A travel and style blog

12 Things That Always Happen At Christmas

Just three more sleeps until the big day! 

Before you know it that jolly old chap, whose been flying the flag for the fuller figure since day dot, will be slipping down our chimneys and emptying his sack in our tinsel adorned front rooms once again.

Get your Rennies at the ready as the season of good will to all men, and over-indulgence sets in.

*Other forms of heartburn and indigestion treatments are available.
Christmas Decorations, Christmas Baubles, Fairy Lights

12 things that always happen at Christmas:

#1 You wake up with a raging hangover. You had every intention of taking it easy the night before but then The Pogue's Fairytale Of New York came on and well, everything just got too exciting.

Your Mum asks 'Has he been???' even though you're 31.

#3 If your single, you wonder if the guy you fancy will text you Happy Christmas. If he does you'll take it as a sign he's in love. Unless he only texts in the evening. Then he's a player.

If your not single, you wonder if your fella will pop the question. Not, "did you keep the receipt?"
It's not that you expected a ring, but, the women at work have suggested it and whizzed you up into a storm of excitement so now you are absolutely convinced that YES, he will propose.

He doesn't.

Receive a gift from someone you didn't expect to and make a mad dash to rummage through your booze cupboard for a bottle of plonk and a gift bag!

See straight through your friend's heartfelt Christmas Wishes text. You can spot a group text a mile off.

Sense tension in the kitchen as the pressure of entertaining hits, and retreat to the safety of the lounge. You can hear your Mum swear, 'she's not doing all this next year.'

But she always does.

Feel a teensy bit bored by midday, like you could do to leave the house and actually do something BUT never admit it. You never kill the Christmassy vibe.

Have a drink with lunch and need a nap by 3pm.

Huddle round to watch the Queen's speech together then say 'Well I didn't think much to that.'

Eat your own body weight in food but still fancy a mince pie.

#12 Find the elasticated waistband of your new Christmas pyjamas a God send. 'Oh go on then I will just open that selection box.'

Have I missed any out?? Let me know if you can add any to the list!

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this post. Hope you all have the nicest Christmas!

If that text from someone special doesn't come through early doors, then sod it! Fix yourself a Yule Mule and throw on a glitzy top.

Don't forget you can follow Not Your Nine To Five on Twitter here and Instagram here x x

Life Lately: Living With A Boy

I'm writing this little update from the comfort of my new gaff. Strictly speaking, I'm writing from the comfort of my boyfriend's gaff.

"Mi casa es su casa," he said even though he's not Spanish. I took it as a verbal contract, packed my clobber, and tried to get first dibs on the left hand side of the bed.
Fingers crossed I don't loose my marbles and start drinking brandy, neat, (again) or I'll be on the blower to my Dad faster than you can say "Daaaaad, gizza hand with all this stuff wuddya?"(again)
I had some worries about leaving the sanctity of my own flat which you can read about here.

Fear of squashed cushions and piles of change aside, I decided it's now or never, and feel so much happier for making a decision. I'm a bugger for overthinking and worrying. Who isn't? I felt a weight lift when I made the decision to worry less and live more! Well to definitely try!

Apart from...
*One post IKEA trip bank balance related panic attack
*One bedroom light fitting dispute (ongoing)
*One discovery of significant other, drunk and snoring on the floor at 3am (him, not me)
...Things are working out wonderfully!
If you found your other half drunk and snoring on the carpet, would you, a) wake him and put him to bed or, b) leave him and let him learn the hard way? Do tell ... and ease my conscience.
Thanks so much for reading. Not Your Nine To Five is on Twitter here and Instagram here x x
Dear Universe, please don't let the happy content of this post tempt fate. I've gone off Brandy. Ta

Welsh Get Away: A Thatched Cottage, A Sea View & A Really Big Bottle Of Prosecco

What do you think of my new home? Ahem, home for two nights that is. I spent this weekend at Holly House, a beautiful thatched cottage in Llanasa, Wales. The type of house that left me mulling over squatters rites. Exactly what options would I have if I decided to never leave? Ever. 

*Warning: The contents of this post may cause offence to award winning marmalade makers*
Holly House Llanasa Wales. Luxury Cottage

I journeyed with my fella and his family to the remote getaway, for a family birthday bash. Sleeping twelve people, it's the perfect location for a group jaunt. 
Our itinerary consisted of taking in the sea views, from the tranquillity of our under floor heated haven.
With local attractions boasting prize winning pickles and jams, we chose to remain in a cosy Prosecco fuelled haze from within the confines of the luxury cottage. It takes more than an award winning pot of marmalade to make me brave the elements...The local pub however.  

I'd love to make a return trip in the summer. I'm thinking barbeques and jugs of Pimms in the three and a half acres of land. Maybe a stroll to the nearby beach thrown in for good measure.

Wintery weather or not, this place is ideal for escaping from your everyday stresses. Working out how to cook on an Aga will be your only frustration.

An Aga tip from me to you: Warm your red wine by it. You'll feel delightful.

The blogger Gods were smiling down on me when we pulled up at the house. The sun actually shone. For about half an hour. I made a mad dash to take some photos before the wettest and windiest weekend kicked in. 
Sea View From Holly House Wales
Thatched Cottage Front Door
Cottage Kitchen and Aga
Sea View From Holly House Cottage Dining Room

Thanks so much for reading. Hope you've all enjoyed cosy weekends.

Not Your Nine To Five is on Twitter here and Instagram here x x

Elvis At The O2: Photo Diary

Last Friday I hot footed it to the O2 London, to get my best fangirling on and gawp at the largest Elvis exhibition in Europe.
With '360 artefacts specially selected from the Presley family's treasured Graceland Achives'  Christmas came early for me. The exhibition chronicles the rise of Elvis and how he influenced popular culture.
A love for Elvis Presley runs in my family. My sister once took a book on Elvis out of the library and secretly tore out the photo's of him to stick in her personal 'Elvis file,' before casually returning it (on time to avoid any late return fine).
This appreciation for the King of Rock n Roll has filtered down to me, although I've never resorted to vandalism/theft in his name. Yet.

Yes, as a family we're all fans. Except for my Dad, who, according to my Mum, was always a bit jealous. Who can blame him?

Friday at the O2 was a big day. As a test to see how serious my boyfriend really is about me, I brought him along too.

After a moderately heated debate with the love of my life, I point blankly refused to see if our complimentary 'standard' rail tickets were valid for first class travel by plonking ourselves in first class and seeing if we got manhandled back to standard.

One standard rail journey later, we got in tourist mode and decided to get a river taxi which dropped us off a stones throw from the O2. I got snap happy (and a bit damp) on the back deck as we sailed by London's landmarks.

Photos from the day:
View From A River Taxi. London Bridge. The Thames.
Elvis At The O2. Exhibition Leaflet. Elvis Presley.
Elvis Presley Debut Album.
Evis Presley's Personalised Top And Wallet.
Elvis Presley Fan Memorabilia.
Elvis Presley Memorabilia.
Elvis Presley Jailhouse Rock Gold Album.
Elvis At The O2 Exhbition.
Elvis Presley White Jumpsuit. Elvis At The O2 Exhibition.
Elvis Presley White Jumpsuit. Elvis At The O2 Exhibition.
Elvis At The O2. 68 Comeback Special Images.
Elvis Presley 68 Comeback Special. Elvis At The O2.
Elvis Presley's Guitar From 68 Comeback Special.
Elvis Presley TCB Diamond Ring. Elvis At The O2.
Elvis Presley Souvenir. Gift Shop At Elvis At The O2.
The exhibition was lovingly put together. At times, gazing at his iconic white jumpsuits in the dimly lit exhibition room, you could almost feel him there.

Isn't it funny to think he was unsure how his 1968 comeback special would be received by the world. What would he think if he knew, in 2015, generations of fans still love Elvis Presley? That somewhere, on the shelf of a library, sits a suspiciously thin book devoted with love to The King of Rock & Roll.

I should add that on our return train journey home, we did manage to sit in first class. My boyfriend gave me a look that said "See, I told you" and I gave him a look that said "Shut up and pass me a free wine."

Are you a die hard fan of anyone? Come on, whose school reports, house keys, champagne from their wedding night, old outfits would you travel to see...in a non-stalkery sort of way?

Thanks so much for reading. Not Your Nine To Five is on Twitter here and Instagram here x x

If Facebook Had Existed When I Was A Teen: 6 Things That Would've Killed Me

I had the absolute pleasure of going through puberty in pre-social media frenzied days. I'm talking about a time when you had to ring your friends Mum's landline and see if your gal pal was in. When you knew full well that your Mum had "accidentally" picked up the second receiver in the house to have a casual little listen in. You knew because, erm well, you could hear her pick it up.

A time when if you said the boy you fancied had curtains, you weren't talking about the ones at his folks gaff.

As for Facebook. What Facebook? There was no comparing yourself to photographs of other people in your year at school. Cyber bullying consisted of someone logging onto your Encarta MindMaze game and answering questions without your permission.

My world consisted of my close friends (those that I'd exchanged landlines with) and a borderline unhealthy obsession with Leonardo DiCaprio. I was happy with the simple things. A few good pals and a Hollywood hunk. A hunk that WOULD be my boyfriend, if only he'd have a reason to come to Lancashire. I was like a pig in shit with a few Leo posters and a fresh pack of blue tack.

Leonardo Dicaprio, Seventeen Teenage Magazine, Zoella Magazine Cover

Social media today, is a whole other story. I'm in no way the first to talk about the huge part it plays in our daily lives. Checking our Twitter and Facebook newsfeed can be the first thing we do when we wake up and the last thing we do at night.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not bashing social media. I love a good Instagram snoop as much as the next gal. The world is connected like it's never been before. But, there's one thing I'm grateful for...There was no Facebook when I was a teen.

I got to go through my awkward, gangly, confidence lacking years, away from the prying eyes of the world. We all know that things are never as perfect as they seem, but would I have known this as a teen?

Here are the 6 things that would've killed me if I'd been on Facebook as a teen:

1. Photos of the party that the 'popular' girls got invited to. Speaks for itself doesn't it.

2. Seeing that the boy you'd been day dreaming about for the past 6 months was now 'in a relationship.' Thanks a lot for shitting all over my imaginary relationship Facebook.

3. Photos of your questionable outfits.
For an own clothes day at high school, I once teamed a lime green sleeve-less button up blouse with adidas shorts. It did not look good.

4. The confidence killing photos of the popular girls in your year who are definitely not in the late bloomer category.
My legs grew about 12 months before the rest of my body caught up. What would this have made me? A partial bloomer?

5. The period fuelled fall out with your gal pals lasting twice as long after several not so subtle status updates.
"Some people really need to learn to ASK before they borrow a lip gloss"

6. Having to explain going from 'In A Relationship' to 'It's Complicated' within a few hours. My best friend once forced me to ask out a boy I fancied on a school trip. He said yes. I couldn't think of anything to talk to him about. He broke it off that same day.

What makes you think, thank f*ck that never made it on to social media?

Thanks so much for reading. Now, crack on feeding your social media obsessions... Not Your Nine To Five is on Twitter here and Instagram here x x

By the way, it was Leonardo's birthday this week...Happy Birthday my love
Leonardo Dicaprio

If You've Ever Been On An All-Dayer You've Done This

A definition of the infamous All-Dayer: Where a group of friends, usually over excited, convene at a ridiculously early hour and consume an equally ridiculous amount of alcohol. The activity ceases in-line with licensing restrictions only. See also; public humiliation, regret and severe dehydration.

Black heels on bed, Michael Kors handbag, end of all day drinking session

If you've been on an all day drinking session, and survived to tell the tale, chances are you've done the following:

* Started the day with a mammoth sized breakfast to line your stomach before you set
   about drinking your own body weight in Prosecco. Very sensible aren't you.

* Spent ages deciding what to wear. What looks dressy at night but doesn't say slut at 2pm?

* Felt sooo wrong applying a face full of slap when you can still taste the remnants of your full
   English breakfast.

* Accessorised your outfit (you decided on skinny jeans) with a mahoosive handbag so you can fit 
  absolutely every item of makeup you own in. Topping up throughout the day/night is obligatory. Oh
   and perfume for a quick spritz in the loos.

* Left the house at lunch time and felt like EVERYONE on the bus is staring at your heavy
   makeup and judging you. (You could've ordered a taxi but it felt too extravagant)

* Gone to the cash machine and withdrawn far more than you think you'll need, just in case of

* Been stumped for a moment, and only a moment, ordering your first drink. What can I start
  drinking now that won't actually kill me? 

* Felt drunk after two drinks.

* Popped into a newsagent's and realised that yes you definitely are drunk... everyone else in the shop
   definitely isn't.

* Been a little bit sick and then carried on drinking.

* After an exciting Prosecco fuelled high all afternoon, find yourself in a slump, and secretly ready for home by 7pm. You genuinely believe that you've drunk yourself sober.

* God only knows! You suffered from a two hour 'black spot.'
   Why not ask a caring friend to fill in the blank for you here _____________________________

* Bought really gross greasy food and thoroughly enjoyed it.

* Collapsed in bed (hopefully our own) fully clothed.

* Woken up and done a personal belongings check. How much of your 'emergency' fund do you 
   have left? None of it.

Come on now, honest answers only... how many of the above are you guilty of??

Thanks for reading! Have a great week, with all of your personal belongings intact.

If you haven't already come and find me on Twitter here  and Instagram here x x

I Am Just Going To The Bathroom & May Be Some Time

Sometimes it's hard to be a woman. Sometimes it's the skin on our feet that's hard. My life is a never ending battle with mother nature to be soft and smooth. I'll tackle the world once I'm preened to within an inch of my life.

My "pamper nights" or countless hours spent in the bathroom, lathering on every lotion known to man, in a frenzied attempt to keep signs of ageing at bay, are a normal part of my beauty routine. I need to look my ruddy best. Well, less feral.

Hands up if you've ever died inside slightly, as your fella goes to stroke an unshaven leg. Preferably yours! Nothing kills the moment like a mild to moderately scratched hand. Scratching is definitely not winning!
Cosmetic Products In My Makeup Bag: Face Masks, Moisturisers, Pore Strips

According to The Scotsman, research carried out by a bathroom company has proved that women spend "The equivalent of one year, seven months, and 15 days" in the bathroom, "a month longer than men."
So how do we pass that one year, seven months and 15 days? We're exfoliating and moisturising our ageing torsos like there's no tomorrow. We're lathering our faces with the latest must have beauty buys, with an unwavering faith that this product could be 'The One.'

And why do we spend our time cocooned in a steamy room trying to look brighter and tighter?
It's no revelation to lay part of the blame on social media. We're surrounded by airbrushed photo's of hotties now more than ever. (Dismiss them as airbrushed. It'll make you feel better).
There's a second influence too. There's never been a better time for women to strike than right now! I'm not talking about downing tools. It's a time for gals to go out into the world and reach for the stars. In an age of female achieving why are we still so appearance obsessed?

In an article on www.psychologytoday.com , Marcia Reynolds Psy.D writes, "Quite a lot of research has tried to determine how many seconds it takes before a person forms a judgement of someone they meet. Their brains calculate your value in terms of age, social standing and how approachable you are within thirty seconds or less."

I always read psychology today y'know. *Nose grows
Ok, so I was doing a spot of research for this post and stumbled across it! Sounds good though right?

Just thirty seconds to create those first impressions! Taking care of your appearance doesn't make you shallow, or superficial. Hoorah! I do love a long bubbly bath!
Balance what's on the outside with substance from within on you're on to a winner! I'm thinking read a book WHILE your face mask sets!! Get your butt to the bathroom quick gals!! GO GO GO! There's a world waiting for you!

Thanks so much for reading. I'd love to know your thoughts on this post! Do you feel pressured to look tip top? Or are you a fella whose gal is currently MIAB?...Missing In A Bathroom!!

If you don't already, come and say hi on Twitter here and Instagram here xx

Get Your Boobs Out ... Not Just For The Lads

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Women across the nation are being urged to check their breasts and to make sure they attend routine breast screening appointments. No wimping out when it's time to get your wabs out! There's a manifesto title for you right there.

Not sure how to check your own bazookers? Get gemmed up on what you should be looking for with a Coppafeel guide here.
National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Check Your Breasts.

In honour of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, this post is a celebration of boobs. A pledge that all boobs are beautiful, big or small.

The Benefits Of Small Boobs

If boob tubes ever come back into fashion, you can wear one without looking vulgar.

Men talk to your face.

In an apocalypse situation, where all bras have been destroyed, you could quite feasibly get away with wearing a crop top.

If said apocalypse has resulted in a mass panic, with the need to run like hell, you could out-run those bigger boobed gals anytime of the day ... probably.

You will never have boob related back ache.

When you take your bra off at the end of the day, nothing ventures south ... much.

The Benefits Of Big Boobs

You've got big boobs.

Boob tubes will never be back in fashion.


Thanks for reading. Get checking your breasts and spread the word while you're at it! Well not literally while you're at it.

If you haven't already come and say hello on Twitter here and Instagram here x x

Life Lessons From Caitlin Moran's How To Be A Woman

Hands up if you use the F word...No, the other one...Feminist! I've always fancied myself as a bit of a feminist, but, before I made myself a badge, I had some burning questions that needed answers.
#1 Can I be conscious of fine lines and wrinkles and still be a feminist?
#2 What if I don't hate men?
#3 Can you just have a quick run through of what a feminist is again?
Caitlin Moran's book 'How To Be A Woman' has the answers.
Caitlin Moran Book How To Be A Woman

If you're an avid fan of Caitlin Moran and you've already read this book, then okay okay, I'm late jumping on the bandwagon. Four years late if you're going to be an arse about it. If you haven't already read it, then get to it, you're four years late!!

The other weekend my TV aerial broke. My boyfriend couldn't fix it. He couldn't fix it because he was in Singapore. To be precise he was in a Formula 1 nightclub in Singapore, drinking complimentary champagne and grey goose vodka. He was having, and I quote, "an unreal night."

Meanwhile, at home, I couldn't get terrestrial TV to work. In that moment I hated my life. Dressing gown clad, I picked up How To Be A Woman and the unthinkable happened. I laughed. That's when I knew, this book must be really bloody good.

Life Lessons From How To Be A Woman

#1 On how to know if you're a feminist
Quote from book: " a) Do you have a vagina? and
                                b) Do you want to be in charge of it?"

#2 On men being feminists too
Quote from book: "A male feminist is one of the most glorious end-products of evolution...we ladies may all toast you, in champagne, before coveting your body wildly."

#3 On the first time you use sanitary towels
Quote from book: "The towels are thick, and cheap - stuck into my knickers, they feel like a mattress between my legs."

#4 On working out if a guy really likes you
Quote from book: "I think that, if he liked you, he'd just ... spend a lot more time with you, and say things like, "I really like you"

#5 On encountering sexism in the workplace
Quote from book: "...when the section editor asks me to sit in his lap, in order to discuss my 'promotion', I think, merely, more fool you, dude, and plonk down on him, heavily, then light a fag."

#6 On having babies
Quote from book: "Do you currently get wound up about poor customer service, or ill-made sandwiches, or how your legs look? You won't when you've been dragged backwards through the brightly burning gates of hell during a 48-hour labour."

#7 On reasons to not have babies
Quote from book: "Six weeks into being poleaxed by a new-born colicky baby ... and I would happily have shot the world's last panda in the face if it made the baby cry for 60 seconds less."

#8 On images of women in the media
Quote from book: "I've read more about Oprah Winfrey's arse than I have about the rise of China as an economic superpower. ... Perhaps China is rising as an economic superpower because it's women aren't spending all their time reading about Oprah Winfrey's arse."

If you're the female of the species, you need to read How To Be A Woman. You'll laugh, decide you are definitely a feminist, and wish that Caitlin Moran was one of your gal pals.

You don't have to throw out your Jolene Cream Bleach and stop shaving your legs. Moran makes feminism about a woman's choice. A right to be able to choose the life path that is right for each individual woman. She can choose to fix her own goddam TV aerial, or, ask her Dad to do it ... but whatever, she's still a feminist. Amen to that!

Have you read this book? Would you call yourself a feminist? I'm standing firmly with the floral scented uprising.

Thanks so much for reading. If you haven't already don't forget you can say hi on Twitter here and Instagram here xx

Deactivating Facebook: 4 Months Later

Four months ago I quit Facebook. I felt more and more that I was wasting time trawling through my newsfeed, so I went cold turkey and deactivated my account. I turned my back on social media in search of a blissful privacy that seems hard to find in these technology driven days.
What did I do next? Naturally, I announced it on my blog. Just a slight touch of hypocrisy, but that's by the by.
You can read my post on quitting Facebook here for more on why I decided to deactivate.
Desk with Facebook Log In Page open on Ipad

How did the world respond to my departure (when 'world' means my 190 Facebook friends)?

When you deactivate your account you run the risk of people assuming one of the following:

It's a sure sign that a breakdown is imminent. She was one click away from being certified insane.

Speculation is rife that your in a controlling relationship. Access to all male contact has been dramatically and necessarily cut off. She was 'poking' left right and centre.

The sudden departure is seen as attention seeking behaviour. If you decide to deactivate, you can't go back on again a week later. Definitely not if you decide to leave with a dramatic teary eyed parting status:
"It is with deep sadness and regret that you won't be seeing much of me on here from now on. I have made the difficult decision to spend more time on Twitter. Thanks for the memories Mark Suckerberg" ...then upload a Youtube link to Time To Say Goodbye.
Is it just me, or is that starting to seem like shit hot way of closing down your account? Bugger, is it too late to go back on and do that?

Or of course there's the most likely reaction. If you go quietly, people probably won't notice.

After my departure I received a text from only one friend. She was checking to see if I had come off Facebook or if I was phasing her out! I definitely wasn't phasing her out, fortunately! Way to avoid an awkward text!

Life without Facebook...

*I forget people's birthdays, unless I knew you before Facebook and have the date stored firmly in my memory.

*Banter has taken a hit because I miss out on group emails. (God I hate the word Banter)

*I make life that bit more awkward when people are trying to arrange hen dos. I have to be contacted personally in order to receive an invite. If it ain't delivered by a white winged dove then I'm not coming.

*I have no way of spying on what my boyfriend is doing when he's away on a lads trip. Current problem!! Are the girls in Singapore hot?

*I no longer know what profile picture my boyfriends ex-girlfriend has! Is she looking hot?

*I can't vet any group photo's that include me. I don't know what might be on there. Am I looking hot?

*I had no idea that a very very old classmate has had a baby that is the spitting image of Liam Neeson, until a friend showed me. He is actually his double, no word of a lie! Of course he's beautiful, as all babies are etc etc.

*I have forgotten that some people exist now that I'm not reading about them in my newsfeed everyday.

*I've stopped having random dreams about the last person who popped up on my newsfeed before bed.

*I missed out on 'liking' photos of friends sharing exciting parts of their lives. Weddings, new homes and holidays.

On the whole I can't say I've missed having Facebook. I used to check it about ten times everyday, so it's come as a surprise how little I do actually miss it.

To be fair I have replaced it with stalking bloggers on Twitter and Instagram. Having another reason to stare at my Iphone has helped the process. *Note to self: Do not get depressed because your not at London Fashion Week.*
Yes I  know I don't blog about fashion, and yes I know I only have just over 100 Twitter followers. But still, an invite would've been nice, and yes, delivered by a white winged dove. There's always next year!

Maybe I will reactivate my account at some point, although I'd limit my friends list to actual friends. Nobody likes a gal whose forgotten their birthday!!

Are you addicted to checking your Facebook? Could you imagine life without it?

Thanks so much for reading. Don't forget to say Beunos Dias on Twitter here! x x

Burnt Apple Muffins: The Tweets That Never Made It To Twitter

As seen on social media: Just busy being a domestic goddess, trying out more sugar free recipes. Bring on week two of my healthy regime. Feeling determined!
Ingredients for baking sugar free apple muffins

Well hello! Hope you're all having a relaxing Sunday. While the man in my life is swanning about Italy watching the Grand Prix, I've thrown myself into the following: sugar free cooking, the gym and visiting family. I'm currently on day four of my 'abandonment', but hey whose counting?  

Here's an honest run down of my weekend, shared with you via the medium of tweets that never made it to Twitter!


Work done for the weekend!! Off for tea at the rents! #fridayfeeling

Home from tea at my Mums earlier than usual, avoiding using their saniflo while bathroom is redone!

Busy keeping one eye on Whatsapp for signs of life from the fella.

Waxed my top lip and off to bed. Night all!


Up early and raring to go! Off shopping for sugar free ingredients #Iquitsugar

Morrisons don't sell chia seeds or big packs of arrowroot! #MorereasonstoshopatWaitrose
Food Shopping at Morrisons
Stocked up on Arrowroot in Waitrose but no bloody chia seeds in stock! 

Isn't life wonderful when you're in Waitrose! Despite the chia seeds let down I must shop there more often...(essential range only obviously)

If Holland & Barrett don't stock chia seeds I'm going home and eating a jam swiss roll whole! 

Whatsapp from my fella AND I have chia seeds! Things are looking up. 

When you think you've got a whatsapp from your fella but stop to read it and it's from your friend 

One entire Saturday morning later ... ready to bake...but I'm too annoyed!!  

Off to see the niece and nephew at my sisters! #familytime

Whatsapp from the fella received! #notdumped 

Feeling all mother earth doing sugar free baking on a Saturday night

When you spend all morning looking for ingredients and then this happens...
Homemade Sugar Free Apple Muffins
Burnt pecans anyone? FFS! 

Sat in bed googling 'why did my apple muffins burn' and a daddy long legs attacks #toooldtocry

Up early and worked out

More family time having Sunday dinner with the folks and my Grandma! 

Currently hiding in my flat from my elderly neighbour's community BBQ #notanOAP

That ladies and gentleman is my weekend up to now! The rest of it will be spent trying out a recipe for bread and then mainly dreading Monday.

Life is never really how it seems on social media is it. But lets face it, who'd want an Instagram feed full of snaps of Morrisons, and badly turned out baking? People are bound to only select the highlights of their lives aren't they. Something to remember the next time you're having a bad day and everyone's 'happy as can be snaps' aren't helping! For every batch of delicious muffins you see, there'll be a tray of burnt ones not too far away. 

If anyone is wondering what I did about the daddy long legs, sadly a struggle ensued and it lost two of it's legs. A genuine accident. They're very delicate as it turns out. Like my apple muffins. 

Is there anything more disappointing that when your baking doesn't go to plan? My not so easy on the eye muffins do taste quite nice, after the distinct crunch of the pecans.  I'll give the recipe another go. I can't let a morning scouring for chia seeds be a wasted one can I! 

Thanks so much for reading. Hope you've all had a great weekend. What would be the one honest tweet from your weekend that never made it on to Twitter? 

Don't forget to come and say hello on Twitter here and Instagram here! x x 

*A daddy long legs was harmed in the making of this post.

I Quit Sugar: A Life Without Mint Aero

I am now the proud owner of a shiny new cookbook, I Quit Sugar For Life by Sarah Wilson: 'A Fad-Free Wholefood Wellness Code and Cookbook.' I spent this bank holiday stocking up on the kitchen clobber that I'll need to overhaul my fridge and my health.
I Quit Sugar Cookery Book and Kilner Jars
What motivated me to change my culinary lifestyle and improve my health and wellbeing? Basically I'm going to be bored in September when the boyfriend goes on not one, but two, lads trips. That's TWO lads trips in one month! So while poor old me is home alone, I thought I'd throw myself into a well being month and let the whirring of my newly acquired magic bullet, drown out any thoughts about the fun he'll be having. When he rocks up at my front door, laden with duty free presents (he better be laden with presents) I'll be looking ten years younger and have the energy of a teenager! Cowabunga!

I set the ball in motion and went out on the hunt for a well being recipe book! The thought of giving up sugar hadn't even occurred to me until I flicked through I Quit Sugar For Life. The concept here isn't to diet, but to change your entire approach to the kinds of foods you eat and return to your natural appetite, before the world of processed sugary foods was born. The author, Sarah Wilson, writes how after she quit sugar she "experienced a steady, calm happiness that has previously eluded me." Sold!
I Quit Sugar For Life cookbook by Sarah Wilson
The book is gorgeous, packed with colourful, inspiring recipes and photos. I felt healthier just reading it! The gist is that we're all actually addicted to sugar, and we need to go back to basics to introduce a healthier sugar free lifestyle.

I always thought of my food choices as reasonably healthy, but I was struck by how the notion of a sugar free life scares me. I can't actually imagine it! No Aero chocolate bars, no Kit Kats, not even the mint ones! and you can forget Maltesers!
Sugary treats are a bigger part of my everyday life than I realised! I might well be a sugar addict. I'm anyone's for an apple turnover.

So, since Saturday, when I made the decision to challenge myself to a sugar free diet, I haven't stopped salivating at the thought of sugar. I'm salivating now as I write this!

I'm excited at the prospect of a healthier me though. If I ever have children, I'd love to be one of those mother earth types who raise their children to believe that a raisin is a Saturday night treat. While other kids will be sat playing Grand Theft Auto on the X-Box, my darling Tarquin will be rummaging about the family vegetable patch picking carrots for our evening supper.
He'll sit wide eyed, listening intently to my lecture on the perils of addiction to Mars Bars. He'll also attend Karate class, as it's possible he'll get bullied to hell.

Anyhow, yesterday I headed out to buy a magic bullet, the ingredients for two recipes, kilner jars and the essential...pretty straws.

As a novice, it's a bit overwhelming. Especially when you have to google some of the ingredients to find out what they even are! I thought arrowroot was a vegetable. Would you have known what it was? I was in Sainsburys for ages with my chap, hunting for arrowroot, or 'bloody arrowfoot' as I was calling it by the time we'd scaled the baking aisle about twenty times.  
Healthy Food in my supermarket trolley
Supermarket Baking Aisle
 Ten points if you can spot the arrowroot here!

A new lifestyle is a little bit pricey on the offset, but once you've stocked your cupboards with the equipment and made a start on the ingredients the damage to your purse will lessen. Let's be honest, it's a worthwhile investment in the long run. I did sack off the optional chia seeds this time though! £5 a pack.
Chia Seeds
Now I claim that this is an honest blog, so between you and me, after Sainsburys we nipped to Holland & Barrett for protein powder, and en-route scoffed a Greggs pasty! I know, the irony is ridiculous. It was a sort of goodbye pasty. If all goes to plan, I may never have another Greggs Pasty for the rest of my life. Thanks for everything Gregg, but it's over! It's not me ,but it is actually you! FYI my last fling was delicious!

There is a four week wellness programme in the book and tips on how to prepare for it, but as a novice there's a lot to take in. On Sarah's blog there's a beginners 8 week detox programme available which is the best place to start. Have a nosey here.
I decided I'll start by trying out a few recipes from her book that have jumped out at me and make changes gradually. As I get the hang of things I'll introduce more recipes until hey presto, I look and feel bloody marvellous. Her ethos is to 'gently commit' and not punish yourself.
I might need to resort to her detox programme in the end, but I'll see how I go. I figure that even if I just have one healthy, home prepared meal a day it's a positive step towards a new way of living.
So far I've whizzed up a couple of smoothies and baked Paleo Inside Out Bread. I tell you, sprinkling sunflower seeds over the top of my loaf made me feel like I was winning at life.
I'm like totally healthy these days, I cook with sunflower seeds and have spinach in my drinks don't you know!
Vegetable Ingredients and Sarah Wilson's I Quit Sugar Cookbook
The jury is out on whether I'll succeed and maintain this new way of living but I'm all for giving it a go. I'll keep you updated on how I get on!

Are you a sugar addict? Can you imagine a life without sugary treats? I'm excited to see if I can do it. I'm doing it for a healthier me, a glowing complexion and of course, for little Tarquin.

Thanks so much for reading. Don't forget you can follow me on Twitter here and Instagram here.
Muchos love x x
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