Saturday, 31 December 2011

2011

January

I had my first Weight Watchers weigh in at the end of January and I have now lost 4 stone. I'm feeling much happier and confident and I want to maintain this loss in 2012.


February

I saw my favourite band of 2011, Frankie and the Heartstrings. I have also been loving Miles Kane, The Horrors and The Joy Formidable this year.


March

Me and four other lovely ladies started Where Are My Knees in March and we have been blown away by the support we have received. I wouldn't have lost the weight without this blog and support from the readers. We were also very lucky to win the Wales Blog Award for Best Lifestyle Blog and we were Highly Commended at the Cosmo Blog Awards. Thank you to everyone who supports us!


April

We finally sold our house in April (but we didn't move until June) I lived in my old house from the age of 11 so it was a little difficult to adjust to the move. Our new house needed a lot of renovation and we still aren't finished but it is getting there


May

I went to my first professional conference this year for librarians and library staff and visited Hay on Wye, May was a very book related month!

June

I went on a fabulous hen night for my uni friend Alex and to another work conference in one of my favourite places in mid Wales, Gregynog.


July

July was a really busy month. I went to Birmingham twice, once with my brother to see Ke$ha for his birthday and once for the Birmingham Bloggers Meet where I met some lovely ladies and had one of my favourite nights out of the year. I also attended the wedding of my friend Alex down in Hampshire and stayed in a hotel that had a zoo.


August

August was just as manic as July and I went on holidays to Torquay with some of my best mates and had an amazing time. Brixham was gorgeous and it was a lot like Caravan Club on The Inbetweeners. I went to the Bristol Bloggers Meet up and celebrated my birthday with friends.


September

I went back to work in September after having the summer off and went to the craziest hen night with an 80s theme. Lots of vodka jelly and cocktails were consumed!



October

October was another fun filled month with trips to London to see Britney and to attend the Cosmo Blog Awards. I also organised a meet up and event for bloggers in South Wales and went to the wedding of the year, Sarah's wedding really did rock.

November

I relaxed in November and spent quality time with my friends.

December

December has been lovely, I've had lots of Christmas dinners, a trip to Bristol for the Bloggers Christmas party and time off from work to spend with my family and the dog.

2011 has been a fantastic year and I'm looking forward to what 2012 has to offer. I already have tickets to see The Horrors and a trip to the Plus London Two meet up planned.

What has 2011 been like for you and what big plans do you have for 2012?

Gemma
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Friday, 30 December 2011

Secret Santa 2011

I really enjoyed taking part in Secret Santa last year so when Rani announced she was organising it again I jumped at the chance to sign up. I really enjoyed picking out a gift based on someones list if likes and by reading their blog. It is all rather exciting not knowing who your gift is from and opening all the little packages.



Thank you Jessie! You picked out some amazing things, I already had the purse and card holder to match the mug and diary you sent, how cool is that?! Great minds think alike.


I sent my secret Santa gift to Laura, hope she liked it!

I have no idea who sent this beautiful package for the Pretty Much Penniless Second Hand Secret Santa, everything inside was handmade! How amazing is that? I can't even sew a button on so I am really impressed.
Please reveal yourself Secret Santa! Thank you :)



I was Clare's Secret Santa, hope she enjoyed opening her gift. Second Hand Secret Santa was such a great idea, I had great fun visiting lots of vintage fairs and picking out a gift. So much nicer than buying and receiving smellies and scarves.

Did you take part in a Secret Santa this year?
Office ones can always be a little tricky but these two were really fun!

Gemma
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Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Light the lamp, not the rat, light the lamp, not the rat!

Stuffed, sleepy, happy.
I have had such a lovely weekend and I really didn't think I would. It is our first Christmas in the new house which still isn't finished, there are loads of bare walls and the oven was only fitted a day before Christmas. I have really settled in now and most of upstairs is now complete which means less dust and boxes of my clothes and trinkets have been brought out of storage. I feel much more comfortable now I am surrounded by all of my things.

I saw all my old school friends and my best friend on Christmas eve for our annual meet up that has become a bit of a tradition. We judge all the small town people but we are just a tragic as them, find out who has had a baby, drink a lot and dance to Ignition by R. Kelly. My town is such a happening place.

I was very lucky this year and had some wonderful gifts, lots of Lancome and a lovely Laura Ashley clock from my brother. There are no babies in our family so my dog Sookie is so spoilt, she got loads of presents and ate a Christmas dinner. She couldn't wait for her dinner so she stole a carrot, ate it on my bed and left bit all over my room for me. Isn't she thoughtful?

Such a little madame!


This was my attempt as jazzing up the house for Christmas, no amount of table confetti can distract from the bare walls and concrete floors but you have to make an effort don't you?


 If table confetti can't help hide the fact that your house is a mess just drink cider. Lots of cider.


I have spent all Boxing day putting things away in my wardrobe, painted my cupboard and filled it and stuffed my Primark hanging storage with make up and jewellery. I really enjoyed this, I need to have time off from work more often. I've got loads done and I can't wait to be able to find all of my things quickly. It takes forever to get ready when all of your things are in storage boxes or suitcases. I love that all of my things are nice and organised. (I am aware that my stance on storage is uncool)


No skirting board yet :(
I had to get dressed today even though I vowed to stay in my pj's for most of the festive period because we had a major Christmas disaster. We ran out of cream!! I did take my new slippers off when I left the house though. I picked this playsuit up in a charity shop for £3 and I never really wear it, I always feel a tad odd in playsuits.


I added a little festive glitter to my nails with my new fave polish, disco ball by Rimmel. The photo doesn't really pick up how lovely it is. It has a subtle holographic glitter with big chunks of blue and pink glitter.

Anyway, enough talk about storage and table confetti from me. How was your Christmas?



Gemma
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Friday, 23 December 2011

Burt's Bees and Fairytales and Hidden Notes Giveaway

I know we haven't had Christmas yet but when it is all over and you have to go back to work with the January blues, you will need some cheering up. So I have a giveaway for you all from some lovely brands!

First up are some fantstic body lotions from Burt's Bees-


Burt's Bees products average 99% natural ingredients with over half being 100% natural. Burt's bees also commit to the highest standards of free trade and working conditions in the sourcing of their products and also pledge to never test their ingredients or products on animals.
They also take care with their packaging ensuring it is created from recycled materials and their packages are designed to hold just enough product for you to use up before it expires, so you don't end up throwing out half used tubes and jars. So if you win these body lotions not only will you have hydrated and soft skin but you can feel super saintly!

Next up I have a dainty bracelet from Fairytales and Hidden Notes-


I love the inspration behind Fairytales and Hidden Notes- The creator said 'I have always loved pretty objects, especially owning them.  This together with a childhood where I spent most of my time making things with my little brother - whether it be our garden fortress or traps for the midnight thief -  it was only a matter of time before my curiosity got the better of me and I started making my own trinkets. And the name? its from my brother - Arunn - my childhood partner in crime.' How sweet!

There are two chances of winning, the first name pulled out of the hat (probably a mug) will win two Burt's Bees products and the bracelet-

The runner up will win two body lotions-



All you have to do to enter is leave a comment letting me know what you are most looking forward to in 2012 and for an extra entry you can tweet about the giveaway, be sure to include my name in it - @Gemma_DS so I can see your tweet.

The giveaway will end on the 11th of Janurary, good luck!!

Gemma
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Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Baci Lingerie Cardiff

I was recently invited to the lovely new Baci Lingerie store in Cardiff  for a bloggers preview by Chantele.
I had not heard about the store or brand before and I was pleasantly surprised by what I found there. Baci Lingerie is all about sexy, elegant, sophisticated lingerie and boudoir-wear, at incredible value. Miami-based brand Baci Lingerie chose Cardiff to launch its first store in the UK and the brand hope to open 50 stores in the UK over the next five years.

The store looked wonderful and the staff were very welcoming. Some of the items were rather risque but there was something for everyone and to suit every budget.


This floral basque was my favourite item in store and if you spend over £10 you can get a bra for just £1 as an opening offer. Everything was very reasonable priced although I'm not sure I would have much use for a lace body stocking, yikes!



Something I will definitely be popping back in store for is their large collection of eyelashes. They had hundreds of styles and some were only £2. You can also get 4 pairs for £10 which is great value as some are priced at £4 each. There are lots of natural styles to chose from and I love the pairs I picked out.


If you aren't from Cardiff you can find Baci on various online retailers including very.com. My visit led me to throw out all my old underwear and have a really good sort out. Underwear is the item we wear everyday but I put so little thought in to it, going to invest in some nice new sets in the January sales!

Gemma
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Sunday, 18 December 2011

Bristol Meetup & mystreetchic.com party

After an amazing bloggers meet up in August I jumped at the chance to spend a night with all the lovely ladies again and meet a few new faces. Me and Leanne got the train from Newport and headed in to Bristol to meet up with Lyzi, Vicky, Bee and Sammy for a Nando's and a good catch up.

After stuffing my face with chicken and bottomless fizzy drinks I waddled back to the hotel and got ready to go out with the lovely Leanne and Vicky who I shared my room with.(Hope I didn't snore) We all headed down to Java where the party kicked off and I got to meet even more lovely bloggers.

Vicky, Rai and me clutching a cocktail. (I drank many cocktails)


 We were then treated to a catwalk that showcased the Boohoo festive party collections, the models did a great job walking in all those super high shoes! There were lots of jewel colours and sequins.


Aaaaw doesn't everyone look chic?


Walking home after a few too many cocktails. Love Steph's face here!



Rather than hitting the town we all headed back to the hotel for a good chat and cheesy chips.
I had a lovely time in Bristol and I hope we all get to do it again in the new year, I really do enjoy putting a face to a twitter name and spending time time with so many friendly people.

Also want to say a quick thank you to Missguided for the parcel I got just before I left to get the train to Bristol, put a smile on my face! You can't tell from the photo but Sookie stole these off the kitchen cupboard, hid them in her bed and was found nibbling on the boxes haha.


It's been a lovely week and I've still got a Christmas feast to enjoy at Emma's house tomorrow. I've got my work Christmas party next week and I will spend the night with my best friend on Christmas eve, so busy and happy at the moment!

Hope you all have a wonderful week!

Gemma
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Tuesday, 13 December 2011

A week (and a bit) in Photos

It has been another busy week for me, it is deadline time for students so the library is crazy busy. I've still had time to relax and party though and this is what I've been up to-

Scrap booking- I'm not like those crazy American mums who spend hours creating very elaborate scrapbooks with ribbon and craft glue. I just stick everything in a big book with pritt stick so I don't lose all of my gig tickets and little things I pick up on my travels. I find it quite therapeutic and it gave me a chance to reflect on all the fun things I've done this year.


I went out in Cardiff on Saturday and drank quite a few cocktails....


Too many mojitos=total mess. I ended up back at my mates house by 12 watching X Factor and having some toast. Can't party like I used to any more!



I won a giveaway on A Blog From Blackpool and Danielle sent me these lovely goodies. I scoffed the choccy straight away and been wearing the festive brooch to work :) Thanks Danielle!

This is what I wore to work yesterday, it is sooo cold in Cardiff so I'm digging all out all my long sleeved dresses and my fur stole to keep warm.

Dress: Dorothy Perkins
Belt: Dorothy Perkins
Stole: H&M

I'm going to the Bristol Bloggers Christmas party on Friday which I am really excited about and it means I get to annoy the lovely Lyzi and Bee again and I'm sharing a room with Leanne and Vicky. Are you coming? Say hello to me on twitter as I think a few of us are meeting for lunch before we check in to the hotel at 3ish.

I also posted on Where Are My Knees? last week about my -50lbs loss this year which you can read here.

Are you finding all this festivity too much of a fuss? What have you enjoyed doing recently?

Gemma
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Friday, 9 December 2011

Cdfblogs Christmas Social & Crabtree and Evelyn Event

I had a very busy night on Tuesday with two events to attend. I had a bit of a mission to get there as there were forty five cows on the train lines outside Newport and I was stuck on the train to Cardiff for an hour. Madness!!!

Firstly, I went to a lovely Crabtree & Evelyn event. (When I finally got there) There were hand massages, bubbly, nibbles(the most amazing cheese and chutney) and a raffle where I won two bottle of fizz!


Nathan Wyburn from Britain's Got Talent was there to create a portrait of the Save the Children patron Natasha Kaplinsky. There was 30% off a lot of Christmas items and an extra 15% off on the evening so I got some tubes of hand therapy for my mam for Christmas and some cherry jam and pomegranate hand lotion for myself. I LOVE jam, I eat crumpets most days so I can't wait to get stuck in to this one.

I was given a sample of the pomegranate hand therapy before and I adored it, it is so light and not oily at all. I might ask for a little pot so I can take some in my bag with me and keep the big bottle in the house.


After the Crabtree & Evelyn event I headed over to Peppermint on Mill Lane for the Cardiff Blogs Christmas Social. I drank loads of lovely mojito's with Sarah, Liz, Louise, Emma and Chantele. There were lots of mince pies and a rubbish raffle where you could win exciting gifts like a photo box and a quiz book (which is what I won) great fun!
If you blog (or are interested in social media) and live in South Wales I highly recommend that you come along to one of these meet ups. I've met some amazing people there and I always enjoy the themed talks at the beginning. There is usually a free drink too ;) 
 

If you want to find out more or follow what we get up to at these events then you should follow @cdfblogs on twitter.

What have you been up to this week? I want to hear about all of your Christmas parties!


Gemma
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Friday, 2 December 2011

Leopard Love

Another work outfit here as I've not been anywhere exciting this week. It's a Friday so I'm a little more casual than I would normally be dressed for work. I usually wear block colours but leopard is more fun for the weekend. I don't think I look like a librarian/library assistant but that is probably a good thing. I should have worn tights because my feet have been cold all day! brrrr. Do you have a dress code at work or dress down on Fridays?



Dress: Primark
Shoes: New Look
Cardigan: Evans
Necklace: F21

It is so busy in work at the moment and I'm on my feet all day and these New Look shoes do nothing but  rub. I need some nice wide fitting shoes to wear to work. I need to stop wearing cheap pumps and invest in some more comfy ones like these ones from Viva La Diva:

I love the lace detail on this dress, it makes it look much less Primark.


I got this necklace aaages ago from Forever 21 when I was at the Birmingham Blogger Meet Up way back in  July. I forgot all about it and found it under my bed this week!


My skin has been so bad recently, I think all the dust in the house from the renovation has not been helping and I drink far less water and eat less fruit in the winter.(Summer fruit is way better, strawberries and peaches mmm) So along with trying to drink more water I have also tested out some cleansers to see if I can get rid of my skin problems.

First up is the Liz Earl Hot Cloth Cleanser. I love this cleanser, you can take all your make up off with it and it leaves my skin super clean. The only down side is that you need to wash the cloth after a few uses and I forget and have to wait until we do a white wash to use it again.


Next is Angels on Bare Skin from Lush. This is a great, affordable everyday cleanser. It is slightly grainy so it removes all the dirt from my skin and is a natural product so it doesn't irritate my sensitive skin. The only negative issue with this product is that is has a use by date, I need to use it by the end of December but there is loads left. I must remember to use it every morning and night.


I have noticed a slight improvement but I'm going to keep on using them to see how well they work after a month or two.
What are your favourite skin care products and skincare brands? Got any top skin care tips?


Gemma
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Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Pan Am Glam

I'm ill, cold and fed up(whinge) and I long for some glamour and sunshine. I blame Pan Am for the hours I've spent today looking at holidays in various exotic locations. I'm loving the show so far, it's no hard hitting drama but it's fun and oh so pretty.There is something for everyone: handsome pilots, gorgeous vintage fashion, espionage and exciting locations like Monaco and New York.

credit credit


I then started to plan what I would need for a perfect early 60s inspired holiday (yes really, I don't have a life)
I found the perfect plus size swimsuit with a retro feel. I want to lounge around the pool with my Jackie O glasses on, drinking a martini and listening to all those amazing bands from the 60s.



I went out today (after faffing on the internet for hours) and was inspired by Christina Ricci  (doesn't she has lovely big eyes?) to create a 60s inspired make up look and this is my attempt-



I suppose I should I have gone for nude lips but nevermind. I used my Lancome Art Liner, MAC Russian Red lipstick and Avon brow pencil. I was trying to get the Liz Taylor eyebrow look but it ended up a little more scouse brow.

Are you dreaming of a holiday in a warmer climate? Do you spend hours online when you should be doing something more important? Tumblr is a total life stealer, I love looking at Harry Potter/Mean Girls photos.

Gemma
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