Saturday, 1 December 2012

A Christmas Gift Guide For Her

So it is now officially the run up to Christmas as it is the 1st of December. And I am super excited for the Christmas season this year as it is my last "single" Christmas. This time next year I will be a married lady (hopefully, assuming Mr P doesn't change his mind at the last minute and decide to run off and join a circus!)

And with the Christmas season comes the dreaded gift choosing - well I say dreaded, I love shopping and any excuse to shop for lots of lovely things even when they're not for me is time well spent I say. Plus I adore all the wrapping of the gifts, placing them under the Christmas tree and writing tags/cards while watching a cheesy Christmas movie and drinking a glass of wine. Bliss!!!

But this year with the aforementioned wedding to save for Mr P and I have set a nominal budget, to ensure we don't spend silly and save instead for the day where we take 100 of our closest friends and family out for lunch and dinner!! While I can think of a million things I could buy Mr P he is fretting over the "little bits" as he calls it. And no reassurances from me that a coloured pen and a bottle of nail polish are super gifts works (I mean seriously he should read my blog to see how excited a notebook and Pilot Frixxion pen in a new colour makes me!!) it got me thinking there must be hundreds of men out there that fret over what to buy their girlfriend/wife so I thought I'd put together a little suggestion box to see if I can help (and yes I admit it these are things I would adore to wake up to from Father Christmas this year too)

If in doubt go for the packaging...

When it comes to good girl gifts I don't think you can go wrong with a good lippie - buying a "posh" lipstick doesn't have to be overly expensive but the thought factor of your man going to a beauty counter and choosing a lipstick or even a nail polish from Chanel or Yves Saint Laurent will quadruple the cost of the gift in her eyes.

Classics to look out for are:

The Yves Saint Laurent Candy Volupte lipsticks - these are moisturising and the colour is quite sheer so even if your lady is not a huge lippie wearer she should like the lip balm with a spot of colour effect these give (hint I have the Luscious Cherry one and it not only looks amazing (packaging) but smells lush and feels wonderful to apply I highly recommend!!)


If lips aren't your thing then a super swanky bottle of mail polish is another winner! Anything by Chanel or Dior  here for amazing packaging - rule of thumb choose a dark plum colour, a pale pink/nude colour or a fire engine red. Unless you know for sure your lady likes a neon or blue finger tip stick to a classic shade from one of those categories you won't go far wrong! If you are in Boots then check out the Essie range of polishes, a cult beauty favourite and amazing range of colours. OPI is another favourite brand of mine, the new Skyfall collection (yes boys inspired by the James Bond film) all look gorgeous!

And finally if these aren't your style then do check out Benefit ( for quirky packaging and excellent products. Blushers are really good from there in cute little box packages and they do lots of different gift sets containing miniatures of cult products where you really can't go wrong!

It's the little things that count

Nic knacks may seem annoying to boys (well at least Mr P) but small "mundane" objects that you use everyday like umbrellas, travel card holders, change purses, key rings, Kindle sleeves and mobile phone cases all come now in a massive variety of designs and prints. A gift like this means your recipient will use her present everyday and will think of you every time she does! And don't think just because she has a key ring/umbrella etc already she won't appreciate a cute new one!! Great sites to check out for small but gorgeous items like this are:

Red Direct
Not on the High Street
John Lewis

Or on the high street Primark is great as are Boots, House of Fraser and Debenhams. Seriously who doesn't love a quirky umbrella or a new key chain?

Snuggle me warm and cosy

Of course other classic and inexpensive gifts include:

  • scarves - you can NEVER have too many scarves 
  • costume jewellery - sparkly items or classic silver studs are always welcome
  • slippers - warm tootsies are the way to a girls heart (and in my house come in handy as an anti kitten foot chomping device too!)
  • gloves - at this time of year a soft pair of cute gloves are really handy (no pun intended honest!) as I'm always loosing one of my gloves and I can'y be the only one (can I?)
For all these items check out Primark, Monsoon/Accessorise and Oasis. All have excellent ranges this year and prices from £2 upwards so super affordable too!

If in doubt just hit up Boots for pampering products to warm her cockles...look out for ranges from Champneys and Soap & Glory you really can't go wrong!!

And then there's always the stationery....

Of course a post from me wouldn't be complete without a Filofax recommendation and some post its and pens!

I am currently lusting after this Parker Sonnet ball pen which I think is just stunning:

Or there's the whole of Paperchase from pens, to stationery and stickers is amazing!! And frankly just get me some Hootsuite sticky notes and I'd be a very happy girl:

Then from Filofax (and if you order anything make sure you order via City Organiser as their website is just the best!) I am in love with the new style Flex notebooks especially the Blackcurrant Lizard Print cover (would go so well with the Parker Sonnet don't you think?)

Add caption

And also the Temperley for Filofax Violet in Pocket Size (yes I'm thinking again about downsizing, no I don't need the binder, yes I think it's lovely and want want want.....)

This is super cute and with the bespoke inserts adorable in my opinion....


So there you go, what do you think about my gift list? I am having to try very hard not to splurge and buy all the items now for myself (perhaps I could wrap for under the tree from Boots the kitten??)

 Just so you know, all the links I've added are purely to show you where you can get the items it's not for kickbacks and none are sponsored :)

Let me know what you think of my list in the comments, what are you hoping for this Christmas and what items are you purchasing for people in your life?


Sunday, 18 November 2012

All change for's a Filofax diary revamp


Well not exactly all change I mean I'm still using a Filofax, still using a Filofax insert but I am planning on trying out a new diary format in 2013! I used to adore the week on one page with notes but then had a planner crisis and then when I was lucky enough to receive my Amethyst Deco I moved to Cotton Cream week on two pages inserts as they were so much nicer for the gorgeous binder (see here) And this has worked really well for me for quite a while....

However I'm currently finding that there's just not enough room for me to write everything down that I need to do so I end up with additional note lists hole punched in

Wonky photo no 1

These Chococat note pages are super cute and I'm sure I'll carry on using them occasionally but they don't half bulk out the binder when you end up with 3 or 4 a week!!

So I started to consider changing up my format for the new year as with the wedding coming up the number of things to do/remember/check per week gets larger than ever so I figured a bit more space on the daily planner would be a huge help!

Cue the 2 days per day inserts!

I picked these up months ago from Selfridges stationary hall - if you ever visit London you have to go check out Selfridges and their stationery department I just adore it and it's right next to the magazine section so you can browse all the magazines from overseas as well as our UK versions - I nearly always end up purchasing a couple of American editions of either In Style, Marie Claire or Glamour plus any Martha Stewart magazines I can spy. Yes I download these occasionally via Zinio on my iPad but I'm a sucker for a printed magazine!!!

Anyway.....I saw this 2013 insert and wondered if the additional room could be worth a try and picked it up. Fast forward several months and I can actually add it into my Filofax and start seeing if/how it works for me!

It makes my Aston pretty chunky alongside all the other notes and bits I keep in there:

But certainly when I have it open allows for a much bigger area for writing, making lists and doodling!

Now one of things that worried me first off before I set this insert up was not seeing my whole week at a glance but because I use the month on two pages inserts in my binder as well I always have the brief overview to hand..

Wonky photo no 2 - so sorry for the wonky photos but Blogger keeps turning them round...grrr
But now that I'm starting to fill in the half a page per day I'm really starting to like the additional space and I can see the whole week easily enough by flipping the pages over - plus they also have a snazzy notes box right next to the weekend pages cool eh!

I have to say though reading up on everyone else's planner formats for 2013 I'm a little jealous of the daytimer inserts, the print your own (some of Ray and Steve's inserts for next year look really great) and of course LimeTreeFruits's designs are so so pretty....but I'm going to see how I get on with these first....

Is anyone else making a change next year? Any recommendations on ways to utilise these inserts to their best ?


Thursday, 15 November 2012

I love Marks and Spencer BUT.....

I love Marks and Spencer I really do. Their fantastic range of products, their emphasis on Plan A for sustainability and let's not forget their food halls YUM! Just to highlight how much I love their products today I am rocking a pair of their ankle boots, a handbag from their Limited Collection range, socks and undies obviously come from there (whose don't!) and a scarf....I feel I should be a typical target customer for Marks and Spencer - young (ahem go with it), disposable income, likes to purchase classic clothing with a nod to the trends (sometimes, usually just a classic frankly I'm a bit risk adverse in the clothing department) surely I should be in their cross hairs this Christmas?

But frankly I feel a bit let down by their Christmas advertising campaign this year! Their advert is the same style of advert we've seen from them for years. There's no Christmas feeling, no real sense of anticipation or excitement. Where's the magic Marks and Spencer?

We are in the midst of a massive recession, things are frankly a bit grim so I think Christmas is about finding that sparkle to maybe spend a day enjoying being with family and remembering all the fun we had as kids to pass on to our kids, if you have any, me I'll be trying to instill Christmas cheer in Boots the kitten's first Christmas!

I'm not talking about spending a ton of money none of us have either, but focusing on the essence of the season - goodwill to all men, love, family, thankfulness.....

Now I know this is difficult to convey in a 30 second commercial but come on this is the biggest and most important sales period for retailers of the whole year. If you can't make money at Christmas you really are in trouble and as we can see in the UK we are loosing retailers left right and centre off of our high streets. Therefore this Christmas, competing for the limited budgets available needs a new strategy not a rehash of the same old campaign rocked out for the past few years.

Cue the the John Lewis Snowman advert. This is an exceptionally well timed advert in my opinion - it pulls on all the heartstrings, it establishes John Lewis (again) as the destination for Christmas and makes me want to shop there. Cleverly though it doesn't actually show any products. No chance for me to dismiss their product range (sorry Marks and Spencers but that's exactly what I did with the products you featured) it just evokes the essence of Christmas and darn it I want to go and shop there purely because of that!

So Marks and Spencer you can take your tired, cliched jumping lingerie dressed models I'm off to John Lewis to feel the Christmas Spirit and no doubt spend far more than I meant to but at least I'll feel good for it!

How are you all facing the Christmas shopping this year? Am I alone in wanting it to be a nicer expeience than just a standard days shopping?


Sunday, 4 November 2012

November Already....a sneaky list and Filofax tour

So checking my Filofax it appears that we are in November (the 3rd as I write this actually!) and all I can say is HOW????

This year truly has flown by at such a rate of knots it's been hard at points to keep track - I mean so far I've:
  1. Started planning my wedding to the lovely Mr P (which is now only 308 days away eek) and ordered my wedding dress (omg that's a big decision - will Mr P like, does it suit me, will I look like a giant meringue, am I too old for a traditional dress.........) I went with gut feel in the end and I love it fingers crossed Mr P will too!
  2. Learnt to ski on holiday in Canada (badly but such fun who knew seeing as I thought I'd hate it)
  3. Went to V Festival and saw the amazing Killers live again, and managed to secure tickets for Glastonbury Festival 2013 yay!
  4. Visited Barcelona and celebrated my birthday watching a Spanish covers band while drinking goldfish bowls of vodka
  5. Took Mr P to Minatur Wunderland in Hamburg (and actually enjoyed it there, the level of craftsmanship and detail is incredible. And as for the teeny tiny replica Christmas Coca Cola lorry - too adorable!)
  6. Became a grown up and started having my hair coloured at a salon as opposed to dying the bathroom random shades of brown while attempting it myself
  7. Started (and failed) at a shopping ban (trying again!)
  8. Started weight watchers and have lost over a stone and bit (or thereabouts...) so far
  9. Found myself using my Kindle far more than I ever thought I would (particularly handy for reading 50 Shades without anyone knowing hehe)
  10. I finally tried the Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks and became OBSESSED with it..but it's now gone replaced by the Christmas flavours so instead I'm hunting down any Pumpkin spice syrup/flavouring that I can use at home in coffee instead (any recommendations???)
And the biggest thing was of course becoming a kitty parent to the most adorable kitten in the universe called Boots (cue gratuitous photo opportunity....)

Phew and that's just the top 11 things list....I am so lucky to have all this in my life. Especially considering everything on the news at the moment.

As to how I'm keeping on top of things (cue excessive Filofax content and images, look away here non Filofax fans) I'm using my Personal sized Orchid Aston (sighs while gazing at her) as I always say for ages I was using my Personal Deco in Amethyst which still is (and always will be my favourite ever Filofax) but as I take my Filofax everywhere with me, chucking it in handbags, using frequently, open on desks, removing it from Boots playing with it /sleeping on it /trying to chew it etc etc I don't want to damage/scuff/scratch her so she's having a wee holiday tucked safely away. This of course means one of my other binders can come out of retirement....

And for Autumn/Winter this year I'm using the Aston, she's such a lovely shade of plum/pink/purple very autumnal feeling. And here are some shots of my current set up (frankly no real change from earlier in the year as the system works for me but I love the pictures!!)

Outside shot - I love the seam details and the leather is so soft but durable (if you know what I mean?)

This is the inside cover with stamps, post its and business cards on the left and a clear pocket with my Harrods reward card on the right (bit like a Boots advantage card but never gets used!) and a quote that I love from Anya Hindmarch:

"Fire yourself every day and come back as your successor"

In the back of that first clear pocket is an ancient pic from a magazine I tore out (I do that a lot pictures and quotes that inspire me, things I want to read or purchase, potential gift ideas etc etc) Also in there is a "From Dorset With Love" business card - yummy treats I purchased at a food fair :)

In the next clear pocket on the right hand side are mementos - my Eiffel Tower ticket from when I went to Paris last year with Mr P, a Ski Pass ticket from Whistler earlier this year, more favourite quotes and pics...

Onto something a bit more interesting...the diary! I'm currently using (and have been all year I think) the Cotton Cream WO2P which has a notes box at the top of the left hand page. I'd never really gotten on with it before but it seems to be working OK for me this year as I've had more to do's/better system for writing them down than before maybe in this format?....I've already got a 2013 refill the same but I also have a half a day to a page insert to try out next year as well which I'm quite excited about!

As you can see from the pic I use colour a lot (no real system I keep trying but then I either forget or I need to write something down immediately (the curse of having a memory like a goldfish) so I grab the nearest pen!

It was a busy week this week (aren't they all at the moment?) as we had two wedding related things - visiting the registrar on Saturday and Sunday off for lunch at our wedding venue for a meet the parents lunch too (as in our parents meeting each other for the first time obviously we have both met each other's parents!)

I am in love with the ChocoKitty little tabs (top of right hand page as they remind me of Boots!)

As well as my WO2P I HAVE to have a monthly diary in there (and I have Nov/Dec this year and the whole of 2013 in there at the moment) as I need to be able to plan quite far ahead for holidays/work/wedding stuff etc etc and I like being able to see the whole month at a glance. It also means I can schedule in things like when Mr P has gigs or birthdays etc. As you will see this month there was a Christmas Event at Boots that was so important I stuck in the reminder....!!

And finally a sneak peak at my Wedding section - as well as top tab section in my Filofax for on the go notes I have this super cute little notebook that I keep in my Filofax for sketching and ideas as my master planner for the Wedding is an A5 Vintage Pink Malden...more on that I'm sure in a later post!

You can also see my Xmas top tab - currently that just has the Christmas Card list I made last year and a load of cuttings from magazines about potential gifts for people so obviously couldn't show you that!

Hope you are all well and you enjoyed my rambling about the current set up and what I'm up to! How are you all??


Sunday, 23 September 2012

Over the hill at 35 - at least according to the BBC...

So as you will know dear readers last week was my birthday, and off to Barcelona we went and had a fabulous time (more on that in another post) but on the day we drove up to Luton for our flight (all glamour for me an EasyJet flight via Luton airport!!) we had playing for the duration of our journey the penultimate Chris Moyles Show on Radio 1.

Chris Moyles's long running radio show (over 8 years) on weekday mornings was often controversial and he was often described as like Marmite - you either love him or hate him. I for one adored the show, the mix of banter between Chris, Comedy Dave, Dom, Aled and new girl Tina always felt like sitting with a group of mates every morning. They discussed the topical, the inane and the downright ridiculous. We got to know about their lives, their friends, their partners, their James Corden so eloquently put it during this penultimate live show it was kind of like being part of a group of friends who have never excluded you from anything, you were always invited, always one of the gang. And the longer you listened the more of a gang member you became as you got the historical references and in-jokes and could laugh along with the team.

Unfortunately this long running show and the millions of listeners who loyally listened every single day singing along to the cheesy song and playing the Monday Night Pub Quiz did the unthinkable for Radio 1 - we got old.

I get that the BBC have a charter, they need to reach each section of the population and catering to these strict demographics means Radio 1 needs to meet the needs of the "youth" audience namely the 15-29 age brackets. And despite the continued success of the Chris Moyles Show (7 million listeners on average) the problem lies with the fact that us listeners who started listening when the show began carried on getting older...unfortunate that. So that elusive young audience grew up. And this is where I get angry....Where am I supposed to go now eh BBC?

As I say, I understand the predicament of the BBC I mean their funding is at risk. But frankly I don't feel old enough for Radio 2. I mean some of the presenters and shows are great but the music, really? It seems when I listed the majority of it just does not appeal to me, I like the chart songs, I like listening and singing along to David Guetta and Coldplay and Rhianna I mean I'm 35 not 65. And as for breakfast shows I just can't face Chris Evans in the morning - I mean I have lots of friends who love him but for me it's just not to my taste.

I could listen to BBC6 I hear that's good, a great line up of presenters, excellent music selections, but it is digital only, so not an option for my 2 hours of commuting per day in my where are my options? How are you serving my age group that are still young enough to want to listen to music and hear about gigs and new releases, or are you telling me Mr BBC that at my time of life I should be staying at home with the Archers?

And I don't think I'm alone here - which radio station is it within the BBC that I am supposed to enjoy now if I'm too old for Radio 1? I take it as I'm 35 maybe I should just shuffle off and tune into my local station - which I often do on my drive home but the combination of the annoying adverts and the excessive ABBA/Bonnie Tyler/Banarama songs that prevent this from being a full time option.

So what have I done? I've moved to Radio 4! Educational, interesting, thought provoking but often depressing - I mean getting into work worrying about the economy and the threat of a potential new world war is draining on a daily basis. I love the business news, the in-depth topical discussions and occasionally thought for the day doesn't make me want to scream but I miss having a giggle in the morning with the team from the Chris Moyles show. I miss the silly links, and the un-PC chat and most of all I miss hearing what my mates (or my imaginary friends that Mr P used to call them when I'd come home talking about what they'd been discussing as though I knew them) were up to. I mean Dom just got chickens!!!

So BBC where am I to go? How about you start a Radio 1+1 you know a bit like Dave+1 on Sky...where all us 30+ listeners can go and still listen to music and chatter...and not feel like we're being punished for being loyal? And if you could bring Chris and the team, Sarah Cox, Edith Bowman and all the other DJ's that you retired out for being too old that would be great too!


Sunday, 9 September 2012

Pre-Birthday Weekend Fun Times

So it may be September and we should all be thinking about winter wardrobes (boots, coats, scarves...lovely autumnal colours - I do love this time of year) but in Blighty it appears our weather wasn't informed that it was seasons changeover time and we've been experiencing some wonderful summery weather - hot with blue skies. Bliss!

And this weekend that was particularly handy as I spent part of it embracing the outdoors lifestyle with a visit to River Cottage Autumn Fair with one of my besties. This was a day basking in sunshine, sampling all the very best local produce (meat/cheese/wine/cider....) and listening to some talks and enjoying some music. Frankly it was just blissful and I came home laden with Elephant Garlic (HUMONGOUS) some super hot Dorset chillis, lots of preserves and some of the most amazing smoked cheese produced in the village I went to school in as well as Raspberry wine from Somerset...I mean I could say that I was researching flavours for our wedding next September but that would be a blatant lie I just enjoyed eating and drinking my way round the show!

After our countryside jaunt we stopped off on the way home at West Bay for a sunshine drenched fish and chip supper on the beach. If you've never been you must add it to your places to visit list as it really is just gorgeous!

Also this weekend I was reading the Boots magazine and I was so excited by this interview with the founder of Essie nail polishes that I Instagram'ed the article - the Filofax mentioned in point 3 must be amazing. I imagine it crammed with gorgeous pictures and fabrics bulging at the seams....much like I hope mine will be as I get more into planning the wedding!!

And then there was a magic surprise when I returned home to my early birthday present!!! As you will know from my previous post we are off to Barcelona for a long weekend soon and while we are there I will be celebrating my birthday so Mr P decided as he won't be able to necessarily pack and transport the gift I could have it early and OH MY GOSH the boy done good!

I am one of those people with kinky hair - you know the type that curls under on one side and curls out on the other. The type of hair that with the merest hint of moisture in the air goes frizzy and unruly so the invention of hair straighteners have improved my life no end. But while I know the magical properties of GHD's from my hairdresser smoothing my tresses with them I have never got round to committing the spend on a pair opting to purchase cheap ones that then expire after 6 months use or so. A false economy I know but it always seemed far too much of an indulgence to purchase a pair.....

But no more as the fabulous Mr P has only gone and bought me a pair - I hope because he knows me so well and not because my hair is an embarrassment to him hehe ;0)

So these are the beauties, they have pink sparkly ceramic plates and come in the most gorgeous travel bag with a heat mat as well...stunning aren't they? I really am a truly lucky gal! They are the special edition version that includes a donation to Breast Cancer care which means not only are they super pretty they also contribute to a fantastic cause who could ask for more!


Other things I have been doing this weekend is watching lots of Paralympics coverage - I loved the Olympics and I'm loving the Paralympics equally if not more. The phrase Superhumans that C4 have used could not have been more apt as watching our athletes compete has just been so inspirational! Roll on tonight's closing ceremony for a party to celebrate all the fantastic achievements.

Even Boots has been getting some shut eye so she can stay up and watch the ceremony!!

Hope you've all had a wonderful weekend too


Wednesday, 5 September 2012

What to pack for Barcelona....part 1

Image taken from here
So next week Mr P and I are jetting off to Barcelona for a long weekend and I CAN'T WAIT! Not only will it mean (hopefully) some sunshine, (copious amounts of) sangria and (lots of) tapas but that doesn't even start to cover the amazing architecture and culture...sighs and looks wistfully out of the window!

Now we are flying with EasyJet (groan) which means cabin only luggage, no allocated seating so a bun fight to be able to sit with Mr P and then wrestle to fit my carry on luggage in the overhead racks plus extortionate prices for food and drink should I forget to stock up on water before hand! Of course this is all conjecture as I've never flown with EasyJet before...other budget airlines but not the orange one! But having read numerous articles/blogs/seen Watchdog I have a good idea what to expect!

Anyhoo as this means only one piece of luggage (as in one suitcase to be carried on board - no handbag as that counts as two items and therefore is chargeable I kid you not!) being me I've been making lots of holiday packing lists in my trusty Filofax. This week I'm using the Raspberry Chameleon in personal size which I'm loving and while my diary pages are all working the notes area is a MESS so that's my next task for today - sort out my sections (blog post on that I'm sure!!)

Currently the weather now in Barcelona is 27-29 degrees centigrade (bliss) however the long range (ish) forecast is showing RAIN for next week aaaah. So what to pack?? Originally I was all about the sun dresses and maxi dresses with flip flops - now I'm thinking I need a waterproof/poncho (thank you festival packing) and probably jeans and trainers....

So having Googled what to pack for a weekend in Barcelona I found several useful blog posts including this one by Liberty London Girl  which a) showed me how much I could cram in the case and b) gave some good tips! (Also I'd love her wardrobe the shoes are gorgeous!)

But as ever I needed a list to start from so here is my top 5 so far must remember to pack essentials:

1. A cross body handbag for during the day.
Barcelona is apparently notorious for pick pockets so a small cross body handbag to keep my valuables (camera/dosh) in is essential. Handily I love these type of bags anyway and this is my current fave that I was rocking during our weekend in Cardiff. Cute isn't she and just big enough to fit camera/phone/purse/lip balm & suncream...

2. Technology - of course I am going to have to take my camera (just a little Nikon compact) my Kindle for some plane reading and my iPhone for more picture taking this is just a given, nerdy photo taker that I am...and all the associated chargers...

3. iPanema flip flops - I am obsessed with flip flops just ask Mr P as apparently I have a few too many pairs. Until recently the obsession revolved around Havianas but the same bestie that introduced me to those introduced me to iPanemas - still rubber flip flops but they are just so so so comfy. I even ordered Mr P a pair to prove to him how good they are! I am particularly loving these that I have been wearing to death all summer (Mr P's are without flower though unfortunately...)

4. Dresses - having lost over 18lbs since the start of the summer (I use that phrase loosely in the UK of course) I feel so much more confident that I don't mind/enjoy wearing dresses now whereas before I felt far too self conscious to entertain dressing up in a frock too often. My plan (weather depending) is to take a selection of summer dresses to wear in Barcelona with my flip flops during the day and a pair of wedges at night just so I don't feel quite so midget like...a denim jacket cover up and a couple of cardigans should see me right in case of shoulder chills of an evening too! Plus dresses take up far less room than other bulkier items like jeans etc

5. Minimal toiletries - I'm going to try super hard to only take the bare minimum of the toiletries I need/use main things being suncream, moisturiser and a few make up items. I plan to hit a pharmacy while we are there to get some cheap shampoo if the hotel doesn't provide it just to try and save on weight/room....unless of course I can sneak some items into Mr P's luggage.....

So anyone been to Barcelona? Any recommendations on what to see/visit/take with me?


Sunday, 2 September 2012

It's a life update!

So I've been very slack recently in updating my blog....ahem....nothing since May I mean seriously that means I went the WHOLE summer without blogging - oops oh yes I live in Britain we're still waiting for summer to start and it's September 2nd!

I guess I lost my mojo but hopefully I'm a getting that back y'all (nope I can't pull of an accent even when writing!)

So what have I been up to while I've been away?

We got a kitten
Boots (she has 4 white paws so looks like she's wearing booties) joined us on the 15th May and has dominated our lives since!! She's totally gorgeous, entertaining, affectionate, curious - I have turned into the cat woman obsessed with her "baby" but what's more amusing has so has Mr P!!

As a tiny kitten

Getting a wee bit bigger - check out those awesome whiskers

And she still squeezes in the peg basket (just)

And her current kitty collar come space helmet look...

I went to V Festival
There was no Glastonbury this year so our festival calendar looked a tad empty - until we saw the line up for V...The Killers, High Flying Birds, Snow Patrol, The Feeling were just a few of the fab acts so we went to Chelmsford and drank copious amounts of cider and vodka, danced around a field and generally got super hot as that was the hottest weekend of the year! Bliss

Yep it's a giant foam thumb ;0)

We saw Michael McIntyre in Cardiff
I'd never been to Cardiff before although I had seen Mr McIntyre's stand up before (in Bournemouth so super cute diddy venue) so Mr P and I spent the bank holiday weekend exploring the city. And loved it. Can't reccommend it enough - fab castle (inside the city at the end of the high street - amazing) fab bars, restaurants, Dr Who was all awesome and luckily enough we got a day of sunshine there too!

Cardiff Castle house so pretty

I tried on some wedding dresses!
So our wedding may still be over a year away but last month I just had to start the hunt for £the dress". I was worried that I'd feel old/fat/frumpy/too flouncy so thought I'd better start looking just in case. Complete opposite was true. The stores I went to were amazing, so friendly and lovely and had so many dresses I loved...deciding which one to pick I think will be the problem huzzah!!

No pic here obviously!!!

My hometown hosted the Sailing for the Olympics
After all the roadworks and misery that we had endured here while we "got ready for the Olympics" and all the scaremongering (you won't be able to get anywhere, it will be gridlock traffic etc etc) when the Olympics started it was amazing. I mean the whole of the London 2012 was AWESOME I watched so so much of it and really wish I had gone to some events BUT I did get to see some British medal action on the seas in my hometown and that is freaking awesome!

Winning silver!

And most excitingly we had a new garden done!!!!
You may remember my post last year about garden transformation part 1 (see here) but this year the full transformation was completed...bye bye lawn and weeds hello gorgeous patio and is stunning! We also have some gorgeous teak furniture that we picked up from the Royal Cornwall Show in June and now when the sun (rarely) shines it's a fab place to sit with a coffee, read a book or just relax (oh and Boots loves it too!)
Super lovely patio

So that's me and what I've been up to...I've missed blogging and while I've been reading lots of blogs still I need to get back into commenting/writing and updating as I miss it all. Hopefully this is the start of many I just hope there are still some people out there reading it?

I'm now on Instagram as ninny279 which co-incidentally is my Twitter name @ninny279 so come say hi!


 Oh and I finally organised the shelves.....

Desk shelves

Monday, 7 May 2012

Creating a zen like study space (or attempting to sort the clutter)

So I have been remiss in my blogging duties for quite a while now, instead of enjoying tapping away writing nonsense I have instead been tapping away on assignments and case study analysis....for those of you who don't know I'm studying for the CIM Chartered Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing in my "spare" time away from work. The level of work and commitment to this course cannot be underestimated - since receiving the case study details (all 8- pages of them) I've barely seen Mr P as I scuttle home and stick my head straight into modelling matrices and pivoting data in the aim of creating a number strategies that depending on the information given in 3 weeks time in the exam may of course be completely useless...

So my deepest apologies any of my readers who remain, I have lots of blog post ideas just awaiting to be written from a review of the amazing diary formats created by Ray of and Steve to an updated Filofax family post...and a giveaway!!!

BUT that aside for now, despite today being bank holiday Monday I headed to my desk this morning only to be interrupted by a most vexed Mr P questioning just how one girl can have quite so many products in the bathroom...I do believe the words "do you need all this" and "why have you got so much" came out of his mouth - much to my chagrin. I mean hello, I'm a girl, I like to smell nice!!

So in an attempt to ensure our planned wedding day doesn't get cancelled due to my slovenly and product hoarding ways it was off to B&Q in search of shelving to add more storage in the girl cave (otherwise known as the spare room that used to be Mr P's domain)

After much cursing of traffic (him) and cursing of chavs (me) we chose our shelves - reasonable-ish Oak so that the alcove above my desk could be transformed into a shelving utopia.

Well it's not quite there yet, I need a massive spree in Muji/Ikea or more likely Tesco/WHSmiths for magazine box holders, storage boxes and filing.....ah the calm organised side of my Virgo nature sighs a happy sigh...

And as I've been reading lots of blog sites on organisation and storage solutions I have lots of colour co-ordinated storage ideas that I plan to steal be inspired by - I mean how gorgeous is this for example:

Image from the amazing blog IHeartOrgansing
So there we go, 5pm on bank holiday Monday:
Study - nil
New Shelves - 1

Time to crack open the textbooks again....


Saturday, 24 March 2012

What's in my bag - Spring edition

Super Sunny Weymouth Harbour
So it feels like Spring has most definitely sprung in Weymouth today and its blooming lovely! Determined to make the most of it I ventured out for a walk into town to run some errands which were followed up by a spot of lunch with some friends - bliss! But of course a summery day calls for summery clothing so after rocking the rolled up jeans, vest, bright cardigan and FLIP FLOPS look -finally it is warm enough for bare I've missed my Havaianas (if you've not heard of Havaianas the are THE most comfortable flip flops in the world and they come in a massive range of colours and are really reasonable!) it also felt like time to start sporting a more summery bag.

Can you guess what kind of bag it is yet?

So out came my Mulberry Jody tote bag - which is in fact 2 bags in one! I've had this bag nearly 4 years, it was my splurge purchase to celebrate when I quit my old London life and decided to move to the seaside and start Loulou's Life Phase 2!

It is the softest leather and can be used as either a large hand/elbow crook carried bag or if it's not stuffed to the gills you can fold the top over and buckle the straps and use the shoulder strap instead. (You can see some better photos here)

The inside lining is a really cute pinstripe so you can see everything really easily as its not a dark black cave like many of my handbags.

Then there are the usual inside zip pocket and mobile phone pocket plus on the outside there are 2 pockets on each end of the bag secured by popper fastenings..very handy for easy keys/phone access.

Super cute mini pockets
It really is a super lovely bag.

Anyway as I was only walking into town I didn't need to take too much with me so it was just the following:

Malden Filofax
Kindle (in case from Tesco)
Purse (Ted Baker gift from Mr P)
Mini purse (Celia Birtwell for Boots - holds essentials like lens wipes, spare contacts etc)
Marc by Marc Jacobs re-useable shopping bag
Pack of tissues
Soap and Glory hand cream
Cherry chapstick
Orange Frixion pen (such a happy colour)

So that's my lot - barely anything for me!!

Happy Spring to you all hope you all have sunny weather like us


Sunday, 11 March 2012

Deco vs Enigma....chunky monkey Folifax

So as anyone who reads my blog/knows me knows I am totally obsessed with Filofax - and especially my Deco that I have been faithfully using since September last year when the super lovely Mr P managed to track down an Amethyst version for me.

And it has been perfect. Plenty of room, lots of little pockets, card slots, zipper and popper versions. Smooth suede interior, sumptuous leather exterior....sigh. It really is the Queen of the range in my opinion.

However as jam packed as I like to stuff my Filofax I cram even more into my day to day handbag....from pens, mobile, hand sanitiser, hand cream, Kindle, shopping bags, spare contacts lenses, a make up bag (I get to work v early so it's Face-On when I get there) the list is endless!!!

But twice this week I've caught myself cramming more in on top of my Deco and seeing things catching the gorgeous clasp and leather strap. Now don't get me wrong I don't think I'm being less careful or taking her for granted (she barely has a scratch or wear patch on her I'll have you know) but I think with how much I have in her and how hectic life is at the moment I'd rather switch to using a binder that's more robust/less precious.

And that's where my dilemma comes in. Not which binder to use, but the guilt factor over swapping out of the Deco! Tragic I know seriously but I'd hate Mr P to think that he wasted his money, or for Deco to think she wasn't loved anymore.

So I'm running an experiment for the week - out comes the Enigma that I won last year in a competition with Harpers Bazaar and into hibernation goes Deco. The Brindle (as I'm calling her as that's her colour description) is coated leather, smooth and soft but I don't think she'd scratch easily. Now opinion was divided over this style when she launched - I thought she looked lovely but Mr P's comments at the time mirrored others who called her "roadkill"....and she was free....

But she's been tucked away in the box since she arrived last November and apart from featuring in a blog post hasn't seen the light of day. Until now!

I've literally lifted all the contents of my Deco out and straight into Brindle and wowser chunky she seems now too!

But with no clasp, no foldable strips of gorgeous leather to worry about and the fact that she was free means I think Brindle and I will have an interesting week together as I put her through her paces.

The transfer in picture form ;0)

Chunky ol Deco vs the Enigma

Possibly too much in the Deco??

Front layout (note Eiffel Tower ticket from Paris weekend last year)

Empty Deco, sob

Hibernation cave time

The Enigma front layout transfered

Yep I fattened her up

A cute Filofax F on the popper clasp

So what do you all think? Still hate/love the Enigma? Think I'm making a huge mistake transferring out of the Deco??