2018: A Year in Review

My #Best9 of 2018 on Instagram

2018 has been a mixed year. There’s been a few personal and professional changes, some of which were not as positive as I would have liked and I’ve allowed myself to wallow in a funk on more than a few occasions, at one point even contemplating giving up blogging altogether. However, when I looked through my Bullet Journal and the photographs on my phone in preparation for this post, I was reminded that this year has actually been full of more incredible experiences than almost of any other. 

Here’s just some of the highlights…

The Bloke won a camera for a squirrel picture. That squirrel picture was more popular than our wedding photos.  Continue reading

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Lego Destruction, An Exploding Camembert and a Christmas Dinner Record

I’m serving some ‘food barrel realness’ after consuming more than my entire bodyweight in Toblerone, cheese, crisps, dip, honey roasted peanuts and potatoes over the last few days. I always find it incredulous how quickly the Christmas Eve / Christmas Day period actually goes, especially with the hype and the level of preparation that goes into the weeks (and sometimes, months) leading up to it, and yet it is already over for another year, seemingly in the blink of an eye.

Our Christmas was spent at home with the cat. I had planned our eating and viewing schedule and got most of the food ready in advance, and for the most part, it all went very well.  Continue reading

Happy Christmas Eve!

Christmas Day is nearly upon us and I’ve just about reached the point where I think that everything is now done. It’s completely different to this time a year ago – I was so excited about our first Christmas together as husband and wife that I had planned and organised the whole thing weeks in advance – whereas this year we managed to get the cards sent out and the food bought just a few days ago. Perhaps it’s my mindset – I hadn’t been feeling the Christmassy vibe over December so most things were left until the last minute. Thankfully, when the cupboards had been stocked, the cards and presents sent and I had turned on the fairy lights, lit the candles and curled up on the couch with The Bloke it (thankfully) started to feel a little more festive.  Continue reading

The Letter From Santa: Sonia Boal

Looking for a new story to read with the kids? I always love a good Christmas story, and this year Sonia from Losing the Plot has an exciting new children’s book out, ready for the festive season:

The Letter From Santa

Santa is in his workshop at the North Pole, when suddenly he discovers a leak. 

In a land of ice and snow, this seem a bit odd. 

He and his chief Elf and Safety Rep (Jingles) go “up top” to investigate. 

But when they get onto the roof they discover something shocking that could spell the end of Christmas for everyone. Continue reading

A Night at the Birmingham Awards

Last week The Bloke and I put on our glad rags and went to Edgbaston Stadium for the Birmingham Awards event. I had been shortlisted for Blogger of the Year, which came as a complete surprise, and I found myself surrounded by businesses, organisations and individuals who work hard to contribute to and promote the city.   It had been an interesting afternoon getting ready – by the time we left the house I had managed to put my toe through my tights and was wearing stomach-holding undergarments that were so tight that I wondered if I could get through the evening without breathing too much.  Continue reading

Dress Shopping and a Fail

Not the dress I bought, but always like a bit of shiny…

At the start of November I set myself the challenge of blogging every day during the month. I managed twenty-one days continuously… until yesterday. Quite simply, I wasn’t in the mood, I couldn’t think of anything productive to write that wouldn’t take several hours, I had spent most of the day working on another project and I gave up. The blogging enthusiasm went in the bin. To be fair, going from posting three to four times and month to writing every day for three weeks isn’t bad, but I’m still a little disappointed that I fell short of my target. Still, with a week to go until the end of the month I can catch up on the missed post, but sometimes a break is necessary to regroup and get back on track, even if it’s a short one.  Continue reading

Putting the World to Rights over Hummus

This evening my friend took me for an early birthday meal at Damascena, a Syrian cafe in Birmingham that offers all sorts of mezze platters and flatbreads. I’d never been there before, the food was lovely and as I shovelled rather tasty hummus and halloumi into my face it was a great opportunity to catch up and see how life has been since she got married earlier in the year.  Continue reading

Peggy Porschen Cakes, London

Visiting Peggy Porschen Cakes, London

Whenever I go to London I always research interesting ideas on Pinterest  for places to visit and experience as I find that tips from locals are always much more useful than some of the bigger travel guides. During every search there is always one thing that appears repeatedly: Peggy Porschen Cakes ‘Parlour’, an Instagram haven with a pastel pink frontage, adorned with gorgeous floral displays that change throughout the year. 

Opened in 2010 by award winning cake designer, author and Creative Director Peggy Porschen and her husband, the bakery is situated in Belgravia, and I discovered that it was in the vicinity of the station I was travelling from on Monday, so I decided to take a little detour and treat myself to a cupcake (for breakfast – why not!). Continue reading

A Visit to East Croydon and Crystal Palace

After my awesome afternoon experiencing a street art tour in Shoreditch with my bloggy friend, Tiffany, I headed on over to Victoria and caught a train to East Croydon to meet another bloggy friend: Donna, the creator of Jot to Jot. We connected a few years ago online and have met several times in person since (she even came to my wedding), and since the birth of her little girl last December I had been promising to visit.

It only took nearly a year. Better late than never I suppose! Continue reading

Visiting the Harry Potter Studios Tour

The Harry Potter Studios Tour, London

Yesterday we went to the Harry Potter Tour at the Warner Bros. Studio in London (technically, it is known as the Warner Bros Studio Tour, but everyone seems to just refer to it as the Harry Potter Tour instead). It was part of The Bloke’s ongoing 50th birthday celebration, and while I’ve never been a fan of the films (although an avid reader of the books), it was something that I knew he had been looking forward to for quite a while. In all honesty, I was prepared for it to be something that I just ‘did’ that I could add to my list, purely for the sake of saying that I had visited and experienced it.

I take it all backit was fabulous. The sets, the costumes, the atmosphere – it was amazing just to see everything on show, to the point where half-way through I was resisting the urge to steal a cloak and wand from one of the children wandering around (seriously, shouldn’t they have been in school?) and run around yelling EXPELLIARMUS at everyone in my way.  Continue reading