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Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Dear September.

You are the beginning of my favourite time of the year and although I can't quite believe you're here so soon, it's undeniably really great to see you.

I'm looking forward to mugs of peppermint hot chocolate, baking ginger biscuits, digging out the extra cosy pyjamas I stashed away at the beginning of summer, wearing wellies and splashing in puddles, drawing the curtains and snuggling under a blanket little earlier each evening, silly novelty slippers, listening to the patter patter of raindrops on the window and misty mornings.

An opportunity to travel may be on the horizon soon and I feel like I should be seizing it with both hands. Although there aren't many things that frighten me, aeroplanes certainly do. It's a deep fear that overwhelms my very being. And I suppose it's a little bit silly really because I have been on a plane before and it was fine. I was thirteen and oblivious to everything about flying that now scares me. My rational side knows that statistically I'm probably far more likely to step out of my front gate and be hit by a car than I am to be involved in any kind of air accident. But I can't shake my irrational side that sees a plane and shrieks danger. danger. danger.

It's a strange feeling knowing what I should do, but not being entirely sure if I'll be able to. But it's not even that I'm letting an irrational fear overwhelm a desire to travel. I admire those who possess a real need to travel, to see the world and go on great adventures. But I am not one of those people. It appears that I missed that section entirely when life dreams were being dished out. How ridiculous does that sound? I'm not that fussed about going to see another part of the world with my own eyes. Believe me, I know how silly that is. And I know that I should just do it anyway because, well, it will enhance my life experience more than staying within the familiar, and I know it would be good for me, but I suppose only time will tell if I actually make it or not.

For now it's time for a mug of hot chocolate because it's chilly and a bit rainy, and the joy of being an adult means I totally can even though it's early.

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Monday, 31 August 2015

Ten Minutes With Loved By Laura

Before we begin today, just a quick note to say thank you so much for such sweet and supportive comments on my last post. You guys are the best! But now, back to business.

Laura from Loved By Laura has to be one of the sweetest ladies in the bloggersphere right now and she was kind enough to answer a few of my questions over the weekend, so I really hope you get to know her a little better today!
Which three words would you use to best describe your blog?
Is it cheating to say Loved by Laura? That's it in a nutshell!

What prompted you to start your blog, and are there any posts you're super proud of? 
I'd been in somewhat of a funk. I had a close knit group of friends but as babies and other responsibilities came into the mix is became harder to get together. When we did manage it, talk often centred around motherhood, something I'm not quite ready for yet. I really missed being able to have a properly girly chat about the simple, uncomplicated things in life that still interest me, like the latest beauty discovery, a new recipe or a fitness class I'd tried, or even to be able to say 'hey, anyone free this afternoon?' and be off having a little adventure within two hours!

I'd been reading other people's blogs for years so eventually I plucked up the courage to start my own. It's probably the best decision I've ever made!

Through my blog I've discovered this whole amazing, supportive community that I never knew existed and have been lucky enough to make some firm friends 'in real life' as a result of it all too. My friends 'before blogging' have been very understanding and encouraging about it; I now consider myself lucky enough to have two awesome circles of friends.

I'm proudest of the posts which have helped people, whether it's how to make custom URLs in Blogger, a kitchen hack or how to make a really impressive looking meal that's actually really simple! Here are a few of my favourites:

Name three things that have made you happy recently.
  1. I went to see my parents on Sunday and was surprised at the door by two adorable new puppies who nearly bowled me over. My parents lots their 14 year old dog a few months back and it was great to see these two balls of mischief making them smile again. Plus playing with puppies is up there on the list of ideal days for me!
  2. The return of the Great British Bake Off. I actually wake up thinking 'ooh it's Wednesday: Bake Off tonight!' 
  3. I just found out that I got shortlisted in the #bloggersblogawards Up & Coming Lifestyle category. I'm completely over the moon right now and still can't quite believe it. 

Your recipe posts never fail to make me feel incredibly hungry! What is your favourite think to make and your favourite thing to eat?
Oh thank you! Hands down the most fun thing I make is duffins, which are a cross between doughnuts and muffins. They are so easy to make and you get covered in butter and sugar. The only thing is I can't make them too often as they are literally butter and sugar!

I love to eat anything made by my husband. Not only does he make some killer dishes, but food tastes so much better when someone else has gone to the effort for you.

You're hosting a dinner party and you've invited three people you really admire. Tell us a little about them and why they inspire you. 
  1. Rich Roll - I listened to his book Finding Ultra a while back, which documents his journey from obesity to ultra marathon/iron man success. He's an amazing inspiration of what can be achieved if you only decide to take that first step. 
  2. Mary Berry - I'll be honest here, I just want to chat to her about food! 
  3. Angelina Jolie - I know she's not everyone's cup of tea, but I really admire her for doing exactly as she wants to and not being afraid to change as she grown into herself. I bet she has some amazing stories to tell... 

Name your three favourite beauty products of the moment. 

What does your perfect weekend look like? 
Saturday would be some kind of fun day out with my girlfriends; maybe an activity of some kind or a bit of pampering before putting the world to rights over great food and a cheeky cocktail or two. Sunday would be a lay in with my hubby and the cats, brunch, a bit of baking and then movies. If I can stay in PJs all day, even better!

If you could only keep 5 possessions, what would they be and why? 
Assuming that pets/people don't count (because they'd always come first!):

My wedding ring, phone, laptop, Vitamix and camera. So basically ALL gadgets that keep me blogging!

- Quick Fire Round -

Are you an early bird or a night owl?

Sweet or savoury? 

Summer or winter?

Currently listening to?
Jenny Purr's Make It Happen Podcasts - so inspiring

Currently watching?
Lots - I'm a bit of a TV and movie junkie! Pretty Little Liars / Agent Carter / True Detectives to name a few

Currently reading? 
Nothing! I've been struggling to get into anything recently. All suggestions welcome, I need a big epic novel/series to get stuck into...

Your three favourite blogs of the moment? 
There are SO many to choose from, but I always love these!

Cider with Rosie - she's just got married and I've loved reading about how she's settling into married life, just as much as the run up to the wedding
The Elle Next Door - Ellie is hilarious and the only youtuber I regularly tune in to watch
Style Lingua - whether it's fashion, travel or general musings I always love reading what Carolin has to say

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Friday, 28 August 2015

On Blogging, Feeling a bit Lonely & Forming Connections

Somewhere I lost sight of the sparkle that beamed whenever I was doing something blog related. It wasn't the layout. It wasn't my failed attempts to use social media adequately. It was the life curation. Editing out the meh bits sounds so brilliant, but in trying to pretend everything was fabulous all the time I forgot to let myself feel sad. Or overwhelmed. Or confused. Reader surveys told me 'woe is me posts' were awful. They weren't intended to read in that way. I wasn't a great writer back then, not that I am now, but I wasn't in a good place. It turns out, despite me thinking I can process everything in a fairly rational way so thoughts become almost entirely unimportant within a few minutes, not having some kind of outlet, a place to talk freely as and when things pop into my head isn't great. 'In real life' I'm a quiet person. I don't necessarily talk about how I'm feeling or what's going on. That's not to say I don't understand those comments. I totally do. You've had a really bloody long day at school/work/the beck and call of small children and you just want to read about beauty, look at a gorgeous outfit, or bookmark the best looking cake recipe you've ever seen in the hopes that you'll have enough time to try and recreate it one day soon. You don't want a window into someone's existential crisis.

With so many stunning blogs that have very focused and consistent posts, I'm almost entirely convinced you don't choose to stop by sailboat to see those things. Because I'm not focused. And I'm not consistent. But I am a bit lonely. Connecting with people isn't something that comes easily to me. Very recently the spectacular Tori has come into my life. We're similar in many ways. But she has this incredible ability to connect with people and make them feel like they're the most important person in the world as she's speaking to them, or listening intently to what they have to say. And I know that because that's exactly how she makes me feel. That's an intrinsic and very organic part of her nature. And somehow I've found myself exchanging lengthy emails with someone I've only known exists for a week, because I took a leap and actually said something without automatically assuming no one would care or be able to relate. To be honest it's been a bit of a revelation and I can't thank Tori enough for rebooting a little part of me I feared might have shut down forever. 

There's no danger of me going for the 'laying absolutely everything out for the world to see' thing. There's no intention to dump all of my earthly concerns or burdens on to you. But in between the beauty posts (because I still bloody love make up), or wishlists (because I still bloody love looking at pretty things), monthly lifestyle favourites (because I still bloody love weird things), or things that make me happy posts (because I still bloody love being happy as often as possible and appreciating the little things!) there may be more general musings. If they're vague they're not cryptic, they're just imperfect, unfinished thoughts that may once have been scribbled down on the back of a napkin and lost forever, or worse, lodged at the back of my mind forever being dwelt upon, that I'm noting down in order to hopefully approach them in a more objective way.

They won't always be particularly important. Will I ever eat oats for breakfast, or is toast just my thing forever? Or sad. This really hurts, do you know what will make me feel better? Or serious, because sometimes they'll just be plain silly. Is it possible to go through life without having to iron anything? People keep telling me I should at least own an iron, but I think that sounds like a bit of a slippery slope! And if you're ever feeling something similar, maybe we can connect and try and figure it out together? A problem shared is a problem halved. Not always the case, but sometimes another perspective, another mind with a different way of processing thoughts can open minds to something completely new and previously unfathomable.

Hello, my name is Jennie.
Would you like to be friends?

Banks -  This Is What It Feels Like 

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P.S. Please welcome my 'All Aboard' partner for August, Loved by Laura
And please also say hello to Emilia Leigh and Laugh with me LeLe