Friday, 27 February 2015

My Morning Routine


Ever since we moved back to Manchester, I have gotten into the habit of not cringing when the alarm goes off. For a start, it's two hours later than what it used to be in Peterborough. I will not miss that 5am beeping. The bags under my eyes are breathing a sigh of relief and are hopefully disappearing slowly but surely.

Waking up is now something I'm happy to do and I've been honing my morning routine over the last three months to give me the get up and go that I need to tackle the day. As I live so close to work I could actually get away with setting the alarm for 8, even 8.30 if I was feeling daring. This is what I used to do in London when I lived the same distance from my job. But there was something about that which was leaving me unsatisfied with the rest of the day.

Flashback to 2011 before I started this blog. I worked at New Look which was varying shifts starting from 7am to 5pm. This wreaked havoc with my body. It didn't help that I stayed up late and woke up just before I would need to leave for my shift, no matter what time it started - even 5pm. This is something I advise against as it leaves you feel like you're on the never ending treadmill of work, eat, sleep. Just horrible.

Even though I'm now on a schedule (9-5 baby) I cannot get away with that same attitude of just waking up to get ready for work and go. So from the week that I begun my new job, I started waking up at 7.30am. This gave me time to shower, have a leisurely breakfast and read some blogs for about 50 minutes before getting ready to leave for work. Nice. This combined with me making sure I'm in bed by 10.30 has been such a life changer. No feeling guilty if I happen to stay up a little later because as long as I'm asleep by midnight, I get at least 7 hours sleep.

But recently, especially since getting the kittens, I decided that I could get so much more done if I got up at 7am. That would give me an hour and 20 minutes of free time before having to go to work. Think of the things I could get done in that time. Reading about morning routines of successful people tends to be full of meditation and yoga but I think it's about finding what works for you. Maybe I could use my wii fit (after wiping the 3 years of dust off it) or schedule some blog posts or tidy the house. Do the things I'm too tired (lazy) to do when I get home.

I find that I'm the kind of person who gets most motivated when I'm unable to do what I want. Ideal isn't it? Finding myself thinking about things I could blog about while I'm at work is my worst attribute. So many yellow post-its are floating inside my bag. And then I lose my motivation by the time I put my key in my front door. So if I get up a bit earlier than I can get through all the things that I feel like doing during the day. Morning appears to be a time when I feel like getting things done - yep, I was surprised too.

So I'm going to continue this little experiment of mine and see what I can get done when I wake up early in the morning. Are you with me?

What's your morning routine?

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Podcasts I listen to

These days, I listen to a lot of podcasts. They're ideal for when your hands are busy but your brain is not. Cleaning particularly. Here's what I've been listening to recently:

Go Bayside


After seeing this discovery by Caramel Latte Kiss's blog - I had to take a listen for myself. If you watched Saved by the Bell as a kid, you will love it. April Richardson along with a different guest each week watch an episode of Saved by the Bell then discuss it in meticulous detail. It's hilarious - and Zach is a sociopath.

DIS unplugged


The times that I am not in Disney World, I wish I was there. Obsessed? Yes, I will whole-heartedly admit it. This podcast gives me my weekly dose of the parks. I'm finding it useful for tips that I can use when Topher, the crew and I go in October (can't wait!). There's also a spin off for Universal. *Geek*

Raise your hand. Say yes.


I only discovered this podcast last week thanks to The Laughing Medusa's blog post but I'm already in love with it. For those who love to be creative and aspire to make it their full time job, this podcast is inspirational.



This appears to be a new podcast though the concept itself is not. There's a whole website dedicated to their books, stage performances and tv spot interviews. Basically people get up on stage and read out things they wrote as teenagers. Things like diary entries, love letters etc. It's pretty hilarious. I was hooked from the first episode. Good for a laugh.

No such thing as a fish


If you like random facts then there's no program better than QI. This podcast is done by the "elves" behind the program and is ideal for learning something new. I used to listen to this on the train when I was commuting.

The High Tea Cast


For women who don't give a... After attending a talk by the lovely ladies of this podcast last year at Blognix, I have looked forward to every episode. If you're looking for a podcast that makes you feel like you're listening to a couple of friends chat about life then subscribe now. It's full of current events, interviews and lots of giggles.

What are your favourite podcasts?

Monday, 23 February 2015

Meadowhall trip


Last weekend I took the train to Meadowhall to meet with my family. Due to it being a Sunday, train times weren't regular so I ended up waiting an hour in Starbucks for them to arrive. No bother for me. I enjoyed a hot chocolate and a pastry while reading blogs on my iPad. Prepared. I forgot how nice it is to just sit and read in a coffee shop. I'm usually rushing about so it's a rare occurrence for me. 

When it came to the time when the shops started opening, I decided to have a wander while I waited. First stop, Dorothy Perkins. Destination, the sale section. I got quite lucky considering how small the section is (the sale is pretty much over). I managed to find a pair of purple jeggings in a size 12 for just a tenner. They were a petite but fit my short legs just fine. And even better, when I got to the till I remembered that I had about £16 left on a gift card from my birthday last year. Score!

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Finally my family arrived and it was off to look around some more shops. We were stuck in Holister for awhile thanks to my brother and my auntie but I kept myself amused taking snaps for instagram with my new Paperchase postcards. Though it's still pretty dark in there I have to admire their floor. Pretty! The main reason for my Paperchase visit was to pick up a couple of things to top off the parcel for my #springtimesurpriseproject partner. Post to come later on that. But of course it being me, I had to get a few postcards myself. Only 60p each though so not enough to break the bank. 

Next stop was lunch. TGI Fridays as chosen by my cousin. The less said about this place the better. I never thought I'd see the day where I'd be disappointed by a quesadilla. On the bright side, I really liked the decor of the place.



After that it was followed by more wandering around the centre. It's been such a long time since I last visited which is funny since I practically used to live here as a teen. A couple of weekends a month, my mum and I would drive the hour journey over to shop, have some lunch then go and visit my grandparents. I was a bit of a lonely teen so I used to enjoy these visits immensely. How times have changed. 


Before heading to Primark, we stopped in Topshop and Debenhams. The latter where I bought a dress reduced to £10 in the sale and the former where I was surprised at how bored I was. What has happened to the clothes in Topshop? I've never seen so much black, white and beige in my life. Where's the colour? I hope it's just this store - Topshop is the majority of the time too expensive for me but I usually love walking around for inspiration. 

When it came to Primark, I really reigned myself in and just got things that I needed and things that were a complete bargain like the leather jacket below. Only £10! That'll be ideal for when Spring finally makes an appearance.


The toiletries bag that I've had for around 10 years finally died on our Florida trip so it was time to pick up a new one. I love the nautical style of this and it's a decent size to fit all my bits. 


For those who love Disney and Harry Potter, I would get yourself down to Primark soon as there is a massive choice at the moment for t-shirts. I couldn't help myself when I found this Hufflepuff t-shirt for £6. This type of thing would set you back double or triple the price in the Wizarding World in Florida. This will be saved for October when we visit next. 

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And of course in true February on the high street style, all the sandals and summer clothes are beginning to make an appearance. By the time you actually get the warm weather or go on holiday they're all gone so I took this opportunity to get a couple of basics. This vest will be ideal for work as I'm told it's like a furnace in the office during the summer months. And these shoes will go with everything. They remind me of a pair I saw in Accessorize last year, only these are about a quarter of the price. Sold. 


Pickles approves.

What have you bought recently?

Friday, 20 February 2015

Depop - The purge begins!

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So I finally stopped beating around the bush and as of yesterday I officially started purging my clothes. I originally thought of eBay but I think I'll save that for the vintage stock I have left over from my Afflecks days. For the wardrobe purge of 2015, I am giving Depop a go after seeing it on other blogs over the last year.

Depop is an app where it is super easy to sell your clothes. Just take a photo, put in a description & all the info, link to your paypal account and publish. Anyone can take a look and buy if they're interested. Best of all, it's free. I like the idea of being able to put fixed price on your items but the one downside is that there's no time limit. This stuff could be sitting there for months if no one wants it. But I guess it's all about putting up quality items and using social media to your advantage.

One of my 2015 goals is to organise and one of my 30 before 30 goals is to create a capsule wardrobe so this is helping me get there. As well as losing over 2 stone in the 18 months, I'm just tired of looking at the same things on my rail (I haven't had a wardrobe since first year of uni). I feel like my clothes haven't changed much in the last 3/4 years - I however, have. So a couple of nights ago I bit the bullet and stood in front of my clothes. Everything that I both loved and still fit got a piece of pink washi tape around the hanger. Everything else goes. And that's a lot of stuff.

I'm starting slow where I'm going to put up a few pieces a day - fingers crossed it sells. Any money I make is going into my new wardrobe fund. I'm not left with much at all so there's plenty of work to do in the shopping department. Check out my page.

Are you on Depop? Link me to your page. If not, have you heard of it?

Thursday, 19 February 2015

One month on: Pickles and Luna


I can't believe it's only been a month since Pickles and Luna came into our lives. It feels like we've had them forever. It's been such a learning curve, especially in the first couple of weeks. Suddenly having two little lives that rely on you is a scary thing but it's a challenge we've been wanting for a few years now. The first fortnight was the hardest. Topher and I didn't get anything else done as we were purely concentrating on looking after the two of them. Now we're all in a routine and it works really well for us.



In the beginning we were so worried that they wouldn't get along but it's amazing how quickly they took to each other (in hindsight) - even if there was some hissing and growling the first couple of days. Those days were the longest. But we came out the other side. Pickles' adores Luna - he's like her shadow at times and when she's asleep he'll come and curl up next to her. You can tell she likes him now as well, even though he does wake her up sometimes to play. 


Though they have their problems at times like all kittens do (Topher and I look like self harmers), they're really good with new people and are a great mix of playful and cuddly. I love spending evenings on my laptop or watching TV with Topher with them laid across us. And though it's only been a month, they're already getting bigger - Pickles' tail no longer resembles a rat tail (almost!) They're still so small but I can't wait to see what they look like when they're grown up.


I love how they have their own little personalities already. At 13 weeks old Luna is truly the older sister, doing everything first and washing Pickles' face when she thinks he's dirty. At 12 weeks old Pickles definitely plays the part of baby brother well. He's a complete goofball!


Luna enjoys
Watching football
Running round the bed
Watching my fingers type blog posts & anything to do with my laptop generally
Looking surprised 90% of the time - her nickname is Crazy Eyes.
Getting up in your face if you eat anything – even if she’s just eaten
Being higher than Pickles
The sound of food packets opening


Pickles enjoys 
Making chirruping bird noises - his nickname is Squeaky Pants
Headbutting your face
Falling off things
Sitting on your chest while you try to drink coffee
Greeting you when you get home like a puppy
Belly rubs while he nibbles your fingers
Starting play fights with Luna


 Here's to one month owning cats and Topher and I look forward to many more with our new family!

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Top picks #13

My love of monochrome blouses has not waned.

2. Brooch, £2.57 – Les Yellow Citrons @ Etsy 

This brooch is adorable!

I burn, I pine, I perish. That is all.

I love this print!

So simple, but so cute.

This dress isn’t normally the shape I would go for but I can’t resist the lace detail. Warehouse please make a full skirted version of this!

These look like something out of Kate Spade. Definitely more budget friendly though!

Another monochrome blouse - paired together with my heart print obsession. 

I desperately need a pair of black flats to replace my ones that died during the winter. These look perfect and come in different colours.

George have really stepped up their homeware game recently. I’ve fallen in love with multiple sets of bedding on their website. And this one in particular may be on it’s way to me as we speak.

What are your top picks this week?