Oooh, new shoes!

Hi, my name is Rosie and I'm a shoe-aholic.  I no longer have room in my house for all of my shoes, and Tom is less than impressed with the piles of shoeboxes dotted around, let alone the fact that shoes are stored in two wardrobes, a shoe-rack and a shoe-cupboard as well as being kicked off under desks and sofas and in piles on the stairs.

Previously I limited my shoe buying to heels, flats and boots, but now trainers have started to creep in too. These days I frequently treat myself to new running shoes and gym shoes, then I fall in love with how comfy they are and start buying trainers that will look good with jeans, or even wedge trainers to toughen up pretty dresses.  You would be forgiven for thinking this is my Nike trainers collection - nope - these are the Nike trainers I've amassed in the last few weeks - oops!

| nike dual fusion run, spartoo £48.99 | nike lady zoom vomero sportsshoes.com £89.99* |
| nike air max chase juniors, sports direct £32.99 | nike dunk sky high, spartoo £68.89 |
| nike free run 3 girls, wiggle, £40

No September shoe-buying spree though would be complete without a foray into the world of A/W footwear.  I wanted some cut-out boots, and I wanted a couple of things that were fleece-lined and would keep my toes warm.  I guess with the trainers thing too I'm starting to lean towards comfortable footwear - these days I wear heels much less often and am seeking increasingly to enscond my feet in something cosy and comfortable.  If you haven't already deducted me major style points already for that practical over beautiful related statement then get ready to discredit me forever.  Yes, I bought some Uggs.

| ugg boots, spartoo £199 | cutout boots, new look £27.99 | boots, keds,

I know they're not exactly plastered all over Lookbook or tramping down catwalks but flippin 'ell are they comfy.  For quick trips to the shops or casual days out at the weekend, I'm afraid sheepskin-warm feet are happening.  I actually think they look cute with a plaid shirt and skinny jeans, so sue me!

| cutout boots, new look, as above | chelsea boots, asos £27.99

Ankle boots are always my shoe du jour in A/W so I've picked up a couple of new pairs of them too, a pair from ASOS and some cutout boots from New Look (same as in the other snap above).  I love the cutout boots, they look awesome with jeans or dresses, I think they're going to get a lot of wear!

What's on your shoe wishlist for A/W?

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Home Sense tour and haul

Last month I told you the exciting news that I'd been chosen to be an ambassador of the Poole HomeSense store, and as well as giving away a voucher for the store I'd also had a tour and been given my own voucher to pick up some treats.  For those of you that aren't familiar with Home Sense, they're part of the TK Maxx group and have the same ethos of offering designer and branded items for super bargainous prices.  The homes section is always my favourite bit in TK Maxx so when I discovered Home Sense - which also sells books, stationery and body and bath products - it's fair to say I was a little bit excited and have been a dedicated follower ever since.

Home Sense stores are always beautifully laid out, with items grouped in colours and displays that provide inspiration for little corners of your home.  Personally I always head straight to the soaps and candles, I'm a sucker for pretty packaging!

home sense products
tk maxx skincare section

Colourful throws and blankets are perfecting for brightening up a cosy Autumnal afternoon...

colourful blankets

The cookbooks are always a must-stop for me too.  So many bargains to be had! I was very tempted by the Leon cookbook but am still working my way through another one of theirs so forced myself to wait! (Too many cookbooks, too little time...)

tk maxx cookbooks

I loved this little cupcake baking inspired display....

home sense baking section

And this is what I treated myself to.  Some new towels for the bathroom, some chocolate (it was by the till, how could I resist?), a vintage looking tea jar, a beautiful plate, some dog bowls for Bodhi, some candles, some cinnamon sugar (hello morning smoothies!), a book on British walks and a crate for storing bits in the bathroom.  All this was £75 (I put some of my own money towards it along with them generously giving me a £50 voucher).  I'm so thrilled with all the lovely pieces I picked up, I got some real bargains!

home sense haul

Bodhi loves his new dog bowls, they definitely brighten up the kitchen and are better than the horrid plastic ones he had before!

home sense pet products

Are you a Home Sense fan?

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Staying in

Prior to moving in with Tom a couple of years ago, I lived on my own for several years.  If I'm honest, I only really have fond memories of that time - I enjoy my own company so was quite happy with a lifestyle of cosy nights in, watching DVDs, cooking myself yummy dinners, blogging, reading blogs - and so on.  Of course the social side of it was great too - having friends to stay over, for dinner or for drinks.  But having that solitude and independence was pretty character building.  I enjoy those quiet moments of reflection when you can really get your head in order.   This week has been a funny week as Tom is away in France surfing. I've had lots of moments of quiet - been able to crack on with reading my books for various book clubs and other reading commitments, watch films and while away hours into the night reading blogs and surfing around the internet - although free time for me usually means spending money so I've been trying to stay away from ASOS and not get sucked into Paddypower Bingo.

This week has also involved comfort food.  I made my favourite recipe of 'cheesy cauliflower puree', which is way nicer than it sounds - like a super creamy mashed potato! (Good for low carb diets).

With Tom away I've had to get up at 6.30 to walk Bodhi.  I had quite an ordeal on Thursday when I locked myself out of the house by leaving the keys in the door and taking a different key out on the walk with me. Pretty major panic stations right there - luckily I managed to break into the house after something akin to an endurance challenge and getting very muddy and bruised.  That was a stressful morning - then I had to go and deliver a day of training! Fun.  Can you spot Bodhi in the mist?

I bought lots of treats for the visit from Sarah and Char last weekend and some of them didn't get eaten so I've had to hide them away in a shoebox to avoid me pigging out and ruining all my hard work! Keep thinking about how much fun our Saturday night of Orchard Pig juice, chats and film-watching was and chuckling - such a great girl's night in! I must admit I did feel slightly guilty after watching this video this week and thinking about how attached we all were to our iPhones though; we were tweeting, instagramming and even snapchatting all through our Saturday night - it's amazing how much you can do on a phone now - Sarah relayed a hilarious story about going to a bingo hall (apparently it's a very serious affair!) but you can even play bingo on your iPhone these days.  Apparently there's an app you can download to control the blu-ray player I just bought too.  What happened to good old remote controls!

Of course no Rosie week of nights in would be complete without some serious lazing in the tub.  I've been propping up my iPad Mini on a stand and watching films on LoveFilm as well as enjoying some pampering. I cracked open my final Lush Christmas box and treated myself to some Snow Fairy this week!  Best. Smell. Ever.

My favourite little chap Bodhi has been keeping me company this week with lots of cuddles and licks.  He never fails to make me smile.  I picked the giveaway winners for my headphones and ASOS voucher giveaways and after wrapping up the headphones he played a hilarious game with the parcel tape that had me giggling away.  Far more fun than any toy I've ever bought him!

Hope you've all had lovely weeks.  Tom is back on Sunday so I'm looking forward to having him back (though the house isn't going to be as tidy as it has been this week!) Happy Friday!

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{post contains a sponsored link}


The hunt for a winter coat

Like everyone else, the change from summer to autumn (which seems to have happened almost at the flick of a switch?) brings mixed emotions.  On the one hand I adored the wonderful sunshine, barbecues, cold glasses of wine in the garden and days at the beach, on the other, well, insert stereotypical blogger list of Autumn loves here - cinnamon candles, forest walks, muddy wellies, slippers, lazy Sundays - and so on. The one thing I do love about Autumn is being able to become ensconded in cosy layers - no more worrying about wobbly bikini belly and instead long-live thick cardigans and coats - unkempt hair hidden under beanies, unshaven legs hidden under trousers, 'tis an excuse to be indulgently low maintenance!

The hunt for the perfect winter coat is of course a tale of courage and woe - sort of like a quest to slay a legendary fire-breathing dragon but more costly on the wallet and likely to involve intense periods of browsing ASOS late at night.  The latter brought me to these two beauties who both became instant contenders for 'winter coat 2013', or at least 'one of the many winter coats I will buy in 2013 in the hunt for winter coat 2013'.  I intended to put these photos up and ask you to help me choose but it turns out that I can't do without two lots of £85 missing from my bank account at a time so I had to make a quick decision and send one back.  Sadly now, looking at these photos, I feel I may have made the wrong decision, but time was not on my side!

Coat: Noisy May at ASOS, £85 // Trousers: H&M [old]
Tan court shoes: New Look [old], similar by Ted Baker

Coat: ASOS, £90

In the end I decided that the collar on the Noisy May coat was a little too fussy on me, and the ASOS parka was super comfy (hello shearling lined hood!) Looking at the photos now I am rather fond of the shape of it, I sort of feel like jogging back to my local Premier and snatching it back off the Collect+ pile but I am trying to be reserved and remember that it is only September and I really ought to space out my inevitable further winter coat buying at least a little bit.... Right?

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Galaxy prints and brights - new running gear

I am a great advocate of not caring what you look like whilst exercising and having watched a girl at the gym last week in full make-up, sat on the exercise bike in a hoodie whilst cycling at a snail's pace and texting, I have to say if you're still looking like you just left the house after a workout or a run then you're probably not doing it right.  I end up sweaty and tomato-faced when I come back from running club at work on a Tuesday and I know I make some pretty interesting noises (a sort of groan-grunt) so I fully accept that I am not at my most attractive when running (and frankly, who cares).  

However, there is a lot that can be said for new exercise gear when it comes to renewing motivation. Packing a new pair of trainers, vest or trousers in my gym bag always gets me excited for a workout and the transition from warm summer-y mornings to misty autumnal chill-in-the-air type runs has given me an excuse to pick up a few new bits.

I get most of my running gear from SportsShoes, who have a really good selection and the best prices I've found.  I actually came across them when searching for a guide as to the right sorts of running shoes for me and they have a really good guide on their website of how to find out what kind of runner you are based on your footprint which I always recommend to people. As well as being a massive fan of SportsShoes, I'm also becoming a bit of a Nike trainer collector so you can imagine how excited I was when they got in touch to ask me if I wanted to road-test some new running shoes, with a particular emphasis on their awesome Nike range.

I need a cushioned running shoe as I have really high arches so I picked these Nike Lady Zoom Vomero+ 8 running shoes (£89.99).  They have the added advantage of being so ridiculously bright I'm guaranteed to not be missed when running at night!  I teamed them with my new galaxy print Adidas leggings for a very *ahem* subtle running look.

This is me pre-run when I'd got home from work one day, hence the fact that I'm wearing make-up and don't look like a wet tomato (post-run photos are not making a regular appearance on the blog!)

trainers: sportsshoes.com £89.99* // leggings: adidas £28 [sold out]

In the same order as I ordered the top I also got a Shock Absorber sports bra for £15 which I was pretty impressed with as sports bras in my size tend to be £30+.  My washing machine ate the hooks on one of my other ones so sadly it was time for a replacement.

I hope you've enjoyed this little insight into my new running wardrobe - I'll probably be posting about running and fitness more often on the blog (I hope you don't mind!) so you might be seeing more posts like this in future.  I need to atone for a weekend of eating cake and sweets so I'll be out on another run tonight and possibly a gym session afterwards if I can keep my tiredness at bay!

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DFS Lipgloss Sofa

Celebrate London Fashion Week and make your home fashion-forward
with designer DFS Lipgloss sofa

This season, it’s all about the lips – that’s what we can take from Giles Deacon’s Spring/Summer ‘14 show at London Fashion Week anyway with bold and bright lip motifs printed across a number of garments.

So, it comes as no surprise that the statement limited edition design he has done for DFSSofas this month is also smothered in them. The striking three-seater sofa and footstool from the same collection is scrawled with black, white and orange pop art inspired pouts. Aptly named the ‘Lipgloss’ sofa, it shows how our homes often mimic the runways.

Giles is known for his outrageous designs, with a ‘smashed glass’ dress featuring in his S/S ‘13 ready-to-wear collection, so setting his sights on furniture design could have led to a worrying health and safety issue; smashed glass armrests anyone?

Thankfully this sofa has comfort as a priority, and would certainly pack a punch in the living room, making a focal point in a modern home.

This was Giles’ first high street collaboration for a furniture design, and he claims he wanted to bring great design, a good price and great construction to the masses. The addition of the footstool to the collection was in the hope that it could almost transform the sofa into a ‘giant bed’ – the ultimate in luxury.

He said:

“It has to be comfortable for sure, and have plenty of space, where at all possible.”

With monthly payments possible on the DFS website, this really is an affordable way to add a splash of designer style to your life. Most of us can only dream of affording the couture price tags of London Fashion Week, so this is a great chance to bring the catwalk into your home.

As DFS have 44 years of history behind them, Deacon felt this would be a collaboration to be proud of along with their launch of the DFS Design Foundation in February next year; a £20 000 student bursary scheme to help undergraduate designers progress into a design career.

Deacon will be on the panel of judges to help decide the talented youngster worthy of the prize.

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{ post is a PR collaboration }


Sarah and Char visit Christchurch

Tom has gone away to France surfing for a few days so I took the opportunity this weekend to invite two of my favourite blogging ladies down to Christchurch for some New Forest based fun.

I dropped Tom off at the station on Friday night, but I only had an empty house for a few moments as Char's little Fiat 500 rolled up outside and out popped Sarah and Char.  Friday night was spent gossiping, eating popcorn and crisps (the diet is on hold!) and generally catching up.

On Saturday morning I took the ladies to my favourite breakfast spot in Christchurch, Cheese and Alfie's. After undertaking a low carb diet for the last few weeks I'm sure my body almost went into shock at that giant piece of doorstep bread! We ordered eggs, oozing with their yummy hollandaise sauce - I had eggs blackstone (with bacon), Char had eggs florentine (spinach) and Sarah had another favourite of mine, Pan Haggerty (potatoes, eggs and bacon).  All served with big pots of tea in their lovely teapots.  We are egging (ha!) Char on to do some more instagramming, so here she is getting into the swing of things...

After mooching around Christchurch, having a quick nose at the dresses in Kiki's Boutique and entertaining my need to look for books in charity shops, we headed off for a quick drive around the forest.  We stopped in Burley, a favourite little village of mine.  The one thing I love about the New Forest is that you never quite know what you're going to come across next - this time there were a huge herd of deer in the 'car park' (a big field).  I don't know why I was surprised as also in the car park lives an arthritic goat, some more goats and some geese.

The car park is protected by a cattle-grid or it would be full of horses too - they roam freely in the New Forest but there are always lots in Burley.  This bin offers a stark warning that they've already had their weekly game of 'kick and bite the tourist'.

I'm not surprised really considering some of the ridiulous behaviour you see from people around the horses. We saw a man trying to park in a car parking space with a horse in it by putting his indicator on and waiting patiently for it to move out of the way.  Hmm.

I think the reason so many horses and ponies congregate in Burley is that it has the best fudge shop in all the land (lots of wasps hang out there too for the same reason).  I dragged Sarah and Char in to try their wares - unfortunately they had a 'buy two lots of 200g bags and get the third free' offer on so we came away with 600g of fudge each - it was a necessity.  Their Maltesers fudge is not to be missed.  Char was not so convinced by the lavender ice on the top right.

Along with fudge, Burley has some lovely little tearooms.  We popped in one for a rest - eating fudge really does tire you out.  Sarah had a very instagrammable pink hot chocolate...

After that we headed home to put our feet up and give Bodhi some cuddles.  It wasn't long though before we headed out for dinner.  We went to a lovely little country pub round the corner from me called The Lamb Inn.  I had a chicken burger - I have definitely missed eating chips over the last few weeks though I must admit I couldn't quite finish them all!

After dinner it was back home for PJ time.  With some comfy PJs and slippers on we tucked into the rest of our fudge and lolled on the sofas, navigating around my new Blu Ray Player (exciting purchase of the week!) to find a film to watch.  We ended up watching Side Effects which was quite good actually, though I must admit I fell asleep for a section of the middle bit, I picked it up near the end though!

This morning we started the day with croissants and bacon sandwiches (one or the other - I know it's been a bit of a foodfest but I'm not that bad!) and then blasted away the cobwebs by taking Bodhi for a walk in Brockenhurst.  It's been really warm today so despite how desperate I am to wear my new winter coat it was nice that it was so mild (not even a cardigan, walking on the wild side!)

After our walk we headed to Rosie Lea's Tea Rooms for some afternoon tea.  We had Bodhi so we had to sit outside on a rather wonky table, Char nearly ended up with most of the cakes in her lap!

Their Royal-Tea comes with sandwiches, scones, jam and cream and a selection of their homemade cakes. (Along with three pots of tea!) Needless to say we were fit to burst by the time we'd finished (and there was lots left over).  Some of the locals offered to help us finish it though....

Bodhi told them he had first dibs on the leftover Vicky Sponge and it all got a bit rowdy for a minute to we had to hop off home.  It was a slow journey home due to all the various wildlife in the road (lots of marathon runners and some Shetland ponies - they were a long way from home!)

Sarah and Char headed off this afternoon and the house is quiet again but for Bodhi's occasional snort from the rug where he's doggy-dreaming.  All that remains for me to do is finish all of that fudge!

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Healthy cajun Chicken, sweetcorn and pepper pizzas

So some of you might know that I've recently been trying a low-carb diet, and as a result I've been trying to make recipes where there's minimal bread or starchy vegetables.  I made this recipe up by combining a few recipes I'd seen floating around and whilst it's not perfect on the carbs it's a mega yummy, filling dinner that will give the satisfaction of pizza without the guilty filling afterwards! I was actually making 'mmmm' and 'ohhhh' noises as I ate this - yep, that happened.

wrap pizza recipe

{this makes enough for two, serving size is one, unless you're really hungry!}

Two Warburtons wholemeal square wraps
200g sweetcorn
1/2 red pepper, 1/2 yellow pepper
150g Philadelphia soft cheese
Tablespoon of Heinz Cajun Sauce (you could also use chipotle sauce or similar)
About 150g of chicken breast - we use chicken mini fillets but I think this is about one chicken breast
Glug of olive oil or Fry Light
Basil leaves for garnish

healthy chicken pizza recipe

1. Slice up your peppers and scatter them on a baking tray along with the sweetcorn.  Give a good glug of olive oil over them, or spritz them with Fry Light, and put them in the over at gas mark 7 for 20 minutes.

healthy chicken pizza recipe

2. In the meantime, mix your Philadelphia in a bowl with whatever cajun or chipotle sauce works for you. You'll want to find the right mix for you depending on how hot you like a sauce but for me it was a tablespoonful of cajun sauce mixed into the cheese.

3. Slice your chicken into strips and fry them in a frying pan until thoroughly cooked.  Then, use your hands to tear them into smaller strips about the size in the image below.

4.  By now, your veggie mix should be ready.  Take your wrap, spread the philly/cajun mix onto it.  Scatter your veggie mix onto it, then your chicken.  You can eat it like this if you don't mind the wrap being cold. Personally I like to pop it back in the oven at the same temperature to crisp up the wrap and make the cheese all gooey.  This is what it looks like pre-oven.

5. Retrieve that tasty wrap out of the oven and sprinkle with some torn basil (we have a basil plant on our windowsill :)  Enjoy!

This recipe is super flexible so feel free to use different veggies and different quantities as you wish.  All of the measurements are quite rough but I make one portion (one pizza), 486 calories, 45g carbs, 19g of fat, 13g of protein., 5g of fibre.  All in all a tasty treat and not too bad for the waistline!  I don't watch my fat intake but if you do you could of course use this with Philadelphia Light to cut the calories.  I worked it out to be 11 Pro Points on Weight Watchers so not too bad for an evening meal.  Let me know if you make this!

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Philips Downtown Denims Headphones Giveaway

I like to get things out in the open here on the old blogular and so I'm going to go ahead and say right now that I know there have been quite a few giveaways on here of late.  I know that giveaways are the marmite of blogland, some people love them (in that camp right here, hello potential awesome free stuff!) and some people hate them and say that people who run them are just trying to gain followers and get people to promote their blog for the chance of winning something.  To be honest, most of my giveaways have been won by people who already follow my blog and who I already see leave comments and/or chat to on Twitter, so I think it's just a really fun way to give something back to my amazing readers, whom I'm grateful for every day.  So there you go.

It's always nice to be able to give something away that you've also previously reviewed and liked, so I'm excited to be able to give away a pair of the Philips Downtown Denim Headphones I reviewed last week. This has been a really fun campaign to be involved in and I absolutely love the headphones so I'm excited for one of you guys to be able to try them too! I'm also throwing in a £10 Spotify voucher so you can treat yourself to some new music too.  Cheeky Bodhi photobombed me whilst I was trying to take the photos, I think he was eyeing them up for potential ear muffs now his morning walks have got a bit chillier!

I have to post the headphones out to the winner so I'm afraid it's open to UK entrants only, and as always all the entry options are in the Rafflecopter widget (I really like the word widget, anyone else?) It's a quickie this one as it's only open for a week so get your entries in ASAP!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck gang! I'm particularly interested in your blog post comment entries, I love discovering new music! My favourite listens on my Downtown Denims at the moment are Half Moon Run, Wild Beasts, Hiatus and Rilo Kiley so will be excited to see yours :)

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Built for the forest

There is something about Autumn/Winter attire that makes me even more determined to shop for 'quality' and to treat myself to a few items that I know will see me through the season.  Summer seems more whimsical and fickle - it always seems risky with our  unpredictable weather to spend out on too many pretty dresses - but Autumn and Winter are made for clothes that will last.  Living in the forest is the most special in these seasons and it's the time when we find ourselves constantly tramping through wet leaves and muddy puddles, riding our bikes through woodland and spending the days outside; enjoying the smell of woodsmoke at dusk, drinking warm cider around a fire and toasting marshmallows - believe me when I say that cheap wellies and flimsy clothes are a false economy for these types of activities! Whilst I might turn to budget brands for my S/S wardrobe, there are a few brands that I always come back to when the temperature starts to drop, and Joules have long been a favourite.

{ some current Joules favourites }

I always love the Joules collection and I love all the new chunky jumpers and coats that are sneaking in at the moment.  I've been desperate for a Joules dog bed for Bodhi for some time and the duck print one above would be perfect - he has a habit of curling into a tiny little ball so I think he'd be so snug in that! I'm also dreaming of autumnal nights in as well as getting muddy in the woods and Joules is always my first stop for cosy pajamas and slippers!  I read an article a couple of years back about Joules and the headline was 'funking up the shires' and I love that - for me countryside chic has to also be colourful, fashionable and fun, and Joules have got that nailed.  On that topic, I think that red cable knit jumper might have just hopped into my basket!

Are you a Joules fan?

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{this post is a PR collaboration}