Posts tagged Lifestyle Blog
I’d been hoping for Krispy Kreme to come to Leicester’s Highcross shopping centre ever since it was redeveloped in 2008, and I know this was a wish shared by many. And now, after years of waiting, thanks to popular demand, Leicester finally has its first kiosk! The kiosk, which is located on the ground floor of Highcross outside Tiger, launched on 14th February, with 170 people waiting in line before it even opened. Unfortunately I was unable to make it down on opening day, but I made a visit last weekend to grab myself some much coveted doughnuts!
I got there just before the kiosk opened at 10:30am, and there was already a queue forming. The kiosk is bigger than I was expecting, with a full-size cabinet full of sweet treats, hot and cold drinks available, and a fairly large seating area. I was also impressed by the staff that I met, who were all friendly and efficient.
At any one time, Krispy Kreme has around fifteen different varieties to choose from, and you can buy them singly or in threes, or you can choose one of their boxes – original glazed dozen, assorted dozen, or choose your own dozen. I got the assorted dozen, which featured twelve of Krispy Kreme’s best sellers, including my two all-time favourites – Strawberries and Kreme, and Chocolate Dreamcake.
I also spotted Krispy Kreme’s two latest limited edition offerings in the cabinet, both of which I will be going back for. The Lotus Caramelised Biscoff doughnut is filled with biscuit spread-infused Kreme, and is topped with biscuit spread icing, biscuit crumb and white chocolate shavings. The Reese’s Peanut Butter doughnut is filled with, you guessed it, Reese’s peanut butter! It’s then finished off with chocolate icing, hazelnuts, and Reese’s peanut butter drops.
Krispy Kreme is very much a welcome addition to Leicester, and I’m looking forward to visiting again soon!
On Valentine’s Day I turned 25, and though I felt unwell (for the third birthday in a row!), I had a great day. Charles treated me to a lovely breakfast in bed of Belgian chocolate waffles, hot tea, and fresh orange juice. We then went for a long walk around Bradgate Park with my family, and had lunch at a tea room, and in the evening we had a pizza party with amazing chocolate birthday cake!
I was lucky enough to receive lots of cards, a few Highcross and Amazon vouchers from friends and family, and some gorgeous gifts, so I thought I’d do a little haul post to show you some of what I got.
My mum gifted me this watch, and it’s absolutely stunning. I love the marcasite detail and I’ve been wearing it every day since I got it.
My two main presents from Charles were these Kate Bush themed necklaces. The first one is from her official website, and features lyrics from one of my favourite songs, Cloudbusting. I actually saw this when I went to see Kate in London last year, but couldn’t afford it at the time. I really wasn’t expecting to get it for my birthday, so was so happy when I opened it! The second necklace is made of silver and was personalised just for me. I love it.
Charles also got me this awesome Game of Thrones t shirt. I can’t wait to style it for an outfit post in the coming weeks!
My dad gave me a few bits for the house, my favourite of which is the Moroccan lamp. It’s made of metal and is lined with purple fabric, and gives off a lovely ambient glow. It now takes pride of place on my living room fireplace.
Much to my delight I get quite a few books every year, and this year was no different. Charles gave me ‘A First Book of Nature’, and ‘An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth’ by my space hero, Chris Hadfield. The rat training book was from an old school friend, and my sister gave me ‘Wreck This Journal’ and ‘The Pocket Scavenger’, both by Keri Smith. I can’t wait to start filling them in!
All of the above were parts of gifts from my old school friends, who I celebrated with last night at my favourite restaurant. There was a definite rat theme to their gifts this year!
And of course, no birthday haul would be complete without an abundance of chocolate!
Last but not least, my talented mum made me this super cute heart wreath. She crocheted the flowers herself, and decorated them with buttons. This now adorns my bedroom door and it looks right at home.
Today I thought I’d share with you a lovely little Valentine’s recipe from Roberts Bakery. This Strawberries and Cream Valentines Sandwich is easy to make, and would be a fun addition to a Valentine’s picnic this weekend.
Roberts sliced white is perfect for this sandwich due to its ‘soft and fluffy’ texture, which goes really well with the creaminess of the soft cheese, and the sweetness of the strawberries. I can just imagine eating this alongside some cakes and pastries, chocolate truffles, and a flask of hot tea, whilst out on a romantic Valentine’s walk. Lovely!
As my regular readers will know, a few months ago my fiancé and I moved in together. Since then I’ve slowly been trying to make the house look more like a home, and though it isn’t yet complete (working full-time means very little time to nest!), we’re almost there. As such, I thought it was about time I showed you some of our decor, starting with the living room.
When we moved in the house had been freshly decorated with light brown and white paintwork, and a beige carpet throughout. Neutral tones aren’t usually my thing, but they were easy to work with when it came to adding colour. The living room has been brightened with purple throws, cushions and curtains, and an ambient orange lamp, but it’s the little extras that make it even more homely.
I’ve always liked small mammals and woodland creatures, and the current trend for such wildlife has meant I’ve managed to pick up some lovely pieces. Here are a few of my favourites…
I don’t usually like having an abundance of cushions everywhere, but that all changed when I found these awesome animal photo cushions in Asda, for £7 each. There were several different animals to choose from, but I went for the squirrel, as they’re one of my favourite animals, and the Highland cow, as it reminds me of a lovely time spent in the Scottish countryside a few years ago. These take pride of place on my sofa, and as you can see Miggley approves!
Time for Tea
One thing I struggled to find was a nice set of coasters, and then when I was about to give up, I came across these gorgeous Sass & Belle Wooden Owl Coasters from Flamingo Gifts. There are six coasters in the set (much better than the typical four you usually get!), and they come in a handy stand to prevent clutter when not being used. The quality and design of the coasters is fantastic, and they look great on my coffee table.
The Abode Mouse & Field Mug is also from Flamingo Gifts, and it caught my eye as soon as I saw it as the little grey mouse reminds me of my Russian Blue rat, Heather. I prefer a mug to a cup (it holds more tea!), and this is the perfect size for my morning brew. The simple but eye-catching geometric design is by artist Luzelle van der Westhuizen, and is a good fit for my natural theme. It would also make a nice present as it comes in a gift box, and costs an affordable £8.50.
By the Fire
My fireplace features a lot of owls, with the main attraction being this owl clock. My mum gifted this to me when we first moved in, and I love how it matches the wooden coasters above.
Another of my favourite owls is this lovely felted piece that I bought from a street market in Edinburgh in the summer, during the Fringe. It took me a while to find the right place for it, but it now has a home at the side of the fireplace.
I have two of each of these hares and mice. I have a thing for hares, and I bought these in Glastonbury about ten years ago whilst on a camping trip. They’re special to me, and it’s nice to finally have them on show in my own home! The mice are actually a salt and pepper set, but I have them on display as ornaments as they remind me of my heart rat Mog (RIP). Aren’t they cute?
The Rat & The Hare
These rat and hare sculptures were Christmas gifts from my dad, and they’re incredibly beautiful. They’re by Norfolk-based artist Tracy Whinray, and are wonderfully textured with such expressive little faces. I think they look great in front of the wooden pentagram, handmade by my step-dad.
What do you think of my woodland theme?
*The Wooden Owl Coaster Set and Abode Mouse & Field Mug were sent to me for review purposes. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.*
A couple of weeks ago Charles and I added a few more members to our family – three more baby rats! We originally wanted two more to live with Mabel and Heather, as the intro between them and Miggley just wasn’t working, but when we found out that the breeder we use had three females left, we decided to get them all.
The three new girls are called Pumpkin, Pingu and Bramble, and they’re currently ten weeks old, and incredibly cute! Here they all are…
Pumpkin is an Agouti Berkshire and is a little feisty thing. She’s very confident and keeps play fighting with Mabel, which is always fun to watch.
Pingu (so-called because she’s black with a white belly!) is my little shy girl. She’s smaller than the other two, and quite timid, but she’s so loving. She reminds me a lot of Mog in her demeanour and appearance.
Bramble is an Agouti Hooded Dumbo – my first ever dumbo rat! Just look at those gorgeous ears. She’s feisty like Pumpkin, and also likes picking play fights with her big sisters.
The three new girls have the same dad as Mabel and Heather, which I think made the introduction process a lot easier. After a week of quarantine we let all the girls meet each other on neutral territory, and they got on straight away. Nobody showed any signs of aggression, and after two intros they were ready to live together!
Charles and I also invested in a Savic Royale Suite cage, which is a top-of-the-range piece of kit. It can fit about twelve rats, but we’re sticking to five for now, so they’re very lucky in terms of space! The five rats have now been living together since Monday, and we’ve had no trouble. In fact, they’re all like best of friends! Every morning I find them squished into one bed together asleep – so cute!
On Thursday, myself and Charles attended a VIP event at the Leicester Cinema de Lux, for the launch of the new XPlus screen, with a release day screening of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1.
The event started with a drinks reception in the swanky Director’s Lounge, complete with red carpet. For an hour we were showered with glasses of Prosecco, canapés and lovely little desserts. I particularly enjoyed the mini millionaire’s shortbread which was dusted with gold glitter! We also spotted a few Leicester Tigers rugby players in the crowd.
We then headed up to the XPlus screen, which I was really excited about, and I wasn’t disappointed. As soon as we entered the auditorium I was amazed to see the size of the screen. I knew it was going to be big, but it was even bigger than I expected. It’s literally floor to ceiling, wall to wall, and also slightly curved.
Everyone at the event was treated to yet more refreshments in their seats – a drink, and a bag of popcorn, along with a couple of other goodies. When everyone was settled, the manager of Cinema de Lux, and one of the main men at Dolby both gave a speech. They explained that Leicester’s XPlus screen is one of only five in the country, and is designed to give a premium, immersive cinema experience. The screen is in fact 60 feet wide by 20 feet high, and provides sharp imagery, on point brightness, and vibrant colour.
Another special aspect of the XPlus experience is the sound. The auditorium features a Dolby Atmos sound system, and is fitted with over fifty speakers, which provide 360° sound. Having speakers all over the walls and ceiling, which are controlled by sound specialists, allows for dialogue to follow the characters, and for sound effects to come in at all angles, providing sound which completely envelops the audience. Before the film the sound system was demonstrated with thunder-storm sound effects, and I was blown away. The sound of rain and thunder flooded the room from all angles, and I actually got goosebumps because it felt so real.
After the introductions we got to watch The Hunger Games. Unfortunately I didn’t enjoy the film that much, and I’m not sure it was the right film to show off the Dolby Atmos sound system, but the XPlus definitely improved the viewing experience.
I’m incredibly impressed by the XPlus screen, and after experiencing it once I’m sure a ‘normal’ cinema screen will now just look and sound inadequate. I can imagine the immersive sound working really well for action movies, and I bet it would make horror movies even more scary if you could hear things coming up behind you!
The festive season is just around the corner, and I’ve already been invited to a few Christmas parties and meals out. As such, I’ve started to do some online window shopping for the perfect party outfits for this season, and I’ve found that George at Asda have some really gorgeous women’s dresses in their Autumn/Winter collection. I’m a sucker for a classic LBD, and George have two in particular that I’ve been eyeing up. It’s been a while since I put together a wishlist type post, so I thought I’d do one to show you how I’d style these two dresses.
George Sequin V-Back Dress / New Look Pony Hair Structured Clutch / Jeffrey Campbell Lita Ankle Boots / Zara Interwoven Chain Necklace
George Peplum Bodycon Dress / Irregular Choice Stitch In Time Clutch / ASOS POETIC Platforms / George Bobble Bead Necklace
Outfit One features George’s Sequin V-Back Dress, which retails for an incredibly affordable £28. Sequins and a V-Back would both make a huge statement at a glitzy Christmas party, so this dress doesn’t need a huge amount of accessories. A simple structured clutch would be ideal to offset the sparkle, and a chunky chain necklace would add a bit more texture and depth. It’s not always easy to find a pair of shoes to go with sequins, but I quite like the look of a chunky heel with this kind of dress, hence why I chose a classic pair of Litas to go with it.
Outfit Two features George’s Peplum Bodycon Dress, which costs just £30. I absolutely adore this dress as it’s classic and feminine, but has a bit of an edge with its faux leather waist detail. To enhance the waist, I chose a pretty floral clutch by Irregular Choice which has a similar black on black look. An elegant pair of stilettos and a beaded necklace finish off this look, but I think it’d look just as stunning without the necklace.
Which of these two looks do you like best?
*This post is a collaboration.*
A couple of weeks ago I had to say goodbye to my beautiful heart rat Mog. She’d been suffering with a pituitary tumour for a little while, and though we tried every treatment available, it unfortunately got too much for her and she had to be put to sleep. I was absolutely heartbroken and I still miss her like mad, as does her sister Miggley, who was left alone.
Rats are very sociable animals and aren’t supposed to live singly, which left us with no choice but to get her some cagemates! After contacting many breeders all over the Midlands, I eventually managed to find two young females from Destiny Rats. After a week of waiting, last weekend we finally got to collect our new babies, and here they are…
Heather is a Russian Blue Berkshire, and Mabel is a Buff Berkshire, and they are both now nine weeks old, and so, so soft and cute! As they were handled from a very young age by the breeder and her family, they are both incredibly friendly and loving, and we get mobbed every time we go up to their cage.
We have only just started the introduction process with the two girls and Miggley, so they haven’t met properly yet, but they are very curious about each other from afar. They will gradually be introduced over the next couple of weeks, and eventually they will all be living together in one big cage. Hopefully they’ll all get along fine!
I plan on blogging about how the introduction goes, so check back soon for an update.
P.S. Miggley says “kmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm8ppppppppppppo[pyu”
This weekend is a big weekend for Charles and I, as we are moving into our first home together! As soon as we both started our new jobs, we started looking for a house to rent, and luckily we found the ideal one really quickly. It’s a gorgeous three bedroom terrace, with a lovely little yard, and it’s nice and bright inside which I love. It also has a brand spanking new kitchen which I’m incredibly pleased about.
The only downside of moving house is the packing. As I’m sure you all know, it is VERY time consuming, hence my lack of posting over the last couple of weeks. I’ve already moved so much stuff out of my room, but it looks worse than it did before… What’s that all about?!
One thing that has made packing easier, though, is the help I’ve been given from Eco Movers! They kindly donated one of their packing materials kits for me to use during the move, containing eight medium boxes, ten large boxes, a roll of tape, and one hundred sheets of white packing paper. They also included a sheet of moving tips, which has also been useful! The boxes are a good size, and I’ve mostly been using them for shoes, bags and ornaments so far. They can also be used over and over again if you open them carefully, which saves a lot of money in the long run.
We got a lot done today, and we’re hoping to have everything in the house and organised by next weekend. Exciting times! Check back soon for more house related updates.
*This packing materials kit was sent to me by Eco Movers for review purposes. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.*
Yesterday was a very special day for me, as I went to see Kate Bush perform live – something I never thought I’d have the chance to do. I’ve been listening to Kate Bush’s music for as long as I can remember. At the age of three I would put on my mum’s Kate Bush records and dance around to them, and her music has always provided comfort to me during tough times, but also so much happiness. But considering that her first and last tour occurred eleven years before I was even born, and knowing her reservations about touring, I never even dreamed I’d get to hear her music live. So when it was announced earlier this year that she’d be doing a 22-date run at the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith, I couldn’t quite believe it, but I was incredibly excited. Luckily for me, I’ve been a member of Kate’s mailing list for years, which meant I received an access code to the fan ticket presale, and as soon as they went on sale I snapped up four tickets as quickly as I could. When the tickets eventually went on general sale they completely sold out in less than fifteen minutes, leaving many people disappointed, so I feel so lucky to have got them.
During the run up to the show the media was buzzing with news about Kate’s first live performance in 35 years, but I managed to avoid hearing much about the show, so it would remain a big surprise, and after weeks of building excitement, the day I got to see Kate Bush finally came around! I won’t say much about the show as I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but it was so much more than just a concert. Obviously there was music, but there was also a theme, spectacular theatre, film and props. It was magical, and the mood in the room was really positive and infectiously happy. Kate’s voice is still just as melodic and soul-touching as it always was, and she’s incredibly beautiful in every way. She’s a born performer and her stage presence is quite something, and the best part was that she clearly enjoyed every second of the show just as much as the audience did. I feel so privileged to have been in the same room as Kate Bush and to have heard some of my favourite songs performed live. It was honestly one of the best moments of my life and I’ll never forget it.