Monday, 30 January 2012

My First 5k Run

Yes, you read the title of that post right. I am over the moon because today I ran my first ever 5k. It's not the longest distance, but it might has well have been a marathon for how unlikely it seemed when I first started running in November last year.

Darling Husband and his sisters are both strong event runners, and it's been bothering me for a while that I was the lazy one! I do a fair amount of gym work but running has always been my bête noire- I wouldn't even go on the treadmill!

Yet last year, I made it one of my 2012 resolutions to tackle the demon, get running and drop those final few pounds that refuse to budge. So I started by doing the amazing Couch 25k podcasts at - these I would highly recommend to any novice runners. They really help you get started and build up the time you can run for gently.

However, I have been stuck on week 5 since forever- first it was Christmas, then I've been feeling ill and fluey. Excuses excuses!

There's a group of people where I work who go on lunchtime runs everyday (who I've always been kind of intimidated by, tbh) and when one of them spotted me labouring away on the treadmill, he invited me to go out with them.

At first, I was too scared and kept putting it off, but today I thought- like Nike- just do it. Just. Bloody. Do. it. I stopped making excuses and went.

They very kindly slowed the pace a lot for me, but I did it!! They didn't tell me beforehand how far we were doing and it was only when we were on the home strait that I found out we'd done 5.8k.

So ridiculously pleased and proud that I've overcome the big mental barrier that was the looming 5k mark in my mind.

Feeling fired up and ready to take on the world now!

Sunday, 29 January 2012

January Lust List

Winter gloom is still all around us, but somehow my thoughts have turned to brighter days. The sale items are finally being cleared off the shop floors (paradox: I love a bargain, but I HATE a sale. There's just something so off putting about the racks of sad remnants of a past season that seems to suck all the joy out of shopping!).New stuff is finally filtering filtering through and I seem to want it all.Perhaps its the effect of the first payday after the horrible month of January, but I am so in the mood to shop! I keep seeing stuff that catches my eye and puts a spring in my step. So here is my 'lust list' for this month.

Chunky Agate stone ring - Love Hearts & Crosses (

I'm not generally much of a ring wearer (other than my wedding bands!), but I do love these gorgeous rough-cut stone rings. They're all delicious, but the pink is catching my eye...

Lime Yellow Blouse - H&M

Something about this bright yellow/lime colour is really floating my boat at the moment. It's just so punchy and vibrant. It SINGS. I nearly bought a dress this colour last month, but I chickened out at the last moment. But I think this top is a much more wearable way to wear it, and I'm hoping the shape will work for the office or for play.

Barry M Lip Paints - 147 and 129

Okaaaaay...I am really late onto the whole Barry M thing. I know a lot of blogs go wild for their stuff, but it's never appealed to me at all. I think it's the packaging. I'm shallow and easily seduced by a pretty bottle or tube - indeed, I have bought many products that turned out to be crap, just because they looked so shiny and appealing in the packet. And I do really hate the Barry M packaging and name....just looks so cheap and drag-queeny. However, I had to overcome my aversion, because when I went out on Friday, one of my friends had on the most amazing peachy-pink lip colour (147) that I fell instantly in love with. I had to have it. I also purchased the lilac bubblegum-my pink, (129) as its a colour I have been wanting to try for ages, ever since Nicki Minaj/Lady Gaga rocked it. So, I guess you could say I'm feeling a louder lip for spring!

Cream Quilted Leather iPhone 4 case -eBay

I haven't changed my iPhone case in forever. I've always kept it in a white leather slimline flip case, but this was getting annoying as the mechanism of the case prevents me putting it into the speaker or charger docks I have. And I fancied a change, of course. I found this gorgeous cream leather quilted clip-on back browsing on eBay. It's so Chanel, dah-ling! Actually, I saw a magazine feature a couple of years ago on this company that did 'pimp-my-iPhone' style upgrades, with diamonds etc, and they had one with a grained leather back that I loved- but it was so expensive and out of my league. This is my cheap homage to that!

This girl's outfit/style/life - Morven

I have a serious girl crush on this outfit, and this lady. What can I say? It's the kind of thing I would love to be brave enough to wear. I'm not nearly stylish enough and when I try to be more edgy, I always look kind of stupid and mis-matched instead. Plus, I think I am guilty of that ultimate crime, dressing for boys and to look pretty rather than for other girls and to look 'fashion' (ouch...that hurt to admit!). I love fashion but it doesn't love me! Whenever I try something more directional, I look silly and don't have the confidence to carry it off. BUT....this is what I dream of looking like. Morven is drop-dead gorgeous and high-fashion. She's a style goddess. I can only dream of looking as great as she does, but I do like to dream!! This is an outfit she put together for an ASOS styling competition - you can vote for her to win via her blog (linked above). Which I think you should do, because this is a beauty of an outfit. L.O.V.E


Monday, 23 January 2012

Review: Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation and Elastic Mascara

This is going to be a really quick review piece about a couple of new items I picked up on my run to Boots at the weekend.

First, a disclaimer: I'm never going to be an in-depth reviewer, with swatches of all the different shades and comparisons galore. I'm just an ordinary girl, speaking about the products I've tried and what works for me. I think make up is so personal, it's generally the case that you'll never really know until you buy it-but opinions can be very useful to guide you there!

So, Bourjois Healthy Mix foundation- lets be clear, this is the foundation and not the lighter coverage Healthy Mix Serum they've just brought out.

I've been wanting to try this foundation for a while. I normally wear Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse for a working day, and Chanel Vitalumiere for the evening if i'm going out. Both are lovely and suit my skin, but I was on the lookout for something lighter than the mousse- which can sometimes feel overly dry-that isn't as pricey as Chanel.

After reading many 'wow' reviews on blogs and Makeup Alley, Healthy Mix sounded just the ticket.

I haven't tried any Bourjois foundations for a while as I've never been overly impressed with them. I did have brief love affair with one they did that came in a built in brush, but it was too expensive for what it was and ran out very fast as there wasn't much product, so after buying a few times I moved on.

The first thing that struck me about this foundation was how liquid it felt- after being used to a mousse it seemed quite runny. I ended up putting small pumps of it on the back of my hand and picking up with my foundation brush from there.

It goes on smoothly and smells gorgeous. On the skin it feels nice and fresh with a low- medium coverage that really seems like its letting your skin breathe. I felt it gave a pretty dewy finish that looked very healthy.

Staying power- its about even with my mousse- it doesn't quite go a full day (7am-7pm in my case) but then not many do! I had to use my pressed powder fairly often during the day on my nose which was really shiny, but then that's a trade off with it making my forehead lines look less prominent than the mousse.

I have seen many postings from those with really dry skin stating they found it left dry patches- I didn't have this, but my skin is normal with an oily t-zone. I think this foundation would be a dream if you also used a primer to mattify a little first.

Smooth even coverage that seems to blend well. I picked shade 53 Vanille which looked the perfect match in the shop. When I first tried it on my face it seemed way too pale, but blended in to a seamless finish when it was on. All the Bourjois foundations seem to have very yellow undertones which suits my skin but may not help a cooler toned girl.

Overall, I am pleased with it and felt it did make me look more radiant. It doesn't steal the crown from my Dream Matte Mousse as must have product but it's a great complement and alternative that gives rested looking skin. I'm going to wear it for a night out on Friday and see how that goes.

As an unexpected bonus, Boots was also running a promo where you got a free full-size Coupe de Theatre or Elastic mascara (worth £9.79- so quite a saving!). I actually needed a new mascara, so I was very pleased.

I went for Elastic as it had a plastic brush which I always prefer to fibre. My current favourite mascara is Maybelline Volum'Express One By One and this isn't as volumising as that.

I always prefer mascaras when they have dried out a little so perhaps this will grow on me! At the moment the formula seems a little too thin and wet. It's very dark black on the lashes. It gives a nice, separated appearance suitable for day wear. It doesn't flake or smudge during the day, which is great. I like it but not enough yet- it just doesn't have enough va-va-voom for my big lash tastes, but it's a pretty nice product.

I will be using both products for my big night out look on Friday!

Sunday, 22 January 2012

OOTN: Cut Outs and Sparkles

I'm finally having another night out (my last one was the work Christmas party -that's about how often I go out these days).

I couldn't really decide what to wear as the weather has been so up and down here recently. It's still cold, and it doesn't feel right to break out the spring pastels just I ended up digging some old favourites out instead!


Black cut-out 'Mabelle' Dress - All Saints (£75.00

I love this dress so much, I don't even care that body-con is a bit passe. The back is so beautiful. I own this dress in white and have always regretted not buying it in black, so I recently hunted down a black one on eBay!

Black and bronze 'Latin Lover' sandals- Office (£80.00

Again, one of my favourite ever buys - the style is so intricate. They are amazing comfortable too, so I really can dance all night in them. I had to have them re-heeled to wear out!

Black with silver sparkles cardigan - Primark (£12.00, no website)

I needed a lightweight cover-up so I ended up digging this out of my wardrobe- I think the looser fit works well with the body con dress.

Grey snakeskin clutch Bag - Kurt Geiger (£30.00

I've been lusting after this bag for so long, but by the time I made up my mind to buy it in December, it had sold out. So as soon as it was back on the website, I snapped one up!

Make Up

Rimmel Fix + Perfect Primer (£4.99

Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation in 52 Vanille (£9.99
Maybelline Cool Effect Blush in Pretty Cool Pink (discontinued...try eBay)

Collection 2000 Metallic Cream Eyeshadow in Platinum Bling (£2.99

Mac Eyeshadows in Satin Taupe and Carbon (£11.00 each
Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Liner (£7.99

Bourjois Elastic Mascara (£9.49

Active Glamour 'Attraction' lashes (£7.99

Wet N Wild Beauty Benefits Lip Liner in 'Blossom' (£1.99

Chanel Rouge Allure Extrait De Gloss in Imaginaire (£23.50

Nails Inc polish in InStyle Mink (shade exclusive in InStyle...try ebay for products)

Friday, 20 January 2012

OOTD: Workwear Day 5

I thought I'd finish off the week with my only trouser outfit! I don't wear trousers so much at work, probably because it's too much effort to match them with a top at six in the morning when I can throw on a dress and and be done!

So I feel a little more scruffy in today's post!

Dark brown trousers- Zara
White vest top- Oasis
Pink chiffon bird print blouse- Primark
Brown brogue shoes- Topshop

Hope you've had a fabulous week :)

Thursday, 19 January 2012

OOTD: Workwear Day 4

I very nearly didn't do this today. It is the day before our big monthly best practice meeting with the directors and being snowed under with prep, and putting together presentations- I didn't get home until late.

Then I couldn't seem to get a picture that showed how vibrant the purple is on my dress. I LOVE this dress. I've had it for so long, it's getting a little tatty- but I can't bear to part with it.

Everytime I wear it, I get another nice comment, so it's a staple for me!

Purple leopard print dress - Topshop
Black cardigan- Miss Selfridge
Black suede shoe boots- Aldo


Wednesday, 18 January 2012

OOTD: Workwear Day 3

I'm still going! Today was a bit of a brighter look for some supplier meetings and the big pitch of our new season campaign.

Coral and tan dress - Primark
Black patent court shoes- New Look

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

OOTD: Workwear Day 2

So, I've decided to extend this feature and do a full weeks worth of outfits- some will be more exciting than others!

Yesterday, I was just in the office whereas today I was out and about at various of our sites, so I needed something that was comfortable to drive in, but also business-like- and warm, as the temperature was -4 this morning!

Black pinafore dress - Oasis
Skinny tan waist belt - Primark
Beige cashmere cardigan - Zara
Brown leather ruffle shoes - Linzi Shoes

I also have a thin black thermal undershirt underneath!

Til tomorrow x

Monday, 16 January 2012

OOTD: Workwear Day 1

I've decided to contribute my limited knowledge to the fashion world today and produce one of my first ever Outfit of the Day posts! I love reading other people's, and although I'm not the most original or stylish of people (my taste is too safe to be 'high fashion')- I do put thought into my outfits. I don't seem to come across many posts about the area I'm most curious about-workwear. I think putting together a workwear outfit that is smart and somewhat on-trend is a bit of challenge, and I'm always looking for help and advice from other people- so here is my own small contribution!

Apologies for my unamused expression, Darling Husband was being generally useless as my photographer!

Navy and white stripy dress - Closet @ Fashion Union

Black waterfall jacket - Fashion Union

Black perforated leather waist belt - H&M

Blue patent petite stiletto sandals - Dorothy Perkins

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Five Favourites for January

Collection 2000 Cream Puff lipcream in ‘Fairy Cake’ (£2.99)– I haven’t used anything from Collection 2000 for a seriously long time. To me, it’s forever linked in my brain to the taste in pink glittery eyeshadow and bronze lipsticks I used to have when I was 13. But it seems I have been out of the loop for too long, and in the meantime the quality of the range has improved beyond measure.

This product is a very on-trend matte lipcream, but it somehow managed to avoid being horribly drying on the lips, unlike similar products I’ve tried from Bourjois and Revlon. Cream Puff promises- and delivers- a dense, long-lasting colour that is velvety and comfortable to wear. ‘Fairy Cake’ is a dusky coral perfect for the colder months, and it performs equally well on cheeks.

The cute, slightly retro packaging wouldn’t look out of place at Benefit. All in all, its a beautiful product for a bargain price and is one of my new ‘won’t be without’ products. And I’m not alone. Lisa Eldridge, the celebrity make-up artist recently revealed it as one of her top tips as well! There's a great in-depth review of the shades at

Nanoblur Optical Skin Cream (£19.99) – there has been a massive PR push around this product, so I’ll admit I’ve been wanting to try it for some time. With reports that it had sold out and delivered dramatic results, I was intrigued enough to hunt some down when it first launched.

It’s £20 for a small-ish tube, which isn’t too over the top, but I made the mistake of shopping for it with Darling Husband, who insisted I didn’t need it and talked me out of it. But then my mum came up for a visit from Cornwall- she’s equally a beauty junkie- and decided she would treat both of us to some!

It’s sold purely as an optical diffuser, and it doesn’t claim to have any lasting benefits for your skin. So it’s not to replace any of your existing skincare products, merely to enhance them. I’ve lately been increasingly worried about expression lines on my forehead that seem to be getting worse, and I hoped this would deal with them and possibly with my dark circles, as those are my real skin woes.

If you wear a liquid foundation, you apply the cream on top, and if you use a powder, you place it underneath like a primer. As I wear a mousse, I was a little confused, but I used it on top in the end. I was really impressed! It did magically seem to airbrush away my forehead lines – they weren’t invisible, but you would have had to strain quite hard to see them. Under my eyes, I felt that it helped a little, but not as dramatically - perhaps because I also have bags, and it doesn’t disguise those.

My mum, at 60, has a lot more deeper wrinkles and she had also already applied her powder foundation, so she kind of put it on in the wrong order, and she didn’t feel it did an awful lot for her. I’m not convinced it can do that much for mature skin, but as a product for skin with minor surface blemishes and light lines, I feel it worked really well, I was very happy. I’d be curious to see if it makes skin look better in photos, so I’ll update on that.
Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow in ‘Flatter Me’ (£14.00)- I'm a bit late to the party with this one. It's been around for a while, and I've never tried it because I thought I didn't 'do' cream shadows. I've never tried one that didn't end up messy and uneven before, or even smudge into my eyeliner. But this one is the real deal. It gives a lovely, smooth coverage with no creasing, its highly pigmented with great blendability and it lasted all day without a primer. The shade 'flatter me' is a lovely bronzey taupe, very wearable for daytime. I was given this as a gift and I'm very impressed with it and plan to aquire some other shades.Umberto Giannini Overnight Beauty Moisture Balm (£5.61) – if you have hair that’s prone to being dry and damaged (hello highlights and over use of GHD's!), then this is a wonder product that can really help you to get soft, lustrous tresses again. Think of it as a night cream for your hair. You rub some into the midlengths and ends of your hair - and do this last thing at night, because you will look like a greasy, stringy mess! But when you wake up, it's like your hair has had a spa day! The first time I tried this, I was surprised that I actually got a couple of comments at work about how soft and shiny my hair looked. Now I try to use it once a week as an extra boost for my poor, mistreated locks.Molton Brown Re-Charge Black Pepper Body Wash (£17.50)- this one is a bit of an indulgence, but well worth it, especially if having hot bubble baths is getting you through the current zero degree freeze outside! A little squirt makes plenty of bubbles, so although it's pricey, it will last. I also feel its nice to have a little everyday luxury. I really love the scent of this, it is unusual, but quite sweet and very addictive. There's nothing else like it - it's perfect for winter nights in. It will make your skin smell sooooo good. You can also do the double and use it as a body wash in the shower. A little slice of peppery heaven!


Friday, 13 January 2012

TAG: Make-up and Skincare Essentials

Many thanks to 'Beauty Fiend' whose great beauty blog I've just stumbled upon, who posted this tag originally at

How often do you wash your face? Twice a day. Once with tepid water to wake me up in the morning and last thing at night with warm water before I go to bed. Any more would be a tad obsessive, non?

Your skin type? Generally normal, but I lean towards oily in the summer and get drier in winter!

Which facial cleanser do you use? I've currently just started a bottle of Garnier Pure 3-in-1 Wash, but I usually use Neutrogena Pink Grapefruit or Multi-Defence washes, they really suit my skin.

Do you use facial peels? I haven't tried microdermabrasion or any chemical peels, but I do love peel-off face masks. I find peeling them off weirdly satisfying. I like No7 Pamper & Peel Radiance Mask. It's a fruity purple gel that you spread on with a little fan brush- beautiful!

What moisturiser do you use? Constantly switch around brands as I love trying out new stuff, but my old faithful is always Olay Complete Care Multi-Radiance. It has everything my skin needs and leaves a perfect base for make up.

Do you have freckles? Not really- very faint ones on the tops of my cheeks that are only visible when I'm tanned, nothing to write home about.

Do you use an eye cream? Yes. My eyes are my biggest skin woe- dark circles, bags, you name it. It's my skin battleground. I use-and love- Dr Nick Lowe Skin Solutions Correcting Cream, plus a caffeine roll-on in the morning.

Do you have acne? Spots have never been a problem for me, even when I was a teenager, so I've been lucky there.

Do you use an SPF? Yes, every single day. I believe it's the single most important thing you can do for your skin. I wear moisturiser and foundation with an SPF and if I know I will be out in strong sunlight, I also wear an SPF 50 facial sunscreen. I am THAT obsessed!

Foundation? I love Chanel Vitalumiere, it gives an amazing dewy finish. But I equally love Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse and am never without it. I also like Garnier Miracle Skin Perfector Cream topped with some Clinique Superbalanced Mineral Powder for daytime.

Concealer? I'm currently wearing Maybelline 24hr SuperStay, after reading rave reviews, but I also like Bourjois Bio Detox Organic for dealing with my dark circles, and Benefit It Stick is the best for blemishes.

Do you know your skin tone? NW25- but although I love most MAC products, I never like any of their foundations, bizarrely. So I'm a 021 Nude in Maybelline terms and usually some kind of warm beige in other lines! I have a light golden, not quite olive skintone that hints a bit at my distant French and South American heritage!

What do you think of false eyelashes? I'm in love with them! I wear them everytime I go out in the evening to an event. So I'm a pro at applying them. I have a drawer full of packets of lashes in my dressing table!

What do you think of the rule of changing mascara every 3 months?
I'm not particularly germ-phobic, but it's probably common sense. Mine only ever last a couple of months due to drying out or me wanting to try something new.

Your mascara? I really prefer mascaras with plastic brushes to those with fibre ones, as I think they define much better. And I like a volumising formula. My favourite ever mascara was Lancôme Fatale which they discontinued a couple of years back *sob*. Now I always buy Maybelline Volum'Express One By One (in the coral tube)- it's fab!

Sephora or MAC? I love both- don't make me choose! Although where I live in the UK, we don't have a Sephora (probably thankful for my bank balance) so the MAC shop is my poison!

Which make up tool do you use the most? My Benefit Hard Angle brush- I'm obsessed with cat eye liner and getting arched brows, so it's an essential!

Do you use shadow base? Not really- for big events, I sometimes use Urban Decay Primer Potion, but I think with quality eyeshadows you don't really need one.

Base for face? I really like Rimmel Fix & Perfect but a lot of shops don't seem to stock it.

What is your favourite eyeshadow? Im never without MAC shadows in Phloof and Satin Taupe. I like a slightly pearly finish as well.

What is your favourite eyeliner: liquid or pencil? I prefer liquid for day as it gives a neater, more durable finish. But for evening, I'm all about gel creams- Bobbi Brown Long Wear Gel Eyeliner in Sepia or Urban Decay Ink for Eyes in Zero.

Have you ever had a mascara accident? Ummm... If stabbing yourself in the eye or getting it on a strand of hair that then smears all over your face counts... Then yes!

What do you think of pigment eyeshadows? I'm not a fan- they're too
messy for my liking!

What about mineral make up? When they first all came out, they were all I'd use! Now, I prefer them in the summer, when my skin is oiler. But sometimes they're too messy (see above!).

What is your favourite lipstick? I like a
nude lipstick with a slightly glossy finish, so my holy grail is MAC Sheen Supreme in Bare Again. I also won't be without- Benefit Full Service Lipstick in Lady's Choice, 17 Mirror Shine in Beehive and Mac Lustre in Lovelorn.

Lipgloss? Hands down best is Chanel Rouge Allure Extrait de Gloss in Imaginaire- well worth the price.

Your favourite blush? Daniel Sandler Watercolour blush in Cherub or Hail Mary.

Do you buy make up from eBay? I'd never try something for the first time from eBay, but it's great for finding discontinued products if you know what shade you need.

What do you think of drugstore products? I think the formulas are amazing these days and no one should be shy to try it. I'm a big fan of Sleek make up and I really think the quality rivals any of the high end brands. I also love Maybelline!

Have you ever considered taking a make up lesson? I worked on several make up counters while studying for my degree- Clarins, Givenchy and Benefit. So I know a bit about application. I'd secretly love to be a make up artist if I was to retrain, so I would consider lessons for sure!

Are you clumsy at putting on make up?
No I'm pretty decent.Friends often ask
me to do their make up for nights out- one even asked me to do her wedding
make up- but I wasn't keen in case I got it wrong! I'm always watching tutorials on YouTube to learn more techniques as well.

Whats the worst make up disaster for you? I haven't made any personally since I was young and liked pink glittery eyeshadow really! But I think the worst sins are badly done fake tan- I never use the stuff- and overdone black eyeliner!

Do you like bright or natural make up? Natural, definately. Occasionally like a bright purple on my eyes or a bright pink lip in winter though!

What celebrities make up is your favourite? Alexa Chung- I love cat eyes and she nails that. Or Candice Swanepoel, although she's just stunning anyway!

What would be your one and only make up material to use life long if you had to choose one? Eyeliner. I always play up my eyes! It's my desert island product!

Do you ever go out with make up? Only if I'm going straight to the gym in the morning, then there's not much point.

What do you think you look like without make up? Anything from hideous to just 'nothing special'. I don't like all this 'hiding the real you' argument, as I feel far more myself with make up on- the real me wears eyeliner!

What cosmetic brand do you think is the best? I hate to choose just one as I don't like being tied down! I like MAC, Maybelline, Sleek and Chanel the best overall though!

What do you think of make up in general? Its one of the passions of my life. I never get tired talking about it- hence the blog- and love trying new products! I love how it can transform a person completely!

Monday, 2 January 2012

Welcome 2012

I'll come clean now and say- I like New Years Resolutions. I adore lists and plans and clean slates. Each year I make a long list of ambitions- most are generally achieved, a few fall by the wayside and are perhaps picked up again later. But making them makes me feel I have a modicum of control over the chaos of life.

Resolutions are the marmite of the moral world and seem to divide people between love and hate for them, but I'm never happier than when in the midst of a planning session, so they represent a world of satisfaction to me.

Whether I stick to them is another matter entirely, but here they are anyway, laid out for all to see:

1) To maintain a good marriage through compromise and communication- obviously, it's my first year of married life, but having been together for 8 years, I like to think I'm not entirely naive about how it all works. I know a good marriage takes work and I want to try my best to be tolerant and dutiful in the little domestic aspects that make up our daily lives together. Also to keep the channels of communication flowing.

2) Keep up my exercise schedule and run a full 5k- so the end of 2011 was unexpectedly a good one for me and getting fit. I felt like I finally began to enjoy exercise for its own sake, rather than doing it because I had to. And I really want to build on that this year (after a complete break over Christmas). I'd also love to complete my C25k training and complete a race. I have done a 5k before, but I didn't run the whole thing, so I really want to do that this year!

3) To make more fresh, seasonal dishes- much to the amusement of my hard-partying inner 18 year old, I've gradually got more and more involved in cooking over the past few years. D.H is also a big fan of playing chef, so it's something we enjoy together. And we've gotten to the point where we don't eat much frozen or processed food anymore but I want to go further and cook more extensively and with seasonal produce, not just fall back on failsafe quick standby dishes all the time. And as we got 7 new cookery books between us over Christmas, there's a lot of recipes at our fingertips to try.

4) Write two chapters of my novel by February- this is a perennial one on the list since I graduated my English course at university! Oh, I just never seem to have the mental energy for creating a novel after work (blogging is different as I've chosen quick-and-dirty stream of consciousness here). But I feel like there will never be a good time, and I just need to take the plunge and put a few words to paper and see where it takes me.

5) Check my bank balance at least once a week - compared to my younger self, I am a much more financially savvy animal, but I still sometimes like to bury my head in the sand when it comes to watching my pennies. But this year, I want my money to work hard for me and buy me some nice things, so I'm going to have to keep a closer eye on it!

6) To go to the next level with organisation at home and work- again, compared to how hopelessly messy I was as a child, I'm a paragon of organisation now at home and in my busy work life. But this is the year I want to refine my systems and go really OCD! I want showhome levels of tidyness and cleanliness at home and a file for everything at work. I have too much on not to be like that! So in my home, I'm focused on being more proactive about little things I spot as they occur rather than letting them build up, and in the office I'm likewise troubleshooting before things can flare up. It's the micromanagement and breaking it down before it really begins.

7) Take more pictures and record our lives more- I used to be good at this, but lately I realised I don't do this as much. But I love family history and looking back at moments in time, so I'm going to document the day to day a bit more, on this blog and in more pictures.

8) Bake a different cake every weekend- okay, so this one is a bit ambitious, and probably where I'm most likely to fail but dammit, I'm going to try! With so many new recipe books, there's so much I want to try. With the exception of weekend I might be away, I want to try and bake as many new recipes as I can!

So, there you have it. Wish me luck!

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