31 December 2010

Goals and Resolutions for 2011

I dont normally make resolutions. Bu this year after I was thinking back at what happened in 2010. It started me thinking about the changes we want to make in 2011, and the things we want to acheive.

So here are my 5 main goals and resolutions for 2011.

#1 :    Take care of myself more
The obvious one of lose weight falls into this catergory. This year I am going to give Slimming World a go. I have tried following Weight Watcters on and off for a few years now, and the weight comes off a bit. then goes back on, then comes off, and I just think a change will do me good.
Keeping up with the gym. setting myself a goal of a  minimum of 3 times a week with this one. as soon as I am there I love it. its just getting my backside there that I can struggle with, but Darren is great at motivating me.
Then generally just treating myself a bit more. The odd massage and facial. generally just treat myself better.

#2 :    Get house decorated
Speaks for itself really. Since the changes in the housing market, and now knowing we shall be staying here for the forseeable future, we have started making our house a home. We did it up a bit when we first moved in but because originally it wasnt a long term plan to stay here we didnt really make it ours.
We have made a start, but in 2011 we'd really love to get the majority of it finished.
I'll share before, during and after pics on there throughout the whole process.

#3 :    Change our lifestyle
This is a hope... and at the moment I dont feel ready to share the details on this one. The first part of it is to have paid back money that we have borrowed (not including mortgage! unless anyone has a get rich quick scheme they would like to share with us!) But after thatI'm keeping my cards close to my chest. Hopefully we'll have the wheels in motion within the first half of the year at the latest. Sorry I cant share more right now, but I need to have some secrets right! ;)

#4 :    Improve my blog and start up an online shop
This has been a dream of mine for a while. I love art, photography, creating. and the time has come to make it an actual goal. I plan on signing up for this blog course online, learn more about how to make the most out of my blog, and more about the blogging community.
I want to get out and take more photos, and creating things people love is just the greatest feeling. I need to gain more confidence in myself and my work. But I want to do something I love and that makes me happy. And 2011 is the year that I am going to make it happen.

#5 :    Get a dog
Haha. random perhaps, but we both really really want fur-babies! and its an important part of the lives that we want to be living. At some point in the next year we want to have at least one addition to the Mann family/household.

They are resolutions/goals that consist of small things and big changes. But they are most importantly all achievable.I have my list saved on my phone for the days I start to wonder what I am doing, and why I am bothering.
Sure there will be ups and downs, if things were easy all the time you'd lose interest and get bored. The work makes the end product all the more worthwhile.

xx   Happy New Year   xx

What are your resolutions, goals and hopes for 2011?

2010... Highlights (image heavy-ish)

The last day of 2010. and I am full of cold and feeling rotten, but ignoring that less than perfect end to the year (though we shall make the most of it, curl up under a blanket with take out, a hot toddy and play monopoly all night) I am going to look back on the highlights of 2010.

Obviously first on my highlights list is our wedding and honeymoon in June.
Best. Day. EVER! (I may have mentioned this before! Haha) my husband was (is) so handsome, everyone smiling, wonderful weather, wonderful company. I can't remember another day when I felt even half as happy, for the whole entire day. Literally almost 24 hrs of total joy. 
 From waking at 5am (ish) with mild butterflies, to finally making it to bed, where we impatiently opened all our cards and gifts at 3.30am :) I enjoyed it all.

Wedding photos all taken by friends which I have then stolen from Facebook! the originals are much better quality of course, but my Netbook is not wanting to play along at the moment! x

Then our honeymoon with the excitement of Vegas, stepping off the plane into 40+ degree heat, flying over and landing in the Grand Canyon, walking the strip, watching the Bellagio fountains and a Cirque du Soleil show.
Followed by the relaxation and bliss of Mexico (one of my favourite places ever) beautiful scenery, so much wildlife, snorkelling, Mayan history, wonderful people and a swim up bar! (Cocktails IN the pool!! OMFG, yes we were drunk by about 10am the first morning!) Heaven. 

My 30th birthday comes in a close second, when my new husband really spoilt me with an overnight stay in London, along with a show (Chicago - which I think he loved as much as me, but more for the outfits than the actual show!) dinner at the ritz and a day at a spa! Bliss!
Dinner at the Ritz was the best meal of the year for sure (no photos, your not allowed to take them in the dining room there!! Meh! Super lush though!)
I had pigeon to start, followed by lamb, and then a strawberry mousse thing to finish. Plus the champagne my boss sent to our table (he was there celebrating his birthday too!) And the petit fours. All absolute perfection.

Other memorable moments, were our break away for Darrens birthday at a lovely B&B opposite Alton Towers, and then the day at Alton Towers too of course.

Our holiday to Malta with Darrens family.

My lovely cousin Laura (whom this year I got back in touch with) getting engaged to her equally lovely bloke John.
And the engagement party that followed, where I may, or may not have fallen over the bin in the kitchen!

Seeing Rammstein live at Birmingham with our good friends Leanne and Ed.

The birth of our other good friends Dave & Sian's 2nd child Oscar, a little brother for Harry.

I am sure there are many more things too, but at this particular moment in time they slip my mind.
Here's hoping 2011 is filled with many more happy memories. And I hope yours are too. x

30 December 2010

Christmas Update

Christmas Eve

On Xmas eve we were going to pick up my new little car (litterally, little. its a Peugeot 107. Bright yellow)Before we left for the garage we decided to treat ourselves to breakfast out at the Hungry Hosse, a little place in Corby. Hidden along a little street behind some shops its a proper little greasy spoon. I havent been for absolutely ages, and the last time Darren went was the morning of our wedding.
They do the best, and biggest breakfasts, and  unlimited tea and coffee refills. We both had 'medium' breakfasts. bacon, sausage, bread, fried bread, eggs, beans, tomatoes, square sausage and a tatty scone. I'd have had a samll, but I really wanted the square sausage and tatty scone! :D

We ate as much as we could, but couldnt finsh them. I could bearly move after eating it all!
On the plus side, We didnt need to eat again all day, and seeing as we spent the rest of the day collecting my car, visiting friends and wrapping last minute presents that was a good thing!
We finally finished up at about 10pm. So we just ate some cheese, pate and crackers and headed up the wooden hill to bed.

Think it may become an Xmas Eve tradition to go to the Hungry Hosse, it was a lovely start to the holidays.

Christmas Day

We had a quiet one this Christmas, Just me and Darren at home. We were up early, part through excitement, part through me wanting to get the huuuuge gammon in the slow cooker!
We were truely spoilt this year, and got so many great gifts. Darrens Mum came over for Christmas breakfast, after she left we played games, ate dinner (quite a sucess if I say so myself!) and generally just chilled out.
I didnt get many photos as I spent the majority of the day in my pyjamas, but here are a few I did take.

Boxing Day

Now was the day after Xmas boxing day or was it not? I didnt think boxing day could fall on a Sunday so technically Monday was boxing day, but I cant be bothered to work it all out properly, so its just boxing day... the Sunday. k. :)
We had family and friends round on boxing day. My Mum, Dad and Sister. Darrens mum, and our friends Leanne and Ed,
Doenst sound like many people right, but then including me and Darren, in our teeny tiny house, we couldnt have fitted more people in if we had tried.
Again, I got rather distracted and really didnt take any photos. infact I think this may be the only one!!

Yep. Darren and Ed pretending to be Walrus's (Walruses, Walrus's... whats the correct plural for Walrus??) using sponge fingers (the ones normally used for making trifle) as tusks.
Me and Leanne. We are lucky lucky gals no?? :D
It was a good day. good fun.
I made a buffet... perhaps I got slightly carried away with the food. more like feeding 80 not 8! But again... no pictures. Doh! and it all looked so lovely, with my new Xmas pudding bowls and 3 tiered stands of sandwhices and nibbles.

After all that we have generally spent the last few days on the sofa/in bed. partly down to illness. partly down to pure bone idle lazyness! :)

The time on the sofa/in bed. has given me chance to pen out a couple of posts though. one looking back on the highlights of 2010. Yeah some crappy stuff happened, but I am just going to focus on the good stuff. And another of resolutions and goals for 2011... that one I am still working on!

Happy Thursday. xx

Blurgh. Good Morning

Darren has already long got up and off to work. I'm awake in bed, with a big ol' headache.
I don't think either of us slept that well. Neither of us feel great, we both have wondrous colds that left us both, honking, and snorting and coughing and snoring most of the night. None of which is conducive to a good nights sleep.

Sod the housework, today I am going to dye my hair, and slather on some soap and glory lovelyness to make myself feel beautiful and glossy. Red nose and snot included!! Heh heh.

A little update on our xmas eve breakfast date, along with xmas day and boxing day shenanigans posts to follow later today too.

Happy Thursday x
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29 December 2010


A little late to be wishing Merry Christmas perhaps. I decided that over the Xmas period I'd take some time off completely. It was lovely.

Darren is back at work today (for the first time in a few weeks, the weather has cleared up so they can get some days in. Its kinda a shame when I am off work, but him being able to work is way more important at the moment. He's been going a bit crazy being stuck at home not working.

I am on the sofa in my PJs (new, lovely blue star covered ones!) food filled and lethargic. I think I have eaten my own body weight in food over the past few days, and to be honest I am now suffering for it. I need vegetables. ones that are not roasted in fat. or fruit thats not surrounded in pastry.
I am going to make some olive bread and spicy tomoto soup for my lunch, and get something veg filled and comforting cooked for dinner for when Darren is home.

I need to pop out and get some Lemsip too as we have both been a bit sniffley. too much relaxing and over indulgence. ;)

I'll post some more over the next couple of days about Xmas I am sure. & we have New years eve to look forward to yet too. We are spending it with our friends Leanne and Ed, going out for Chinese food. yum.

Merry Christmas.

21 December 2010

Pistachio Explosion

This is what happens when you try to crack open a particularly stubborn pistachio with a tape dispenser!
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19 December 2010


Please excuse my lack of posts, its been an odd week or so. And of course the run up to xmas is always a touch on the side of manic!

Last night we went TGI with our friends (one of which has his b-day monday) and then to see Tron legacy at the cinema. Both were most enjoyable :) I had shrimp at TGIs and we took dessert to go. And Tron was wonderfully 80s. Nice to see they kept true to the original.

Now I have to get up and get ready for gym, and a ton of errands that we need to do.
Honestly, staying in bed a eating my left over candy king sweets is what I really want to do!

Will post a sunday snapshot later. Xx
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15 December 2010

Not the best start

Its been a pretty crappy couple of days to be honest.

First the kettle broke on Monday. Not a big deal you may think, but without my morning cup of tea I can get decidedly grouchy.
I resorted to using the coffee machine to heat water, which worked, but didnt give me a steaming hot cuppa. We do have an old kettle we are using at the moment, it slops water everywhere and takes what seems like half an hour to boil. But it does the job.

I *want* this kettle
But at almost £70 we just can't justify it at the moment... its so red and shiny, and it matches the coffee machine, and it makes me feel slightly giddy.

Anyway. Darrens car has also seen its last days. the Head Gasket or some such important part had broken, and the amount it'll cost to fix is just not worth it for the value of the car. So, the plan is to sell it as spares or repair and get a new one.
With Darren not working much because of the weather, so it just being my income for our household we don't exactly have a lot of spare cash to go car shopping. I am sure something will resolve itself. Otherwise I shall just be getting up super early to take him places to get lifts to work. Though how we shall fit all his building kit into my mini is not something we have worked out yet! (even more so, if I go car shopping this weekend and get something smaller! haha)

On the plus side, he does have an interview. HOORAH. Fingers, toes and all other extremities crossed. a regular income over the winter months would be fabulous, and would reduce stress considerably.

And who wants to be stressed over Xmas!?

Speaking of which. It is only 10 days away. My shopping is all done. the groceries are all ordered. presents are almost all wrapped, and we *might* have Xmas eve off work. though its not yet been decided.

Anywhooo, I have decided 2011 is going to be my/our year. I have decided therefore it shall be. ;)

Merry Wednesday. xxx

13 December 2010

Sunday Snapshot & Weekend Update

Sunday Snapshot on a Monday... again!

I have a confession though, Yesterday we were super super lazy, I did not get dressed all day. Just wandered round the house in my PJs. Skank I know. It was so relaxing though and was wonderful to have a complete and utter day off from everything.

We played computer games, watched movies and wrapped presents.

I did weight myself in the morning. and by some miracle I lost 1lb!! Its an Xmas miracle probably. :) still it made me pretty happy. & motivated to keep it up.

So to try and redeem myself I leave you with a kiddy picture of me, from an Xmas many many moons ago. As you can see, I have always been a dab hand with the make up brush.
Happy Monday. xx

11 December 2010

A Countdown

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Xmas Wish List

Seeing as its just 2 weeks until Xmas day. I thought I would share some of the items on my Xmas wish list. Kind of a gift guide I guess, more just a post about the items I am lusting after at the moment.

I am completely and utterly lusting over this camera from UrbanOutfitters. some film to go with it would be nice too. I always gravitate to red coloured things at Xmas time. in all honesty any colour would do, but i'd l.o.v.e to open this beautiful red version xmas morning. £45
I absolutely cannot get black military style capes out of my head at the moment. I love them. This particular one is from Topshop and at £95 is over what we could afford this year, and more than I'd ask anyone to buy me. But if anyone happens to have seen something similar and mucho cheaper elsewhere feel free to let my husband know! ;)
I really could use a mouse for my new netbook. A little wireless one for when I am in the house would be great. and this one is cute and colourful too. and its on sale! £17.49
Another sale item. how wonderfully convenient that I love this jumper from H&M and its half price at just £4.99 I have a lot of striped items of clothing. I dont know why, I just always find myself gravitating towards them when I go shopping. This is lovely, thin knits are so much better for layering, and add less bulk to your frame, always good when your trying to lose weight and look svelte. :)
And finally. A book of dogs in photobooths. Need I say more?
(and just £6.49 hello stocking filler!)

No doubt within around 20 minutes of me posting this all the prices will change! :)
I am now spending the rest of the day sprucing up the house and hopefully doing some more on my crochet scarf

Happy Saturday

9 December 2010

A lesson learnt

1- When making coffee at home, ensure you have enough milk frothed/heated for the amount of coffee you are making.
2- do not over froth the milk.
3- do not give over frothed milk to husband. He will pile all of it on top of his mug!
4- do not look at husband and laugh while pouring 2nd batch of frothed milk into your mug.

Otherwise, this is what your drinks end up looking like!
On the plus side. He has managed to have the coffee without being poorly! :)
Happy Thursday x

8 December 2010


Seriously. I need to sit down and have a little talk with myself.

Because I am *never* going to lose weight and feel good/healthy if I keep eating so much crap!

At the moment I would like to lose at least 31lbs. It was 28lbs, but you see, with all the fat laden, high calorific food I have been eating thats increased to 31lbs. Thats the opposite of what I want. and not only is it having the effect of every time I look in the mirror I am thinking 'urgh' I am generally feeling bloated and lethargic and horrid.

The truth is. Losing weight is hard work. really really hard work! Harder than quitting smoking by miles. When I quit smoking I just stopped. I woke up on the 1st of January 2006 and decided that was it. No more cigarettes for me. and there wasn't (Until on a hen night in September 2006, when at around 3am I shared a cigarette with the hen, it was discusting and I knew from that moment on I would never smoke again)

But, you cant just stop eating. you have to eat. and my problem is that I am really really greedy. I want it all, and I want it now. oops. Its the inner Verucca Salt again!
Also, I like just about everything. There are very few foods I actually dislike. and of course with the weather and feeling rotten my body just wants to store fat and I am craving fatty, greasy, carb heavy food.

But its never going to get any easier, so if I really want to do it, I need to man up and get on with it.

7 December 2010

Yep. That's cold

Here is my car thermometer. Yep. That's says MINUS 7! On the way into work it actually dropped to minus 8, but I was driving so I couldn't take a picture.
I really don't think I should be at work in this weather. It just not sensible! What makes it worse is driving in, everything is just so beautiful.
Everything so white and frosted and delicate. An iced blue sky with streaks of cloud tinged peach with the last remnants of daybreak.
Instead of being at work I should be outside (probably in my snowboard gear to keep myself properly warm) with no one but my husband and my camera.

Hopefully I shall get the chance to do just that this weekend.

Happy Tuesday. x

6 December 2010

I don't normally drink a lot of coffee

But when I do, I like good coffee. I can't drink strong coffee it sends me slightly loopy, but a nice latte or cappucino is always a welcome treat.

Hubby however loves coffee, and drinks it daily. We often pop to our local coffee shop after going to the gym at the weekends, so we decided that we would ask if his family would all pitch together and buy us a nice coffee machine for Xmas this year.

We got it early! hehe.
Mum and Brother popped round yesterday with it. Unfortunately, when we went to try it out yesterday there was something wrong with the machine and it tripped our electrics and blew the fuse in the plug. Which we changed, and it blew another fuse and tripped the electric again.
Darren went with his Mum and changed the machine today, and we have used it this evening when I was home from work to try it out.

Its lush. So lush in fact we had 2 capucinos each. and because I am not used to drinking coffee I have made myself feel rather ill.
We do need some new cups though. we used the spotty ones hubby brought me for my birthday last year (along with a matching teapot, milk jug and toast rack... I do love having a nice breakfast) but they do not fit under the machine properly. I am hoping the large teacup and saucers they do in the same range will be perfect. But for the meantime we shall just make espresso in the mini milk jug and pour it into our normal mugs!

Now we just need a new kitchen to go with our lovely red coffee machine! :D

Happy Monday
Jules x

5 December 2010

Sunday Snapshot

Today is our 6 month wedding anniversary.
Its gone so quickly, but its been brilliant. I never understood people who said it was the best day of your life, but I can see why they say it. Your making a commitment to the one person you love and want to spend the rest of your life with, and celebrating with your family and friends. It was the happiest and most fun day I have experienced in my life so far.
Love you Darren. :) thanks for making me so happy!
Happy Sunday everyone x
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2 December 2010


Thats all that seems to be talked about at the moment.
The country seems to be struggling and coming to some sort of standstill because of the white stuff falling from the sky (though I don't think it falls, if you watch it it actually floats, its very pretty to watch. even prettier if you are at home, indoors, on the new sofa with a hot drink!)
We haven't actually had a great deal here, but the snow and low temperatures are enough to keep Darren from working. its not the best weather to be building walls, they would probably fall down.
So he has been at home finishing decorating and generally trying to get stuff sorted while I come to work. The drive is ok one out of our little estate (which has ice rinks, not roads now!) and until I get onto the industrial estate (again, ice rink not roads) but it has still approximately doubled my journey time.
Its cold in the office too, there is no proper heating, a couple of electric heaters, and certainly nothing as glam as double glazing.

I think I may go shopping and find some new snow boots (the ones I had before broke earlier in the year when it last snowed, so while I could still wear them, they didn't exactly stay on my feet very well because the ties had broken!) if it is supposed to be a bad and snowy winter I shall definitely be requiring some!

On another note, I seem to have gone into hibernation mode and have piled some weight back on. Its not helping me feel very good about myself at the moment thats for sure, so I shall be dragging my lardy arse back to the gym (now I am feeling better) and back to eating healthy.

Happy Thursday
Jules x