick a little bit of double sided tape to the back of each playing card, work out where you want to position them, unpeel the tape and stick them down. Voila! You have a homemade picture which cost less than £10, looks awesome, and if you hunt hard enough you can spell out pretty much anything you like.

Just be sure that you're positioning the cards straight and evenly, as double sided sticky tape is strong stuff. I measured the distances at the top and bottom with a tape measure just to be sure.

Happy DIY-ing!