Spring 12

We’ve made it to the end of March and with the sun finally shining I’m okay with that. I’m actually writing this on my commute home, usually I want to cry on my commute – it’s the worst thing for me about working in London – and that’s not conducive to blog writing. Today, I might be squashed in and standing for an an hour, but with the sun streaming in through the window (so much so I’ve had to take off my coat), I’m okay with it. April brings some of my favourite things as well, my birthday and a sneaky trip to Geneva. So without further ado, let’s get this weird in-between month of March over and done with and tell you all the things that have been making me happy.

1. Bank Holiday Weekends
How could I not start with this one? I bloody love a bank holiday! And we don’t even need to be sad that the Easter one is over, there’s two more just around the corner and I have big plans for those bad boys. I spent the bank holiday in Devon on the beach with my family. We were there in the scorching sun and through Storm Katie, but I enjoyed every day as much as the last. I feel truly refreshed and it’s so hard to get that from a bank holiday sometimes. P.S. If you’re in full time work, I thoroughly recommend tagging a day of annual leave onto the end of your next bank holiday. It was the best decision I ever made, hooray for a three day week!

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2. Sunsets
My sister is called Katie and she’s a bit of a whirlwind so the name Storm Katie brought us many laughs this weekend. But it also brought us some beautiful sunsets and, although I only had my little iPhone, I loved taking some pretty photos of them. There’s nothing better than a sunset photo.

3. The Rough Sea
I don’t know why, but a rough sea always makes me feel calm. I know it should be the other way round but it just isn’t. I feel peaceful curled up under a blanket watching the sea thrash and many hours were spent standing and watching the sea go a little crazy this month. I feel all the better for it.

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4. Hot Cross Bun N Butter Pudding
I made this little beauty two weeks ago and was super pleased with myself, so much so I made it again on Easter weekend. I love bread and butter pudding anyway, but I substituted bread for chocolate hot cross buns (probably the best food ever invented) and threw in some extra chocolate chips for good measure, creating my very own recipe. Everyone loved it, it was really quick to make and provided the perfect following to a roast dinner. Yum.

5. Inspirational Quotes
If you follow me on Instagram, you might be noticing my love of a quote or two. If you’re not, why not?! Follow me here! But since I’ve started trying to pin on my Pinterest account everyday (you can follow that here too, promise this isn’t just a favourite so I can promo everything!) I’ve become slightly obsessed. I pin at least one a day and, although they’re all different, I feel like every one of them just gets me. How do they even do that?!

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6. My Pear Drop and Gingerlily Candle
I don’t know why this is the perfect candle for this time of year but it just is. Maybe it’s something to do with the ginger making you feel all free from the winter lurgy and the pear drop smelling all fresh and summery. It’s like an adult, spicy version of being at the fun fair. Throw open your windows in the sunshine, light this and, trust me, you’ll feel forever productive and smiley. It’s here if you’re interested.

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7. French Plaits
When I was little I hated that my mum made me do my hair in French plaits, how times change. Now I love it, it’s comfy, it’s quick and it looks so cute. I’m just not sure I could get away with them in the office, which is such a shame…

8. Pimms
I had my first Pimms of the year on Friday. It was the most gorgeous day (see this post for photo proof!) and I couldn’t stop thinking about a nice glass of Pimms all day. So when the sun started to set, me and the boyfriend dashed to tesco and stocked up on the drink, strawberry, mint and orange too. It was the best end to the best day, and I’m so hoping it’s going to be the start of many. Cheers to you all!

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Ah I love this time of year, everything is springing into life and it feels like we’re just getting started. Although the sun has decided to hide away again this weekend, Easter is just around the corner so the smile is still on my face. There are so many things I love about Spring, it just feels more hopeful than other times of the year and everyone is in a better mood.

  1. Easter means four whole days off in a row. And then there are two more bank holidays round the corner. If you work full time, you’ll get it.
  2. An excuse to eat a ridiculous amount of chocolate and not feel guilty about it, in fact you should feel guilty if you haven’t done this!
  3. Free time off but no reason to break the bank buying people presents. Just get your eggs on 3 for 2 and you can buy for everyone without spending even a fiver.
  4. Chocolate hot cross buns. There’s nothing more to say, these are just heaven. Bulk buy them cheaply after Easter and make them last for the whole season.
  5. The clocks going back. Yes okay you lose an hour’s sleep (but it’s not a problem, see point one), it’s so worth it for the extra daylight. No more getting home from work in the pitch black!
  6. Easter egg hunts, you don’t need to be a child to enjoy these.
  7. Time for baking. Creme egg brownies, hot cross bun and butter pudding, mini egg cake – Easter themed baking is just the best.
  8. An excuse to eat all the eggs for breakfast (and of course following it up with more chocolate). I’m going to go for poached and scrambled every day of the four day weekend.
  9. The sunshine, everyone feels better when it’s out.
  10. More light to take photos in – amazing news if you’re a blogger… Or if you just like using your camera.
  11. Finally not having to wear a million layers everywhere, you can lose the scarf and gloves and be more experimental with your outfit. You might even get to have your bare legs out, you never know.
  12. Not having to spend a small fortune on heating your home… Hello more money to spend on a new Spring wardrobe.
  13. Being able to run outside again, no more excuses for not doing any exercise for me!
  14. Flowers everywhere, so Instagram worthy and always raising a smile on my face.
  15. Time for a Spring clean. It feels so good to clear out sometimes, especially when you fill a few black bags for the charity shop.

What are your favourite things about this time of year?

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It’s been such a busy couple of weeks and I seem to have neglected my blog a little. I’ve got this new app – 2Do – which has completely transformed my life and my blogging organisation (actually maybe I should write a post on it). On there I have daily reminders to tweet, instagram, comment on blogs and use pinterest. It’s constantly making me feel guilty as it flashes up to remind me and I press ‘delay’ once again. I don’t know why I’m finding it so hard. Maybe I’m lacking inspiration or finding it hard to get passionate about my blog at the moment. I’m sure it will come back again, but in the mean time there’s nothing like writing one of my favourite posts to get the juices flowing again. And I think these types of posts are definitely my favourite.

With the budget, the terrifying American election and the referendum hogging the news at the moment, it definitely feels all a bit doom and gloom. But I’ve managed to find some good out there as always, let me know if you’ve spotted anything extra which you love?

  • This story really inspired this blog post, I watched a news report on it and it was the cutest thing ever. A penguin swims 5,000 miles every year to visit the man who saved his life. 71-year-old retired bricklayer and part time fisherman Joao Pereira de Souza saved the penguin’s life years ago when he found him covered in oil. The best thing? If anyone else comes near the penguin, he nips them!                                                                                                                                                                                                          a
  • I know I include an Adele story nearly every time I do this type of post but I can’t help it, I just love her! At one of her concerts, Adele recently invited a couple up on stage because she saw the man propose in the audience to one of her songs. She called it ‘the most beautiful thing I’ve ever witnessed at one of my shows’, as the man got down on one knee during ‘their song’ Make You Feel My Love.                                                                                                                                                                                a
  • An amazing woman transforms children suffering with cancer into Disney Princesses, making all their dreams come true. Holly Christensen first helped turn her friend’s two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, who was suffering from lymphoma cancer, into Rapunzel (from Tangled) by crocheting her a wig out of wool. Facing losing their hair, little girls long for princess hair and now Holly makes that dream come true for many of them as a very special wig maker.                                                                                                                                                                                                       a
  • This is an inspiring one. An amazing Palestinian teacher won $1million and the Nobel Prize for Teaching for trying to keep her primary school pupils from violence. Hanan Al Hroub was only the second person to win the prize with more than 8,000 teachers from 140 countries applying. She grew up in a refugee camp and vowed to spend the money on her pupils.                                                                                                                                                                                             a
  • Is it just me or do self checkouts drive you crazy? If so, you’ll love this story that budget supermarket Aldi has announced it has no plans to ever introduce them in their stores. In fact, the boss thinks they’re a complete waste of time and customers hate them!

And finally, maybe I love this so much because I relate to it so well. Many a time have I been on a train very similar to this, in fact I do part of this journey through Epsom! Every now and then an announcer cheers up my morning or evening but this guy just takes it to the next level, I love him!

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Sometimes we all get stressed. Sometimes we can make ourselves feel better, we can talk to others, do things we enjoy or try and relax. But sometimes when we’re really worrying about things, the only thing that will work is to distract ourselves. I often get anxious and worry about things obsessively. I always think to myself that what I’m worrying about now won’t matter in a year, it probably won’t matter even tomorrow. But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t matter right now. And trying to chill out simply gives the worry more space to breathe and multiply. Instead I feel I have to squash it and if it isn’t possible to address it or find a solution right away then instead it’s necessary to distract yourself. Over the years I’ve come up with quite a few different techniques to remove and distract and I thought I’d put a little list together in case any of you needed some ideas…

  1. Put on a documentary, it can’t be something relaxing but something you need to concentrate on. My current choice would be Making A Murderer.
  2. Read a book, you can’t zone out and think about other things when you have to read every word. Get lost in another world that isn’t yours.
  3. Get writing. Writing always distracts me, whether it’s writing my own story, writing a blog post, or just free writing. Free writing is basically writing down whatever comes into your head, you’d be surprised how quickly you go off on a random tangent.
  4. Ring a friend and catch up. Try to talk about them, everyone loves talking about themselves! So ring, and immediately ask ‘How are you? What’s going on in your life?’
  5. Try meditation, if you need help use an app like Calm or Headspace.
  6. Put on some music and dance like no one is watching. Exercise will distract you and help you work out any frustrations too.
  7. If you know any children, go and play with one. Whether it’s a niece, brother, friend. My godchildren always distract me and take me away from my worries for any time I’m with them.
  8. Bake or cook something complicated. Is there a recipe you’ve always wanted to make but never had time? Or perhaps try and bake something like a rainbow cake, it’ll take all your effort to get it right.
  9. Go for a walk or a run and listen to a podcast. The combination of listening and exercising can’t fail to distract you. My choice would be Serial.
  10. Teach yourself a brand new skill, like knitting or a new card game. Use an online tutorial and really focus on getting it right.
  11. If you’re with someone, play a board game. Recently me and the boyfriend have been playing Trivial Pursuit on a Sunday evening to distract us from those Sunday night worries.
  12. If it’s sunny, go and do some gardening. Fresh air is always a good idea.
  13. Fill your diary with plans, and set about putting them in action. Is there a holiday you’ve been meaning to book or an old friend you’ve wanted to see for ages?
  14. Write a to do list. This is my favourite thing to do anyway, but it’ll definitely get your mind thinking about other things.
  15. Put on a YouTube yoga tutorial and learn some new moves. I love Yoga with Adrienne for really simple ways to get started.
  16. Spread some love. Whether it’s texting a friend to tell them how much you love them or that you like what they’re wearing in their latest Instagram post.
  17. Read some blogs and get commenting. If I know I’m going to write a comment, then I’ll always be more engaged with a post and really concentrate on what I’m reading.
  18. Have a spring clean and blast some music at the same time.
  19. Do some painting, I’m rubbish at this so it will always distract me!
  20. Set about organising your room and your wardrobe with some rubbish TV on in the background. Organising takes more concentration than you think.

Mother's Day post

Did it creep up on you as fast as it did for me? I kind of forgot that March was coming and that March meant Mother’s Day. And all of a sudden here we are, only three days away from the big day. Eek. But don’t panic, if you forgot like I did. I’ve put together an extra special, last-minute gift guide so you can quickly get something sorted and she’ll be none the wiser. I’ve tried to cover every kind of mum I can think of – because contrary to popular belief I think sometimes mums are the hardest to buy for. I’ve also included a make your own option for every category, so even if you really are too late to make it to the shops, you’ve got no excuses! Any more ideas, please leave them in the comments…

For the mums who love to be pampered:

Lush is the dream for these mums and now there’s practically one on every corner! So head down there and make your mum a little pamper box with a few of their goodies (it’s much cheaper than buying their gift sets and looks so much more thoughtful). If you can’t get to one, order a candle or be super brave and make one yourself! You could always write them a special voucher too: ‘1 hour of chilled time, whilst I take my sister/your dog/the housework/Dad (!) off your hands!’

For the mums who love their house:

I think these are the easiest mums to buy for. And with Oliver Bonas, Zara Home, Joy and H&M Home you can’t really go wrong. If you’re too late or can’t afford the delivery, then pop into a store.

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For sentimental mums:

These mums are the best, and to be honest, most mums fit into this category. Why are they the best? Because you can make anything and they’ll well up at the fact you made the effort. Anything with a photo of you and them on and you’re done!

  • I love this idea from This Morning, a personalised flower vase. And nip down to Tesco to grab some £1 daffodils to go with it!
  • Or what about making some chocolates and putting them in a special handmade box? So cute and you can do it the night before. Here’s a truffle recipe, and only three ingredients too!

For girly mums:

You can’t really go wrong with this sort of mum. Any jewellery from their children and they’ll be happy. And you can get jewellery anywhere so don’t panic about being late, just nip out to the shops now. If not, I love the idea of buying little trinkets for the dressing table, how cute is the one from Not On The High Street? That’s what I got my Mum last year and she loved it.

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For mums who have a lot of time on their hands:

Good old Amazon, these mums will love anything from there and you can give their Prime trial a go and get it delivered tomorrow for free (or swallow your pride, and cough up for next day delivery!) The most satisfying thing is stumbling across something new that your mum might love to do.

For mums who love an adventure:

Experience days are always going to be a winner for these mums, it’s about the doing rather than an object. And the best thing about that, nothing needs to be delivered so you don’t need to worry about being close to the day. Many a time have I made my mum a special voucher, it could be for a West End play, a driving experience, a cookery course, paintballing, the list is endless! And don’t worry about going through an experience website, why not just make your own – it’ll be cheaper and more personal.

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And if your mum doesn’t really fit any of the above…

What about a book of inspirational quotes, every girl loves a motto and it will look amazing on the coffee table!

Chocolate, no one doesn’t like chocolate (unless your mum has given it up for lent of course!) And how about these that come in novelty shapes and sizes.

Or how about just making your mum breakfast in bed and a lovely dinner? You could make them a special menu card and lay the table beautifully. That’s enough for most!