A new job, more brownies and another 10k done!

Hello friends, how are you this fine Monday? I had such a brilliant weekend – I spent time with lovely friends and family, ran a 10k (whoop!) and then had some festive fun. So brilliant all round! How was yours? And how’s your week been? I’ve had lots of fun stuff going on in the last few days, so let’s get down to the smiley happy things from the last week. Don’t forget to share yours if you fancy, I’d love to have a read!

So last Wednesday I started my new job, hooray to me! It’s so exciting to start a new job isn’t it – well if you ignore all the butterflies!? I’d forgotten that because it’s been over five years since I started a job, but I have to say I kinda enjoyed it! Thankfully everyone’s been so lovely to me in the three days I’ve been there – there’s lots of nattering and coffee breaks and no one’s had a go at me for asking too many questions, phew! Plus my lovely new colleagues took me out for lunch on my first day – so very kind of them! I’m also really enjoying finding out about what I’ll be working on and starting to develop some ideas for these lovely new books. I’ve also had loads of new books to read, which is one of my favourite things! The other thing about my new job? A new desk that needs personalising with lots of lovely new stationery, my Disney Pixar desk calendar and a new mug – hooray to that! So far I’ve added: colourful pens, an owl mug for said pens, pink post it notes, my new badger mug, photos and of course a new notebook and weekly planner . So far I’m loving my new desk, especially as there’s a window and everything!

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Another things that’s made my week is that I did another 10k! Whilst I didn’t beat my PB I did at least complete the distance, which is most definitely a positive as it was freezing on Saturday. I’ve also done for so few runs recently that I wouldn’t have been surprised if I hadn’t managed it. Another good thing about the 10k was that it was through the Nottingham Forest, which was absolutely stunningly beautiful. I really wish I lived closer to it so I could go for walks there every week, it’s just amazing.

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To balance out the exercise from the weekend I made sure to treat myself this week too! First up with multiple coffees in my new Starbucks mug – yes I know it’s Christmass-y but I couldn’t say no to something featuring ice skates or that was free, come on now! The second big treat of the week? Homemade chocolate, raspberry and biscuit brownies, which were absolutely diving. I can’t believe I’ve not mixed those three things before. I will most definitely be mixing them in the future, that’s for sure!

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My final smiley happy thing from the past seven days was having a couple of days off of work with nothing planned. Why was this good? Well it meant that I got to spend two days doing nothing other than drink coffee and read new books, talk about bliss. Plus the weather seemed to be on my side as I was able to sit outside in the sunshine for three hours on Monday and read my book and watch the world go by. Another reason why I wish I could win the lottery, I would thoroughly enjoy spending my life doing that let me tell you!

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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?

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

The little things cheering me up this week

Morning lovely people, how is Monday treating you so far? Hopefully it’s been incredibly kind to you and maybe even treated you to something lovely, like new shoes or a scrumptious warm coffee. Here’s hoping. I’m very excited this morning as it’s my little sis’ birthday – hooray to her! I’m sad not to be celebrating with her (that’ll happen in a few weeks) but I can’t help but feel excited for her as we all know how wonderful a birthday can be. Here’s hoping she eats cake, cake and more cake and enjoys celebrating with all her lovely friends! As it’s Monday it’s customary for me to share some of the things that are really making my life wonderful at the moment. So here goes!

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First up we have something really simple but it’s really cheered me up and that’s sorting out my bookshelves. I know that sounds crazy cats but they were such a mess, there was no logic to them, I couldn’t see what was on them and there were three bags of books on the floor waiting to be added to the mess. So anyway on Sunday morning when I wanted to do anything but go for a run I sorted them out and now they are so lovely and ordered and I heart them. I’m still prone to smiling when I walk into the room and see them, which definitely means it was worth the faffing and also I’ve realised I cannot buy another book for at least six months as I have an entire shelf of unread books. Oops, a sure sign I’m a bit of a bookworm I think!

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My brilliantly organised bookshelves – so pretty!

Aside from books and organising things I’ve become a bit obsessed with Friday Night Lights recently, over the last week we’ve watched about 15 episodes and I’m now seriously hooked. I can barely wait to tuck into the next series and find out what happens to Riggins, Street, Landrey, Julie, Coach, Smash et al. It really is a great piece of TV and I can see what the fuss is all about. Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose!

I spent a night in Bath last week for work and I had such a brilliant time, it was lovely to spend a few hours away from London and enjoy the beautiful countryside surrounding Bath. We drove through some really picturesque villages and stayed in a beautiful hoteloverlooking a gorgeous valley. It really was spectacular on a foggy morning. I really must go back soon and see more of the town than I did last time I was there. Talking of going away I’m in the process of planning a last-minute trip to the coast for the end of this month. It’s all come about very randomly but now I need to get organised. I can’t decide where I want to go other than somewhere near the beach, that’s only a couple of hours from London, which won’t be full of kids (it’ll be half term after all). Any suggestions? I love planning trips like this when it’s entirely up to you and you don’t have to pacify/compromise with anyone else. Hooray!

The final thing that’s got me all excited this week is that it’s official Christmas is on its way  and I’m going to be talking about it a lot over the next few months. The way I know it’s on its way? The fact that John Lewis have their Christmas department ready as well as their Christmas decorations hanging in the store but also there are tonnes of Christmas chocolates around the supermarkets. Whoopee! The best time of year is making an entrance, now we really must get decking the halls and buying the mistletoe as Christmas is coming!

What about you lovely lot, what’s got you smiling away over the last few days?

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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Last week of June shenanigans

I fear that every time I start a post that discusses the start of a new month I say something along the lines of: ‘How is it [insert any month name here] already? This year is going so fast!’. So for a change today I’m not going to say that, I’ve instead settled on: ‘Hooray July is here. Let the summer begin!’. Before I can fully welcome July though I need to take a moment and digest whatIi got up to during the final week of June. I’m feeling lazy again today so we’ll go for bullets and pictures (for a change!).

  • More than one morning walk to work – it’s almost becoming a habit!
  • A failed gym trip – definitely a new habit!
  • Baking: freezer cookies and a two tier version of these peanut butter and chocolate chip cupcakes. One word: EPIC!
  • Lunchtime trips to Leon. The new meatball lunchbox is lovely FYI.
  • A picnic on the Southbank on one of the colourful concrete blocks.
  • Othello at The National Theatre starring Adrian Lester and Rory Kinnear. It was phenomenal. I’d never read this play and I’m glad because that just makes the performances and staging all the more impressive as I had no prior expectations.
  • A mad dash to Oxford Street on a lunchtime, horrific.
  • Leaving laughs and tears for a departing colleague – not to mention scrumptious cake!
  • Lovely works drinks before a family trip to Westfield.
  • Spending too much money in the Zara sale.
  • Finding a dead fly in my half eaten bowl of salad from Tossed. That’ll teach me to be healthy and ignore the Chinese outlet!
  • The Nashville finale. OMG. I can’t even. I need more time to work through my thoughts and deal properly.
  • Brunch with the lovely work girls at The Cellarium at Westminster Anbey. This place is amazing and a must visit. It’s in the old crypt of the abbey and everything is yummy – the apple juice, the mochas and the scrambled eggs. Yum.
  • Friday afternoon off. Cue sofa time and cereal for dinner. Rock and roll.
  • Oxford street and Forever 21 meant I spent far too much again!
  • Park time with an iced latte, a Dublin guide-book, good music and the sis.
  • A very short run – I blame the heat.
  • A How I Met Your Mother marathon, I may have watched the entirety of series seven in a weekend.
  • A morning spent in Starbucks catching up on life admin and work stuff.
  • A DVD night featuring 10 Things I Hate About You accompanied by Pringles and mochas. A winning combo.
  • Wanders around Clapham Common.
  • Burning my hand whilst making popcorn. Sad face.
  • Not tidying my room for yet another week.
  • An epic pile of books to get through.
  • Buying new baby and new big sister gifts for my god-daughter and her new sister. So cute!

Good food, lovely friends, bad films and half-hearted exercise

How is it that sometimes you’ll have no plans in a week and then in another you’ll have so much going on that you don’t know what you’re doing with yourself. Last week it was the second option for me, as I was so incredibly busy that I’m actually amazed I’ve made it through the week in one piece. So as for what I’ve been up to, below are some lovely pictures, but of course I also need to include some bullets. So here goes:

  • I completed the Bupa 10k run on Monday morning in the boiling sunshine. I didn’t achieve either of my goals (within an hour and without stopping) but in my defence it was boiling and I had all of four hours sleep the night before. On the plus side it was SUCH a fun raise, the atmosphere was awesome and I even saw Mo Farah run by – amazing!
  • The first BBQ of the Summer was consumed back at the parentals to celebrate the arrival of the Aussie cousins. It was lovely being back in the countryside and in the sunshine, a nice bit of respite post crazy running in central London.
  • A crazy four-day week, where I had enough work to keep me busy for six days. I’m actually amazed I survived it all. Thank goodness for chocolate, coffee trips and lovely work peeps I say!
  • Sofa night consisting of chocolate, Game of Thrones and a patchwork quilt. #bliss
  • Introducing the Aussie cousins to Pizza Express. You should have seen their excitement at Gluten free pizza, chocolate brownie and BEER. It’s like all their Christmases (sp?) had come at once!
  • A trip to Wembley to watch England draw against Northern Ireland. I have to say I’m not sure I’ve ever been to a game with a better atmosphere, the stadium was a great place to be. Although I am glad that the flares that were thrown were at the opposite end to me.
  • I had a lovely night at Mishkin’s with university friends who hadn’t all been in the same room for two years – craziness. If you’ve not been to Mishkin’s do! The food is all jewish and absolutely delicious even if I had no idea what half of the items were. I went for the meatloaf which was served with cabbage and scrummy mash, plus it had a soft-boiled egg in the middle. My first meatloaf experience was a good one. And the lemon drizzle cake? Simply stunning, I’ve never had a more delicious lemon cake in my life. There really is nothing better than a catch up and laugh with friends. I do heart my friends lots and lots.
  • On Friday I went to the National Theatre to see a preview of Strangle Interlude with Anne-Marie Duff and it was absolutely brilliant, I highly recommend it.
  • As for the weekend there was: lie-ins, catching up on The Fall (really good so far, but no spoilers please)the sacking off of a run for reading and coffee – genius idea of mine, an attempt to watch Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (I loathed it, but a proper review to come soon), homemade popcorn, delicious fishy lasagna that was only slightly burnt, a trip into town for the Soho Festival – a bit rubbish really, CV completing, half a spin class, a very short run, more Game of Thrones and some Castle episodes, much singing of Nashville, some serious reading, pink nail varnish and a delicious TV dinner.

A lazy lately post – sorry!

My week in bullets (because I’m having too much of a lazy bank holiday weekend to make this post have proper sentences and on Monday morning I’ll be otherwise engaged running a 10k so have to write this post now and schedule it for then):

  • A lovely lunchtime catch up with a friend who has got married and had a baby since I last saw her. Hence lots of Leon food, nattering and news sharing on Monday lunchtime.
  • Finally seeing The Great Gatsby, what feels like a year after I originally saw the trailer. My thoughts on it: epic, tragic, colourful, amazing, spectacular, awesome casting, better than the book, glamorous, fantastic. I absolutely hated the book as I found the characters unappealing and hard to sympathise with, but Baz Luhrman managed to turn that opinion on its head with his film, as I found I could empathise with (most of) the characters and actually found this tragic love story interesting.
  • Home made pizza
  • More West Wing episodes – including the death of my favourite character. Somehow I contained the tears.
  • Sunshine on the one day I walked in to work
  • Devastation for the family of the soldier killed in Woolwich – I honestly can’t comprehend some aspects of that case. Truly horrifying, the poor people who had to bear witness to the dreadful attack, and his poor family. It’s heartbreaking.
  • Anger at the way people/groups/campaigners have hooked on to the story and are using it to further their agenda – shame on them.
  • Last minute panicking about a 10k – ekk!
  • Attack of the Pringles and Marvellous Creations – I honestly have no willpower whatsoever when these two food items are involved
  • An epic work meeting that went marvellously – phew!
  • Birthday celebrations at work, you can’t beat macaroons from Paul as a birthday cake substitute
  • Sunday laziness. I’ve done nothing but a food shop, reading, blogging and coffee drinking today
  • Falling asleep on the sofa at 10pm on Friday night as I’m a total work lightweight
  • 8.30 am conference calls = hell.
  • Day trips to sunny Surrey
  • Spending far too much on dresses, that’s a post for another day, but on the plus side I’ve discovered a new favourite outfit for the summer and winter
  • Wearing black tights in May – WTF!
  • An epic cleaning session, I forget how satisfying dusting is!
  • Saturday night dinner at a country pub – bliss
  • Laughter and fun times with family and friends and remembering how lucky I am with the people in my life
  • Watching  finale episodes of two of my favourite shows: Grey’s Anatomy and Arrow – Heartbreaking and epic in equal measures.

Baking, working, running and blog love

I follow a lot of blogs on Bloglovin’, so you would expect today’s part of the Blog every day in May challenge to be tricky, however I’m potentially psychic as I have already blogged on this very subject in the past. So for today’s part of the challenge head on over to this post as my favourite blogs still stand. Now that just leaves us with my usually Sunday post – a round-up of my week which went a little bit like this:

  • Birthday present shopping for a work friend – she loved everything including the ‘caviar’ nail varnish, so job well done!
  • The discovery that the Shake Shack is about to open in Covent Garden made my week, I think I actually squealed when I saw the hoardings. I literally cannot wait for July now – squee!
  • Pub Quiz fun times, we weren’t the best to be honest but we had good fun none the less.
  • Walking to work, and treating myself to coffee as a reward – sadly I didn’t walk more than once, but maybe next week I will find that willpower and do every day…
  • A mid-week run around Clapham Common in the rain, cue beautiful rainbows, stunning clouds, cute puppies and the first cricketers of the Summer
  • A new addiction to the Beautiful Mess app
  • Online shopping as it was pay-day. I’m sort of hoping that both dresses end up not fitting as I probably can’t afford them, but you never know they might fit right? One has flowers, the other has flamingoes – I figured they were both wardrobe essentials, yes?!
  • Finally watching Star Trek into Darkness with a mocha and Pret sandwiches. The film was epic – not only was it emotionally charged, beautifully acted with a brilliant storyline, it also had awesome action sequences and hilarious one-liners. Benedict Cumberbatch and Zachary Quinto were absolutely spectacular in their roles, although I did feel the need to get out a pair of scissors and sort out Benedict’s random hair! If you’ve not seen it yet, get on it asap!
  • Lunchtimes spent either at my desk, shopping or reading a brilliant new book – I’m so pleased I’ve finally caught the reading bug again!
  • Curry night with a double episode of Nashville. Perhaps the most perfect Friday night ever?
  • NANDO’S! My first trip for ages and it was delicious, it reminds me I should go far more often. I mean potato and chicken are good for you yes?
  • Another cinema trip, this time to see the awesome Fast and the Furious 6. Don’t judge me it was brilliantly good. I can’t help my love for these films I basically grew up with them, although I did have to ignore the fact that they tried to pass off Lambeth Bridge for Moscow, yep they basically failed at that! But still Paul Walker, yummy!
  • An epic Sunday of baking and running – two of my favourite things. The run was 3.75 miles (not bad) and I’ve baked delicious peanut butter and chocolate cupcakes to celebrate National Baking Day – they’re really rather good, even if I do say so myself!
  • Still to come – Carbonara, a spinning class and yet more episodes of Game of Thrones



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