and so it goes

I’m not sure what I can say about 2014 to be quite honest, it hasn’t been the most eventful of years for me, which after a somewhat chaotic run of things since 2009 was quite a welcome relief. It’s been one of those years where I feel like I’ve developed as a person, without drama forcing me to be someone who I’m really not. I started the year in January (as we all do) feeling a little bit apprehensive about what lay ahead and I’ve ended it, tonight, feeling like I’ve got to know myself a whole lot better- and more importantly I like myself and the person I was always meant to be.
I suppose the most major milestone for the year was reaching a healthy weight voluntarily for the first time in my adult life. Now, I don’t profess to be fully recovered from the anorexia that has haunted me for the last 12 years but I have a handle on it and I’m the one in control. I eat well, I enjoy food and no longer fear every mouthful, my weight does go up and down like a yo-yo but that’s just life and I’m aware now of when it’s becoming a problem and seek to address it rather than bury my head in the sand. I’m living my life how I want to, not how mental illness wants me to.

Another big thing for me is finally getting back behind the wheel. For those who don’t know, I began learning to drive when I was 17 (and what a mistake that was!) After five failed tests I admitted defeat and took an extended break, one that lasted ten whole years, oops! I’m now nearing taking my test again- and I don’t think it’d be cheating to write off my previous experience, right?

It was a good year for family things- spending quality time with those who mean the most to me and taking time out of life to see them. Spending a weekend up in Birmingham just a few weeks ago was a highlight, quality time with my Aunt and Cousins and getting to know my Aunt’s three foster girls- as well as watching in amazement at little Noah, my elder cousins boy as he transforms from a baby to a walking, talking and really very cheeky toddler.
The year has had it’s challenges- back surgery and being so busy that sometimes I just want to run away from it all just about touches the surface of that, but work wise I feel like I’ve developed hugely and now work two jobs in very different roles and wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m pleased to report my back issues seem to have resolved too and all I have left to show for them is a neat little scar. Ben landed himself an awesome full time job too, I couldn’t be a prouder girlfriend!
It wouldn’t be a recap without mentioning the blogging highlights of the year for me- compared to some they may be small but I’ve been lucky enough to work with some amazing brands and make new friends within the Bristol blogging community thanks to the birth of #BlogClub- social anxieties now mostly squashed I look forward to a lot more of that in 2015!
For someone who thought they didn’t have a lot to say about the year, I seem to have written a lot. Link me up to your posts about the year gone by as I love to read how everyone feels about what the last twelve months means to them.
Finally, thank you- to everyone who reads this blog and/or supports me in everything I do. Mum, Dad, Grandad, Benjamin and Trudi I cannot thank you enough for everything you have done and continue to do…and to all my blogging friends, I’m sorry I’ve been a little absent of late, I plan to catch up with each and every one of you soon.

Have fun if you’re out celebrating tonight, enjoy it and don’t forget to take a moment to reflect on 2014 and how it’s shaped you to deal with whatever 2015 throws your way!


Time for a Break

The shopping is done, the presents are wrapped and I have just one morning left at work before I can officially relax and call it Christmas. This year, unlike other years I won’t be blogging over the festive period- oh no. Between catching up with my family and spending time up North with Ben’s I’ve decided to take a few days off from the internet and have a well earned break! I’ll be back posting some time next week I expect, or in the New Year- whichever feels best for me…and when I do return I won’t be putting those same pressures on my self to blog daily as well as working two jobs! I have a feeling that 2015 is going to be a big year for me and I need to learn to give myself some time just to enjoy what I have achieved.
Image from pinterest- I can’t find the real source!
Whatever you’re up to over Christmas enjoy it! I can’t wait to catch up with every one and reconnect with old blogging pals (and make some new ones!) next year! Thank you for all the support you’ve given over the six years this blog has been running, I wouldn’t be the person I am today without it!


Home at Christmas

I think my favourite part of the festive season is finishing work on Christmas Eve and heading home knowing that for the next 48 hours I don’t even have to contemplate leaving the house unless I really, really want to. This year because of the way Christmas falls I have four glorious days off work, two of which will be spent slobbing around the house and the other two will be spent with Ben and his family up North (probably slobbing around their house!).

Seeing home decorated with festive friends and twinkling lights makes me undeniably jolly even when I don’t really feel it, so I thought for my last post before Christmas I’d show some of my favourite things knocking about the house right now (plus an outfit I’ve been living in).

My mustard swing dress from Joy is perfect for lazy days pottering about the house, especially when paired with these cosy cable knit tights from Primark and faux fur lined boots for when I do brave the elements. It’s such a laid back outfit, perfect for sprawling out on cushions, such as these beautiful hot air balloon one c/o Graham and Brown who have become my number one place for interior inspiration.
Our Christmas decorations come from all over, we seem to collect new ones each year as we browse the shops on the frantic hunt for gifts. The gold owl bauble was picked up this year in Wilko, the whole family has an affinity with owls as they were my Nan’s favourite animal and it brings comfort to have a piece of her with us.
Much to Mum’s disgust I couldn’t resist the inflatable Santa and Snowman in our local 99p shop, as much as she likes to keep things elegant and colour co-ordinated I just can’t resist a bit of festive tat- and Mae loves falling asleep on these inflatable friends!
What does your home look like at Christmas? What do you think of my cosy new cushion? I love hot air balloons as they remind me of Bristol and my home town- honestly, there’s no place like it (or home) at Christmas.


Chocolate Shampoo? I’m a fan!

One thing I love about blogging is that I am fortunate enough to get to try products that would otherwise pass me by. I’ve been introduced to many brilliant companies and have found a lot of new staple products that I’ve re-purchased time and time again. I’ve just added another product to that list, the Chocolate Shampoo and Conditioner (yes, you read that right!) from Faith in Nature.
When Faith in Nature contacted me and asked if I’d like to try a couple of their products I couldn’t help but opt for this sweet sounding set of hair care. With it’s blend of organic Cocoa and Vanilla blended with Sage it sounded right up my street, and I’ve been in dire need of some new products for a while.

At £5.50 per bottle the price is comparable to other Shampoo and Conditioners on the market and I like that these are organic and natural as despite bombarding my hair with dye and heat I do otherwise like to keep it as chemical free as possible.

Now, don’t go expecting these to smell like a bar of Dairy Milk because they don’t! But they do have a familiar and rich smell of chocolate (that makes me hungry every time I wash my hair). I have found in the past that natural products don’t leave my hair feeling as clean as standard shampoos and conditioners but that wasn’t the case with these, and after a couple of washes my hair was starting to feel normal again after a bout of struggling with somewhat dry and frazzled strands. Far from being a novelty with it’s confectionary based smell these are products that I really rate, it’s ages since my hair has felt this clean and soft and I put a large part of that down to regular use of these two bottles. They are already added to my re-purchase list, along with the refreshing sounding Pineapple and Lime range. I might just stick a few body care items on the list for good measure- I mean I’m majorly feeling then need to match my shower gel to my shampoo at the moment, how can a day start wrong when you’re washing yourself in something so sweet smelling? Chocolate is an instant mood fix for me, in the food form and that’s now transferred over to my shower habits too!

Have you tried any Faith in Nature products before? Which would you recommend?


The December Degustabox

Just in time for Christmas I have a little round-up of the December Degustabox- if you don’t already know (and you should) then Degustabox is a food subscription box that contains between 9 and 14 surprise products for £12.99 (far less than they would cost if you were to go out and buy them all individually). Read on for my thoughts and a code for £3 off your first box!
First up is the drinks section! Being a non-drinker for the most part I was pleased to see the addition of some alcohol free wine by Eisberg (£3.49 per bottle). I was sent the Riesling variety which I have to say was really rather nice and made me feel as though I wasn’t missing out at a festive gathering with friends. Also included were some little cans of mixers by Gloworm (£1.50 each), with a variety of flavours containing no added sugar and some pretty interesting taste combinations I’m looking forward to trying these over Christmas- I do have the odd drink or two over the festive period and the Cucumber & Apple can for gin has my name all over it!
With the New Year looming and a whole lot of people about to commence on a massive health kick it was good to see some healthy options included in the box. I am intrigued by the sachet of oats from The Chia Co which I am saving for a 7:15am start at work kind of morning. At £1.70 each these are an occasional treat only but as Chia seeds are such a super-food I do see these as a worthy investment from time to time. Also included was a sachet of chia seeds which I’m saving to sprinkle on my regular porridge- you know, the boring everyday kind!
There was also a box of green tea with lemon from Pukka Herbs (£2.39). I have to be in the mood for it but green tea is one of my favourites and I’ll be switching one of my morning coffees for a mug of this come the new year.
Now for some not so healthy treats! Bahlsen create some of the tastiest biscuits known to man kind and their Choco Leibniz in the original butter biscuit flavour or stuffed with caramel come near the top of my biscuit hit list every time. At £1.79 they are what I would consider a luxury biscuit (rarely do I spend more than a pound on a packet) but oh so worth it- I stock up every time I see them on special offer!
I’m also rather a fan of Popchips (1.79) as I’m sure regular readers of the blog will know. The BBQ flavour is my second favourite (original salted just about trump them) and they are the perfect vessel for scooping up leftover dips!
I’m not quite sure how the marmalade fits in to this section of my post other than I wasn’t sure where else put it! I’m not a marmalade fan myself but my Dad is loving this jar of Coarse Orange marmalade from Bonne Maman (£2.30) who also happen to make my favourite jams!
One of my resolutions for 2015 is to cook more so the selection of ingredients that arrive in Degustabox are going to come very much in handy. This month there was a meal kit from Kent’s Kitchen (£2.50) which will be perfect for cooking up something that isn’t leftover turkey! There was also a bottle of Frylight Infuse Chilli spray £2.00 which I have been spritzing over everything that I have popped in the oven lately. This adds a spicy kick to food without the mess and fuss of pouring oil and chopping chilli, with only 1kcal per spray this is also a good way to liven up a New Year diet! I’m loving it on sweet potato chips the most!
What did you think of this months’ box? Have I tempted you to sign up yet? To claim £3 off of your first box simply enter the code DVDWZ at the checkout. Let me know if you do sign up and what you think!