Category Archives: Life Style

If I could spend an hour with…

I enjoy spending some of my free time reading blogs. I tend to read a range of different blogs. Like most people I have my favourite bloggers and the other day as I read one blog I thought to myself “Oooh if I could just spend an hour with them…” and then it got me thinking. In no particular order here are the bloggers I’d like to spend an hour with and why.

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Danielle Vanier

I first came across Danielle’s blog around a year ago when she was linked to by another blogger. Danielle is a plus size blogger with a truly unique style. I’d love to spend an hour with her and have her style me. She picks out amazing pieces and teams them with other gorgeous items to end up with a fantastic outfit. I just don’t have an eye for fashion like that so I’d love to see what she’d do with me. Danielle is also found on most social media platforms but her snapchat is absolutely brilliant. She parties hard, shows you her outfits and her battle with a neighbours cat!

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Lydia Millen

If you haven’t heard of Lydia Millen before she is a blogging superstar. Her blog is full of beautiful images of her home, outfits and cat Lumi. She has such a sharp sense of style, I keep finding myself using the mantra “Would Lydia wear this?” I’d love to spend an hour with her because I’d be intrigued to see how she’d transfer her sharp sense of style over to a plus size girl. I’d also ask her to teach me photography! Maybe we’d need two hours.

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Corinne from Skinnedcartree

Corinne runs a trio of blogs that range from fitness to blogging tips and this is where I would spend my hour with Corinne. I’d ask her to sit with me and help me sort my blog, get me everything I need to have a fully functioning self hosted blog. I’d ask her to explain SEO and all those other complicated parts of blogging that newbies just don’t know about.

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Anna The Apple

I’ve read Anna’s blog for the longest time. When we moved to Hampshire I started recognising places Anna mentioned on her blog and it turns out she’s local to me. I’ve met her a couple times at parkrun and she is as nice as pie! Anna’s blog is a mix of her running, food adventures and awesome gym selfies. If I had an hour with Anna I’d ask her to work me out a kick ass gym routine like hers so I can get myself sorted…but we’d do it over cake of course haha!

Which of your favourite bloggers would you like to spend an hour with?

 

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Why I Love Autumn

Blogging about why Autumn is the best season is a bit of a blogging cliché isn’t it. However I genuinely do love Autumn…and Winter. I prefer the colder months, maybe because I was born in Winter? Who knows but it’s definitely my favourite time of year and here’s why:

The crisp cold weather and changing colours

It’s the first glimpse of things to come. You feel that little bite in the air and can start layering up clothes. Everything looks pretty as it starts to change colour.  I love walking in the woods in this weather crunching through the leaves, or now, going for walks along the beach. You can finally get out and about and not have to worry about sun cream and coming back a hot sweaty mess! What’s not to like?!

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The Coffee shops up their game

Coffee shops really up their game in Autumn starting with Starbucks. I’m a Costa girl through and through but for those couple of weeks that Pumpkin Spiced Lattes come out I switch allegiance (but only for those few weeks) They also change their cups and then the Christmas ranges start. I’m not going to comment on that just now though as that’s a whole other post.

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The warming food

Autumn is the perfect time to make use of your slow cooker to make casseroles, stews, soups and chillis. All those warming foods and you can actually make them pretty healthy too if you add lots of veggies and butternut squash! Then when you’ve eaten all the veggies, you can drink more hot chocolate! Autumn is great because you can drink hot chocolate guilt free because hey, you’re just using it to warm up right?!

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It’s the start of the celebrations

Halloween, Bonfire Night, Black Friday hey we don’t celebrate it but I’ll take the sales it brings any day and then the lead up to Christmas, it’s just the best time and the decorations are fun.

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My Mickey Mouse pumpkin

And now let the countdown to Christmas begin!!

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A Holiday to Wales

I’ve reached the grand age of 33 and have never been to Wales! So last week we spent 4 nights in Pembrokeshire just outside Narberth in a log cabin that we booked through Hoseasons.

We’ve booked holidays in log cabins before with Hoseasons when we have stayed in Scotland. We’ve always booked an Autograph lodge which is their premium range of lodges.


We spent our time there exploring the area. We visited Tenby which is a lovely little seaside town with a harbour. The houses are so pretty and colourful too. We walked for miles all around the town, harbour and beach.

We also visited Freshwater West which is also known as the beach where Dobby dies. That’s another Harry Potter location visited. We’ve visited a few in Scotland too.

We went for a walk around the grounds of the lodge where they have a golf course, more lodges to rent and also private lodges which are owned. They had a beautiful garden and this lovely waterfall.


We spent lots of time in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park too. Pembrokeshire has a beautiful coast line and lots of lovely sandy beaches.


We had a lovely 4 days there and managed to fit lots in despite the weather being a bit grey. The lodge had a hot tub too so that was great to relax and unwind in.

When I next visit Wales I’d like to visit North Wales to see what it has to offer.

Have you ever been to Wales?

What is your favourite part of Wales?

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September Roundup

September seems to have been and gone in a flash and as a result I don’t feel like I’ve done much but never the less. Here is my September roundup!

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Firstly in September I won a competition! I’ve never won anything before in my life so I was pretty amazed when I won this gorgeous palette on a giveaway over at Sophie’s Blog

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One evening after work we decided to go to JoJo Gelato in Fareham. I had this scrummy Nutella and Cookie supreme crepe. It was so good, especially after a hard day at work.

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We also visited the Waitrose Farm Shop. Here is the post about our visit.

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In Lee-on-the-Solent there was a super low tide on 18th September. I’m still discovering new things about living by the sea and this was one of them. The photo doesn’t do it justice but the sea really was a lot further out than usual.

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At the end of September we went to Wales for 4 nights. I’ve never visited Wales before so it was nice to explore somewhere new. There’s a more detailed post to follow.

In September I did 8 blog posts which I think might be a record for me! If you missed any, they’re linked below:

Smart ForFour

August Roundup

Learning to drive with AA Driving School

I Am Team GB

The Waitrose Farm – Leckford Estate

Fantastic Mr Fox

Disney X Cath Kidston – Winnie The Pooh

Gelish by Nail Harmony Review

Now we’re in to October which is my favourite time of year!

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Fantastic Mr Fox

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In our garden we frequently have foxes. I say frequently, I’m pretty convinced they live in my garden. I think there’s 2-3 and I see at least one every day.

When we moved here we saw our first Fox in April 2015. There seemed to be just one. In the winter this increased to two foxes then back to one.

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In the Spring of 2016 we started seeing 2-3. I’m sure now that the 2-3 are a Mother and her 2 cubs.

The British Wildlife Centre says “The mating season is December to February …four or five cubs are born in the Spring and the female fox stays with them….They remain with their mother until Autumn” This all ties in with what we’ve been seeing in our garden.

Some people don’t like foxes and try to deter them from entering their garden but I love them. They’re such a delight to watch through the window. But aren’t they dangerous? That’s what the press would have us believe but the first fox we had was confident. If it saw us it’d simply look at us then lie back down and go back to sleep! We once had the door open in the summer and it wandered over. We quickly closed the door so we’ll never know if it’d actually come in to the house but I doubt it as sometimes when we go out in to the garden you can’t see it’s there as it’s asleep in the bushes but you’ll hear it quickly scrabble away if you venture off the patio and on to the grass.

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Lots of people ask me if we feed the foxes and the truth is we don’t. We give them as much peace as we can. If they’re in the garden we leave them be. The only thing we have started doing is, when we cut the grass, we’ll leave a pile of cuttings for them to have a snooze on. They love a grass bed!

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It can be tricky to get good pictures of them sometimes. The adult seems far more relaxed around people, the younger cubs though are skittish and incredibly mischievous. They’ll chase the butterflies in the garden and also pinch the squeaky toys from next doors dog meaning we have to go out and throw them back!

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The pictures don’t always turn out well as I take them through the window you get reflection like the one above but this is one of the better shots of the cubs. They’re not as confident as the adults and often run when they see me with a camera.

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They seem to have a routine of coming in to the garden around 5am and sleeping on and off through the day. Sometimes they’ll have a little get together and play or wash each other or disappear early but usually they’re here until 5pm when they disappear off in to the night to begin their hunting.

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Five facts about Foxes courtesy of Peta

  • Foxes are part of the dog family. The female is a Vixen and the male is a Dog Fox
  • Foxes live just about everywhere – countryside, cities, forests, mountains, grasslands and Lee on Solent!
  • Fox hunting with dogs is illegal however it isn’t illegal to hunt and kill foxes by other means (It makes me so sad to think someone would want to kill them)
  • Foxes eat just about anything – berries, worms, spiders and small animals such as mice and birds. I live close to the High Street and I’m sure this will be a food source for them.
  • A foxes home is called a den. I’ve seen the mother fox making calls towards my shed so I think there den may be under my shed.

I hope you enjoyed this post. It’s a bit different to what I usually post but I do love these little guys so decided to share them with you all.

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The Waitrose Farm – Leckford Estate

When we lived in the North we frequently visited Chatsworth Houses Farm Shop. They sold a wide range of produce including meat and game, poultry, fruits, vegetables, pies, breads, cakes, cheese, jams and lots more.

Recently I read a post over on Emily’s blog that she had visited a farm shop in Stockbridge, a Waitrose Farm Shop none the less! A quick Google and I realised it was less than an hour from us! We’d mentioned a couple of times that we hadn’t really discovered a farm shop and so this seemed like it might be just the ticket.

We went over on Saturday and using sat nav it was pretty easy to find. When we got there it was more than I was expecting. I’d seen on the website that there was a farm shop and café but there was a nursery/garden centre there too. We decided to head in to the shop first.

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We wandered round the shop quite quickly as it was much smaller than I thought it would be. They had meats, cheese, fruits and vegetables and a deli along with jams and preserves. There was also a small alcohol section.

The shop was bright and airy and looked like it was in an old barn with large wooden beams adorning the ceilings. The café was in one side whilst the shop was in the other. We didn’t visit the café as it wasn’t long since we’d had lunch.

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As we walked around it was definitely a lot smaller than the shop at Chatsworth so I was a little disappointed but my husband left happy as he bought a scotch egg made with black pudding. You can take the man out of Yorkshire…

There was also a lovely display of country kitchen style home wares. None of which would have matched my kitchen but they were all pretty none the less.

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After we’d visited the shop we went to look around the garden section. We probably spent longer out there than we did in the shop as we marvelled at just how pretty our garden could be if only we knew what we were doing in it.

We spotted plenty of pretty flowers and trees and was surprised to find a tree growing kiwi fruits!

waitrose_04All in all it was a nice drive out there and a nice little mooch around but I was a little disappointed. Maybe my hopes were a little too high as the Chatsworth Farm Shop is amazing and bigger than Leckford was. We decided we probably won’t visit again and so the hunt for a comparable farm shop goes on.

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Learning to drive with AA Driving School

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I’d always wanted to learn to drive but when I lived in Sheffield there was no need. I had my Husband, Mum and friends who could all drive and were there to take me places if I needed it. I also lived within walking distance of the city centre, it was only just over a mile away and then there was public transport. There were buses every 5 minutes going from where I lived in to the city centre. I just didn’t need to learn to drive, I couldn’t justify it at all.

Why now?

When we moved down to the South Coast in February 2015 we suddenly didn’t live a stones throw away from great High Street shops. I live near the village centre of where we live but it only has a small handful of shops. But there’s buses right? Yes but there is only one bus every half an hour and a couple of times one of those hasn’t shown up which then drops you to one bus an hour. It takes 15 minutes to drive to work, on the bus it takes 50 minutes! It was all becoming a bit inconvenient. If I wanted to go shopping in Portsmouth or Southampton it was costing me over £10 to get there and pretty soon the decision was made. It was now time to learn to drive.

Won’t someone take my money?

I began taking note every time a driving instructor car drove past us and started noting down names, telephone numbers and websites. I must have emailed 5 driving instructors and only received one response telling me she doesn’t work weekends which was ideally when I’d have liked driving lessons. I phoned countless instructors and left so many messages but only received a couple of replies one to tell me they were too busy at the moment and were no longer taking on pupils and another to say they were on holiday and would call me when they got back….they didn’t! This suddenly seemed really difficult. It was like none of the independent driving instructors wanted to take my money.

It was actually whilst ranting about this in the car that we passed an AA driving school car. I’d not looked at them as I presumed they’d be expensive being a big chain. When we got home I looked on their website and found they were actually a similar price to the independent driving schools I’d looked at and had a good offer on that saved me £40 on 10 hours of lessons and amazingly I could start lessons the very next week. This was the week of Christmas and as I get the time off between Christmas and New Year it seemed like an ideal time to start.

Lessons

I had my first lesson on 28th December 2015. I didn’t really feel nervous before that first lesson. We started right away on the roads practicing setting off and coming to a stop. It wasn’t long before I was progressing with changing gears and steering. With nearly every lesson I was learning something new. My driving instructor had diagrams to explain manoeuvres which made them easier to understand, and also funny little phrases to help remember things e.g. Less space, less pace.

I progressed nicely with my lessons and got on really well with my instructor. He allowed me to keep paying the special rate of £40 off of 10 hours of lessons. I paid £220 for 10 hours. As my lessons progressed the only thing I found difficult was parallel parking and felt I never really improved at it. I just couldn’t get the hang of it (and to be honest I still can’t!)

The First Test

I had my first test on May 25th and failed. My approach speed at junctions was too fast. Afterwards my instructor told me this must have been nerves as I never do it in my lessons. Unfortunately the wait at the test centre for tests is ludicrous and I had to wait until August to take my test again. This did however give me enough time to iron out any other things I’d been struggling with and gave me more time to practice the dreaded parallel parking. I actually had this as the manoeuvre in my first test and someone passed it!

The Second Test

In the hour before my second test we practised parallel parking again and again and again and I only correctly did it maybe twice. Every other manoeuvre I nailed but parallel parking just wasn’t for me. Heading in to my second test I was ridiculously nervous. Waiting for them to call my name I said to my instructor I actually thought I was going to be sick, but then there was my examiner calling my name and I didn’t really have time to think about it again.

Pass or Fail?

I drove really well, my manoeuvre was a turn in the road which I managed in three and that was it. There were no hiccups no nothing, although the examiner did tell me to let go of the nerves a couple of times! And when we pulled back in he uttered those magical words to tell me that I’d passed! I had a hard time believing it that’s for sure and I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face!

Afterwards my driving instructor told me I’d just taken my test with the head examiner and that he can be harder to impress so I was extra pleased I’d passed!

What does being able to drive mean to me?

It sounds a bit cheesy to say driving has changed my life but it really has. Before it was rare I went out on my day off from work as getting the bus/public transport was a hassle and expensive. Now I can nip out whenever I fancy keeping to my own schedule and not that dictated by public transport.

I also don’t have to rely on friends anymore. If we went out I needed a lift home, if my husband was out of the office and wasn’t going to be back in time I needed a lift home or to plan my day off so that I’m off when he has to travel but now it doesn’t matter.

I can now drive back to the North to see friends and family whenever I like.

Learning to drive is the best thing I’ve ever done.

AA Driving School

I learnt to drive in a brand new Ford Fiesta that was in good condition and well maintained. If learning to drive is something you’re thinking about I recommend the AA Driving School

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Smart ForFour

On 5th August I went and picked up my Smart ForFour that I have affectionately named Winnie. Just in case you’re wondering why, she’s named Winnie as she is black on the outside and black on the inside, just like Winnie The Witch’s house.

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Anyway I hadn’t actually passed my test when we went to pick her up but I had a go at driving her home from the Smart dealer in Poole and then my Husband drove us the rest of the way.

The car was certainly worth the wait. Initially we were told we’d had the car on 23rd July but that it was likely to change to earlier, however it changed to later instead, but like I said, she was worth the wait.

We decided to go to Poole instead of Southampton as we had really good customer service there for my husband’s Mercedes. We went to Southampton but unfortunately nobody seemed interested in serving us or offering any help and the same happened again when we went to look at the Smart Cars. We were told everyone in the Smart dealership had the day off and we’d have to come back another time to look at them. We decided to go to Poole instead where we were met by Neil who took care of us from the second we walked in till the second we drove out of the showroom. He was a great help and also gave us a great price. Very happy customer! The Poole Mercedes and Smart dealership have got customer service just right! We also got to do the grand unveil which I wasn’t expecting. I know my husband got to do this with his Mercedes but to be fair the Mercedes cost a lot more than my little Smart so I was really impressed I got the same treatment!

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My car is under there!

Here’s some pictures of Winnie. She’s a Smart ForFour with the Prime Premium Plus package. I’m not going to put down all the technical details and specifications here as, well I don’t understand half of it and it’s just not that type of blog but a couple of my favourite key features for me are:

  • Sat Nav – A necessity since we’ve only lived in the South for a year
  • DAB digital radio – Means I can listen to my favourite station Kisstory
  • Heated leather seats – A little bit of luxury and a toastie butt in winter

And a couple of pictures. Behold shiny Winnie!

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And 10 days later I passed my driving test! So now I can zip along in my little Smart car whenever I like!

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