New in! (& a 10% off discount code)

I've added a few new things to both of my shops over the past week or so and I thought it was time for an update on my blog. If you're on Etsy be sure to let me know your username and I'll have a nosy :) I could literally spend hours (and sometimes I do!) looking at handmade goodies on there and I have bought all manner of things from various sellers. It's fab!

There are so many things I want to make, and I have supplies arriving all the time (poor postman), it's just finding the daylight to photograph them. If only I could give up work and make jewellery all day I'd be a happy bunny. Talking of bunnies...

Delicate gold heart bracelet - I'm in love with this bracelet. It is so delicate and dainty. I have kept one for myself and popped one in my Etsy shop. I have enough to make a couple more but if there is the interest I'll get my supplies fully stocked.

And a few other things too...

Happy shopping! (Psst.. get 10% off your entire order for the next 24 hours using code LILYLOVESLOLA10 at the checkout).
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Thackray Medical Museum - Leeds.

If you're from West Yorkshire you're probably familiar with Thackray Medical Museum and most likely you went there on a school trip at some point. When I was younger I went with school and with friends, and my Mum and I used to go together too. We would get the bus into the centre of Leeds and then walk across to the museum. I love this place!

Jonathan and I have had a few days off work so we decided to visit on Friday. It's fair to say I was pretty excited! I'm a massive geek when it comes to stuff like this, and my love for Thackray is on a par with Eden Camp.

The first bit scared me so much as a youngster and not much has changed. You step back in time to 1842 and work your way round streets, shops and houses from that era complete with the sights and smells from that time. It's absolutely mad how poor living conditions were and how low your chances of living a long/healthy life were, or even surviving past your 1st birthday!

At the start you pick a character and at the end you see if they survived their ailments. I picked wisely with my character living to the ripe old age of 70-something. Jonathan didn't fair so well. He got diphtheria and died aged 11! :(

The rest of the museum is full of medical instruments, medicines, machines, facts, hands-on activities and even a film of someone's leg being sawn off if that floats your boat. I even tried on an empathy belly and boy, that thing was heavy!

We spent a couple of hours there but could have easily spent much longer had we read everything along the way. There's so much information to take in and it's really fascinating to see how things were back in the day. Some of the treatments prescribed to people were mad!

If you live nearby and haven't visited it's definitely worth a trip. It was fairly quiet when we visited, with it being a week day. There were a couple of schools there (some cute little ones, and some not so cute older kids) and a few other couples but apart from that we had most sections to ourselves.

For £7.00 each we have a ticket valid for 1 year and with parking at just £1 I'd say it's a bargain of a day out. Plus you may learn a thing or two!

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Legally Blonde: The Musical (& my new clutch bag!)

Last Friday my friend Katy and I went to watch Legally Blonde: The Musical at The Lyceum Theatre in Sheffield. It was a late birthday celebration for me but we booked the tickets so long ago we almost forgot we had them!

It was a great show with the part of Elle being played by the understudy who (with a blonde wig on) looked just like Reese Witherspoon. Ray Quinn and Les Dennis were the familiar faces but the whole cast were great. It was rather cheesy and some songs weren't as catchy as others, but the main songs made up for it. I have even caught Jonathan singing one of the songs that I haven't been able to get out of my head, and he didn't even go!

I have been looking for a new smart/'going out' bag for a while. One big enough to hold all of the essentials but not too big. And I'm partial to a clutch bag. So, when the Freestyle big clutch by Friis & Company caught my eye I popped it in my basket with my latest ambassador code on Sarenza and it arrived just in time to accompany me to the theatre.

Clutch bag c/o Sarenza

I really do love it. It is leather so it smells amazing, will last for ages and as it's black no doubt it will go with everything, both smart and casual. There's absolutely loads of room inside for the array of items I like to carry round with me.

Have you seen Legally Blonde: The Musical? Thoughts?

Do you carry your life around in your handbag like me?

Have a great weekend everyone!
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Took 3 of my neighbors and 2 dogs to the Mardi Gras parade in my RV.  Houma has the second largest Mardi Gras after New Orleans. 

We each brought wine and snacks and were lucky to find a parking place real close to the parade route.  Opened the slide and turned the generator on as it was hot and we needed A/C.
Evelyn and Maya

Roberto and Xi Shi

Evelyn and Maya
I made the Hippie shirt she is wearing.

Getting lots of kisses from Xi

Took a few photos of the parade but the sky was overcast so none were coming out as pretty as I wanted.  The floats were decorated with bright colors and the riders were in mask and costume.  Everyone seemed to be having a good time.

Some folks have been parked along the parade since yesterday in order to have a good spot for watching.  They set up bar-b-cue pits and chairs and enjoy themselves until it's time for the parade to start. 

There were several marching bands and the music from the floats was very loud so Xi Shi did not want to walk closer to the action. 

Carolyn and Xi Shi

After awhile we all stayed inside and watched through the windows of the RV.

When the parade was over, we rode around trying to find some bar-b-que but lots of places were closed for this holiday so we came home.  I had a good time and really enjoyed having company with me in the RV.  We're already planning next year's agenda.
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Monday Summary.

I always start these off the same way - "it has been ages since I did one of these!" It's not that I haven't had good things going on, but more like a distinct lack of time. Between working full time, making/selling jewellery part time, 2 Pugs, a boyfriend, work outs, seeing friends and seeing family there isn't much time for blogging at the moment *sob* But I am determined to make time for you lovely lot.

Wise words (source)

My 5 good things:

1) My Sister and I may finally have found me a bridesmaid dress! The one we really wanted sold out everywhere and every time we thought we had found one in my size it slipped from our grasp. It wasn't meant to be, but that's fine because we found another beautiful dress which fits me like a glove! Now I just need to find inspiration for hairdos and makeup, book a contact lens assessment and get rid of my pasty Winter skin then I'm almost ready! Vegas here we come!

2) We had a lovely Valentine's Day in our household completely avoiding the day itself and definitely avoiding venturing out, and instead the Saturday before we had a lovely evening in. I got home from seeing my friend in the afternoon to this and I just had to run back downstairs to film it for keeps:

Valentine's surprise. from Victoria Jackson on Vimeo.

I was so overwhelmed! I found Jonathan in a room upstairs holding some roses. Then he cooked dinner which consisted of goats cheese and pear bruschetta which was heavenly, followed by homemade salmon and crab fishcakes with asparagus and new potatoes (followed by some of my homemade rocky road for afters). He really is a keeper! Oh, and he also made pomegranate vodka cocktails from scratch, the clever so-and-so.

3) Suits. Have any of you been watching this? We needed a new series to follow after watching and finishing all EIGHT series of '24' over the past few months and Suits is brilliant. Very different to '24' but brilliant nonetheless.

4) Making jewellery. I have had a bit of a shuffle round recently and decided, for now, to keep my bigcartel store for friendship bracelets and use my Etsy store for the other kind of jewellery that I make. It makes things easier for me, avoids duplicating everything and keeps costs down, and I enjoy using Etsy as there's a great community on there. If you have an Etsy account (or shop) do leave a comment to let me know what your username is and I'll be sure to pop on by.

5) My new workout: Davina - Ultimate Target. I love it! I come home from work and actually want to work out. This may be due to the honeymoon phase in that the moves are still fresh and new and I can't get bored of it yet but we shall see. I may add one or two other Davina dvds to my collection to mix things up a bit. (Proper review of this coming soon!)

What are your 5 good things?
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I would like to save my observations and opinions on the Louisiana State Parks until I have visited all of them, however I will say this.  I have noticed that some parks seem to have placed their RV campgrounds away from any views that would enhance a visitor's stay.  It's almost as if the sites were placed as an after thought.  "Oh, here is a good place to add RV sites... way back here at the very end of the campground."  If you want to see anything you'll have to walk miles or ride a bike as some campgrounds have trails not streets that lead to areas of interest.

Other parks have given RV sites their primary attention and placed them next to great views showing off the beauty of their park.   Of course, these are my favorites.

My rating system is geared for my particular tastes but I'm sure RVers will agree that parking your recreational vehicle in a site that allows for fantastic views ranks high on your list.  My next preference was for space between sites.  I don't want to be so close to my neighbor that I feel like I'm in a mobile home park with 10 feet between me and the next RV.  Some of these parks consist of hundreds and hundreds of acres so why not use the space wisely.  My next concern is how level the site is.  I don't care if it is on grass, or gravel, or asphalt as long as it is high and level.

Personally, I don't care what the bath house looks like or how many washers and dryers there are available or if there is a swimming pool or a sauna or a playground for kids.  I purchased an RV with a bathroom and shower and I use them.  The dump station is our friend.  I'm a part-time traveler so I don't need a laundry room.  If and when I do take an extended trip I will be using a laundry room.  However, if need be I can wash by hand in the sink.

I was told by a park ranger that the further north I travel in the state the less crowded the State Parks will be.   On this trip I experienced both extremes.  Out of the 6 parks I visited, one park had only a few sites available and another was almost empty.  You would think that traveling in February they would all be almost empty.

I pushed myself on this trip in order to visit all these parks in such a short period of time but I considered it a recon mission for future visits.  I'll take my time on the next leg of this adventure.

Check out my route map and cost of trip at the bottom of the page.

I know I've said this before but it bears repeating.  It's so good to be back home.

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Mini egg Rocky Road.

I adore Rocky Road. What's not to love about it. You can whip some up in minutes, there's no baking involved and after a short blast in the fridge it's ready to eat. I've made quite a few batches now and at first I stuck rigidly to recipes which always turned out okay but never perfect. So as a little treat for Jonathan, and because he loves mini eggs so much (see my mini egg cupcakes and cookies here) I thought I'd make a batch of mini egg rocky road. I didn't use a recipe at all, just a little imagination.

Previous recipes I have used included butter, sugar, golden syrup and other such additions to the melted chocolate mix. I decided to omit these things as I find the butter stops the mixture from setting to a chocolate bar consistency, and lets face it - it doesn't need any more sugar!

I used:

3 bars of Sainsbury's own milk chocolate
Fudge bars
Biscuits (I used hobnobs but any will do!)
Mini eggs

I melted the chocolate in a bowl resting on a pan of boiling water and whilst that was slowly melting I chopped up my goodies. Once the chocolate was fully melted I slowly added my bits and pieces (apart from the mini eggs) until I had enough in there. Don't overload your mixture too soon otherwise your rocky road may end up a bit too rocky.

I transferred my mixture onto some greaseproof paper in a bowl and then pushed mini eggs into the mixture so that they were visible. After a few hours in the fridge they were good to go! I cut them into bitesize pieces and then we proceeded to eat them all within 24 hours. Yum!

What do you put in yours?
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Well we made it safely through the night at Bogue Chitto State Park.  It rained pretty hard and steady all night but I kept looking out the window to see if the water was rising and it looked fine.  Got an early start this morning because I wanted to ride around the park to see it all.  Sure glad I did.  I found another site I really liked (#122) and it's a bit closer to not only the RV Beach area but the Day Use Beach which was nice.

Site #122

Path to the beach.


Arrived at St. Bernard State Park around 2:00 pm and the drive there was again another nightmare.  The first time I tried to get to this park I had to deal with a small river ferry.  This time I had to drive on very busy and very small and very congested and very unsafe city streets.  Driving in New Orleans is the pitts.  Things were falling off my walls, dishes were clanging, the dog looked upset at all the noise the coach was making and I almost turned around and went home instead.  No park is worth going through all that.  But I set my mind on visiting these 6 parks and by golly I was going to do it.

I made a brief stop at the Chalmette Battlefield where the Battle of New Orleans was fought in 1814.  Took a few photos from inside the coach and headed out.

I tried to drive into the Chalmette National Cemetery but the gate was too small for the RV so I headed down the road to the park.

Nice stretch near an old plantation.
Got to the park and the gate attendant informed me that I could only stay one night as they would be booked tomorrow due to the Mardi Gras season.  That's all I wanted anyway so I took site #14 near a lagoon.

Peace Rock

Check out the Camp Host.

Well, that's our last park for this trip.  I thought I'd be gone at least 2 weeks on this trip but it will be 10 days tomorrow.  I think if the weather had been nicer I'd have stayed a little longer in a couple of parks.  My itenerary for my next trip will allow me to stay a week in some parks I deem worthy.

I have a lot to do when I get home in preparation for my next trip when we visit the rest of the 14 State Parks in Louisiana.  Not sure if I'll have enough time to do everything and still leave on March 1st.  I may have to wait another week before leaving.
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Last night here in Bogue Chitto was really freaky.  Since I'm here virtually alone in one half of the park, I felt a little creeped out by it all.  It was soooo dark I could barely see where to walk the dog.  I put on my porch light and my flood light in the back of my coach and that helped.  However, even Xi Shi felt the eeriness
and refused to walk around the site.  She'd just stop and look at me then I'd say let's go and she'd walk a little ways and then stop and look around.  At one point we heard a noise in the woods and she started barking.  I calmed her down and waited for her to potty but she never did so we went back inside.  The ranger rode by our road a few times up until around 9:00pm and then we were on our own.  There was an alligator croaking right by our deck.  When I'd go to look it would stop.

Slept well and woke about 7:00.  Took the dog for a walk around the pond and took more photos of our campsite from across the water.  It was really foggy this morning so the photos are not as nice as they could have been if it were sunny.  I did return this afternoon when the sun came out for about an hour and took a few more shots.

This is a nice site right across the pond from me.

Even the bathhouse has a deck.

I made it to the Bogue Chitto River and RV Beach area.  Xi Shi went wild when she saw the sand.  She started running ahead of me and you could see her happiness as she ran down the paths to the river.  When she got there it was a little disappointing because the water is about 10 feet below the sand we were standing on.  She just stood there and looked at it for a minute then turned around and ran some more in the sand.

Beach access bridge.

Bogue Chitto River

I checked out site 119 which the ranger had recommended and it's just perfect for me.  There is sand all around it instead of rock which hurt little doggie feet.  I would stay in #119 next time.  There is also #121 which faces a winding creek which I like.  It also has sand.   We headed back to our site as it started to drizzle. 

Love this site.  Notice my nearest neighbor who also has his very own pond.

This site has no deck but a creek running behind it.

Took a nap and later sat out on the deck and chilled.  The park rangers stopped by to inform me that there is a chance of flash flooding tonight with a line of thunderstorms coming our way.  They said I could stay or move up to the highlands.  They were pretty sure I wouldn't flood tonight but if I felt I should move during the night to go ahead and let them know in the morning.

While they were here we saw a baby alligator swimming right in front of my deck.  Then off to the right were two deer running in the road.  The rangers stated that it was their way of reacting to bad weather coming.

After they left I unhooked the water but left the electric plugged in.  It's easier to unhook if I need to in a hurry.  I'll stay where I am for now.  If I have to move during the night I will.  I plan on leaving early in the morning and head for home.

Alligator about 3 or 4 feet long.

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