Thank you, next…A final review of my 5 things for 2019 (and a few other things I’m so f*****g grateful for)

This is basically going to be a summary of how I’ve done with the goals I set myself at the start of the year with an added ‘happy list’ at the end. 2019 has been a bit of a weird year, but I only want to mark the things I’ve enjoyed about it, so even though I’ve had my share of rocky patches this year you won’t find them in this post!

1 – Shop in my own closet 75% of the time

I’ve done really well on this, a lot better than I even expected especially more so than the year before when I just banned spending completely.

I’ve probably invested in a couple more frivolous purchases over the last few weeks (hello Black Friday sales) but even then these were things I’d wanted for a while. I’m still thinking more deeply about buying before I pull the trigger and being more responsible with my money, which has enabled me to get more stuff done at home which makes me joyous, so I’m confident this have evolved into a behaviour I can maintain.

2 – Get a home bar

It’s done, goal achieved, I just can’t show you because that area 0f the house doesn’t photograph well (and also, the area itself needs to be restyled to accommodate) here’s a peek of what it looked like when we first set it up at the very end of last year, but it looks different now

Expect some better pictures and styling for this one in 2020!

3 – Un-join the gym and get outside

Well, this pledge has made it all the way to the end of the year! The girls and I still head out most Sundays (not every week, as sometimes people have plans or have had a heavy night before) and have plans to carry this on into 2020. It’s been a fantastic opportunity to not only get a bit of light regular exercise, but brilliant to see my girls much more often than I have for a long time which is great for my sense of health.

I did start to incorporate a bit of extra home cardio into this as I said I wanted to in my last update, however I sustained a bit of an injury and then didn’t manage to get back to it, but I will. I’m still quite clear that I don’t want to head back to join a gym at this point.

4 – Get out of the house more

Overall, I’d argue that I have done this throughout the year, however the Mr would probably disagree wholeheartedly!

I’ve said yes more than no to activities outside of work this year, though there have been a couple of periods where I was just knackered and needed to have a bit of time being a hermit indoors. But hey, I’m human and I’ll never be perfect.

5 – Dranks out, drinks in

You may remember that I took this one out of the running completely about halfway through the year. I’d had a few days/evenings on the sauce and felt it wasn’t going to be realistic to cut out as much as I’d expected. I’m not in any way disappointed about having to do this, I happen to think it’s healthy constantly review and change goals if they’re no longer relevant or achievable for whatever reason. More to the point, this one was vetoed for good reasons – I’ve had some lovely times out and about enjoying a couple of cocktails and some laughs with the Mr and my girls.

Other good things that 2019 has brought for me

– Getting to know and meet some wonderful people

This has been such an important part of why there have been positive points of 2019. There are people are already knew a little bit that I’ve spent more time with and lived, and I’ve met new people in a variety of ways that have become some of nicest/wisest/bestest influences on my state of mind. Thank you to all of you, I will Co ti ue to annoy you further in the new year!

– Travelling to Italy

A very important part of my bucket list was completed, and so much more as part of this trip. I most definitely heart Italy and would really like to see what else it has to offer.

– Feeling relaxed and comfortable in my own home

This probably sounds a bit weird, but I spent over 7 years in my last house just never quite feeling right and enjoying living there. It took a looooong time to find our current house (almost 11 months overall, and 8 months after selling the aforementioned one) but for me it was worth it. Although the Mr occasionally complains its smaller (and it is, a bit) it has a much better vibe about it and we’ve actually made some positive strides into to decorating and making it out own. I’m beyond excited to keep cracking on with this next year.

– The discovery of Ru Paul’s drag race

You could either think this is weird, or you could think ‘what the hell took you so long?’ to this! After hearing pretty much the whole of my social media feeds say how brilliant it was, I binge watched the entire first season one night when I was home alone and having a bit of a testing time. I really enjoyed it, and within 3 months I’d watch seasons 1-10 and the UK season 1 (I was team DDC and Cheryl Hole if anyone is interested).

Having a show so far removed from my reality was exactly the escapism I needed at a pretty stressful time, which I’m hugely grateful for. I just need to work out how I can watch the All Stars seasons that aren’t on Netflix now…little help??

– Experiencing my first Pride in Hull

I was invited to be part of this very important event in July, when I was on season 4 of Drag Race and I got to watch Alaska Thuderfuck perform which was blooming brilliant (but then had very high expectations of her appearance on season 5 which I watched shortly after).

What I lived about this event the most was the comraderie of the city, and the empassioned speech given by the Lord Mayor who is himself part of the LGBTQ community. I’m very proudly an ally for anybody who needs this.

– Spent more time with my niece and nephew

These munchkins are 4 and 5 and are genuinely two of my favourite people in the whole world. They’re so funny. clever and kind.

This year I’ve been on holiday with them, had them both over for sleepovers and generally just had them more at the house for visits and being the cool aunt I was born to be.

– I was immortalised in cartoon form

Bit weird (are you sensing a theme here) but on three occasions this year the ghost artist known as Peter and Paul made me and my HEY Bloggers gals part of thisbseries featuring local celebrities or prominent figures. For this reason I’m very flattered indeed, however I have been a bit dubious about the tattoos and cave woman-style outfits I’ve worn to date!

Thanks joining me this year, this decade (or even just for this post) on my blog. As always, I plan to keep going and add more and different content – as long as I enjoy it and put the work in, I hope you will too.

Thanks for reading, and wishing you very best for theyear ahead

J xx


My Instagram best nine (2019)

It’s that time of year again – when an internet generator tells us all which nine pics had the most likes, we’re all a bit surprised by a couple and we have a nosey at everybody else’s. So here are mine!

1 University of Hull, August

I took this picture to go with my 8 Reasons to Choose Hull blog post in collaboration with the University, and to be honest i think it did well because they reposed it on their social media channels.

I have worked and studied on this campus and it’s just a lovely place to to be.

2 Mykonos Town, August

Well, I think it’s a given that this one was going to be popular wasn’t it! I made sure to capture a lot of images that were very un-Mykonos, as the stuff you see on Insta really is such a tiny part of the island (something I spoke about in my Things that surprised me about Mykonos blog post) but the at the end of the day it is gorgeous there and I’m easily influenced by wanting to take a nice pic!

3 Cottingham – East Yorkshire, June

I took these photos to post on my birthday and I’d just bought a year of birth sweatshirt from Rock on Ruby. I was totally living for the wild meadows all around the area, so one day a vey kind work colleague and I took a little lunch time outing to enjoy the flowers and snap some pics.

4 Lanzarote, April

I went off on my first family holiday in years to a villa in Lanzarote, and on this night the Mr and I sloped off for a cheeky date night. The dress and hat are from Matalan than he had very kindly picked up for on the day we went away (I tried them on in the airport hotel) and they fit like a dream, unfortunately I only managed two wears of the dress before the zip ripped (just as I was about to wear it for a third time and on the way out the door) so that was he end of that.

5 Hull, May

You can tell here, but despite the fact it was spring it was ridiculously freezing! However, it was Bank Holiday and I was determined that I couldn’t have to wear tights so smiled through the chill and hoped my legs wouldn’t look too blue.

6 Lanzarote, April

I tired my hand at a getting a bit of body confidence back and decided a good way to do this would be to post a couple of swimwear pics and see that nobody was going to write anything horrendous in the comments. This was the second of the two I posted (I lived this Next swimsuit so much I bought it in cobalt blue for my Mykonos trip) on a day I felt very happy about Bank Holiday weekend and booking a holiday.

7 Liverpool, June

I headed to my fave UK city for my birthday for a day of chill at a time when my life was very hectic for some not so good reasons. I had cocktails, did some shopping and ate all the food, which definitely helped to give a bit of respite.

8 Mykonos Town, August

This photo was taken at exactly the same time as the other Mykonos photo, it was literally the other side of the camera. You can also see from this angle that I’m just a little bit sunburnt, which is why I was wearing an off the shoulder frock.

9 University of Hull, August

Rounding things off exactly where we started, back at uni with a very unposed shot! This was a very really laugh and it was because my gal Kat was crouched on the floor in front of me saying all sorts of random stuff whilst her cleavage was pretty much in my face. That was a fun outing.

And that, my friends, is some of my year in pics. It definitely doesn’t cover a full spread of my year but it does remind me of some of the best bits. I hope you enjoy looking through yours too.

Thanks for reading,

J xx


The great orange chocolate hysteria of 2019

If you’ve read my blog from somewhere near the start (throwing it back to the Curious Alice Loves… days folks) you’ll know I’m a sucker for a trend a lot of the time, so I want to stay true to that aesthetic.

I’m also a sucker for chocolate.

Naturally, when a noteable combining both of these topics arose a few weeks ago, it peaked my interest. I think you know the one I’m talking about…

Cadbury Orange Twirl.

It was announced, the suspense built, the tabloids reported where it could be bought, my twitter feed was flooded with people trying in vain to get hold of a single bar to try, suspense and desire built for it more, Cadbury released more ample stocks into the wild to satiate people before the supply dwindled and again people were left hangry for the taste of what appeared to be the white tiger of the chocolate world.

For me – I had family members on the lookout, I mentioned this is every single group chat I was part of, I even changed the name of my work group chat to ‘Orange Twirl Watch Society’. Eventually, thanks to my pestering of everyone in my life, I got my hands on one (I say one, I actually mean one box. No, really.)

Well played Cadbury marketing team, well played. You created a hype, withheld supply to increase demand/limited edition-ness and didn’t have to spend mega bucks to do so.

So, this whole thing poses two questions. 1, does it live up to the hype in comparison to other orange chocolate products and 2, what is a good substitute if you can’t get your hands on one/when Cadbury stop making them (they’re promoted as a limited edition).

I got you on both counts.

I’ve done the leg work and reviewed orange chocolate products so you won’t have to, you can simply get the best one. Merry Christmas!

Orange Twirl

The new kid on the block. If you like Twirls and orange flavoured chocolate, you’re definitely going to be pleased with this creation of you ever manage to get hold of one. It is as nice as you’d hope for the effort it takes to get them!

Tip – I normally put my chocolate in the fridge (don’t @ me) to make it last longer when I eat it, however this is most definitely best eaten at room temperature accompanied by a good brew.

Terry’s Chocolate Orange bar

Arguably the original founder of the trend, but is it the best?

The smooth texture of the segments make for a silkier taste and allow more of the orange oil flavour to come through, so if you want something very orangey for a decent price then this is still very much a good shout.

Lindt Chocolate Orange bar

The more ‘luxury’ option, it takes on the traditional Lindt form with a softer centre. The squares on each bar are massive, so it could potentially mean you eat more than planned, however it’s so delicious you probably will anyway.

Very silky chocolate texture, lots of orange flavour, this would be an absolute delight of a chocolate to find in your Christmas stocking.

Matchmakers – chocolate orange flavour

Well, they’re an old classic and ’tis the season they usually get cracked out!

They’re very tangy with orange goodness, a little bit crispy and VERY dangeous as they’re so skinny you can easily eat the lot. But it’s Christmas, so what the hell!

Whether you’ve had an orange Twirl, haven’t and need a substitute or just like chocolate and want to justify it as one of your five a day (cos it’s orange flavoured, geddit) now you know what’s what.

I still can’t decide whether this post was a quirk of genius or just a bit weird, but thanks for reading either way!

J xx

Thanks for reading,

J xx


4 Simple Christmas decorations that look fab (that even I can make!)

It’s that time of year again…I don’t about you, but I’m in dire need of a little festive cheer in my life!

I’m not a craft person by any stretch of the imagination (apart from that one really decent wall thing I made the other year, which I’ll share below) but this year I really wanted to add as many festive touches as I could to my home without spending a fortune. So, a bit of Pinterest and a couple of herbdashery purchases later, I was in business!

The giant door bow

I’ve seen these loads on social media in the past, however the pre made ‘blingy’ ones were a bit too expensive and ornate for what I was looking for. The answer? Buy a massive length of organza and make your own!

I looped two long pieces width ways and length ways tied in a double not to secure, I then tied a rough bow with the remaining pieces and fanned out the bow until it looked more full. This took about 15 minutes in total, and I know the pieces fit so I can do it again next year.

Bauble table centres

This took literally a minute to do, and it meant I could use some more of the many (many, many) baubles in my collection!

Taking vases I bought from IKEA a few weeks ago, I simply kept some of the smaller baubles out and filled each case to the top.

It’s something extra to look at and used items I already had in the house but wasn’t using, so totally free. Win!

Hanging bauble feature

(Pinterest images have been used to display this one because the light was too bad to snap decent photos in when I’d finished)

This one took a little bit longer but was still super easy. When I was researching home made decorations, this was one of the first that popped up, and I knew I had plenty of leftover baubles to make it work!

Taking brown string (to keep with my theme, however coloured wool would also work really well) I looped a section through each bauble, not really caring if they were the same length, and tied them to my banister. I secured them in place with a small piece of sellotape just so they wouldn’t slide out of place.

This also looks great when hung in symmetrical lengths down a window

Paper wall fan

I don’t know what the official name for this would be, but that’s what I’m calling it! This one will take a little bit more effort (and some glue) but is a great mindful activity to relax, do with friends or get the kids involved.

Disclaimer – this is one I made about 3 years ago, however it’s still in perfect condition and I’ve used it every year since.

You’ll need – medium sized coloured cardboard circle, small coloured cardboard circle, glue (pva or prit stick) and small squares of patterned/coloured paper.

Take a piece of paper square and roll it into a cone shape, sealing the edges with glue. Using the medium cardboard circle as your base, glue them in a round shape until the circle has them all the way around. Repeat the process, but this time glue the paper cones above the first layer (this make the finished product more 3D). Once the second layer is complete, glue the small cardboard circle into the centre to hide the sticky bits. To finish, punch a hole in the top part of the medium circle, thread coloured ribbon through and hang where desired.

Whatever your level of skill and ‘can’t be arsed-ness’ there’s definitely something in the post you’ll be able to create!

Thanks for reading,

Jenny xx


So, what have you achieved in the past decade??

So, this tweet popped up in my Twitter feed a few days ago, I’m sure it’s popped up in yours too. Now, people’s answers to the tweet are popping into my feed too, which I’m really enjoying by the way, so naturally thought about what my own response would be.

Turns out, what I have achieved doesn’t fit into 280 characters! So, I thought I’d put it in a blog post instead.

*Dislciamer – no brags, no intent to make anybody feel bad, it’s only the passing of another year so isn’t such a massive deal. Remember “it’s not your age, it’s your stage” we don’t all do the same things, and if we do we’re not all meant do them at the same time.*

1. Got married

I was pretty quick off the blocks with this one and got hitched in March 2010. Neither of us can quite believe it was almost ten years ago! Marriage and relationships in general take a lot of work if you want them to be successful and fulfilling, so I’m proud because we’ve made it this far and still both want to out that work in.

2. Bought and sold two houses Shortly after getting hitched, I sold the first home I bought and bought our first joint house together. We lived there for about seven years before selling up (it never truly felt like home to me if I’m honest) spent a few months in rented accommodation before finding our current place and moving in last spring. This one truly feels like home and I love it.

3. Got a degree I definitely didn’t see this one coming! I decided to take a leap and go full time at university at the grand old age of 28, having become disillusioned with my career and where it was going. It was four years that at times I found really quite hard, but I made it through and doors have been opened for me as a result of the experience.

4. Started my blog 

Another one I didn’t see coming, but one of the things that has shaped my life the most over the past five years without a doubt. It’s given me a passion, a focus away from work, experience to be able to get a foot into my current career, introduced me to new friends/experiences/brands. I still have so much more to learn and that I want to achieve, so there will be a big focus on that as 2020 rolls around.

5. Changed career I used to be a mortgage advisor and now I work in marketing. It’s a much better use of my interests and skills. I’ve been able to work at some really interesting companies so far (my first few jobs were fixed term contracts) and I have a clear direction as to where I want my career to go.

6. Passed my driving test Again, didn’t see this one coming, I NEVER saw this one coming! After I graduated, I thought “if I can do a degree, I can do this”. That pragmatic and more level headed approach ensure that I could in fact do that! I used to think I was just one of those people not meant to drive, with hindsight I think I just needed a more mature approach than I had at 17.

7. Worked hard to achieve some health goals

Although I may have to skirt over the fact that I’ve taken a few backward steps since achieving them!

I’ve been unhappy with myself for as long as I can remember and decided that I needed to sort that out once and for all before I hit 30. I focussed very diligently on achieving my goal for about three years, and by the start of 2013 I was at a place that I felt comfortable and was maintainable to me. I stayed that way for three years before a combination of re-entering full time work and some extreme stress forced my good habits to die hard and never really return.

I want to set myself some new goals but have been a bit scared to do so, however I’ve going started small and try to be less harsh on myself throughout the journey.

8. Visited some interesting and beautiful places I adore travel and find it very relaxing and fulfilling, but I’d forgotten just how many wonderful trips I’ve had in the past decade. To name a few – Barbados (honeymoon), New York (twice), Las Vegas, Barcelona, Tuscany, Santorini and Mykonos.

9. Met some wonderful people My life choices have led me to meeting some of my very favourite people – uni, blogging and work have all introduced and re-introduced such a variety of of friendships into my life that I’m very grateful for. I also became an auntie twice, and those kids are two of the best humans I spend time with.

10. Entered a new decade of my own

Yup, I officially entered my dirty thirties. Doesn’t sound like much of an achievement, I didn’t do anything to be born, however I do take credit for the fact that I’ve made it this far having encountered some pretty awful bumps along the way. I definitely haven’t made through completely in tact, but I’m still here so I’ve made it, and I’m happy with that.

Looking back over the past ten years and realising exactly what has happened in my life has been pretty positive and reassuring to me. I sometimes have a tendency to forget the good stuff if I’m having a particularly stressful time, so it’s nice to be reminded there’s a lot of good amongst the occasional less good.

I would encourage everyone to review the past decade and remember some of the great things that have happened…you may be surprised by what you uncover!

Thanks for reading,

J xx


3 Tips for having a good staycation

Having some time off work but not going on holiday? Read on my friend…

After enjoying three holidays abroad this year, a house to finish decorating and with one week of annual leave left, a staycation was the only option my bank balance would accept (for clarity, I class a staycation as having time off and not going on holiday).

It’s important to remember that most of the time we have annual leave to allow ourselves to have a period of rest away from a working environment, however if you don’t do this productively (quite an oxymoron I know) you could end up getting back to work and feeling like you’ve wasted this valuable time. So, I propose that you follow these three simple rules that will give you the best chance to recharge your batteries and feel accomplished:

1 – Have one period of adulting

I guarantee there’ll be jobs you’ve been saving until you ‘have time’ to do them. This is the time! But make it count – write out a list of those jobs and get them done in one go and before you do anything else. If you don’t you’ll end up doing them in bits and bobs through the week and breaking up other quality time, or rushing to cram them in at the end which will likely make you feel a bit frazzled. Getting it done up front will instantly make you feel accomplished, take a weight off and move your vibe towards chill mode.

2 – Plan out you time

Mapping out what you’re going to do means you can use all of the time you have to its fullest advantage and know what to look forward to and when.

Even if you plan to do nothing, plan the days/times of you’re going doing nothing so you can prepare – make sure your fave PJs/loungewear are freshly washed, you’re fully stocked up on snacks and Netflix is primed to take you to binge watch heaven.

3. Do SOMETHING, even if it’s just one day/night

It doesn’t have to be far, it doesn’t have to cost a lot, hell if you’re forgetful like me it could even be free!

Do you have any vouchers for a spa treatment/hotel stay/restaurant/theme park that you got as a gift and have been waiting to use? Now is the time, I enjoyed a lovely mid week stay at Thorpe Park Hotel from one of last year’s Christmas gifts.

Have a look around to see if any of your favourite cafes/restaurants/bars do special offer during the week that you wouldn’t normally be able to enjoy. We managed to find one of our favourite pizza places had an insane lunch deal that was about half the price of the usual menu. Good food, less money, happy you.

You don’t have to think drastically outside the box, you ould simply do the things you’d do outside of office hours, just with more time and less people. Enjoy a day walking around the shops and a lazy lunch, visit family members you don’t see as often as you’d like or hit the gym and enjoy the freedom of getting on any piece of equipment you want.

So there it is – not rocket science, just quick wins that you may not think of when you’re tunnel visioned on the concept of ‘not being at work’. Now, off you go to enjoy yourself!

Thanks for reading,

J xx


5 Things for 2019 – Update #3

So, you may remember from my last update that I’ve decided to take one of my goals out (not drinking) because it wasn’t looking achievable for the year, so I’m down to 4 things for the next two updates. Here’s how the rest have been going and a sneak peek about what’s coming up in chapter 4 of 2019…

  • Shop in my own closet 75% of the time

Aside from (and partly on) holiday this one is still going well, much to my surprise and delight! My thought process has changed a lot so now when I think “I’m going to XX, what am I gonna wear?” I head straight to the closet instead of the Internet and take a long hard look at what I have. Usually, this resolves it. Top tip I’ve learnt during this process – don’t forget to check your washing and ironing baskets as part of this process, you’ll get a fuller picture of exactly what you have and probably find stuff you forgot about that feels brand new again!

  • Get a home bar

Brief and to the point – not moved on any further since the last update, can’t really say much more!

  • Un-join the gym and get outside

This has still happening but on a far more ad hoc basis – in between peoples holidays and life commitments, the girls and I haven’t been as on it as we’d like in the last couple of months. The intention is still there and I’m fully expecting this to kick back up a notch now that normal service has resumed. I did a decent bit of walking on holiday over the summer which helped to plug the gap a tiny little bit too!

I’ve also been starting to think about adding a little more heavy duty cardio to my regular activity – I don’t want to go back to the yay, but I do want to try some exercise classes to see what I like and if they can help me meet some of my health goals going in to 2020 (eek!)

  • Get out of the house more

I’d say this is going OK, not sure if the Mr would give a matching answer! I’ve definitely made myself do more over the summer, but there are still a decent amount of times that I’ve done closer to nothing and stayed at home on the couch a lot. I’m feeling good about the amount of social vs antisocial activity, which is the positive outcome of this goal, so I’m just going to carry on and see what else happens over the next few months.

So, what else has is happening?

  • I went to Mykonos
  • If you follow me on Instagram and are a regular reader, you’ll probably be very well aware of this fact by now! I was lucky enough to work with a couple of great companies during my trip including Mykonos Vioma and Truffle Shuffle who featured in my 7 Outfits I wore in Mykonos post. There were a few things that surprised me about Mykonos that I’d not seen anybody else mention before, and I’m going to cover those in a future post so keep a look out for that.
    • I’m going to Italy (Image credit: booking.com )
  • This is something I’m ridiculously excited about saying, and by the time you read this I will be there! I’m heading off to a beautifully villa in Tuscany with a fabulous group of gals as guests of Booking for You*. As a huge fan of the cuisine, it’s been a long held goal of mine to eat Italian food in Italy, on this trip I’ll get to do that and so much more. I’ll be putting up posts about my experiences in October/November as well as social media activity, so make sure you’re following me to see wassup.
    • I’ve booked a VERY exciting bucket list adventure for next year

    The travel plans just keep on coming, that’s what we like! This is as much as I’m willing to share at the moment, just in case something happens, however when the up gets a little closer I,l reveal more. Stay tuned….

    And so we head in to the final chapter – dark evenings, autumn leaves, festive fun and who know what else!

    Thanks for reading,

    J xx