Tuesday, 16 August 2016

happy things



Here's what's been making me happy recently.

1. Celebrity First Dates

I've got so much love for this show! My favourites are the ones that go well, it makes me go all warm and fuzzy. The last episode of the celebrity edition with Musharaf from Educating Yorkshire was so good, I thought him and his date made such a cute couple.

2. Comments on my blog

Make me a bit giddy with happiness :)

3. Weddings

P and I went to another family wedding last weekend. The ceremony was held in the Bodleian Library in Oxford, with the reception afterwards in a lovely country pub near Thame and there was a big red Routemaster bus to get everyone from Oxford to the reception with champagne and pastries provided en route. Something I've noticed at the weddings I've attended recently though is that the guests seem to enjoy the wedding more than the bride and groom, which seems wrong!

4. Happiness Planner

I've been eyeing up one of these  for ages and so glad I got round to finally ordering it. I started filling it in yesterday and really enjoyed it. I've found it very therapeutic to really think about all the little things that make me happy and how often I want to be doing those things. I'm definitely guilty of always looking towards the weekend or what I'm doing next rather than trying to enjoy what I'm doing now and this is really helping me focus on what makes me happy and trying to incorporate more happiness into my every day life. It's also full of lots of  inspiring quotes which I'm a big fan of.

5. Standing Up Desk

Work have ordered everyone in my team a standing desk and I'm loving it. I get very fidgety so it's nice to be able to have the choice between sitting and standing, although I'm sure I'm going to drive my colleagues mad moving it up and down all day.

6.  Clifton Nurseries

I've been meaning to visit this place for a while and so glad I finally got round to it at the weekend, it's honestly one of my favourite places in London, if I could move in I totally would. It's a little oasis of calm in London and made me realise how much I want a garden of my own to fill up with herbs, pretty flowers and plants. I have to go back soon and try the cafe which looks amazing!

7. Meeting the Parents

P met my family properly for the first time at the weekend for a meal and he didn't run away screaming, which quite frankly is amazing!

8.  A Week with P's Family

I spent last week with P's family in a holiday house in Worcestershire for his birthday and it was so fun. I always wanted to have a big family because mine is tiny and it was so lovely to spend time with them playing games and chilling.

9. Dogs

P's sister has a family dog (called Mr Ding Dong. Note to self - never let your kids name your dog. Luckily he also responds to Dingers). Name aside, it was so lovely playing ball with him and taking him for walks last week. It's really made me want a dog though, one day I will!

10.  Clapham

I spent some time wandering around Clapham on Sunday  and there are so many lovely houses, cafes, streets and restaurants, I can't believe I had never been. I love exploring new parts of London!

Monday, 1 August 2016

happy things


I'm desperately trying to snap myself out of some serious Monday blues which makes it the perfect time for a list of all the things that have been making me happy recently.

1. Instagram Likes

One of my favourite photographers liked one of my pictures on Instagram. Seems like a small thing but I totally geeked out!

2, New Car

I've got a new set of wheels! I very nearly had a total meltdown though on Tuesday evening (about 24 hours after picking it up) when a warning indicator light came on. I freaked out and after quickly checking the manual jumped to the conclusion that it was a problem with the brakes. I had to go to Wales for two days and was stressing about it the whole time until I came back and double checked the light. Turns out the warning light for the brake system and low tyre pressure look quite similar except one's red and the other's amber with a wavy line below it which I failed to miss in my panic. Thankfully I've pumped the tyres up and I'm back on the road.

3. First Wedding

P and I attended our first wedding together in Wales last week. It was nice because it was a little bit different to other weddings I've been to, the bride had bright pink hair, one of the groomsmen did a reading at the ceremony off his phone, the wedding breakfast was afternoon tea, there was a falconry display, an ice cream cart and pizza. There were still the good old wedding staples like dancing, a gorgeous reading from Captain Corelli's Mandolin, champagne and very drunk relatives of course!

4. Jacket Stealing

Towards the end of the evening at said wedding it got a bit cold so P lent me his jacket. I love a gentleman in a suit ❤️❤️❤️.

5. First Good Photo

Another wedding related one but I got our first good photo of P and I! It only took 9 months :D 

6. Nice Work Comments

And it's always nice to get positive feedback about your work isn't it?

7. Game of Thrones Season 2

The DVD came last week and I'm loving it.

8. Running

I ran 11k on Sunday, which is the longest I've ever run. I felt it a bit in my hips and knees (and my arms strangely enough as they were a bit stiff after being in the same position for an hour) but feeling very proud of myself.

9. Hair Cut

As much as I hate sitting in the hairdressers chair trying to awkwardly make conversation, the head massage you get when they wash your hair and the feeling of having a few inches chopped off when it's been annoying you for a while totally makes up for it!

10. First BBQ of the Summer

I went to P's for my first BBQ of the summer and ate SO much food. There was endless amounts of chicken wings, sausages, burgers, kebabs, steak and spare ribs. Good times.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

happy things


This week is seriously dragging but it's Thursday and the weekend's nearly here!

Until it reaches us, here's some things that have been making me happy recently.

1. Unexpected Gifts

My manager surprised me with a beautiful orchid, box of chocolates and a thank you card because our team has been under a bit of pressure recently with being one person short and time off due to paternity leave, holidays and sickness. This brightened up my day no end!

2. Deep Chats

A much needed conversation about deep stuff like feelings and the future happened last week and although it was hard, as it's not something that comes easily to me and I had been avoiding it for a while, I felt so much better afterwards. You would have thought I would have learnt after 30 odd years that it's always better to talk than bottle stuff up but I still haven't seemed to grasp this quite yet. Still, I'm getting there, slowly, very slowly!

3. New Car

I've put a deposit down on  a shiny new set of wheels and my manager has given me time off in lieu next Monday to go and pick it up (due to the aforementioned stress at work recently). I took it for a little test drive last weekend and it was love at first sight. I suspect this is at least part of the reason why my week is dragging as I can't wait to pick it up!

4. Locked Room Challenge

P's Nephew was down from up North last weekend so we did a locked room challenge called clueQuest near Kings Cross. They basically lock you in a room and you have to find keys and work out codes from clues, it was so much fun and would make a great team building exercise.

5. Giving Up Coffee

I've given up coffee (for the millionth time) and I feel so much better for it. Please remind me of this when I say I'm back on it again in a week's time!

6. Ctrl Alt Delete Podcast

After listening to The Lively Show archives twice over, I  really struggled to find another podcast I enjoyed as much but I'm loving listening to this one on my commute.

7. Meditation

I've started meditating (again) using the Headspace app and I'd forgotten just how calm and zen it makes me feel.

8. Peaches & Porridge

Yes I'm still on the porridge even though it's been 30 degrees plus outside. My latest topping discovery is chopped peaches sprinkled with cinnamon and bee pollen, finished with a drizzle of honey - so good!

9. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

I was given this book for my birthday and I'm really enjoying reading some fiction after the self-development books I've been reading lately.

10. Drying Washing on the Line

The hot weather the past couple of days has been killing me but one plus is being able to dry washing on the line. It dries so quickly!  Does this happy thing officially make me old?

What's been making you happy recently?

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

10 happy things



1. Afternoon Tea

Last weekend I caught up with some very lovely ladies for afternoon tea at Harrods. I made the schoolgirl error of filling up on too many sandwiches and scones and not having enough space to try the delightful looking patisseries pictured above *sob*.  Oh well I got the best bit (scones with clotted cream and jam obviously) and it's a good excuse to go back, although there's so many amazing afternoon teas in London to try #firstworldproblems. Anyway, it was THE nicest afternoon, my jaw literally hurt from laughing too much. I feel truly honored to have these ladies in my life!

2.  Harrods

After afternoon tea we had a little wander around Harrods, can you believe I've never been? The people watching opportunities are amazing, it's quite an interesting mix of tourists and people with way too much money. We saw the craziest fashion, which frankly I don't think I'll ever understand. You can keep your Chanel and Gucci, I'll stick with H&M and Zara thanks.

3. Exam Results

P passed his exams and got a 2:1 which is much more than he expected, so yay for this!

4. Psychologies Magazine

Always a good read, I love this magazine.

5. Tidying Out My Underwear Drawer

Who knew such a simple thing would make me so happy but tidying out my underwear drawer on Sunday was so therapeutic. I was feeling a bit blue but doing this, which is something I had been meaning to do for ages made me feel so much better. It felt like I was sorting through my head at the same time.

6. Game of Thrones

I've started watching the first series (series or season?) of Game of Thrones. I know I'm only about 10 years after the rest of the country but oh my god, so good!

7. Insanity Max 30

Love, love, love this workout! It's super hard but over quickly and leaves you feeling like you can conquer the world.

8. The Sun

No definitely not the newspaper, but the big round yellow thing in the sky. As I write this the sun is shining and it feels like that hasn't been happening a lot recently so definitely a happy thing!

9.  Porridge with Summer Berries and Chocolate

I was really craving chocolate this morning so stirred some Lindt dark chocolate into my oats and topped with berries and honey - yum! And it was dark chocolate so it's still healthy right?

10. Are you Fully Charged by Tom Rath

I've just finished reading Are Your Fully Charged by Tom Rath. A really interesting and inspiring read as energy is definitely something I feel I struggle with. I can't seem to get enough of books at the moment, it's great to have my reading mojo back.

What's been making you happy recently?

Friday, 8 July 2016

Favourite Beauty Products

These are some of my favourite beauty products at the moment. This isn't a sponsored post, I'm just sharing the love for products I genuinely use every day and help me feel my best!

REN ClearCalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser

It's difficult to pin down exactly what has helped my skin calm down since it started playing up last year but I definitely think this cleanser has helped. 


Norwegian Formula Deep Moisture Body Oil

If you've read my previous beauty favourite posts you might have noticed I'm a total convert to oils and this body oil is no different. I hate body lotions with a passion, I can't get over the greasy feeling it leaves on your skin. You would think oil would be the same but it sinks in really quickly just leaving your skin super soft.



Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Anti-Chip Top Coat

I always seem to find myself doing my nails about 10 minutes before I need to rush out the house so this Insta-Dri Anti-Chip Top Coat is a total life saver. It dries nails so quickly and definitely makes polish last longer.




No 7 Beautifully Matte Foundation

I love radiance foundations on other people but can't stand the shine it creates on my own combination skin, I much prefer the finish this matte foundation gives.


Clinique Moisture Surge

I love, love, love this moisturiser. It's perfect for oily or combination skin as it sinks in quickly but leaves skin feeling super moisturised and soft.


What are your beauty favourites at the moment?

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Happy Things


Here's what's been making me happy over the past couple of weeks:

1. Stephen K Amos

The night after the Brexit result  we went to see Stephen K Amos at the Udderbelly festival on the Southbank for some much needed light relief. Stephen was absolutely hilarious, I can't think of better post-Brexit therapy and I love the buzz of the Southbank at this time of year with the fairy lights and lanterns twinkling in the trees and delicious smells drifting through the air from the street food vendors.

2. My Twitter Feed

Let's just say that post-Brexit my Twitter feed has been the only thing keeping me sane. I think if I had only been reading the news I would have totally lost the plot!

3. Lake District

We went to the Lake District for my birthday and it was so lovely. I can't believe I've never been before. We had some delicious food, saw some stunning views and climbed Helvellyn. Already scheming about when I can go back! 

4. My Birthday

I was truly spoilt for my birthday, as well as P taking me to the Lake District, he bought me a box of amazing brownies from Paul A Young. I also got books and lots of very kind messages from the lovely people in my life, I feel very blessed!

5. Summer Berries

Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, all the berries! I know you can get them all year round and I'm definitely guilty of buying ones from half way round the world in the depths of winter but they taste so much better when they're in season and local.

6. Making Plans

I've got some plans to make a few much needed changes to my life and I'm excited! Fingers crossed they all work out.

7. Meeting the Parents

P met my parents for the first time and despite feeling like I was going to have a heart attack (he was as cool as a cucumber) it all went smoothly and he's got my Mum's seal of approval.

8. Customer Service

I'm a massive fan of good customer service, so have to give a shout out to MSM Tyres in Maidenhead. I'm really impressed by their service. Whenever I have a problem with a tyre they always check whether they can repair it first and if they can't they explain everything and the options fully.

9. The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck

This is my current read and I'm loving it. Giving less of a f*ck is absolutely something I need to work on.

10. Lovely Colleagues

I totally take them for granted  but I do work with some
truly amazing people. For my birthday they gave me a card with lovely messages, wine, flowers and two boxes of chocolate!

What's been making you happy recently?

Saturday, 25 June 2016

lovely links


I don't know about you but I'm feeling thoroughly depressed and can't read anymore of the news. If you're also feeling in need of a break, here are some lovely links to provide a bit of a distraction.

Courage, my friend: 20 quotes to get you through if you're freaking out about the future

Your "Ideal Partner" Will Always Create Problems

24 hours with Thyme in the Cotswolds

Because Life Doesn't Give Do-Overs

10 Extremely Precise Words for Emotions You Didnt Even Know You Had

'Clean' eating trends are creating culture of fear, warns top chef


Thursday, 23 June 2016

happy things



In case you're looking for a little light relief from all this Brexit talk, here's what's been making me happy lately. I will be voting by the way (to remain in), just a little sick of hearing about nothing else and wishing for it all to be over. Anyway on to the happy things!

1. I've probably mentioned this in previous ramblings but after a recent clear out I have to say it again, I love love love decluttering. I'm instinctively a hoarder at heart, after all who knows when that random shoe box (or 10) will come in useful? The answer to this, by the way, is always right after you throw the damn thing out. Still there's nothing more therapeutic and soul cleansing than a good clear out. I'll skip over the part where I sold an old camera on eBay and the person who bought it seems to be playing silly beggars. *Think zen thoughts, think zen thoughts*.

2. P and I cooked up a storm in the kitchen last weekend. We've achieved mixed results in our culinary attempts so far, to be fair it probably wasn't the wisest of ideas to start our baking ventures with a gluten free chocolate cake, but the steak and tartiflette we rustled up last weekend was delicious. Admittedly not the most summery of dinners but the weather's hardly behaving seasonally so why should we?

3. I managed to hammer out a 10k run, not quite sure how, because I haven't run that distance in ages. Someone probably pissed me off, I reckon I could run across America if someone annoyed me enough, stress is like rocket fuel for me when it comes to running.

4. Another food related one, my life does seems to revolve around food doesn't it, but there's probably worse things it could revolve around. Anyway I recreated Pret's Chef Italian Salad at home and it was goood. Chicken? Gooood. Cheese? Gooood. Olives? Good. Roasted Peppers? Goood.

5. I have to give a shout out to the very cute ducklings that are currently waddling around my village.

6. It looks like we're going to the Lake District for my birthday! Yay for exciting plans! Yay for going somewhere I've been meaning to visit for ages! Yay for countryside and walking and (hopefully) good food! I'm not going to mention the weather because that would be tempting fate.

7. Did you see my post on Broadway Market? I've definitely rambled about this before but nothing makes my soul happier than exploring markets, people watching, tasting delicious food and annoying  people/raising their suspicion by taking lots of photos and getting in their way.

8. I love Tesco's Tropical Granola but it's not good when sugar is second on the ingredient list, so I got all inventive and created my own non-refined sugar version. A recipe could be winging it's way here very soon.

9. I have a shiny new laptop. I know the little things are important and money can't buy you happiness, but I've been faffing about with my six year old laptop which has a broken USB port, is deadly slow and keeps shutting itself off randomly for far too long and this has made me happy so it's going on the list. 

10. And just to prove that I'm not all about the money and also that I'm not about to die from scurvy after all the steak, tartiflette and salted caramel brownies I've been scarfing recently, I've also been very much enjoying the first peaches of the season. I like them cut in half, drizzled with honey, sprinkled with a little bit of cinnamon, grilled and then served  with yoghurt - yum!

I think the world could always do with more happiness, so I've love to hear what's been making you happy recently - let me know!

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Broadway Market, London



Every Saturday a street tucked away in East London called Broadway Market comes to life with food, jewellery, art and flower stalls.




It may not be the easiest place to get to but it's well worth the effort, definitely one of my favourite places in London. I love the walk across the park from London Fields station, where there's a beautiful meadow of wildflowers in summer. 


It's the perfect place to grab a coffee and people watch. The market seems to attract quite a diverse mix of young families, couples, foodies, locals, hipsters and a few in-the-know tourists. 




It's worth exploring the streets nearby to see what hidden gems of street art you can find.




There's always a couple of incredibly talented musicians playing music that makes you want to throw caution to the wind and start dancing in the street.


And of course the food!  As you wander round, the most delightful smells of delicious food fill the air. 




I can highly recommend a Banh Mi from Banh Mi 11. 



And for dessert? You can't beat a chocolate salted caramel brownie from Bad Brownie. They haven't been voted London's best brownie for nothing (I'm drooling at my desk right now).




What are your favourite places/things to do in London? I'd love to hear your recommendations!

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

happy things


In an attempt to brighten up a bit of a grey Wednesday, here's what's been making me happy recently:

1. I had the loveliest dinner at Twist last weekend. It's a cosy, little, candlelit place in between Edgeware Road and Marylebone, not really somewhere you'd stumble across, you have to know it's there but perfect for a date. The waiter was super friendly, he made us feel genuinely welcome and was clearly passionate about the food he was serving, Good customer service makes such a difference! The food was delicious, we had wagyu beef, jamon, courgette flowers with ricotta, mint, lemon and honey, octopus with chorizo, scallops and cheesecake, all washed down with way too much wine. 

2. My boyfriend has finished his maths degree so we had our first weekend of being a normal (ish) couple. We've been dating nearly 8 months and had never stepped foot in a supermarket together before last weekend! I know it sounds super dull and this is going to make me sound like such a loser but it was kind of fun.

3. I tried out a new recipe (this Asparagus and Ricotta Lasagne) which is always a bit of a risk but I'm pleased to say it was a winner. 

4. I went for a swim for the first time in ages and it feels good to switch things up fitness wise.

5. My skin is looking pretty clear at the moment. I never really had any problems with it up until September last year, when I started getting breakouts of really red spots around my nose and mouth. Whilst I know it could have been a lot worse, it really dented my self-confidence. Nothing seemed to help, I tried giving certain foods up and using different products. I honestly have no idea why it's been better recently but I'm just enjoying it whilst it lasts in case it starts playing up again. No-one should be having to fight wrinkles AND spots - it seems so unfair!

6. My friend got engaged and I'm so happy for her because I know she's wanted it for a while. In fact this was the case with quite a few of my friends, where the girl wanted to get married and the guy put it off, what's up with that?

7. First Dates is back. Yay! Love this show!

8. We went to Fork to Fork food festival, whilst not quite up to Taste of London, it had some pretty impressive restaurants for what is effectively a school fundraiser.

9. I've been ticking lots of things off my to-do list recently and there's nothing more satisfying than watching your to-do list shrink.

10. I said no to going to something and despite someone trying to guilt trip me into going, after the initial guilt wore off, I felt great. As an introvert I'm starting to realise it's really important I get enough time to recharge and I should totally do this more often!

So that's what's been making me happy. I'd love to hear what's been making you smile!




Monday, 13 June 2016

My favourite online workouts

When I'm not able to get to the gym these free, at-home, online workouts are a total life-saver and most of them (apart from the last) don't require any equipment.

HIIT

I'm a bit obsessed with HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) at the moment. It's quick and I definitely notice the results more quickly than with any other type of workout. I always feel amazing once I'm done, dripping with sweat but ready to take on the world!


Yoga

I love, love, love Yoga with Adriene! She has a very funny, sweet and encouraging style of teaching and her positivity is infectious, I defy you to remain in a bad mood after doing one of her videos!


Pilates

This is a great introduction to the basics of Pilates, I can't wait to try out some of the harder workouts.


Ballet

This doesn't look that hard but it's a killer! If it gives me legs anything like Mary Helen Bowers it will be totally worth it though.


Strength Training

If you have dumbells, this strength training workout is great.


If you have any recommendations for online workouts, I'd love to hear them!

Friday, 3 June 2016

happy things



Here are a few things that have been making me happy lately, to try and brighten up a bit of a grey and dull Friday morning!

1. The most beautiful new bed linen, not cheap but completely worth it! And totally justifiable when you think about how many hours use you get out of it (right? right? please say yes!). I love going to bed anyway because I'm about 90 years old at heart but these gorgeous new sheets are making me even happier about snuggling up at the end of the day. SO pretty :)

2. Porridge with a few slabs of dark chocolate melted through it topped with chopped banana and honey *drool*. How have I only just discovered this? Leon aren't lying when they say it's the porridge of the gods. And yes I know it's summer but have you seen the weather recently? Definitely still porridge weather.

3. Borough Market. I paid a visit (or should I say made a pilgrimage) last Saturday. Need I say anymore? I swear it's like my spiritual home.

4. Getting back into photography. I've been posting a photo to instagram every day and I'd forgotten how much I love it. It feels good to have a creative outlet.

5. Quiet by Susan Cain. I'm only about half way through but this book has already been life changing. It truly is a must read for everyone, introverts and extroverts alike. I genuinely think it should be on the school curriculum.

6. The sporting circuits class at my gym. There's no better feeling than endorphins buzzing around your body.

7. This Jamie Oliver Salmon and Couscous recipe. Healthy, quick and tasty - a winner all round!

8. Long walks in the country. With the weather getting (slightly) better I've been venturing back out into the beautiful Cotswold countryside. So good for the soul!

9. My boyfriend finishes his exams today which means I'm no longer a revision/study widow! Yay!

10. Day trips. I'm itching to get away somewhere but as I've only just got back from a week in Jordan earlier this month I couldn't really justify it so I visited Stratford-Upon-Avon last weekend for a day trip. I love wandering around and exploring new places.