Five Things I Wish We Could Leave in 2016

Well it's been a pretty shitty year hasn't it!?!

2016 shall forever be remembered as the year all the legends went home, people collectively lost their damn minds (all around the world), and everybody just couldn't wait for it to be over. So I've got a really happy favourites from 2016 post coming asap but first I want to share with you all the things I wish we could just leave in 2016, if you please.


The Super Last Minute Gift Guide

This is not your usual gift guide guys! This is a gift guide that is going live 6 days before Christmas! This is a gift guide for people who work in retail/care/emergency services and haven't had a day off since payday. A gift guide for people who work unsociable hours. A gift guide for people who planned on shopping online and then discovered there was a Royal Mail strike planned for the week of Christmas! This is a gift guide for all the Last Minute Lucie's, and Larry's, and whoever else's out there, so let's not waste anymore time and dive right in.

For Anyone who wants great skin:

L'Occitane- Nothing says "I care about you" more than a Christmas Gift Box full of lovely smelling, natural, organic skincare products. You could buy one of L'Occitane's pre-made collections or try putting a gift box together yourself! My dream box would contain the Shea Butter Hand Cream, Verbena Body Care Set, and the Neroli Scent. With all this in one place you could easily nail Christmas shopping in one go. Don't have a L'Occitane Boutique near you? Never fear, despite the Royal Mail strike L'Occitane have told me that orders made up to December 21st will arrive on time for Christmas!

My Top Shops Run by Independents!

Do you know what I love about the internet? It's not the memes, or the gifs, or even the amazing people I have "met" through blogging and twitter, it's the ability to type in a few words and buy something designed or drawn or made with actual love! Something that somebody put together in their living room and are selling to make a living.

I love knowing that the art on my walls was created by that really bloody loud and really bloody lovely scouser with bright green/blue/purple (delete as applicable) hair. And that the money I spent on the 574639262th piece of Harry Potter merch I've bought this year went to a genuinely lovely artist who had the most amazing wedding.

You choosing to shop independent could mean that a struggling artist can heat their home this winter, it could mean that they can afford to go on that trip they've been planning-but you can be assured that no matter what, it will ALWAYS mean the world to each and every one of them.

I don't know about you but I would much rather give my money to that strange (in the best way) lass that makes me piss my pants laughing every other day, than the faceless CEO that takes a 60% cut of every sale and doesn't pay their taxes.

So please, please check out some of my favourite independent sellers:

 Jemma from Dorkface Blog is one of my  favourite illustrators ever! Her shop on Etsy is  always my first port of call when I want to  expand my desk area a little further, or stock up  on handy little stickers for my "not quite a bullet  journal" planner.
 The best thing about Jemma's store is that she is  just so creative that her shop has such a wide  range that there is likely something for  everyone, but at the same time her stuff is  instantly recognisable as hers.
 Someone handed me their business card at an  event and I knew straight away it was "a  Dorkface original"! I see big things for this girl-  get in before she gets all famous and stuff ;-).



Mastering the Magic of Christmas

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas (yeah I know, I need to stop slipping lyrics into my posts, whatever!) and that can only mean one thing- IT'S CHRISTMAS MOVIE TIME!!

When the folks at Panasonic prompted me to start thinking about what my favourite festive films were I decided to use their new campaign as inspiration- the new Ultra HD 4K TV Panasonic is said to master the magic of light, almost like looking through a window instead of at a screen- so I set to thinking about which Christmas movies really master the magic of Christmas for me. The ones that I'm going to curl up in front of this December, with the husband, a hundred blankets, and one eye on the window praying for snow.

So in no particular order, because honestly I change my mind about favourites every year, I give you...


elf- has anybody ever written a post about Christmas movies and NOT mentioned Will Ferrel's best ever character? I think I like ELF because it's Christmassy without being schmaltzy. It's clever, funny, good for kids as well as adults, and it gave us the term Cotton Headed Ninny Muggins which has to be my favourite way of telling Damian he's being annoying ever!! 4/5 Christmas Baubles
p.s. I'm pretty sure Elf made it onto the BBC Radio 1 Top 10 Christmas Movies ;-).

Home Alone 1 & 2- We'll gloss over the "neglectful parents" angle and just talk about how these movies epitomise Christmas! Family drama-check. Snow-check. Great soundtrack-check. The Rockafeller Centre Tree-check! Throw in a bucketload of slapstick comedy, and a scary but not actually "Guardian Angel" and you've got the stuff of dreams...oh John Hughes how the movie world misses you! 4/5 Christmas Baubles

Die Hard- There's a pretty accurate meme going around and it goes like this, "There are two types of people in this world. Those who think Die Hard is a Christmas Movie, and those who are wrong". And I think that says it all really. I got into a debate last year because someone listed Frozen as a Christmas movie but not Die Hard. I mean WTF?? Ugh. Anyway Die Hard is fantastic, I love it, we watch it every December without fail. Plus it was the movie that brought us Alan Rickman so it should appear on every good list about any type of movie for ever and ever. 5/5 Christmas Baubles
Fun Fact: in January 2017 BBC 2 Will be airing a Talking Pictures episode dedicated the late great Alan Rickman...don't miss it!

The Santa Clause- Excuse me while I geek out for a second but this movie's title tickles me so much! It's The Santa CLAUSE- like clause means contractual obligation or whatever! It's a double meaning and it just makes me so happy! Oh My God I'm such a Ravenclaw!! Anyhow The Santa Clause is great, and Christmas wouldn't be the same without it :-) 4.5/5 Christmas Baubles



Now because Christmas is all about family I asked my husband, and best friend for their favourite Christmas Movies so here are a couple of bonus movies to check out in 4k ;-)

Damian:

  • Jingle All The Way- An Arnold Schwarzenegger movie about the struggle to get that "must have gift of the year"- I believe this year it's the Hatchimal-good luck parents. 
  • Bad Santa- Hands up, I have never seen this movie *eek*! However I intend to rectify when it airs on Sky Cinema Comedy on the 14th! Did you Know: Bill Murray was supposed to play Bad Santa but dropped out to do Lost in Translation!
Fiona: 
  • Father Christmas- Now i'll admit I had no idea what she was talking about when she sent me this as an answer but then it came flooding back to me! It's Raymond Briggs, Santa goes on holiday, it's wonderful <3
  • The Snowman- Right, I'm not sure but I THINK Fiona might like Raymond Briggs *haha*. Who doesn't love The Snowman, it's such a lovely innocent story. I am reliably informed that both of these are airing on channel 4 on Christmas Eve. 
What are your favourite festive films? Did your favourite make my list? Am I missing some great Christmas movie that you just have to tell me about? You know the drill catch me on Twitter, Instagram or in the comments. 

Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, and Hope you have a Wonderful Christmas Time (here I go again with those damn lyrics ;-p) x

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Disclaimer: this post contains sponsored content but as always all views, choices, and words are my own. 

Keeping Warm this Winter- The Bedding and Curtain Edition

I don't know about you guys but I am ALWAYS cold- winter, spring, summer or fall (autumn)- you can find me wrapped in blankets, duvets and the odd dressing gown. Of course it's always worse in winter so I started looking for ways to keep my gas bill down, and my temperature up....

DUVETS ⬥ THROWS ⬥ CURTAINS ⬥BEDSPREADS ⬥ BLANKETS

These are they way forward people. IMHO you can never have too many, and because I'm in the middle of renovating my (our) bedroom, I thought what more reason do I need to do a wee wishlist/haul type thing! 

I set out to pick loads of different things from loads of different places, then I fell into a Yorkshire Linen, and John Lewis shaped hole and I just can't get out...


Can you tell I have a thing for blue and white, haha. It all just looks so cosy to me and sometimes that's half the battle. I think if things look warm, and comfy-cosy then your brain automatically starts to warm up...or I could be talking complete nonsense!!

One thing I know that isn't nonsense is that we (or at least I) always overlook curtains when someone asks "what do you use to stay warm?" but if you think about it having a room that retains heat is better for you and your wallet. I don't have curtains, but I am so in the mood for them!

Yorkshire linen have so many nice sets of cheap curtains and they are so well priced...the ones in the picture above are only £19.99 for a 46x54 inch pair WITH tiebacks.
I'll be honest after I chose these I found at least another two sets that I want so I guess I'm still curtainless until I can decide!

You might recognise the striped throw from my last wishlist- well I own it now and it is so good! It looks quite thin but it keeps me so warm when I throw it over me when the mercury dips a little (lottle) lower during the night.

And of course no bed is complete without a proper good duvet set, whilst I would kill for all white bedding a la pinterest I just don't have the time or inclination to be constantly washing bedclothes-seriously who does?? So I've chosen these blue bad boys from Yorkshire Linen (of course!) to go with my stripy blue throw, and my dream bedspread!- these stripy babies are sadly no longer available BUT the guys at Yorkshire Linen have added these beautiful oriental covers to there lineup and I'm in love!

I know you're thinking "duvets, throws, and bedspreads, AJ? Really? Isn't that a bit much?" But no, no it is not. Think about it this way- you are going out one morning, it's -2 degrees outside so you pop a jumper on over your t-shirt, and then a jacket, and some of you may even bang on a coat too (I'm all about shoulder-robing)-it's all about layers, in and out of the house.

I'm going to leave you with two things-1) a sneak peek of my current bed set-up (pre-this post makeover) and B) Top-Tip: for a little extra hug at bed time buy a size up when you purchase a duvet and duvet cover. There is nothing better than a Kingsize duvet draped over a double bed *ah bliss*.



Items in picture at the top can be found here:

Oriental Blue Duvet Cover-£19.99
Utah Vanilla Lined Curtains- £19.99
John Lewis Coastal Stripe Throw- £25.00
Annecy Bedspread Violet- £174.99 (I said dream for a reason haha)

What are you guys top tips for keeping warm in the colder months? Any exciting bedding brands you think I should check out? Would you be interested in a post on bed dressing or is it just me that finds that stuff interesting?? Let me know in the comments and remember to come chat on Twitter.
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Disclaimer: This post contains collaborated content but all items chosen, and views are as always completely my own.

Chocolate Orange Marble Cupcakes

So I have to confess that I have spent the weekend basically just drooling over the new Smeg UK Stand Mixer. It's just so bloody pretty, but there is only so many times you can look at such a thing without getting the urge to bake so I took myself off to my mediocre crappy kitchen utensils and let loose in the kitchen. I actually baked twice this past weekend so I'll share the other recipe soon- in other words look forward to finding out how to make my favourite M&Mmmm Pie.

But first, cupcakes:

Clearly the pink icing doesn't make much sense but I ran out of Orange food colouring *oops*
It's a little Halloweeny don't you think?
 I looked every where for a decent chocolate orange cupcake recipe but none of the ones I found really wowed me so I decided just to make it up as I went along and this was the result. You can use this recipe to make pretty much any flavour of cupcake you just have to know when and where to make substitutions :-). I'm thinking strawberry and white chocolate next!!

Okay enough chat, here we go:

Ingredients:
For Cake:
125g Plain Flour
1 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
100g Unsalted Butter (or dairy free alternative)
100g Caster Sugar
2 Eggs
19ml Orange Extract
25g Cocoa
75g Milk Cooking Chocolate
10g Orange Gel Food Colouring

For Decoration:
440g Icing Sugar
110g Unsalted Butter (or dairy free alternative)
1 Pinch of Salt
19ml Orange Extract
2 1/2 Tbs Golden Syrup
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
75g Milk Cooking Chocolate
10g Orange (or in this case Red) Gel Food Colouring
Terry's Chocolate Orange mini segments
Sainsbury's Glimmer Sugar in Gold to sparkle!!

Method:
For Cake:
Preheat oven to 170 degrees

In a medium bowl mix the flour, baking powder and salt together then set aside while you work on the wet ingredients.

In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar together until smooth-I used a boring old hand held mixer and a wooden spoon :-( whilst dreaming of that stand mixer.
Once smooth beat in the 2 eggs and the orange extract (most bottles come in 38ml so just use half the bottle).

Bring back the dry stuff and mix it into the wet mixture a large spoonful at a time. Use a mixer for this if you can as the mixture can become a little stiff.

Once all the ingredients are combined it's time to separate them into two bowls- put half in one bowl and keep half in the one you are using.

To one bowl add 25g of cocoa and 75g of melted chocolate (1 minute in the microwave should do it) and stir until the chocolately goodness is undeniable!
To the other, add 10g of Orange food gel and stir-that was someone easier :-p

Place cupcake cases in a cupcake tray (we like a nice deep one) and spoon in the mixture one colour at a time. We put chocolate in the bottom then added orange on top.
Once the two colours are in each case use a skewer to slightly mix the colours together to create the marble effect.



Pop in the oven for 15-17 minutes or until lightly browned.




Now you just have to leave them to cool for around 10-15 minutes before they are ready to decorate.

For Decoration:

In one large bowl (we washed and dried as we went along here because seriously you need so many bowls for this recipe *haha*) add the icing sugar,salt and the softened butter together and mix on the lowest speed other wise you'll look like you've got a really bad coke habit.
Once they are both fully mixed together you can add the orange and vanilla extracts to the mixture along with the syrup. 

And now it's time to separate them again: you know the drill half in one bowl half in the other.

To one bowl add 75g of melted chocolate and stir well.
To the other add 10g of your chosen gel food colouring.

It's really up to you how you decorate from here: we used a small star nozzle to pipe on the pink, which we did around the edges of the cake and into the middle. Once every cake had been pinked we popped them in the fridge to set for a minute or two.

Use the cooling time to wash out your piping bag ready to be filled with the chocolate icing.

For the chocolate we changed the nozzle to a slightly bigger star so we could have a noticeable peak and filled in the top part of each cupcake.

And that's it really- all that's left to do it pop a Terry's Chocolate Orange segment on top and sprinkle with your glimmer sugar et voila...

Pop them back in the fridge for 5 minutes and then enjoy!

These are so yummy and I can't wait to try different flavours. What flavours would you try, and would it be weird if I just started dusting all my food with edible glimmer sugar?

Happy Baking :-)

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A Rant About Regeneration

Hi there!

As the title suggests this post is one of my world famous rants* so I might sound like I'm rambling for a bit BUT I promise you it is going somewhere, I do have a point, and it IS important! Okay, now we have that out of the way...

I don't know about you but I am sick to death of seeing the effect that the recession has had on our cities and towns! High streets that used to bustle, are reduced to long grey strips of concrete littered with bookies and poundshops, department stores that seemed like grand old dames watching the place crumble around them are now being sucked into the abyss, and in their place is another chain restaurant that probably wont last. Green Spaces- once home to day drinkers, sunbathers, couples in love, squealing children and yapping dogs, have become shady den of iniquities  strewn with needles and used condoms and the hopes of people that remember the good old days!

Not Another LipKit Review

I've been thinking about writing this post for a while but then all of a sudden it seemed like every blogger with a mouth and a penchant for expensive lipstick was doing a "Kylie Jenner LipKit Review" so I held off. But then I bought more, and then a couple, more, and then it was "oh a couple more wont hurt" and now I've somehow I've ended up with a collection!
So, no this isn't your typical LipKit review, this is more a "look at my collection" with an added opinion or two :-) Oh and photos of course!!

The One Where AJ is Allowed to Decorate!!

Guys, I am officially renovating!

I have had some awful landlords, but my current ones are actually the world's greatest!They are the kind that let you pay £100 a month less than the market value because you say you'll bring your own couch and bed, they are also the kind that let you hang all the art work you like, and then suddenly they become the kind that are alright with you building your own open air closet in their bedroom!! Basically my point here is that my landlords are the coolest and I'm completely overhauling my bedroom.

I'm obviously going to do a couple of posts once my closet and desk area are finished (just waiting on the walls to be painted) but for now I thought I'd throw together a little bedroom furnishing wishlist. HINT: I'm having a mad case of white, blue and silver-itis.

New Bedroom Wishlist

You Can't Top This

Right, so I remember a time where I hated getting mail! I'm sure I'm not alone in that, letters were either telling me I owed money, or telling me off for not being where I was supposed to be when I was supposed to be there! The mailman was feared, letters landing on the doormat brought only dread and then the internet took over the world and somehow suddenly mail was great again. Gifts were delivered by post, thank you cards arrived from people that still appreciate that great tradition, #bloggermail became a thing and then something beautiful happened-FOOD!! Food in the post, food to my door, food I didn't have to drag my sore sore body to the shops for! Food by post might be the best thing ever :-)!!

So here I am minding my own when the lovely people at CakeToppers ask me if I would like to try their cupcakes...who would say no to cupcakes?? Of course I said yes and the rest is gorgeous, tasty, moist, and expertly made history, look how pretty...


A Few of My Favourite Things...Albums

You might have noticed a wee trend going around Twitter at the moment which seems to have taken on a life of it's own. I'm of course talking about the #7Fav...hashtag that has been trending in a variety of forms over that last week or so. So far we've had TV shows, movies, and albums but I can see this going on for a while. I will admit I have been inspired by it somewhat in that I think it is a brilliant idea for a few blog posts so I hope you don't mind if I share a few of my favourites for a bit. I think you can really tell a lot about a person by what they consider their favourites, what it is that stands out in their mind, what they deem special above all else. I'd actually be intrigued to know what people think of me based of my choices so please feel free to let me know in the comments of any of these posts.

First up I shared my #7favAlbums on Twitter a couple of days ago so I thought I'd start with that and give you a little more than I could in 140 characters.

It's a Celebration

Does anybody else ever sit and wonder where certain traditions and rituals originated from? Who celebrated the first birthday (Jesus?), what happened at parties before they wrote Happy Birthday? When did we start assigning materials to wedding anniversaries- seriously what is romantic about tin?? Why do we blow out candles, and for that matter who decided we celebrated with cake anyway?

For the Love of Stationery

Today I ran out of the house in a hurry. I'd taken too long dancing around the flat in my hippy-dippy new dress, and I was officially running late for a Doctors appointment. About 300 yards away from my flat I realised the worst had happened-I'd forgotten my phone charger! But worse than that I'd also forgotten my notebook *the horror* and there was no time to go back, I was distraught. Now I know to most I sound so melodramatic right now, but to those who, like me, have a somewhat unhealthy obsession with beautiful stationery I sound completely normal- and it's to those people I say "High-five guys, wanna see something beautiful?" To the rest of you I'm simply saying "wanna see something beautiful?".

Happy Birthday to the Boy Who Lived

Well as I said yesterday In Harry Birthday Potter-Part 1 it's Harry Potter's 36th Birthday TODAY!! I'ts been 25 years since an 11 year old Harry found out he was a Wizard and started on his journey to defeating the Dark Lord! Yesterday I shared the Harry Potter tag, told you all my favourites and ranted about the characters I hate. Today I'm going to share my new favourite Harry Potter themed thing!

Harry Birthday Potter- Part 1

Harry Potter is 36 tomorrow!! 30-bloody-6. That means that next year we will have finally caught up with the epilogue of the story that captured a generation and refuses to let them go.

Harry Potter is not just a character in a book, or a movie. He means different things to different people, he means everything to some, and nothing to others. There really is no in between with Harry and his world, you are either really, really in and desperately sad you never received your Hogwarts Acceptance letter, or completely apathetic. Me, I'm really, really in. Which is why this weekend I am celebrating Mr Potter's 36th birthday in style- with not one but TWO Harry Potter themed posts- both written while I work my way through the movies, and flick through my pile of add-on books.

This first post is a tag post that Fiona from Wishes, Hopes & Dreams asked me to do, so here we go.


29 Things that Make me Feel Proud

Bucket Lists are a huge business! Almost everyone I know has one, whether it's written down or just a mental plan for things to do, and "bucket list" has become part of our everyday vernacular. In fact, mine is here if you want to read it, but today I'm doing one with a twist.  


The One Where I Tell you Where to Stick your Meme


I have many pet hates, so many in fact that one of my most popular posts is 17 Things that Really Piss Me Off, but one of my most rage inducing pet hates has to be people masquerading as open -minded when in actually they are just Judgy Mcjudgersons!!

There are so many examples that I would literally never be finished writing this post so I'm just going to focus on the one that pissed me off today, enough to write this post. 

I'm sure you've probably all seen the memes going around which basically tell people to be someone the creator believes is a better human than someone like the Kardashian's. 
Like this one...
Helena Bonham Carter, Kardashians, In a world, meme

Boohoo and Sports Direct Holiday Haul


I can't quite believe it but It's suddenly less than a month until we fly out on our much needed holiday! Plus side to this is sun, sand, cocktails, and finally a chance to relax,  the downside is I am so underprepared. I have gained almost a stone since our last holiday and sadly that means none of my holiday wear even fits anymore :-(...so, I went shopping.

The Truth about Struggling to Conceive // TW: Infertility and Miscarriage

pregnancy, conceive, infertility, fertility, struggles, trying for a baby



I don't know if you know this but falling pregnant is not always as easy as sitcoms, the Daily Mail, and sex ed teachers will have you believe. Fun fact: my husband and I have been "trying" since around October 2013...less fun fact: still no baby. 
But this post isn't going to be one of those, woe is me pieces, I've decided it's time I wrote down every little thing that bothers me about struggling to conceive...also known as "Things you didn't know about the struggle of fertility". 

Silence

Do you ever feel like you're shouting into the wind.  There are hundreds of people looking at you but they can't hear a word you're saying because the wind is swallowing your words. The problem is nobody makes any effort to tell you they can't hear you.  There is no engagement just silence. You're standing there screaming, thinking "why are you ignoring me?""why does nobody care?" And all the while they're just staring into the distance wondering why this crazy person is making shapes with their mouth when there is no sound coming out. 
You can shout louder but the wind just picks up, then the rain starts and you think "oh well what's the point in straining my voice in the wind and rain if nobody is listening?...I'll just shut up now". 

I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie

"To read is to learn, to learn is to know"-AJ Wathern
or THE BOOKS THAT MADE AJ FEEL THINGS 

Wuthering Heights,Good Omens, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx, Harper Lee, Friedrich Engels, Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Emily Bronte, Books, classics
The Classics

A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes


The Spring/Summer 2016 Wishlist



Yankee candle, summer peach, paisley, charlotte tilbury, Bitch Perfect, Primark, Ikea, Alex, Linnmon, Dressing Table, Gola, Bullet, Trainers, studio box lighting,
I feel pretty, oh so pretty...

The Past Is Gone, The Future Yet Unborn But Right Here And Now Is Where It All Goes On

Hello there! 
So I'm sitting here having just rubbed a copious amount of Vicks Vaporub into my own chest which has resulted in three thoughts: 1) Doing this to yourself is way less sexy than letting someone else do it-I can't be the only one that finds this sexy!! 2) I may have put too much on and now my eyes are watering, and 3) I love my new boobs!! 
Wait that sounded confusing, to clarify I have not had a boob job (although I absolutely would if I could afford it) what has happened though is I have gained a ton of weight and with it I have become the proud new owner of a mighty fine pair of mammaries. Can you say upside?!? Ha. Which leads us kinda smoothly into this, IT'S LIFE UPDATE TIME!! 
selfie, pale, make-up free, natural, Aj, blonde
Hi. Sorry about my make-up free face and dour expression but this is the only photo I had that matched the post.lol. 
If you know me in real life, or follow me on Twitter, you will know that I've been dealing with a LOT of health issues for over a year now, These have probably contributed to the aforementioned weight gain (although I can't take all of the blame away from chocolate and wine), but more than that they have contributed to a less positive AJ. I know I am always going on about positivity and ra-ra-ciss-boom-ba cheerleader stuff but lately I've noticed I've been moaning most of the time, and for that I can only apologise. So please bare with me while I grump and gripe my way through this challenge, I promise it will get better. 
Anyway, I'm in pain, a lot of pain in fact. I have tried a thousand times to explain just how much pain, and I always come up short. Sometimes I feel like I've run a marathon, sometimes I feel like I've been hit by a bus, and sometimes I wake up and I feel like I've been hit by a bus and then got up and ran a marathon...on these days I crawl, lie down, and my poor husband runs after me like a blue-arsed fly. My muscles are either dull and achy, or crampy and heavy, or in fire, or swollen. My skin is permanently itchy and hot, my headaches are one bright light away from developing into a full-blown migraine, and I am permanently nauseated. It is hard, really hard. It doesn't help that Doctors didn't give a shit and pawned me off with meds that did nothing...until last month! 
Last month I had a horrible experience, my doctor's surgery refused to see me because they decided I wasn't entitled to an on the day appointment. I was informed that I should have booked an appointment ONE MONTH in advance to be sure I'd be seen. I asked for my repeat prescription and was told I can't issue it without seeing you, but no I won't see you today-I can get you an appointment for TWO WEEKS time. I'm not going to lie I got off that phone quicker than you can shout "fuck you, you inconsiderate bitch" and promptly burst into tears. Then I did the best thing ever...I quit my surgery and joined a new one. 
Within one week I had had a full examination, my new doctor had listened to all my symptoms and took a copy of my notes (I keep very thorough symptom notes). I had bloods taken and a possible diagnosis. However when my bloods came back it became apparent that I probably didn't have what she initially thought it could be and we were stumped again. But because my new doctor is so great she picked up from my symptom list and tried again which takes us to now. 
Now I am on the waiting list for an appointment with the neurology department, and I have been referred for an MRI.
It is so refreshing having a caregiver who actually seems to, not just believe me but actually care, about what I'm going through. 
So that's where I am. I'm in pain, I feel sick, and I'm depressed as all hell, BUT I can see the light. 
Hopefully, I won't let much more of my negativity seep into my outpourings but if I do please call me out on it! 
And that's about it! Sorry if this has made little sense but I'm just writing as I think so...stream of consciousness high five?
Any recommendations for pain relief, or how to not let the pain get me down, are greatly appreciated :-) xxx
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If it Makes you Happy, It Can't be That Bad

Hi guys

Sometimes I think we take the nice things that happen to us for granted. We are all too busy grumbling about the littlest things. Like, is it really a big deal if your train is a few minutes late in the morning? Is it worth getting upset if some idiot is paying too much attention to their phone and stops dead in front of you? Yes these things are annoying but they are minor in the grand scheme of things, so why not try taking a deep breath and think about the good stuff!! Here are some of the things that make me smile...


1) Waking up without an alarm, and knowing the day is all mine.

2) People who remember manners cost nothing!

3) Talking to a child that has clearly been brought up really well

4) The view across the Firth of Forth when the sun shines on the Leith coast.

5) When my eyebrows are on fleek! I mean I still don't actually know what fleek means, but I know it's a good thing!

6) A morning kiss on the head from my husband while he creeps around trying not to wake me up.

7) A LARGE glass of White Zinfandel (Californian) after a looooong day at work.

8) Champagne lunches with my girl Fiona!

9) When other people acknowledge our Angel.

10) When I randomly remember funny things friend's have said- sometimes even months later.

11) The smell of a really good candle! I'm looking at you Cotton Candy and Mango Peach Salsa!

12) Tangled

13) Winning a teddy from a claw machine at the fairground

14) Completing a particularly tasking DIY project.

15) When my daddy calls me "toots" or "baby-girl", even though I'm a 28 year old married woman!!

16) Spending a whole day just "being" with Damian.

17) Taking my hair down after a day at work.

Find anything that makes you smile in amongst my happy things? What makes you happy, and where does your mind go when you are met with particularly obnoxious people? You know what to do...comment below or come twitter with me (that's another thing that makes me particularly happy).

Raindrops on Roses

Please tell me you are singing My Favourite Things now?? If you aren't you are probably going to think I've lost it with regards to a few blog titles you'll be seeing in the future, if you are then we are probably going to be friends forever (just to warn you, I am hard to get rid of). Anyway...
Raindrops on Roses is a regular occurrence where I live, even when it's sunny it'll probably rain for about 10 minutes, just to remind you that you are in fact still in Aberdeen. Alas we are used to the rain so much so that I have my "Rainy Day Routine" down to perfection which if you haven't already guessed is what this post is all about!! So grab your favourite hot drink, and a cosy blanket and snuggle in to read what I get up to when it's cold and wet outside.
Obviously, the first thing you need is something cosy to wrap up in, whether that's a blanket, a slanket (please don't) or a robe whatever makes you feel all warm and snuggly, grab it and throw it on the couch. I used to have a window seat for such times but now my stupidly large 9 seater sofa takes up the prime real estate so :-( sadface. 

Anyway, next you wanna throw on your favourite cosy pajamas, sorry guys but this is no time for silky camisoles and shorts, this is grade A jersey pj time. My faves are a legging and top combo made of the softest material and featuring a freaking unicorn!! (Thanks MUM). 
Okay so we're dressed, the couch is dressed (kinda) now you have to grab yourself a large mug of something hot and steamy. I dream of massive mugs of hot chocolate topped with foam and mini marshmallows BUT I don't actually like hot drinks lol. I will drink a hot vimto if I'm ill and need some heat but most of the time it'll be a large glass of wine warming my bones :-). 
So where are we: 
  1. Cosy blanket-check
  2. Cosy pajamas-check
  3. Hot drink (or wine)-check
Right now here is where It gets a little more personal, everyone relaxes in different ways, these are my favourites...

Grab your pile of notebooks and put them within arms reach of your couch cocoon. Now, all my notebooks have a different use. from finance, and budgeting, to personal or blogging, hence the pile. I like to go through them all every now and again and what better time than on a rainy day. 

Next to my notebooks I like to have a little stack of magazines or books-right now I'm re-reading my absolute favourite Wuthering Heights, which I recently bought in a new soft leather binding *lush*, and something to eat like chocolate (who doesn't love a good bar of chocolate every now and again) or a big bowl of sweet and salty popcorn. 

Wow it takes a lot to get ready to relax, but don't worry we're almost there all that's left to do is light a scented candle, pump up your favourite Spotify playlist, smother your face in some thick moisturiser and finally jump into your little cocoon of happiness, 

Shh whisper the last part because I'm supposed to be an adult but I also like to add in hugs from my favourite stuffed toy-his name is Jonjo and he is beautiful.

Hope you've enjoyed my Rainy Day Routine, I would love to hear about how you spend your indoor days. As always leave me a comment or come speak to me on Twitter (I'm there come rain or shine).

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It's Time for Makeup, Perfect Smile, It's You they're all Waiting For...

Hiya!!
Whenever anybody asks "what do you blog about?" I always automatically answer with the standard "oh you know a bit of everything really, but mostly fashion, beauty and lifestyle" and this is true it pretty much sums me up. Although I will admit that more often than not it's lifestyle that appears on these "pages" which is a shame because I do LOVE beauty and fashion just as much. It was this thought running through my head when I decided to write a post about my going out makeup. I generally don't wear makeup unless I'm going out for dinner or drinks, or the odd Friday at work when I'm feeling like a pick-me-up, and my husband takes great pleasure in pointing out just how much more makeup I wear now, than when we first met, and that is purely the fault of the blogging community!! I've been introduced to such amazing products over the last year and you'll see my favourites in this post. 
FACE
It's all about that base! Turns out it's not just an awful judgy song masquerading as a body positive anthem...it is, in fact, an important mantra when doing your makeup. It's taken me years to get it right but these products give me the ultimate canvas for my makeup looks. 

Dermatique- Recuperating Cream (miracle product that I reviewed here)
Benefit- "That Gal"-Brightening Face Primer
Collection- Illuminating Touch-Brightening Concealer
ELF Cosmetics- Tone Correcting Concealer
Bare Minerals- Complexion Rescue- Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream in Opal 01
Freedom- Pro-Contour Shaped Stick
Rimmel- Natural Bronzer in Sun Glow 025
Stila- Illuminating Powder in 40 Watts
Benefit- High Beam- Luminescent Complexion Enhancer
BROWS
Who knew brows would become the most important thing ever! 2015 saw the rise of the Delevigne brow and I for one was bloody grateful. Personally, I've been rocking a bushy brow since I was knee high to a grasshopper (they are in fact a family trait)- I loved it when Brooke Shields originally made them a "thing", I tried my best when all of a sudden body hair of any kind was the enemy and we waxed, plucked and threaded any natural shape out of them, and here we are again where suddenly I'm uber-fashionable again and I don't have to drop £12 every month to allow someone to wax my face! Woohoo!!

Makeup Revolution- Focus & Fix- Eyebrow Shaping Kit (great for on the go but I mostly just use the tweezers if I have everything else with me)
Maybelline- Brow Satin- Brow Pencil in Dark Brown
Urban Decay- Naked Basics- Eyeshadow in Faint
L'Oreal-Brow Artist Plumper- Clear Shaping Gel
EYES
I'm a huge advocate of natural eye makeup, don't get me wrong I would totally love to carry off all these BIG makeup looks that some of you beautiful people are rocking but I think my face is too small and too much makeup overpowers my face. I prefer to just make what's underneath look slightly better than normal. 

Makeup Revolution-Iconic Pro Palette- Shades: Paper, Chase, and New Day.
Rimmel- Soft Kohl- Eyeliner in Jet Black 061
Dior- Diorshow Blackout- Waterproof Mascara
Max Factor- False Lash Effect- Mascara

LIPS
Now my lips are ridiculously dry because of this stupid cold weather so whilst I would normally be rocking a punchy/vampy deep purple or bright red lippy, I have been resigned to a much more natural look for this at the moment too. That being said the brands don't change just the colours so this is still pretty accurate. 

Carmex-Moisturising Lip Balm- Strawberry (now I'm kind of allergic to this but it's so good I can't stop using it lol)
MAC- Pro Longwear Lip Pencil in Nice "n" Spicy
Bare Minerals- Marvelous Moxie Lipgloss in Spark Plug
Clinique- Chubby Stick in Super Strawberry 07
Bare Minerals- Marvelous Moxie in Hypnotist

As you can probably tell there is a lot of layering that goes on when I do my lips *haha*

ANYWAY!! I know you are all probably thinking "holy cow AJ that's a shit ton of makeup!" but I promise it is all needed and it doesn't look that much when it's done, in fact, see for yourself...
EXCUSE THE JUST OUT THE SHOWER REDNESS!
NO FILTER NO EDITING JUST GREAT MAKEUP

Hope this hasn't been too boring for you. Would love to hear if there are any products out there you guys think I would love. As always either leave me a comment or come chat with me on Twitter. 
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They See me Hauling, They Hating...

In AJ world there is a three step process that I like to employ every now and again, and it goes like this: 
Step 1: Wake up and feel like crap
Step 2: Buy something pretty you don't need to cheer yourself up
Step 3: Lament the dwindling bank balance and realise that a new notebook won't cure chronic pain
Repeat! 
With that process in mind, welcome to my latest mini haul *insert smiley face here*
Isn't it pretty!?! Sidebar: I posted this to Instagram and woke up the next day to over 40 likes-maybe not a big amount to some but for me I'm happy if I hit the magic 11 lol.

Anyhoo as you can see there's a fair few Yankee products here- I can't help it they are an actual weakness!! First up is my all time favourite Mango Peach Salsa...I mean seriously people you need to smell this, if you like fruity scents this is the one. 
The other 2 are brand new Q1 scents for Yankee UK and they are so good. The local store in Aberdeen didn't have these in for ages so I hunted them down on a trip to Glasgow and I'm so glad I did. The Lemongrass & Ginger is lush on cold sniff and I'm hoping that it doesn't give me a headache like some other lemon based scents :-/. I don't really know how to describe Moonlight just yet but as soon as I've melted it I'll let you all know. 

Up next is something that I was so freaking excited about, and then so heartbreakingly disappointed in :-(. Illamasqua is one of those brands that make bloggers go all googly-eyed and I am not immune so when I saw this in their sale I had to have it. Sadly my expectations were not met- and that's a whole other post...coming soon.

Finally the journal-Oh MY GOD the beautiful, beautiful journal. I didn't need another journal, in fact, I went into Paperchase looking for a diary -you know one of those, big, day to a page kinda doohickeys, but alas there were none in store. So here we have another new Journal that I need to fill with more of my spraff. Another plus side to this is that purchasing it qualified me for £5 on my Paperchase card because I give them enough of my money lol. 

Anyway, that's what I bought recently. Come back soon to find out why I'm not impressed by my Illamasqua Nail Polish. 


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Why I LOVE my body!

Whoa hold on now is AJ about to be super vain and ramble on about her succulent curves, banging boobies, and ever-lasting legs??? Well no, no she is not. I mean don't get me wrong all of these things are true *not even a humble brag* but that's not what this is about, this is about so much more. 
I am a pretty avid Twitter user and one thing I've noticed is that whilst we build up our friends and followers' self-esteem, we are bloody horrible to ourselves!! We hate this, we detest that, our lives would be so much better if our stomachs were flat (didn't mean to rhyme but fuck it, it works!)...it's bollocks! 
I for one have had enough of being mean to the one thing I really have in this world. When all is said and done your body is the only thing that follows you to your grave, so can we all, maybe, start being a little nicer to them??
Now little plot twist here, my body is riddled with illness, I'm in constant pain, some days I can't even walk, and I have skin so dry that heavy duty moisturisers do nothing but cause a reaction because my skin rejects any form of moisture...yet putting all this aside I have learned to love the body I have, and to stop mourning the body I had when I was 24 (I would have said 18 but I was actually in the best shape of my life at 24).
24 YEAR OLD AJ-FIT AS FUCK BUT NOT A BIG BODY FAN :-/
So why do I love my body?
1) My body fights the good fight every day. My body refuses to let pain stop me from being me, and it works tirelessly to let me get on with things. Sure sometimes it fails, and I have days where getting up off the couch is impossible but I won't hold that against it because it bloody tries!!
2) My body is missing bits, it has marks and scratches, scars and lesions all over it. It isn't pretty and for a while I tried to hide every red or white line and then I realised "fuck! I'm a real life Sally Nightshade" my body's been torn apart and put back together again more times than I can count, and it's STILL going" and that's amazing.
3) My body has held life inside it! My body worked hard to harvest a comfortable place for another soul to thrive. Yes, I didn't carry to term BUT in response to miscarriage my body laboured, my body contracted and it birthed. It was agony and it was hell but my body knew what to do even when I didn't, and it protected me as best it could.
4) My body has been battered and bruised, starved and force-fed, broken and used, and EACH AND EVERY TIME it has picked itself up, dusted itself off, raised a middle finger to those who wronged it, and just mother- fucking healed the shit out of itself right before my eyes.
So yeah, I love my body! My body is a badass-oh and my body doesn't care what I put on it, my body doesn't care if I haven't shaved my legs, or if my eyebrows aren't "on-fleek", or even if it's dressed in the latest designer clothing. I mean my brain does, but my body is just walking around going "bitch please I'm fucking magical and science-y!"
Do you guys think it's about time we gave our bodies a little more credit? What is your favourite thing about your body? Come chat to me on Twitter. 
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