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Five Friday Favourites #11

Soreen

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How have I reached my thirties and not discovered the chewy delights of malt loaf?! Ian introduced me to this treat and I have had it every morning for breakfast with butter and sliced banana.

A New Primer

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Lumene is a Finnish skincare brand and I bought this Beauty Base over the summer when we did a little Scandi tour. It claims to be a moisturising, illuminating primer and I think it ticks those boxes. My foundation looks great on top of it too – a fab little find!

Bloodline

We have almost finished season one of this Netflix series and it’s really good. It has also made us want to take a Florida road trip one summer.

A Wardrobe Overhaul

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Last Sunday, I had a huge sort-out of my wardrobe…I even dragged Ian into it too! I tried almost everything on, put some stuff into storage and donated a pile of things too. It has felt good knowing everything in my wardrobe now fits and is something I love and I rediscovered some treasures too.

The Longs Arms

I had a full-on week at work and on Thursday I felt like I wanted to go out to dinner just to celebrate getting everything done! My absolute favourite place to eat near us is The Longs Arms in South Wraxall. The food is exceptional and I especially enjoy their amazing ice-cream flavours. Last night, I opted for a scoop of Turkish Delight and one of Cadbury’s Crème Egg…delicious!

Five Friday Favourites #8

A slightly belated Friday Favourites this week but I have been away this weekend and wanted to switch off and relax a bit, so better late than never!

Weezer’s White Album

I used to absolutely LOVE this band (the Green Album is one of my all-time favourites) but I didn’t know what to expect when I listened to their new album. Luckily, it didn’t disappoint and I have been playing it non-stop for the past week. My favourite tracks are ‘California Kids’ and ‘Jacked Up’.

A New Lasagne Recipe

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I get really excited when I discover a new twist on a classic recipe and I followed Gino D’Acampo’s lasagne recipe which adds homemade pesto to the white sauce, giving it a new flavour that really works well.

Ricky Gervais

I went to see Ricky Gervais’ new stand-up show ‘Humanity’ this week. He actually had a bit of a funny turn and had to leave the stage for a bit and we weren’t sure whether it was all part of the act or serious! As well as the live show, we had amazing pizzas beforehand at Beerd – the chestnut mushroom, truffle and parmesan one was divine!

The OA

We finished watching this Netflix series this week and whilst it wasn’t one of my all-time favourites, it was entertaining and a bit different…if a little weird.

Banana Bread

It feels like I haven’t baked anything for ages so I was really excited to try a slice of this. I made banana bread with Mini Eggs and hazelnuts and it turned out to be so delicious!

Sunday Summary #44 and #45

Life

I’m back after a packed week in Boston! We had such a good time there and I am already writing up some blog posts from the trip and reliving the food and fun times. A big thank you to my parents who popped up while we were away and finished laying the tiles in our porch, put fresh sheets on the bed, left flowers and a huge vat of homemade soup for us…just what you want after a night of no sleep! It is back to reality today though as I am back to work tomorrow (no idea how I am going to get up in the morning #jetlag) and need to unpack but first, my Sunday Summary from the past two weeks.

Finally, the new series of Black Mirror is here! Ian and I love this show and it is such a cutting, dark look at society today. So far, we have seen the first three episodes and cannot wait to watch more.

I just can’t sleep on an aeroplane so I tend to binge-watch films. On this trip I managed to watch six: Finding Dory, The Shallows, The Boss, Money Monster, The Jungle Book and the new Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb. I mostly picked easy-to-watch/ children’s films but Money Monster was really good (and has George Clooney in!)

Sadly I missed the final of GBBO but have now caught up and had a little cry when Candice won. I’m also still enjoying The Apprentice too.

Food

I have most definitely indulged this week! America just goes so over the top for Autumn and put pumpkin and spices in everything…beer, doughnuts, cheesecake, pancakes.

Ian bought me a bottle of the new Pumpkin-spiced Baileys which I have enjoyed on ice, in coffee and as a milkshake. If you like the Starbucks drink, you will love this.

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You can’t go to Boston and not indulge in seafood. We had great clam chowder and lobster when we were away which we just don’t really do in the UK.

We visited a couple of breweries in America and enjoyed some lovely craft beers. My favourites were a pumpkin-spiced beer from the Octoberfest beer festival we visited and a blueberry wheat beer from Salem Beer Works which came with a handful of fresh blueberries floating in it.

Finally, I tried my first ever cronut and it was goooooooood!

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Fashion

While we had lovely, sunny weather in Boston, there was a definite chill in the air so I lived in my ASOS parker, my tartan scarf (River Island) and my Wolf Academy beanie hat.

I have been looking at leather backpacks for ages and finally bought one when we were away. I like that it is practical yet still smart and I think it will be great for future city breaks.

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Beauty

I did my first autumnal manicure using this lovely deep, berry shade from Nails Inc which actually lasted the whole week with only one chip.

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I suffer with dry skin after a flight so I decided to try and combat that by slathering my skin in Weleda’s Skin Food which I love. I am adamant it smells just like gin and tonic but it really works and gives your skin a real moisture boost.

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I also gave myself a mini facial when I got home yesterday using REN’s Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask which I find revitalises dull, tired skin.

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Finally, one of my highlights of our trip was a visit to Sephora. I actually went twice as got so overwhelmed the first time I left with nothing! I did get a bit spendy but I had budgeted for a few treats and will share them soon! Sidenote – I know we are meant to be getting Sephora in the UK soon and I kind of have mixed feelings about it. Yes, it will be great to have all the brands here but it will take away that excitement you get at visiting a store when on holiday.

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Sunday Summary #22

Life

This week seems to have flown by!

My Mum was in New York this week (very jealous!) so my Dad came to stay for a couple of days. Liverpool played in (and lost) the Europa Cup Final this week and we had various friends and family over so my Dad was on cooking duty. He spent all day in the kitchen and produced the most amazing spread which included salt and pepper squid, buttermilk fried chicken, duck in plum sauce, a huge bowl of egg fried rice and curry beef…it’s great having a chef in the family!

I’ve also been going on morning runs. Just a mile or so but I feel amazing afterwards and the views aren’t bad either.

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Last night, Ian and I headed out to watch the All Star Stand-Up Tour with Jarred Christmas, Gary Delaney, Pete Firman and Sean Hughes. All four comedians were very different so it was cool to watch a variety of comedic styles.

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On TV, we finally finished House of Cards (it was great!) so are about to start Scandal soon. Game of Thrones has kept us gripped and one of my favourite American comedies, Veep, has started again.

I’m a few chapters in to ‘Only We Know’ and enjoying it so far – I’m planning on ploughing through a few more chapters on the plane next week, probably with a holiday G&T!

Finally, I made the fatal mistake of looking at the BA flight sale and somehow ended up booking a week in Boston in October! I have always wanted to visit the East coast in Autumn to see the beautiful colours of the trees and Boston seems a really cool city. So…we are off to Berlin next week, a mini-Scandinavian cruise in the summer and Boston a few months later – exciting times!

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Food

My favourite meal this week has to be my Dad’s football feast.

Ian also mastered making perfect margaritas so we’ve had a fair few of those, purely for recipe testing purposes of course.

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I feel like I haven’t cooked anything from scratch for ages so spent a few hours in the kitchen this afternoon making an enormous pot of chili con carne which we will have with tortillas, rice and jacket potatoes for the next few nights, loaded with sour cream and guacamole of course!

Beauty

Ian was at work yesterday so I treated myself to a mid-afternoon pamper session and gave myself a manicure and pedicure. On my feet, I used Essie’s Meet Me At Sunset, a bright orange-red, and on my fingernails I had a play around with some purple foil tips.

I’ve also been testing out the products from the latest Birchbox – there’s a mascara in there I really like.

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Fashion

I’ve decided to give off-the-shoulder tops a go. I’ve always found it hard to find a good strapless bra for a bigger chest so avoided this style. However, I’ve bought a black dress from ASOS (which I was hoping to have a picture of but Ian left the delivery at work!) and this striped top from Primark to try out.

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Sunday Summary #21

Life

It has been a good week! Firstly, we booked our flights and AirBNB for Berlin in a couple of weeks’ time. I have been well and truly bitten by the travel bug recently and plan to get into double figures for countries visited this year. We spent this morning in bed with tea looking at Berlin beer gardens and museums to visit and I cannot wait for a few nights away with Ian.

I also went to the theatre this week to watch a friend perform in Sister Act. I didn’t really know anything about this show before I went (it’s very different from the film) but the gospel-style songs were incredible and it’s a really funny musical. I went with my work colleagues and it was a much deserved break from SATs!

We haven’t really watched too much on TV this week but have been ploughing on with House of Cards on Netflix. It’s such a good series and my knowledge of American politics is expanding with every episode. I also watched the film ‘True Story’ this weekend but found it a bit dull in places.

I finished reading ‘Before I Go to Sleep’ and have just started ‘Only We Know’ for my new book group. It feels slightly strange to not just be reading for my own enjoyment but it has started well and I hope I enjoy it.

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Finally, it was lovely to see these two guests in our garden last night!

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Food

I am back to eating soft food again after having my braces tightened yesterday but before that we enjoyed dinner and beer garden drinks with my brother and his girlfriend at our local pub, The Muddy Duck, after work on Friday. They do a lovely selection of craft beers and I then had the most delicious lamb dish with new season asparagus.

Yesterday, Ian and I popped into Bath and enjoyed some drinks and lunch in the sun. We had tequila  cocktails, starters of chicken wings and smoked cheese bites then some delicious fish tacos that I enjoyed so much I am making them for dinner tonight too.

Beauty

Ian loves anything bubblegum scented (such a big kid!) so I bought him this shower gel as a joke but it’s actually really nice, if a tad sickly.

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I’m suffering from quite dry skin at the moment so picked up this body moisturiser by Elizabeth Arden. It isn’t too heavy and sinks in quickly with a pleasant smell.

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Finally, a duo that has been helping to give me a dewy yet sun-kissed look: my Sephora bronzer in Aruba and this rose-gold No7 Skin Illuminator which I have been using as a cream highlighter.

Fashion

I repurchased my favourite ever sports bra by Shock Absorber in a cool electric blue and pink print. I have tried on so many recently but none seem to give enough support for us ladies with a bit more of a bust. This one is really comfortable and keeps everything in place when running.

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I am on the hunt for a new gym bag and this star and tan print one is currently in the lead – it’s maybe a little too nice for my sweaty trainers though!

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Sunday Summary #5

Life

My final Sunday Summary of January and it has been a pretty good week.

All my hard work at the gym seems to be paying off as I have now lost half a stone. I think seeing a result is such good motivation as you know all the effort put in is actually doing something!

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I also found out this week I passed my NPQML, a leadership course I have spent the last 18 months on through work that is roughly equivalent to one third of a Masters. It was a hard slog so I was over the moon to get my results.

This weekend, I popped over to Bristol to see my bestie and enjoy croissants and tea then Ian’s parents came to stay with their dog George.

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After enjoying Making A Murderer so much, we have started watching The Jinx which follows another murder case, this time where the suspect got off.

I finished reading The Never List (review coming soon!) and have started a very witty Ben Elton novel, roughly set against the back-drop of the UK financial crisis.

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Food

We treated ourselves to a mid-week takeaway and I tried to make mine as healthy as possible, sticking to chicken tikka and salad…and it was delicious!

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Today, Ian and I cooked a roast chicken dinner followed by a chocolate brownie pizza…I think they balance each other out!

Finally, I kept a food diary last week as part of the UK’s ‘Breakfast Week’ and realised I am obsessed with my current breakfast of Greek yogurt, honey, granola and berries.

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Beauty

This week, I indulged in an hour-long facial and massage which was so relaxing. The therapist used lots of aromatherapy products and my skin has looked and felt great ever since.

A Birchbox order arrived so I have a few new products to have a play around with.

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The current winter chill, paired with the heating being on more, has left me with quite dry skin. This Ultra Repair face cream from First Aid Beauty has been a godsend at rehydrating my parched skin.

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Fashion

I tried out these nail wraps by Elegant Touch and loved them – easy to apply and quite long lasting.

Apart from that, I have been lusting over gym wear online so expect a little haul on the blog soon. I feel I can justify this one as daily gym trips seem to create SO MUCH LAUNDRY!!!

Have a great week…Ian and I are off to a very exciting pop-up restaurant tomorrow night!

Sunday Summary #4

Life

It has been a pretty standard week around these parts. My parents came to stay for a couple of nights which meant my Dad cooking for us – yum!

We’ve had a really nice weekend too. We headed into town on Saturday for lunch and the Liverpool match – and what a match it was!

Today, after a quick gym session, we went to the cinema to watch The Big Short which was such a thought-provoking film. It was done so well, with great cutaways to explain the trickier financial language used in the film, and it showed the crisis from several points of view.

Ian and I started watching Peaky Blinders this week on Netflix and I have to say I’m hooked, although very disappointed at the poor Brummie accents throughout!

I bought myself some pretty roses – and I was excited to see daffodils in the shops today too.

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I started a new book this week, The Never List, and I am loving it. With the release of the film ‘Room’, I can see this genre of literature becoming very popular. I enjoyed reading Room but The Never List is even more extreme, telling the story of a group of abducted girls and the years of torture they survived. A grizzly read, but fascinating nonetheless.

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Food

My Dad always asks me what I want him to cook and nine times out of ten I ask for a big tray of BBQ ribs! He did not disappoint, serving up plenty of ribs and rice to share.

Whilst things are still looking quite healthy, I could not resist these salted caramel and chocolate cookies Ian brought home.

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I also had a delicious macaroni cheese for lunch, served with garlic flatbread.

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Beauty

I wrote about a new YSL collection on the blog this week and I have enjoyed trying out the contents.

I tried out some new nail wraps which I am really disappointed with…ah well, you can’t love everything you try.

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I am on a 6-month nail varnish ban but I have bought a few beauty items this week that I am waiting to arrive. I managed to clock up over £20 of Birchbox points so picked a couple of things from the shop and have also ordered a box of Korean sheet masks which I cannot wait to try out.

Finally, I have been using this Body Shop nail varnish remover. This is one beauty product I have always just bought the cheapest bottle of in Superdrug or Boots but this one has almond oil in and feels so much more gentle and nourishing on the nails – I’m a convert.

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Fashion

It has been cold again this week so I have been loving layers! One of my favourite and most comfortable cardigans is this Aztec-print one which I have been pairing with skinny jeans.

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I accidently had a recent ASOS order sent to my parents’ house so when they came to stay, my Mum brought up this new dress. I love the print and it is a lovely light, flowing style that I have been wearing with tights and boots.

 

Sunday Summary #3

 

Life

This week has been tinged with sadness with the loss of both David Bowie and Alan Rickman. I had my own mini tribute to them both by listening to a Bowie playlist non-stop at the gym and watching Alan Rickman brilliantly play the baddie in Die Hard.

I’ve started reading Eloise this week by Judy Finnigan. I have to say I’m not overly impressed but it’s still early days. I devoured a few chapters this morning in bed with a cup of tea.

Ian and I finally finished Making a Murderer this week and it left me feeling incredibly down-heartened and almost helpless, despite really enjoying watching it. it also means we are on the look-out for another series to watch…any suggestions?

Food

Things have stayed pretty healthy this week with lots of soups for lunch and fish and vegetables in the evening. I used my new spiraliser, making courgette noodles with pesto and garlic prawns…delicious!

However, a mid-week trip to the pub resulted in this burger and chips which were so tasty that I’m not going to beat myself up about it.

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I made my first roast dinner of the year today for my brother and his girlfriend (but ate it before taking a pic!)

I also had my first hot-cross buns of the year…never too early!

Beauty

A fun one to start with – this hand wash smells just like the sweets and makes me smile when I use it!

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Next, one of the best hand lotions I have found. Non-greasy yet really moisturising, I’ve been keeping this on my bedside table and using it nightly.

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Finally, one of my holy-grail items – the Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate. This stuff is liquid gold for my skin and this bottle will last you ages.

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Fashion

I have finally worn in my new trainers – a Christmas present from Ian. I love these new Nikes!

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A staple in this cold weather is a good scarf and this tartan one is one of my favourites. It goes with my red coat and is so soft too.

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Sunday Summary #2

Life

It was the first week back at work after the Christmas holidays and I have made a concerted effort this week to be in bed early and to read a book – not my iPhone – before bed and I have to say it has resulted in not feeling quite as shattered as usual!  I’ve just started this book by Louis Theroux and, although I don’t usually read non-fiction, I am really enjoying it.

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I’ve managed to stick to a good routine at the gym this week and lost 3lbs which is a bonus…I’m still not loving it though!

We’ve managed to see my brother and his girlfriend twice this week, sharing the hosting and cooking duties – I love that we leave nearer to each other now.

On my way to work, I have been loving Lena Dunham’s new podcasts, ‘Women of the Hour’. If you enjoy funny, inspirational and feminist discussions then I urge you to download a couple of episodes.

TV-wise, we are still making our way through ‘Making a Murderer’ but also watched that episode of ‘Come Dine With Me’…if you have no idea what I’m talking about try and find the last few minutes online as it is the ultimate in hilarious/ cringe-worthy TV.

Ian and I went to the cinema this afternoon (with snacks!) to watch Tarantino’s latest offering, ‘The Hateful Eight’. I thought it was a classic, although longer than I was expecting plus there was an interval which felt very old-school! If you are a fan of his dialogue-heavy work then you will enjoy this.

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Food

To mark mine and Ian’s twelve year anniversary of being together, we treated ourselves to dinner at our local pub, The Muddy Duck. As always, it was absolutely delicious! I had an amazing salt cod and potato starter served with chorizo, an egg yolk and pork scratchings which was divine. Followed by pork belly and a sticky toffee pudding, it was a lovely mid-week celebration.

We also met for brunch at Bill’s in Bath on Saturday morning which was a great way to start the weekend…their veggie breakfast is my favourite thing to order.

Apart from these two treats, things have been looking pretty healthy around here with lots of greens, fresh fish and pulses going on.

Beauty

A strange one to start with but this weekend I had an orthodontist appointment to discuss my options for straightening my bottom teeth. It definitely gave me some food for thought but was pricier than I was expecting so I am trying to make my mind up whether to go for it or learn to live with my wonky teeth!

To help my face cope with the sudden drop in temperature, I have been using this Vichy serum. It was a Christmas present from my Mum and is a really lovely addition to my beauty routine.

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I also decided I needed a richer body moisturiser than I had been using so cracked open a new body butter from The Body Shop in the scent Vanille Doree which is a sweet yet warm vanilla.

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Fashion

With winter finally seeming to be here, I have been looking through my coat collection for some options to keep me warm. I completely forgot about this red pea coat I bought last year in the sales but have been wearing it non-stop.

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I also rocked this t-shirt (a Christmas present from Ian) to Pilates this week!

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Finally, another Christmas present (this time from Ian’s parents) that I have been wearing daily. I LOVE this rose gold Casio watch so much!

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Sunday Summary #1

Hello and welcome to a brand new blog feature! This series will replace my ‘Sunday Catch-Ups’ but will follow a similar vein of summing up my week in a few words and pictures along with a few items and products I have been using, wearing or enjoying under four sections; life, food, beauty and fashion.

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Life

It has been a funny old week with that period between Christmas and New Year where you aren’t really sure what day it is and I’m usually torn between wanting to relax for as long as possible and wanting to pack away all traces of Christmas ready for the new year.

We spent the run up to New Year’s Eve doing a bit of both; heading to gym to undo some of that Christmas eating and drinking; stocking up on healthier food; trying to find a place for all our new gifts and those less fun jobs like changing car headlights and descaling the kettle…it’s non-stop glamour here!

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In more exciting news, we headed up to London where we saw in the New Year at Alexandra Palace, overlooking the city with friends. We spent January 1st visiting my favourite gallery, the Saatchi, followed by dinner and champagne cocktails before going to see Wicked in the West End (my Christmas present for Ian!) Finally, we spent last night dancing and drinking to celebrate my friend Cat’s 30th before our long drive home this morning and work tomorrow morning.

I managed to finish a cross stitch that seemed to take me the best part of a year due to constantly stopping and starting but I have the bug again and have started a new, more ambitious piece. I find it really relaxing to do whilst watching TV in the evening.

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I finished reading ‘In the Kitchen’ by Monica Ali (which seemed to take me ages!) and started reading ‘The Doll’s House’, a gripping murder mystery by M. J. Arlidge.

Like nearly every other person I follow on Twitter, Ian and I are watching ‘Making a Murderer’ which I am finding gripping viewing and I was also really excited when the new series of the podcast ‘Serial’ started again, although I have to admit that I’m not enjoying it quite as much as the previous story.

Music-wise, I found a ‘Hip-Hop Workout’ on Apple Music which I have been listening to at the gym; not my usual choice but quite motivating on the treadmill!

Food

I am still dreaming of the delight that was our Christmas dinner whilst at the same time craving lighter and slightly healthier food.

This jar of M&S ‘Christmas Cake Curd’ is still going strong and is a delicious slathered over croissants for breakfast.

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Equally as indulgent were these delicious cakes bought from a little bakery in Muswell Hill which we enjoyed with a cuppa after getting caught in the rain!

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Finally, on New Year’s Day, Ian, my friend Lucie and I enjoyed a great 3-course meal at Côte Brasserie on Sloane Square. We started with Kir Royales then I had a warm lentil and poached egg starter, sea bass and crème caramel…all delicious!

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Beauty

This week, I gave my make-up brushes a thorough clean using Dr Bronner’s Liquid Soap which always gives me great satisfaction!

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I opened the last few windows of my Ciaté advent calendar and am enjoying trying out various shades.

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My brother bought me the ‘Blackberry Bath Bomb’ from Lush for Christmas and it was lovely to use. It smelt amazing and there was even a little message left in the bath after the fizzing had stopped!

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Finally, after a fair amount of time spent wandering around Planet Organic, my friend Lucie and I picked up a few products from Bouclème, an all-natural brand especially formulated for curly hair. I bought the ‘Curl Cleanser’ which is like a clarifying shampoo and I am very much looking forward to giving it a whirl.

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Fashion

I have spent a fair amount of time in my pyjamas or similarly comfortable loungewear this week but when I have ventured outside, I have been wearing my new Zara leather jacket – a Christmas present from Ian.

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My black fedora has been a staple too and is almost worth the ‘hat hair’ it gives me!

I also made an ASOS order after seeing a few pretty items in the sale and I think my favourite purchase was this pair of patent croc boots which I have been wearing non-stop.

I hope you like this new weekly feature – I probably won’t always write this much but I’ve had a jam-packed week! x