5 good things.

29.7.12

It has been a while since I did a "5 good things" post. I used to always do them in a Monday Summary but from now on I'm going to do them whenever I have 5 new good things to tell you about, which I'm hoping will be quite regularly over the next few months as we are going to be rather busy!

1) On Tuesday it will be my final day at my current job where I have been for 2 1/2 years. I have wanted to find something closer to home for a while so I'm really pleased to have found something which ticks all the boxes. I guess it's going to be a big change but I'm really excited about it (if a little nervous) and looking forward to the extra spare time I'll have which means more time to spend with Lily and Lola.


2) Thank you so much for the nice comments and tweets I have received in relation to the new look on my blog. I was so happy reading them and I'm pleased that you like the new design as much as I do!

3) My beautiful new bag arrived last week (c/o Sarenza) and I didn't waste any time in taking it for a spin as it accompanied me yesterday when I was out for a hen night in the afternoon/evening (and if I'm honest, early hours of this morning!) 

It is by Irregular Choice and features an unusual cat design complete with purple crystals for eyes. Everything by Irregular Choice is a tad nuts but I am always drawn to looking at their weird and wonderful shoes. I was browsing their wares when I noticed that they also did bags, and as I really needed a new small bag with a strap I decided to order the Miaow cross body bag. I'm really pleased with it as it is the perfect size for my purse, phone, camera and other bits and pieces and the quirky design is sure to get lots of attention.

Irregular Choice "cat" bag c/o Sarenza

4) Pricing up a holiday for September. This is self explanatory. Who doesn't love a week of sunbathing, reading, eating and sleeping?!

5) It was my best friends hen party yesterday which involved decorating cupcakes and making cocktails in the afternoon, followed by food and drinks in the evening. It was a brilliant night especially for the "hen" who really enjoyed it, but best of all we have the pleasure of ploughing our way through 4 delicious cupcakes each that we filled, frosted and decorated with our own fair hands. The jam filled one Jonathan and I demolished first went down well. 3 to go!

A fresh start.

27.7.12

If you're reading this then chances are you will have noticed that I've made a few changes around here. After 3 years of having pretty much the same blog layout, font and colours I've settled on a new design which I really like, although it is taking some getting used to so if you'd like to say some nice things about it that would be superb. I love the colour scheme and the cleanness of it, and I've finally got to grips with a few little bits of html which have allowed me to get things the way I want them.

There is method behind my madness which all started a couple of evenings ago...

I was looking for something in an old blog post and ended up reading some very early posts, which progressed to me heading all the way back to the very beginning. After I had finished taking this trip down memory lane, and cringing with absolute horror at some of the photos, I decided to delete a few blog posts. Mainly times in my life, and old photos of me, that I didn't want to be reminded of should I ever head back through my archives again at any point in the future.

How do I feel for this sudden Spring Clean and change of design? Well, kind of the same as I do when I have a good ol' clear out of my wardrobes, kitchen cupboards, etc. Lighter, cleaner, ready to start again, turn over a new leaf,  and happier.

I'm proud of my blog and my commitment to posting as often as possible over the last 3 years and I am excited about my new burst of energy for my space of the internet. With my fresh layout and new job on the horizon, which will give me much more free time for fun stuff, you will be seeing a lot more of me around here (and a couple of Pugs too).

Finally, some sunshine!

24.7.12

Since my Melissa Lua III's arrived a few weeks ago there hasn't been even a smidgen of sunshine to bare my toes in any form of sandal. It is just mad for July, isn't it?!

Anyway, out came our old friend the sun at the weekend so for a family BBQ after Race for Life on Saturday I donned my new Melissa sandals (c/o Sarenza) and hoped nobody would be easily offended by my toes!

As it was late afternoon I teamed the sandals with my Brat & Suzie dress, black treggings and took my faithful M&S cardi with me for the cooler evening ahead (however I also ended up wrapped up in Jonathan's hoody as I'm a wimp!) I've also got my new Ray Bans on: it is love!

Strange object on the left: the faux tail on my handbag!

Unfortunately the pair I have in beige have sold out, but I'm hardly surprised. They're beautiful! They have that signature Melissa smell (like sweets or bubblegum) and they're really comfortable taking into account they're made from rubber.

I love the fact they will be easy to wear with lots of different outfits. I'll definitely take them on holiday with me in September to go with maxi skirts and my evening outfits.

If you like them and think you'd like a red version, and your feet are a size 5.5, go here immediately! Failing that I apologise but you will have to adore them via me.


P.S. There are a few pairs of Melissa's in the sale, including this Anglomania pair, so it's worth having a look. In fact the Sarenza sales are pretty amazing in general so go have a nosy!

Catch up.

22.7.12

I haven't done a rambly post in a while. Actually I've been a bit absent from blogging altogether, mainly due to not having an awful lot to say. I don't like to update my blog just for the sake of it, but now I actually have news and bits/bobs to fill you in on so a Sunday night blog post is in order!

I hope you've all had a lovely weekend. Ours has been a busy one where we haven't sat still for too long (apart from a post lunch nap this afternoon = bliss!)

First things first, my good news is that after months of longing for one, and just a few weeks of searching "properly" for one, I have been offered a new job! I'm over the moon as it means no more driving 1 hour+ to get to work. In a couple of weeks time I'll start my new position in Sheffield which will only take about 15 - 20 minutes to drive to. I'll be working fewer hours which means more time with Lily and Lola, more time to dedicate to my shop and a chance to get back to my old self (e.g. not exhausted all the time). I will be doing a similar role to my current one (HR/payroll coordinator) and I'm hoping once I get past being the new girl I'll be fine!

Yesterday I took part in the Clumber Park Race for Life which was my 3rd year in a row. I have always desperately wanted to run the whole 5k and have never managed it, so I thought this year would be "the one". I threw myself into training earlier on in the year and really pushed myself, sticking rigidly to a training timetable in the hopes that I could eventually run 5k without a break. 


Unfortunately I didn't. In fact I gave up on my training altogether as I became frustrated and downhearted about being unable to get past a certain point in the training plan.

I realised that everybody is good at different things and whereas I can do some workouts until the cows come home: I will never be a runner. And I'm ok with this now. So I took part in the 5k event yesterday and power walked, finishing in a respectable time of under 45 minutes without being remotely out of puff. So there you go, I have found that I'm pretty okay at walking fast. Now that I don't have the pressure of trying to do something that my body just doesn't want to do I feel a million times better for it. Plus, most importantly, I raised money for a worthwhile cause and that's what it is all about.

This weekend we have seen lots of family (on both sides) and eaten solidly since we woke up on Saturday. In fact, scratch that, since Friday morning when I had a Krispy Kreme doughnut at 10am. I feel a little squidgy round the edges of late so as of tomorrow I'm back on the healthy eating/exercise bandwagon. My plan is to carry on with my home workouts (mainly Jillian Michaels) but to add one or two long power walks each week and find a local Yoga or Pilates class too.

Aforementioned Krispy Kreme doughnut / My Mum's amazing homemade key lime pie and pavlova

I am probably always going to have a sweet tooth, and going out with a human dustbin Jonathan there will always be lots of naughty food in our cupboards, so I must make more of an effort to exercise not only more often but with a bit more effort.

Anyway, must dash! There are two cross stitch projects and an episode of Once Upon A Time with my name on them. Speak soon!

Baby Blue Converse & the perfect comfy style.

17.7.12

In an attempt to wean myself away from wearing pumps every minute of the day, and to keep my beloved Maloles for best instead of wearing them all the time, I decided I needed to get a new pair of casual shoes with one of my ambassador vouchers. My Keds have become my (kill me for saying this!) "go to" trainers for knocking around in the garden or walking the dogs so I thought a similar pair, but for best, would be the solution.

Enter Converse One Star Low Profile Canvas Ox W (say that when you've had a drink!) which fit the bill perfectly. I originally wanted a grey pair which were sadly out of stock in my size and now seem to have disappeared, so I opted for my second choice which were the baby blue pair (c/o Sarenza).

I plan to style mine a la Rachel Bilson & co who are managing to pull off the casual look perfectly (all images via Google). I'm all for comfort so I'll be pairing mine with jeans, slouchy tees and scarves.


I only have one complaint and that is they're ever so slightly a tiny bit snug. I ordered a size smaller as the Converse that I own (that I've had for donkeys years) are my regular size and it has always annoyed me that they were a little too roomy. At a size 7 and a lover of leggings and skinny jeans if I can make my feet look smaller then I will, to avoid looking like a golf club!

Anywhoo, I love the colour and that they're not too boy-ish. They're the ideal alternative to white which I would keep white for about 5 minutes. If only the sun would shine they'd be the perfect casual Summer shoe!

 
The unbeatable Chuck Taylor All Star from Converse has arrived at Sarenza! Made legendary by the NBA basketball player Chuck Taylor, it is still a must-have in the wardrobes of fashionistas and more traditional wearers alike. The Converse label celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. It was actually in 1917, in Massachusetts, that the first Converse saw the light of day — it was all black and only intended for basketball players. And so it was that for more than 40 years, Converse shoes were exclusively reserved for use in sports. Everything changed when Chuck Taylor decided to wear only Converse shoes for a whole season. From that point on, the spotlight was on the canvas sports shoe bearing the name of the basketball player: the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star became a must-have product. As a result, the Converse sports shoe is now a firm favourite in the fashion world and among ordinary people. Everyone from Keira Knightley to Naomi Watts—not forgetting all the fashion writers as well—has made the Converse shoe the pinnacle of fashion… At Sarenza.co.uk, we ascribe to this easy fashion!

Stars & silk string.

8.7.12

After a brief break from running the Lily loves Lola shops on Etsy and bigcartel they're open again and I've added a couple of new things too which I thought I would share with you on here.

I have been playing around with some silk string which I have in red and golden yellow. It makes such a nice change from the cotton cord as it's much more delicate and easier to add fastenings on.

I have added a 'lucky star' bracelet which features 7 tiny star charms and has a lobster clasp fastening. My bracelet measures 16cm in length from end to end and is a perfect fit for my small wrists. If you'd like one of these they're priced at £4.50 each and I can make them to fit your wrists perfectly, just let me know your measurements during the checkout process.

I'm going to have a think about other combinations of string and charms that I can make but if you have any good ideas or suggestions please do let me know.


I also have a few old favourites still on the go, which include the tiny wishbone and tiny cross friendship bracelets. They're only £2.50 each and can either be tied on permanently and worn until the cotton wears away or just tied with a bow which gives you the option to take them off and on as you please.

Is there any colour of cotton or string you think I should stock? Navy blue? Grey? White? I've tried to cover all angles but if there is a colour you'd like to see please let me know.


I'm still making the beaded wishbone bracelets which come in mint green, lilac or pink. I have other coloured beads including smoky grey but I haven't had chance to get them into my shops but they will be there very soon.

If you'd like to buy a larger quantity of bracelets perhaps for gifts or for yourself to layer up (which I personally think looks fab!) please contact me via Etsy as I'm happy to give a discount for larger orders.

Happy browsing! Have a lovely Sunday.

'&'

7.7.12

Another day, another cross stitch. I ordered the kit for this ampersand design a few weeks ago from The Shop at Number 57 which I stumbled upon not long before. I've been eyeing up pretty much everything they sell, especially the cross stitch kits, since I found the shop and I love the design/feel of the website very much so!

My order arrived swiftly and was wrapped up so nicely. The ribbon it was wrapped in has been well and truly stashed away to use again another day.

The instructions and chart that come with the kit are brilliant. They cover everything you need to know as a newbie, and even though I know what I'm doing I picked up a few tips myself after having a read through. The kits would make great gifts for a friend or they're ideal to buy if you haven't cross stitched before and you don't quite know where to start.


This is the first design I have stitched which has used only one colour of thread and I did find that I had to pick it up and put it down, and stitch little and often, otherwise it got a little bit boring.

However, saying that I am really pleased with the finished result and it will look great on our new sideboard when Next Home finally get it back in stock (this prompted me to check the website and they have it - hurrah!) For now it lives on our bookcase amongst my other favourite bits and bobs (including the typewriter in the background which I picked up a couple of weeks ago).

Life lately (through Instagram) #5

4.7.12

The other weekend we popped into Chesterfield which isn't too far from where we live. I fancied a look around a few charity shops and a nosy somewhere different for a change. I was so pleased to pick up a Cornishware pot from the RSPCA shop along with a crochet blanket. The pot is just right for holding our utensils and is right at home amongst our other bits of Cornishware.

I must make more of an effort to visit charity shops to hunt for bargains, but I find them very hit and miss. Some are packed full of lovely things whereas others seem to be mainly mothballs..


I'm fully in the swing of being a vegetarian now and I just wish I had done it sooner. I have even discovered that I prefer the Veggie Percy's to the regular ones. Hurrah!

I'm very good at diligently checking labels to see whether I can eat the contents and am often surprised at things that contain animal bits which you wouldn't automatically assume! Yuck. Anyway I'm enjoying my increased intake of veg and things like chickpeas as well as hunting for tasty vegetarian recipes to try.


I have been finding work very stressful recently and therefore I have been making more of an effort to make my spare time as enjoyable and relaxing as possible. I do find it hard to relax, and I'm not sure I ever fully do apart from when I'm asleep, but I have been trying nonetheless.

To relax I enjoy cross stitching, having a bubble bath, reading magazines, having a cuddle with Lily and Lola, or watching a film or tv series with Jonathan so I'm trying to squeeze in more time for those things. After all work isn't very important (or at least my job isn't) and it's not worth feeling unwell over.


We've got some lovely things planned for all of the weekends in July so there's plenty for us to look forward to: seeing family lots, my best friend's hen night, taking part in Race for Life, and not forgetting TRYING TO RELAX :)

First a "super" wedding.. now a "super" cross stitch.

1.7.12

You may have seen the blog post I did on the wedding we went to in Sheffield a few weeks ago at the Botanical Gardens. The bride and groom are comic book enthusiasts and love all manner of superheroes and heroines.

When I found the weelittlestitches shop on Etsy I immediately wanted to make all of the patterns. After sharing the shop with Jonathan who declared he would learn how to cross stitch because they were so awesome (he hasn't btw!) I bought 3 patterns.

We decided it would be a nice idea to make something for the bride and groom for when they return from their 3 week American road trip (not jealous one bit...) using the Justice League of America pattern that I purchased.


I took the Superman and Wonder Woman figures and cross stitched them onto some white evenweave fabric using the colours on the chart (I used DMC thread). I added their names and the date of the wedding using a simple back stitch and voila! One Ikea frame later and I think it looks rather good, even if I do say so myself.

The bride returns to work tomorrow after 3 weeks off so hopefully a little present will cheer her up.