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Okay, I know, I’ve given it away just a tiny bit in the name of this post, but take a look at my new necklace from Sinful. Pretend you didn’t see the title… can you guess what it is?

vibrator necklace sex toys

What’s that? You think its a mini clitoral vibrator? Oh my God, you’re right! However did you guess?

*cough*

If you hadn’t known though, it wouldn’t have been the first thing that sprang to mind would it? I definitely haven’t come across any vibrator necklaces before. (Pun intended. Sorry not sorry.) This one is the Crave Vesper Necklace from Sinful, which immediately makes me think of James Bond and Vesper martinis and makes it extra sexy.

It has four different vibration programmes – three continuous and one pulsating – and you never have to worry about it running out of batteries because it’s rechargeable via a USB cable that’s included. The whole thing comes in a beautiful box, making it look simply like an innocent piece of jewellery. View Post

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Hello and welcome to another ‘I made this a year ago and I’m just catching up!’ post. I’m very happy to have you here. I made this focaccia flower art bread around the same time as the tear and share chocolate star bread I posted a few days ago, and it has taken me an equally long time to actually get round to telling you about it.

You might say that the moment has passed, many, (many) months ago, and I that should do something new instead, but this focaccia bread art is just so damn pretty and I was so proud of it, I’m going to make you look.

Focaccia flower art bread

YOU SEE??

To be honest, I probably need to apologise for the quality of the pictures in this post. It was lockdown, I was lazy – I don’t know, I just didn’t have the enthusiasm for lights or a proper camera. It’s not as bad as the photography in my Pizza Hut vs Dominos review mind you. We can all be grateful for that.

Anyway the gist is that it’s not that hard to make your own flower art bread, it’s just a little time consuming. Totally worth it though if you are a show off like me. You could casually turn up at a PTA picnic with your homemade loaf and be all ‘Oh this? Oh it’s nothing, just some focaccia art bread, nothing fancy.’

You’d be lying of course, because it’s super fancy. View Post

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I made this tear and share chocolate star bread in January 2021, in full lockdown banana bread hysteria mode, but as lockdown also left me feeling like I’d much rather be making and eating chocolate bread than actually writing about it, I’m only just getting around to this post now.

Never mind. As Bee always says when she’s editing stuff I’ve written – no one will miss it because they won’t know it was there in the first place.

It’s here now, and that’s the main thing, because it really is worth telling you about. It’s the kind of baking that ticks a lot of boxes – it’s very fun to do, it makes an excellent picture for Instagram AND it tastes good. Normally I’m a ‘two out of three ain’t bad’ kind of girl with cooking, (RIP Meatloaf), so this star bread nails it.

Tear and share chocolate star bread

See? I told you it was good for Instagram – nice and symmetrical and square, like we used to do in the old days. Bung a polaroid photo style border around it, job done.

As you’re here you’re probably wondering how to make it. I tore the recipe out of a copy of one of the Tesco magazines sometime in late 2020, but I did share a picture of it on Instagram at the time, which I’ve managed to find. I’ve zoomed in, squinted a bit, and hopefully have got all the ingredients right.  View Post

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Who doesn’t love a good candle? They may be the ultimate self-care cliché, but a good scented candle really does have a positive impact.

Scented candles have become a big part of my work from home life during the pandemic. Where once I’d head out to a cafe in town to work for the morning, (and not just for the brunch, honestly), I’ve instead had to create a workspace for myself at home. It’s been hard. I spent a lot of 2020 not working very much at all, and when I finally forced myself to put down the murder mysteries and come in from the garden, I repainted my spare room a dark green in a bid to create myself a serious but soothing work environment. (I have an Instagram highlight called workspace if you want to have a nose.)

I also bought about 48 scented candles.

I have a whole row of them lined up on the windowsill that faces me as I sit at my desk, and more on the desk itself. Whenever I realise I’ve been at my desk for an hour and done nothing but share Tinder screenshots on Instagram stories, I light some candles. I find the process of lighting them in itself can be a useful ritual, signalling to my brain that it’s time to get on with things, and the gently flickering light and the soft smells that quickly fill up my tiny green office lull me into a more contented state of work flow.

One of my favourite candles at the moment was a gift from Nooraa – one of their dark amber and sandlewood soy candles, made in the UK and with natural soy wax. Nooraa is all about sustainable luxury, so their candles contain no plastics, aren’t tested on animals and are 100% vegan.

Nooraa scented soy candle View Post

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Includes gifted items from Lily Blanche

On Monday I went into town for a meetingThat sounds terribly exciting, but I use the word town in the traditional sense i.e. I walked into Taunton town centre, not the fancy sense that rich people use to mean going into London to see a show. Shame.

Still, it WAS exciting. I changed out of my muddy dog walking clothes especially, and wore my fur coat, which I only get to wear I’m on my own as otherwise Mako freaks out a bit. I think she might think I’m being attacked by some other sort of animal? I took the obligatory selfie, and here I am, looking quite the part.

Lily Blanche pearl necklace

As you may have spotted, I’m also wearing a rather lovely baroque pearl necklace, which was a recent gift from a lovely jewellery company called Lily Blanche, who have a whole range of beautiful necklaces, lockets and personalised jewellery. I chose the baroque pearl because of the inspiration behind the Lily Blanche brand, which you can read about on their website:

‘The Lily Blanche story beings on the windswept Island of Skye in the Inner Hebrides, where I spent childhood holidays with my grandmother, Lily Blanche Sheridan. It was here, playing on the shore of the loch, opposite my grandmother’s white-washed croft, that I first came across real pearls washed up on the rocks.’

Isn’t that a lovely image? When I’m wearing the necklace I can imagine the thrill as a child of finding a real pearl just lying there, sandy amongst the rocks. It sounds like just the sort of adventure I longed for when I was younger. (And now if I’m honest.) View Post

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In my opinion, Valentine’s Day is one of the most overrated occasions ever invented.

Regardless of whether you’re single or in a couple, Valentine’s Day has something to make you feel like a chump. Couples get to go out for dinner and spend twice as much as they normally would on a mediocre meal, just because there’s a single rose in a glass jar on the table, and they have the cringe-fest that is Valentine’s Day gift giving.

Love log anyone??

(I will never be able to forget the love log.)

Singletons on the other hand get to wallow in the self-pity bath that is The Media, (she says, in a scary voice, as though the media is a devilish beast that lives in a cave), surrounded by Instagram images of happy people crafting ‘I love you’ signs for their partners out of pine cones and generally looking like they might just die with the joy of having found The One.

STOP THE TAPE.

This is not reality. Just as there are millions of people all over the world in relationships they could probably do without, so too are there equal numbers of single people absolutely living their best single lives, relishing the fact that they will never have to fake looking pleased to have been given a love log.

Today I am celebrating ALL THE SINGLE LADIES with some ideas for alternative ways to enjoy Valentine’s Day and I am teaming up with Competition Finder to give one lucky person a £50 One4all gift card that you can spend in loads of different shops and restaurants.

It’s time to TREAT YOSELF.

First though, here are some alternative Valentine’s Day ideas for singletons to help get you in the mood for self love…

Take yourself out for brunch

Dinner is the classic option for Valentine’s Day, but with dinner you have to surround yourself by couples pretending to be deeply in love and definitely not looking at who’s on the other tables. Plus if you’re new to eating alone then dinner can feel a bit high pressure – brunch is much more low key, and also much better value.

If you’re local to me then I have recommendations in my brunch club, otherwise do some research, pick your spot and go and indulge in a meal alone. Revel in being able to take as many pictures of your brunch as you like without anyone rolling their eyes at you. Try not to cry if you can’t find a good eggs florentine.

*coughs*

brunch club slummy single mummy View Post

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Today I’m going to go out on a limb and say something that I’m sure an awful lot of people are going to disagree with. This doesn’t come easily to me as I very much like to be right all the time and I want other people to like me, but I think it’s good sometimes to challenge yourself, so here goes…

I don’t think ghosting is that bad.

*GASP*

There, I said it. I don’t think ghosting is always the absolutely appalling way to behave that a lot of people make it out to be, and I bet that secretly I’m not alone. I have been ghosted and I have ghosted other people and I’m comfortable with both.

I wonder if being self-employed for over a decade has toughened me to it. I’m forever sending pitches or replies to enquiries about my blog and hearing nothing back. Sometimes this is just after one email, but sometimes it’s after a whole string, planning a project, picking dates and then just nothing. I am fine with this. I get it. Sometimes stuff doesn’t work out, people are busy. It’s not a big deal to me.

For anyone who’s not entirely certain what ghosting means, it’s essentially when you just stop communicating with someone, normally someone you’ve been dating or chatting to online as a potential partner. It might be that you’ve just exchanged a few messages with them on Tinder or it might be that you’ve been actively dating for a while.

Now while I don’t condone ghosting if you’ve actually built up a reasonably serious or intimate relationship, I think that at the chatting stage, or after just a date or two, it’s perfectly acceptable to just STOP. Sure it might be annoying if you’re on the receiving end and have felt like there was a connection there, but is it really the end of the world? No.

I’ve had plenty of people do this to me and I’ve done it to other people too and I know that 99% of the time it’s not about the other person. Wasting hours desperate to know ‘what you did wrong’ is pointless because it’s very probably nothing to do with you at all. It’s because the other person got busy or scared or bored or changed their mind or WHATEVER, the fact is that it doesn’t matter. Move on. View Post

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Male menopause

Before Christmas I was sent a press release about the male menopause. At the time I ranted and cursed and decided I would definitely write a blog post about it, but then I ate some Lindor and watched some Poirot instead and nothing happened.

Post-Christmas though, (although not quite post-Lindor – count is three today so far), it’s still on my mind, and so I’m back, still fuming.

I’m going to take you through the press release and pick out some of my favourite lines. Just so you know, I did reply to the original email and ask if, as women, we couldn’t just have this ONE THING, but I received no response. I can only assume that the man who sent it was under the influence of some kind of low-testosterone induced brain fog, otherwise he would have replied immediately.

Let’s start with the title…

‘MALE MENOPAUSE – THE UNSPOKEN TABOO SUBJECT IN MEN’S HEALTH’

I don’t know about you but I am sobbing already at the thought of all these men so underrepresented in all matters medical, their health needs hidden under the vast mountain of knowledge and experience and research that is women’s health. My heart is bleeding. View Post

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I have two questions for you:

Do you like chocolate?

Dur, silly question.

Do you like art?

Okay, slightly more pompous. What does it even mean to like art?? I had a boyfriend once who on our first date brought out a set of postcards he had prewritten with questions to find out things about me. To be honest at the time I kind of liked it, because I’m drawn to intense weirdos, but one of the questions was something like ‘how do you feel about art?’ and that was a bit much, even for me. Art just IS isn’t it? Some stuff you like, some is pointless, e.g. all modern art.

I JEST! (But seriously, modern art, I don’t get it?)

Anyway.

In this post I am COLLIDING the worlds of chocolate and art with a giveaway of chocolate from Coco, the chocolatiers who create not just beautiful chocolate, but beautiful wrappings too, with prints and patterns created both by individual artists and as collaborations with organisations like the Tate and The Wallace Collection Museum.

It’s all very lovely and also delicious. I can testify to this as I ate about three different bars whilst wrapping presents because I had bought shed loads of it and forgotten who I planned to give it to.

Today I’m giving you the chance to share in this artistic, chocolatey joy. Just at the point where you thought you could never eat another sweet thing in your life, you realise that Christmas is done and real life resumes and perhaps what you need first is just a little square or two of gin and tonic dark chocolate.

Win chocolate

If you’d like to win ALL THREE of these bars of artisan chocolate, guaranteed* to make your life at least 35% better than it was before, then all you have to do is enter my giveaway via the widget below.

The first entry takes you for a little look at the food section of my blog, just in case this post has whetted your appetite for a spot of baking or brunch, and the rest are social media related entries. You’re not obliged to follow my Facebook or Instagram pages once you’ve had a look, but if you would like to I would very much appreciate it. It’s hard work to stay visible on Instagram these days, so I am always grateful for any interactions. Thank you. Kind regards.

The competition will close at 11.59pm on January 8th 2022 and full T&Cs apply. Good luck!

 

Win luxury chocolate from Coco

*Not guaranteed.

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How ARE you?

It’s a question I feel like we’ve been asking each other a lot over the last couple of years, and for at least the first 18 months of that I would have said ‘I’m fine!’

Fine. It’s such a nothing word isn’t it?

‘Oh you know,’ I might have followed up with, ‘just plodding along!’

PLODDING. Ergh, what a grim description to have of your own life.

If you’ve asked me in the last few months though, as long as you haven’t caught me on a bad dog day, then I definitely won’t have described myself as plodding, because I have been feeling GOOD.

ACTIVELY GOOD. Look at me this morning – this is an actively good face.

Now when I say good, I don’t mean I’m bouncing off the walls in excitement, full of boundless energy, in the gym every morning or anything like that, let’s not get silly, but I feel NORMAL. View Post

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A few months ago I went to a Christmas press event in London. It seems bonkers to say, but actually that was probably a bit late even for Christmas press stuff. (Most monthly magazines have a 4-6 month lead in time and so ‘Christmas in July’ is the theme of a lot of events.)

It was a little heavy on the toys for me, but I had several nice chats throughout the day with a not unattractive man who was cooking up tasty treats on the George Foreman grill stand, so that was nice.

One of my best bits though was chatting to the team behind Bath House, the artisan fragrance and natural skincare company. Bath House makes a whole range of gorgeous products for hair, body and skin and their big thing is sustainability – they are committed to an ethical and transparent supply chain, want to reduce plastic use wherever possible, and use loads of recyclable materials. They’re good people basically.

The thing that stuck with me though was their range of fragrances and the process that goes into them. Rather than just thinking ‘oh let’s have something floral blah blah’, a lot of their fragrances are designed to try and capture a FEELING. The nice chap from Bath House told me about one of their newest creations, called Hide & Seek.

His starting point, he told me, was an actual game of hide and seek. Not played by children though – his idea was for an adult game of hide and seek, perhaps as part of a weekend away in a country house.

Picture the scene… It’s 1922, there are martinis, beaded dresses and snow outside. (I may be embellishing some of his story here). The seeker starts to count and we scatter throughout the old house, looking for somewhere to hide. I find myself in the dining room and hide myself behind a heavy silk curtain, a deep pink, decorated with roses. I try to breath quietly, but I’m excited, hoping that I’m hidden well, but not *too* well for a certain person to be able to find me and squeeze behind the curtain…

Yes. Well.

*coughs* View Post

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Do you remember back in January when I wrote about five things I wanted to do after lockdown?

No me neither to be honest, but one of them was apparently to go to the theatre, (which does sound like something I’d say), and I was reminded of it recently when I was invited to make the theatre dream come true with a trip to London to see The Prince of Egypt at the Dominion Theatre.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been to see a proper musical, and needless to say I was excited. I was excited more generally too for going to London and doing fun things like having lunch in a restaurant in Covent Garden that I’d seen in a magazine. I wouldn’t want to live in London, but there is something magical about a day out there. I really felt that last weekend. People travel hundreds and thousands of miles to visit London, and here I am able to pop there for the day on the train. I really am very lucky.

It was particularly magical visiting at Christmas and getting to see all of the Christmas lights and soak up some ‘Christmas in the capital’ vibes with a trip to see The Prince of Egypt.

Here I am, posing for a not at all awkward selfie before the start of the show: View Post

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