27 December 2016

GOODBYE 2016

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Well 2016, you've been a tricky little sod haven't you? 

I can't write a post like this without acknowledging all the 'greats' that we have lost this year. It seems like a year where many of the worlds most talented individuals have been called on from our little planet to a more peaceful existence. Unfortunately I have known more than one friend this year who has also lost someone very close to them, and my heart and love goes out to them too (as always).

Not only has 2016 brought with it a lot of sadness (and political madness), but it has also brought along some positive changes to my life and, for that, I am eternally grateful. It doesn't pay to only think of the sad times, so I want to round off the year with some thoughts about what this year has been about for me, and set my mind towards, what I hope will be, an amazing 2017.

One of the things I see many people doing, at the start of a new year, is giving themselves a word or a phrase, as a point of focus and motivation for the days that follow. I have never done this before (although I am considering it for the coming year) but, upon reflection, I would say that my word for 2016 has been transformation. This year has been the year of allowing myself to transform into the person I have always wanted to be or perhaps the person I have always been inside but been afraid to show. I have shifted spiritually, mentally and physically in the last twelve months and whilst a lot of things have been because of a direct intention, some changes have come about naturally or as a result of one of the other components changing. 

The biggest transformation for me has to be the physical one. The decision I made, in April, to sign up to work with Olly Foster (his 12 week ART programme) was one of the best choices I made this year. Not only have I seen many physical changes and learnt so much about nutrition and weight loss, but my mental health has improved more than I can say. I cannot thank Olly, his team and the community of other people doing his training enough for the constant support and encouragement. Because of this programme I have more knowledge to go forward into 2017 and set realistic goals for myself. I have gained a totally new mindset toward food and training now which will stay with me forever.

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Without this physical transformation I know that other areas of my life would not have seen such positive results this year. I have had to learn to become more resilient, which is something I am still working on. Along with my new found inspiration to eat healthy and train more frequently, came much more negativity from people around me than I could have anticipated. I found myself having to become more self-focused and let comments slide off me, or else I was never going to achieve my goals. I have also become a lot more able to tune in to my intuition this year and really pay attention to what feels like the right path to follow or the right decision to make for me. I have read a whole load of books, listened to many, many podcasts and watched countless videos on-line about tuning in and aligning to your 'truth' and, you know what, it feels bloody amazing to be learning more about that stuff. It feels like I am discovering who I really am and I don't care what people think about that part of me anymore. I am 'woo-woo' and proud damn it!

Alongside the shift in following my intuition came the need to become a little more brave in my actions and reactions. This is a work in progress but I am slowly getting better at worrying less. So much has happened to people around me this year that you simply have to learn to be a bit more relaxed about the way things could turn out because, ultimately, worrying will not change anything. Joe and I are smack bang in the middle of finally making some huge life decisions and that is because we have seen some crappy things this year and so it feels right to move forward now. Standing still won't make changes happen and that is probably the most recurring message to come out of the year we are just about to leave behind.

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Because I made a choice to commit to a few other things this year I have had to accept that my business goal, of launching Leaf Lane Studio in the autumn of this year, had to be pushed back but, do you know something, I am so pleased, because I feel so much more capable now. I am going to take on 2017 with determination and passion, but I will tell you my goals for the new year ahead in a separate post very soon.

If you are still with me and made it to the end of this extremely long post then I truly salute you! If you have the energy to comment and tell me what this year has been about for you then I would love to know!

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22 December 2016

TAKING STOCK | DECEMBER 2016

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The end of 2016 is approaching so fast and, this time of year usually signals completely surrender to food and sleep and relaxation but, right now, I am super busy and my mind is all of a blur with things that will be happening in the New Year to come. For now though, lets round up December and all its goodness!

Making :: lots and lots of watercolour Christmas cards for people at work. This year I desperately wanted to work on my painting and, what better way to do it then paint forty individual cards huh?!
Cooking :: Christmas treats for work buddies.
Drinking :: one, very yummy, peach Bellini, at our lovely anniversary dinner. Needless to say, it went straight to my no-drinkers head (but was thoroughly enjoyed anyway!).
Reading :: hardly anything worth mentioning. I have some books to finish and some wonderful books to start in the New Year but I have been so busy painting that I haven't had any time to read.
Wanting :: almost everything on the Gym Shark website! I adore this long-line crop top and this vest top but am lusting after a whole load of their hoodies and joggers too.
Looking :: red nosed for the most part of this month, thanks to my lingering cold.
Playing :: Heart-Extra Christmas on the radio! I am still not tired of the festive songs :-)
Deciding :: to have a go at Vlogmas, before swiftly realising I have the most boring month ever ahead (but I'm doing it anyway!).
Wishing :: the world was a little more peaceful, such craziness is happening right now and it is just so sad.
Enjoying :: last minute road trips and big life-changing plans.

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Watching :: many festive films, lots of Vlogmas videos and Breaking Bad (again!).
Waiting :: (patiently) for Christmas dinner... aren't we all?!
Liking :: having the pretty fairy lights on early in the morning, before the day starts up.
Wondering :: what 2017 will bring.
Loving :: my work pals new puppy, Huxley. He is super cute.
Hoping :: to open an Etsy shop really soon.
Marvelling :: over the pretty winter mornings.
Needing :: more art supplies. 
Smelling :: mulled wine at the Salisbury Christmas Market, I haven't has any so far this festive season.
Wearing :: my lovely, new, H & M chelsea boots that Joe got me for Christmas. They are so comfortable and perfect to wear with skinny jeans, plus they have a fleece lining, which makes them super-warm.
Following :: my intuition so much more (and actually feeling better for it). It is so freeing to really listen to yourself when you are struggling to make decisions or trying to understand why you feel a certain way. I have been consciously trying to delve a bit deeper into my head when faced with a tricky situation and then follow what I feel is right, rather than being led by someone elses thoughts and it feels great!
Noticing :: way more lines around my eyes then I am comfortable with.
Knowing :: that I am feeling more brave then I was a year ago.
Thinking :: about what to do this New Years Eve and wondering whether lounging about in a onesie is acceptable!

Have a wonderful Christmas guys, whatever you are doing!

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11 December 2016

WEEKLY GRATITUDE

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Another week down (which means Christmas is coming along fast!). This weeks grateful list is a very festive one, as you would probably expect! I hope you guys have all had an amazing week, come and have a chat in the comments and let me know what you have been up to this week! If you are in to all things festive, and you haven't checked out the super guest post titled 'Winter', by Lucy Fisk from the blog Tired from Whitstable, then you really should. Thanks again for writing for my little blog Lucy, you are awesome!

On to this weeks gratitude list:

:: On Monday this week Joe and I went out for an amazing dinner at Bills in Salisbury. I had a very tasty Peach Bellini, a burger and sticky toffee pudding with caramel sauce and ice cream. It was such a lovely treat and we were super grateful to get a free box of truffles on our way out too. After the meal we took a stroll into the Guildhall Square, where they have the Christmas Market. It was closed at that time of night, but all the twinkly lights were so pretty. It was such a great evening.

:: This week I was very fortunate to receive some gorgeous Narcissus through the post from my fab hubby. The smell of Narcissus in the winter fills me with joy! I love them so much.

:: In a successful attempt to make me feel super-festive my lovely work colleague, who for confidentiality reasons I will call 'total nut job', decorated my office to look like Santa's grotto. There are paper chains, trees, a rather drunk looking robin, tinsel and even baubles filled with yummy treats! It was such a wonderful surprise and it means you can't enter the office without feeling super happy.

:: Yesterday Joe made mince pies, from scratch (yep, pastry and everything!), and they were bloody amazing (worth breaking the macro-counting to experience!).

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:: Small Christmas trees! Last week Joe and I got a mini tree in Tesco's but my mum topped our tree by giving me an even cuter one, sat in sweet little Christmas bag. Thanks mum!

:: Twinkly lights throughout the house. I don't know about you guys, but I love getting up early in the morning, switching on all the Christmas lights and sitting with a cup of tea and enjoying the silence. It is such a magical moment to experience. Recently I have been getting up and sitting downstairs to paint my Christmas cards and have been loving every minute of it. I am such a geek for the festive season, it makes me all warm and fuzzy!

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:: Early morning walks in Salisbury. We had to get to town early yesterday to drop Joe's car off for a service, so we had a little wander about to kill some time and everywhere just looked so gorgeous. There is something about this time of year which brings out the romance in the scenery everywhere.

:: Last on my list this week has to be Heart Christmas radio (or whatever it is called!). Being in the kitchen with the fairy lights on and a few Christmas tunes is so much fun.

Have a fab week everyone. Don't forget that I am doing Vlogmas (in my own special way!). Click here to find Part One. If you have already seen it, then check out the next installment! I would love it if you would Subscribe to my YouTube Channel and hit the 'Like' button too, if you enjoyed a video, as it really helps to grow the channel and create more visibility. Thanks guys xx

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9 December 2016

VLOGMAS | PART ONE

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Just when you thought you had been utterly abandoned, I'm back! 

I have had a fair amount of 'stuff' going on but, mostly, I haven't been around these parts as I have been a bit poorly again. Just a cold/weird chesty thing, but I am on the mend and I am back with a post on this very random day (I don't post on Fridays these days but I decided to throw caution to the wind on this one occasion!).

As you will be able to tell from the title I am here to talk all things 'Vlogmas'. I have never done Vlogmas before, mostly because my life is not interesting enough to vlog content that is actually upload-able every-single-day! It would literally be my cat eating, then sleeping, then me yawning, for 25 days in a row. But, what I thought I would attempt is a slightly less pressured version of Vlogmas, i.e. I film everyday and then when I have enough footage I upload something! Hurrah, I am a genius!

Whilst we are talking festive things I thought I would mention a few YouTubers, who are doing vlogmas, that I am really enjoying and who are doing it a million times better than me! In my number one 'top spot' i.e. I check my subscription feed like a mad woman to see if she has posted her video yet, is illustrator Holly Exley. I go through stages with what videos feature high in my priorities and there are just some people I will not miss and Holly is one. She is just so lovely and so normal, not to mention how gorgeous her two doggies are. I like watching Holly for lots of reasons but specifically because I enjoy getting a real insight into being an illustrator and running an Etsy shop. Maddy Vian's channel is a relatively new one for me, but I am really enjoying her videos at the moment. Maddy is another illustrator and, coincidentally, a fan of Holly Exley! In terms of beauty vloggers I am watching Alix from 'I Covett Thee' and Suzie from 'Hello October'. These girls make me laugh and I just enjoy watching what they get up to. Alix's house is gorgeously decorated and I kind of like that nosy aspect of being able to watch someones everyday existence!

Anyway, without further a do, here is my very first Vlogmas... part two will be coming up over the weekend! If you enjoy my videos please head on over to my YouTube Channel to subscribe and hit the 'like' button (this really helps the channel to grow!).

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30 November 2016

'WINTER', BY LUCY FISK | GUEST POST

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When I was re-launching my new look blog, earlier in the year, I put out a little note on my Instagram account for bloggers who fancied 'sharing the love' a little and guest posting on From Lucy, with Love. The first person to get in touch was the lovely Lucy, from the blog Tired from Whitstable. Lucy's blog is open, honest and about real life, life as a hard working mum in her thirties and how she manages all the every day things that we all face (along with the special moments too of course!). 

When Lucy sent me what she wanted to post I couldn't have been happier, because it is just the sort of thing I love to read as Christmas approaches and I know you guys will enjoy it too. Pop over to Lucy's blog for a little read of her posts and give her a follow on Instagram also because she is a super lady! Over to Lucy...

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So, this is my first guest blog post, and for one of my favourite fellow bloggers From Lucy, with Love.

One of the things I love most about Lucy’s blog is her way of seeing the positives an the wonder in our world in such little things. When I was thinking about my ideas for this blog I wanted to embrace this and look at all the positives in the coming season....... Winter.

Christmas is my very favourite time of year, this part of the year seems to glow with fairy lights, hope and goodwill. It makes us think of the people we love and how grateful we are for the last year we have had and looking forward to the next one. I love that, now I have children, I can relive my own childhood through them and watch the wonder in their eyes as they find all the parcels under the tree on Christmas morning, visiting grottos and singing along with Christmas music in the car (I come from a family of car singers and the boys much to my husbands dismay are following my roots!)

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The home becomes a much bigger part of life again in the Winter. Summer for us is about being on the beach, spending time in the garden, going on long walks and enjoying the outside world around us. We do, of course, do all these things in the winter, but the bit I love most is coming home. Taking off welly boots and warm coats, little red noses, cups of warm hot chocolate and snuggling under blankets on the sofa. Cooking comfort food such as stew and dumplings and enjoying crumbles with custard. Burning lovely smelling candles and cuddling up to my boys. I love making my home warm and inviting for the winter and appreciate how lovely and warm my home is.

Winter is often seen by some to be a potentially depressing time. The thought of Christmas not surrounded by people you love or looking back at a year where you have made mistakes or are not sure where to go next or even the dark and cold weather can affect people negatively. In general we need more love and understanding in the winter, to check on people who might need some help, to visit friends or family who don’t get out much, to give some food to the local food bank that can add to someone’s Christmas or to help others to start and continue a new exercise regime or period of mindfulness in their life. If we all tried to do at least one of those things how many peoples lives could we touch? Wouldn’t that make winter a brighter season for all?

What do you love about Winter? What memories from childhood do you have about Christmas, the colder months, the sights, smells and tastes of the season? Does the thought of snow leave you all warm inside or do you have happy memories of jumping in muddy puddles and getting into a hot bath when you got home?

As John Boswell wrote ‘Winter, a lingering season, is a time to gather golden moments, embark upon a sentimental journey and enjoy every idle hour.’

Find me on my blog, Tired from Whitstable and on Instagram!

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Thank you SO much Lucy for writing this nostalgic post for my little blog. I love getting to know fellow bloggers via social media and love it even more when we can collaborate and share our blogs with our readers! 

If any of you guys reading this wish to hop on the guest post wagon (either me writing for you or you for me) then drop me an email to fromlucywithlove@outlook.com.

I would love to hear from you!
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20 November 2016

WEEKLY GRATITUDE

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^^Beautiful Salisbury Cathedral, basking in the morning light last Sunday^^

Forgive my week of silence. It has been rather a difficult one for various reasons, which I won't go into. But, I am here now, and that is what matters! I hope you have all had a great week. I have been super busy and trying to fit in all my training, despite being half human/half zombie. I am finding it hard to get home and it be dark already then have to throw myself back out the front door and head to the gym. It is so much easier when it is light! Tell me I'm not alone?!

That said, I have had many reasons to be grateful this week, despite my sleepiness:

:: Coconut peanut butter (Meridian). There are no words. It is heaven.

:: Driving home from the gym on Friday morning at 7.30am, there were yellow and orange leaves everywhere and, with the sun coming up at the same moment, everything was golden and beautifully lit. I wish I'd have had the time to pull over and take a photo of that moment because it was nature in all its glory.

:: A Bills breakfast. Despite the fact that I am still counting my macros and trying to shed a little more body fat before Christmas, Joe and I treated ourselves to a Bills breakfast on Sunday. It felt good to eat pancakes and dip croissants in chocolate sauce (oh yeah!).

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:: An early Christmas present. For so many months now, in-fact for the second winter in a row, I have been searching for a pair of chelsea boots. I wanted something fairly specific, in that I didn't want a pair that were smart, heeled boots, but something casual and sturdy and with a bit of grip! After seeing a pair on my hairdresser, Abi, that she got from Primark, and trying them on, I was even more determined. Abi mentioned a fleece lined pair that H & M had, so last weekend Joe and I went in search for them (well, actually, he was kind of bored probably!). These are the boots... they were under £30, well, just, and are super warm! Joe kindly treated me to them for Christmas... thanks Hubby!

:: 'Options' white hot chocolate (with a drop of milk). A girl has to have a treat when she's counting macros!

:: A stroll around Salisbury Cathedral square on Remembrance Sunday. We stood in the square to observe the two minutes silence and listened as 'The Last Post' played out in town and in the cathedral. As everything fell quiet, we stood and reflected on what others have done for us and admired the beauty of the day. We both always find this particular spot in town so relaxing and it is the perfect place to go to contemplate life and pay respects to those that are no longer with us.

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^^This years poppy was a knitted, glittery one^^

:: This may seem a bit of a strange thing to write, but I am most grateful this week for the fact that my hair is pretty much not falling out any more. If you saw my first Cornwall vlog recently, you will have seen me talking about the fact that my hair had been falling out in a big way for weeks and weeks. It is totally normal for the hair to shed and go through a few weeks of this, but mine had been coming out seriously and for a long time. I am not going to lie, it was making me freak out. Joe mentioned that he had read somewhere that dry-shampoo can make this happen, so I figured I had nothing to lose and stopped using it completely. I am now about three weeks on and my hair is full of life again. My hairdresser (who is getting quite the mention in this post!) told me that dry shampoo clogs up the hair follicles, so maybe there is something in it. I have also noticed that my roots seem cleaner again, so maybe that was what was going on?! If you are having a similar problem, and have had blood tests, like I did, and know everything is well, then cut the dry-shampoo and see what happens. Rant over.

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:: My little bear. Gizmo has been following me about like a little shadow for weeks now. She is super cute and I love getting up at 5am and having her follow me to the kitchen and have cuddles before I start my day. I love that little fluff ball to death.

:: Finding the time to paint. On Monday and Tuesday, whilst I stayed at mums place, I actually painted for the first time in ages and it was wonderful. My brain takes a big old breath and relaxes when I get in the zone and it really is super therapy. I will pop some photo's up on my Instagram soon.

What has been your highlight this week? Are you starting to ready yourself for the festive period? I genuinely cannot get my head around the fact that Christmas is five weeks away! Arrrggghhh!!! Panic!

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^^Aren't winter sunsets the prettiest?^^
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6 November 2016

WEEKLY GRATITUDE

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Welcome to another weekly gratitude list! This week was 'back to work after an amazing week in Cornwall' week, and I was not happy about that! (Who is happy about going back to work after a holiday?!). I always take so long to settle back into a routine after a holiday and everything feels out of sync but I am trying to be a big brave soldier and suck it up!

This week also brought with it another new month (how?) and also... Christmas adverts galore! No, DFS, I do not want a sofa delivered before Christmas but I am looking forward to seeing what the John Lewis advert has in store for us this year, it always makes me cry and I am sure this year will be no different.

On a little side note, I am linking both my Cornwall vlogs at the end of this list, so if you want to have a little mooch then you can watch them right here or head over to my YouTube channel (where I would love you forever if you subscribed!).

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Let's get started on the lovely stuff that has made it onto this weeks 'Gratitude List'...

:: First frosts. On Thursday, when I left home at 6.20am (eek!) it was foggy and frosty and very, very wintry and cold. As much as I am not a big fan of freezing my... nose off at that time in the morning, there is something about it which holds a bit of magic and nostalgia isn't there?

:: Berries on the trees. This sparks similar feelings to the frost and fog, but I love seeing the berries on the trees, especially as they are such a wonderful contrast to the frost and other gorgeous colours that are around this time of year.

:: Noticing an increase in confidence. Let me be less vague... this week I went off to a wedding industry event in London (a place that terrifies me to my very core!). I went last year too and was so scared of getting on a train and walking about the place in general that I was in a state of anxiety almost all day. This year I got on the train, feeling fine and not at all anxious. Helena (my usual partner in crime) and I jumped on the tube... well, actually, we queued and got shoved onto a very packed tube, and stood 'tooth to tooth' with other commuters (the thought of which would have brought on a huge panic attack last year). Now, I won't lie, that specific adventure wasn't top of my list of experiences to repeat, but I tell you about it because I bloody did it. If you have suffered from anxiety or panic in your life you will know what an achievement that is! I am grateful for all the work I have been doing over the last 12 months that has helped me reach this point (at last!).

:: Planning the future. Joe and I are on a mission to do something we have wanted to do in forever. Watch this space, but plans are happening and it is becoming real. You guys will be the first to know, well, maybe not the first, but you will be way up there (and before you ask... no... it's not a baby!).

:: Gizmo cuddles. Since we got back from Cornwall and picked up our little bear she has been very cuddly and very clingy. On Tuesday morning, as I sat putting my make up on, she was snuggled up behind me with both paws clinging on to my pjamas! So cute.

:: Tea. I am always grateful for tea but, recently, a cup of tea has been such a comfort in the evening.

:: Painting inspiration. The other day I had such a flood of inspiration for ranges for Leaf Lane Studio, that I couldn't scribble them down quick enough. I love those moments!

What has been top of your gratitude list this week? Let me know in the comments!

Now... the Cornwall vlogs! Enjoy!

Part One:
Part Two:
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2 November 2016

CORNWALL DIARIES | THE EDEN PROJECT

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Visiting The Eden Project has become a tradition for Joe and I every time we visit Cornwall. It's not that you are deprived of nature in Cornwall or anything, but this place is so thoughtful and so magical, it is a must-see, for us anyway. I have been several times of year, throughout various seasons, but this time was hands down the most beautiful.

This visit was particularly wonderful for me as they had a special little section within the Mediterranean biome which showcased a local owl rescue sanctuary called 'Screech Owl Sanctuary'. They had three gorgeous owls there to help spread awareness about what they do, and I got to stroke the teeny, tiny one named Cleo (picture below). She was fully grown but oh-so-tiny and so very soft! At six months old it was her first outing from the sanctuary and she looked a little overwhelmed, bless her, but she did so well. It made me super emotional but it was a wonderful experience.

I highly recommend you go if and when you are in Cornwall and, when you buy your tickets, be sure to donate the ticket money to The Eden Project as this ensures that your ticket is valid for a whole 12 months too... win-win situation all round. I will also be posting some vlogs from our week away over the next few days, which include our time at Eden, so hang fire for those too. 


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30 October 2016

WEEKLY GRATITUDE

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This week I am bringing you the mother of all gratitude lists! You see, being in Cornwall brings me so many reasons to be grateful and so much to share with you all. The food (oh, the food!), the nature, the visits to such amazingly beautiful places and all the other things in-between. Let's do this...

:: Fresh sour dough bread with butter. I haven't had bread since May. I felt so bloated afterwards but it is a treat that I didn't regret!

:: A little chat with a very sweet older gentleman about woodcarving techniques. He had some funny stories to tell and I loved talking to him.

:: Exploring a new coastal path that led to the beautiful Gwenver beach, pictured above. It was stunning and I have wanted to find this beach for a while but have never realised how to get there.

:: Trying two flavours of cake at The Eden Project (we had half chocolate and half Victoria sandwich each). Oh my goodness guys... heaven on a plate.

:: Stroking a little owl called Cleo at Eden; more to come in Wednesdays post.

:: Witnessing a little seal following a guy who was paddle-boarding in Carbis Bay. We spoke to him after he came out the sea and he said he hadn't realised it was there. The seal was staring in at us chatting and looked disappointed that his play-mate was no longer in the water!

:: Yummy fish and chips from Beck's in Carbis Bay :-)

:: Painting watercolour scribbles on the balcony after a long day of walking, with a hot cup of sweet tea.

:: Finding one of my favourite artists new gallery spaces. I have adored Kurt Jackson for a long time and his gallery in St Just is stunning. We had it completely to ourselves right until the last minute, which was pretty special for me.

:: Having a thick old layer of peanut butter for the first time in months.

:: Afternoons spent curled up in bed for an hour of reading and napping and watching the dogs playing on the beach from the bed (how luxurious it was to watch the sea from bed!).

:: Sheltering from the rain in St Ives in a tiny crystal shop. I left with a few bits and bobs and am glad the rain took us in there.

:: This week, the lovely Peta, from the fab blog '24 Hours in Today', mentioned me in her post 'Positive Friday' and, honestly guys, it made my day (yep, I got all emotional as usual!). Peta is so sweet and friendly (not to mention so gorgeous) and I love following her on Instagram and YouTube (as well as her blog of course!). You guys should definitely check her out :-)

:: Finding some very fluffy, very big cows wandering the coast road between St Ives and St Just. They were casually munching on grass and looked very chilled out with life.

There you have it, my highlights from this week... now you know why I have to live there! You cannot go a day without finding a list of things to be grateful for.

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23 October 2016

THE DIFFERENCE A PLACE CAN MAKE

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This week I am switching up my usual Sunday post to talk to you from, and about, my favourite place in the UK, Cornwall. If you have hung around here long enough, you will already know that this County is my dream home and I will call it home someday for sure. Everything about the place makes my soul feel rested and at ease, whilst encouraging a sense of belonging to appear in my mind... and that feels pretty amazing.

When we arrived yesterday, and starting unloading the car of our many bags, I was totally overwhelmed with emotions, because I always get this feeling wash over me of 'I'm home'. The smells, the sounds, everything about the place pulls me in. There are so many reasons for loving it here and I thought I would use this post to list out a few of them...

:: Coastal walks. There are so many to choose from, so many little hidden coves and tiny paths that wind along the coast, hugging you tight to the land but allowing for a stunning glimpse out to sea, out into the nothingness. Feeling nature over power you or watching the weather come in from the sea is an experience I could certainly deal with daily. 

:: Seals, birds and sea-life. Need I say more? Walk up to Godrevy and you will see all the seals shuffling about and hear them gently barking to each other. The sound travels up to the cliff edge, where you can stand and watch as they bravely drag themselves out into the waves to play or feed. Many a walk has been interrupted by bird running across the path (scaring us half to death), a caterpillar rescue mission (I was concerned he would be squashed!), and even a snake or two, sitting dozily in the undergrowth. Nature is where I feel my best and I cannot get enough.

:: Night times out at sea... seeing the little fishing boats bobbing up and down with a little light blowing about in the wind, or watching a huge ship passing on the horizon with just a faint twinkle of light out there seems magical to me. It's easy to forget what is still happening whilst we sleep warmly in our beds.

:: Windswept hair. Finally a place for my hair to fit in! I adore the sea-salt / wavy / slightly messy hair look and I can only really achieve it here. No amount of sea-salt spray from Boots can achieve the natural 'I have just been on the beach for a walk' look.

:: Wildflowers. I am the biggest fan of little flowers that grow in such extreme conditions and look so pretty doing it. There is never a dull moment by the sea and the colours are magnificent. You just don't get the same thing on an estate do you?!

:: Drifting off to sleep to the sound of the sea. This is probably just a holiday luxury as, I assume we won't be able to move into an apartment on the sea front when we relocate! Come on lottery!

:: Finally, and this is one of my main reasons for wanting to move here, I feel 'at my best' here. Spiritually, mentally and physically I feel like 'me' here, I feel at ease and whole. I am overcome with inspiration to create and to write and to connect with the deepest roots of myself. That may sound woo-woo to you, but that is how it is for me. I am just not a city dweller you see!

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Do you guys have somewhere you know to be your spiritual home? Maybe you are already living there. Where would be your ideal place to live and why? Let me know in the comments!

PS: I am vlogging a little this week so hang on in there for that next week! In the mean time you can see some more pictures on Instagram!

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16 October 2016

WEEKLY GRATITUDE

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^^Image: one of my little watercolour garlands^^

Whenever I sit down to write these posts I feel so calm and content because remembering all the things you have enjoyed or been grateful for in one week is such a lovely exercise. One thing I certainly haven't been grateful for this week is how cold I have been! On Thursday I think I moved around the building at work most of the day, trying to find a desk where I could feel my fingers again! I used to be the person that was always over-heating, but not anymore!

Only one more working week until half term comes along and Joe and I pack ourselves up and head to Cornwall for one whole week of relaxation, a bit of indulgent food and lie-ins by the sea. I have never been more ready to escape the everyday grind as I am right at this moment.

Lets jump in to the things I have been most grateful for this week:

:: Cozy evenings of colouring in. I mentioned, several blog posts ago now, that I had gotten into mindfulness colouring books. I thought it would be one of those fads that I tried and never did again, but I honestly love it. I encouraged Joe to have a little colour one night this week, or maybe it was last weekend, but he also loves it and we plan to take our colouring books (!) on holiday. With life being so very manic and somewhat stressful at the moment, doing this completely clears my mind. I am going to get a couple of the Lorna Scobie books off of Amazon this weekend too, as I like the variety of the pictures. If you don't follow her on-line anywhere you should definitely check out her Instagram if you like very cute animal pictures/watercolours.

:: Sweet and salty skinny popcorn. On my higher carbohydrate days I can have treats like this and discovered this only this week and love it. I know it is not nutritious or voluminous, but it is seriously yummy and feels like a proper treat these days!

:: Dark chocolate dipped in tea. As I sit typing this I am dipping my daily allowance of dark chocolate in my tea and it is so good I had to report it!

:: Seeing conkers lying on the ground; a true sign of autumn being here.

:: A surprise bunch of flowers. My lovely mum decided to buy me a bunch of flowers this week and drop them off into work for me. A colleague delivered them to me and they made me super happy. This was followed up by me arriving home to a card from her too, filled with words that really lifted me up. Thanks monkey!

:: A beautiful angel reading. If you have read my 'About Me' section, you will know already that I believe in guides and angels. Yesterday I had another reading (it's been a while) and it was the best one I have ever had. So specific that it left me all light and inspired at the end.

:: A wander around the garden centre. Today we finally went to the one of our favourite places to kill half an hour... the garden centre. They had all their Christmas bits and bobs in and it was lovely to spend some time looking around, planting the little seeds of festivity again!

I hope your weekend has been a fantastic one... if you are looking forward to the school holidays, like me, then hang on in there, just five working days to go peeps! 
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12 October 2016

CRAZY-LADY THOUGHTS

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It dawned on me at work the other day just how many absolutely ridiculous thoughts I have flying around in my skull during the day. I started to list them out and suddenly found myself giggling at how bloody daft I would seem if these things could be seen by other people, like speech-bubbles coming out my head. I thought I would celebrate my hideousness by popping a list of things on here for you all to read. The deal is that you have to tell me which ones you think about too and then tell me at least one other one! Deal? Okay...

1:: I wonder if Gizmo (our cat) is okay.
2:: When will someone invent calorie free cake?
3:: Is my nose shiny?
4:: I'm so cold.
5:: I hope Gizmo's not too cold.
6:: I must text Joe/mum/random-person-I-haven't-text-in-ages.
7:: Is it hot in here or is it me?
8:: Man, I'm ravenous.
9:: I should do the lottery.
10:: Maybe Gizmo's collar is stuck under her leg again and Joe doesn't know.
11:: Is it time to eat yet?
12:: Wow, I am so sore from training!
13:: I wish I was painting in my little office right now...
14:: What if next doors cat is sleeping in Gizmo's box and she's getting cold/wet somewhere?
15:: I need a nap.
16:: Why is my hair falling out?
17:: Am I looking older?
18:: I need a hug.
19:: I fancy a burger.
20:: I can't wait to get to the gym.
21:: How many macros are in a biscuit?
22:: I can't eat biscuits.
23:: Where are my almonds?
24:: I can't believe The Bake Off is going to Channel 4, what are they thinking?
25:: What a great job it must be to present The Bake Off...
26:: I really need to buy more plants for the house.
27:: I wish I could pin things on Pinterest for a job.
28:: What Snapchat filters are there today?
29:: Why can't I look like that Snapchat filter all the time!
30:: I need a bloody good sports massage...weekly. Why can't I afford that?
31:: I haven't drunk anywhere near enough water today.
32:: I hope Gizmo's water bowl is clean...
33:: Did I take my supplements this morning?
34:: Crap, I haven't watered the plants!
35:: How long is it until Christmas?
36:: ...Christmas biscuits....Christmas chocolate...  
37:: Is it too early to watch a Christmas film?
38:: I feel so bloated.
39:: Why can't we wear onesies to work?
40:: I wish I had some rice-cakes with me, I love rice-cakes.
41:: If I was at home I would put the kettle on and do some colouring in.
42:: What goes on in a cats head?
43:: I really want some Chelsea boots.
44:: Do I have my phone charger... yes I do, thank God (I rarely use it anyway!).
45:: I wonder if there really are parallel universe? 
46:: Shall I just have a quick look on the Mac website to see what lipstick I want next?
47:: I cannot spend any money this month.
48:: Why does vitamin B smell so bloody awful?
49:: I am so hungry, my tummy hurts.
50:: Shall I book that sky-dive? What if the parachute doesn't open? It probably will open though...

There you have it... crazy thoughts from a woman who is clearly as mad as a box of frogs! Your turn...

*Image sourced from Pinterest*
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6 October 2016

MONTHLY ROUND UP | SEPTEMBER

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September arrived and departed so fast I had to check it even happened! Work has been the busiest ever, it is getting so much darker in the mornings and colder at night, which just makes the days harder to start! But, we are now into October, one of my favourite months of the year. I love the changes in the seasons and think we are so fortunate in the UK to be able to witness such beauty within nature. The colours, the low mists, the winter sun rises/sets, the trees becoming skeletons of their summer-selves and all the wonderful winter food and hot drinks to comfort the soul... who couldn't love autumn/winter time?

For now, let's look back at September, crazy month that it was...

:: I am most proud of...
What I am most proud of this month is my hubby's amazing new album, which is coming out soon. He puts so much work into his music and is extremely dedicated and talented; I envy him in so many ways for how much commitment he has to every single second of what he does. After months and months of hearing him repeatedly playing the same song parts over and over again, and tweaking this part and that part and asking me my opinion on whether some volume or other should be higher (I never know by the way...I am rubbish!) he has finished the album. I should say they have finished the album, as it is not just Joe's work, but he is the reason it gets turned into an album and I admire his dedication massively. If you are interested in hearing some of the music you can find the band, Minus Cube, on iTunes, Spotify or check out their website of course!

On a selfish side-note: I am also very proud of my weak little arms because I can finally do full tricep press ups! Hooray! I mean, I do have to drop my knees down towards the end of a set but I am so proud of myself for achieving that mini goal!

:: During September I have been most grateful for...
Sunday morning lie-ins with a hot cup of tea and some gardening programme or other playing in the background and amazing podcasts that inspire me to just keep going, despite September being one of the hardest work months I have had in a long time. I listen to podcasts to and from work and whilst I do artwork as they really help my head stay in a positive state. Without this input I reckon I would get down so fast. (If you are interested in an updated list of my favourite podcasts please let me know in the comments and I will do a separate post for you guys).

:: I have spent the month listening to...
All sorts! I put all my old Bryan Adams albums onto my phone recently, so have been enjoying them (mega BA fan over here, I'm not even sorry). I have also had Mumford and Sons playing on Spotify too.

:: I have spent the month reading...
Not much I'm afraid. I have dipped into a few business-related books here and there but have felt too tired to read! I have just started reading the new Gabby Bernstein book 'The Universe Has Your Back', and will try and talk more about that in a blog post soon.

:: I have been watching... 
Old DVD box-sets of Mistresses, the BBC series from a few years ago. I have had endless artwork to scan, so I threw this on and have been loving it! I highly recommend it if you fancy something girly, sexy and gripping. I have also been indulging in Wolf Hall, which was shown on TV recently, but ticks my 'Tudor' obsession box in a big way! Joe and I have also binge-watched the BBC series 'People Just Do Nothing', which is bloody hysterical! It is one of those series that you just have to take for what it is but it cracks us up :-) 

:: Looking ahead to the month of October I am hoping to release...
Some of the fears I still have around progressing with my business and just getting on with what I need to do, completely free in the knowledge that it makes me feel great to do it and it is the right thing for me to do.

:: I am looking forward to...
Heading off to Cornwall for a few days break. We last went away (for a holiday) in February and we couldn't be more ready to do it again. For me, going away means a few extra treats too; something that fills me with a little anxiety, after having worked so hard to lose weight, but also fills me with excitement to have a few goodies. I am thinking fresh Cornish fish and chips, a pasty at The Eden Project (kind of a tradition for Joe and I) and maybe some cookies too. As you guys all know, Cornwall is like my spiritual home, both of ours actually, so I cannot wait to get there, get unpacked and hear the waves on the beach whilst we drift off to sleep. Heaven.

:: I am setting goals to...
Complete one business objective a week. This may not sound like much, but little steps are better than no steps at all right? Progress of any description is still progress! I am also going to be working on some artwork that I can give away nearer Christmas time as a free download to my lovely blog readers, so stay tuned for that.

I hope October brings you all lots of good things. Do you feel excitement in the air at this time of year like I do? Comment below if you do!
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2 October 2016

WEEKLY GRATITUDE

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October is here! Autumn is creeping in (and so, unfortunately, are the spiders... with one particularly big one making itself a little too comfy on our bed on Friday evening...gross!).

There is just something about October that makes me smile. I seriously love this month so much, in-fact, I am celebrating it by doing a daily photo challenge on Instagram if you fancy joining in! Click here for the post with the themes!

What has been the highlight of your week? I have had such a busy one that I haven't done too much outside of my usual routine, but there is always something to talk about and feel grateful for, so let's do this...here is what I have been grateful for this week:

:: Last Sunday, whilst mooching about in Holland and Barrett for cacao powder, as you do, I let out a small squeal of delight as I discovered a particular brand of protein bars I have wanted to try for ages, Quest bars. I have heard that they are delicious and low in carbs too, so when I saw them I grabbed two. I bought the cookies and cream and cookie dough flavours and they were both super yummy, especially considering their low sugar level. I think the cookie dough one would top it, if I had to choose but, yay to Quest bars! I think Grenade ones are still my favourite as they are a little sweeter, but they also contain higher amounts of carbs, so that is probably why. It's the small things sometimes people!

:: A new book purchase from Amazon arriving in time for a Saturday night read! I am really into books about intuition, allowing ourselves to just 'be' within the world/universe and spirituality at the moment. Having read 'Black is the New Light' recently, by Rebecca Campbell, and adored it (I mean seriously adored  it!), I went hunting for books along a similar subject. I saw the new one by Gabrielle Bernstein, titled 'The Universe Has Your Back' and jumped on it immediately. I shall let you know what it's like soon!

:: One of my favourite songs ever is a Bryan Adams song called 'Please Forgive Me', which is a soppy one (just to warn you) but I love it. This week, whilst listening to Spotify, I stumbled across a version of this song which stopped me in my tracks! It is so very beautiful. It is a version recorded live with a full orchestra and the strings just make the song so much more wonderful.

:: Sunday morning onesie snuggles. Yep, you heard it right, the onesie is out and I am proud! We are kind of refusing to put the heating on just yet, but we sat quite happily in our fluffy suits (that sounds a bit dodgy huh?!) whilst we had tea this morning!

:: Funny desk presents. This week there have been great discussions at work about the need for a school dog (how amazing that would be!). I was doing some kind of 'crazy-cat-lady' waffling on about wanting to get a cat I could name 'Muggle' and when I arrived on Thursday morning there was little Muggle, sat on my desk, with his little comb and collar on. It really doesn't matter that it was a childs toy, it cheered me up no end! Thanks CB, you eternal nut job!

:: Tights. I have just dug out the good old tights! One of the many reasons I love this season: snuggly tights, scarves and knits! Bring it on weather, I'm ready!

I hope you have all had a fab weekend guys and girls, let me know what your highlight has been in the comments! Don't forget I post on Wednesdays too - did you see last Wednesdays post?
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28 September 2016

AM I TOO OLD FOR THIS?

I have a confession to make. 

I want some dungarees. 

Am I having some kind of mid-life crisis? Maybe, maybe not, but either way, I may get some, or a dungaree dress at least, just for fun! Actually, I could probably get away with the dress with a cute pair of boots and a stripey, long-sleeved, t-shirt, better than I could the 'proper' dungarees!

I know I am a 35 year old woman, but I suddenly have the urge to rock this look and have been 'pinning' merrily away recently and window shopping on-line recently to find something that could be worth the investment. Today I thought I would share some of my favourites I have seen on-line and also some of the inspiration I found on Pinterest too! Let me know what you think (but keep your Rod, Jane and Freddy comments to yourselves please!).

*On a side note, I went shopping last weekend and overheard a teenager saying to her mum 'mum, you'd look super cute in these dungarees, like a decorator!'. It'll definitely be the dress then!*



^^I probably could never get away with rolled up dungarees and heels but I love the look! My go to autumn/winter style is warm bobble hats, stripes and red lips, so I am half way there surely? Picture taken from Pinterest^^


^^Cosy knits. pastel colours and un-done hair... heaven to me. I loved putting this mood board together. It says 'Sundays lounging around at home' to me without a doubt. Image from Pinterest^^
^^ I honestly think I would wear this. Thick tights, ankle boots and a chunky cardigan (and a bobble hat of course!). For an older age group I think this is more acceptable, what do you think? Image from Pinterest^^
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