Sunday, January 31, 2021

Working From Home Tips from Debz

I've got a little bit of a different post today. You might know my friend Debz, who blogs as Wannabe Princess and who is a similar size to me so I always love to see what she's wearing. She also works as a Virtual Assistant, meaning she can do loads of admin tasks for businesses, leaving creatives and business owners free to do their work instead of answering emails and phones and so on. You can find out more about what she does here on her website

She wrote a post for me about working from home, which I've done for a long time but am not enjoying currently, and which Debz obviously does in her line of work. Here's Debz hints and tricks:

Hints & Tips for Working From Home

For lots of us, working from home has become the norm over the past few months. However, that said, I don’t think many of us would have anticipated back in March when we were asked to work from home that 8 months later we still would be. I’ve heard that some companies have already confirmed their employees can work from home throughout 2021 if they want.

As with any change to a working environment, it does take some getting used to. Working from home might seem like a dream to many – however it is very different to working in an office full of people so you probably  need to make some adjustments to make it work for you.

Create a Decent Workspace

Now that we know that working from home isn’t just something very temporary, you should work on creating a workspace that is comfortable. If you’re working full-time from home then using your laptop on your lap in front of the TV while sitting on the sofa may not be the best idea. I know that not everyone has the space for an office desk but try your best to create a comfortable workspace – a supportive chair is a must! Don’t be afraid to put up some photos and invest in some funky stationary. You’re likely to be spending lots of time here, so you want it to be somewhere you like.

Set Some Boundaries

It can be harder to switch off when you’re working from home. With your laptop and/or work phone in the same house it can be tempting to just ‘pop on and check your emails’. Mostly there is no harm in doing this a couple of times if you’re expecting something important, but if you get into the habit of doing this all the time you’ll rack up lots of unpaid hours! Keeping a good work/life balance is really important.

Work On Staying Motivated

At home there are lots more distractions than there would be at work – for starters housework might need doing and other household members might need your attention. Try to set yourself tasks and time limits so you know that you’re going to get the task at hand done. You can probably afford to be a bit more relaxed when working from home, but it is important to stay as motivated as possible and not let your work standards slip.

Be Sociable

When working on your own at home, you might find that you start to miss the hustle and bustle of working in an office. Take advantage of things like Zoom and Whatsapp groups to stay in touch with the people you work with. It might not be the same as seeing them face to face, but it does help to make keeping in touch everyone nice and easy. When you are able to, don’t be afraid to get out and about too, it’s nice to visit new places when safe to do so.

If you have any tips for working from home please share them below.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Christmas Wrap Up 2020

The 2nd of January was a nice day in my house so I thought I would write a quick post about it. It snowed! I love snow, if I don't have to go out in it. It's weird though because usually when it snows, I wake up and know it's snowed because it's so quiet outside. But since the start of the pandemic and especially since winter started, it's always quiet outside my house on the road! So that was weird. 

We just stayed in, but later on my Body Shop order arrived. I had placed a big order in the Christmas Eve sale, so two huge boxes arrived and I spent a bit of time sorting out people's orders and some goodie bags I'd done. I'm finding it quite easy - I get a steady stream of orders which is good, and while I don't make £££ from it I do make a bit of extra cash which is useful for Lee and I especially in light of the pandemic, which has seen my income fall. I'm enjoying it, which is the main thing.

It snowed more and stuck a bit, the kittens were very intriqued by it falling from the sky. 

I also took part in a couple of Secret Santas over Christmas. One of them was on the Real Houswives subreddit, which is why my gifts are Real Housewives themed. I loved this gift, it included two toys for the kittens and some Dreamies, which are lovely thoughtful presents and much appreciated. The other Secret Santa was organised by my friend Ingrid, and I know who sent to me, and much appreciated what they had gone for, including a candle which smells great. I also can't believe scrunchies are back in fashion! I haven't worn one in about 25 years, but I often have my hair in a bun if I can't be bothered washing it, so this is ideal and less damaging to my hair than some hair bobbles. 

Kittens watching the snow out of the front window. Poppy is on the right - you can just see the white on her legs and her lil white paws

Starting to come down in the yard

Secret Santa gifts from Janet. I LOVE the nail polish colour! 

My Reddit Secret Santa gifts. I love the Ashley Darby coaster, haha

Snow on the attic window

Candles! Did you know the Body Shop do candles and reed diffusers? This one smells of the forest, it's really nice

Alllll the sale goodies. That camomile cleansing balm is a top seller, everyone raves about it!

Saturday, January 23, 2021

New Year's Eve 2020

I never really enjoy New Year's Eve - I always find it quite stressful. Lee actively dislikes it, so except for the first year we were together, we've never spent it alone, because it's better for both of us if we're with other people. Quite a few years we spent it just with my parents, or since my dad died, with my mum and stepdad. This year we had hoped to be with some friends, but of course that couldn't happen. I wasn't at all looking forward to the evening, so Lee and I decided to have a nice meal and stuff and make the best of it. 

There's a garden centre near here that has a really lovely cafe, and I heard that they were doing a special New Year's Eve menu. We ended up looking just in time before their cut off, so that was lucky. We booked it over the phone and decided on 6.30 to pick up the food. I got dressed just before that into this new Simply Be dress that again I had got recently in the sale and was saving for New Year to make it a bit special. 

It's a lovely colour. It's more of a summer dress but I was mostly warm inside the house so it was fine. It's a lovely cheesecloth type of material, and I love the off the shoulder look as I think that suits me. I had a dress nearly this colour, but it got destroyed when I wore it when I had a cold and had applied Vicks Vaporub - it's now got grease marks on it that I can't get out :( So when I saw this dress in this gorgeous colour, I had to get it. 

We set off out in the ice to go pick the food up. Our yard doesn't get a lot of traffic on it so it can remain icy for ages. The staff at the cafe were really polite and the food was well packaged. We got home and had starts. There was fresh made bread and butter, then Lee had a chicken caesar salad and I had goats cheese tartlets. 

Then we both had curry, which came with rice and raita and was really nice. For dessert we both had chocolate and Biscoff cheesecakes, which were huge; I didn't eat all of mine. Then there was a handmade truffle too, which was a nice touch. I had a bottle of Prosecco alongside.

At 9pm we video chatted with all of Lee's family for about an hour, which was nice. We also watched Ferris Bueller's Day Off which I have seen but not for forever, so that was fun. At 11.15pm we video chatted with my family, and stayed on that chat until midnight when we welcomed in the New Year together. I'm sure lots of families did this and it was nice, although nor anything like normal.

I had some champagne to see in the new year but only drank one glass of it, so I had it the next night and the one after too, which was lovely as I do love champagne. In all, it was a nice night and I'm glad we made it a bit special.

Gorgeous sunshine yellow dress

Icy in the yard!

Plus it was so icy on top of the cafe building

Tartlets and chutney

Plus the bread, and look at my amazing tablecloth I made last year



Little truffle to finish the meal off

And here's Lee and I while we were video chatting :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Another Festive Outfit

Clearly we couldn't see anyone else over Christmas after Christmas Day itself, but a couple of days later we had to pop out so I pulled on this new dress from Simply Be. It's a Joe Brown's dress, you already know how much I like their stuff. I wasn't sure if this dress would fit me, but it does, and I think it's lovely. I wore it out with my Sprinkle of Glitter ballet cardigan which has ties around the waist. I love that cardigan, I don't wear it often enough. It's navy blue, which is perfect for this dress as the flowers are navy too. I like the little fake buttons running down the front. The sleeves are kind of split, which is a nice effect too. I'll definitely be wearing this again with tights, and I think it's a perfect summer dress too. 

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Christmas Day 2020

Well, Christmas wasn't at all usual, but it was nice. The day itself wasn't that unusual for me - we spent it with my mum, stepdad, and grandma, which often happens, but it was the stuff around Christmas that was different. We couldn't see Lee's family, we couldn't see my aunt, uncle, and cousins, and we couldn't get together with friends. I felt quite sad in the days after. 

We went to my mum's on Christmas Day, we got there around 10.30. We took the kittens! They need to be fed fairly often still, so leaving them for more than twelve hours isn't ideal. So we decided to take them. My mum has two cats who are twelve, so we weren't sure how exactly they would all get on. Millie, who is black like Jasmine, growled and grumbled and ended up being shut in the conservatory. Ruben, who is white with black bits, was quite happy to let the kittens just look at him, but then growled when Jasmine stole a little bit of turkey off him. In her defence, our kittens are fed together, so they think all food is for sharing! 

We did what we always do and had our starter at lunchtime. It was homemade leek and potato soup and it was lovely. We had our main course at around 4.30/5pm. I had a no beef Wellington from Morrisons and it was absolutely lovely - a fake sausage meat in the middle and mushrooms and cranberries on top, all in flaky pastry. It was really nice, I hope they do it all year. We had all the trimmings - roast potatoes, stuffing, cauliflower cheese, Yorkshire puddings, vegetables. Oh and bread sauce! So good. My mum had then made an orange cheesecake for dessert, which we ate around 7pm I think. It was really light and fresh. 

We of course had presents during the day. I got some lovely stuff including lots of vinyl and wine glasses from Lee, and a gold necklace and mechanical pencil from my Mum and Norman. I had a mechanical pencil that belonged to my dad, and a few weeks ago it gave up the ghost. I was really sad, so asked for another fancy one to replace it. I find a mechanical pencil useful for my job! 

I of course also got a bunch of books, I love getting books at Christmas! I'll be trying to read all of these pretty soon into the new year. I did this last year and I did quite well! 

My outfit was a navy dress from Joanna Hope, that I got via Simply Be in the sale. It was only about £20 and I was saving it for Christmas. I love the lace and fringing to it, I think it looks really special and I enjoyed wearing it for Christmas Day. I wore it with leggings and nothing else. I had lots of lovely navy jewellery to wear with it! I also wore these blush pink flats from Dorothy Perkins, I got them in the Debenhams sale recently so they were only around £7. They're wide fit and really cute.

Navy Joanna Hope dress with Evans leggings and Dorothy Perkins flats

Poppy going over to investigate Ruben to see what he's all about. I keep thinking my kittens are full grown now but seeing them next to actual cats it was obvious they are not!

My Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. It was lush. I wish I'd been able to have leftovers on Boxing Day!

Orange cheesecake

All the vinyl Lee bought me!

Fancy wine glasses, these were from TKMaxx

All the books I got, from a number of people. I'm really looking forward to a bunch of these!

Mechanical pencil

And some scented candles I got too!

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Drive In Cinema in Barnsley

I noticed that the drive in cinema we went to a few weeks ago was coming to Barnsley just before Christmas, and was showing Christmas films, so I asked Lee if he would want to go again, and he said yes, so we booked to see Die Hard at 9pm on the 22nd. 

Given that we live so close to where the cinema was, we didn't set off until about 8.50. When we got there, there was a bit of a queue, and it was about 9.30 by the time we were parked in place. We were the second to last back row but had a clear view of both screens, and again we were given the speaker to put inside the car. The film started about 9.40. We decided to order drinks, which you do through the website, and they arrived to our car at about ten past ten. It was lovely! The film didn't finish until about 11.40, meaning it was almost midnight by the time we got home!

But we had had fun and that's the main thing. Christmas is not at all like we would usually have it, something I'm really sad about, so I'm glad we made the most of an opportunity like that. I love Die Hard!

The screen, there were about four rows of cars in front of us

Me plus prosecco!

Saturday, January 9, 2021

What I Wore December 22nd

We needed to run a few errands yet again on the 22nd, including picking up food that I had ordered expecting my mum and stepdad to be able to come to ours on Christmas Eve, which of course they can't now do. So frustrating that I couldn't cancel the order, but Lee and I did have some of the nice food for lunch on the 22nd and the days following. 

I put this dress on. It's a Lady V Voluptuous one, which I've always admired and wanted to try, but been unsure about fit so I just never have. However, Debz was selling this dress and I liked the pattern, so I decided to buy it to see what the fit is like.

And honestly, it's great on me! The material has a slight stretch, which is good. I wondered if the boobs would be too open on me, and gape, but when I was standing up they were fine, and when I sat down they were fine too, I just pulled one side up and I'm sure you couldn't have seen anything from the front even though from the top I felt quite exposed. The dress has a zip down the back, although I found I could pull it on over my head. I love the dress, it would be great with an underskirt underneath for a real retro look.

I'll definitely keep an eye on Lady V in the future for dresses! 

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

What I Wore Dec 19th

On the 19th of December we had to pop out for some Christmas stuff. While we were out, the new Covid rules were announced, meaning my aunt and uncle could no longer come to Wakefield to have Christmas with my grandma as they're in Tier 4, and we could no longer travel to Durham to see Lee's mam and stepdad. (Our bubble was going to be my mum and stepdad, and Lee's mam and stepdad, on different days). I feel for Lee as he hasn't seen his parents or any of his siblings since last Christmas. It's a long time. I feel like if the government had told us that would be the case we could have dealt with it, but to press on with five days of relaxed rules and then snatch them away at the last minute is just heartbreaking. I've been dealing okay with the whole pandemic, I think, but I'm upset and frustrated and bored and lonely now. Lee has been working full time throughout, so I end up sitting in the attic room by myself because I obviously can't disturb him much while he's working, so I've been very lonely. It's fine, I'm obviously safer staying in, but I miss my friends. And I just feel that if the government had done more at the beginning for people, and with clearer and more consistent messaging, we could be in a really different place now. It makes me angry. 

Anyway, I was wearing a new skirt. I got it recently in my Simply Be order. It's a Joe Brown's one and it was in the sale so was less than £20. I love their stuff, but I find it quite expensive for what it is. So on sale is ideal for me. This skirt has two layers - the patterned on top and a black layer underneath. They're both cotton and don't have a lot of stretch, but there's some skirring on the back of the waistband which helps. I was surprised but in a good way when it actually fit me. 

It also has little clips and hoops which you can clip together to make some flouncy bits, which I do like and which I would do in the future. As it was, I didn't do that the first time I wore it. My cats were interested in the jangling clips, though! 

I wore it with leggings from Evans and a plain black top from Simply Be, but the skirt has a few colours in that you could pair it with. I think a red top would look lovely! The black under layer does stick out a couple of inches at the bottom, but I don't think that's overly clear in the photo. 

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Wax Melt Advent Calendars Review

If you know me, you'll know that I've really enjoyed the expansion in advent calendars that we've seen over the past few years. For the last few Christmasses, I've bought a Yankee Candle advent calendar. I've had the smaller ones before where you get tealights, although last year I got the mid price one which had a mixture of tea lights and votives. You can see my blogs about these here

Last Christmas I got a wax melt burner as a gift, which I'd asked for because I wanted to try some melts. I had them as a teen but hadn't had any in twenty years. All year I've been using melts I bought, some from Wax Addict and some from Scentful Wax, who make lovely melts that have a great scent and which I would highly recommend. I say 'some' from Scentful Wax, I've spent an absolute fortune on melts throughout this year. However! I use melts every day and love them, so I don't feel too bad about it. 

So as it came up to Christmas, I was thinking about a wax melt advent calendar. I saw an advert on Instagram for a calendar from a company I wasn't familiar with, so I took a chance and ordered it. The company is called Foxglove Fragrances and the calendar is quite big. Inside each door is a mini wax slab, made of three squares of wax. I would normally use two but three has been fine too. These scents have been all vaguely 'winter' themed, but not always specifically Christmas themed. They've all been really nice; I have really liked some and would order again. There's a bigger door behind #24, which I assume is a whole mini slab, so that will be nice. 

In the middle of November a present arrived from my mum - a wax melt advent calendar from a company called Wax Ever! Thanks Mum! I hadn't heard of this company either but they were local to me, based in Rotherham. This is a smaller calendar, and each melt is shaped like a present and is maybe an inch by an inch. There's been a variety of scents here, including some that smell like famous perfumes, some that have been unsual, like velvet peony and oud, and some Christmassy ones. I've really enjoyed this range of melts and will definitely order again. 

I've burned each melt at least once, on the day I opened it. I've had one in the morning and one in the evening, mostly. However, I've by no means used all the melt up in just one burning, so I've popped them out of my wax burners (I've got three now) and back into the bigger calendar where the doors are by far big enough to keep both melts. This means I've still got loads of wax left to use for January - I should imagine I can get at least one more burn out of all of them. 

I don't know how much my mum paid for the smaller calendar, but the bigger one was £35 which included delivery, which I felt was fair, and was the same price as the Yankee Candle one I bought last year. I'm preferring melts at the moment - I think the scent throw is better - so I would order this again. I would order bigger slabs from both companies as the scents are really good! 

Wax Ever on the left and Foxglove Fragrances on the right

The left is the Foxglove Fragrances tiny slabs - three squares is plenty
And the right is the cute present shaped melts from Wax Ever