My most recent Smiley Happy Things

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Hello lovely people and how are you this monday morning, did you have a pleasant weekend and are you ready and raring to go with this week? I’ve only got three days of work this week as I leave my current job (after five and a half years!) on Wednesday – eek! I’m equal parts exccited and nervous! Anyway back to today, the ten things making me smile this week, here we go…

1) Lovely long natterings with friends
2) Brilliant books – In the last week I’ve read Catching Fire and I’ve started Mockingjay and I’m really enjoying rereading these YA gems. I’d forgotten so much of what happens and they are really brilliant reads

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3) Lazy mornings doing nothing but reading and coffee drinking, oh if only that was my life
4) Exploring new areas whilst we search for a potential new home – exciting times indeed!
5) Excellent Twitter responses, I’m looking at you @jamesblunt. What a great response to negative comments: showing you have a sense of humour and not taking yourself too seriously

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6) Watching live music – Tyler Hilton was superb live on Wednesday night and I’ve been listening to his music ever since. I love Loaded Gun the most I think (at least right at this minute)

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7) Five Guys –  I finally made it there this week and it was even better than I expected. There’s something in those fries that make them moreish, I’m telling you I could have eaten five or six helpings. As for the free monkey nuts, scrumptious

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8) Pretending I am able to buy whatever clothes I want with no budget constraints as part of the M&S Style Board competition for bonfire night. My entry is here, why not check it out?

9) Quality times with my sisterlings – whether it’s eating, chatting or just sitting doing nothing together I love them so much
10) Watching American Football at Wembley – wow!

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11) Treating myself to this simply gorgeous jumper. I’m sorry but I can’t say no to a snuggly jumper with star elbow pads. I mean wow love it!

What about you? What were your favourite things this week? Have you been loving all the autumnal weather and have you been making the most of snuggling up inside with hot chocolate and a good book. Surely that can’t just be me?

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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

Brilliant supporters, neon and giggles

Happy Monday you lovely beans, how is the world treating you this fine and furry morning? I don’t know about you but my past week hasn’t been the easiest. I suppose any week post holiday will be tricky but this week has been made infinitely worse thanks to an epic amount of work stress, big life decisions, food that disagreed with me and the stinker of a cold that I’ve STILL not shifted! So yes a bit of a rubbish seven days in all honesty. But let’s not dwell on the bad, this post is meant to be about the good stuff. And thankfully there were some lovely things that made this week so much better. I’m not sure how I’d have handled this week without some beacons of joy mixed in. So this week I’ve been cheered up no end by this week’s…

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  • Lovely lunches with brilliant friends – twice last week I was joined by good friends for lunch and it was lovely. Sometimes you just can’t beat a good old gossip.
  • Coffee and catch ups – More lovely friends this time teamed with good coffee. Ideal during a hectic day to just take ten minutes for a good dose of what’s actually important.
  • Someone going above and beyond – Sometimes people do far more than they need to and this week one such lovely person did that for me and whilst we didn’t resolve the problem I am really and truly grateful for that extra bit of love
  • Hysterical laughter  – What can I say that’s one of the best things that can happen. Laughter that turns into hysterics with a good dose of tears!
  • Making a breakthrough on one element of a campaign – That feeling you get when you hit on the idea that solves that one problem you’ve been stuck on for weeks, what joy!
  • Celebrating with family – It was my Dad’s birthday last week and it was a joy to catch up with my family and natter away, giggle a lot and eat scrumptious food. Baked avocado is my new favourite thing.
  • Surprise American sweets – My lovely friend surprised me with dark chocolate peanut m&m’s from a recent trip to NYC. What a star she is, so kind!
  • Appreciation at work – Most work places are a bit rubbish at showing appreciation so it was lovely to get some brilliant feedback this week on one project that appears to be taking over my life – very rewarding and almost worth all the pain
  • Comedy trailer footage – My Thursday was made infinitely better when I watched footage for an upcoming work trailer – the footage just cracked me up.  Sometimes my job is aces.
  • Two more new neon necklaces – no more explanation needed!

Afternoon tea in London town

Last week I spent a lot of time seeing the sights of London and I made me so grateful that I get to call this city my home. It’s full of amazing sights and beautiful buildings, and as I found out this week, is home to gorgeous afternoon teas. I obviously did the usual weekly activities of work, seeing friends, drinking coffees and not much in the way of exercise but instead of sharing that dull stuff I thought I’d discuss the best afternoon tea ever. That’s more exciting right. When cake is involved I think anything’s exciting! So anyway a really good friend of mine is currently over from Australia so it was the perfect excuse for a day in London town. We started with a wander around Trafalgar Square, to Regent Street and then up to the Langham Hotel for afternoon tea. After an amazing afternoon tea we had a little peruse around Regents Street (I may have bought a few things, oopsy!) before drinks in Covent Garden. Just a lovely day all round. But back to that delicious afternoon tea…

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Big Ben in the early morning light

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Nelson’s Column and the Trafalgar lions

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The Stunning National Portrait Gallery

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Nelson’s Column in the glorious sunshine

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The Palm Court at The Langham Hotel

Amazingly enough I’ve never done a proper afternoon tea in London before, so I was super excited about this one. The Palm Court at the Langham is known for its afternoon tea and all the wonderful things I’d heard were not exaggerated even a little bit. We started with champagne – you sort of have to don’t you? – then had tea (not a fan) and some form of berry jelly which was scrumptious. We then tucked into a small mountain of sandwiches. There were five different options and I must have had about eight in total (mainly egg which were scrumptious). I mean yes I probably should have stopped after one of each, but when someone comes round with a silver platter of sandwiches multiple times it’d be wrong to say no, right?!

After the sandwiches came the lightest scones I’ve ever had and then the wonderful array of cakes you see below. There were strawberry meringue lollipops, mini victoria sponge cakes, dark chocolate mousse/shortbread concoctions and my favourite miniature banana cakes.  I just loved it all and especially loved how wonderfully everything was presented. It really was a very special treat and I highly recommend it when you have a special occasion to celebrate. I for one am trying to work out what occasion I can celebrate next, maybe the fact that it’s almost Christmas, does that justify another afternoon tea?

What about you, what’s the best thing about the city you life in and how do you treat yourself on special occasions?

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Getting the balance right, sort of!

Last week seemed to be all about the eating and exercising, which is qwuite good I think as it means I at least got a good balance of things, yes. It’s far better to exercise a lot after eating a lot, rather than collapsing on the sofa, right? So what was all this exercise? Well over the last week I walked to work three times, did two long runs, went spinning and then enjoyed a two hour walk round London city as part of one of the London Walks.  What about the other side of the balancing scale I hear you say? Well I baked focaccia (quite a long process, but totally worth it!), went to Strada for lunch, experienced fried jam sandwich canapés (yummy!), had dinner cooked for me by Lau as part of out Ready, Steady Cook challenge and ended up at The Diner (again). Not a bad week really!
The London Walk we went on was so brilliant, and I highly recommend it. It costs just £9 for a two hour guided walking tour. Which to be honest would not normally be my thing as I normally like to find my own way, but I’m so glad I was given this as my present. It was absolutely brilliant ans so wonderuflly fascinating! We started off at Monument and ended up at the Guildhall and in between we saw lots of Christopher Wren architecture, Tower Bridge, Leadenhall Market, Pudding Lane and so so much more. There were glorious buildings, stunning churches and fascinating stories about the last thousand years. Just my cup of tea and the perfect thing to do on a Sunday morning!

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A tale of DIY, Wembley and food!!

This week has been all about the food! It started off with me being very conscientious and taking in a fleet of snacks to last me all day. As Monday is always a very heavy snack day for me as after the weekend I find it hard to get back into my normal food routine, plus when I get bored I tend to reach for the sugar based snacks – is that the case for anyone else? Then on Monday night I went out to dinner with work peeps to The Yard in Shoreditch, which is an old converted fire station. Man is that place amazing or what!? We ended up sharing a yard of pizza with four different toppings, each topping seemed to be better than the first. I honestly can’t recommend this place enough for food goodness! Wednesday was another night of good food as I was at Wembley for the England match and we had burgers beforehand in the stadium. I opted for the halloumi and mushroom one which was delicious – the addition of a smidge of pesto to the burger made such a difference and was a lovely change to sweet chilli.

Saturday saw me back at the parentals so of course we had to go out for dinner, duh! We went to The Seahorse, which I’ve mentioned before, see here. The food is lovely and the atmosphere is always so relaxed too. Plus I love the decor – please can I have the table below next time? I’d love to eat in my own little wooden area whilst sat on a sofa – so cute!  As for the food it was scrumptious, of course! Lau and I shared camembert and focaccia to start with, then I had the cheese burger and mushroom with brilliantly skinny chips followed by the sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream – ah-maze-ing. I honestly can’t recommend that place enough. I love it and I think it might become our go=to restaurant when we’re back at home.

As for other things I’ve been up to, well I decided to start the week with a two-mile run at 6am on Monday morning, the logic being I wouldn’t feel guilty about the pizza – it totally worked! Although I’m not sure I’ll be doing the same every week (this week definitely not). I then was rubbish with exercise until Sunday when I went for a 4.3 mile run in the countryside. Painful and hard but rewarding! There was also a trip to Primark, where I was meant to return stuff and actually ended up buying more…oops! Then there was the trip to Wembley where thankfully England beat Scotland, let’s be honest it was seeming like we wouldn’t for a while there. Whilst the England team weren’t the most convincing it was an amazing atmosphere, possibly the best atmosphere I’ve ever experienced at Wembley.

Friday was a bit of a write off as I felt really ill – I had the headache of all headaches from about 5pm on Thursday until mid Friday – painful and knackering. I hate how rubbish I am when I get no sleep or have a headache – I just can’t handle anything. As for the weekend Lau and I had such a productive time, we did lots of crafty stuff (frosting jars and vases as well as something involving glitter and glue) – I’ll share that with you for Pinterest Corner on Wednesday and finally decided on a colour scheme and some DIY projects for our new look living room. I’m so excited about it I can barely wait to get started! I also managed to find lots of bits and bobs to pop in my Christmas gift  box (there’s nothing wrong with being prepared) AND super excitingly I managed to find my new blog planner which I’ve been needing/wanting/searching for for ages – hooray to me. This blog planner has already worked wonders, not only am I super organised I’ve also been having loads of ideas, hooray!

A four day week…

This ‘lately’ post is a little earlier than usual and that’s because I’m now on my hollibobs – hooray to me! – and I won’t be able to update as per usual on Monday morning. As I’ve actually got some interesting (in my humble opinion) things to share I thought I’d post this on day one of the holiday so you don’t miss out! I’m so kind like that aren’t I?!

So apart from working like a crazy thing to get everything done on time before six whole days off I’ve also been:

  • To the premiere of Red 2 in Leicester Square, squeee! There was flashing lights, a red carpet, free pop chips, celeb spots (both good – Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren and Mary Louise Parker – and bad – John Fashanu and Vanessa Feltz!) and a freaking brilliant film. Definitely get watching it once it’s out across the UK – it’s hilarious!!
  • Treating myself to a haircut, and I’m totally in love with it. It looks and feels sooooo much better. Why don’t I get it cut more often?
  • Discovering Caffe Nero’s frappe lattes and boy are they good. I need them in my life big time.
  • Enjoying a mid-week BBQ at the parentals. Excellent plan – good food and great company.
  • Enjoying rush hour in a rural village – see picture below. Quiet or what?!
  • Getting a horrific lack of sleep thanks to the heat and our annoying loud neighbours.
  • Panic shopping for a wedding outfit after an outfit crisis. Thank goodness for Primark and hello to my brand new turquoise dress. Gorgeous.
  • Having lots of fun on eBay and managed to sell a Primark skirt on there for a small fortune.
  • Gaining a new gorgeous patchwork quilt – see below. Thanks Mum, isn’t she skilled? She makes them by HAND AND WITHOUT A SEWING MACHINE! Wowzers!
  • Packing – eurgh I’ve packed far too much for one week away. Oh well!

Powder paint, a wedding and an epic BBQ

Amazing!

Amazing!

This week has been brilliant and full of lots of fun times, things like:

  • An evening stroll
  • 2.4 mile run in 30° heat (no idea how I survived that!)
  • Free tickets to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – thanks work! It was just as brilliant a second time and our seats were awesome too.
  • A picnic in the park with lovely friends and new acquaintances – I do love this sunshine that’s arrived.
  • Zero lie-ins (Okay so not such a brilliant thing!)
  • An epic BBQ back at the parentals, I provided one of five (!) puddings plus we had three chickens and all that meat for 15 of us. Like I said, epic!!
  • Sneaky snacks on the bus. Sometimes after a dreadful day at work you have to give in to the peanut m&m’s craving.
  • Saturday saw me heading to the back of beyond,okay North London, for a friend’s wedding. It was absolutely beautiful, they make such a cute couple and everything was so lovely. There was also penny sweets including Percy Pigs – genius!
  • Multiple iced mochas. Delicious.
  • The Color Run! This is a 5k that you run and at each kilometre you get pelted with powder paint. Such fun!! And great to run around Wembley Stadium too!Wwhat wasn’t so great was the heat, bleurgh!
  • TV time: Castle, How I met your Mother and m&m’s. Perfect.

Feet and floors

Over the last week I seemed to have had a thing about feet and floors! Well at least according to the pictures I took prior to my Dublin trip. I think the reasoning behind this is that pretty much all the shoes I wore last week were brand new! Yeh, I’m not sure how that happened either!

Anyway apart from wearing new shoes I also: ran 2.5 miles in my fastest time yet, walked in to work three times, went to Dublin (more on that soon I promise), read some brilliant books, drank copious amounts of coffee, changed my name to a place in Scotland – at least according to the people at Starbucks, went a bit crazy on airport exclusive books (what can I say I’m a sucker for a James Patterson book), bought very patterned trousers that I’m still not sure about, fell in love with some excellent lines in Paper Towns (see below) and watched Murray win at Wimbledon. Not a bad week if I’m honest! How were your last seven days?

New books, playing at tourist and fun with friends

I’ve had the best few days, thanks to some wicked touristy fun, which I’ll share another day, and lots of fun with friends. I think I could definitely get used to just working a three day week you know. It would be lovely to then go off gallivanting around the UK having fun and seeing the sights – what fun!! So anyway what have I been up to?

  • Well first off I’m very excited that I’ve finally rediscovered my reading gene and as such I’ve had to choose some new books this week. After much deliberation I went with the very first Vampire Academy. My reasoning: it’s lighter for my commute. Yes really.
  • My brand new Clothbound Penguin Classics arrived this week. The new books in my collection are: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Gulliver’s Travels, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Sense and Sensibility and Treasure Island. Don’t they look beautiful on my newly arranged shelves?
  • I had another fish finger sandwich and West Wing night with friends last week and it was aces. Although it saddens me that the series is so very close to ending again. The only positive: I can’t remember what’s still to happen!!
  • I realised this week that sometimes it’s worth leaving the office for a full hour, even if it might seem like you’re too busy it’s definitely good to have a proper catch up with a friends. Let’s be honest however long you spend at your desk, there’s still loads to do. so you might as well make the most of your lunch when you can.
  • Two fun-filled days of being a tour guide around London, including stops at The Tower of London, St. Paul’s (don’t judge me for not going all the way to the top, I’m a scaredy cat), The Tate Modern and Harrods. It was seriously fun to be a tourist in my own city as there’s so much stuff I always mean to see and never quite get round too.
  • A trip to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Musical in the West End. I won’t spoil it for anyone who is going, I’ll just say this: it’s epic, everything you imagine and so so much more. The children and the scenes where they get chased by squirrels, shrunk, sucked up, etc are absolutely wonderful.
  • I spent a lovely weekend playing tourist in Bath. Again I had an absolute ball. The city is wonderful, the Baths are so interesting and beautiful and our hotel was a haven in the middle of the Wiltshire countryside.
  • I learnt that my Aussie cousins think it’s normal to have cold ice cream and hot custard together as a pudding. I was actually appalled, it looked so wrong.
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