The name Eostra, a goddess of spring and fertility, was honored with feasts during the month of April.  It’s from her that the holiday of Easter takes its name.  One of Eostre’s symbols was the rabbit, because of the animal’s well-known fertility.

Rabbits were seen as a good omen of growth, rebirth, abundance, new beginnings and good fortune. Of course, these are all concepts closely tied to Springtime and the celebration of Easter.

Between Christmas trees and the Easter Bunny, we owe a lot to the German immigrants who brought their holiday traditions with them when they came to America. In the 1700s, Germans first imported the concept of Osterhase (the German name for the Easter Bunny) to Pennsylvania. The children’s custom of making nests for the Easter Bunny to fill with colored eggs eventually spread around the country. Over time, Americans replaced the nests with Easter baskets and chocolate treats were added to the mix.

While Easter is now primarily observed as a religious holiday and the secular customs of the Easter bunny are generally thought of as wholly separate from Christian beliefs, the histories of the religious and the secular aspects of Easter are more entwined than you may think.  Early Christians celebrated Passover at this time of year.

It was when they tried to convert the pagan Germans, who were reluctant to abandon the customs of Eostre’s feast, that Christians chose to adapt those customs to their own beliefs, thus creating the modern Easter and uniting Jesus with the Bunny.

So from me to you... Happy Springtime!!

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Hair talk: featuring Mollie King (The Saturdays) and Nicole Richie.

There are no two ways about it, my hair feels like a mess at the moment. Since dying my highlighted blonde locks back to my natural(ish) colour in 2010, after being a blondie for 6years, I haven't done much to my hair and it has left me feeling a bit drab and in need of a boost/change.

At first I enjoyed the amount of money I saved as well as the improvement in the condition of my hair which meant less visits the hairdresser for a haircut (something that fills me with dread), but now I'm ready to feel pretty again!

First things first, I am fairly certain I'm going to have a chunk of hair cut off. I do love having long hair but I think sometimes it's more of a "security blanket" feeling rather than it actually looking nice. I can't achieve any volume (and lord knows I have tried using every product under the sun) and my ends aren't thick enough to give me a full, bouncy-looking mane.

Initially I thought that a couple of inches off would be brave enough to start with but, having previously had my hair in every colour and style under the sun, I'm kind of thinking of going the whole hog and having it cut quite a bit shorter. I really like Mollie King's hair (from The Saturdays) as it looks lovely whether it's straight or styled into waves. Hopefully losing some length and having a really good cut would mean I could achieve a bit more body and it would make drying/styling my hair a lot easier.

There is a part of me shouting "noooo don't do it!" but it's only hair right? It grows back! My hair grows like weeds, which is why it's so long now, so it wouldn't be the end of the world if I wasn't 100% happy with it (I lie.. it definitely would be).

I think Mollie's hair looks particularly lovely because it's a great colour which leads me nicely onto my next topic...

I want to change my colour!

When I was blonde I always used Nicole Richie's blonde hair as a reference (usually the picture) and I loved it. I had a blonde short "pob" like Frankie from the Saturdays, which then grew into a bob which I sometimes curled like Nicole below. I dabbled in extensions at one point and experimented with a full fringe and side fringes too. Yes it was a bit of a pain having to go to the hairdressers every 5 weeks but I felt pretty and was usually happy with my hair, the colour especially.

Unfortunately my old hairdresser is winging her way round Australia at the moment but I have a consultation booked in next week with a really good hairdresser in Leeds (who will cost an arm and a leg but if I'm going to do it, I'm going to do it properly!)

I'm not sure what they'll think of my colour plans as, now that I have brown hair again, a lot of people can't imagine me being blonde. But most people who knew me as blonde aren't too keen on my brunette hair (Mum, I'm looking at you!) so all I can do is go armed with photos and see what happens.

My back up photo is this lovely Wildfox model who actually has the Mollie King hair cut going on, as well as a colour which would, I assume, be easier to achieve on my hair and look more natural too.

Help guys! What do you think - go for the chop? Change the colour? Did you read my blog when I was blonde? Is it time to let the blonde go and go for a more natural colour like the one above? I need your advice!

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Fancie by night, Sheffield.

If you read my blog or follow me on Twitter you'll know I love the Fancie shops and eating a cupcake-shaped treat every once in a while. I have visited the shop on Sharrowvale Road a couple of times, and have been for lunch at the new "grown up" Fancie shop on Eccleshall Road which opened recently. I had the veggie breakfast with a huge mug of tea and it was delicious. When I heard that this particular shop would be opening on an evening my friend and I vowed to go back to sample some of the grub.

Last Saturday our party of 4 braved the snow and drove to Sheffield. Fancie had called my friend earlier in the day to check whether we were still able to make it and, not letting a bit of snow put us off the promise of amazing food, we said "yes".

The venue

If you've been to the Fancie at Meadowhall or the shop on Sharrowvale Road you will be familiar with the pink colour scheme and the chintzy mismatched nature of the chairs, tables and crockery. The new shop on Ecclesall Road is much more grown up. Think exposed brick walls, shabby chic touches, mismatching sofas and tables, bench seating and amazing wooden stools like you had in Science lessons at school. It is definitely my cup of tea in terms of the style and feel of the place.

It was quiet when we arrived at 7pm, probably due to the weather, which meant we were seated at our table straight away and received attentive service from the girls who were serving. We were informed that in terms of alcohol it was "bring your own bottle" which most of us already knew, but we all opted for cups of tea or juice (I believe there is a £2.50 charge for each person drinking their own wine or beer). A bottle of water was already on the table and was topped up as we got through it.

Photo pinched from my friend (@katy2811 on Instagram)
As the evening went on custom got a little busier but most people were seated upstairs. Due to the layout of the ground floor with the exposed brick wall in the centre of the space, it felt very intimate and quiet where we were sat, and it was a comfortable atmosphere to chat and enjoy our food.
Starters & mains

Okay, the food. The important bit right? I went for the mushrooms on toast to start with followed by the tomato risotto with deep-fried goats cheese and lemon. The mushrooms on toast were D-I-V-I-N-E. They were definitely the most upmarket mushrooms on toast I've ever had. The gorgonzola cheese gave them a strong flavour and there was plenty of sauce to be "mopped up" with the toast. I could have quite happily eaten it again for my main course. The risotto was tasty but definitely needed the goats cheese element to it to add a bit of variation in flavour. The portion size was just right and I finished feeling full, but ready for something sweet to finish things off (there's always room for pudding).

Other courses sampled by Jonathan and co that I can remember were the fishcake starter, the steak, beef cheeks, and chicken and chorizo stew, and there were no complaints around the table. I know Jonathan particularly enjoyed the beef cheeks and it was something new he hadn't tried before.


For dessert Jonathan and I shared a piece of salted chocolate tart and a cupcake from the counter. I opted for the mint-choc cupcake as it's a flavour I haven't tried before. I am, unfortunately for my waistline, trying to work my way through the flavours.

The choice of desserts wasn't huge but you do of course have the cupcakes to choose from behind the counter. Katy was hoping to get a Creme Egg special which unfortunately had sold out, so they went for a slice of salted chocolate tart and a creme brulee to share between them.

The salted chocolate tart was really, really good but I'm glad we shared as I think eating a whole slice would have pushed me into a chocolate-induced coma! The cupcake was, sadly, a little dry perhaps as it was the end of the day. Jonathan only had a couple of fork-fulls which left me with no choice but to polish the rest off!

A nice added touch to the evening was the pretty cup and saucer brought to our table housing 4 cream-filled brandy snaps (I had my own and someone elses... no shame!)

Apart from the slightly disappointing cupcake everything was great and we would definitely like to go back, although from a vegetarian point of view I would need to wait for the menu to change so I could try something new. Although if the mushrooms on toast were on offer I wouldn't complain!

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Wonderbra giveaway winner!

Drumroll please..... the winner of my Wonderbra giveaway is Katherine Lawson! I will get in touch with you via Twitter or email so please keep your eyes peeled. Thanks so much to everyone else who took the time to comment and enter. I'll be holding another giveaway soon hopefully.

So many of you commented saying that the strapless bra up for grabs looks really pretty yet functional so I hope it has helped to solve some of your wardrobe woes. 

Today is National Cleavage Day, which is a great bit of fun, and Wonderbra have shared a few fun statistics with me to get you folks into the spirit of the day:
  • 40% of women are Confident Cleavagers and show their cleavage on a daily basis
  • 26% of women and 'Closet Cleavagers' and rarely show off their cleavage
  • 34% of women are ‘Part-Time Cleavagers’ and only show their cleavage at the weekends
  • 86% of women said Holly Willoughby is their celebrity cleavage icon
  • 14% of women said Sam Faiers is their celebrity cleavage icon
I think I'm definitely in the 26% of women who are shy and retiring and keep their bits and pieces under wraps!

Thank you to Wonderbra for hosting this giveaway and letting one of my readers win their very own bra. If you'd like to keep up to date with future giveaways and offers Wonderbra can be found on Twitter here.

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Back to basics.

Yesterday we had a pretty lazy day with a trip to Meadowhall thrown in the middle as I needed a new blazer for an interview and we wanted to check out the Next sale (which was pretty good as it happens. The bad weather had stopped people clearing it all out on Saturday!)

My outfit consisted of a few bits I was sent recently from Joe Browns, a clothing and accessories store who dabble in homewares too. They kindly allowed me to select a few items so I went for the basic t shirt dress in charcoal, a bird print scarf as I'm obsessed with scarves and this one is particularly pretty, and a cord and chain bracelet.

The t shirt dress is one of those items I wish I had a million of, in all different colours. It's a great basic piece and is such lovely, soft material so when worn with leggings or tights it makes for a really comfortable outfit, perfect for a day of shopping and relaxing.

I love the little detail on the back of the dress with the red stitching from the label, and the tiny heart shaped button on the bottom hem. The dress also has a tie round the back which is great for creating a bit of shape and cinching the fabric in around the waist.

The scarf is a welcome addition to my collection and the black and white print will be easy to wear with other dresses and tops. I often wear scarves to work with plain tops and a blazer so I'll get plenty of wear out of this one.

I love the bracelet. I'm not a huge jewellery wearer but I like that this bracelet, which is a mixture of cord and chains, can add a bit of interest to an otherwise plain outfit and at only £6.95 it's a bit of a bargain. I'm trying to make more of an effort to wear jewellery but I find that bracelets are too big for my wrists. This one has an adjustable fastening so it's perfect for me!

All items pictured c/o Joe Browns

Joe Browns isn't somewhere I have shopped before but I have been impressed with the quality of the pieces I chose and would definitely bookmark the website for future browsing.

The core essentials section features some great items that would be perfect for work wear and the basic tunic they do in taupe would be another item I'd love to own in my wardrobe.

I hope you like the items I chose. I do love to be comfortable, especially when I'm walking round the shops for a couple of hours and lounging around at home so this, for me, is the perfect kind of outfit. A coat, my Ray Bans and my trusty black boots completed my outfit!

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Ash boots.

I tend to play it safe with what I stick on my feet. I love a good pair of well-fitting ballet pumps, swear by cosy Ugg boots in the Winter, and teeter in the odd pair of heels from time to time but my latest order from Sarenza has been a bit of a change of habit for me.

With my most recent ambassador code I picked up a pair of boots by Ash which is a brand I have heard of before but I'm not sure where or how. Recently, on one of my mammoth Sarenza searches, a pair of their pretty pastel boots caught my eye.

As I have been getting lots of wear out of my Blowfish boots (in outfits here and here plus some information on the brand here) I thought I would pick up another pair of boots to wear instead of trudging around in Ugg boots all the time.

The weather isn't showing any sign of letting up so pumps are out of the question for now, and I do like my feet to be toasty warm so my new love for boots is very much welcome!
A few of my favourites from the Ash range

I played it safe by ordering a navy blue pair in the Bowie style which I thought would go nicely with skinny jeans, a slouchy tee/jumper/top and my navy blue coat or a jacket when the sun makes an appearance.

However, my favourite pair were the pastel pair (top left). I chickened out at the last minute as I don't know if I would get as much wear out of them, plus I'd be worried about them getting dirty and rained on, which is a high probability.

I have put together an outfit based around my new purchase but would love to know what you would team them with?! I fear they're a bit too "trendy" for me and I'll look a bit silly in them. But I'll be sure to let you know and share some photos once they arrive!

Who are Ash? 

The Italian Brand Ash has quickly found its identity. A provocative hint of fun mixed in with a dose of rock has helped Ash grow in the brand we have all come to love. Ash prides itself on offering anything from chic trainers to evening shoes. In doing so they always ensure they have the right material for the right design for the right person. All of these small but relevant details help to seduce you budding fashionistas.

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When I returned home from the Grand Isle State Park, I removed the electric bike from the basement of the RV in order to clean off the sand.  I had put the bike into the basement twice and removed it now twice with no problems.  However, two days later I experienced terrific pain in my right wrist and hand.  I could not figure out what happened as I had done nothing that day to hurt myself.  It took me a week to figure out that it was when I removed the bike from the RV when I got home from the beach.

I placed an ace bandage on my arm and just waited for it to heal.  Well, a week later it was not improving but getting worse.  So I went in for an X-ray and luckily it was not broken but has torn ligaments which is very painful.  I was given a prescription for a topical ointment for pain and fitted for an arm brace to wear for 4 to 6 weeks.  Isn't that just great?!!!

Now my plan for an extended trip in the RV is on hold.  This is the time of year that I really like to travel and I'll be sitting at home healing... slowly... very slowly.  The doctor told me that the topical ointment would bypass my stomach and therefore not hurt my ulcers.  Not true.  Within 3 days I was in severe stomach pain that I'm very familiar with as I have 3 ulcers.  So no more help in alleviating the pain.  I'll just wear the brace, keep it still, and wait for it to heal.

My RV door lock arrived during all of this and I am now unable to install it myself.  So am waiting for a friend to come for a visit to have it installed.  I have come to realize just how awkward it is not to be able to use your right hand.  I can name a list of things I can no longer do without experiencing a lot of pain.  I do try to use my left hand and as difficult as it is to do so, I'm managing.

So for now I'm trying to be patient and wait for the injury to heal.  I had planned a long trip to Florida and up the coast to Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, but not sure if I'll be able to go this year.  I don't want to travel in the hot months which are just around the corner.  April was my time to do that trip and I'll still be wearing the brace.  I could still go on the trip but would not be able to use the bike or deploy my RV awning or maneuver through the dumping process with ease.  So here I sit at the most beautiful time of the year looking at my RV sitting in the driveway.

It's always something.

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Last weekend.

This week has run away with itself a little bit therefore it's almost time for a brand new weekend when here I am talking about the last one! Nonetheless I thought I'd share what we got up to last Saturday and Sunday along with a few photos I took with my new camera.

On Saturday I consumed way more crumble and custard than any one human should, paraded round in my new studded pumps as it stopped raining for all of 10 minutes and saw both my family and Jonathan's family.

My sister was back at my mum and dad's for a few days (she lives on the Isle of Man) so on Saturday they drove to Rotherham to see us. My sister even brought one of her dogs, Chilli the Chihuahua, who I love so dearly but haven't seen in so long. He's a little old man now and, as my sister got him as a wee puppy, he has been in our family for a rather long time (he's about12 years old if I'm not mistaken!)

After a cup of tea and a catch up we headed out for lunch at the Golden Ball in Rotherham, one of our favourite places to go for food. Service was a little slower than it has been for us in the past but we put that down to there being 5 of us instead of just Jonathan and I, plus we weren't in a rush. I had vegetable soup with bread and butter to start with, followed by a sweet potato and bean burger with chips, then finally the biggest bowl of apple and cherry crumble I have ever seen complete with ice cream AND custard.

Needless to say this lunch was more of a lunch and dinner all in one and probably my whole calorie allowance for the weekend, but not to worry. It was great to see my folks and my sister, who I don't get to see very often, and any excuse for a huge meal!

On Sunday we headed to Jonathan's mum and dad's house for a big Sunday lunch which is always followed by a cup of tea and a large quantity of biscuits and After Eight mints. Well if you can't treat yourself on a weekend, when can you?! ;)

The theme for the weekend ahead mainly revolves around food. We're going for dinner with friends and having a relaxing day on Sunday when no doubt we will cook something tasty and probably slightly fattening.

Have a good Friday folks!

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