Friends, cake, sweets, leggings… a few of my favourite things

My blog has been so behind recently. Since getting back from Dubai I’ve been a bit all over the place. So a great place to start is a post on some things I’ve been loving and trying lately (as well as a mini guest appearing from Papa Apple).

Starting with some seriously needed catch up time with my lovely friend, Charlotte at the weekend in Brighton. Seeing her (and her husband, Paddy!) was exactly what I needed. I was in need of a good chat and vent. She’d baked an obscenely good carrot cake with the perfect ratio of sponge to icing (basically 1:1).I had two slices – I had to be certain it tasted as amazing the first time 😉 I did have grand plans of doing a Brighton parkrun (ideally the Preston Park one, which I’ve yet to do) but my calf has been playing up (insert sigh here) so I played it safe and enjoyed a lovely lie-in.Charlotte and I headed into town to do some coffee drinking and shopping before getting to Food For Friend bang on 12 to get a table (they don’t take bookings at the weekend and they’re super popular). It’s a great vegetarian and vegan restaurant that has such a diverse menu.

We got a table and checked out the menu. The last time we went there we made a poor choice of both getting the same sweet potato cake things. They were nice but it was a lot of sweet potato and not much else. This time we were more savvy. We ordered a sharing platter of lots of different things, such as cauliflower fritters, hummus, halloumi bites and lots more. Charlotte ordered some chips on the side and I ordered tofu crispy bite things and some fried aubergine things.It was delicious! So many flavours, textures and good stuff going on. We ordered more halloumi bites though towards the end because they really are the show-stoppers. We decided to forgo pudding (shocker I know) and mosey about a bit more. We’d popped into a great sweet shop before the restaurant so we had a bit of sweet stuff to keep us satisfied.

The sweet shop was amazing. It’s called SugarSin. It was quite an amusing experience because we’d only gone in there to have a look as it was quite a colourful and fun looking shop. We browsed the pick n mix but really we weren’t going to buy anything. The shop owner asked us if we needed help and we did that British thing of “no no just browsing”. He asked us if we’d like to try any of the sweets… any? Ooooh OK maybe just a try then. And then after telling us some information about the sweets (they’re from Sweden so not your traditional Candy King style affair) we’d grabbed bags and were loading up. Such easy prey haha!But let me tell you, the sweets are so good. Lots of different ones you wouldn’t see anywhere else. Worth it!So a very lovely trip to Brighton, as always. I went home feeling a bit more clear-headed and happy. What friends are for 🙂

And another one of my great loves along with good friends and good food… leggings! I was recently sent some leggings from the rather creative guys at Gear Bunch. Now if you’ve read my blog for even a tiny period of time you’ll know I quite like myself a pair of leggings. So when they offered to let me a try a pair of theirs I was more than willing, of course.

Their leggings are very jazzy indeed. I mean there’s no other way to describe them. If you want to make a statement at the gym or out running, these are for you. They have some truly fantastic designs and colours. I’m a little more subtle in my fashion choices so decided to choose a pair that weren’t quite so “out there” with the design. I quite liked the ombre effect and pink and black is a nice blend.They fitted nicely and were tight but not overwhelmingly so. They gave my bum a nice flattering look and didn’t sag anywhere. I could do lunges and use the bike in them. I would say with the colour I chose that underwear choice is something to consider wisely however as they can become slightly sheer when stretched.I imagine it really depends on the design you go for as to how much of an issue this is but with the pink colouring at the top I wasn’t able to wear black underwear (sorry if TMI but I’m being honest). They did require an occasional pull up though and didn’t feel like a second skin like say Lululemon or Nike.Overall I quite like them as a funky pair of leggings. I probably wouldn’t wear them on squat days just because of the sheer factor but all other stuff would be fine. I don’t know how they’d be for running however as I don’t wear leggings to run in that much at all!

There’s been a lot of social media hype regarding the recent release of the Halo Top ice cream. It’s a very popular ice cream brand in American. It’s a “guilt-free” ice cream in that it’s a lot lower in calories and it’s not full of artificial gunk and nasties. Now don’t get me wrong, ice cream is ice cream. It’s a supplementary item to your diet. If you want a pint of Ben & Jerry’s have a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. It won’t kill you. But sometimes I want to eat a pint of ice cream on a Wednesday night and not feel like I’ve just filled my body with excessive amounts of sugar. I’m a volume eater so this perfectly fits into my persona. I’m sadly not one of those people who can have a scoop and put it away. It doesn’t work for me.

So Halo Top is a lovely compromise of not pushing the boat out but still getting a solid ice cream satisfaction. However it is expensive – £5 a tub, ouch. The Chocolate flavour is delicious though and though it’s not as dense or full of all the chocolatey bits and pieces of a B&J tub, it is still very tasty.

I was also recently asked to review a weight-loss supplement. Now I don’t need to lose weight so this wasn’t something I was going to try. However I asked my dad if he fancied giving it a go (he’s currently doing Slimming World) and he said he was game.

The product is called Maxislim BerryTrim. It has a high strength of Glucomannan which, according to the product is “proven weight loss and gut health”. I don’t now where these sources are though. It argues that the soluble fibre in the product will make you feel fuller for longer. I can understand the logic behind that. Glucomannan has a low energy density, which researchers (again, not sure who) say “can encourage feelings of fullness as it expands in the digestive tract“.

Gut health is important, helping you have a good immune system and healthy digestive system. So that at least sounds like a winner. More fibre is definitely a good thing if your diet lacks it. The product also contains Inulin, a prebiotic that helps with gut health as well.I mean personally I’m not a fan of weight-loss supplements but supporting gut health and getting the digestive system moving is a good thing. Each serving is 22 calories and contains a host of ingredients such as L-Carnitine l-Tartrate, Green Tea Extract, Acai Berry powder, Barley Grass powder, Beetroot juice amongst others. It’s a vegan-friendly product. It also won the ‘Best Supplement’ at the UK Natural Health Trade Summit in October 2017.So my dad tried it for a few days. I got him to answer a few questions for me so I could write up his thoughts… He didn’t have a great experience it must be said.

  • How did it taste? It was inoffensive but the aftertaste lingered for hours – it really left a poor taste, but it went down quite easily.
  • How did it mix with water (recommended way to consume)? Mixed with water very easy. Not lumpy but I preferred the sachets as more consistent than the tub [bare in mind, this is a man who doesn’t like faff]
  • Initial reaction? Texture was like a very cheap fruit powder drink. It had a weak flavour. Not one I looked forward to drinking.
  • Later reaction? This was the real issue for me. After two days of these I experienced an upset stomach, very loose bowl movements and a general feeling of unwellness in the stomach. Yes it made me feel full but not in a good way. [This is more information than I’ve ever wanted from my dad…]
  • Could you see it working for others? Not if they have the same reaction as I did.
  • Weight lost? 1/2 lb in a week, but bare in mind I’m also doing Slimming World and consistently losing with that.

So that’s his honest thoughts. It sounds like it might be useful to some people who don’t get enough fibre in their diets and need to add a bit of “oomph” in but realistic you could just eat more vegetables.

Have you ever tried a weight-loss supplement?

Do you like patterned and jazzy leggings?

What’s your favourite pick n mix sweet?

**Full Disclaimer: I was sent the leggings and the weight-loss supplement for free in exchange for a review on my bog. All opinions are my (and my dad’s) honest one.**

Running, family time and fro-yo

How nice was the sunshine this Bank Holiday weekend?? Normally when there’s a long weekend we get a lot of rain. I realise not everyone gets the Bank Holiday in August (sorry Scotland) but hopefully everyone had a nice weekend anyway.

I had a really good one. I didn’t go anywhere or do anything too crazy but it did feel a bit jam-packed.

On Saturday morning I was finally back to my home parkrun, Netley Abbey. I went down early as usual to help set-up and jokingly re-introduced myself to everyone as I haven’t been there in over a month! A couple of weeks before I went to Austria… and then I got injured and last week went to Lee-On-Solent parkrun, so yeah quite a while!

A few days earlier I’d been suffering with a random flu-like illness (I had stomach cramps, was hot and cold, achy and super tired). I had to skip my run on Thursday night annoyingly but this was clearly the best thing to do because by Saturday morning I was fine again (whew!). It was very warm and the sun was shining but I was looking forward to running.

Photo Credit: Glen Tyreman

I felt myself get stronger as the run continued and gave my legs a bit of a turnover on the final lap. I saw a few of my running club friends ahead and tried to catch one of them but they got away at the end. It was nice though to have a burst of speed! My knee felt fine as well which was great.

What was not great was my friend Terry, who was celebrating his birthday, grabbing me in a big bear hug and drenching me in his sweat. I was rather disgusted but let him off because he said it made his day, ha! He’s a lovely guy, but yes rather sweaty post-run. I had to take off my top and let it dry on a tree!! Thank you very much, Terry! (I had a jacket with me)Afterwards I grabbed a cold drink in the cafe with my friends and we chilled outside in the sunshine.

Later on I met with my sister, Rachel, for Nando’s and a cinema trip. She’s 2.5 years older than me and we don’t get to see each other as much we’d like as she often works weekends. It’s nice to see her one-on-one as, though we’re SO different, we just slot into place and have a good natter and a gossip. She has so much more common sense and adulting skills than I have so it’s always nice to hear her take on something or just to have a laugh and a giggle.

We enjoyed some Nando’s chicken (she’s not quite a glutinous pig I am and had a far more reasonable order of a half chicken with some sides compared to my whole chicken and salad…).Despite eating stupid amounts I really fancied some pick ‘n’ mix for the film. It’s been a while since I’ve had some. You can’t beat some super cheap sweets in my opinion. Yes they’re full of awful ingredients and so much sugar, but sometimes you just need something basic.The film we saw was Logan Lucky and it was brilliant. If you like Ocean’s 11 then you’ll love this. It was quick, quirky and hilarious. Daniel Craig is fantastic. It’s one to see twice I think.

Sunday morning I had a lovely lie-in until 8.30am before meeting my friend Mike at 9am for a long run. I’d managed to persuade Mike to go a little later as I knew I’d have a late on the night before. Yes it’d probably be a little cooler an hour before but not hugely. It’d probably been best to go at 6ish if we’d have wanted to have beaten the heat but sometimes sleep wins!

The plan was to run 12 miles together and then I’d go on and run four on my own. Mike is now tapering down for the New Forest Marathon (that we’re running together) but I’m building up again as I missed so many runs when I was injured. It’s not ideal but it is what it is!

We both sensibly took water as it was so warm outside. Mike wanted to do the first six miles around 9.20min/mile pace and then the last six 9min/miles. I was happy with whatever! I was glad we weren’t going to be running much faster than that as my fitness isn’t in it’s best and I had a long way ahead of me to run.

Luckily where we ran there was a spot to refill our water bottles up as it really was a hot one. And Mike’s route (yes I’m fully blaming Mike here) was quite undulating as well. Oof the run was not an easy one at all!We struggled a little at the end. Mike was starting to feel a bit dizzy. I was now dreading my four solo miles, wondering if I should just call it quits after 12. It was very tempting. But I decided that when we stopped I’d run up to my flat, drink some cold water and grab my phone and headphones so I could keep motivated by listening to a podcast.

When we stopped Mike looked a bit concerned about how the run had gone. But I tried to convince him that it was ridiculously hot and he’d run TWENTY MILES the week before. Marathon training really does play with your head. When you’ve had good solid training, like Mike has over the past few months, it will catch up with you when you start to taper down. You just have to remember you’ll feel a bit more fresh come marathon day and everything you’ve done before will come into play on the day.My four miles went well. I suddenly had a second wind and was able to zone out to my podcast and focus on just getting the last bit done. I told myself just do three but went a route that meant I had to do four (oh the games we play to get through tough runs). I felt really good when I finished. Gave me a bit of confidence for the marathon!

I quickly got showered and sorted (how I DETEST blowdrying my hair when I’m still super hot from a run) and then grabbed some porridge to eat while my mum drove us to Southampton West Quay for a bit of retail therapy. I must admit, I felt shattered after sitting down! You forget how hard long runs are when you haven’t done one in a while. This is why it’s so important for me to do a couple before the big day.

We had a lovely day shopping (though a big disappointment when we found that the West Quay Starbucks had disappeared!). I got some nice things from H&M, my favourite clothes shop, and we had a cheeky frozen yogurt to finish the day. By this point I really was drained and had a terrible headache. I was staying at my parent’s house that evening (I haven’t moved in yet) and couldn’t seem to work out if I needed a nap, food or water. I was probably quite dehydrated. I camped out on my parent’s outside furniture with a Starbucks I’d bought on the way over, but also made sure to drink water as well.I text Mike and he said he had a bad headache too. I reckon we both caught a bit of sunstroke, being out in the sun for 2.5 hours. I’d never sunbathe for that long! Even after taking some headache tablets the headache still lingered. The next morning it had thankfully disappeared but god my legs ached. I am definitely not in peak marathon running shape!

That morning I headed to the gym for a bit of strength work and then my dad and me walked to the butchers to get some BBQ meat. We thought it’d be about a mile and a bit but it turned out to be almost 3 miles! And it was really warm. But it was a nice walk, and it helped shake my legs out a bit.

So I finished Monday up with a lovely family BBQ and feeling a little more confident for the marathon…in two weeks!

What did you get up to over the weekend?

Do you ever get headaches after a long run?

What’s your favourite clothes shop?

Rants and Raves #9

Spring is on its way. I can feel it. OK maybe not every day but it is definitely soon(ish…maybe…wishful thinking?) When I come back from the gym in the morning and walk Alfie (about 6.45am) it is LIGHT. It is also light on my commute home. This is progress!

So another week, and another line-up of my rants and raves. This week I really had some genuinely ranty moments. Poor Ben. But let’s start with a positive…

Rave: At work I like to have a mid-afternoon snack (between my lunch and my 4pm apple and banana, not that I’m a creature of habit or anything…). Usually it’s something from my graze box or a handful of pistachio nuts. I ran out of my graze box (I get it every other week) and I wanted something sweet but filling. I saw a pack of these in Tesco so bought them and I’m addicted!

Nakd cocoa crunch They’re basically very similar to the normal nakd bars but they have this added crunch and more protein (5.5g total for 30g and 106 calories) which as a snack is really important to me as I want to be kept full and not reaching for something more afterwards (not that this always works mind you).

Rant: I have the lovely Kelly from my running club to thank for spotting this really infuriating detail of my next 10k race (Eastleigh 10k) I’m doing. Can you spot it?

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The fact that the first 10 men will be award prizes but only the first SIX women. Er…what? I’m sorry but we’re missing four accomplished females here. It’s disgusting that there is still gender bias in races. Is the 7th/8th/9th/10th woman not as good as the equivalent placing man? What message does this give out to aspiring young female athletes? The argument of lack of money or that maybe more men enter the race than women does not work I’m afraid. Lower the number of prizes for men or raise the number for women. I could rant until I’m blue in the face about this one.

Rave: I did the worst possible thing: I let a strange man into my house when I was home alone. He asked all the right questions and spouted all the right things and I led him in – I’m that kinda girl 😉 No seriously, he was from Hello Fresh and his offer just sounded amazing and I was sold. I signed on the dotted line, gave my card details to him and boom I now have a subscription. I hang my head in shame…BUT I’m fully happy with my snap decision. Like I previously said, a proper post is on its way about what it is and what I think. Ben was somewhat surprised though getting in and seeing a strange man in the living room with me!

Rant: I saw a snapshot of The Sweaty Betty London Fashion Week catwalk advert on Facebook as I was scrolling through my time feed the other day and was shocked.

Sweaty Betty Catwalk

Is this representative of the target market buying these workout clothes? Where are their muscles? They barely look healthy. I’m not trying to thin-shame at all – I appreciate that slim people wear workout gear too and that you don’t need bulging muscles to shop at Sweaty Betty or to be healthy. BUT there were no athletic models at all here and just shows mixed messages about their company values. (For the full line-up check it out HERE).

Rave: I love films and I love the buzz around the award season, wondering who will win what. I also enjoy looking at all the beautiful stars dressed to the nines. However (and again we’re going to hit on gender inequality) I despise how most reporters will ask women “who are they wearing?” as one of their main questions. Not “how did you prepare for the role?” or “what was the hardest part of playing this character?” or something related to their actual ability as an actress, rather than the superficial quality of what they’re wearing. However, Reese Witherspoon refused to answer their questions about her dress but said “ask me about my role”.

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She was championing the #askhermore Twitter campaign which is fantastic! Nicely done, Reese. For a funny twist on this check THIS article about how male stars react when asked similar superficial questions on the red carpet.

Rave: I believe it was Maria’s blog where I first saw these amazing marshmallow creations from Marshmallow Deli. As a surprise pressie for Ben for Christmas I bought two different marshmallow flavours. Due to high demand over Christmas we didn’t actually receive them until mid-January, but it was worth the wait.

Marshmallow deli - caramel swirl

I got him Salted Caramel Swirl (right) and Peanut, Choc Chip Caramel (left). Ben really enjoyed them. I tried both and preferred the salted caramel because the peanut one tasted similar to Snickers chocolate bar and I hate Snickers!

Another rave: This little face.

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Just casually waiting at the top of the stairs. What would I do without him?

What are your rants and raves this week?

Do you get annoyed by gender inequality?

What snacks are you enjoying at the moment?

Rants and Raves #8

I’m pretty much back into the normal swing of things again. It’s scary (and sad) how quickly normality and reality submerges you when you get back from being away. It’s like you never went away…

The other parts of my holiday recaps are coming but for now I thought I’d rant and rave for a bit.

Rant: I was driving back from the gym and had BBC Radio 2 (this was about 6.40am) and Chris Evans was reading some texts out. He read one from someone who said “I’m training for London” and Chris Evans was like “what does that mean? Training for the entire of the city? Training to do what? You need to sort your texting out!”. As a runner and a marathon lover obviously I knew exactly what the texter meant. He was training for the London marathon. It just annoyed me that Chris Evans was so oblivious to is and assumed the texter had made a mistake. I suppose as a non-runner you wouldn’t automatically know I guess…but it still irked me.

Rave: I am missing American food big time. I think Ben and me both agreed that if there was a froyo place near to where we lived it would probably become a Friday night and weekend habit. Not good for our bank account, teeth or tummies! I also miss the BBQ food…image

Walking past these at Tesco on my lunch break I couldn’t help but grab them and buy them quickly. BBQ ribs for Friday night! It softens the pain somewhat 😉

Rant: Speaking of American food…

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Obviously we brought back some treats to enjoy at home. The birthday cake M&Ms are my favourite. I dislike plain chocolate M&Ms as I find them too chocolatey, if that makes sense, but I love these. Very moreish though! I don’t like the Harry Potter Bertie Botts Every Flavour Jelly Beans though. Ear wax and vomit flavours?? Noooo thank you!

Rave: New trainers!

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I’m now a big believer in rotating trainers rather than just using one pair all the time. I still love my Brooks trainers but I think I’m always a Mizuno girl at heart. Sooo comfy and just seem to mould well to my feet. These were sent to by Millets to review so that’ll be up next week sometime.

Rant: So much washing. It’s unreal. I do tend to do some hand washing on holiday for my smalls and gym stuff (otherwise they’ll sit in my bag for ages all sweaty and gross) but still the amount of washing needed to be done was ridiculous. That coupled with going to the gym and running and Ben going to the gym and running now…ay ay ay!

Rave: OK strictly speaking this isn’t really a rave, it was just very funny. I’d planned to go to the gym on Wednesday so my alarm was set for 5am. It went off, I got up…and then Ben’s alarm started going off which hugely confused me. He shouldn’t be getting up until 6am. As Ben’s alarm takes a while to wake him up (we’re so different) I nudged him and said “Ben, your alarm is going off??”. He rolled over, turned it off and said “was going to go running…too tired…not a morning person…mrrfff” and went back to sleep.

I got back from the gym about 6.45am to a very quiet and very dark house. I ran upstairs and opened the bedroom to find Ben still asleep. He woke up to the noise, bolted upright in bed and proceeded to reel off a few choice phrases and words I shan’t write here and leapt to the bathroom…he hadn’t re-set his alarm from before! He was 45 minutes late. Yes I’m a bad wife for saying this, but him leaping out of bed half asleep in major panic semi-naked and dishevelled was fairly amusing. Major kudos to him: he got out of the house (with a shower) in under 15 minutes. Oh to be a man…

Rant: I’m really suffering from dry skin on my legs. It started on holiday and I wondered if I was allergic to the hotel linen or water or something, but it’s still bugging me now. We bought some really good moisturiser in the States which is helping to some degree.

IMG_9930Funny name hehe…yes I’m a child

I normally get dry hands during the winter but hand lotion helps…but dry legs? Bit random and very annoying. Finger’s crossed it’ll clear up soon.

Any tips for dry skin?

Do you bring back food from a holiday?

What’s your trainer brand of choice? I like Mizuno, Brooks and Adidas Boosts.

Rants and Raves #5

And we’re mid-week! Hurrah! Can you believe it’s Christmas next week – as in next week? I’m pretty much in the “I love Christmas, it’s my favourite time ever” camp so I’m fairly excited right now. I know some people aren’t as keen on Christmas and it can be quite stressful, but I just really enjoy it – the atmosphere, family time, food (ALL THE FOODS), friends, music, films…I love it. Anyway, on to my rants and raves!

Rave: And on the theme of Christmas… Christmas jumpers! I’m a jumper lover and it really appeals to me on two levels: it’s Christmassy and it’s warm.

IMG_8781 From Matalan

Rant: Ben pretends he doesn’t like Christmas jumpers but I’m convinced there’s an excited little boy in there somewhere…

IMG_8789 From Tesco

I’m sure he loves wearing it really. But anyway, Christmas jumpers are amazing. It’s sad they’re only really socially acceptable around Christmas. And I lost my last jumper as I thoughtfully put it away last year…to an unknown location.

Rave: The gym! OK it is early days but I’m really enjoying the variety. I did (my gym’s version) of body pump, which isn’t the Les Mills one but is a very similar concept, at the weekend. The class worked on muscles that I had long been neglecting: shoulders, back, triceps, biceps, chest…it’s been a while. And my body made me full aware of that the next day as I was hobbling around like a 90 year old woman struggling with simple activities.

I also did a class called Pure Blast. It was 30 minutes of high intensity exercise. Basically you either sprinted on the treadmill or cycled madly on the bike for a set amount of time, then did a series of exercises like squats, burpees, sit ups, lunges, etc. before getting back on the bike. Non-stop for 25 minutes (5 minute cool down – or in my case, collapse on floor). This was followed by a core class which was run by the same monster guy. He did a very similar concept whereby you did a certain core move a set time and then moved quickly on to the next move. After peeling myself off the floor I realised I quite enjoyed it. My body didn’t know what had hit it – there was just so much variety!

Rant: My gym, I won’t lie, is one of the cheaper gyms (PureGym) but works brilliantly for me. It’s open 24 hours a day and has loads of different classes which are perfect for my schedule. It’s also massive so there’s never a chance of not getting a machine or set of weights. However it isn’t glamorous by anyone’s imagination and some people who go there (I am heavily generalising here as I know a lot of nice people who also go there) can be a bit intimidating and, for want of a better word, are a bit “rough” (I fully admit to to being a snob). This was proved as I came out of the gym and was cat-called by a bunch of guys also exiting. Me quickening up to get to my car just heightened their calling. Lovely.

Rave: Alfie. Need I say more?

IMG_8522 Alfie gives me hope that one day when I become a mother (*heart palpitations begin*) I will sink into the role easier than I think. I just love this fur ball more than words – even if he does decide to poo when his walk is 99% over and we’re well and truly past the poo bin.

Rant: OK this is something I’ve been meaning to post about. When Ben went to China (and Hong Kong) he asked me if there was anything I’d like him to bring back. I said some Chinese sweets as I was intrigued what they’d be like. Verdict?

IMG_8546 Not sweet at all. In fact, there were these so-called ginger sweets (actually I have no idea what they were called at all as the description is in another language) which blew my head off! The after burn was ridiculous. I was bitterly disappointed. You live and learn.

Rave: Hey check me out posting not one but two ‘outfit of the day’ photos in one post! I used to do this a while ago but then stopped because…well, I’m actually devoid of any style and my clothes are quite boring. But I was quite proud of this outfit. If you think it looks stupid/ugly, please don’t tell me as I want to continue to live in my fantasy world… 😉

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Jumper from Matalan, skirt very old stolen from sister years ago, socks from River Island, necklace and boots I can’t remember (this is possibly another reason why I don’t post my outfit that often)

I much prefer summer to winter but winter does have the benefit of long boots and layering. And long socks! They were so toasty. Almost typed “tasty” (food is never far from my mind clearly).

Rant: Working from home is amazing. However deciding to “chance” doing an update on my computer in the morning before I started work was not wise.

IMG_8788 I started it at 8.30am and it didn’t finish until 1pm. I kid you not. I felt terrible because obviously I couldn’t do any work. My manager was aware and it had happened to someone else in the office the other day so it wasn’t really an issue. I pottered about doing chores and bits and bobs. I suppose you could say that’s a good thing – but I’m the type of person who when genuinely sick and can’t go to work is convinced they’ll think I’m lying or taking liberties. I hate people thinking I’m dossing about or not doing my job. I got what I needed to do done for the day though so it wasn’t too bad in the end.

Rave: I’ve done my one month free of Kindle Unlimited. I downloaded (for free) and read Thorn Birds (wowza is that an epic love saga or what! Slightly creepy as well) and the The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window (absolutely fantastic – very dry and sarcastic humour but this really appealed to me).

I also downloaded Life of Pi and Great Expectations as audio books and listened to these in the car on the way to and from work. I loved Life of Pi and really recommend it. I chose Great Expectations as I don’t think I’ve read a Charles Dickens before and thought I really probably should. It was over 11 hours long though!

I decided I was going to cancel my Kindle Unlimited account though as I didn’t think £7.99/month was worth it. I do read a lot of books but I usually aim for the cheaper ones and there wasn’t enough audio book selection to keep me interested there. This meant that I had to listen to Great Expectations quite often towards the end of the free month as when you cancel Kindle Unlimited they remove the Unlimited content from your devices. Though I’ve managed to duck this so far by not connecting my Kindle to WiFi (sneaky, sneaky), but for my phone (where I listen to the audio books) this was impossible.

Anyway long story short: I enjoyed Kindle Unlimited but I’d prefer to spend £7.99 a month at Audible where you get a free audio book from a huge selection every month. I did enjoy Great Expectations though – even if Dickens often decided to use 12 words when one would have sufficed.

Do you enjoy reading/listening to audio books? I love getting through twice as many books by using my ‘dead time’ when I’m commuting to listen to something.

Have you ever tried “foreign” sweets before? Generally I’ve had good experiences but I think this is because I’ve always had more “Westernised” sweets.

Are you a Christmas jumper lover or hater?