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A Winter Cocktail

Life changing magic

Life changing magic
The Life Changing Magic

Irrational dislikes of late

I have a massive case of irrational dislike at the moment and it's not going anywhere - I fully blame Jim because he gets so comically worked up at little things (this morning he was irate about the fact the amazon locker wouldn't fit a bottle of rum in it), but I swear it's rubbing off on me more than it used to do - it's only taken eight years I guess!

I know I shouldn't hate these things as much as I do, but every time they pop up in my life, on a social feed, they just make me mad and it's getting worse.

Here are my dislikes of late; 
  • How Hygge everything has become. Just piss off back to 2008 will you. It's a bloody blanket and a candle. It's winter. That's what we do in winter!
  • Those bendy leg / coffee cup / duvet flatlay type shots EVERYONE seems to take these days. We get it, you styled your bed for 30 minutes for this shot and put your new PJ's on and had your boyf hand you the drink at the last minute. Chill out. 
  • British people instagramming 'fall'. It's autumn you twits. AUTUMN. 
  • Dog walkers who pick up their dogs poop and then hang it on a tree. You've done half the work, but you've actually polluted the environment by leaving the bag! Well done!
  • The neighbours 'kids' rediscovering fireworks. It is a joyful time every year, especially when they fire them into our garden! 
  • Fox poo season. Dog walkers everywhere will understand this. Our two monsters find all the poop in the park, woods, where ever we are and roll in it with glee! Look how happy Melle is rolling in shit up there. 
What little things are driving you mad right now? 
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A lust list for October


When the seasons change for the colder I always find myself wanting to go shopping, and spend ALL my money, I don't know what this says about me, but it never happens in the summer months, just in the winter! Here are just a few of the things that I am lusting over right now;

1. So many of my friends have the best vintage clothes but I am useless in vintage shops because they usually don't make much sense in the way of organisation. But Rokit is an online vintage shop that means I don't have rifle through messy rails. I adore this CK mini dress that I found on their site too. 
2. I've had to take my DSLR back to be fixed as it's including some nasty black lines over the images I take and this has me dreaming of new cameras. I know it's a blogger cliche but i love to look of these Pen cameras.  
3. I pinned these Native Union charging cables aggggges ago but I keep coming back to them - they're weighted so that your charger doesn't fall off the table or the night stand, which means no more rooting about when I go to bed and need to charge my phone. 
4. I'm cultivating quite a Gin collection these days. We have Cornish sapphire gin, cheap gin, frankincense gin, elderflower gin, fancy Scottish gin but what I really need in my collection is this Rock Rose Autumn gin. Don't you think it's pretty important to have? 
5. My scarf collection is becoming a bit of a problem and I am not ashamed to say that I have fallen in love with another one. How perfect is this navy metallic Oliver Bonas number? It's pretty wonderful right? 

*This post is collaboration with Rokit but all my views are my own*
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House Update: Plans for the Hallway

This weekend I finally bought the paint for our hallway. It feels like a momentous occasion because it's been sitting plastered, but not painted since the summer and so buying the paint feels like a step in the direction of getting it finished! (In our defence we've been waiting for a doorway to be built to create a porch - it still not built, but it's booked in, so the painting, top floor down, can commence!)

I know what my vision is, and my hallway pinboard  is full if inspiration but these three pictures are the closest to what I'm hoping the end result will look like. 
Our hallway is about the same width of the pictures above, but has a radiator where these have a table, so I'll probably be fitting a radiator cover instead, and once the extra doorway is put in it'll be shorter than these inside the house, and it has the same archway details too which I really love. 

I am so excited to get this underway and make the house look beautiful fro the moment you walk in. Here are some of the other things that I've got my eye on for the space. 


1. One of my biggest focus' has been on finding the right lighting for the hallway. I've seen hallways with stunning chandeliers and beautiful minimalist numbers and all sorts of things in between but nothing has seemed right, but then i stumbled across this Louis Poulsen light from Nest.co.uk which is just about perfect for the colour scheme I am going for. I have 6 light fittings to cover though so, at this price they might have to be saved for the downstairs bulbs. 
2. I think i might have found my perfect wall colours on the Valspar site. The grey/mushroom/green shade will be for the bottom of the walls and the off white for the top. I'm going to run a dado rail through the middle of them.  
3. We have a beautiful mirror shop round the corner from the house, Mirror Mad, they make the prettiest reclaimed wood mirrors. I have my eye on a long one that will sit above the hall radiator. 
4.  We had the house rewired last spring and I sent the electrician on a hunt for restore-able floorboards. Unfortunately when he ripped up the carpets he found nothing. Upstairs should really be refloored but carpeting will have to do, and I was hoping that under the the terrible vinyl tiles downstairs there'd be nice floor boards but they are just as bad so we're going to have to start from scratch. Both sets of the stairs and the upstairs hallways will be carpeted, but I was hoping for wood floors downstairs to make it slightly easier to clean up after the dogs downstairs.  
5. I love this drawing of Falmouth - I think the long thin image will be the best shape to sit above the dado rail and elongate the hallway. Plus it's of one of my favourite places in the whole world.
6. This Hello Coat Rack keeps popping up on my twitter timeline and because I am so impressionable, every time I see it I fall in love with it a little more. I know it'll not be the most practical rack - it wont hold that many coats, but it's just so cool! 

 What are your hallway must have? What am I missing or what should I include to get the most beautiful space I can? 

*This post is collaboration with Nest.co.uk but all my views are my own*

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Autumn Bedroom Essentials

A few weeks ago we found Melle had taken up a new hobby - turns out he sees himself as the Banksy of the dog world and has a new found love for graffiti. The delightful little beast had borrowed a sharpie and had drawn all over the bed. I was quite impressed with his skills as he's got pen on both sides of the duvet cover and the sheet underneath. Clever right? 

But as impressed that I was with his ability to use a marker pen, he completely ruined that bedding set. Which, in my books, is an excellent excuse to go shopping for some new gear for the bedroom, and as it's getting colder, this means cosy, autumnal bedding. 
1. I love the mountainy look of this Tartan Stag Flannelette, and the fact it's a flannel means it's going to feel lovely when it gets colder, and it's available as a double duvet cover & other sizes at Yorkshire Linen.
2. I just adore these orange Chinese Lantern Plants. I'm sticking away from living plants in the bedroom as Jim gets hay fever and I'm not sure it's fair to have him sneeze all night, so I've been bringing in died flowers. 
3. In an ideal world there would be a White Company candle in my life for every season, but unfortunately I'm not made of money, so I pick a new one each inter! 
5. We live in an old house so as it gets colder, even with winter quilts and soft bedding, so this Matalan Cable Knit Throw would be a perfect extra layer for the bedroom. 
4. And if we're going for a mountain feel with the bedding it'd be rude to not carry it over into the accessories right? This M&S Applique Stag Cushion matches the bedding set wonderfully. 

Wouldn't it make the most wonderful autumn bedroom? What would be on your perfect autumn list? 
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An update on the bloody cancer



The last time I wrote about the cancer diagnosis we were waiting to find out if it had spread and then what my treatment would be. This all seems like such a crazy long time ago to me, because, I guess, it was – it was over a month ago now that we got some idea of what lies ahead. I’ve been trying not to write about it all too often because honestly, it’s so boring, even though at some points there is nothing else in my brain but this.

Well, the good news is that after the operations I had in august we know that it hasn't spread to my lymph nodes and they got all the cancer out, so now I’m free of it and won't need any more surgery. But the bad news is because of the make-up of the cancer and the fact it was trying to attach itself to my chest muscle, I still have to have some bloody chemo (6 sessions, 3 weeks apart), and then some radiotherapy (28 sessions), and then some drugs after that (2-5 years worth), which all sounds like a barrel of laughs, right? They did give me the odds of it not returning without the treatment but they weren't really that great or worth taking the risk for - I have fur faces to see grow old.

And because I’m having chemo, before that I need to have some IVF treatment. Which is where we’re are at the moment.

Right now we’re waiting for news on the a second round of IVF, so that I can inform my oncology team when I’ll be able to start the chemo (it was meant to start on the 26th September but that hasn't happened), and then when I know when I’ll be starting the chemo, I’ll have an end date for the chemo. Which means we can plan the radiotherapy and get an end date for that. And that’s the important thing right? The end date! Because with the end date comes the end!

The problem with all the uncertainty on dates is it’s bloody hard to plan anything when you don’t actually know what you’ll be doing or how you’ll be feeling. I mean, I plan to sail through these next 6 months with a glass of prosecco in hand and a cold capped head full of hair, I know the reality might be jolly different but I hope it isn’t though.

At the moment though, I feel like a bit of a fraud. Because I’m not sick. Yet. The cancer has all gone and I got over the op pretty easily, besides some allergic reactions to the plasters they put on me. The scars are small. And my life hasn’t that changed much yet, well, besides having to go to the hospital all the time and the massive cloud of thoughts that seems to have taken over my brain and won’t let me sleep or concentrate because I am thinking of what’s to come. But people are treating me differently and that’s what makes me feel like a fraud. People are, in general, being nicer to me, hugging me tighter when they see me, asking me how I am more, buying me gin and other gifts none of which I mind, other people, mostly my mum, are treating me with kid gloves and not letting me do anything (and some other people have just disappeared altogether, which is fine as long as they don’t expect me to pop back up in their lives when they might be having boyfriend troubles in the future).

But that’s where my life is at the moment. Mostly waiting……..which is a problem for an impatient being like me!  
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Travel: A short break to Amsterdam

If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know a couple of weeks ago Jim and I headed to Amsterdam. It was a bit of a throw away weekend booked back in August as Jim had some airmiles that were running out. He’d just found out about a beer festival he wanted to go to and  I’d never been, so he booked us the flights for a long weekend and bought us the festival tickets.
Jim’s been over a few times for boys trips and stag do’s and the likes so he knows the city a little bit so I trusted him to be able to entertain me without taking me to the places they went to on those trips. I do not need to see some of the places they’ll have been on the stag do’s. But because of this I went without a plan of what I wanted to do or see, and it was lovely to do that for a change.
We stayed outside the city, in a really cool little Airbnb with a Wurlitzer in it and a couple of bikes at our disposal. It was a lovely little place, close to the tram stops, within walking distance of some great bars, about 10minutes away from the Foodhallen and a short ride from a little park too. Oh and it took about 30 minutes to walk in to the centre of Amsterdam too. 
We arrived on a Thursday night and headed home on the Sunday afternoon with a Saturday at the Borefts Beer Festival, so whilst we didn’t have the most time in the world in Amsterdam, what time we did have, I loved!  We spent our days mostly wandering in the crazy sunshine without a plan. Just seeing the canals and the cute houses. 

We ate Kobe burgers, and fancy omlettes, pastries from markets and little bags of marzipan fruits, In the Foodhallen we sampled ham cones, chicken wraps, pastry cakes ice creams and doughnut chicken burgers. We ducked in breweries and beer shops and followed the poke map on Jim’s phone. I dragged him to The Hoxton for a photostrip, and to the cheese museum when the queues at the Anne Frank house ticket only. And I took photos of every cute doorway, bike and basket combo or canal I saw, and to Jim’s credit, he didn’t stop me once.

We took a bike ride to the local park on bikes so big I couldn’t touch the peddles properly. We sampled a lot of what the Foodhallen had to offer. And then we headed on a little train adventure to drink some beer! The beer festival was about an hour by train at the Brouwerij de Molen in Bodegraven. The brewery bar is based beneath an awesome windmill.
We'd pre bought the tickets to the festival with tokens but I wasn’t really drinking during the trip because of some medication, which was badly timed I know, but I did have a taste of all the beers we had – I just didn’t drink as much of them as I could have! I totally fell in love with the sour beers, the sourer the better for me! We also had a super Omnipollo Mango Lassi beer and a great Cascade cherry number too!
The not drinking did mean that I sampled loads of the soft drink flavours out there too! I had a few pretty awesome cherry beers, but my favourite was the Albert Heijn cucumber water! Give me more of that, every day please!
And of course I made a mini movie of our time over there. Something to show how wonderfully sunny it was, how much fun we had and how beautiful the city is. We have friends moving there this winter so I can't wait to get back and let them show us around their favourite bits of the city too!
    

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Travel: My favourite snow resorts!

Last week the Burton catalogue landed through my door, which in my world is the signal that it's time to get serious planning our trips to the mountains for this winter.

I've been snowboarding now for just about 20 years (that's a terrifying thought!) and whilst last year was my first year without a trip to the hills (due to Jim hurting his ACL just before our holiday) I'm vowing that it'll be my last year with a break!

Originally, before the diagnosis, our plan was to head to Mammoth in California for a snowboarding trip in February, but it looks like we might have to move that trip a little which might mean the snow isn't so great by the time we get there, which just means we probably need to plan a trip to Europe too to get some snow time in!

With this in mind, I thought it might be fun to reminiss about some of my favourite resorts!
Whistler
We took a trip Whistler a couple of winters ago, in the midst of the worst snow they'd seen in decades, but it was still the most wonderful resort- it was likened to a Disney resort on snow, and it didn't disappoint. The runs are mostly wide and cruisey, and there were so many of them to choose from. We loved the Blackcomb side of the mountain best, but also spent a lot of time over on Whistler. And the Peak 2 Peak gondola between the two sides of the mountain was pretty impressive too. 

I stayed away from the parks because I am just too old, but there are some well planned lifts that pass over them so you can get a view and they just look amazing. The big ones are BIG, but the fun parks looked manageable, say, if your knees aren't broken!

The lift queues were short whilst we were there (I hear this isn't always the case though) and they were orderly (no french style queues). And the mountain food was great too. We're big fans of taking lunches up with us, but the food was so cheap and healthy (rather than €10 chips) that we didn't after the first day!

And off the mountain we fell in love with the town too. I know it's a purpose built resort, and usually in Europe that means ugly building but it's not like that at all. And we loved the variety of apres options. We might have had a few too many pitchers and bulldogs and boozy hot chocolates and plates of waffle fries.



Obviously as it's Canada it's not the cheapest to get to, and you probably won't pop over for just a week but it's worth every penny and if you're sensible you'll get to have an awesome extra holiday in Vancouver to boot!

Morzine & Avoriaz
I think the Portes du Soleil might be my favourite European ski area. I've been to Morzine with Jim and Avoriaz with the girls and it's just such an awesome resort.

For starters there is so much space. You've got some slopes actually in Morzine which you can definitely spend a leisurely day exploring but then when you head up to Avoriaz the fun really begins. For one there are just so many runs. I hate narrow road like runs and unless you're riding back into Morzine (which you don't need to do as there are gondolas) you don't need to touch a road run which is super unusual for pretty much any resort. Two, you've got fun things hidden all over the slopes, like the Burton Stash Park (which I've had some fun on in the past - although I'm too much of a wimp to venture on to nowadays). 

The only big downside to the whole ski area is how busy it is. It's not really a problem on the slopes but when you get to the lifts, you need to get your game face on. If you're not familiar with the french ski lift queuing technique then think Battle Royal, add in some annoying kids with poles who think skiing over your gear is acceptable and a lot of pushing and you might be somewhere close! 

Off the mountains too they are great places to be. Avoriaz is a purpose built resort so it's a bit ugly, but it's also a no car zone so you don't have to worry about being run over by anything but a horse drawn cart, skiier or snowboarder when you've had too much apres. Morzine however is a proper town. It's got shops and restaurants and cafe that feel like more than just ski resort venues. There are clubs and bars and there is also Mutzig, a legendary beer that is to blame for a lot of the apres mistakes!



And as it's only a bit over an hour from Geneva, it's super easy to get to, which means you can keep the costs down, especially as you can grab some excellent package deals from Igluski


Livigno

Livigno is the resort that my parents went to in the 70’s and it’s the place that I learnt to ski and snowboard in as a teenager so it will always hold a special place in my heart.

The resort is in the Italian Alps, about a 2 day casual drive from Sheffield (yes – my dad used to drive us there!) and is, importantly, duty free. I can’t say for sure that this influenced my parents in their decision to start going there but I have a feeling it might have. Oh and it’s also super high up, so it’s pretty snow sure too. We used to go at Christmas and New Year, right at the start of the season and I can’t remember there not being a decent amount of snow whenever we were there.

The resort is set in the middle of a valley with the slopes on either side. When my parents started going before the invention of electricity it was all T-bars to take you up the hill, but there are super-fast gondolas and chairs now. As a family we always did morning Ski School, no matter our ability levels, and it was great to force us to explore the mountains further than we would have, but I always favoured the Motolino side on my snowboard and looking at the videos from The 9 Queens competition, the park has progressed far beyond the dodgy kickers and the half pipe I broke my rib on when we first went! And it’s great for a bit of old school unepiece spotting- honestly there are some awesome outfits that should have been left in the 80’s!

The town itself is made up of 3 villages and it had a very traditional feel to it – most because it’s been there since the middle ages, no purpose built resort here. But the apr├Ęs was always fantastic. There are so many bars and restaurants and I remember a couple of clubs that we ventured to playing some perfectly dodge euro pop! There are also a couple of spa’s, and as the shopping is duty free, sooooooo many perfume shops! 

And looking at the prices of accomodation and liftpasses it's pretty cheap to get to too! 




Mammoth Mountain
Mammoth was my first taste of an American style resort.  It’s built by the same people who built Whistler actually – and when you’ve been to them both you can see the similarities. I lived here for a winter after uni and had the best time. Because we were there for the season my experience of Mammoth is probably a little different to that if I’d been there for a week, but I’m super excited to hopefully go back.

The mountains in Mammoth aren’t particularly high but the slopes are, like Whistler, mostly wide and great for broken knees like mine. One good snow days the back side of the mountain was a huge powder bowl, on sunny days the parks are the place to be. Being there for the season we didn’t really ride at the weekends as that’s when it’s really busy with weekend tripper from LA and San Fran, but the week days were pretty quiet and the lift queues, even from the main lodges were pretty short. 

Mammoth is where I learnt to love rails, and got forced to learn to properly ride with one foot out. It’s where I got an amazing farmers tan and where I discovered how much I actually love just heading off into the mountains on my own when my house mates were doing laps in the park. 

As I mentioned before, the town centre is purpose built, but the roads outside of the centre have a lot going on too, where as I think in Whistler everything felt more contained. We didn’t eat out much as poor seasonaires but we did have occasional meals out – Mammoth is where I first tried sushi, and we’d take our selves for a Carls Jnr $6 burger when we were feeling particularly flush. And there were some great happy hours to be had across town too. 

Like Whistler again, it’s not the cheapest to get to from the UK, but it’s a great spot if you also fancy seeing LA, San Fran or Vegas too!

What's your favourite resort? 



*This is a collaborative post with Igluski but all the view are my own. 
I really love these resorts!*
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A look back at September and some goals for October


September was an odd month. It was a juxtaposition of fun plans and hospital appointments for not so fun things. In the fun stakes I took a trip to Ilfracombe to see friends, we did a gin tasting at the WI, there were dinners with friends, and colourful walks, the most fun jewellery making experiences, and a little trip to Amsterdam that I’ll be sharing more from next week. There were a few opportunities for some mini movies too which is my new favourite thing to do and so, so easy! 

But we also had appointments. So many appointments about everything from chemo schedules to what we thought would be pre-treatment haircuts and Flash ended up at the vets about a billion times too, poor little guy! And I had a course of IVF treatments and the ops that go with that but there's more to come on that too.






And now we're looking forwards to October, which feels very up in the air at the moments as we have no dates for anything yet, but I've tried to put together some goals for the month to keep me a bit more present in it all, rather than just moving from one appointment to the next.

What are your plans and goals more the month? Tell me all the fun things you have in store. 
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