10 internet finds [2]

I always feel so inspired when scouting around the internet and finding new things - whether it's a new blog to read, a recipe I want to make or an idea for a crafty project, I love that idea of feeling really motivated to get creative.  I am definitely going to dedicate the next couple of months to making new things, doing lots of scribbling in my notebook, taking photographs on my various film cameras and working on my main project - transforming our garden into a place bursting with life (not to mention lots of fruit and veg).

Two websites I have been spending lots of time on recently are Pinterest and Hello Cotton.  I'm sure you all know about Pinterest (I am rosieoutlook on there if you want to add me) but you may not have heard of Hello Cotton - it's essentially a big directory of blogs but every day they pick out up and coming blogs and feature blog posts on their homepage.  They also feature posts by category so it's a really great way to find new blogs or interesting posts.  Several of my finds this week have been blogs that have popped up on there.

This week I've loved:
  • This Tumblr blog listing life's simple pleasures.  Great inspiration for my 'list of things that make me happy' notebook.
  • I must buy some prints from the Restyle Etsy Shop - his Scandinavian inspired prints of kettles, cups of tea and spice canisters will go perfectly in my kitchen and I can't resist this camera print for the craft room.
Camera print - £14
  • I found this blog post on Hello Cotton - the idea is you aim to hear 100 'No's' in a year by pushing the boundaries of what you would normally do and the opportunities you seek.  There's another blog post on the idea here that says 'Get comfortable asking big, scary, important and exciting questions' and there's even a downloadable printable that helps you check off the no's.  (Of course the idea is that you'll get a whole bunch of yes's too, for things you'd never have tried/asked for before).
  • I also found Kristina's lovely blog, Nook and Sea through Hello Cotton - it is a gorgeous site full of baking, cooking, interior design and DIYs and projects.
  • I came across the Two Peas and their Pod blog whilst pinning their recipes on Pinterest.  I must make the cookie dough dip and cinnamon streusel pancakes (when I'm not dieting, obviously!)
  • Another website I've bookmarked for when I come off the diet (for occasional treats!) is Two Tarts - two friends who share the most delicious sounding recipes! Eggs with a hash brown crust anyone?
  • These printables and downloadables by Mollie from Wild Olive - I love the recipe binder and blog planner printable pages!
  • I signed up to the Free to Be Supreme website this week - Free to be Supreme is a members-only website that offers stylist picks and promotions on fashion, homewares, gifts etc.  Their promotions section is great and currently has codes for money off at Urban Outfitters, Office and New Look.  They are also currently running a competition to win a £500 spending spree at My-Wardrobe.com and everyone who signs up using the invite code MY500 is entered! (Fingers crossed!)
... And three blogs to read this week; Park Bench Poet | Curiosity Kate | Sugar for my Honey

Weekend in Weymouth

We have literally had the best weekend this weekend, I can't believe we've packed so much in but it's such a nice feeling to have really made the most of it.  We drove down to Weymouth on Friday night to stay with Tom's parents for the weekend.  On Saturday we dropped in on one of Tom's friend's in the surf shop he walks in in the morning and went for a long walk in Thorncombe Woods near Dorchester with Bodhi and Tom's parents and niece in the afternoon. In the evening we got all dressed up and went to a Coastguard awards ceremony.  I was so proud of Tom as he received a letter of commendation for an incident just over a year ago where he and a colleague pulled a guy out of the water in Weymouth Harbour and essentially saved his life (he had got his legs caught up in fishing pots and was hypothermic when they pulled him out).  After the ceremony we went on to a cool pub/restaurant on the Quay that specialises in pizzas, pies and ciders (my kind of place) and then on to one more pub and then home.

Today we took Bodhi for a walk along the beach in the morning and then met up with some friends and walked up to The White Horse (the giant white horse carved into the hill in chalk) which was a really hard walk (steep hills are not my friend) but had an amazing view from the top.  It has been such a beautiful day today hasn't it? Haven't seen blue skies like that in a long time, makes me so excited for Spring and Summer! After a quick (diet) coke at the pub at the end of the walk we had lunch with Tom's parents and then drove back home - currently sorting through all the washing and looking forward to an early night!

Here are a few snaps from the weekend - have you been enjoying the lovely weather too?

Beach huts on Weymouth seafront

Squinting in the sunshine
t-shirt: Small Victory £10 | jeans: f&f at tesco | cardigan: zara | pumps: topshop

Weymouth seafront

Bodhi enjoys being by the seaside!

Bodhi giving me a sniff

Me looking pleased with myself for walking up a giant hill

Bodhi and his friend Tess having a drink

Tom and Bodhi standing in a river


The gate don't creak for want of you

When I saw Rosie from The Londoner's post about these 'bermuda green' jeans from ASOS (£16 - what a bargain) I knew they were the perfect addition to my wardrobe to make me feel excited about Spring being on its way! I wore them with my new shirt from Princes Vintage (only around the house mind you) but when I asked Tom to take a photo of me he politely informed me after a few takes that 'the shirt doesn't go' so I swapped it for a different top.  Alas I didn't realise until I put the photos on my computer that the second photo was completely out of focus; general outfit photo fail really!

shirt: £10 Princes Vintage | trousers: £16 Pieces at ASOS | shoes: topshop

trousers and shoes, as before | top: h&m

Because I am clearly 27 going on 50, now the evenings have started getting lighter and it's beginning to warm up a bit, I've started thinking about what we can do with the garden this year, and what we can grow in our veggie patch.  Obviously it's too cold still to plant seeds out there yet so I've been starting seeds off in what I'm calling my 'germinarium' (yes I am a complete geek).  It's basically our old fishtank, but with no water in it, and seeds in propagators getting all ready to be planted outside.

We only planted them on Sunday and look at the rocket seeds growing away already! Cool, huh?

On a final note, I've been meaning to share with you this amazing cheesecake I made on Saturday night.  I am still doing Jenny Craig so I only allowed myself a little slither but it was absolutely delicious and so easy to make.  You can get the recipe from the BBC Good Food website here.

What are you doing to prepare for Spring? Am I the only one advance buying a new wardrobe?


Spring fling - Joe Browns review

My drive to work takes me through the forest, and it was such a beautiful journey this morning - grass tipped with frost and flowers beginning to nudge through the ground. And I am loving that I now drive home in daylight rather than darkness! The journey made me all excited that Spring is coming; I cannot wait for forest walks and cream teas, weekends away in the camper van, getting stuck into the garden and whiling afternoons away in sun drenched beer gardens.

I was definitely dreaming of Spring when Best British Bloggers contacted me to see if I was interested in reviewing a Joe Browns dress - so I couldn't resist choosing this cute, vintage-y number from their Spring/Summer collection, which I think will be just perfect for flouncing around country gardens in! I am so in love with it and have already discovered that it looks just as good with black tights and a cosy cardigan whilst I wait for it to warm up a bit...

dress: Joe Browns £34.95  | shoes: Aldo |  belt: Primark

Having lusted after many an item on the Joe Browns website (and in their gorgeous catalogues) but never actually gotten around to ordering, I was really impressed with the quality of the dress when it arrived; it is fully lined and the fabric is really lovely quality.  I know I will be getting a lot of wear out of this when the sun finally puts his hat on and I will definitely be buying more of their cute dresses!  Have you ever bought from Joe Browns? What did you think?

* Dress was sent to me by Joe Browns after I signed up to the Best British Bloggers website

She is the gin and I'm vermouth

I had been lusting after the Missguided Aldara dress already due to seeing how lovely Sarah (A Million Dresses) looked in all of hers, and seeing her 'Five Ways To Wear' post featuring five different colourways of the dress (along with Missguided having a 14% off code on Valentines' Day) meant I was completely sold - I bought the black and the lilac and they were delivered free next day, ready for a night out on Thursday night.

Dress: Missguided | Boots: Boohoo

I went out with the group I've been studying for a management qualification with - it was our last module together after almost a year so it was quite emotional having our last night out together as we've all become such good friends.  I have two minor assignments to finish and then the course is over - I got 88% in my major assignment so I'm so proud of what I've achieved as it's been such a hard slog alongside my job and all the work on the house.

Bodhi being my secretary | Valentine's flowers | Puppy Dog eyes
Passionfruit mojito | Me on a windy dog walk
The package I sent to Laura for the RAK swap | Sunset | Bodhi
Valentines' nails | Sunset

Here are a few instagrams from the last couple of weeks.  In the middle at the top are the huge bunch of flowers Tom bought me for Valentine's Day.  He had them sent to my office and then I scuppered the plan by working from home - oops! The top left is Bodhi donning some glasses to do some proofreading of my assignments!

Hope you're all having lovely weekends so far.  We are having friends over later and in the meantime I will be making a trip to the garden centre as I want to start some seeds off for our veggie patch indoors whilst it's still too cold outside - rock and roll lifestyle eh?


There beside the Postman's van

The Postman has been very kind to me lately.  Well, actually, some lovely people from the internet have - the Postman actually is a bit of a plum (While You Were Out Card when you didn't even knock and I was in view of the door? Not so much Postie!).

The first package I received a few weeks back after winning Em at OhGoshEm's handmade Christmas giveaway.  She had made sets of gifts for friends and family for Christmas and had one left over which she very kindly gave away on her blog.  I was over the moon to win as I'd been following her Christmas DIY's with significant envy (mine were just not as good!) so to have my very own set was very exciting! The hot chocolate is blocks of chocolate you melt into a mug of hot milk (I had one today and it was just to die for) and there's even a tiny test tube of Baileys to go in it! The Christmas cookies are a set you can make yourself and I cannot wait to use the mulling kit, bath bars, vanilla essence and limoncello.  I highly recommend you check out Em's blog, it always puts a smile on my face!

A few weeks ago I signed up for the Random Act of Kindness swap on Char's blog.  I was chuffed to be matched with Laura as I love her blog, and even more chuffed when this package of wrapped presents arrived for me!  It felt like Christmas when I tore off the wrapping, and look at all the lovely things she bought me; aren't I lucky? Thankyou Laura! 

I feel so lucky to have met such amazing ladies through blogging; people I now count as friends who are so kind and thoughtful to me, and I cannot thank them enough.  Last week Chloe and Gem both sent me cards to cheer me up and this week Laura sent me a vintage postcard of Bournemouth and a letter on awesome Rilakkuma paper! It made me smile so much having cards on my doormat when I got home from work, I really am a lucky lady to have people who are so lovely to me.


One Stop Pamper Shop review

I found One Stop Pamper Shop through the Big Fashionista blog when she was showcasing small businesses. As soon as I came across her site, full of yummy sounding candles, bath bombs, soap and gifts I knew I had to order something.  With some Christmas money I treated myself to the four products in the photo below and I wasn't disappointed.

Ginger bath bomb £1.80  |   Robin's Nest Bath Brulee £2 
Snowdrift creamer £1  |  Bain Le Bombe £2.25

Her Christmas items (the ones I bought are linked in the caption) are all on sale now and I'm already making a mental wishlist of some of her amazing sounding new products like the Very Vanilla Bath Bomb and the In the Mood bath bomb, which look good enough to eat (I won't though, promise).  I was really impressed with all of the products I ordered, and when I got mixed up about where they'd been delivered (my fault!) Maryann who owns OSPS was quick to tweet me and help out.  In particular the Robin's Nest Bath Brulee smelt like heaven and made my skin feel so soft! Overall a big thumbs up from me!

Matte it Primer £11 | Cucumber and Mint Shower Gel £5
Spiced Pumpkin Shower Gel £4  | Wild Cherry Body Scrub

I had heard a few people recommend the Body Shop Matte It Primer, so when they had a 40% off code recently I snapped it up (making it £6.60 instead of £11) along with a couple of shower gels and a body scrub.  The primer is really good and does what it says on the tin; makes my skin feel very matte and blemish free for application of foundation.  The only other primer I've used before is the ELF primer which is £6 - I'd say this is better than that but I'm not sure I could justify purchasing it full price.  The spiced pumpkin shower gel looks to have sold out now but I'd recommend picking one up if you spot one in store, it smells absolutely gorgeous.  The Wild Cherry Body Scrub smells lovely and is a great product but I also tried Soap and Glory Flake Away this week which blasts this one out of the water and is a much better buy.

You can use the code LOVE35 this week to get 35% off Body Shop orders online.

Have you tried any of these products? What did you think?

* Nb. I bought all of these products with my own money; this is not a sponsored post.

Weekend house makeovers

Today is going to be a 'two blog posts' kind of day because I'm so excited to show you the work we've done on the house this weekend (do the scroll after this post if you want to read my Jenny Craig two week round up).

For those of you that are new to my blog, I bought our house with my boyfriend last March.  The only way we were able to afford a three-bedroom house in a nice area was by buying one that was stuck in a 70's timewarp.  Since then we've been living in a house full of textured wallpaper, built in wardrobes and pine cladding, slowly bringing our house back to the 21st century one step at a time! The spare bedroom began its life with bright blue textured wallpaper and a brown carpet.  It was absolutely disgusting - I wish I'd taken a photo so you could see what a transformation it's really been! A few days after moving in we stripped the wallpaper and painted it white, and not long afterwards Tom laid laminate floor.  Since then it's had a bed in, a chest of drawers full of clothes and a daub of blue paint where I started planning a colour scheme.

Recently I spotted this Sanderson wallpaper and knew it would be perfect to bring the room together.  So today we hung the wallpaper, put up some pictures and put the various items I'd been collecting to 'dress the room' in place.  Drum roll please.... tada!

We've also done loads of work on the lounge - I haven't got a 'before' photo, but we've tried to make it more homely by adding a new sofa, dismantling a huge, ugly Ikea TV bookcase and replacing it with a coffee table. It's so cosy now, it's just a lovely place to sit and snuggle up with a good book!

I'm so pleased the house is beginning to come together now.  It just shows what you can achieve in a weekend - and do you remember my previous post where we redecorated the spare room in three days (it's now the master bedroom because we loved it so much!

And here's what it looks like now...

It's so nice to feel like you've really achieved something of a weekend!

Jenny Craig Review - Day Fourteen - and what I've learnt

You may remember that a little over two weeks ago I blogged about starting a two week trial of the diet food programme Jenny Craig.  Essentially, the Jenny Craig diet is a calorie controlled diet where they provide you with all of your meals and snacks, along with weekly consultant calls who will talk you through any questions you have and help you plan for challenges (such as eating out) and fitting exercise into the programme. (I actually ended up with two a week as my consultant wanted to help me with getting started and I had so many questions!)

Pasta Bolognese with red wine

Tuna pasta salad French style

I was over the moon to discover that in my first week I lost 3 lbs! The food is honestly really tasty and you bulk your meals up with vegetables (as non-starchy vegetables are free), which has really educated me about portion sizes and made me eat lots more veggies than I was before.  You're also encouraged to eat at least two portions of fruit a day, which again has had a great impact on my eating habits.  The breakfasts are things like porridge or a Special-K esque chocolate or yoghurt coated flakes, and you have it with fruit, with another portion of fruit later, usually along with a 'milk' item of your choice (low fat yoghurt, fromage frais or soya yoghurt).  Lunch is usually soups, salads or noodles, again served with veggies or some days you can have accompaniments like a slice of bread with low fat spread or peanut butter, two biscuits, half a jacket potato, rice cakes or popcorn.  The dinners were especially yummy - my favourite was the roast chicken with mashed potato but there are also things like lasagne and other pasta and curry dishes.  You're also allowed any of the 'free foods' during the day, along with limited portions of things like low calorie hot chocolate and jelly.  I didn't feel hungry at any point, though it was hard to ignore the biscuits and cakes at work!

Overall I found Jenny Craig a really good diet plan, and the weight loss I saw in only two weeks is definitely proof that it works.  For me, the biggest strength of the program is the re-education it gives you about your eating habits.  For example:

Portion sizes

The Jenny Craig diet programme gives you the set meals for the day but you also have to fill your plate with things from other food groups to balance out the meal.  Before I tried Jenny Craig I'd fill my plate with my actual 'meal' (a pizza, pasta, chicken in sauce etc) and if I served it up with vegetables at all it would be starchy vegetables like potato or sweetcorn).  I won't mention the fact that I usually served myself the same portion as my 6'3" boyfriend! This has made me cut my portion sizes down considerably and it's amazing how quickly your body gets used to expecting less food.

Eating veggies

Although I enjoy eating vegetables, I normally ate them with the 'meat and two veg' type meals, and a lot of other meals would have chips or other potato based products on the side.  The Jenny Craig programme has made me try loads of other vegetables (I did the healthiest food shop of my life last week!) and try lots of different ways of cooking them.  I actually sautéed brussel sprouts last week and they were absolutely delicious! Filling your plate up with veggies and salad just naturally means your calorie intake is lower (as well as all the other health benefits) and although this is really obvious it's been a complete revelation to me!

Eating fruit

Working in an office I find I'm always picking at food throughout the day.  But then, at the weekend, I will look at my watch and realise it's 3pm and I haven't eaten yet! There is just something about sitting in one position staring at a screen that makes me reach for the biscuits.  Eating two portions of fruit (or more) a day has taught me that it's not about what I eat, it's just about having something to entertain my hands (and my mouth!) I always felt a bit embarrassed when people came to my desk and I was tucking into a Twirl or a family size packet of crisps so I loved that smug feeling of being caught chomping an apple!

All in all, apart from the weight loss, the convenience of having your food delivered, and the consultant calls helping you make better choices, I have found that Jenny Craig has taught me loads of valuable lessons about eating better that I'll definitely be taking forward now I've finished the plan.

If you want to read more about the programme, Charlene has also been blogging about it on Where Are My Knees here.

For those of you who are tempted to try Jenny Craig, they also have an amazing offer on at the moment of 50% off a two-week programme, which works out at £38.50 a week for all your food and consultations.  I know I spend more than that a week on food so I think that's great value.  If you're interested or you want to find out more you can call 0800 088 2048.  Or you can always tweet me or ask me a question in the comments.

What do you think? Would you try Jenny Craig? What's your best diet tip?

When you’re staying healthy, look for a means of healthy weight loss.


We were lightning across the whole world

Just a quick post to show you the dress I bought on Saturday at Kiki's Boutique.  I mentioned in my last post that I'd been coveting it on the website for some time but would have felt naughty shelling out £49 for it so I practically snatched it off the rack when I saw it for £20 in the shop.  Don't you just love it when that happens?

I couldn't resist wearing it to work today (teamed with some black tights obvs, it is freezing!), it's so pretty and girly and feels very 'me'.  The first snap with my cardigan on is before work and the last two are when I got home and tried on my second pair of the Boohoo platform shoe boots.  I couldn't resist buying them in another colour, they are so comfortable!

dress: louche | cardigan: primark

boots: boohoo


I must go down to the seas again

When I was lying in bed yesterday morning I was thinking about how easy it is, in the winter, to fall into that trap of becoming a bit of a hermit.  Because of my assignment I've spent the last three weekends holed up in my pajamas only breaking from bashing away at the keyboard to make a cup of tea, tackle some of my giant pile of ironing or do some sneaky internet shopping.

This weekend was one of the first free weekends I've had in ages (and one of the first with my other half now he's moved jobs) and so when we woke up on Sunday, what did we do? Well, we slobbed around in our pajamas for the first hour or so watching Top Gear and eating breakfast. I'm pretty sure we would have done this all day if I hadn't forced myself into my hat and coat and dragged Bodhi and the boyfriend out the door. My weekdays have been even more uninspiring; I bought a Five Year Diary with some Christmas money and I've lost count of the amount of days I've had to try hard to not end up writing 'Work, bath, bed' in every entry.  Now, don't get me wrong, coming home from work, slipping on my fleece lined slippers and taking a book into the bathroom to read whilst enjoying a long bubble bath is pretty much my perfect evening (especially if you throw in a movie under a blanket, a glass of wine and a big ol' bowl of pasta), but not every night right? I think you have to have a bit of excitement to balance out the laziness, otherwise 2013 will roll around and I'll be sat in my onesie watching Twin Peaks episodes wondering why I haven't crossed anything off my to do list!

Personally, I can't wait for Summer to roll around so we can start getting out and about in the camper van again, having barbecues in the garden, camping in the forest and enjoying cold drinks on roof terraces.  In the meantime I am making a list of fun things to do when it's cold or rainy outside.  Yesterday we took Bodhi for a walk to Hurst Castle (well, nearly, we turned back because it was so cold!) from Milford on Sea, and it was good to get out and get some fresh air!

When we came back we framed some photos and pictures we'd been meaning to for absolutely ages, ordered a rug and picked a sofa for the living room.  We've been majorly slacking off on the DIY front and a freezing cold day is a good day to start getting things sorted.  Can't wait to show you the living room when it's all finished! Here are a few instagrams from yesterday.

Our mantelpiece with lovely cards from Chloe, Ayden and Gem -
I am so lucky to count these ladies as friends!

Our new Ikea frame of family photos

Framed prints from the spare room.  Prints from here.
Unfortunately I think I may have overdone it yesterday as I've been off sick from work today. Had a terrible headache last night and woke up feeling all bunged up and absolutely rotten.  Hope I'm not coming down with something, I have things to do!

Boscombe Vintage Market

Today I went to the Boscombe Vintage Market with my Mum after being recommended it by a lovely person on Twitter and seeing Emma's post on it here.  The market is held in the Royal Arcade in Boscombe and hosts stalls of vintage clothes and homewares along with vintage inspired crafts (and some cakes!) I didn't buy anything but we had loads of fun nosing around all the bits and bobs for sale.  We then came back to Christchurch and had lunch and a look round Kiki's Boutique - I was chuffed to bits to find a dress I'd been lusting after for ages in the sale - I will blog some snaps at a later date.

My Mum kindly took a photo of my outfit when we got back, I have no idea why my face looks so ridiculous but I wanted to show you one of my favourite casual weekend outfits at the moment.  It's so nice to not have to wear office-wear (usually dresses, pencil skirts and heels) at the weekend so I usually dress down in jeans and cardigans.

shirt: zara | cardigan: vero moda | bowtie: asos | jeans: F&F | brogues: new look

I nipped out of work at lunch yesterday to visit my friend Carlie, who is at home recovering after having a fairly major operation.  I decided to make her a little care package to cheer her up and delivered her this box full of goodies...

Tonight there is snow forecast down here so I am off to have a nice long bubble bath, get cosy in my pajamas and watch films on the sofa - perfect!

By the way, I had a big ol' fiddle with my blog design earlier; took away the old template and made it three columns, what do you think? I fancied a change!