Tuesday, 30 December 2014

24 Before 24

With a new upcoming year, I thought now would be the perfect time to implement into my life my 24 before 24 list. In 2016, I will be turning 24 (my lucky number!), so alongside the theme of new years resolutions and 101 in 1001 or 29 before 30 lists, here is my own take on it all! I have had a 'draft' of this list for a very very very long time (some of these goals are years) old, but now I feel like there is no time like the present to start this list.

I'll be updating as I go when I've completed, and tagging with '24 before 24'.
  1. Lose four stone.  
  2. Qualify as a teacher. 
  3. Own a Burberry Trench Coat.   
  4. Visit Disneyland Paris.
  5. Travel America.  
  6. Learn Calligraphy.
  7. Give back to a good cause, at least once a month.  
  8. Join a Book Club.  
  9. Read the whole Game of Thrones series.  
  10. Launch a project on my blog.
  11. Send & Receive Mail with Penpals / Bloggers regularly.
  12. Restore the dolls house my Grandad made me.  
  13. Get wrist, arm & chest tattoo.  
  14. See Les Miserables in the theatre.  
  15. Give blood.  
  16. Have business cards created for my blog.  
  17. Watch AFIs 100 Years 100 Movies List.  
  18. Attend the Blogcademy London.  
  19. Learn how to rollerskate
  20. Learn a Charleston
  21. Attend a Musical Theatre Course.
  22. Have a professional photo shoot by my favourite photographer.  
  23. Complete a Charity Challenge. 
  24. Host a 24th Birthday Party.  
Do you have a goals list? Leave your links below, as I'll be making a page on the blog & keeping a list of others lists so we can all cheer each other on!

Monday, 29 December 2014

Happy Mondays: Favourites of 2014

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Is it just me, or has 2014 actually really flown by so fast this year? Today I've done a Happy Mondays round up of the whole year, with posts from my favourite bloggers & shops, that I've kept going back to this year. If you haven't stumbled across some of these blogs before, then grab a cuppa & make yourself comfy!

Blog Posts
All Time Favourites This Year...
Cider with Rosie has been my go to blog this year... there are so many posts by Rosie that I go back and re-read... I feel like I need a printed magazine copy of this blog that can sit in my bedroom alongside my collection of The Simple Things! I loved reading about Rosie's engagement & Edinburgh trip earlier this year, and since I've been eyeing up her Pinterest boards, which have given me lots of inspiration. Adventures with #bodenontheroad were another series which I was in awe with especially the Adventures with River Cottage and the Walk with Johnnie Sprout & Christmas Collection Preview . A post to help with winter blues Five Ways to Keep Your Chin Up During the Winter Months ... number 1 I find the hardest... number 5 the easiest!

Becky Bedbug is another go to favourite for this year. Out of all the bloggers out there, I really truly feel Becky has something so unique with her blog, and such a wide variety of posts. Reading her blog, feels like I'm talking to one of my friends! I also feel like I learn so much from Becky's blog... I don't know if any other bloggers feel that way?From beauty posts such as her Lush Christmas & Halloween roundup to real life posts such as 'On Glamourising Anxiety'  there is always something different to read. I loved reading about Becky & Rich's Florida Wedding (all the Harry Potter-ness!) as well as her England Wedding. I've loved peeking in on the event posts too, especially MCM London Comic Con (even Brad was jealous of that one! We are definitely booking tickets next year!) & Simply Be with Kelly Brook. Most recently Becky's 5 Tips for Decorating a Christmas Tree I loved... I have a theme for my Christmas celebrations so that Friends moment with the tree, I can definitely relate to!

This outfit post from Carrie has to be one of my favourites, as it has given me the hat which solves all my problems. Never before had I been interested in hats, but this one from Urban Outfitters solves any bad hair day, and if it's windy, I can still take half decent photos! Another American themed post from Carrie which I loved was 'Go Team Go'  ... I have my eye on so many Charlotte Olympia pieces, I love the Hollywood Wedges which are a royal green alternative to the wedges in that post. A post that completely shocked and impressed me was Lets Talk Body Image ... it is worth a read if you haven't found it yet!

♥ Lola from Lola's Little Wonders hosted a LDN Blogger Meet Up in the autumn of this year, which was pretty damn awesome! I loved meeting her, as well as lots of other lovely bloggers, but since I've really fallen in love with her blog even more this year! I've been loving her Trek America build up (find the posts here & here) ... next Summer I am planning on going to America (it's part of my upcoming 24 before 24 list!) so I love seeing other fellow America travellers plans and tips.

♥ I probably am biased picking an outfit post of Sarah's which includes my garden & my pup, but reminders of our sleepover earlier this year was fab, and I love seeing these photos ... Sarah's dress is amazing and I wish I had one! I also loved 7 Ways to Bust Out of a Slump ... this New Year, I've been seeking lots of inspiration for setting goals.

♥ For Pinterest worthy, photography inspiration & all round general loveliness ... Bluebell & Bumpkin is another go to. 24 Things It Is Perfectly Acceptable To Do is a favourite, (hello number one... Love Actually is for all year round!) & Country Cottage Outside pretty much sums up my dream home!

♥ Another daily read over on What Olivia Did ... preparing for a birthday trip to Brighton, her Brighton Guide definitely comes in handy, as there were so many places I didn't realise were in Brighton as well as how I have never realised my all time favourite vintage shop, Snoopers Paradise had a photobooth! Other top picks this year are Top Tips to Working from Home , Meet Maggie (so in love with bloggers dogs this year!) & 5 Minutes with Dawn O Porter .

♥ The first blog I ever read & completely fell in love with was Bleubird blog. This year I was in awe at just how far James' blog had come their Tennessee Commercial I sat and was so impressed with... it is amazing how many opportunities are out there for bloggers. Worn & The Vanity Project were two of my favourite series from this year, and I'm so glad that The 52 Project will be coming back!

♥ Another blogger I love connecting with  since the London Blogger Meet Up is Jasmin Charlotte ... her most recent post JC Reflects 2014 Life Highlights really made me smile! From the archives, I loved reading The Sipsmiths Gin Distillery post.

After attending the London Blogcademy Mixer back in July, I've been sourcing advice from the three Blogcademy headmistresses all year round. Here are some favourites from each..
♥ I've been following Kat's posts on Rock n Roll Bride religiously this year ... both The Green Room & Wedding Related too. 30 Things To Blog About When You Are Feeling Uninspired was a really useful post for me. I can't wait to get my hands on Rock n Roll Bride magazine in January!
♥  From Gala Darling... You Don't Have to Be Perfect to Inspire Others,   100 Ways to Show Yourself Love If You Hate Pink and Bubble Baths (although I do love bubble baths... there are so many unusual ideas in this post... stocking up on my favourite pens is definitely my tip of choice!) & One Day in NYC I have bookmarked, and am definitely going to be taking notes down from in preparation of my trip to America in the summer ... after travelling around Europe in 7 days being a tourist a couple of years back, I'd happily take the challenge of tackling New York in a day!
♥ This year is the first time I've found Shauna's blog, and I spent a morning tracking back through the archives of Nubby Twiglet. Link Love,   The Week in Pictures & Blog Log 
are my favourite series & Stop Playing it Safe provided some very important advice for me, which I'm going to be taking into the new year with me.

♥ My ultimate favourite wedding this year just had to be Stephanie & Sam's Disney wedding over on Stephanie Dreams... without realising it, I regularly kept checking my feeds for more Disney/Wedding/General Loveliness Posts from Stephanie, and the wedding photos are absolutely stunning!
♥ The engagement of the year had to be Carrie's over on Wish Wish Wish. ... just wow!

Ladybird Likes is one to watch this year, and top tip, follow the Instagram page... that's where I brought this absolutely adorable Yorkshire Terrier Porcelain Necklace for an absolute steal at £19!

♥ Jessica from Chronically Vintage runs a fabulous vintage shop on Etsy ... I brought a gorgeous vintage locket earlier this year, and I have my eye on a few pieces for the New Year.
♥ In the new year I am committing myself to three subscriptions. The Simple Things is my first subscription, as I religiously buy that magazine every month and have done for 18 months now... it's time to commit and know that every month, I'll receive a magazine through the post I am head over heels for and can give up searching supermarkets and newsagents for a copy! My second subscription is going to be a very glittery one... The Glitterati from Crown and Glory, a monthly box full of Crown & Glory goodies for £20 a month. After seeing the contents of the December box (and desperately longing for the exclusive Christmas Crown!), I decided a subscription was needed in my life! Last of all, My Little Box ... after seeing some of the November contents, then luckily getting my hands on a box off of eBay (with the most gorgeous espresso cup!), the quality of the contents was enough for me to happily part with £11 a month for a monthly surprise!
♥ Last year, I was gutted that I forgot to purchase myself a Terrific Year Calendar from Veronica Dearly ... this year, I decided to make up for that by not only purchasing a Terrific Year, but brought the Romantic & Business versions too! Its okay to have a triple Terrific Year yes?

♥ As I'm writing this, how the hell have I never watched 'Girls' before... I'm already through Season 1 in 2 days!
♥ Game of Thrones has to be one of the tv shows of the year, and I cannot wait till it returns in Spring. Although I doubt I'll ever attempt the Game of Thrones 'drink every time someone dies' drinking game again... it was messy!
♥ Once has to be another huge discovery this year for me... the mixture of Disney with real life (and a very sexy Captain Hook!)
♥ Re-discovering comedy shows that I love, The Two Ronnies, Mrs Browns Boys & Never Mind the Buzzcocks.

Recently Loving ...
♥ Beccy reviewed 'The Book of Everyone' and I quite literally want to order one for every person in my family!
♥ I have fell in love with Oh Simple Thoughts Blog & the 101 in 1001 is an awesome list.
♥ Everybody needs Happy Mail in their life!
♥ Sarah's post on the Full Moon Urban Retreat she & Jayne hosted ... it looked truly magical!
♥ Jessica's Christmas Day Outfit ... I wish I could look just as spectacular as Jessica does in her vintage clothes!
♥ Lyzi's 11 Alternative New Years Eve Ideas has been superb for ideas this week... we are still undecided over what to do for New Years but we know it will include cocktails, champagne with hibiscus flowers (because I completely forgot them over Christmas!), good food & listening to my new record collection on my record player. There is always such a fuss over New Years! I want to take one of Lyzi's tips, and go for a midnight walk... although I really don't know whether anyone will be setting off fireworks in the countryside!


♥ Watching 'It's a Wonderful Life' and unexpectedly bawling at the ending ... sometimes its easy to forget how many different lives each individual can touch.
♥ My Dad's Christmas Jack Daniels Ham ... I'll happily welcome that again this New Years Day.
♥ Reading some amazing books for blogging inspiration for 2015, which I'll be sharing with you very soon!
♥ Creating my new 24 before 24 list, and realising from my old goals lists, I actually have ticked off many of my goals over the past few years... a skydive, Europe trip, house & puppy later to name a few.
♥ Surviving my first term of teacher training, and being ridiculously scared of the next term in a new school for six weeks.
♥ Snuggles on the sofa with Cece.

& that's my 2014 round off. What have you really loved this 2014? Leave your links and ideas below!

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Cereal Killer Cafe, Brick Lane

 As part of our trip up London, I took a visit to Cereal Killer Café on Brick Lane. One of mine & Brad's favourite films is Flakes so hearing about this café opening up was a mini dream come true! I a huge lover of cereal... it freaks older family members out when I say I often have cereal for dinner! It was really busy the day we went, however Brick Lane on a Sunday... of course it's going to be busy! I did however snap a few photos.
 Seeing all these retro milk bottles made me want to start my own collection!
I had the Hershey's Cookies & Cream cereal, which was so delicious and I actually want to go and buy a whole box! Brad had Apple Jacks ... he did want Simpsons / Pokémon themed cereal, but didn't realise they had marshmallow in so being vegetarian had to take miss on that!
All around was retro cereal themed memorabilia. There is an upstairs and a downstairs to the café. The lighting was quite dark, but I actually loved that ... especially the smurfs table light!
 Have you visited Cereal Killer Café yet or any other breakfast bars? What's your favourite cereal?

Friday, 26 December 2014

A Boxing Day Walk

 Yesterday the family had all planned to take a leisurely walk with the dog on Christmas Day... well the hectic-ness of Christmas meant we postponed for a day. I was eager to get Cece out of the house and trying one of her new Christmas presents, her tartan dog coat.
 We were quite lucky Boxing Day... a thirty minute walk round the fields, as soon as we got in the rain came!
Playing our game from across the field... where Cece decides who to run to next! I love how her ears go back when she runs!
Above, a shot of my sister who will not let me take photos of her! So I made her laugh & had my paparazzi skills going on!
 Instagram selfie time... I've ordered one of those selfie sticks as being short... my arms are never long enough for the perfect selfie!
We both received the Matalan Alder Hey Charity Scarves for Christmas... my Mother had got this for both me & my sister months ago, and last week was the first time I mentioned I wanted one... I love gifts like that where people know you so well!
Hope you are all having a lovely Christmas and Boxing Day. What have you been up to?

Thursday, 25 December 2014

A Very Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas Everyone! I hope you all had a lovely, wonderful day & received lots of lovely presents!

Cece got a fluffy new bed for Christmas to keep her cosy, and we are all snuggling up this evening after a killer meal. Now who's for comedy on TV & board games? :)

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas...

Merry Christmas Eve everyone! Today I thought I'd share some snaps of our Christmas home with you.
This is just one corner of the present filled living room right now, as my parents dropped off all their presents!
 Tartan crackers, DIY Sharpie Plates (the top one is Frozen themed!), a tartan rug for the tablecloth & wooden placements & cutlery.
 This year I brought two Grolier Christmas decorations. I brought Jiminy Cricket & 101 Dalmations.
At Columbia Road Flower Market, I brought lots of festive foliage. The purple is an unexpected love for me!
 & thanks to geniuses of Amazon Prime... my Disney Traditions Christmas Ornament came today. I'm planning on keeping this in the kitchen all year round though as it's too lovely to keep away!

What are your plans this Christmas Eve?

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

The Paddington Trail

 Yesterday as part of my day trip up London, we went on the The Paddington Trail. We didn't follow any of the set routes, but instead opted for all the bears I wanted to see. First stop, outside Harrods was Flutterby which was designed by Emma Watson.
 A ridiculously picture-esque location, The Journey of Marmalade, situated on the Serpentine Bridge in Hyde Park, was designed by Hugh Bonneville. This was a wonderful one to go and see... many people were crowding around getting pictures taken, and the brightness really stood out in Hyde Park!
 Next stop, Notting Hill Gate to see Guy Ritchie's Dapper Bear.
 I fell in love with Paddingtons Suitcase here. I want a real one!
 Participating in the Paddington Trail, would not feel right if we hadn't stopped off by Paddington Station itself.
 & there we saw the classic Paddington designed by Michael Bond.
 I saw Sparkles designed by Frankie Bridge at Bond Street Station... Paddington was ever so glittery!
 This Paddington, designed by Kate Moss as part of the Selfridges collection, was a must see for me. Unfortunately being in the shop window, it was so hard to get a picture and boy did this window have a crowd!
 Cats is one of my favourite musicals, so seeing Andrew Lloyd Webbers Paddington Lloyd Webber in Chinatown was top of my list.
The last Paddington we saw was the Bear of London designed by Boris Johnson, situated on Trafalgar Square... the Bus themed bag was so lovely!

Have you seen any of the Paddingtons in London or completed the trail? The one I really wanted to see was Bear Grylls Scout Bear ... unfortunately that's at Heathrow!

Monday, 22 December 2014

The Christmas Tag

The lovely Danielle from Underland to Wonderland tagged me for this post, and honestly I don't normally do 'tag' posts, but as soon as I saw the word 'Christmas' I was hooked and ready to answer anything!
1.When does Christmas start for you?
Christmas started for me very early (ahem February!) as moving into my first home, I knew I wanted to host Christmas at my house, so in the back of my mind it was a ludicrously early start this year. Working in a school, its hard not to be in the festive spirit for the whole of December. I think the turning point for me, as sad as this may sound was the John Lewis Christmas advert, as the very next day in London, a Mabel the Penguin was brought for Cece for Christmas.

2. What is one Christmas movie you must watch? 
I love lots of Christmas films, but it has to be Love Actually. I haven't actually watched it yet but it is on the cards over the next few days, if not on Christmas Day itself.

3. Do you bake a Christmas cake or buy one?
Like Danielle, I do not do Christmas Cake, Pudding or Mince Pies... and Trifle is just a no go any day of the year (I do actually have a list of 'wrong' puddings and trifle alongside jelly & ice cream is a no go!) We get a yule log, and maybe a gateau. This year my family are obsessed with cheesecake, so I'm getting a New York Cheesecake, and have a variety of toppings already in the house to go with it.

4. When do you put up your Christmas tree?
When I was younger it was always the 1st of December or as close to. This year we were a week late. The earlier the better!
5. Do you have a real or fake Christmas tree?
As I wasn't sure whether I'd be renewing the lease on the house for another year, we brought real this year (then found out we were staying!)... the cost puts me off a tiny bit, but the smell the real tree has brought into the house is divine!
6. When do you start playing Christmas music?
I have Christmas songs on my phone all year round. I am actually quite sad with that one!

7. Do you use the same Christmas decorations each year or buy new ones?
The same ones every year, but I try to add one decoration a year where possible.

8. How do you spend Christmas Eve?
I don't actually have a way to spend Christmas Eve, it changes every year. This year I'll be seeing family, and then having family over in the evening.

9. Advent calendar or no advent calendar?
Advent Calendar of course, everyone has one, including Cece!

10. Do you leave a snack out for Santa and his reindeer?

We always used to, I doubt I'll do it this year though!

11. How does Santa get into your house?
Down the Chimney.

12. Mince pies, yay or nay?
13. Snowballs, eggnog, or mulled wine?
I have never tried eggnog, and really have no interest in it! Snowball is the drink I was always given as a child, and hated! Advocat really is not nice! Mulled Wine, I like without the cinnamon though. This year I'm going to give mulled cider a go.

14. What scents remind you of Christmas?

Definitely anything orange smelling, or the smell of Christmas dinner cooking.
15. How do you spend Christmas Day?

We spend the morning opening presents, stockings first then the tree presents. Once that is finished, we'll have a light breakfast. Generally everyone just chills out whilst dinner is being cooked, then dinner in the afternoon, then relaxing on the sofa watching Christmas TV. This year, we've decided we are going to rock out some board games ... I brought the Million Pound Drop very cheap from Argos, and me & my sister gave it a go and were hopeless! Partini is another favourite!

I've loved writing this post, it's actually got me quite excited for Christmas! A huge thank you to Danielle for tagging me! I'm going to openly tag all of you to complete this if you fancy! Leave your links below. What do you love about Christmas?

Sunday, 21 December 2014

A Festive Day up London

Today was spent having a rather festive day strolling around London. I'll be writing some in depth reviews of a few things mentioned today over the next few weeks, but thought I'd do a photo overview of where we went today, in case it interested anyone who fancies a trip to the capital.

First stop, was Harrods in Knightsbridge, however this was not for shopping purposes: I was on a mission to see some Paddingtons as part of The Paddington Trail, and a certain Miss Grangers one was parked outside of Harrods. I also got a bit too excited walking past the Burberry shop, being mesmerized by the Christmas window displays and then remembering my first buy of 2015 is going to be a certain Westminster Trench Coat.
 Then we went to Hyde Park to walk around the Winter Wonderland. I can't Ice Skate, so that was not on the cards, but browsing around the Christmas market was lovely, and in the morning it was not as busy as you'd expect on a weekend morning!
 In search of another Paddington, we walked to the Serpentine Lake (literally right next to Winter Wonderland).
 From Hyde Park, we took a bus to Notting Hill Gate, then the tube to Paddington, to see well Paddington! It wouldn't of been right going on the trail without seeing the bear designed by Michael Bond!

My love for Kate Moss, led us to Oxford Street temporarily to snap the Selfridges Window displays, then we walked from Oxford Street, to Chinatown, then to Trafalgar Square to see the rather grand Christmas Tree, as well as lots of street performers and Scottish music being played all around. 
 Next stop was Brick Lane for the Cereal Killer Café ... I had Hersheys Cookies & Cream Cereal & it was delicious! On Brick Lane, after a tip from Sarah I found the record sale, and brought myself lots of vinyls which were on my wish list for a fiver each! To say I was chuffed is a complete understatement... The Beach Boys, Dexys Midnight Runners & even got a bit of Disney in there buying Bedknobs & Broomsticks (my favourite Disney film!) Soundtrack. I brought Phil Spector at Christmas, and Black Lace for some party tunes for Christmas & New Years too!
 I wasn't expecting to visit Columbia Road Flower Market but boy I'm glad I did! It was really hard to take photos as it was so busy, even though it was late afternoon by this point. The business however got me a lot of bargains. I walked away with armfuls of flowers & foliage for £11!
Our final stop of the day was the More London Christmas Market, which is on the riverside near Tower Bridge. There were a lot less stalls than what I was expecting, and in the pursuit of deli cheese ... we failed as there was only cheddar, but we sat with a mulled wine & hog roast, and relaxed by the river for a while. Tower Bridge is absolutely stunning at night.

It was a very busy, packed day but I'm really glad I took the time to have a Christmas day up London.
Where are your go to places over Christmas?
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