When I prepared for my trip to the Texas Gulf Coast in December, I purchased several books which I did not read.  So I brought them along on this trip to the beach.  I enjoy waking in the morning and staying in bed with the dogs to have play time and then make a cup of coffee and go back to bed to read.  I prop up my pillows and have this great picture window view from my bed.

 I love mornings in my motorhome.

Found this great little plastic bed tray at Michaels and it's perfect for a book and cup of coffee.

Walked the dogs after breakfast then headed out on the bike to the beach.  Kept the dogs on leash this time.  Rode about a mile up the beach and then walked them up to the levee and found a dirt road that leads back to the maintenance building of the park.  We returned to the bike and rode back to the campsite and I lounged on the sofa and read some more.  It was a very lazy day for us.  This afternoon I sat outside for awhile but it was too windy and cold so stayed in the rest of the day.  

Met my new neighbor who is camping in a beautiful Pleasure Way van.  We talked about his unpleasant experiences with Road Treks and how he prefers the Pleasure Way Vans.  I told him that I had been planning to trade my Coachmen in on a Pleasure Way and he cautioned me on the lack of space in the Class B vans.  Once he saw my basement and all the stuff I have stored in there he told me I'd really miss that if I got a Class B.   I know he's right about that and I have been having second thoughts about the trade in.  I'll just wait a couple of more years before I decide to do that.  I really enjoy the space I have in this RV and know it would be hard to downsize.

Collapsed my awning this afternoon as the wind will be picking up for the next couple of days.  Had to have help as the latch got stuck and it became a two person job.  So my friendly neighbor came over to help me.  Thanks Ken.

Going to watch some DVDs tonight and play fetch with my little Tzus.

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Flashback Thursday: seeing Zooey Deschanel in the flesh!

Back in 2010, just after dying my blonde locks brown, before I lost a heap of weight and before Jonathan and I had met, I went to London to watch She & Him. I'm a huge fan of their music and have been since I first heard their beautiful, easy-listening sound, so when I heard they were coming to the UK I snapped up some tickets.

They were superb live, and the small venue meant we were super close to the stage. Zooey is absolutely tiny in real life and, of course, very beautiful.

Unfortunately the camera I had back then didn't cope well with their louder songs plus the sound cut out when I zoomed in (#fail) but never mind. I still managed to put together a few video clips and I thought, in the spirit of "Flashback Thursday" which I have seen floating around Instagram and Twitter, I would share the video once more.

I store all of my videos on Vimeo, as You Tube scares the living daylights out of me, so feel free to have a nosy if you're bored!

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Took the electric bike out of the basement this morning and connected the doggie cart to it with no problems encountered.  Put the doggies in it and off we went. It was windy but sunny and a really nice day for enjoying the beach.

Our campsite

Crossing over the levee which is brick was not easy.  The bike could not make it up the high incline without me pedaling really hard.  I was a little disappointed about that.  I got off and walked it over to the top and then rode down on to the beach.

Xi Shi loves riding in her cart but Cha Bu scratched at the screen to get out.  Eventually she relaxed and enjoyed the ride around the beach.

The sand was packed from the recent rain and it was easy to cross over to the water's edge.  Riding along the packed sand near the water was a breeze.  We rode a good ways up the beach and then back to the pier down the beach with no problems.  Then I noticed that the battery was discharged and down to a half charge and realized I had not charged it in over a week.  So back to the campground we went and let it charge for a couple of hours.  

Before heading back I let the dogs off leash so they could run and play.  I trust Xi Shi to return to me when called but that little rascal Cha Bu is not trained for many voice commands and she took off running and never looked back.  I called her and clapped my hands so she could hear me over the loud wind blowing but she kept on going.  I ran after her and just as she was about to climb over the grassy part of the levee I got her to come to me.  Whew!!!  That was a big relief.  She remained on a leash the rest of the time we are out of the camper.

I was filming her thinking she would return to me when called.  Then I realized she was about to go over the levee and into a marshy area.  That's when I stopped filming and started running.

I will put her in training as soon as we get back home.  It's hard to teach her when Xi Shi is nearby as she wants a reward for everything I ask Cha Bu to do so I will take Cha Bu out of the house and train her away from her big sister.

I have to admit that I felt her joy at being able to run as fast as she could and as far as she could for the first time in her life.  If she learns to come when called she will be able to run again on the beach but she'll have to prove herself to me first.

Here she is back on leash and running into the water.

She is fascinated with the waves..

Both having a good time.  Xi Shi is off leash and was easy to handle as she responds well to commands.

Xi Shi goes further and further out each time we come to the beach.

That's a happy Shih Tzu face.

Later this afternoon I returned to the beach alone with my folding chair in the doggie cart and rode around for a while.  Parked and read one of my Coastal Living magazines.  Several folks stopped by to chat and it was a very relaxing time for me.  

The electric bike is a lot of fun and pretty easy to pedal on hard sand.  I did have some difficulty when we hit soft wet sand.  The tires tended to sink a bit and the motor could not get me out so I had to walk it out.  As for the ride on asphalt... a piece of cake.  So, I guess I'll give the bike a rating of 8 on a 1-10 rating scale.  I know there are electric bikes out there that are higher end bikes and would probably be more powerful and able to climb small hills but I wasn't willing to pay $2000 for a bike.  This one will do just fine for what I want it for.  The dogs loved riding in their little red cart.

Came home and had lunch of leftover boiled shrimp then took the dogs for another walk around the campground.  There are about 4 other dogs in the campground and we stopped and visited with all of them.

It was a fun filled day for us all and my babies are asleep next to me now - exhausted.

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We finally made it to the beach.  We've been waiting patiently for the weather to clear up and it finally did today so here we are once again at the Grand Isle State Park.  It is windy and cold but sunny and we're glad to be out camping in our motorhome again.

Cha Bu finally got Xi Shi to switch beds with her on this trip.  Here she is sleeping in the larger bed.

When I checked in at the park office I was informed that the campground has no manager and no ranger.  Nick who had been the manager for the last year has transferred to another state park and the ranger is at the Police Academy.  The worker was very friendly and we had a long conversation about dogs on the beach.  I told her my story and the arrangement I had with Nick and she said that there will be no one to tell me anything during my stay if I take my dogs on the beach.  I was sure glad to hear that.  Although this is temporary, I will be enjoying my stay this week and not have to worry about walking off the park with my dogs in order to enjoy the beach with them.   I purchased the electric bike in order to carry the dogs in their cart to the far side of the park where we were allowed to bring the dogs.  This week I won't have to do that.  However, I will still use the bike to see how well it rides on the beach.

Got to my site and set up then took the dogs for a walk.  This is Cha Bu's first time at the beach and boy does she love it.  She behaved a lot like Xi Shi did when she first walked on the sand and saw the Gulf.

They love smelling seaweed.

The wind is about 20 mph and she seems to love it.

This is when she first realizes that there is water in the distance. 

She went right for it.

She gave it a lick and now knows that it is not very tasty.

We returned to the RV and I later took them for a walk around the campground.  She pulled me in all directions wanting to smell every blade of grass.  So many smells... so little time.

Got back to the coach and boiled the shrimp that I picked up at the dock on the way in.  My friend Pat came over and we enjoyed the shrimp, potatoes, dip, and beer.  He was kind enough to work on my RV today and saved me some money on repairs.  He replaced a couple of screws that came loose on the outside corner molding of the coach.  I'm always so relieved when he can repair things on my RV so I don't have to take it in to a shop.  Thanks again Pat.

The dogs are sleeping next to me on the sofa as I write this.  It's been a great day.  Looking forward to tomorrow when I set up the bike and the doggie carrier.

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Loving lately #2.

I enjoyed writing about what I was loving the other week so here's part two. There have been a few things dragging me down recently so I'm keen to pull myself out of this funk and focus on the positives, of which there are many.

Be sure to tell me what you're "loving lately" in the comments box below or feel free to pinch my ideas!

Writing a diary. I am not usually very good at remembering to write diaries on such a regular basis but I have been writing in my One Line A Day diary for about 3 weeks now and so far, so good! There are only a few lines for each day which I think is nice, as it keeps each entry short and sweet. Also it's kind of perfect for those days where you don't really do an awful lot.

Making pizza. Oh my, Jonathan and I made pizzas at the weekend and they were incredible. We cheated and bought the bases along with some ready made "pizza topping" sauce which was SO much better than passata which we would usually use. I topped mine with red onion, mushrooms, pepper, green chillis, mozzarella and cheddar cheese (oh, and a crumbling of Danish Blue for luck) and it was incredible. Since then I have decided to cut down on my wheat intake but I found some wheat free pizza bases yesterday which I shall be road testing soon!

Getting out of the house. Sounds so simple but I have been spending a lot of time indoors lately and it's nice to have a change of scene from time to time. This also coincides with something else I have been loving lately and that's eating out. Last week we had a little date night to a local Italian restaurant, on Sunday we went to our favourite pub for a roast dinner (veggie option for me) and crumble and custard, and this week we are heading to Sheffield for tapas.

Pampering. I think we often forget to look after ourselves, even if it's just taking half an hour to have a bath or read a magazine without interruptions. I am prone to feeling anxious and stressed out, especially when I try to take on too much at once, and have vowed to take more time out from everything and lock myself away in a bubble bath from time to time. Zoe ("Zoella") did a great video about her pampering routine recently which is worth a watch!

Wildfox clothing. Yes their jumpers and tees are MEGA expensive, to the point where I'm not sure I could cope with venturing out of the house/eating food/going near the general public whilst wearing their clothes, but they sure are pretty. I've got my eye on this and this. And I'd quite like to look like her, thank you please.

Daft cross stitch patterns and finishing old projects. I am currently loving this, this and this. I also recently fished out a half-finished Ghostbusters project from last year and, in a blaze of concentration, focus and copious cups of tea, managed to finish it in one afternoon. It just needs to be ironed and framed, so stay tuned for some better pics very soon!

Charity shop book buying. A couple of minutes away from our house you will find four pretty good charity shops, one of which is always crammed full of books. I have picked up quite a few recently, including Before I Go To Sleep which I just finished and The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets which I just started. Expect some book reviews very soon!

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Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

On Saturday morning we woke up feeling rather optimistic that it wasn't as cold outside as it looked, so we decided to take a trip to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park armed with woolly gloves, hats and a bag full of food.

I have been to YSP once before, probably about 8 or 9 years ago, but as it's not far from us and the sculptures are always changing (not to mention I can't remember what I did 8 or 9 months ago, never mind years!) off we went.

The Pugs sat this one out and stayed at home in their nice warm bed, which was probably a wise move. On the drive up there not only had the temperature dropped by several degrees but it had also started to snow ever so slightly. Lily and Lola are very particular about the weather they will venture out in and I'm not sure their little legs would have made it, as it's a pretty big place.

After about an hour and a half, spotting a fair few sculptures and taking a long walk round the lake, we admitted defeat, mainly due to frozen fingers and snowy faces.

We will be heading back in the warmer months (there's that optimism again!) as it would be a great spot for a picnic and a warmer stroll around the grounds.

The exhibition due to start in Spring of this year looks pretty interesting I must say!

Have you ever visited YSP?

Ugg Australia Dylyn boots and Mellow Yellow handbag c/o Sarenza
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Instagram prints.

I am pretty much obsessed with Instagram. I love the idea of sharing my photos and seeing what my favourite Instagrammers are up to. There is a great community on there and I follow a mixture of people; from crafty folk to beauty bloggers, from health/exercise fanatics to Pug owners, so my feed is an eclectic mix.

I've captured some great moments and taken some terrific snaps of Lily and Lola for my Instagram account, which poses the problem of those moments being stored on my mobile phone and nowhere else. As you may know from my recent posts one of my aims for 2013 is to get lots of old photos printed and make albums to store those photos permanently.

I found Prinstagram not so long ago and subsequently noticed a few bloggers had used the site to get photos printed. They had good things to say about the quality of the prints and the service so I went a bit mad and ordered 3 lots of 24 prints, thinking I may as well make the most of the shipping costs and order a few.

I placed my order on a Thursday evening, late at about 9pm, and my order arrived on either the following Monday or Tuesday morning. How is that for quick service considering the company aren't UK based?!

I am really pleased with the quality of my photos and I will definitely order another few sets of prints in the future.

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Simple cross stitched card (male friendly!)

It is Jonathan's brother in laws birthday today and, as we are big fans of making cards instead of buying them, I stitched and put together a card for him. I really don't like buying cards as there is usually such a poor selection and between Jonathan and I we have a huge stash of card making supplies. He is actually more into making cards than I am, believe it or not.

I had some blank cards and envelopes left over from Christmas so I covered the front in blue card using double sided tape, as I didn't think the brown card would go with my theme.

I picked a small design to cross stitch from a free booklet that came with Cross Stitcher magazine last month. As the recipient likes sailing/boats I picked a very simple two tone sailing boat design, but the booklet had a whole host of other designs to choose from which will definitely come in handy for future cards!

Once that was stitched up I frayed the edges of the aida, backed the piece onto blue felt and stuck the felt to the blue card (all using double sided tape, something I couldn't craft without!) and voila; a simple, easy and quick card which I hope will be well received!

Do you make cards? I do like to make slightly more extravagant cards sometimes but if I'm short on time I really like the idea of a small cross stitched design catered to the interests of the birthday boy/girl!

My friend made a similar card for me for my birthday (thanks for the inspiration Katy!) and I thought it was such a sweet idea.

Are you a fan of homemade cards?

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Pug Life.

What a difference some sunshine makes. Being able to go for a walk with the sun shining and a slight hint of warmth on my skin makes all the difference to my mood. So that's what we did yesterday. We bundled the dogs and ourselves into the car and headed to some woods nearby for a wander.

We got stuck in the mud, saw dozens of other dogs, not to mention a man being pulled along on a bicycle by two huskies, and Lily and Lola had a good sniff around. It's not often Lily and Lola get to explore new places as they can't walk for very far, so they had a great time barking at other dogs and letting mummy carry them over the mud!

Today has been a lazy day, the best kind of day. Although we did go to the cinema this afternoon armed with a secret stash of sweets and biscuits to see Hitchcock, which I really enjoyed. Jonathan hasn't seen Psycho and the film is based around that time of Hitchcock's life so we hope to watch it next week or next weekend. It's one of my favourites!

Also I have consumed so much carb-tastic food, Mini Eggs, biscuits and cups of tea in the past 2 days (no, make that 2 weeks) that I declare tomorrow the start of actually registering what I put in my mouth!

Hope you all had a good one.

It is indeed!
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Navel Gazing by Anne H Putnam.

As I have been getting into reading lately in a big way, when I was offered the opportunity to review a book* I thought "brilliant". I had another book to finish first, but once that was completed I got started on Navel Gazing straight away. 

The subject matter really intrigued me, being about weight loss, gastric band surgery and one woman's perspective on size, shape, finding confidence and dealing with body changes. I have never been obese but I was once slightly overweight (in BMI standards anyway) so I expected the book to be something I would enjoy reading and find interesting and maybe useful too.

I knew it would be a different kind of book to the usual "chick lit" I tend to favour, with it being fact as opposed to fiction, but I didn't really prepare myself for disliking parts of the book and struggling to finish it.

What did I like about the book?

I liked the honest and open account of gastric band surgery, why Anne opted to have the surgery at 17 years old and the process she had to go through. I learnt a lot about why someone would choose to go down that route and what is involved with the surgery as well as the aftercare which affects what you eat and the way you eat for the rest of your life.

I enjoyed the beginning of the book when Anne describes growing up and her relationship with food i.e. having a healthy, dieting mother which meant sneaking treats as opposed to being able to enjoy them openly.

What did I dislike about the book?

The book was repetitive, often describing the same experiences over and over again without going into much detail.

The writer was so full of self loathing for her body that it became really frustrating as a reader. It was relentlessness and repetitive throughout the book so it was difficult to connect with the author.

I felt like there was something missing from the book. I wanted to know more about certain times of Anne's life and, as mentioned above, some areas were repeated which meant the book didn't flow.

I thought the book would be more of a "journey" ending with less self hatred and a bit more positivity.

Would I recommend this book?

If you want to know about gastric band surgery or you're interested in the surgery yourself then there are sections of the book which would be useful to you. If you're looking for an inspirational read then I'd leave this one on the shelf.

* this book was sent to me, for free, to review. As you can see my reviews are always 100% honest!
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Decoupage bunting.

When I shared my latest craft project on Instagram I received some great comments and questions so I thought I would take a few more photos of my bunting in action.

Decoupage is so easy (that's why I like it!) which means it's a craft anyone can do, including kids. It's quick and messy and you get to peel glue off your fingers afterwards. Who doesn't love to do that?!

Decoupage is a way of decorating different surfaces using scraps of paper and glue. The special "Decopatch" papers can be quite expensive which is why I think places like Fired Arts in Sheffield are a great idea as you just need to pay a studio fee, pick your item with one sheet of paper included, then they have boxes of scraps in all colours and sizes that you can use for your project. You can also purchase additional individual sheets if you wish, instead of a whole pack.

I'm sure there would be something similar in your local area if you fancied giving it a go. Fired Arts offer a mixture of pottery painting, decoupage and mosaic making so there's a little bit of something for everyone/all skill levels.

You can cover pretty much anything you like when it comes to decoupage. Before Christmas I covered a pottery bird in red and green scraps of paper to make a festive tree decoration. I recently covered a paper mache 'V' letter in a fun blue/multicoloured hearts design. I also have several wooden chairs in our spare room which are crying out to be covered!

I find it quite therapeutic and much more satisfying than other types of crafting such as cross stitching which is a much slower process. It's also easy so you can have a brew and a good chin-wag while you're doing it.

You can buy shapes and letters from Hobbycraft (although I don't think the selection at my local branch is very good) as well as a multitude of online shops and Ebay. They're pretty cheap and range in size from teeny tiny to humongous.You can also cover pottery items such as decorations, trinket boxes, money boxes and photo frames to name a few.

Happy crafting! If you do give this a go don't blame me for your new found addiction ;)
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Loving lately.

As it's Valentine's Day I thought that instead of declaring my love for my boyfriend (I'm sure by now you all know I think Jonathan is pretty wonderful) and cooing over photos of Lily and Lola, who I also love dearly, I'd tell you what else I'm loving at the moment.

The Sorry Girls on You Tube. Before I found The Sorry Girls I would often watch You Tube videos but would find it hard to find channels with enough of a mixture of the things I like. Well, it seems that amazing DIY videos, home interiors, a cute hedgehog named Harley and two lovely Canadian girls are my cup of tea!

Blogging and blogs. I really love writing a blog and the times I have thought about stopping in the 3 1/2 years I have been writing Lily loves Lola have been few and far between. I'm lucky in that I receive such positive, kind comments and it makes it even more worthwhile knowing that my blog posts can be helpful or even inspirational to others.

In terms of reading blogs I am trying to make more time to comment and find new blogs. I particularly like lifestyle blogs with a mixture of beauty, clothes and day-to-day life stuff but I also like craft blogs and fitness blogs too. A handful of my current favourites are A Rosie Outlook, Love Audrey, junkaholique, The Pampered Sparrow, Trinket Box, the glue gun girl and the tea drinking english rose which was one of the first blogs I ever found and followed many moons ago.

Other things I'm currently loving: my new Primark hoodie / my meerkat / reading / drinking tea out of cute mugs / treating myself to beauty purchases

Making good progress with my resolutions for 2013. One of my goals was to see more of my parents. Since the new year I have seen my parents several times whether it was just popping round for a cup of tea, going out for dinner or sleeping over for a night or two. There's something about staying overnight and having my meals made for me which makes me feel 15 again, and I quite like it.

Another item on my list, and quite a huge task, was getting photos printed. It makes me sad at solely storing photos on the computer or on my phone, and I'd hate to be a Grandma and not have albums of photos to share with my family.

I have spent hours upon hours sifting through photos, deciding which ones to get printed, uploading them to Photo Box, seeking out special offers and discount codes to make it that little bit cheaper, and buying scrapbooks, pens and photo corners ready for some major sticking and note-writing once the photos arrive.

It has been a huge task so far but once it's done it will be worthwhile and something I can continue to do going forward.

Music. I am currently loving the Fun album (especially this), The Lumineers (particularly this song), The Vaccines (all of their stuff but this is my favourite), good old She & Him (this song/video combo will always be the one I adore the most. I don't know how much JGL has to do with that), as well as Doppio Music who I listen to on Sound Cloud.

Reading. My love for reading is still going strong, aided by my Kindle Fire HD but also by the great finds in my local charity shops. I just finished Don't Tell The Groom by Anna Bell as well as a book sent to me for review, which will be published on here shortly.

As it's Valentine's Day and I'm a sucker for anything cute I wanted to share this video and I strongly urge you to watch it. It could melt even the stoniest of hearts!

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Happy Mardi Gras to everyone!  The weather here is awful and I'm not going to the parade today.  It's a good thing I went to a night parade a couple of days ago when the weather was nice. 

I invited a friend Carolyn and her dog Prince to go with us in the RV to the parade.  We parked as close to the street as we could in a shopping center parking lot and had a good view of the parade route.  Opened up the slide and had lots of room for the doggies to play.  I brought a pizza and beer and other snacks and we enjoyed munching down while waiting for the parade.  We were in a well lit area and right next to a Daiquiri Shop.

Carolyn had a friend who was riding in the parade and we waited for her float to arrive and walked to the street so she could get a special throw from her friend.  It was a little chilly and I didn't wear my coat so today I'm having a relapse of my sore throat.  But Carolyn did get a nice necklace and we both caught bags of necklaces thrown our way.  I especially like the rubber footballs that were thrown.  These are great to use for outdoor doggie toys for the back yard.  Carolyn got 2 of those and gave them to me.

It was a great time and I'm glad we attended that night parade because today there is 80% chance of rain.  We'll be staying in and enjoying our fireplace... unless I have to go out to buy more Nyquil ;-)

My Mardi Gras girls.

Those are baby shirts bought at WalMart and unsnapped for the doggies.

My Cha Bu giving me a look and asking why was I holding her back.  She just can't keep still for one minute.

Prince and Carolyn

Heating up the pizza.

Photos I don't want my doctor to see... ;-) 

Pizza and beer... my favorite foods.

Prince getting into the Mardi Gras spirit wearing my feather boa.

This is how it looked when we left the coach to go to the street.  I was surprised that Cha Bu climbed up onto the dashboard.

We were in an area that was roped off so not many folks in front of us... however, the street was crowded. 

My favorite float... featuring Andrew Jackson and the Battle of New Orleans.

Here are our darlings patiently waiting for our return.

That's Cha Bu sitting on her front seat bed and Prince on the sofa.

They were very well behaved and we all enjoyed the night out.

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