A bookity book survey answered

Recently I saw this post on Sailboat. and I loved it! As I’m such a book fiend and I’m¬†essentially a crazily nosey person it was really interesting to find out someone else’s booky habits! So anyway following on from reading this post I thought I’d answer the questions for myself. Sometimes I get so bogged down with reading things that I forget where my obsession with reading comes from or what I enjoy about it, so it was good to think about all these questions. I hope you enjoy my answers and do let me know if you take the survey yourself. I’d love to have a read of your answers too!

Do you remember how you developed a love of reading?¬†Honestly no, from as far back as I can remember I’ve been a reader and always had a book in my hand. Whilst I don’t remember having a book in my hand when I was a toddler I know from stories I’ve heard that I was a big fan. I apparently wouldn’t allow my sister either of our two Spot toys as I loved Where’s Spot? so much that I refused to share. I was also a big Topsy and Tim fan when I was younger, proven by the fact that my five pet fish were called Topsy 1, Topsy 2, Topsy 3 and Topsy 4. es I was that cool!¬†I can also remember vividly that when I was younger I’d read as I walked round the house as even pausing to get a drink from the kitchen was too much when I was engrossed in a book!

Where do you usually read?¬†There is no usually as I’ll read whenever I am. But I suppose I’m most likely to be found reading on my commute to work or last thing at night as I lie in bed. No matter what time I get in to bed I have to read for at least ten minutes or so – it seems to calm my brain down and ready me for sleep!

Do you prefer to read one book at a time or several at once?¬†I always read one book at a time, I like to be 100% engrossed in my book. So trying to remember two books, or more, at once would be far too much for me to handle. I’ve never understand how someone can manage that?!

What is your favourite genre?¬†Oh that’s a tricky one as I really really do love most genres – romance, crime, historical fiction, biography, YA, kids. I’m really not that fussy. But I suppose what I read really depends on my mood. Sometimes I just need something that’s easy to read so a firm favourite, like Dahl or a Jill Mansell would be my first pick. Other times I fancy something that makes me question stuff so that’s when a Jodi Picoult book would come in.

Is there a genre you will not read?¬†I’ve never really read horror books as being scared doesn’t interest me at all. So I tend to steer clear of books by Stephen King et al. That’s not to say I’d never try one, but not for the time being!

Do you have a favourite book?¬†Gosh another hard one as I have too many to choose from. It goes without saying that¬†Matilda¬†is an all-time favourite as that was the first book that truly ‘spoke’ to me, but then there is a whole plethora of books that I just adore and I could read every day for the rest of my life and not be bored. Books like¬†Harry Potter and¬†The Order of the Phoenix,¬†The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, My Sister’s Keeper, The Hunger Games, The Time Traveler’s Wife, Little Women, One Day, Gone Girl¬†and of course my favourite Austen book:¬†Persuasion. So a favourite is almost impossible – sorry! I’d be so impressed if anyone could pinpoint a favourite book as I would most definitely find it impossible!

What is your least favourite book?¬†There are a few books that I’ve never finished so I suppose those would be my least favourite books, but the only one I can think of is The Great Gatsby, which I only recently read. I just couldn’t enjoy that book, maybe that’s because I had been expecting so much more from it as everyone I know had given it rave reviews, Sadly it fell short for me.

What is the longest book you have ever read?¬†Oh I honestly don’t know the answer to this one. Surely Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix has to be up there other than that I’m not really sure.

20131103-192115.jpgWhich was the last book you bought?¬†I recently bought some books for other people’s Christmas presents – yes I’m that organised but for myself it was <<<<¬†this gorgeous version of The Secret Garden. Isn’t it stunning? I’ve been coveting it for ages and finally treated myself. So stunning!

Do you prefer library books or buying books?¬†I do love the library but for me there’s nothing like owning a favourite or beautiful book and having it on my bookshelves to read again and again. It may be an expensive habit but I don’t care. I know that I’ll never regret owning these books as every time I see them I remember why I loved each book and where those pages transported me to.

What are you currently reading?¬†My current read is Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. This is a book I’ve had on my kindle for AGES and just not got round to starting it. Now that I have I’m quite into it already, even after just a few short pages. Like most paranormal YA titles it’s really easy to follow and well written.

So what about you are you going to give the book survey a whirl yourself? I’d love to see your answers! Happy reading x

Current favourite things!

Today on the blog I thought, you know what, lets share some favourite things. I love reading about the things that have caught other people’s eye, so why not share some of my own? So here we go – ten of the things that I’m loving right now!

  1. The sound of this ice cream. I mean Chocolate Chip Cookies and Cream Pumpkin Marshmallow Ice Cream AMAZING, right? I can’t even explain all the thoughts swirling around my brain at the thought of this concoction!
  2. The brownies I made recently, yes I mentioned them here but they were so good they needed mentioning again! They were just that good. As for the recipe, it was just good old Betty Crockers Chocolate Fudge Brownies mix, which is amazing in itself. But then I decided to add raspberries and digestive biscuits – um hell yeah I did. Talk about dream combination!
  3. My new Paperchase coloured fine line pens – so much colour, so much choice, so much fun is now involved in writing my to do list!
  4. The new Costa coffee cups, have you seen them? They have Christmas drawings all over them – bloody lovely. You can’t beat anything that’s christmass-y at this time of year.
  5. The collaboration between Rob Ryan and Tatty Devine, I basically want all the things from this collaboaration, but most of all I want the necklace below, so beautiful.
  6. Fairy lights. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this about a gazillion times in my life but they just make any room or area so much better, they’re just so pretty. I currently have four sets of lights in our living room and they make me smile every time I see them.
  7. Thor: The Dark World – I saw this film recently and I just can’t stop thinking about it. I enjoyed it so much and loved the ending. I also seem to have developed a bit of a thing for Loki and Tom Hiddleston, and this video hasn’t helped this obsession much!
  8. The 2D christmas tree¬†below. I am most definitely going to be instigating one of these on my kitchen blackboard in a week or two (yes I do mean that soon – why not?!). Also I love all these cards¬†(again below), I would be sending these if I wasn’t making my own cards this year.
  9. Have you started following @CuteEmergency on Twitter yet? If not you really should. As it contains the MOST adorable pictures of animals, just the thing to cheer you up after a stressful day. Definitely worth a gander when you have a chance.
  10. Finally I am super-duper excited about the return of Spooks. Not only because it’s Spooks and it’ll feature Harry, but also because Kit Harrington (John Snow in Game of Thrones) will be in it. OH. EM. GEE. Day made right there.

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Travel Tuesday – A Trip to Bolsover Castle

Happy Tuesday everyone and how’s your day going so far? For today’s Travel Tuesday post with Bonnie et al I’m rewinding time by a few weeks and popping up north to reminisce about a recent afternoon jaunt to the beautiful¬†Bolsover Castle. It was during our weekend in the Peak District and my sisters, Mum and I found ourselves with a spare few hours so we thought we’d make the most of Mum’s English Heritage membership as Bolsover Castle was so close by. I’m so glad we decided to do this on the spur of the moment as it was such a great building to explore. the castle sits perched on a hill overlooking it’s surroundings and we saw it from the motorway and all exclaimed at how amazing the building looked. It was only later as we pulled up to the castle that we realised it was Bolsover Castle that we’d seen from afar, so I think we definitely got a sense of what invaders and guests back in the 1600s would have felt!

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What’s interesting about this castle compared to the usual historical sites I visit (mainly National Trust) is that it’s just the shell of the property. But I think there’s something magical about this. The English Heritage haven’t spent masses doing it up and putting in the relevant furniture they’ve just restored it so that you can wander around and get a sense of the building and the opulence that would have existed thanks to the beautiful ceilings or ornate fireplaces. This is preferable I think to some of the National Trust places which can feel a bit stuffy and out-of-bounds.¬†What’s wonderful about Bolsover is that you can wander through it and touch everything and properly see the rooms and amazing proportions. I can imagine children would love visiting the castle as they could run around the rooms playing princess or knights and dragons, there’s something fairytale like about not being constrained and just wandering and imagining what those empty rooms have seen.

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There was a variety of work going on when we were there but that didn’t matter for us, you still got to appreciate the wonderful buildings that make up Bolsover Castle, from the Little Castle to the Riding School. I think my favourite part (apart from wandering the beautiful buildings) was looking out at the wonderful views of Scarsdale with the castle ruins behind me. Absolutely beautiful.

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The English Countryside – Travel Tuesday

Greeting chums, how are you all? I’ve suddenly realised that today is my last day off before my new job – eek how has that happened – so needless to say I’m slightly panicking! But anywho enough about me, what have you all been up to? Thanks for stopping by for another installment of Travel Tuesday, I can’t wait to see what travels everyone else has shared this week! In this weeks installment we’re off only a short distance, to the wonderful English countryside and bonus it fits into today’s theme of relationships!

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Over the weekend I went back to my parents house for 36 hours for a good old catch up, we’ve all been busy bees recently so it was lovely to chatter about everything. It’s always really lovely being back in Surrey as it’s 100% relaxed and you’re guaranteed gorgeous food, but this weekend I also wanted to make the most of being in the countryside. With the gorgeous autumnal weather we’ve been having recently it was the perfect excuse to get outside and see all the beautiful autumnal sights. Sights that you don’t often get to see in the heart of London town! So that’s what we did! We pulled on our wellies, our scarves and our coats and drove ten minutes to Ranmore Common and went for a tramp in the woods. We wandered around for about 45 minutes and it was so lovely to be out in the fresh air with four of my favourite people (tick on the theme)! We were all very excited when we came across a load of chestnuts and couldn’t resit picking up a fair amount of those for roasting later on (we did leave some for the squirrels – don’t worry!).¬†There’s something amazing about the crisp autumn air that just makes me warm and snuggley inside and isn’t it wondrous when all you can hear is the rustling of the leaves or the snap of twigs as you go a little off piste. Oh it was such a lovely afternoon and I realised I really must pop back down to the countryside more often, even if just for a quick walk int he leaves. It really is so blissful.

I won’t bore you with more waffling, instead have a gander at the images below to see the glorious autumnal colours, what we got up to, how stunningly beautiful everything was and how much mud I found!

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Getting crafty. A sparkly word cushion

Greetings friends and how are you on this happy day? I’ve popped on to the blog today to share a recent crafty project that I’ve finally got round to doing. I’ve been crazy lazy over the last few months and it took me three, yes three months to finally get going on this project – oops! So here it is, the lovely pillow I made (don’t look too closely, it’s most definitely not perfect!).

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So anyway down to the project! A while back I made the somewhat ¬†impulsive decision to make the little sisterling something for her birthday. I had no clue what this thing would be but I knew that was what I wanted to do – no idea why as I’m truthfully not the most crafty of people. I mean I can knit but that’s about it for crafting skills and really my knitting speed is so far from quick that the time frame I had once I started (two weeks) would mean she’d end up with a scarf four inches long. Less than ideal. Thankfully I then remembered about the post I saw an age ago on Sugar and Cloth and have since hidden in the recess of my mind as something to make one day when I had the need and (perhaps more importantly) owned a sewing machine. Now I still don’t own a sewing machine but a while back I borrowed my Mum’s and I still haven’t used it, so it seemed the perfect opportunity! So as the planets seemed to be perfectly aligned it was time to get down to making a gorgeous sparkly word pillow.

I knew the little love bug that is Beccabear would love such a pillow as she’s now in her first rented house and has enjoyed accumulating bits and bobs to personalise it with. Plus as a student I know she will be spending a lot of her time over the next few years sitting on her bed reading and typing away – so comfy pillows are essential, well they were for me anyway!¬†After a lot of deliberation over the word for the pillow I settled on ‘dream’ as I like how its equal parts fluffy and motivational. Does that make sense, or is that just a peek into my really weird mind?!

I really enjoyed making this cushion and it’s made me determined to give some other projects ago. I just need to decide on a new project to start, hm decisions, decisions.

October’s budgeting bloggers round up

Greetings blogging friends, how are you on this lovely morning? I’m crossing my fingers that you’re snuggled up with a good coffee on a squidgy sofa rather than working hard (that’s my current position anyway!). A girl can dream right? So today’s post is all about my ¬†October clothes shopping and how well I’ve done with the purse strings this month. As per usual I’m joining up with Franish and all the other lovely budgeting bloggers, so don’t forget to pop over to see how they’ve done too! As for me I’ve had an okay month in October – no thanks to the big spree in just one shop in the middle of the month. But despite this I I somehow ¬†managed to keep to my budget and only spend ¬£115.98, which leaves me a little bit to add to the Christmas fund – hooray! So what did I get for this money, well not a huge amount compared to last month to be honest, but I’m not to worried about that as it’s all lovely stuff!
Budgeting Bloggers: October

H&M high heel boots (£25) / H&M gray flats & dark green flats (£7,99 each) / Tweed Biker Jacket РMatalan (£15) / Zebra Print Blazer РMatalan (£18) / Soon Skinny Jeans РMatalan (£12) / Falmer Waffle Stripe Top РMatalan (£12)
 

The last months shopping exploits have been in just two shops: H&M (for no less than three pairs of shoes) and Matalan for everything else. All the shoes I bought have been won loads already and are perfect for what I needed, so that’s a bonus! I have been searching for boots like these for ages as they look so practical, are comfy and can be worn with loads in the autumn months. And these ones don’t disappoint. As for the pumps I’ve been needing some for ages that were interesting colours, so I’ve ticked that off this month at least!

As for the clothes, I couldn’t say no to the tweed biker jacket as it was a mere ¬£15 and it’s just lovely. [I think I’m a little bit in love with it if I’m honest!] As for the other jacket/blazer thing I loved the pattern (not the exact one on here, it’s a flowery pattern) so I had to buy it, I mean a black and white blazer is an essential yes? Not in the above picture is a navy and red striped long sleeve top that is perfect for lazy Sundays and walks on the common – very similar to the waffley one above, which was perfect until I spilt coffee down it – oops! As I don’t own skinny black jeans I could hardly say no to these black ones for a mere ¬£12 could I? Especially when they fit absolutely perfectly (and look awesome with the new boots)! The one other purchase I made this month was a simple grey tshirt with fake leather capped sleeves. This top is such a simple item and was relatively cheap (only ¬£8) but I’m totally in love with it. It is such an easy top to throw on with a pair of jeans and automatically looks like you’ve made an effort, which let’s be honest everyone loves right?

So there we have it, quite a lot of awesome things for my money this month, what about you how has your budget gone this month? Has it been successful or not?

A Trip To Meet The Otters – Travel Tuesday

Happy Tuesday lovely peeps and welcome to another edition of Travel Tuesday with¬†Bonnie¬†and Co. How have you all been since the last edition, anything exciting to share? Today is the second to last day at the job I’ve been at for five and a half years, so ti’s all very exciting in these parts. I can’t believe this day has actually arrived and whilst I’m sad I can’t wait for the super exciting new things to come! Anyway back to travelling, today I thought I’d share my recent trip to an otter sanctuary, which was ten days ago during my trip to¬†The Peak District.IMG_0595

Whilst we were having a thoroughly relaxing weekend in the countryside we decided to venture half an hour from where we were staying and visit the¬†Chestnut Centre Otter, Owl and Wildlife Park¬†which is nestled on the side of a hill in Chapel-en-le-frith. If you’re ever up that way I most definitely recommend it as it’s such a great afternoon out! We were there for a good three hours and as well as having a lovely long walk around the hills we encountered some beautiful creatures.

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A particular favourite of mine was the deer that were grazing on the side of the hill not two metres from where we were wandering, they were absolutely beautiful and seemed so peaceful. They didn’t seem bothered at all that we were so close, they just seemed to enjoy roaming around the land. It was great to see thm in their natural habitat and to be so close.

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As well as the deers (with their baby foals) we also saw loads of silky otters splashing around in the water. There were giant ones as well as small ones in five or six areas across the park – three of these seemed to be doing an exercise routine where they swam and chased each other round their enclosure multiple times (so sweet). Plus we saw pole cats, which are very cute (if not a little shy) too.

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As well as the deer, otters and pole cats there were a lot of owls to stare at as well, everything from cute barn owls and snowy white ones to ones I’ve never seen before. I think these were my favourites as they were the most unexpected – with their puffy and fluffy feathers and big haunting eyes they really were gorgeous. Although I’m not sure I’d like to meet them in the woods on a dark night!

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It was such a lovely day out and perfect for getting a long walk in without even realising it! I really did fall in love with The Peak District and I can’t believe that I’ve barely even visited such a stunningly beautiful part of the world – I really have been missing out. Have a great rest of the week everyone. xx

They know me so well!

Happy Thursday you lovely bunch and how the devil are you all? I’m fairly exhausted to be honest, who knew finishing everything up at work before I leave would be so exhausting, I honestly have no idea if I’m coming or going at the moment! Thankfully I had the morning off of work today so I have been able to slowly pull myself together this morning rather than the usual craziness. I had planned to do a ridiculous numbers of jobs with my morning (gym, post office, cobblers, supermarket, sort out the flat) but instead I seem to have found myself at Starbucks with a coffee and catching up on 115 blogs. Yes I’ve been neglecting my fellow bloggers recently too, oopsy.

Anyway back to today’s post, sorry if the title of this one has you humming or singing one particular song (or is that just me?). I had to name this post in this way as when my sisters spoilt me recently it made me realise how well they know me. I could not have bought myself anything better than the gifts they surprised me with!
When they gave me a bag of delights to celebrate my new job I was absolutely flabbergasted, bless them. They really are little people of amazingness. Like I even needed any such thing (although I’m totes not taking any of it back)! So what did they get me I hear you cry? Well the below shows you all the wonders I received!

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Aren’t my gifts just lovely? I’d definitely be hard pressed to share a favourite as they’re all just so me. I adore the notebook, even though I do feel a panic to fill it with brilliance, everyone needs a badger mug (cuteness doesn’t even come close in descriptive terms) I love the pens pink and purple pens and I’m most impressed that they got me an edible card from Biscuiteers it is one of my favourite companies after all! All in all these guys did an awesome job in choosing presents that made me smile and that I would have chosen for myself. I heart them to the moon and back for being as awesome as they have been for giving me this lovely haul. Now I’m all set for my first day, less than two weeks to go. Eek!

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What about you what’s the best present you’ve ever been given? Have a tremendous Thursday everyone. xxx

Adventures in the Peak District – Travel Tuesday

20131021-085101.jpgOn Sunday I got back from three nights in the Peak District and it was an absolutely brilliant weekend – I loved every second! I’ve only ever been to the Peak District once before when I went for a walk around the Ladybower Reservoir up near Sheffield. You can read more about that over here! Since then I’ve been wanting to go back as it looks just so beautiful, and finally this weekend that happened! The reason? The younger sister’s birthday celebrations and seeing as she’s studying at Sheffield University, a family trip to the peaks seemed logical. After much searching we found a beautiful little cottage overlooking the river in Bakewell and we were set! We arrived on Thursday afternoon and didn’t leave this patch of paradise until Sunday lunchtime and I can honestly say I was so super relaxed whilst there. It certainly lived up to my super high expectations and the scenery was just superb, despite the less than glorious weather. But hey, what are you going to do about that?

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Whilst there we did some day trips – to see a friend in Leeds, to the Chestnut Centre Conservation and Wildlife Park and to Bolsover Castle but the shining star in the weekend was in my humble opinion, the lovely town of Bakewell. I can imagine in the summer it is fairly hectic and busy as it’s so picturesque, is close to the famous Chatsworth House and is renowned for its Bakewell Tarts, but during our weekend it was an okay amount of busy. We went for a few walks around and into the village and it seemed every corner you turned took you to quaint shops or beautiful views, not to mention a pretty river and a lovely sounding weir. Some of my favourite photos of the village are sprinkled in this post, although I’m not sure you can appreciate it’s beauty in these. As for places we visited that I can thoroughly recommend? The super cheap and brilliantly stocked charity shops, the atmospheric and brilliantly decorated Pointing Dog and Duck pub, which served food that was out of this world (there really aren’t the right superlatives I’d need to describe their chicken, leek, ham and mushroom pie), lovely looking coffee shops and Rajas – home to delicious tasting curries!

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We did of course treat ourselves to Bakewell Tarts whilst there and they really are something else when you taste a tart that is how it’s meant to be – none of the Kiplingified nonsense you are taught is the correct why. If you’ve never had one I highly recommend you rectify that asap!

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So yes that’s what I got up to over the weekend, exploring the beautiful peak district with family, if you’ve never been I highly recommend it and I will most definitely be going back. Any suggestions for where I should visit next? I’m all ears. Happy Travel Tuesday and don’t forget to visit all the other lovely people who are linking up posts with Bonnie and the rest of the lovely Travel Tuesday brigade. Happy travelling from your desk/sofa/bed everyone.

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A Compass Rose

Merry times away and happy things

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Yesterday I got back from four days in the Peak District where I had a whale of a time with my family to celebrate my younger sister’s birthday. Most of my smiley happy things from the past week relate to this trip as it was so much fun – oh how I wish I was still there and not at my desk in Central London! Even though the weather was mainly cloudy and a bit drizzly it didn’t seem to matter as we were staying in a lovely little cottage and having a ball – more on the weekend tomorrow in my Travel Tuesday post. So let’s get down to these smiley happy things!

Super cute animals – whilst in the peaks we stayed in Bakewell where we just happened to be overlooking the river and a lot of really cute ducks and even a few swans, so sweet! We also spent Saturday at a nature reserve full of owls and otters, which were absolutely adorable, I could have spent hours there watching the otters splash around in the water. Cuteness!

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Family – I spent the entire weekend with my family and it was so good to be all together again, even if for such a short time. I think the last time all six of us were together for longer than ten hours was in Wales in August, so it was high time for another get together! We got up to all sorts; from walks and meals out, to lazy times on the sofa and late night game playing. Not to mention hours in the car ranting at the radio or singing along to the radio – I loved ever second and I need to start planning the next trip.

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Good food – Whilst in Bakewell we did of course treat ourselves to the obvious – a proper Bakewell Tart, but we also consumed a LOT of other things including: GBK burgers (and fries with satay sauce), cooked breakfasts, cocktails, curry, pub lunches featuring the most delicious chicken liver pate ever, chicken, leek, ham and mushroom pie, birthday cake and lasagna. Yummy, yum, yum! A good reason why I need to go for a run. Good food also extends into the rest of the week with sausage casserole, hot chocolates, breakfast at Le Pain, triple chocolate cookies and an obscene amount of marshmallow brownies.

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Non Peak District related good things from this week include a trip to Costco. I don’t know why but something about that place makes me so happy. I think it’s the combined fact of being able to buy yummy things in bulk (hello 48 packets of peanut m&m’s or 3 litres of sweet chilli sauce) and wandering between aisles of books, then TVs and then crisps. Such fun!

Autumn love – I’m so pleased we’re completely in the throes of Autumn as it’s my favourite season. I found the perfect leaf when briefly in my parents garden and I just love shuffling through the leaves each morning and the click clack of winter boots in the paving slabs.

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Sisters – Sort of related to point two above (as they are my family after all) but over the last week my sisters have proved they’re pretty awesome through a number of ways. Firstly through comedy Snapchats and tweets, then with lovely surprise presents to say ‘well done on your new job’ and finally when Bex gave me one of her rings, well a set of three matching ones, that no longer fit her – how awesome are they! I’m super lucky to have them in my life!

Pretty printed paper – I love wrapping the gifts I give in beautiful paper and with lovely ribbon and this week I found some gorgeous brown paper in Paperchase that had lovely patterns on. As soon as I saw the three designs, I had to buy them all – I mean look, swirly text, cute colourful birds and interesting animals. How could I not buy these?

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What about you, what things have made you smile this week, I’d love to know! x

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