The long awaited item within this large box arrived two days ago yet here it sits unopened in my office.  I'be been really sick with fever and sore throat and not able to be out of bed much of the day. 

However, today I did get the strength to open the box and within a few minutes the bike snapped together.  It's a beauty! 

I was really pleased with the packaging of this item.  It was double boxed and not a dent or a tear on the outside.  The bike itself was well wrapped at vulnerable spots and everything was perfect.

Not very much info or manual with the bike so it took some time to figure out all the new controls I was not familiar with.  I had seen a PDF online for this bike so I knew I could download it when needed.

I inflated the tires, checked the battery which was fully charged and rode it in the hallway.  What a hoot!  Can't wait to take it to the beach.  Tried to pedal it on the carpet while it was in 6th gear just to see how hard it would be without the battery assist and it was really hard.  It has 6 speeds which I know nothing about.  Never had a bike with gears before.  Always rode cruisers.  Looks like I will be using the peddle assist alot.

I dug out my old pet basket, which amazingly enough matches the bike perfectly, and tried to attach it to the back of the bike.  It won't go on the front.  If I attach a bungee cord as well as use the snap on straps I think it will work out fine.  I'll need to carry the charger with me and that is a perfect place.  It will also hold a water bottle and my small ice chest.  It has a stretch-on rain cover.

The seat is set to its lowest position and it is still a bit too high for my comfort but not enough to discourage me.  The seat is also very narrow so not sure how comfortable that will be for me.  Although the specs stated that it weighed only 50 pounds it feels a lot heavier than that.  I may need help getting it into the basement of the RV.

Tomorrow I will take it to the street and give it a good try out.  Can't wait to ride it.  If the weather holds out I'll be going to the Grand Isle State Park next week and really put it to the test.

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Bought a new, larger doggie bed at Petco for Xi Shi and now the little dog can have the smaller one.  Took them for a ride in the RV to see how they would do in the shared seat.

Cha Bu still wanted to get into the bed with Xi Shi.  I had to place her in the smaller bed several times before she got the idea that that was now her bed.  Xi really likes the larger bed and was ready to go... as always.

Nope... you can't fit.

She just can't be still.

Half in... half out...

Can I just keep this one leg in..... ?

OK... I get it.

Some of those beds are really expensive but I found this one for less than $20.00.

Hopefully we will be camping in a week or so.  That will be the big test to see if they will stay in each their own bed while I'm driving. 

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Q&A part 1: being a vegetarian/living with a meat eater.

I have received a few questions about diet and exercise recently so I thought it could be helpful to answer each one in a separate blog post where I can go into a bit more detail. First up... 

Why did you go vegetarian? Does Jonathan eat meat?

I decided to become a vegetarian around the middle of last year. I'm very much into the welfare of animals and I often felt hypocritical buying and eating meat from the supermarket when I knew it probably hadn't come from an animal with a happy life. One day, all of a sudden, I just decided I was going to do it.

I have found it surprisingly easy to cut out meat considering how much meat I ate before, and it has made me try new recipes and new types of food. I also feel like my meals are much healthier and feature a wider range of vegetables.

Yes, Jonathan still eats meat but every now and again he will have the same as me which makes things nice and easy, and gives him a meat-free day.

It's pretty straight forward making slightly different meals. It just involves an extra pan here and there. For example, if I have pasta with veg (garlic, onion, mushrooms, peppers, sometimes courgette) and sauce, then Jonathan has the same but chucks meatballs in his. Or if we have fajitas then I cook his chicken separately with all the peppers and other bits, and make mine with just the veg.

(all images found on or Google images)

If Jonathan has a piece of fish with potatoes and veg then I have the same but swap the fish for Linda McCartney sausages or maybe something from the Quorn range. Also Morrisons do a great vegetarian range in the fridge section.

It was a bit tricky at first but now it is second nature and not much hassle at all. I'm lucky that Jonathan is easy going and really supportive. He used to do all of the cooking but at the moment I do most of it through the week so it's easy for me to keep things separate. On a weekend when we cook together we pick a vegetarian recipe using the BBC Food website or my Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall book (I highly recommend this!) which means we can eat the same thing.

The annoying thing for me is having to check packaging all the time as I have slipped up a few times making assumptions that certain yoghurts or certain biscuits would be vegetarian, before getting home and finding they contain gelatine (I'm looking at you Party Rings!)

Eating out is usually fine. It means I try food that I wouldn't normally have as the options tend to be limited but I always enjoy whatever I choose. However when we went on holiday I was pretty much limited to cheese pizza, side salads or vegetable paella which wore thin after a week.

Will I be a vegetarian forever? It's hard to say. For now though, I'm happy and feel healthy and will carry on as I have been doing!
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I used some wood I already had and some corner brackets I found in my utility drawer and made a passenger seat extension for the doggies.  Painted it white and tomorrow will purchase another pink doggie bed to match the existing one.   It's nothing fancy - very simple design - but will do the trick.  Now my furbabies can share the co-pilot seat next to me when traveling.

Not shown in this photo but I stapled some batting on the edge of the wood so as not to scratch the dash.

Put a pillow till I can buy another doggie bed.

Had to put a small pillow where the seat slants down and laid the wood on top.

Problem solved - for just a few dollars. 

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Took the two girls for a ride in the motorhome to New Orleans today. I found a buyer for my folding bike. Posted on Craig's List and just one hour later had a buyer. Met him half way and he loved the bike. I got what I paid for it and tonight I ordered the electric folding bike I've been wanting for some time. Now I'll be able to pull the little red rolling cart behind carrying the two doggies and I can ride on the beach at Grand Isle and not get into any trouble for breaking rules. Can't wait to see it. It should be here in about 5 days.

It weighs only 51 pounds and is fitted with a 250 w motor. It can travel at the 15 mph road speed limit with maximum speed of 13 mph with motor only. It can go faster with peddle assist. It is capable of a 20 mile range on normal terrain. It has a 24 V and 8AH lithium-ion battery. Cost: $799.

Little Cha Bu is not sure of what to do in a motorhome. She is in constant motion exploring and also wants to be on my lap. I tried to teach her that she is to sit with her sister in the passenger seat as long as we are moving. I have no trouble with Xi Shi as she is well trained for travel and has a 2 year head start on her new sister. But eventually after several tries at getting her up on the seat she stayed and took a nap. Xi Shi does take up most of the room available but maybe I can come up with some kind of solution and widen the area so they can both be comfortable. I'll have to build something that will fit level with the seat and have a brace to the floor. It will be a challenge for me.

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Kindle Fire HD (& a LOT of book reviews).

I was always very "anti-Kindle", thinking they were the beginning of the end for reading and proper books. Then I went on a relaxing/sunbathing holiday for a week only taking hand luggage and two books which I got through in a couple of days.

Being the kind of person who can't sit still for very long I headed to the supermarket to scope out new books and bought a nice thick one (Maeve Binchy's Tara Road = loved it!) and a good old Danielle Steel book called The House on Hope Street which was a good yarn.

I got home and promptly stuck a Kindle at the top of my Christmas list (even though it was September) thinking how handy one would be for holidays and long journeys. If I'd had a Kindle on holiday I could have ditched one of the books I took that I didn't enjoy and picked from a whole host of others.

Being the lucky swine I am my parents surprised me by getting me a Kindle Fire HD! I'm not one for technology and gadgets and I didn't even realise it was a super duper model until my sister told me, but then I got it charging and instantly loved it.

Not only can I hop on to wifi and check my blog comments, Twitter, Facebook, browse the web and use apps such as Rightmove (daily obsession) I can also watch movies, download books, borrow books from the Kindle lending library and shop online. Brilliant!

Now it has to be said that I do go through phases of being obsessed with reading and then it wears off slightly, but since Boxing Day I have read 8 books and am onto my 9th (although a couple of the books were fairly short). Not all of them were on the Kindle, but my new gadget has definitely given me a new love of reading.

Things I like about it for reading:
- I can easily check reviews for the books before paying for them
- I am offered suggestions of books I may like and have found some future reads this way
- it's super light which means no arm ache when reading in bed (something I find with actual books)
- Jonathan can turn off the light and sleep while I read into the early hours
- I have access to the Kindle lending library which has a wide range of books available to borrow
- if I lose track of who a character is there's a way to find out who's who
- and finally, if I don't know what a word means I can press it to get a dictionary definition. I swear I'm smarter already! ;)

* I know I could refer to a dictionary or check reviews online, etc, but it's the ease of use and handiness of these features which I like!

That being said I will still pick up books from my local charity shops and I've got a stack of books that I borrowed from my friend a few months ago that I'm still ploughing through. But for night time reading and saving arm ache I'm definitely a huge Kindle fan now.

Here are the books I've read over the past few weeks. Let me know if you have read any of them!

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared - This was the first book I downloaded onto my Kindle. It was 20p (bargain!) and had rave reviews so I was really looking forward to reading it. There were two themes running through the book; the modern day story and the history of the old man's life from when he was younger to present day. I loved the present day storyline. It was funny and random and I couldn't wait to read on. But I found some of the history bits a tad heavy going and struggled to keep going about 50% of the way through.

In A New York Minute - A super short story! I downloaded this as it was free and had a pretty cover, then read it in about 2 seconds. It was an easy to read feel-good Christmas story so if you like that sort of thing you'll like this.

You Had Me At Hello - LOVED it. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes the "chick lit" genre without the mushiness or sappy characters. It's the only book that has made me laugh out loud over and over again. I'm really looking forward to Mhairi McFarlane's future books and hope they're as funny and well written as this one.

One Perfect Summer - I love Paige Toon books and I have almost made my way through all of her offerings (just one book to go!) I really enjoyed this book, reading it over a short period of time, although the ending left me wanting more and wondering what happened next...

One Perfect Christmas - enter One Perfect Christmas which is a short story follow up to One Perfect Summer. It was very satisfying to read more about the characters in the first book but at £1.99 to download this I felt that as this book was so short it would have been better to include it at the end of the original book. Or make this one into a full length book. Anyway, I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Johnny Be Good - This is another Paige Toon book (I told you I like her books!) I started it last year but couldn't get into it so I put it down and picked up something else, but gave it another go recently. Although I wasn't too keen on the main character I was gripped by the story and found the whole plot really interesting to read. Hearing about what a rock star gets up to makes for an interesting plot! However, I was fuming about the ending. I felt like there was no point to the rest of the book and hoped there was a follow up...

Baby Be Mine - enter Baby Be Mine. I was so happy when I realised that Baby Me Mine was a sequel to Johnny Be Good. As mentioned above, I found the main character a little cold and unlikeable at times but I enjoyed the book, liked the other characters and am glad to have some closure!

The Pollyanna Plan - Talli Roland is an author I hadn't heard of before I spotted some of her books in the Kindle lending library. I downloaded this one for free after checking out the positive reviews for it. The characters (especially the main male character) were really likeable, the story moved at a nice quick pace and the message within the story was a really positive and thought provoking one. I'm going to check out Talli's other books and I hope they're as good as this one!

Phew, this turned out to be a bit of a long blog post. If you made it this far give yourself a pat on the back and leave a comment to let me know what you're reading at the moment!
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Abra-ca-Debora Dutch Pancakes giveaway! (NOW CLOSED)

Fancy getting your hands on a hamper packed full of goodies for Pancake Day? I'm so jealous of this giveaway as the hamper contents sound amazing and I'd personally love to win one. So, read on and find out how you can enter!

The Abra-ca-Debora Pancake Day Hamper is a luxury wicker hamper containing sweet and savory ingredients for a pancake party for 2 people with a retail value of £50. It will include a pack of Original and Sweet Abra-ca-Debora Dutch pancakes, a jar of chutney and a jar of Marmite, Green & Blacks chocolate, maple syrup, golden icing sugar and a lemon.

If you'd like a bit more information on the brand or you want to interact with them, they can be found on Twitter or Facebook.

(please note the contents of the hamper in the giveaway are different to the ones pictured above)

The giveaway is open to subscribers of Lily loves Lola who are UK residents (sorry!) until midnight on Wednesday 23 January 2012. After this date one winner will be drawn at random and that lucky so-and-so will receive the hamper.

To enter please comment on this post to let me know what you normally have on your pancakes, if you have pancakes at all! I normally play it safe and have sugar and lemon. Okay, now my mouth is watering!

Good luck folks!
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Weekend summary (a new hat that hasn't left my head, Pugs, a shabby chic pub & The Hobbit).

You know when you have a really lovely weekend and you want it to go on and on.. well, that's what happened last weekend.

We went to watch The Hobbit on Saturday which was our second attempt after the first time was sold out. Jonathan was really keen to see it and I was kind of on the fence, but I really enjoyed it. It didn't drag on even though it's quite a long film, and I definitely want to watch the next installments when they come out (although I preferred Pitch Perfect! haha).

We cooked an amazing deep-filled homity pie on Saturday night courtesy of The Hairy Bikers then proceeded to stuff our faces until we (almost) exploded. We served it with peas and gravy and it was heavenly!

It was absolutely freezing on Sunday but we wrapped up warm and headed out for a walk near to where we had a booking for Sunday lunch. Being the wally that I am I forgot my gloves so after an hour had passed, and the feeling in my fingers had disappeared, we hotfooted it inside to get a pot of tea (me) and a pint (Jonathan).

The pub we went to houses a mixture of shabby chic furniture, amazing fireplaces and higgledy-piggledy frames on the walls and we love it in there. We'd move in and make it into a house if we could!

My only criticism is that they don't have many vegetarians options on the menu but as it was a Sunday, I opted for the veggie roast. And it was amazing. First of all there was so much food I could only eat 3/4 of it, but you know when it's so good you want to keep going even though you've long since run out of room? And secondly it was really, really good food.

I had a nut/sweet potato tart, honey glazed parsnips, loads of roast spuds, veg, a Yorkshire Pudding and onion gravy. Jonathan got a roast too but with duck as his main, and we shared a serving of cauliflower cheese (it would have been rude not to).

Feeling stuffed and tired after our walk we headed home to watch a dvd under a duvet, making room for some mint Matchmakers because, if you're like us, there's always room for sweet stuff after a big roast dinner :)

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I received the replacement motor for  my sleep number bed that I ordered online and decided to try to install it myself.  How hard could it be?

Started out by removing all of the bedding and then tried to move the half filled mattress away from the wall to get to the hoses.  As the controls were not working I could not deflate the mattress in order to make my job easier.  It seemed impossible to get to the area where the hoses entered the mattress.  However, I tried for about 30 minutes to position myself under the mattress to reach the hoses.  No luck.  I felt like I was wrestling a monster and it was winning.  A video of this would be priceless.

In my frustration I decided to cut the old hoses in order to remove the old motor from the cabinet and give me more space to work.  Well, guess what happened.  The mattress deflated.  Now I could move the matress and reach the hoses.  Duhh.

Then I had to remove 5 clamps that attached the hoses in place on the wall.  This was easy.  The hoses and control wires and electrical wires were taped together and all ran through a sleeve that was attached to the wall all the way up into the cabinet above the bed.  This actually took longer than getting the bed moved.  So after cutting the tape and removing the tube from the wires I was able to pull all of the hoses and wires out of the hole in the cabinet where the motor is placed and discarded the no longer needed controls and hoses.

Now I was able to attach the new air hoses which was very easy as they just snapped into the mattress.  This new motor came with a wireless control that worked for both sides of the bed.  So there were less wires to run back through the sleeve and up into the cabinet.  I replaced the clamps that held the sleeve in place on the wall and then inflated the mattress.

It took a while to inflate but when it was done I was very pleased with the accomplishment.  Now my bed is back to the firmness that I like and it feels great.  The entire job took 2 hours which should have taken only 15 minutes according to the salesman where I purchased the motor.

So... as soon as this wet and cold weather goes away we'll be taking a short trip and I'm looking forward to sleeping on my now firm mattress.

My little Cha Bu Khan had surgery 2 days ago and is doing well.  She did have some discomfort after the procedure and needed an extra shot for pain.  When I brought her home she moaned a few times and looked a little disoriented but soon settled down and slept the rest of the day.  Today she is back to her old self and chasing the cats around the house. 

She is still taking antibiotics for a bladder infection and I no longer am seeing blood in her urine so that is good.  However, she continues to potty on the rugs in my house.  I have puppy pads everywhere but she will walk right past them and go to the rugs.  I have removed the ones she has soiled and today she was outside in our backyard and instead of going on the grass she entered the porch and used a rug. 

Not sure why she has regressed in this potty behavior but will have to keep a close eye on her when she is walking around the house.  We do take a few daily walks outside and she will potty there but she drinks a lot of water and goes more frequently than my other dog.  Once she has healed and her health is back to normal I will expect her to use her puppy pads and may have to use a kennel to retrain her.

The good news is that she is winning the love and affection of the other pets in the house.  Xi Shi Quan will play with her and is more accepting of her now.  The cats are coming around and yesterday all were sleeping on the sofa together.   This makes me very happy. 

My 5 precious babies.

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Bracelet giveaway! £15 / £10 / £5! (NOW CLOSED)

Fancy having £15, £10 or £5 to spend in my bigcartel shop? As it's January and purse strings can be a little bit tight around this time of year I thought I'd open up a giveaway for all of my blog readers.

All you have to do is complete the "rafflecopter" below. For one entry all you need to do is comment on this blog post to let me know if you made any resolutions for 2013 and if so, whether you're keeping them! Then confirm on the widget that you have commented. Easy!

If you'd like extra entries you can follow me on Twitter and all sorts of other things by working your way through the form, but that's up to you :)

I will draw the 3 winners at random after the closing date. Simples!

Good luck xo

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How I lost weight: part 2 (before & after pics).

I recently updated the weight loss tab above as it was out of date considering I have lost a further half a stone since I originally blogged about my weight loss (here). That blog post was more about my tips and advice and hopefully a bit of motivation for anyone out there looking to lose weight. This blog post will go into a bit more detail about when and why I made changes and where I'm at now (with a few old photos thrown in for good measure).

It was tweeting about the updated tab and receiving a whole host of lovely comments that brought me here, writing this. I don't often think of myself as inspiring but I know before I started to lose weight that I was so unhappy and looked everywhere for inspiration, so I figured I should talk about it more. It is quite difficult to talk about some of these things (and to share old photos) so I hope you'll be kind to me in the comments.

The first half of 2010 was super stressful for me. I was trying to get out of a bad relationship but felt trapped and resigned to a discontented life. I had just started a new job in HR, which was all new to me, and I was trying to balance a difficult personal life with staying upbeat and positive in my new busy career.

My weight had been creeping up for a while and 2010 was my heaviest year. I was eating takeaways for dinner several nights a week, skipping breakfast, eating too much junk food and only exercising very occasionally. I didn't feel healthy or happy and I was desperate to make big changes.

To cut a very long story short, the relationship eventually ended in the summer of 2010 and after several difficult weeks of sharing a house with my ex partner we both moved on. I moved back in with my parents but this time I had two little dogs and a whole load of belongings in tow.

During the break up I lost my appetite. I rarely ate breakfast and would often forget to take lunch to work with me. For dinner I would have packet noodles, beans on toast or (my favourite at the time) fish finger sandwiches. I didn't know how to cook and was a pretty rubbish food shopper.

Once I moved back in with my parents I began to eat much better and felt happier in myself. Proper home cooked meals with veg were always on the cards and I started to feel ready to make some positive changes. Although I had started to lose weight the wrong way, I continued to lose weight once I had got my eating back on track and got into the swing of my new routine. I also started to do a bit of exercise, mainly jogging and the 30 Day Shred.

A couple of months later I met Jonathan and he was to become the driving force of motivation for me. Although he has a fast metabolism and can eat whatever he likes, he chooses to eat healthy food, rarely has takeaways and plays sport twice a week as well as visiting the gym most weekdays on his lunch break. Although I had dabbled in exercise before I met him it was only after we started dating that I really got into it.

By this point I had moved out into my own place and most evenings I would go jogging or do a workout DVD and Jonathan taught me how to cook and do my food shopping on a budget to make healthy dinners.

After 6 months of living on my own, my rent lease came to an end and I moved to Rotherham into Jonathan's house (poor Lily and Lola were sick of moving by this point, as was I). I continued with my evening workouts and on a weekend we would play squash together.

In 2010 I weighed around 11 stone 3lbs at my heaviest. Today I weigh 8 stone 12lbs. I'd like to get to 8 stone 10lbs and stay there, and that's my goal for 2013 (my height is 5'5).

I suppose the summary of my story is that whilst I was trapped in an unhappy place I didn't have the inclination to eat well or exercise. I couldn't cook and takeaways were the norm as opposed to being a treat once in a while. Once I got myself to a better place and surrounded myself with better people I had the desire to look after myself, exercise and eat well. I couldn't have lost the weight and kept it off without making some big changes and incorporating them into my everyday life.

I have managed to maintain the same weight for a while now which I'm really pleased with. I do have days and weeks where I overindulge and don't do much exercise so, if that happens, I try to work twice as hard to burn off those extra calories. I do worry about my weight creeping back up to what it was but I know that my lifestyle is so much different now and I am much more motivated.

It was (and is) hard work exercising several times a week and having treats in moderation. Working out is hard. It's sweaty and horrible and most of the time I'd rather not do it, but once I get going I really enjoy it and always feel better afterwards.

Picking up the biscuit tin and only having a couple of biscuits is a test of my willpower and still something I struggle with, often falling off the wagon and eating every sweet thing in sight (yes Christmas, I'm looking at you!)

I hope this has been helpful to some of you (if you made it this far!) and I'll definitely be back soon with more posts about food and exercise. If you have any suggestions or requests then please let me know in the comments section. I'd happily answer any emails too. I do like a good chinwag! :)
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I felt the fear (& did it anyway!): the cinema.

I told you I'd pop something easy on the end of my "fear" list so that I could get the ball rolling. That's exactly what I did this afternoon, well and truly got the ball rolling by heading to the cinema. Alone! I didn't expect to get so many comments on that post but your quotes and kind words really spurred me on. Turns out there are lots of people out there who are just as scared as me to try new things and go to places alone, so look: if I can do it so can you!

I had a free day today so after a mammoth workout and some housework this morning I decided that a treat was in order. I have been dying to see Pitch Perfect and, as a sensitive soul, I knew that my solo cinema trip had to be a feel-good film rather than something that would have me sobbing in my seat. Although, it doesn't really take much to set me off! (I cried at an M&S food advert because the music was beautiful).

The film was awesome (and makes me want singing lessons even more than before - hey I could end up killing two birds with one stone here!) but not only that, I feel a bit more confident for doing something on my own that scared me a little.

As it turns out, lots of people go to the cinema on their own on a weekday afternoon. In fact, the majority of people were on their own including a lady in her 70s and a teenage boy who obviously has a penchant for feel-good singing movies too!

I could fidget away to my heart's content (those chairs are so damn uncomfortable), didn't have to share the Green & Black's chocolate I smuggled in and didn't miss out on something I really wanted to see.

Result! Right, which one to tackle next... :)

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Feel the fear (and do it anyway).

As quotes go, the one up there in the title bar is one of my favourites but it's not something I put into action very often. You see, I miss out on so much and pass up invitations for things I really want to do/try because I have very little confidence and I don't like to do things on my own.

Although I love (and feel comfortable in) my own company and have a whale of a time if Jonathan is ever away on a weekend (sleeping, crafting, watching girly stuff on the telly, reading, baking, blogging, to name a few) I'm not very good at going solo when it comes to activities outside of our home. Thus, this makes it incredibly difficult to try new things and make new friends.

I have been this way for as long as I can remember and I suppose it stems from a mixture of low confidence and being too scared to make a fool out of myself to try anything new. I can ask myself "what's the worst that could happen?" until I'm blue in the face but it doesn't seem to help.

I'm also incredibly scared of criticism so the avoidance of trying something new means I can avoid any potential negativity. Mad I know!

There's an extensive list of things I want to do but haven't tried due to my lack of confidence or reliance on others to keep me company, but I thought detailing the main ones along with some quotes and awesome photos (via may help to give me the boost and inspiration I need. Of course if you have any advice or words of wisdom then the comments box awaits you as does my thanks!

Photography course
I love finding new blogs and when I spot amazing photos on a blog they really draw me in and make me want to scroll through old posts (currently doing it with Love Audrey. From Gem With Love is another fave too!) I have a couple of cameras which are pretty good but taking photos on the "auto" mode isn't going to get me anywhere. I'd love to try a beginners photography course to learn what the dials and buttons actually mean and to improve the photos on my blog.

Singing lessons
There are a small select number of people who have heard me sing (usually accidentally and/or family members) who have told me I have a good voice. I'd love to join a choir but as you know from reading the above, I have no confidence and don't know whether I'd be good enough to join one. This is where the idea of singing lessons comes from. I've even done my research and found a singing teacher who practically lives on the doorstep but nope. I'm too much of a wuss to try it!

Exercise classes
Although I really like working out at home using my DVDs and You Tube, I don't get much variety and this can sometimes lead to a lack of motivation to do my workouts. I know which moves are coming up and how many times I have to do them so I don't always push myself when I've done the same workout 20 times before. There is a workout studio literally a 3 minute walk from our house which does Zumba, Pilates, toning classes, Cheerleading workouts(!) and a few others at various times through the day, evening and weekends so I have zero excuses apart from the fact I can't face turning up on my own.

Book club
I go through phases with reading where all I want to do is read and I get lost in book after book, but overall I try to read as many books as I can. I love the idea of going to a book club to meet new people and talk about books (I even found one that is run from a chocolate shop - how awesome is that?!)

Blog events
When I first started blogging back in 2009 I was so lucky to be invited to great blogging events for huge brands such as The Body Shop, Aussie and Loreal. Although I do think events like those aren't around so much anymore I am occasionally invited to launches and events which sound amazing but I always decline. My excuse of the travel being too far is partly true but there's also the element of not wanting to go alone as I'm shy and would hate to look like a billy-no-mates.

Cinema (for one)
I've thrown this one in as it's the one I could most likely achieve as it's not as scary as the others. I often miss out on films that I want to see as they're not Jonathan's cup of tea and, although I know he'd go with me in a shot, he works very hard and I'd hate to make him sit through an hour and a half of a "chick flick" in his "me time". I think a daytime showing of Pitch Perfect is on the cards for me soon. Ticket for one! ;)
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A year in shoes.

As an ambassador for Sarenza I have been incredibly lucky and received some beautiful shoes and bags, handpicked by me and kindly sent for free, to style and share with you. From ballet pumps and trainers to cosy Ugg boots, slippers and handbags, I have been really lucky. Jonathan has even got in on the action too and struck a pose or two on here.

To read the original blog posts featuring these photos click here: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

Looking back on these photos from the last 12 months has brought back some lovely memories of day trips, birthday outings, catching small glimpses of sun in our garden and preparing for trips abroad. We were lucky to get two holidays last year and my Sarenza shoe and bag purchases accompanied me on both trips.

Looking through these photos also reminded me of the shoes tucked away in my wardrobe ready for (hopefully) the warmer months ahead this year.

One thing I noticed is that I sure do love skinny jeans and a pair of really good pumps! :)

To read the original blog posts featuring these photos lick here: 1 / 2 / 3

There's a big sale going on at the moment with up to 50% off so if you like any of the items I've shared here it's worth seeing if they have gone into the sale. I'm not a big fan of sales but I always browse online for potential bargains to avoid the sharp elbows and crowds in the shops.

My favourite sale spots are these Jeffrey Campbell Starynite shoes, this studded pair of Meline's called Mirwais, the pretty Oaker heels by Ted Baker, and the pretty pink Katie pumps by Ravel.

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It got down into the 30s last night and there will be more of this cold through the next week.  We are really enjoying our fireplace and cuddles on the sofa to watch TV. 

Cha Bu's first fireplace.

Our newest member of the family is adjusting well.  Little Cha Bu Khan does get upset during the night and growls and barks at the door to the bedroom which I keep closed so the cats don't disturb our sleep.  She may hear something but I'm not sure what she is barking at.  Sometimes she barks at the closet which I keep open so she doesn't see herself in the mirror and think it's another dog.  She continues to scratch her ears which I am treating with meds daily.  So this behavior of barking and scratching keeps her up most of the night.  She catches up on her sleep during the day.

She is progressing in her ability to walk while harnessed and on a leash.  She follows her big sister wherever she goes.  She's happy to see other people in the street and is friendly towards them.  She is a little frightened when our friend Prince the American Eskimo dog walks with us.  She trembles so I pick her up and carry her for awhile until she gets used to seeing him.  Prince is Xi Shi's best friend and he is gentle with little dogs.

She is eating well and loves the food I fix for her.  I started mixing a tablespoon of wet food with some kibble and she eats it all up.  I also give her treats that are good for teeth and gums.  The vet said that her breath smells bad due to the kinds of food she had been eating.  Xi Shi had the same problem when I first got her but after a few months on this treat her breath improved.  I also give her treats for bone and joints.

I haven't started training her yet for commands but she picks up things quickly.  She continues to play fetch at night when we are upstairs and away from the cats.  She uses her puppy pads as well.  This is a big relief for me as I was afraid that she would use the carpet in the bedroom.

She learned right off how to jump onto the bed as well as off.  Xi Shi can not do what she does.  She uses the chest in front of the bed as a jumping on point then onto the bed which is very high.  Sometimes she slips but she tries again.  In a way I wish she wouldn't do this because I'm afraid she'll hurt herself.  She's got more spark than Xi Shi and seems more daring.

She's being exposed to so many new things that I can't imagine what she's thinking about all of this.  The next thing coming up for her is her surgery on the 14th.  She'll no longer be a puppy maker.

As soon as the weather gets just a bit warmer we are going to take a trip to the beach at Grand Isle.  Not sure how she'll act in the RV but we'll soon find out.  Ordered a new motor for my Sleep Number bed in the Rv.  It is only 4 years old and has died.  The replacement will be a wireless remote controlled motor at a cost of $77.31.  They are allowing me 70% of my 20 year warranty.  It should be here in 5 to 7 days.  I'm going to try to install it myself.

I spend a lot of time on the computer and she's learning how to have her own space while I work in the office.

All refreshed from her nap.

She is a joy to have in my life.

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