Our trip to Tenerife (part 1).

29.9.12

We got back from our week in Tenerife last Sunday, late in the evening, with the post-holiday blues as it was cold, chucking it down with rain and we had to be up for work early the next morning. Saying that though we had a lovely time and it was just what we needed; a week in the sunshine (and boy was it hot!), laying by a pool, reading, eating ice cream and spending lots of time together.


We're both people who like to keep busy and at home we're always doing something. For me if I'm not at work, cleaning, walking the dogs or blogging then I'm reading, cross stitching, watching a film or glued to Instagram on my phone. I can't tell you how heavenly and rejuvenating a relaxing and lazy week was.

We went to Costa Adeje in Tenerife, which was a short drive from the airport, and stayed in self catering apartments. Our apartment was really spacious and had everything we needed considering we wouldn't be spending much time in there apart from sleeping, showering and the odd competitive card game on the balcony.


The first day was absolutely scorching and it wasn't long before we were saying "it's too hot!" The following few days were perfect weather wise; bright, sunny, hot but with the odd cloud passing over the sun for a bit of relief. Towards the end we got a couple of breezier days which again were well received! The weather on an evening tended to be cloudier and dark especially over the mountains, which made for some great photos.

Our daily routine was pretty much always the same: sleep-in, lay by the pool, read, swim, lunch, back to the pool, shower, walk to the beachfront, eat dinner, play cards, sleep. It was divine! We spent a couple of hours on the beach on our second day but after the sand got into our suncream and the sun got hotter we decided to head back up to our pool.


We didn't venture too far but we did plenty of walking around the area we were staying (in an attempt to burn off some of the carbs we were consuming!) and made the most of our time there. Mainly we just tried to relax and enjoy ourselves as much as possible. I must say it was lovely to spend a week with just my Jonathan and not have to worry about anything else.

I've got a few more photos to share with you but I'll save them for another time. It all seems like so long ago now! Must plan the next one ;)

11 questions tag.

25.9.12

Hola! I'm back in rainy Rotherham, clutching a cup of tea, wearing 2 jumpers and thinking about where I was this time last week (sat by a pool reading a book all day, followed by walks along the beach and dinner along the beachfront). While I was away I was tagged by Alexandra to do a beauty tag but I spotted this questions tag and I thought it would be more fun so I pinched it. Hope that's alright! :)

The Rules:

- Each person tagged must post 11 random facts about themselves
- They must answer the 11 questions posted by the previous blogger
- They must create 11 more questions to ask the bloggers they tag
- They must tag 11 blogs with less than 200 followers
- The bloggers must be informed that they have been tagged

11 random facts:

- I am addicted to regular tea or, when I'm on holiday, iced tea and this provided much amusement to Jonathan when the first thing I'd do upon entering the apartment was go straight to the fridge. I tried to convert him into an iced tea drinker but he hated it.

Taken in Tenerife last week

- I dislike popular "chart" music (I'm looking at you Rihanna!) and have fairly mixed taste in music, favouring She & Him, Edith Piaf, The Vaccines, The Like, Christina Perri, The Pierces, The Beach Boys, The Courteeners, The Drifters, and Sam Cooke.

- I have a brilliant memory for lyrics and know quite a lot of lyrics to quite a lot of songs. Sadly my good memory doesn't extend to much else.

- My favourite dog breed is a French Bulldog, but don't tell L&L!

- My dream job would be working from home, as an author of "chick-lit" books.

- In the past few years I have lost around 2 1/2 stone through a lifestyle change and exercise, and have kept the weight off ever since.

- Biscuits are my weakness and I try to avoid them, as I can't just have one. I immediately try to consume the whole packet before Jonathan tries to hide the tin!

- I love cross stitching, which I started last October when my friend, Katy, bought me a mini kit from Hobbycraft. I've been addicted ever since and find it very relaxing.

Recent cross stitch projects

- I love Christmas: the food, the present buying, the colder weather, dressing L&L up like reindeers. Roll on December!

- I am a massive fan of writing lists and plans of action, and love nothing better than planning a holiday where I'm totally in my element!

- I have visited Orlando, Florida, 5 times and hope to go for a 6th time with Jonathan and some friends in the next year or two. I know there are plenty of other places to visit, and I plan to go to as many of them as I can, and I do love visiting new places but I just love Disney, Universal, the food, the people, and feeling like a kid for 2 weeks.

My last visit - 2009. Can you believe this is me!?

Questions from Alexandra:

1. What would you eat if you were only allowed one thing for the rest of your life? It would have to be something carb-tastic like pizza (4 cheese) or warm bread with loads of butter.

2. What magical power would you choose to have and why? The ability to stop time. I often think that a Bernard's Watch would be so handy (hands up who used to watch that?) to get more sleep and fit more things into each day.

3. If you could make your favorite movie your real life, which one would you pick and why? Oh gosh, I wouldn't want my favourite movie (The Notebook) to become real life as that would be terribly sad, so I'll go with Magic Mike for obvious reasons ;)

4. 2 things on your bucket list that haven't yet been checked off. Visiting New York and taking singing lessons.

5. Why did you start your blog? I had a boring job at the time and after stumbling upon the blogging world I decided I'd quite like to give it a go.

6. Favorite piece of jewelry and why? I don't wear much jewellery at all but I have a Dior watch which was bought for me for my 18th birthday from my Mum and Dad, so that is very special to me.

7. If you had a day of no consequences, what would you do? Take a day off work, eat everything in sight, sing loudly everywhere I went, sneak onto a flight and go somewhere hot and sunny, and generally over indulge.

8. Best birthday and why? Probably any birthday between my 18th and 21st when I was young and carefree, and didn't have to worry about heading towards 30! Generally though, I'm not one to make a huge fuss when it's my birthday.

9. The book you could read over and over. The Shining by Stephen King. I have read quite a few of his books (and they're all fantastic) but I could never tire of reading The Shining.

10. (Fill in the blank) I'm currently obsessed with _________________? Joseph Gordon-Levitt. He is utterly wonderful.

11. The thing you're most looking forward to in this coming month of October? Snuggling up with Jonathan and the Pugs as the weather gets colder, cooking nice food together and preparing for Christmas.
image via weheartit

The questions I set for Jo, Lisa, Kim, Stephie, sunnysweetpea, Sophie, and a few other blogs which have more than 200 subs but are amongst my favourites, Rosie, Diane, Rebecca, Nicki and Lisa are:
1. If you had a magic wand and could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
2. If you could transport yourself into any tv show, past or present, which one would you choose?
3. Do you make New Years Resolutions and keep them?
4. What do you do to relax?
5. Pool or beach?
6. Earliest childhood memory?
7. Favourite Christmas movie?
8. If you could only listen to one song for the rest of time, what would it be and why?
9. Favourite pizza topping?
10. Do you have a pet/pets?
11. What is your most treasured possession?

Normal service will resume shortly.

16.9.12

We were lucky enough to visit Las Vegas in April of this year (I may have mentioned it once or twice...) which was brilliant. We didn't stop eating, walking, drinking iced tea (me) and beer (Jonathan) and spending time with family for the whole week, not to mention the fabulous hen party and wedding which was the reason we were there in the first place. However it was one of those holidays where you arrive home and subsequently get the blues because real life seems a bit rubbish when you've had such a brilliant time, and we felt like we needed another holiday to recover.

We pencilled in a week off in September and spent hours searching high and low for holidays, not really finding much that we fancied. Anyway, when we spotted a holiday to Tenerife which looked lovely and a bargain we snapped it up and here we are now, packing our cases (we're taking hand luggage only - easier than we thought!) and making sure we haven't forgotten anything.


I spent a bit of time with the dogs this morning in the garden soaking up the little bit of sun that made an appearance and telling them we would only be gone for a week, in the hopes that they could understand what I was saying, before dropping them off for their little holiday.

We fly from Manchester so after we have had some lunch and packed our last few bits we will have a steady drive over there, hopefully check in with no problems and settle down to have some tea at the airport before we fly.

My trusty travelling outfit is exactly the same thing I wore to fly to Vegas. My Brat & Suzie Boston Dog dress, trusty Next treggings (I hate that word!) and a cosy M&S cardi as I'm always chilly. Feet wise I haven't decided yet but I've been parading round in my patent ballerina pumps from Bloch (c/o Sarenza) as the bright colour is getting me in the mood for our holiday ahead so I'll either wear those or some other variation of pump.

I am really looking forward to a week of (hopefully) sunshine, relaxing, reading, swimming and eating whatever is put in front of me. I find it hard to relax and generally don't stop much in my day to day life, finding it a waste of time to sit and do nothing, but I think I'll give myself a week off from that and make the most of it.

It will be the first beach holiday Jonathan and I have been on as our other trips to Paris, Vegas and road tripping it round Cornwall and Bath were much busier and involved walking until our legs fell off.


I am going to miss Lily and Lola's little faces - I don't like being apart from them, but I'm sure they won't notice. As long as they are fed they're happy as larry! I will be glad to pick them up when we get home though.

It is strange being in the house without them, mainly because there's nobody following me to the toilet, snoring loudly or tripping me up on the stairs. I wouldn't have it any other way though!

I'm hoping to share some photos on my Instagram account (username: lilyloveslola) while we're away so be sure to pop along if you want to see them. See you in a week! :)

My best friend's wedding.

15.9.12

Last Saturday was a very special day for us indeed, as it was the wedding of our best friends, Richard and Katy. Jonathan has known Richard since school, and he has been with Katy for 7 years. A few months after Jonathan and I first started going out he thought it would be nice to meet up with them for a drink and we all became really great friends.

Richard and Katy are two of the nicest people you could ever meet. Katy and I quickly became inseperable due to our love of crafts, shopping and drinking Sangria, not to mention our ability to absolutely destroy the boys at a game of Cranium.

When we went out for tea one evening and they announced their engagement we couldn't have been happier for them, until we were asked to be bridesmaid and Best Man and then we were truly over the moon!

The wedding took place at Aston Hall which is a beautiful venue. After we attended a wedding food tasting dinner there we were so excited for the big day and the wedding meal. Think incredibly tasty and huge portions which is always a winner, especially when the dessert you picked is a chocolate brownie with chocolate ice cream, chocolate sauce and chocolate crumbles. Yes!!


I have to add that as Jonathan and I were part of the big day we could only take photos in the evening and whilst getting ready so some of these photos I have pinched. Thank you family and friends to the bride and groom! Hopefully I can share some professional pics at some point.

I loved the getting ready part of the day, from the two huge suites we had and the huge buffet breakfast, to drinking pink champagne at 9am, having our hair and makeup done professionally, putting on my beautiful dress and most importantly helping the bride to get ready. We even got a sneaky peek out of the window at the groom arriving in the DeLorean Katy had arranged as a surprise.


I am sure you will all agree that Katy's dress and accessories are so beautiful. I loved my dress too and secretly felt like a bit of a princess with my hair and makeup looking so lovely. My dress was floor length in a dusky pink colour accessorized with jewellery handmade by Katy.

My shoes were the Shannie shoes by Georgia Rose which I shared on a blog post not so long ago. A few of you asked about them and said you'd like to know how I got on with them on the day. They were so comfortable even after being on my feet for most of the afternoon and all evening. I picked a winner! I hope I get the chance to wear them again one day.


The ceremony was held in the marquee which was filled with family and friends, followed by a glass of Pimms and canapes outside in the sunshine. As the sun decided to well and truly put his hat on and stick around for the whole afternoon the professional group photos were taken outside in the pretty grounds of Aston Hall, and everyone milled around chatting and taking photos of the bride and groom.

We headed back into the marquee for the meal and speeches. Jonathan was so nervous about his speech, bless him, as was the Father of the bride, but they needn't have worried as all of the speeches were brilliant.  Jonathan was so pleased that he got plenty of laughs and I was so proud of him. Aaah.


I ate so much good food and fizzy stuff that I was sure my dress was going to pop, but luckily I managed to keep my dignity :)

The day seemed to whizz by so quickly but not before some serious dance moves were thrown on the dancefloor from the moment the DJ started up to the end of the evening. The music was brilliant and we had such fun. I think we could have all easily kept dancing for another couple of hours but instead we retired to the main bar and had a nightcap.


Katy did a great job planning the wedding, from designing and making the invitations and the jewellery for her bridesmaids, to the finishing touches on the day such as the cake pop wedding favours, the seating plans and the table centrepieces.

I do love a good wedding! I can't wait for my own... ;)

DIY: table & chairs using Annie Sloan chalk paint (& a lot of elbow grease!)

12.9.12

I have been dying to share some photos of our newly painted and sanded table and chairs which take pride of place in our dining room. After a fair bit of hard work and paintbrush induced blisters we are so pleased with the final result.


When Jonathan and I moved into our new home together last November we gained some extra rooms and had a long list of furniture to buy for our extra space. We live in a 3-storey house where the garage has been converted to make an extra room which is brilliant, as we wouldn't utilise a garage enough and our driveway is big enough for 2 cars.

We decided we wanted this room to be mainly a dining room, but it also has a comfy sofa area and a tv so it doubles up as a relaxing space as well as being my workout space too. A multifunctional room if ever there was one!

A family member of Jonathan's offered to give us a dining table and 6 chairs that they no longer needed, and as we were on the lookout for a dining table we jumped at the chance.

The table and chairs are wooden, but were coated with layers and layers of varnish which was quite dark and not to our taste. Also it didn't fit in with the colour of the wooden floor and the other things in the room, but we used it for several months using tablecloths to disguise the dark varnish.

The table mid-sanding and the chairs pre-painting

It was always on the radar to sand it down, but it was such a huge job that it was always at the bottom of our "to do" list. Eventually we sanded a little bit of the table top which revealed such lovely wood underneath that we were determined to transform it into something we loved.

When I heard about Annie Sloan paint I knew I had to get my hands on some for several reasons. Firstly it can be painted over varnished wood, so there would be no need to sand the entire table and all of the chairs, and the colours in the range are all beautiful - think creams, greys, duck egg blues, and lovely greens. I had seen several table and chair sets with a wooden top and cream legs/chairs so I thought that using one of the lovely Annie Sloan shades would definitely give us the look we wanted.


We opted for a tin of Cream and a tin of Paris Grey with the view to have chairs in both colours to break it up a little.

Now this is my kind of painting, slapping it on with no priming or sanding to do, and getting really good coverage due to the thickness of the paint. Between Jonathan and I it didn't take too long to get the chairs done which left time to use plenty of elbow grease to sand the table top by hand. The layers of varnish soon started to come away, leaving a lovely wooden table.

Once the table legs were painted I went over everything with a second coat. One coat would have sufficed had we wanted a slightly "shabby chic" look as in places the paint hadn't fully covered the varnish, but as we didn't like the varnish colour underneath a little bit of touching up with a second coat looked much better.


We didn't use any wax over the top however this is something we plan to do at some point to protect the paint from any greasy marks or chips.

I'd love to try doing a piece of furniture with one coat of Cream and a top coat of Paris Grey (or vice versa) then sanding down the top coat to give a lovely used look. We have got plenty of paint left so I'm definitely keeping my eye out for my next victim!

We are so pleased with our new table and chairs. For the price of two tins of Annie Sloan paint and a couple of brushes we have a beautiful table set which fits perfectly with the room. We make a point of always eating our table at the dinner now and we are proud of what a little bit of elbow grease has produced.