Life, Lately October 2014

Friday 24 October 2014

How are you coping with the colder weather and dark evenings? 

I’m quite a fan of autumn, there’s a lot of good things about it (hot chocolates, nice coats, wearing boots, falling leaves), but the short days are hard to deal with – its now dark when I get up and dark when I come home! 

Welcome to my second ‘Life, Lately’ post, just intended as a little glimpse into my day to day life and an update on various topics.

Not going to lie, life has been hard lately. Our house sale seemed like it was going to fall through AGAIN, and even though its now hopefully proceeding again, the whole thing feels very precarious. 

I can’t believe there isn’t better protection for the biggest purchase of your life. You honestly have more rights buying a pack of chewing gum from the corner shop than you do buying a house. 

The whole thing has been beyond a nightmare, and I can’t describe how exhausted, emotionally worn out and down both Seb and I are feeling right now. We’re pretty much broken people! 

I’m just really hoping at some point we’ll be able to say it was all worth it, but that seems like a long way off at the moment- and I’m not even sure if we’ll get there yet. 

Please wish me luck because I really need it!

Here’s what else is going on…

Little Black Dress Challenge

Last week I unveiled my new focus, which is the Little Black Dress Challenge!

I’ve been really demotivated with diet and fitness for ages now. The move is taking up all of my energy and the gym wasn’t inspiring me much. 

So I decided to try and do something positive, and although it seems a little early in some ways to be thinking about Christmas, it’s the next bright spot in my calendar, so I decided that’s what I’m aiming for! 

I devised my own plan to try and drop a dress size in eight weeks, which you can read about here. Its just a combination of things that I know work for me.

The first week has been really good over all – I managed to stick to the diet side very well, which I was happy with. The exercise was a little more patchy, I’ll admit. 

I fell over running home on Monday! It was one of those falls that really hurts, but you have to pretend its all okay because there are people watching! Plus work has been really busy meaning I missed one of my planned gym visits as I was working late.

I'll have to try and make up for it next week. I have my eye on the dress above, which is by the new Nicole for Missguided line - I just love the leather biker sleeves! Hopefully the thought of wearing this or something similar will keep me sticking to my plan,

Working 9 to 5

Work has been all over the place for the past couple of weeks.

We’re very busy at the moment working on lots of different projects, and I’ve had to pull a few super-long days to try and get everything in. 

There have been a few interesting days! I hosted a journalist from The Guardian who came to us wanting to write a piece on graduate retention, so I took her round some of the great, innovative businesses we have here who employ a lot of graduates from the two universities and they told her what a difference it’s made to their companies to have the right talent on board.

I also went down to London in Whitehall to give a presentation about a campaign of mine that won an award. That was a great day. 

There were other people speaking too, about topics like how they’d launched the Olympic Park so I worried that no one would be interested in mine – but there were so many questions afterwards they had to stop them. 

It was really great to meet other people working in a similar field and find out how interested they were in what we’d done. The campaign has gotten over 1000 young people started in careers so far in the city, which is so brilliant.

And from government glamour to playing Building Site Barbie…I also worked on getting the media to a groundbreaking ceremony for a new development.

This meant it was muddy wellies and hard hats at the ready getting them all on site to see how the works were going. 

They managed to find a pink safety vest somewhere for me! Quite a contrast from earlier in the week…



To cheer ourselves up after all the house troubles, Seb and I held a little Oktoberfest celebration at home. 

We got in lots of German pilsners, and Pretzels, grilled lots of Bratwurst and Frankfurters and made Bratkartoffeln (friend potatoes and onion) and Apfelkuchen (apple cake). It was all absolutely delicious. The only thing we were missing was the Lederhosen. 

It was great fun having some quality time together, although if we ever make it to the bigger house, we’ve said we might hold an Oktoberfest party and get all our friends round to celebrate too. 

I don’t really do Halloween, so the month can be a little flat without something to liven it up. And any excuse to eat nice food really!

Home Bargains

I picked up a couple of amazing bargains for the new house as well last month that I can’t resist sharing, even if the move seems like its in danger of collapse. 

We wanted some nice plates for occaisions, because we like to think we’re going to be fancy and throw dinner parties in the new place. I’ve been hunting high and low for a set that felt special, but were still classic enough not to go out of fashion! 

Don’t know if you’ve ever bought a fine china dinner service but some of the prices will really make your eyes water. So I was over the moon to find a complete set of these gorgeous fine china white plates with a delicate platinum edging on sale at Home Sense. 

We got 8 each of the dinner plates, side plates, cups and bowls, two large serving dishes and a platter for £128.00 – which becomes very bargainous when you realise they should have cost over £600 altogether.

But that wasn’t my biggest bargain this month. 

I’ve been stalking this gorgeous dining table for months now – the ‘Dublin’ from Habitat. I just adored the simplicity of the wooden trestle legs with the glass top, but at nearly £400 it was a big chunk of cash. 

Then I noticed a seller in my city had two listed brand new in the box on eBay. The first one’s auction price went for £160 (still a bargain), but I held my nerve for the second listing and managed to nab it for just £50! I screamed my head off when I won the auction. 

We don’t have any chairs yet though so we might be sitting on the floor when we first move in, but a dining table is something you have for a lifetime, so I’m over the moon I got the one I really wanted for such a great price. Now I just need the house to go through so I have somewhere to put them?



Super excited because this weekend I’m off to the FABBEvents blogger meet in Birmingham. I’ve wanted to go to a FABB meet for ages, so I’m pleased they’re finally doing one close enough for me to make the trip. 

A couple of the girls I know from other meets are going, so I’m looking forward to seeing them and also to making some new friends.

Its at the Custard Factory, and they have an amazing shop there called Cocktail Cosmetics that stocks hard to find brands like Sugarpill, Lime Crime and Ardell lashes, so I’m dying to pay a visit there as well! 

A lot of bloggers talking on the event hashtag seemed to be agonising over what to wear. I’ll be posting an OOTD and a post about the day very soon, I’m sure!

Fresh Feelings


I picked up the new Herbal Essences Nearly Naked shampoo and conditioner the other week – absolutely loving them! 

My hair gets on really well with Herbal Essences stuff, so I had to try their new launch and I think it’s the best so far. I chose the Dazzling Shine variant and my hair came out of it much glossier. Plus the white mint and grapefruit smell is so fresh and amazing. 

I think these will make it on to my regular rotation of shampoos. They’re so effective and yet really good value as well. 

I’ve also been going through what feels like tonnes of hand cream and lip balm at the moment. My skin is feeling really dry with the change in seasons. I keep a hand cream and a lip balm on my desk all the time so I can pop them on during the day, and these are two I’m loving at the moment.

Nivea Soft Rose balm leaves a very faint soft pink sheen on the lips and is super-comforting. And for handcream, this cute ‘Squeeky Clean SuperStrong’cream smells like Fruit Salad sweets and adds a nice hit of moisture to dried out paws –plus its only £1!

Into New Worlds


As the nights are drawing in, I’ve been really enjoying curling up with a good book more than ever. I’ve read quite a few lately! 

I really enjoyed ‘Dark Places’ by Gillian Flynn. She wrote ‘Gone Girl’ which I enjoyed a lot when it came out and that’s just been released at the cinema, so I thought I would try one of her others - I couldn’t put it down. 

I’ve also been reading ‘The Crusades’ by Geoffey Hindley . Its an account of the Crusades in the 1100s which is not something I knew much about, but has been a real eyeopener about historical tensions between Christianity and Islam, which are obviously still having a massive impact in the world today. 

And finally a something a bit fluffier - I’ve just started ‘Valley of the Dolls’ by Jaqueline Susann, which is about three young women who meet in the 40s and get sucked into the drug addicted entertainment world of the late 50s. A bit of a cult classic!


  1. I love those Herbal Essence Clearly Naked Shpoo and conditioners too.. Lush!! Great post hun xx

    1. Aren't they lovely? And cheap as chips - can't go wrong. Herbal Essences works better than a lot of premium brands on me, my hair loves it! xx

  2. Amazing post. I really hope that the house thing sorts itself out for you, I know and understand how stressful that can be. I really didnt know that the Custard Factory was all different shops and things. I just thought it was an old warehouse, and so to be told that the shop sells Lime Crime things, you know I will be heading back down there very soon.

    1. Thanks Zoe, it has been really tough with the house but I hope it will pay off. Yes, I'm dying to go to that shop next time I'm back in Birmingham! xx

  3. I love your little "life, lately" posts! So interesting :) Sounds like you're doing really well at your job, congrats :) How's the little black dress challenge going? I've been making fruit shakes recently and it's made me feel so much healthier and even lost some weight! Let me know if you're interested :) x

  4. Thank you, that's really kind of you to say. Job is being hard work at the moment, but at least it keeps me busy. Challenge is going really well, lost 3lbs already! Yes, the fruit shakes sound really interesting, tweet me more info! xx