Monday, 30 September 2013

Birthday / September favourites - life will have it's ups and downs

I am back in blogland after a somewhat unexpected break of a week and a half (more on that later). Before I share the things I've been loving this September though, here's a small sneak of my birthday weekend !!

Friday saw me turn 32 (I'm 'ok' with being 32 if I can only stop aging now please!) and I was completely spoilt and overwhelmed by the effort everyone went to for me.  Although Megan was unwell and at home with me, we managed lunch, had a houseful of visitors all day and I was joined by my neighbours for a girly evening of Indian food and wine.  I'm planning a post of my birthday gifts as there were some lovely ones, but take a look at the cute My little Pony cropped tee and the silver cake Megan decorated for me! 

September hasn't been too kind, it has seen me split with my partner and find out that my uncle has terminal cancer.  Although I had lots of posts planned I have found myself unable to blog or even read many posts.

Amongst this though I have come out of an awful situation feeling extremely humbled and blessed by the support that I have received.  I have the most wonderful friends, family and neighbours, who have been there for me literally around the clock whether taking me out to eat, sitting with me at Megan's dance studio, redecorating my house or staying up with me all night.  Most importantly, I have the most beautiful daughter and a God that has given me the strength to come through the dark days of the last few weeks.

I'm not wishing for this to be a doom and gloom or sympathy seeking post, I believe that I am on a path and all will reveal itself shortly, but for now I am taking comfort in that my uncle is not in pain and that my life is truly blessed with some amazing people. Amongst the terrible things that are going on in the world we are also surrounded by a whole lot of love. 

Here are my favourite things from September...

comfy and cute outfits. This is sure to be my autumn 'go to'.

My new Paperchase owl travel mug. Now that there is a chill in the air every morning, a cup of tea is essential on the way to work. This travel cup / flask was just too cute to pass over! 

My gorgeous girls starting their new schools. My three year old niece started nursery school at the beginning of the month, she just looks too small! I feel the same about Megan, she started high school and at eleven, in my opinion is far too young. So proud of them both though and how they are settling in.

Since starting high school, Megan is loving her art classes and has spent most evenings creating masterpieces for family. I love this drawing of Wolverine. 

It's hot chocolate time!! That time of year when I really must limit my hot chocolate intake. It really is too tempting some days, especially when you are in desperate need of comfort food.

And last but not least.....

The return of Downton Abbey. For me, nothing signifies the shorter, darker nights than the return of Downton! As soon as that music starts do not disturb me -  Sunday nights between 9-10pm are all mine! I'm already thinking that there should be a book of Mrs Patmore's advice and the Dowager Countess' one liners! It's so hard not to put any spoilers on here for my American friends who are a season behind. 

How do you cope with life's up and downs? Who is your support network? And what is your autumn television of choice?


linking up with LeeannSamiAshley

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Clashing Autumn Prints

Jumper - Next
Shirt - New Look
Skirt - Forever 21 (USA purchase)
Boots - Kurt Geiger
Necklace - Old
Watch - Michael Kors

I'm so excited to be featured over at Dancing with Ashley today as part of her Fall Fashion series.  Ashley's blog was one of the first that I started following and it's a huge privilege to take part.

This outfit is completely different for me.  I love each piece but am generally not one for clashing prints.  They scare me slightly and although my sister can pull them off perfectly I've never wanted to try!  I love the fall colours of this outfit and I have to admit I think the jumper / shirt combo is going to be a favourite this autumn!


linking up with Shanna,  Pleated Poppy, Style Elixir, long distance loving, Penniless Socialite.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Was it really the weekend??

Well, what a weekend. We seem to have gone from driving around with the roof down to hiding from the wind and rain, literally over night.

No, I was not impressed in the least at having to bring out my winter coat yesterday! Typically though, now it's Monday morning the sun is shining again.

It doesn't feel as though I've really had a weekend what with working today, but here's some snapshots of our fun, doi g a spot of shopping, looking after my friends daughter ( we finally saw Planes at the cinema!) and generally goofing around. 

The weekend finished off with a bubble bath, trying out my new No7 Hot Cloth Cleanser and an early night.

I hope you all had a relaxing and fun weekend.

Linking up with Sami and Leeann

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Planning for Paris (some things I'm loving)

I may have gone slightly crazy on the money front this week, but a girl is allowed to every once in a while, right? 

I've booked flights to Paris for Megan and I to visit my dear friend Henri for a weekend next month! Five weeks, so excited :) 

Amongst the items bought on my shopping spree this week was this cropped tea from Urban Outfitters (£28). I love it, it's so me!

There's a bit of a theme running through this post but I loved this conversation with Megan after I booked our flights this came up...

Me: Megan, what would you like to do when we visit Henri?

Megan: Could we please go to the Musee du louvre again?

Me: I'm sure we can. Did you want to look at the paintings?

Megan: Yes please, I'd like to see the Mona Lisa. You know Mum, the one Leonardo DiCaprio painted!

Bless my child!

My skin has been playing up after the heat of Portugal and the changeable weather here in the UK. I swear by No. 7 products and this Thermal Clay Mask didn't let me down. It became a bit hotter than I expected, but the combination of the heat, exfoliator and mask left my skin feeling so fresh, clear and smooth.

All that's left this week is to snuggle up with a cup of tea and some cookies to watch Audrey Hepburn in Paris When it Sizzles and I'll be right in the mood!! 

I hope you've had a good week. What's been your favourite part? 


linking up with Katie

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Big Band Night

Dress - 
Shoes - Peacocks
Bracelet - Charming Charlie
Watch - Michael Kors
Necklace - Avon
Ring - Primark

I wore this outfit to the Big Band Night that was held at my museum a little while back.  It was originally my bridesmaid dress (gifted) from my sisters wedding two years ago (below), but was the perfect dress for my 50s inspired theme.  I received the Charming Charlie bracelet as a gift and the watch was partly paid for by money that I received for my birthday, so on the whole the outfit didn't cost me much at all!

There was of course a big band, lindy hop classes, singing, vintage displays and generally a good night had by all!

I am so lucky to work in the centre of this beautiful city and on the way back to the car took in some of the sights of Cardiff.


Monday, 9 September 2013

One last summer party

Today is one of those days that is a sure sign of the imminent arrival of autumn. The temperature has dropped and the rain is falling but hopefully we will have a few more sunny days before it arrives for good. 

Apart from a few random showers at the weekend, the weather was good to us and we were able to throw my Grandad a party for his 84th birthday. 


Tuesday, 3 September 2013

High school mama - September goals

This morning has seen me burn my arm on my hair straighteners, drop my mascara on my bare toe, put my clothes on back to front, turn the wrong plug on for the iron only to confuse myself for around ten minutes as to why it wasn't hot!  The reason for this state of drippiness? My baby girl started high school this morning and I am worried sick. Has the SENCO really informed ALL of her teachers about her needs?  Will she be able to cope moving from classroom to classroom? How will she keep up with the other children?  It only seems five minutes ago that I was taking her to nursery, aged three for her first day.  Now, eleven seems far too young to be starting high school.  She looks grown up today in her smart new uniform but spent all last night awake, upset and thinking up every possible scenario of what could happen today, as a mum this crushed me. Twenty years ago to the day, I started this school and now she is there.  It is scary how time flies and as I anxiously wait for her to come home it is probably best that I stay away from any sharp or hot objects.

The start of the academic year always feels like the 'new year' to me than the official January 1st.  Although sad to see summer end, the crisp air of September seems to motivate me to set goals for my personal growth for the next year and they seem more achievable than in the gloomy grey skies of January. Although I am taking a break from my post graduate studies until January so that I can settle Megan into high school, I still feel the need to set some goals for the month.

Health and fitness
Health and Fitness Quotes

Although I usually eat well, the end of the summer holidays have seen more treats and less exercise than normal and I am definitely feeling it.  To help me stay organised and on track, I have decided that on the first Tuesday of every month I will post my fitness and menu plan for the month and document my progress from the following month.  As I have written about before, my fitness goals have now changed from being competitive and in perfect shape to keeping me mobile, helping me in day to day activities and to look after my emotional well being.  This is something that I am still getting used to so will be a learning curve but I am determined to get somewhere with it. 

 A new yoga class has started at Megan's dance school on a Tuesday morning, which is perfect for me being on my day off so this is my first goal. 

I am also going to start preparing my lunches for the week on a weekend.  I usually miss lunch on the days I work due to finishing at 1.30 and then having to rush straight home to be there when Megan finishes school.  If I plan them in advance then I can just grab it out of the fridge in the morning and eat it on the bus home.

Career goals
Write down project ideas and arrange meetings so that an action plan can be made to monitor progress. I decided to put all my project goals on hold over the summer holidays to spend time with Megan.  I am now muddled with so much to do and not knowing where to start!  I want to have made clear headway by Christmas and with limited time outside work I  need to know exactly what I should be doing and when to achieve this.


Mirrors used as windows in the basement

Financially, I am finally in the position where I can decorate the house and by furniture that is exactly what I want!  I have so many ideas that I want to put together a mood board this month so that I can start purchasing items and decorating next month. I also need to declutter and I am so looking forward to this and having a nice home by Christmas! 

and finally.....

I want to bake an apple crumble!  I haven't had one in years since I was diagnosed with coeliac disease and I am missing it so bad! I've literally been dreaming about cuddling up on the sofa with a warm, homemade apple crumble with lashings of custard on a cold autumn night!

Do you have any goals for September?  How do you manage to stay on top of everything?