Get the look: Zooey Deschanel in New Girl.

It's no secret that I love Zooey Deschanel (along with the rest of the population) and I really like her new show, New Girl. Her character, Jess, wears some great clothes albeit a tad short! I particularly like the cream blouse and blue polka dot combo below and don't get me started on how much I love Zooey Deschanel's hair. I definitely wasn't blessed with volume of any description in my hair.

I'm no stylist but I have put together a few things that I like/want to buy inspired by Jess and her wardrobe. This was pretty easy for me as Jess has the ideal style in my eyes; cute prints, short skirts and shorts, printed dresses, pumps, and geeky glasses. I threw a few peter pan collars in for good measure too as I can't resist them myself.

I'm particularly in love with the star print blouse with its double peter pan collar *sigh* and the double collar Dahlia dress with gold buttons which is currently in the sale for £34.50.

I hope you like the things I have picked out. If you've been inspired by Jess and her style let me know what you've picked up!

ASOS mini skirts - red, black, cream.
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What a beautiful day it was for our trip to the city.  My neighbor Carolyn and I and of course Xi Shi Quan left the house around 10:00 am.  Got into the city and parked behind Cafe Du Monde.  Took a brief walk on the levee near the river and took some photos of Xi Shi in her litle pink stroller then headed for the Market place. 

Xi Shi by the Mississippi River near the crescent.

Mississippi River Bridge

Being a Saturday things were really loud and lots of folks in the streets but it was manageable with the stroller.  After a while, Xi Shi started trembling and I realized that the large maintenance trucks in the back streets were really loud and that was frightening her.   I opened her screen to console her and she jumped out and started running through the open air store where we were shopping.  Carolyn caught her just in time and I put her back into her stroller.  Eventually she calmed down but it was a bit much for her.  Frankly, it was too loud for me as well.  Once the trucks left the area it was better.

We didn't go into Cafe Du Monde.  I wasn't sure how we would manage with the doggie stroller so we just went into the French Market instead.

Behind Cafe Du Monde

Joan of Arc flying her flag.

The people of France gave the golden bronze statue of Joan of Arc to the City of New Orleans in 1972.  This statue is an exact copy of the famous 1880 Emmanuel Fremiet equestrian statue of Joan located at Place des Pyramides, Paris.  This statue was originally located in front of the International Trade Mart building but it was moved in 1999 to its present location of the 'Place De France" on Decatur Street in the French Quarter next to the French Market.  The inscription on the pedestal of St. Joan's statue reads as follows:
1412 - 1431
Gift of the People of France

We then entered the market place.  So much to see so little time.  I have perfected my ability to see as many things as possible while shopping.  I call it "speed shopping" and am able to take in mass amounts of murchandise into my eyes at one glance.  A skill many women will understand.

After roaming around the aisles, we both purchased some items and were very pleased with ourselves for the great deals we got.  Carolyn bought a pair of ruby earrings.  I purchased 2 gypsy boho blouses, a dress, and some Nag Champa perfume.  Now it was time to eat.  The market has designated an area for food venders and tables so it was very nice to be able to eat where I could have my doggie with me.

Carolyn and Xi Shi waiting for our food.

So many choices and so many flavors it was hard to make a decision.  I wanted something I could share with Xi Shi so I decided on a Cajun Burger and potatoes.  Something simple with no spicy sauce on the meat.  Carolyn got the same.

Our lunch was delicious.  Those potatoes were outstanding.

We were entertained by 2 musicians playing a banjo and a fiddle.  We were not sitting close to them as I was afraid that the noise would upset Xi Shi.  It was pretty loud in the market with music and talking and street noise.  By this time, Xi Shi had become used to it.... somewhat. 

Colorful lady on Decatur Street.

I was so pleased to see another person with a doggie stroller and stopped her to chat.  Her Schnauzer Poodle mix was just georgeous and friendly. 

After our meal we did a little more walking and enjoyed the perfect weather.  We stopped at a little park and took some photos.

This street entertainer was really good. 
His money basket was full as we all enjoyed his music and tipped him well.

Now it was time to let Xi Shi out of her stroller and stretch her legs so we went back to the levee near the river and let her out on her leash.  She was so happy to be on grass.  Especially this grass because it had so many different doggie smells.  She did her business (both kinds) and walked around trying to get attention from the folks sitting along the levee.  

Huge cruise ship. 
The Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas

Three cruise lines operate out of New Orleans. Carnival Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Royal Caribbean have Caribbean cruises from the Big Easy.

We packed ourselves into my van and paid $15 for our day of parking and headed home.  So that was our day trip to The Crescent City.  Very enjoyable and am planning to do it again real soon. 
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Last week:

  • Lily and Lola got their annual boosters and felt sorry for themselves
  • They found the sunny spot as often as they could
  • Jonathan and I opened yet another box of Christmas chocolates
  • I played with new charms
  • We used our new Cornishware mugs and had plenty of perfect cups of tea
  • I progressed to level 3 of Ripped in 30 and I don't think my body will ever forgive me
  • I watched New Girl a lot
Also, my Grandad passed away last week and I have been very sad indeed. I would like to use my corner of the internet to say Rest in Peace Grandad, and lots of love to my Dad.xx

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New in! (& a 15% off discount code)

Now that I have recovered from the manic December rush I have been able to order new charms, update my shop and set up a discount code for you which you can use from now until the end of this weekend. All you have to do is enter LILYLOVESLOLA15 to get 15% off your entire order (I ship Worldwide too!)

I have added several sets to the shop so now you can buy a set of 3 saving you £1 compared to buying each bracelet individually, plus you save on postage too! "The popular ones" set has proved... popular. You all seem to love those 3 charms and I can't blame you. The tiny wishbone is very cute indeed.

I have also added gold charms as I personally prefer gold to silver. Choose from a gold peace sign, adorable gold buddha or a tiny gold star. I'm very excited about the new gold arrivals that are winging their way to me, I just wish the postman would hurry up!

Hopefully over the next couple of weeks I will be able to add my new charms, different types of thread and also friendship bracelets with clasps so you don't have to worry about tying a knot or a bow. The dark nights mean I have to wait for the weekends to take photos and even them I'm pretty rubbish, but hooray - the evenings are starting to get lighter so I won't have to worry about that for much longer.

I'm also looking for bloggers willing to do a review or perhaps include some of my items in a giveaway so if you fit the bill let me know in the comments. Thanks and happy shopping!

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An amazing blogger contest (& I need your help!)

First of all I want to mention a competition that Sarenza are currently running, the full details of which can be found on their blog.  If you're a blogger and you like shoes (and let's face it, who doesn't!) go have a read through the details and get your entry in. You could be their next ambassador! You've got until 5pm on the 27th January to submit your entry and if you do decide to have a go, please send me the link! I'd love to have a read.

I can honestly say being an ambassador for Sarenza is a true privilege and they are really wonderful to work with. So there's nothing to lose, give it a go!

I decided to step away from the pumps and try something new with my last Sarenza voucher so I browsed the boots for hours on end looking for the perfect pair. The only boots I tend to wear are my beloved Uggs but when I saw the Texas boots by Blowfish I loved them.

They're completely not 'me' at all but I really, really like them. They're slightly tough looking (like I said, not me at all!) but they have an added bit of pretty in the gold buckle detail.

Here's where you come in. I have no idea what to wear them with, and you all know a lot more about clothes than I do. What would you team them with?

Blowfish boots c/o Sarenza

From its headquarters in Malibu, California, Blowfish relays all the trends from the big capital cities. The brand was created in 2006 by the same team who were behind the scenes in labels like Esprit, Sam & Libby, Rocket Dog, Aerosol. Always in perfect harmony with the expectations of the international market, these excellent designers were riding high from the start. Their brand is very diverse, fun and innovative and confidently mixes styles of the season.
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I don't often take part in sale shopping as it's far too stressful and I hate seeing things that I have bought reduced by a significant amount. But I really rate Dorothy Perkins for their sale. Whenever I visit a DP store during sale time things seem to stay fairly neat and tidy (take note River Island!) and there are always really nice things left in my size. 

At DP's I also really like the sizing as it's consistent and I can shop online without worrying about which size to buy.

I recently bought a few things (all in the sale) and thought I'd share some of them with you. My only bugbear with this order is that they emailed me to say my order had been dispatched late and then when my order did arrive the invoice said some items had been cancelled (I assume they were out of stock) but this was the first I had heard of it! Some of the cancelled items were presents, so I was a little bit annoyed. But anywhoo, here's what I did receive:

L: Cobalt blue bow dress
R: Navy/cream dress (I already have the same style of dress in a stone colour and I love it so I had to snap up the blue version with its discount)

L: Grey and white cardigan
R: Boyfriend jeans

I wore the cardigan to work on "dress down" Friday last week and had about 3 or 4 compliments on it before 9am! So that can only be a good sign. Plus it was only £15 which is incredibly cheap for such a thick, long, cosy cardi.

I like wearing dresses and tights for work as they're so much more comfortable than trousers and a shirt, and I try to mix up my work wardrobe a little bit. I find it hard to find dresses that look smart but I think the navy/cream dress is perfect (for my work environment anyway). 

What have you bought online lately? Bought anything from the DP sale?
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Homemade chicken kievs.

Last weekend we decided to have a go at making chicken kievs. We are massive kiev lovers and have tried them from just about everywhere (our favourite are from Asda incase you wondered) so we thought it would be good to have a go at homemade ones. Plus we like to try out new recipes as often as we can.

We used a recipe from the BBC Food website (this one). The good thing about this recipe is that we already had a lot of the ingredients knocking around so we only had to buy a few things, one being chicken breasts. We bought organic, slightly more expensive ones hoping that they would be big and chunky - perfect for stuffing with our kiev mixture. Unfortunately they were a little flat, so if we made them again we would visit a butchers to get chicken breasts perfect for stuffing.

They turned out really well and were extremely tasty! They weren't too difficult to make and you can serve them with pretty much anything you like. We went for diced potatoes in a tomato-ey sauce and asparagus which Jonathan pan-fried in a bit of butter (yes all of those potatoes were for just the two of us...)

Our perfect Saturday tea was topped off with a good film, a cuddle on the sofa, a glass (or two) of Sangria and a huge cream bun. Lovely!

Have you tried a new recipe lately?

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Lily & Lola playing.

You would think that with all of their teddies, toys and balls they would play with those but no, a plastic lid seems much more fun. Silly Mummy buying those dog toys!

Lily & Lola playing. from Victoria Jackson on Vimeo.

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This has been a week of dead batteries. First it was my conversion van. One day it was starting up, the next day it was dead. Replaced for $105.00.

The next day the RV battery under the hood was dead. Replaced it for $169.00.

Then the house batteries would not keep a charge. The panel indicator lights showed that it would go from "charged" to "fair" overnight while parked in my driveway. So I took it to my neighborhood mechanic who checked the batteries and said they were fine. He asked if I had been checking the water levels. I replied that I thought they were sealed batteries which is what he told me a year ago when he checked them. He said no and proceeded to open the water intake area. These batteries were flat on top with no obvious place to put water. The cover to the water was flat on the battery and he had to use his knife to pry it open. I figured they were fried as I had never checked them in a year and a half. He looked inside and said the water level was fine.

So I really didn’t know what to do at that point. The dead motor battery that I had just replaced a day ago was a 2007 so perhaps these batteries are 5 years old as well. I also knew that the control panel lights worked fine and showed the batteries were charged fully when the generator was on, so they were not malfunctioning.  I decided to go ahead and purchase two new batteries, the sealed maintenance kind. He ordered them and today called to say they were in.

Took the RV over and he replaced the house batteries. Once the old ones were out I checked the date and to my surprise they were only a year and a half old. Obviously put in when I purchased the coach in Florida. My stomach started to ache at this point. The new batteries were very expensive at $427.00 including labor. Did I spend all that money for nothing?

The new batteries are sealed maintenance free technology batteries, no leaking even if case is broken, shock and vibration resistant, light weight, and have a long service Life. What’s not to love, right? Once installed I checked my control panel to see if it showed fully charged house batteries and... it did not. It showed "fair" just like it did with the old batteries. My stomach started to hurt even worse.

I paid the bill and returned home and turned the generator on for 30 minutes. The control panel now shows "good" not "charged" as it should. At least it is not showing "fair." Waited 5 hours then checked again and it was holding the "good" status. This is all a mystery to me. Why would it not show fully charged?

If the control panel shows "fair" tomorrow then I tend to believe it is malfunctioning and needs to go to Camping World for repair. All this is coming out of my travel money for my D.C. trip in March. I sure hope I can afford to make that trip. I’m so looking forward to it.

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Miel Makes.

Yvonne, the lovely owner of Jam Jar Beads in Sheffield, has been adding lots of things to her store Miel Makes recently. I spotted this wonderful foldover pouch which I thought would be great for storing some of my threads and needles, but most of all I thought it was incredibly pretty, so I made a purchase!

I'm all for supporting independent crafty folk, and I'm certainly not disappointed with my purchase. It's well made and the fabric is lovely. I really envy those who can make items out of fabric and can sew so neatly. I would love to learn how to make some simple fabric items and perhaps how to use a sewing machine (says the girl who did A-level Textiles, but it's so easily forgotten! Well it was 8 years ago.....)

I will be keeping my eye on Miel Makes and perhaps making another purchase in the future. I know a lot of you who read my blog also like to support fellow crafters so I hope you pop along for a look!

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Monday summary.

It has been a while since I did one of these posts but as I have had a day off today and a hectic morning packing up orders, dashing to the Post Office, walking the dogs, doing my workout and then some housework I thought I would have a sit down and blog my socks off for a little while.

My 5 good things:

1) Our new living room furniture from Next was delivered on Saturday and Jonathan worked like a trouper assembling it (with a little help from me). We bought a few items from the Hartford range as we both love dark wood and we have heard really good things about Next furniture in general. The bookcase is my favourite and is now sat looking rather empty, waiting to be filled with books and trinkets.

Look at the excitement on his face! Like a kid at Christmas.

2) Watching New Girl episodes back to back all Sunday afternoon. I adore Zooey Deschanel as much as the next person and I can't get enough of her new show. I don't often find much worth watching on tv but this is such easy viewing and has lots of laughs. Schmidt is my favourite character and this is one of my favourite clips:

3) Eating amazing (vast quantities) of food all weekend and trying out new recipes. The only problem now is I have to work out even harder this week to counteract the damage!

4) We booked our flights to Vegas! So with accommodation and flights booked bring on the 17 April!

5) Friday night saw Jonathan and I heading to Leeds for a leaving do for somebody at our work. We didn't stay out terribly late as we had to pick L&L up from my parents house but it was nice to be back in Leeds, my hometown. We ate dinner at the Lounge which I used to go to quite a lot with my Mum and Sister for lunch, so it was nice to be back! The food was really, really good. We shared smoked mackerel pate to start, and then I had the burger which was HUGE and came with amazing chunky chips/wedges and a few veggies.

What are your 5 good things at the moment?
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The Artist.

I went to see The Artist at the cinema yesterday with Jonathan. We saw the trailer a few weeks ago when we watched Hugo and I instantly said "we have to go see that!" I was immediately intrigued and excited to see something so different, and I love the 1920s so I knew it would be a visual treat!

Don't be put off by the fact this is a silent movie. You soon forget as the storyline and characters are so captivating. The two main characters are wonderful and really made me feel like I was watching a film straight out of the 20s. It made me laugh lots (and cry quite a bit too), the soundtrack is superb and even Jonathan enjoyed it although he probably hates to admit it.

Go see it!

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Sweetcorn & red pepper soup.

I found a great recipe for soup last week and made a batch to take to work to have for lunch with a bread roll. It tasted so great I didn't actually stop to take any photos but I thought I'd share the recipe all the same.

Making soup for work is a good way to get some of your 5 a day in plus you can't beat a hot dinner on a cold, miserable day.

The recipe I used was based on a Rosemary Conley recipe slightly apapted as shown below (tip: no way on God's Earth does this serve 4 people. It was enough for two servings for me).

Serves: 4 (if you're a family of Borrowers)
Per serving: 50kcal
Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 15 mins

4 small shallots 1 medium onion - finely chopped
1 teaspoon paprika
2 cloves smoked garlic - crushed
2 red peppers - finely diced
1 x 175g can of sweetcorn - drained
Pinch of dried chilli flakes
600ml veg stock
2 teaspoons cornflour I used regular flour as it's all we had
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives

Preheat your wok on a high setting.

Dry fry the shallots/onions in the wok until soft. Sprinkle over the paprika, add the garlic and cook for 1 - 2 mins stirring well.

Add the peppers, sweetcorn and chilli flakes and stir in the stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer for 2 - 3 mins.

Slake the cornflour with a little cold water and add to the soup, stirring well to prevent any lumps forming. Cook for 5 - 6 mins until the soup thickens slightly.

Yum! I would definitely make this again but maybe double the quantities.

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Bauble by Dune.

When I think of Dune shoes it conjurs up thoughts of pretty shoes that are good quality/perhaps even a little pricey for my budget. Now that I own my first pair of Dune shoes I can confirm that they are definitely pretty and, as the pair I picked have now gone into the sale priced at £45.50, they're not so bank-breaking. 

I opted for the Bauble pumps (c/o Sarenza) which are black with a fancy beaded/bobbly detail on the toes in black and silver. They are the style of pumps that slightly fold round when they're not in use which I love, because it means they're a better fit when they're on your tootsies. Nice and snug.

My one criticism though is that these are a size 7, and I'm usually a 6 to 7 depending on the shop/style of shoe, but these are a very small 7. So perhaps Dune's sizing is slightly smaller than I'm used to, but this is not a problem as Sarenza do free returns so I could have easily swapped them for a different size.

You know me, I love my pumps. This pair are no exception. They could easily be dressed up due to the fancy detail on the front, or paired with a plain black outfit to give a little bit of extra sparkle. I would wear them out for dinner with black tights and a dress, which is infact exactly what I'll be doing with them tomorrow evening.

Dune is a global retailer of men's and women's footwear and accessories in the affordable luxury market and considers excellence in design and development to be the foundation of their business. Dune, which is a British brand, started as a single shop in London's chic Kings Street in 1994. Dune is now one of the most influential global players in the fashion footwear market.

What do you think of Dune shoes? Own a pair yourself?
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Back in the swing.

If you've read my blog for a while you will know that I talk about a variety of different things, and one thing I used to talk about quite regularly was fitness/healthy eating. I'm still into those things but I guess a lack of time for blogging means some topics have fallen by the wayside. New Years Resolution = make more time for blogging!

In February of 2011 I did this blog post about my weight loss journey. It amazes me that since that blog post I've gone on to lose a further 5 - 6 lbs without doing anything special or different to my normal routine. A combination of regular exercise, eating a balanced diet (e.g. aiming for 5 portions of fruit/veg a day, not denying myself any treats, plenty of fish/protein, etc) and being happy has meant that the weight has just... well, dropped off I suppose.

I'm happy at my current weight and continue to work to maintain it, but after a Christmas of eating everything in sight I am getting back into the swing of things. You will be seeing a lot more of these types of posts on Lily loves Lola this year. I have had a few emails and tweets from people saying that I have inspired them to lose weight/get fit from reading my blog and that is fantastic. So I endeavour to continue.

I have been using a few different sources to keep focused and they may be of use to you:

BeckyBlog - a great blog and one that introduced me to working out via You Tube, so thank you! I wish I could run as well as Becky can but she certainly inspires me to keep signing up for Race for Life and do my best running a 5k.

Celery and Cupcakes - I really like Jemma's blog. She makes healthy food seem so colourful and exciting which makes me crave those kinds of food. If you like smoothies then Jemma always has one on the go and shares the recipe! After a catch up on Celery and Cupcakes this afternoon I have been craving a Green Monster like mad!

Blogilates on You Tube - I love Cassey. Talk about enthusiastic and a cracking body! Some of the workouts are rather difficult for me as I'm completely inflexible but I still have a good go anyway. There are videos for beginners and some that explain the correct posture/breathing techniques so if you were thinking of doing a pilates class this could be a good starting point for you. I warn you though, you will be sore the day after your first try!

Race for Life - If you want an excuse to get fit/get out of the house/lose some weight/raise money for charity then sign up for a Race for Life event and use it as a goal to aim towards. I ran my first Race for Life rather slow and red faced but that made me want to do better the following year, and that I did! About 10 minutes faster to be precise even in scorching heat and with a crippling stitch at the end! Go me :) The 2012 dates and locations haven't been released yet but keep your eyes peeled, I believe they're coming soon.

Me - post Race for Life 2011

Jillian Michaels - Sorry but I had to sneak Jillian in here. I love her, her DVDs are awesome, her workouts give me quick results and her one liners are brilliant!

And if all of the above fails to get you going then here is my personal favourite motivational picture!

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