L-O-L-A Lola

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I briefly introduced you to Lola in my last post, but I also promised puppy spam! Well, here it is. Ali and I had been wanting a dachshund for a while now and when we found her we knew she was perfect for us! 

Lola is 12 weeks old now and has quite rapidly changed from a timid little puppy when we got her 3 weeks ago, to a cute little trouble maker! She will chew anything she can get near, hates hairdryers and prefers to sit herself on my chest than somewhere convenient like her bed, blanket, basically anywhere other than my chest. She has to wait another few weeks until after her 2nd vaccination until we can take her out for walks but I can't wait!

For anyone wondering she is a dachshund and her pattern is dapple.

upload upload I guess somebody is sleepy from all the whining done last night! #lolathesausage Oi lemme in! Sausagey upload

Sleeps #lolathesausage

Oh ok lemme just have quick snooze on your tummy to render you immobile :p Wee paws #lolathesausage Good morning Lola! She was good last night, hardly cried compared to constant 7 hours of it before. More sleeps Arm crook = perfect sleeping space. Lol I reckon I've lost a million followers from all the puppy photos but I shall not relent! upload

The meeting #lolathesausage #tailsthepom #dachshund #lolathesausage

What? #lolathesausage Puppy defences activate! Yes I'm chewing my tail, what of it? #lolathesausage More puppy spam #lolathesausage

Really though where's my cake? #lolathesausage

Give me cake!!! #lolathesausage #lolathesausage Stalker Long puppy is long

What is this bedtime you speak of?

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I'll finish with my favourite photo ever.

Cuties


Sales shopping!


Did anyone get any good sales bargains this year? I have to admit I was totally underwhelmed by the sales. Ali and I had a nosy around town on the 27th and it was rubbish! Well, for me at least. I bought him a jacket and a bag in the sale but there was nothing to be had for me apart from a pitiful few Lush products. I used to look forward to the sales so much, but this time around I just didn't care enough to make an effort to sort through the mess. Honestly, I know it's the customers who mess it up but is it just me or did loads of the sales seem completely unorganized? One of my favourite sales is always the River Island sales, where things are arranged in size so I don't have to look through EVERY section in the vain hope that I will find something in a size 16/18 that isn't blindingly ugly. Well not this year, no size organisation. No organisation at all, just bung it all together and hope customers will go through it all. Ain't nobody got time for that

When commenting to Ali that I just couldn't be bothered, while walking into stores then immediately walking out upon seeing the mess and the queues, he made a good point. I value my time more. It's true, I have so little free time now. When I was a student I had all the time in the world to sort through piles of clothes - now? Not so much! This comment paired with the offer from Voucher Codes to have a look for some sale bargains pushed me towards giving them another chance. I decided to do most shopping online as it requires basically no effort and definitely no queuing! Voucher Codes gave me an £80 to see what I could find and here are the results!

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ASOS Floral dress - £45.00 down to £27.50 (Also available in Curve).
Vintage necklace £7 from Vintage Pintage
Tights £3 down from £8 from Accessorize

I was so happy to get this dress finally! I had got one from ebay but it was too tight, and it had vanished from the asos website. Then suddenly it was back! There are so many layers of tulle under there, the fabric is really strong and well stitched (I find ASOS quality can sometimes be terrible!) so I think this dress will last.


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New Look Necklace - £3 - it's just the sort of statement piece I have been looking for and I loved pairing it with this top which is already a bit daring (sorry Granny!). I think I'd wear a jacket over this if I went out! I just noticed my bra straps are slipping in this photo and it's really annoying me now! Oh well. The top was £10 also from New Look from £16.99.

The jeans are my new booty jeans, they are seriously clingy. I love them though, super comfy! They £7.00 (!) down from £25 at Marks and Spencer. They are my new go to for jeans! They have a product they call Jeggings, but they are denim, are't elasticated and have a button and zip so how they're jeggings I do not know, but they are perfect. They come in a short leg too so wonderful for me - I ALWAYS have to turn up the ends of my jeans. I have a few pairs of these in black and grey as well and am going to stock up on more so that I can put off buying new jeans for as long as possible.

Lastly are my wonderful new shoes. Oh shoes, I love you. I do. These were £10 down from £38 from Urban Outfitters. I'm really getting into creepers, can't fault the extra bit of height when you're 5'2 (and a half)!

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I think I've actually learned a few good tips from my sales experience this year. The comment about me valuing my time more was really eye opening, as I realised how much time and money I have wasted buying items I don't need or even really want, and that won't last - just because they're cheap. Who needs that? These are my sales tips:

1. See your sales purchases as an investment - only buy things that you need and that will last! The dress to me is really a timeless piece that can be worn again and again. I definitely needed new jeans and Marks and Spencer is good quality stuff! 

2. Shop online! There's no queues, and on top of that you aren't on your feet and tired and feeling a little too crowded to spend time and decide whether you really want something. I tend to add anything I think I might want to my basket, then at the end go through it with a goal of what I really want to spend and delete items I don't really want. 

3. If you're unimpresed with reductions, try again in a week! I bought these shoes just as all sale items were further reduced. I think they were down to £20 before that so I got them for half of that price! 

My total spent on these sales items was £70.50
Original cost of all items was £118.98

I'd love it if you could share your sale stories with me! x

My guide to Nothern Ireland.

Hi everyone, I'm sure if you've been paying attention to the news lately you will have seen some really bad coverage of Northern Ireland. It really is doing us a lot of damage and lots of us are worried it is giving off the wrong perception about our cities and our people. A few local bloggers have started a tag to write 10 positive things about NI, well these are my favourites. I live in Belfast and I love this place, and these are just some of the many reasons why.

1. Restaurants

Sakura Sushi Lunch

Of course food is my number one on the list! We have some really good restaurants here in Belfast using great quality local produce and original menus. My personal favourites are:

Sakura - An amazing Japanese restaurant on Botanic Avenue with a Sushi Train, they do really cheap sushi at lunch time!

Lily's - This is right near my house and near possible for us to avoid if we feel like a nice dinner out! The decor in Lily's is gorgeous, and they do the best chicken wings I have ever eaten. The staff are so friendly and the service is perfect. It's reasonably priced too and you get a lot on your plate! No dainty food here!

Molly's Yard - You know that hunger you get when you watch cooking programmes? The food looks too good to be true? That's the feeling I get when I think about Molly's Yard. Their food is so flavourful and the attention to detail really is evident in every course. Ali and I have gone here for a lot of dates and it'll always be really special to me. It's real Irish food, cooked by people who know and love what they do.

2. Our Museums, Galleries and Theatres.


Ulster Museum


I couldn't count how many afternoons I have spent wandering around The Ulster Museum. We're really lucky to have such a wonderful museum here that's completely free to visit. It's in the middle of our beautiful Botanical Gardens where there's also a Victorian Palm house to explore. My school was across the road from this museum and I used to sneak off there at lunch to escape sometimes. Dinosaurs, Egyptian Mummies, Jewellery, Fine Art - it really is one of my favourite places to be and I always try to bring visitors here!

QFT toilets

Another place that's very close to my heart is the QFT - Queen's Film Theatre. It's our local independent cinema and I have been going there for years. I took my film BA and MA at Queen's university and all of my lectures took place here. I spent most of my week in lectures in front of these screens falling in love with Jean  Luc Godard. After graduating I did a volunteership in their marketing department and to see the hard work and dedication that goes into running this gem makes it even more special to me.

Titanic Museum Belfast
photo by CPM Productions.

Oh and make sure you check out the new Titanic Centre! Such a wonderful museum documenting our maritime history. I really enjoyed my visit and need another one soon. It's right beside the Paint Hall Studios where Game of Thrones is filmed.


3. Shopping.

But of course! As much as I love shopping on the high street for bargains, it doesn't compare with finding something unique from one of Belfast's many independent shops. I'm probably biased here, as it's where I do a lot of my own business for Lily Pink Bakery - but to me you just can't beat St George's Market for really special, quality handmade goods. If you get a chance to visit check out my favourites Blue Door Studio, Tee and Toast, Arbee Cards, Norma Jean Vintage, Vintage Pintage, Hear Hoofbeats Think Zebras, By Sam Mercer and Flax Fox. Instead of a photo here I decided to share this lovely video about a fellow trader at the market which I really enjoyed.

4. The people.


                                             
Illustration by Tee and Toast.

We appreciate the little things, we know how to have a laugh and most importantly how to laugh at ourselves.

5. The landscape.

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

Photo by Diego Ravera

Neist Point Lighthouse, Isle of Skye [Explored]

Photo by Dave Moyes

I'm letting the photos speak for themselves here, you can't argue with that.

6. NI Grub

Ulster Fry

I don't think I have ever met a person from Northern Ireland who doesn't like Tayto Cheese'n'Onion crisps, or a slice of buttered toasted Veda bread (a dark malt loaf that is basically a fluffy brown cloud of heaven with butter), potato bread dipped in runny egg, soda bread with strawberry jam or some heavily buttered wheaten dipped into homemade soup. Even our Dairy Milk is different here (and better). And you can't beat the Ulster Fry - heart attack on a plate!

7. Architecture

crown bar belfast
Photo by Andy Lapham

The View

BelfastLight-010
Photo by Mark Casey

Again, just look at it.

8. The Lisburn Road

This is where I live! It's not where I grew up but I have been living here for 2 years (and one year of my uni life). It can often be thought of as a bit of a posh area full of fussypants as I like to call them - but there really are a lot of bargains to be had here. Drumglass park is right near me and it's got some beautiful flowers and a newly restored bandstand - can't wait to walk Lola there! Our local coffee chain, Clements, is nearby to supply my favourite peppermint hot chocolate, with lots of cream and marshmallows and always in a bowl not a mug!

9. Our Music Scene

There's always an up and coming band playing somewhere in NI. Anyone who knows music knows the talent that has come from here. My favourite NI band has to be The Emerald Armada. Give them a listen!


10. The bars and pubs.

Zelda cocktails at Tilt!

The bars here have so much to appreciate, the architecture, the atmosphere, amazing pub food and often specialty beers and spirits. My current favourite is Tilt which is on the Ormeau Road - their cocktails are amazing (I recommend the Zelda or the Earthworm Jim!) and they also do a pretty mean pulled pork burger. For a more traditional experience visit The Crown Bar and just try to not spend the entire visit admiring the Victorian ceiling, or Whites Tavern which really is a proper Irish pub with a turf fire and just the right amount of roughness around the edges.

A holiday in France and Spain

Did I manage to go all of December and part way through January without making any sort of Christmas post? I think I did! Ooops, I guess I just vanished a bit. December was the busiest month yet for my business, lots of orders for parties and gifts on top of several markets a week right until the evening of Christmas eve! One order alone was for 550 cupcakes (all to be made in one day) so hopefully you all understand why I was a little quiet!

Christmas itself was wonderful, spent with my family and my boyfriend. We had a boxing day party in our home and it was really great to hang out with friends and see lots of people I hadn't seen in a while as they live away from NI. On the 28th Ali and I flew to France to spend 3 nights with his parents. They live in a tiny village in the south of France called Limoux. We spent time mostly eating, watching films, visiting markets and indulging in Nutella Nougat.

After the 3 nights in France we drove to Barcelona with Ali's parents to spend New Year's Eve there. We went for a 6 course meal and I have never eaten so much good food!

I was too busy working/then having fun over Christmas so I didn't use my camera much, but here's some Instagram snaps!

upload Zelda cocktails at Tilt! Christmas hair!

LBP work do on Christmas eve! Haha, me and Ali and my 2 staff. We had a blast! Tilt on the Ormeau Road is my new favourite bar. Pulled pork burgers and Zelda cocktails! I had slightly too much to drink because I had to try every cocktail on the menu (Princess Peach! Bowser! Earthworm Jim!). Oh and Christmas hair :)

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Christmas Molly I love him  upload

Amazing Topshop boots Ali got me for Christmas, along with Herby the Furby and a wonderful Kindle Paperwhite. And don't forget Christmas Molly!

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My original furby and Herby being pals, best perfume from my mum and massive Lindor!

And now on to photos from France and Spain.

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upload Ali bought me the most beautiful necklace today :) Walking around the seaside today in Sitges it was like spring, now back in rainy old  Belfast >:(

New Years Eve face, the most beautiful necklace that Ali bought me on New Year's Day, and relaxing in Sitges.

Well there is another reason I have been a bit MIA lately, blame this little lady. We got her a week ago, she's called Lola and she's a 10 week old dachshund. Expect an introduction to her this week! We love her to bits.

Prepare for loads of puppy spam. I love her

Back soon! x