It’s OK to want to change things about yourself without feeling like you’re hating on the world at large

As I was growing up I lived as part of a society that taught me only one body was desirable to the opposite sex – Petite, slim, big boobs and long hair. In my teens people like Jennifer Lopez and Beyonce came into the world of celebrity, and with their big booties and curvy hips they managed to gently prod a generation into seeing a different kind of attractive.

Fast forward to the present day, and the world has evolved again. Now we’re told that all body types are beautiful and should be embraced/celebrated, and that we should love our own body for what it is rather than what it could be.

But is it as simple as that?

No, it’s not. I’d like to go on record saying that I wholeheartedly support a society that acknowledges humans come in a wide variety of forms and to ensure that all are catered for as fairly as possible. I have a great admiration for people in the public eye and that I know in real life who project a confidence and sex appeal that I could only ever dream of. I fiercely stand by the opinion that fad diets/products DO NOT WORK (it still both bemuses and concerns me that a post I did about trying Boombod 2 years ago is still one of my most read every single month) however I do believe in eating plans that encourage moderation and good habits such as Slimming World.

So with all of these beliefs firmly planted in my mind, would it surprise you to learn that there are things I can’t accept and would like to change about myself? Because there are, and I do.

Thanks in part to J-Lo and Queen Bey, I feel confident in accepting that my body shape isn’t straight up and down, its somewhere closer to a pear (curvy hips and bigger thigh/bum area) but what I’ve never been able to fully accept is the size of my body, and this is the aspect I want to address.

There are many reasons why I dislike my body size. Primarily, it’s because it represents unhappiness. My body is the result of emotional eating caused by a period of difficult situations, and through lethargy caused by my fragile state of mind as a result. If I knew that inside I was healthy and happy, and that my weight gain was a sign of enjoying life, then I hav3le no doubt that I would feel differently about the reflection staring back at me. If each extra pound represented a romantic meal or nights on the town drinking cocktails with the girls, there’d be a valid and enjoyable reason. Don’t get me wrong; I have done those things, but far more rarely.

And this is why I think it’s OK for me to say that there are things I don’t like about my body shape or size whilst still being absolutely accepting of those that look different to me, similar to me or don’t want to look how I’d like to look. I’m not throwing shade at any of those people, I’m simply saying that’s not the right thing for me. I’m saying that I acknowledge I’m not completely happy or healthy and that I’d like to take action to change this. I’m saying that I’ve been through hell and my exterior reminds me of this every bloody day, which makes me feel worse. I’m saying that it will take more than a change in mindset to be able to accept what I look like. Finally, I’m saying that I am a different person to you – I’m built to think, feel and react differently, so my actions are going to be different to other people’s.

If people don’t like my opinions, that’s fine. As I said, everybody is different and has their own truth. However, they are valid and are mine. To say otherwise wouldn’t be very accepting of ME, would it?

Thanks for reading,

J xx


Christmas 2019

By the time you read this, I hope you’ve have a lovely time celebrating the festive season and are looking forward to the year ahead.

As I’ve done for the last few years (partly for my own memories, partly for those of you like me who enjoy a little nosey) here’s a bit of a peak at my Christmas Day and Boxing Day celebrations.

Christmas morning waking up at home (at 6.45am, the latest I think I’ve ever woken up on Christmas Day). After exchanging gifts listening to Christmas songs, we tucked into sausage sarnies and watched some festive TV.

Top, Joanie (one of my gifts from the Mr)

Quick change, tidied up the wrapping paper and it was off to see the family!

First stop was my grandparents house, they’ve been poorly this year so weren’t able to leave the house.

After that we headed to my sister-in-law’s for Christmas lunch with the wider family.

We all brought something along and laid it out buffet style, this year we were on turkey duty which was just a little bit scary but turned out really well thankfully!

I was the most stuffed I’ve ever been from a Christmas lunch

I just about managed to roll on to the couch and was put on childcare duty with my niece and nephew (tbh I think they were looking after me more).

After an hour I managed to enjoy a small bowl of my Mother-in-law’s sherry trifle (epic) and open the last of the presents for the day. We gifted our nephew with a table football and his little face was everything.

Boxing Day

This year was different to the norm, this time we hosted and I cooked!

To spruce up our not yet decorated dining area, I picked up these dark great charge plates from Dunelm and made a table centre using a garland I bought from Amazon threaded with battery operated lights and baubles picked up from B&M. I added in white candles (also from Dunelm and B&M) and some M&S Bucks Fizz served in the ice bucket from our home bar (which I promise I will write about at some point soon!)

From scratch, I made Moroccan lamb followed by panettone bread and butter pudding with cream.

If you’ve read these posts for the past 4 years, you’ll know this dessert is my stepdad’s showpiece so I wanted to give it a go to see if I could do a nice tribute to his years of hard work. And I did!

We did a few more presents and then moved to the couch for a brew and game of Cards Against Humanity

My brother won, however it confirmed what I already knew that my family are highly inappropriate and absolute filth!

I’m off work until the beginning of January and will be spending that time having more family gatherings (one at my mum’s new house with her in-laws, the other back at ours with my in-laws) time with friends and general relaxation.

If you have some time off too, I hope you’re able to use it in ways you enjoy. If you fancy more of a nosey, I’ve got a Christmas 2019 highlight on my Instagram which will likely have some presents on there too.

Thanks for reading,

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