Beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

I do apologize for the lack of posts this past week, I have been trying to get used to a new work schedule, in addition to getting a stomach bug and being sick. I am nearly back to normal and looking forward to a weekend of focusing and getting back on track. :)

In my curled up on the couch, feeling sorry for myself state, I did manage to catch up on a few little things and do a lot of thinking.

Firstly, I am a fan of Ingrid Nilsen and recently watched her video on Real or Retouched and how beauty is perceived. I have to admit that at times I have felt like saying "come on people, we know it's airbrushed, lets move on." But listening to her, I really started to understand that even if I feel comfortable with myself and try and encourage people to be confident in their own skin too, it still doesn't take away this warped vision of beauty that as a society we have.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQz0Y9WuyuU

Secondly, I'm a huge fan of Russell Brand and as I was catching up on some episodes of his show "The Trews" (The truth plus the news) I came across one where he was discussing Page 3 being no more. For those of you who don't know what Page 3 is, it's Page 3 in The Sun newspaper, back in my home sweet home of England, and it basically consists of a topless female. Apparently there has been a lot going on back home to where Page 3 no longer exists. Listening to Russell's view on this and how this big step in taking that out of the paper is a positive thing for society, was simply wonderful. He speaks so intelligently and has so much passion and heart and made so much sense to me. Again, at times I have chosen to just ignore things like this and take the road of "well if those girls want to pose then they are just silly and they're fake anyway" But listening to Russell talk about the negative effects it can have on both men and women really opened my eyes and something clicked.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCvnS3dBDsE

I'm not without my insecurities', I have plenty, but as I mentioned above, I think my take on seeing 'beautiful people' in magazines was always that "well I'm sure some people look like that" or "well it's all airbrushed so there's no point in dwelling on it." I never really put much thought in to it. Yes I have insecurities but I've been told so many times that we all do, that I just kind of sucked it up. However, when I think back to wrestling and times when I had to do photo shoots or do stupid bikini battle royals (to which if I could turn back the hands of time, I wish I would of had the confidence to tell people where to stick it and NO!) I think about how stressful and anxious I felt at having to wear something I didn't feel comfortable parading around in. At this moment in time I can tell you that I am happy with my body, if I want my bum to be more toned I know enough workout exercises that I can get right to it, but as of right now I stay active and healthy and I am happy with the way I look. In addition, I'm fortunate enough to have a husband who constantly builds me up and says lovely things about me every day. But when you know you are going to be on TV and have photos taken of you, all of a sudden your brain starts going into overdrive and you start to think about all your wrinkles and dimples and try and think of every which way in which you can cover them. Thinking back to these times and  watching the aforementioned videos, I suddenly realized how terrible airbrushing, Photoshop and putting one type of female figure on page 3, is for our brains, minds, souls and hearts. It can effect everything. I know some of you are probably thinking "well duh" and I do apologize for the lateness in this realization, but I think hearing Russell Brand, a guy, talking about how his brain gets messed up when all he is shown is this kind of women who symbolizes what every man should want and every women want to look like, finally made my brain click.

I started thinking to myself that it's all well and good if I feel comfortable in my own skin but wouldn't it be nice if I didn't feel like an outsider, like I'm one of those women who is happy with her own skin even if its not "perfect". Is it just me or are all of us women who have stretch marks and cellulite, who don't have bronze smooth glowing skin, who have little bumps and dimples, made to feel like we are someone to be admired? You know like we are so inspiring for being happy and confident with our bodies when they are not perfect? Well who the hell says they are not perfect? Please tell me who defines what perfect is?

For the past few months now I haven't picked up any type of girlie magazine, like Cosmopolitan or Glamour, as I just feel they are so hypocritical and I had read an article in one of them last year that just made me feel sick, so I haven't touched them since. But occasionally I see a tweet from them and I can't help but laugh, today I saw them promoting an artist who had changed Disney characters and added a bit more weight to make them look more 'normal' yet their magazines are full of Photoshop and airbrushing and models who are more or less the same size???!!!

I remember when Guardians of the Galaxy came out and all the headlines read "Chris Pratt gets hot." I remember turning to my husband and getting so mad and saying "Chris Pratt has always been hot" It disgusted me that people would only now see him has hot because he has abs. So all of what I am saying applies to men too. Society is polluting our brains and giving us this warped vision of what is sexy and what is good looking. My husband laughed at me the other week because we had gotten on to a topic such as this and as an example I said to Chris "I find Kramer (Michael Richards) sexier than Brad Pitt." I used Brad Pitt as an example as he is someone universally know as a sex symbol. I explained to my husband that, granted I am going off characters and I have fallen in love with Kramer on Seinfeld and I haven't seen many Brad Pitt movies, so there is that connection to Kramer that makes him attractive, but everyone sees beauty differently. The world might see Brad Pitt as a sex God but I personally would take Michael Richards any day. :) The point is, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and its not just about what's on the outside. Magazines need to stop looking through one pair of eyes and focusing on one type of beauty. Yes there are women out there with that smooth bronzed glowing skin, yes there are women out there with beautiful snow white skin, yes there are curvy women and slim women but there's also all us women in between and all of us should be represented and celebrated. (As with the short men, tall men, muscular men, slim men, bigger men, men with scars, men with wrinkles.) The only time we ever see cellulite in a magazine is when they are making fun of celebrities and urging them to get in shape!! And that is another thing that is so ignorant, I for one have had stretch marks and cellulite since I was 16, growing pains if you will, I was always active and ate healthy. As an adult, I wrestled and went to the gym everyday, drank tons of water and again ate healthy, my skin through all its growing in life just happens to stretch that way, I am not ugly or unfit or some disgusting unhealthy person, I'm just me. And yes...I can't wait till pregnancy, I'm sure my skin will have a field day! :p

If you keep up with my blog you know that I enjoy watching makeup tutorials on YouTube and makeup has become somewhat of a hobby for me, but I have to admit that I simply can not watch the videos where these girls are talking about how they edit there selfies. The apps that blur lines and make your skin look airbrushed, they scare me. Moreover, I admit that I love Instagram, it might be my favourite app and I love editing photos and just putting a nice little filter to brighten things up, make my face seem a bit smoother, but just this morning I thought "No no no" We don't see life through a filter. How awful is it to think that we see something we find beautiful and then we change it? We took a picture in the first place because we liked the colour of the flower, or the outfit we were wearing, the sky looked so blue, or the makeup we did was nice, and then we filter it???? I gave up on selfies a little while ago as I would try and take them of my makeup and think "oh gosh no, why does my skin not look so light and smooth like those other girls?" Answer: because they use all these apps to change the final picture. Now, I'm not knocking these girls as I have seen there videos and pictures where they show the world their bare beautiful faces, it's more that it just makes me sad that we now as a society feel the need to filter and that there is now actually technology that means we can do so so easily. In addition, I have had my fair few photo shoots and I know only too well the difference between the altered image and the not altered image. My husband had a photo shoot not too long ago and I remember when we were looking through all his photos, I loved them all straight away. I have one that I use as a background on my phone and when Chris was sending his chosen pictures back to get edited (cut out background stuff and lighting effects mostly) I said I don't want this one retouched, it's perfect.  I wonder what it would take for my brain to see those untouched images of myself and be 100% comfortable and accepting of them too. (On a side note, I appreciate makeup hides our true, true selves, but I think it's also art and fun and most of us don't wear makeup every single day. :) )

Another thing I want to mention is that I hope one day as a society we can stop knocking something down to build something else up. I can't stand when I see a magazine cover that reads "Curvy is in" it really irks me. My brain can't fathom how they think that they are being cool and empowering women when they have just knocked down all the women out there who are slim. You'd think by now people were smart enough to understand that we all come in different shapes and sizes, colours and skin and some people are naturally slim, some people naturally curvy, etc. Furthermore, when Meghan Trainors song "All about that bass" hit, I thought it was catchy and great until she said "skinny bitches" and then I turned it off.


One of my favourite places in the world is my Aunties house in Italy. I love visiting my Nanna's family, they are the most beautiful people in the world to me. They live on the hillside in Praiano, along the Amalfi coast, they eat fresh food every day, walk the 100 or so steps to get their groceries each day and they are surrounded by family. They have TV but compared to here where we have all the media, magazines, billboards etc. it feels very much like the simple life. They are the epitome of growing old gracefully, every wrinkle tells a story. Their faces are happy and friendly, warm, loving and kind and I think they are the true beauties of the world. It would be nice if we saw more of that in our magazines. Looking at my Aunties, my Nanna and my Mum, has made me a lot more confident as I'm getting older. The way I look, my skin, my body type, my features, all comes from my genes, my family and I couldn't be any more proud if I tried. That honestly makes me hold my head up high and smile! :)
I don't think I posted this picture before, as it wouldn't fit on Instagram to edit! I have this picture by my bed and I often look at it and laugh at my messy hair and barely there makeup and bug eyes, I thought I might look a bit scary. But now I just see me, so incredibly happy, with my Mum and sisters at my Nanna and Grandad's house eating our favourite 99's and I LOVE it! :)

I know this has been a rather long blog post today, and rather rambly, so I really hope you are still with me and managed to get to the end. :p I think a few of these thoughts have just been building up inside me and when I heard Russell Brand talk I felt so empowered by what he had to say, that it made me want to write and look into what I can do to maybe help change the world instead of just creeping back inside my bubble. I think I'd like to start by using the filters less on my Instagram, it might seem small and I understand it can all be a bit of fun but at the end of the day that's a little step in helping myself to really love who I am and not hide behind even a tiny filter! :) I know it will be hard as I just glanced at my wedding pictures and thought wow, the lady just made everything bright and beautiful, and she really did, but then I think back to my Mum's wedding photos when they didn't have everything edited and airbrushed and I think of how stunning and cute and happy she looked, and I'm like "Come on world, we can do this, we can change for the better and go back to really, truly, seeing and appreciating what beauty you have to offer."

I hope you are have a beautiful weekend and if you have any thoughts on this matter I'd love to read about them in the comments below! Also, if you are a part of any projects or groups that are tackling things like this, please send me links, I'd love to read about them! :) Thank you!

And with that, I am heading back to my blanket and couch and to spend time with my family! :p Be well!

Love Lulu. xx

Are you a Potterhead? - Guest post! :)

So I'm here again, but one year older, with another blog. As Lucy wrote so sweetly about in her last blog, Wednesday was indeed our 27th Birthday. While, a little strange being in different states, we made the most of it via Skype and still opened all our cards together, at the same time, in the same order...old habits never die! :p Then as Lucy proceeded to hang out with her lovely husband and get ready for work, my husband and I got ready for a day out at the only place that seemed fit for my "special" day...."The Wizarding World of Harry Potter" (We live in Florida after all!!!)
 
This was my fourth visit to the magical worlds of Harry Potter, inside of Universal Orlando, and i'll be honest with you, they are pretty much the only reasons that I am an annual pass holder. Don't get me wrong, I think both the theme parks as a whole are great, I love seeing the superheros and walking through The Simpsons area, but I'm a Potterhead through and through so my main aims are to spend as long as I can inside the Harry Potter sections before my husband slowly and ever so sweetly guides me away! 

 
The first time I went to Islands of Adventure was on my honeymoon, when they only had Hogsmeade, I got so excited walking in and couldn't wipe the smile off my face, the houses, the shops, the castle, it all looked so cute and I felt right at home. It did seem a little small to me at first, but then as me and my husband have discussed, they do have a huge amount of space allotted for Hogwarts and the ride line for that, so I understand. My two favorite places there are HoneyDukes, with all its color and yummy sweets and the Owl Post shop, which I discovered on my most recent trip, it's filled with writing supplies and I couldn't resist the adorable letters with "Owl Post" written on them, perfect for sending to both my sisters! I have only been on each of the rides there once and my favorite would definitely be the ride in Hogwarts. The different special effects they use are very cool and that's coming from someone who isn't a fan off 3D rides. I did enjoy the other two but after queuing for the flight of the hippogriff for ages, it didn't last very long. 
 
 
 
Moving onto Universal and Diagon Alley. Now one of the coolest features of this I think, is the fact that they have actually built it behind a wall, it therefore gives you the proper feeling, like Harry, when you walk into it for the first time. This area took my breath away because you really do feel totally immersed into the world of Harry Potter, more so I think than in Hogsmeade. There is a lot more to look at in Diagon Alley and a few more shops to go in, that you don't know where to start! Diagon Alley is also home to The Leaky Cauldron and after having eaten in both here and The Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade, my husband and I both agreed that we like the variety of food a lot more in The Leaky Cauldron, so that's another win for Diagon Alley for us. But I will say the food is equally delicious in both, it just depends on what you're looking for. You can take a look at the menus here:

 
 My favorite places to go when in Diagon Alley are The Weasleys Wizard Wheezes and Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment, I just love all the notebooks and writing supplies. I also like Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour, although I haven't tried any ice cream yet...it's on the list though. Another plus here is that as well as The Leaky Cauldron and The ice cream parlor, you have two other places to get Butterbeer and other varieties of Wizard drinks, like Fishy Green Ale and Wizards brew, as well as snacks.
I personally feel like Diagon Alley kind of overshadows little Hogsmeade now. Diagon Alley may only have two rides, being The Escape from Gringotts and The Hogwarts Express, but the feel of it is grander and I think there is more to see. My only small gripe, if you will, about the Escape from Gringotts and the actual Hogwarts Express, in the new area, and forgive me as you may read this and roll your eyes at me, is the fact that the voice of Hermione isn't Emma Watson. The problem to me is that while such a small thing to some, it really made a difference to me. It was the first thing I thought when I heard Hermione speak, it just didn't feel right. I can't say it's a huge negative and get mad, as I don't know the reasons behind it, but still it was a little thing I thought I would mention, as if you are like me and love Emma Watson, then you might feel a bit thrown off. Apart from that though, I loved the Hogwarts Express and the Escape from Gringotts and the whole feel of Diagon Alley. I tend to go to Hogsmeade first to nip into Honeydukes and then head over by foot or by train to spend the majority of my time explorng Diagon Alley. Does anyone else feel the same way? What are your thoughts on both these parks? I would love to hear them! :)
 
 
All in all having Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley 30 minutes from my apartment is definitely a Harry Potter lovers dream! I love all things Harry Potter related and think Universal have done a great job. I guess I will find out how good of a job next week as I get to take my little sister there, she has been waiting for so long to go so I'm looking forward to seeing what she thinks.
 
Last but not least, I've seen this topic come up before and thought I would put in my two cents. For those of you wondering if you can compare the two, or even ask which one is better out of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal and The Harry Potter Warner Brothers Studio Tour in London, my answer to you is no you can't compare them. From someone who has been to both more than once, I will tell you that they are both completely different experiences, with tons to offer. As far as which one is better, my personal favourite would be the tour in London, I highly recommend it to everyone, but especially Harry Potter fanatics like me. Though Universal is still a must too, the tour in London will make you cry. Simply because everything you see is original, everything that was actually used in the films. You can walk the same paths where actual scenes were played out, stand where the actors stood, you can stand inches away from the props, clothes, creatures that made the world so real and see how the books you adore truly came to life. :) It is pure magic!
 
 
Hope you enjoyed my little insight into The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley! I'd love to hear all about your experiences!

 
Until next time, keep smiling!
Kelly
 
 

Friday Favourites...it's been a while! :)

It's been a while since I have sat and written a Friday Favourites/Favourites, and this week I have had so many things to smile about that I thought it was about time to start them up again. I love to talk about things that make me happy, I like to share the love in hopes that it may put a smile on your face too. Whether it be a TV show, song, book, day out or family moment, life is so much nicer when we simply:

 
So first up on my favourites list this week:
 
 
Birthday fun! :)
I was overwhelmed by the amount of birthday messages I received on Wednesday, be it through cards, texts, twitter, Facebook, I felt so very loved and it meant the absolute world to me. I'm always touched when people I haven't spoken to in ages or since school, stop by and wish me a Happy Birthday, I think it's a wonderful positive to social media. :) Thank you all very much for making my day! :) These are just a few of the cards I got, I love cards and they were all so cute. The one with the monkey on...yep that one was from my husband. :p In addition to the beautiful bridge one too. :) The adorable little pug is a pad I got from my little sister, I love him, he is just too much! Thank you Jenfer! :) I received so many lovely little treats and gift cards that I really can't thank every one enough for their thoughtfulness and kindness. I have the most amazing family and friends!
 

 
Handmade with Love!
I had to single this card out as just look at it!!! :) How totally awesome is this card??? My little sister hand crafted this and I absolutely adore it. It has the little Nerd Herd running man, the awesome computer message and even Pineapple washi tape... it's perfect! Even you non fans of the show should all know by now what the Nerd Herd is if you follow my blog! :p Yes, of course, it's from 'Chuck' :p My little sister is a genius! :)
 
 
Jerry Seinfeld!!
In keeping with the birthday favourites theme! :p One of the most awesome birthday gifts ever, my husband out did himself and got us tickets to go and see Jerry Seinfeld Live at The Palace Theatre, here in Louisville, on April 2nd. Who has been doing a happy dance for the past few days? Me that's who! :) I can not wait and keep squealing with glee!! I am so unbelievably excited for this I can't tell you. I love going to concerts and events with Chris. We have been so fortunate to see some of our favourite artists, like Ray LaMontagne and Augustana and see things like 'First Date' on Broadway and meet Zachary Levi. (forever indebted to my sisters for that one) We have experienced so many of our favourite things together and now this will kick off our 2015 events, I am beyond giddy. Chris introduced me to the show 'Seinfeld' last year and since then we have watched all 9 seasons and still curl up and watch them over and over again because it's just so good. To actually get to see Jerry Seinfeld live, well, I'm rambling now so you know I'm still in dream state! :p A big, big thank you to my husband! :)
 

 
Snow days! :)
I've never experienced a snow day until this past week. My schools have always been a 5 minute walk round the corner, so it was never like buses were cancelled and we couldn't make it in. In addition to the fact that I can't remember the last time we really truly got a bunch of snow in the UK. I know that snow can cause trouble, slow things down and cause accidents, but I have to admit that I love it when it snows, and to see this much snow, snow that you can actually play in, and where your feet sink in, to me it was rather exciting. Outside looked like a winter wonderland and that always puts a smile on my face. :) Did you get snow?
 
 
Home! :)
Chris and I already feel so at home and cozy in our new apartment. We are especially loving our little fireplace. It is definitely one of my new favourite things. I got to curl up this week and drink my hot cocoa by it and it was delightful! :) It's a place where I can sit and relax and take in everything around me. I have so many things to be grateful for and have had so many blessings this week that I hope you didn't mind me sharing them with you. :)
 
What has been making you smile this week? Have you got any favourites that have been making you smile? I'd love to read about them! :)
 
Have a wonderful Friday!
 
Love Lulu. xx


 
 



It takes two!! :)

I remember back when Kelly, my twin sister, and I were 18, we were fresh out of college in the July and stepping into our first proper jobs in the September, Kelly as a learning support assistant at Tithe Barn Primary School and me as a Nursery Nurse at Freshfield Nursery School. As February 18th the following year drew closer, we talked about how funny it was going to be having to spend 7 hours a part from each other on our birthday. Yes, at this point we hadn't spent many hours away from each other. Getting our first grown up jobs in different places was a big step. :p Needless to say, we got through those 7 hours and had a lovely evening with our family opening cards and gifts and having a yummy dinner together. :)

Today it makes me laugh to think back to our 18th birthday, because I still remember the feeling. I didn't want to celebrate without her or be away from her that day, so it didn't really feel like our birthday until we got back from work. That might sound silly to some but after 18 years of:

"Don't tell me what it is."
"Which one should we open first."
"I'm opening this one."
"Oh you spoilt it for me."
"Keg, I hadn't opened that one yet."
"Nooo, don't tell me."
"I think this one might be yours."
"Ok go."
"Lucy wait for Kelly."
"Kelly wait for Lucy."
"You open it from that side."
"That's ok, you can open that one."

and so forth, it's simply not right any other way and traditions become traditions! Our birthdays were never simply pick a present/card and open it, no they had to be thought out, they required patience, sharing, in some cases will power and us being together! :p


9 years later and today is the first birthday in our 27 years of existence that Kelly and I will actually spend a part. Not just 7 hours but the whole entire day! :p It actually made me tear up just writing that, meanwhile I know Kelly will probably be having a blast galloping around Disney World with her birthday badge later. :p

I have written plenty of twin posts, here and here and she has even written one too, here, so there's no need for me to ramble on too much. But as it's our birthday, I did just want to say that I am one very very lucky girl to have Kelly for a twin sister. She is my absolute everything and my most favourite person in the history of the world. :) My Kelly is grounded and always keep me in check and she is one of the sweetest people I know. She very much takes after our Mum and is caring, loving, as kind as can be and extremely stubborn to boot! :p As we've gotten older she tends to not let me get away with as much as she used too, due to the aforementioned stubbornness but I still love her to pieces. ;)All the things we have accomplished together fill me with so much pride and I know I couldn't have done any of it without her. :)



 
We've experienced being a part for the past 8 months and while yes I know we have survived and got through it, I have to say that life's better when she's with me. She just makes life brighter and more fun, gives it more meaning and I don't feel so much like I am waiting for something. Our Grandad puts it perfectly when he says we are one half of a whole, he couldn't be more right! :)
 
So today is going to be a little different, but I'm going to smile really big, as even though we are spending the day a part, I am still incredibly happy that I get to share my birthday with her, and I'm pretty sure we will have Skype set up so that we don't miss our usual, "Wait, open this one first." "No, don't tell me, I haven't opened that one yet." :p
 
I feel that over this past year we have done a lot of growing and learning and experiencing different things. We have found ourselves individually and even began new dreams that were different to the other. However, looking to this next year I am so very excited for all the things we have planned together and how everything seemed to work itself out to bring us back together. I am proud to be Kelly's twin sister and in turning 27 I feel more content than ever to say that no amount of growing up or finding myself is going to change that. Being Kelly's twin is a huge, huge part of who I am and each and every year it happens to be the best birthday present I ever received!!!. :)
 
 
Wishing everyone a wonderful day! :)
 
Keep smiling and have a piece of cake!
 
Love Lulu. xx

All you need is LOVE! :)

I'm not one to be super girlie, day dream of receiving flowers or think about taking long romantic walks on the beach. I'm not really into being whisked away to some surprise getaway and wish to have rose petals scattered around my bedroom, I just never really think about those kind of things or think that guys should do that. I know, I know, that probably sounds crazy, as if you follow my blog you know that I read nothing but romantic novels, constantly get all mushy and soppy when talking about my husband and I'm the first to admit that I love, LOVE, but...it's true. I swear! :p

Valentines Day was always fun growing up. Mum would write me and my sister cards and actually have them mailed to the house, pretending they were from a real Valentine. We cottoned on as we got older as she would alternate her writing style, my card would be written in small handwriting and Kelly's in big handwriting and then it would swap the next year. It always made us smile though as our Mum is the sweetest and we thought it was very thoughtful of her. Besides that, Valentines Day was never a big deal, I think I remember one year in Primary school getting a real one and that was from a friend and rather cute, but other than that, I never gave it too much thought. Fast forward to getting older and boyfriends and again I never really got too in to it. I mean I did the whole card thing and on the odd occasion got excited about picking out cute little gifts, but that was about it. I am one of those people that believe in telling the people you love that you love them every day but all in all I did think the concept of Valentines day was rather sweet and simply put...nice. :)

But if I'm honest, and going back to my first point, all the hype over chocolates and flowers and stuffed animals was never my thing. Hands up if you walked past the giant bears in Kroger, Walmart, Clinton cards or Tesco and muttered any of the following...

"Now how is that practical?"
"Don't ever get me one of them." (to husband, boyfriend, partner)
"Really? Who needs a bear that big?"
"What exactly is the point of that?"
"What would you do with it exactly?"
"Really, you don't need to buy me something like that."

Both my hands are up! :p

Last Valentines Day, my husband bought me a beautiful card, Tangled on DVD and some yummy cupcake Goldfish and I was ecstatic. I wasn't expecting anything and I thought it was the most perfect and sweetest gift ever, still do! :) We exchanged cards and gifts and off he went to work. This year I had picked up a DVD he'd been looking at, a goofy SpongeBob Squarepants chocolate box and written a handmade card for him, I just thought it would be a nice little token for all the wonderful things he does. And again, I wasn't expecting anything in return. Needless to say my husband, being the amazing and awesome husband that he is, completely outdid himself and surprised me throughout the day. It was the most traditional Valentines Day I have ever had, waking up to Nutella pancakes, a box of chocolates, pink roses, being surprised with a bubble bath, tea lights lighting up the bathroom, cuddles by the fire, champagne, a gorgeous card, yummy dinner and yep, you guessed it...


...my very own big bear! :p You can bet the minute I walked into my office and saw this guy on my desk, I squealed and thought it was the best thing on the planet. Not so impractical and useless anymore, it has received many cuddles and squishes and has become Nobby's best friend. My husband's reason for purchasing it "You now have your own brown grizzly bear." Yes, I have always wanted a pet grizzly bear and now I have him! :p Any ideas for a name? :)

Yesterday I felt an overwhelming burst of love for my husband. It actually brought me to tears. It's not so much the gifts and treats that he bought for me, it's that he put all this effort into surprising me with these little things and above all else believing I deserved to be somewhat showered with all these tokens of love. In sharing this with you I wanted to say that though many think Valentines day is corny (I admit to thinking this in the past too) and many people associate it with lots of negative energy, be it about the cost of cards, expensive dinners or being single. I feel that what my husband showed me yesterday can be passed on and maybe next Valentine's day, instead of thinking negative thoughts, we can choose to spend the day making someone feel special, be it a friend, family member, partner, or child, the world simply needs more love. I've learnt my lesson: love that is thought of as being corny is, no matter how you look at it, still love. :)


In addition, to those girls (and guys) who think they know what they want, call themselves Miss/Mr Independent and like to tell people what they want in a guy, (or girl) I'm talking about the influx of the era of "I don't need a man" etc. and teaching little girls that they shouldn't look for Prince Charming and the what not, (slightly different topic but one that I find very frustrating, see http://lululocket.blogspot.com/2014/09/what-do-women-really-want.html for a little more detail) please take a step back and let your guard down a little. From my experience, no one knows what they want, or need, till it hits them. You can miss out on so many wonderful things in life if you put ideals into your head, go with the flow and follow your heart, (yes there will be ups and downs, but it will work out and make you appreciate things all the more) and in the end there might be a giant, cuddly, cute as a button, impractical and ridiculously expensive but oh so perfect and I love him, teddy bear in it for you! :p

What did you get up to for Valentines Day?

Have a blessed Sunday!
Love Lulu xx


My home away from home! :)

Around 7 years ago, in August 2008, my sister and I travelled to Louisville KY to spend a week at Ohio Valley Wrestling. (Thank you Nick Dinsmore, we are forever grateful!!) We loved it so much that a year later we were back for our first 3 month stint, along with our friend Dave. Those first 3 months were an adjustment with being so far away from home, but at 21 years old, we quickly adapted to our new lifestyle of training, wrestling, hanging out, trying new food places, training, wrestling, hanging out, trying new food places, repeat, repeat, you get the picture. :p We loved having our independence and making new friends and we were having a blast at OVW, as well as experiencing all Louisville had to offer. Following that first 3 months, we would come back to Louisville for months at a time over the next 2 years. That brought tons more experiences, lots of growing up and again, lots of new developments in finding the fun spots to go in The Ville. With the friends that we made and all the exciting differences between Stockport and Louisville, we easily found our home away from home. The food was a huge deal to us, we tried and tested so many of the cool places we didn't have back in the UK, Steak n Shake, IHop, Buffalo Wild Wings, and we loved doing our own grocery shop. The foodies in us really came out. :)

Over the past few months I have been very up and down about life in Louisville, 7 years later and I very much miss little old Stockport. And when Kelly and Chris moved to Florida and with no longer wrestling, I felt like I just wanted to pack up and go somewhere else. Virginia to be with family, Florida to be with Kelly and Chris, home, anywhere but KY. I felt like I wanted a fresh start and that Louisville had run it's course. I no longer felt the same about Louisville being my home away from home. As you know from previous blogs, I was finding it hard to balance missing family and at times just didn't know what to do with myself. I was trying to teach myself to focus on the now and everything I had in front of me and not all the things I was missing. My husband is beyond wonderful and helps me a lot with these things and over the course of the last few weeks, moving apartments, finding a job that I love and concentrating on breathing and making things happen, I started to smile.

Louisville isn't this horrible bad place that keeps me from my family. Louisville isn't this bad place where wrestling became a nightmare and not my dream. Louisville isn't this negative spot that doesn't begin to compare to Stockport. No, Louisville is special. Louisville is the place where I fell in love with wrestling more than I ever thought I could. Louisville is the place that I met the most amazing and incredible people that I now call family. Louisville is the place that I met my soul mate and husband. Louisville is full of so many happy memories and I think I just needed to take a step back and remember some of those memories, change shades and really see what was in front of me and appreciate all that Louisville has to offer. Even simply reminding myself of the joys that came from trying all those food places made me remember how fun and special to me Louisville is.

And with that slightly random introduction, I bring you today's topic...Food! :p (It does make sense I swear. :p)

One thing I love about different places is happening upon spots that are unique to a certain town or city. For example, I love going to Virginia and going for a walk in Carrytown and seeing all the cool little shops, cafe's and restaurants  that you can't find anywhere else. In Louisville we have  Bardstown road, which is another lovely place to take a stroll, hang out, shop and eat some delicious food, that can only be found there.

My husband and I came across El Caminos, last year just before Christmas, and we have since frequented the hotspot. I adore the look and style of this restaurant. They have cute and cozy booths, fire places built in the walls, with fire pits outside too in the center of the tables, gorgeous colours that make the walls pop, as well as the pretty stars that you see in the picture below, I am obsessed with them, they remind me of Tangled, and I LOVE Tangled! :p They even have Mexican wrestling masks and posters dotted around, which gives it extra bonus points. In addition, every time my husband and I go to eat there, we end up talking about how cool it would be to have a bar like this in our future house! :p


Naturally upon our first visit we both ordered Tacos. Who doesn't love tacos? We ordered the Barbacoa and De Panza from the Dinner Menu. Oh my gosh... they were unbelievable. We couldn't stop raving about them, especially the De Panza, a pork belly taco. It was just super yummy, with so much flavor. My husband, who has previously been a Chef and Sous Chef in many dining establishments, was pretty excited and eager to try everything on the menu after that. :) Furthermore, I thought that that taco was my new favourite food, until we visited again and I had the Black Bean and Kale taco... put it this way, I could live off that one! :p


The Black Bean and Kale taco is on the left, so scrumptious, they cook the Kale absolutely perfect, I could of eaten a huge bowl of just that! :) Here you can also see the Ceviche I tried too. I had wanted something a little light and fresh and was in the mood for fish so I chose to get this and again, it did not disappoint. It had avocado and cucumber and I can't quite remember what the pink bits were but they were delicious too! :p I think this meal above would be my go to. It was simply delightful, ooh and topped off with a Grapefruit Mimosa, heaven!! :)


This was Chris's meal when we last visited, he got his usual De Panza and Barbacoa tacos, but with a side of rice and refried beans with Pork chorizo. I ended up finishing off the refried beans and pork chorizo, I know, I know, I was full from my Ceviche and Taco but I couldn't help it. I'm running out of ways to describe how good the food is... but it was delicious, scrumptious, amazing, yummy, all of the above. :) When Mom and Dad visited a few months ago, we took them to eat here and they gave it a big thumbs up too and next time my sister and her Chris are in town, you can bet we are making a visit to El Camino's! :)

So, if you live in Louisville or you are visiting, make sure to take a stroll down Bardstown Road and go eat at El Camino's. It's definitely one of the things on my list as to what makes Louisville so unique and special. :)

Have you been before? What's your favourite thing off the menu?

Also you can follow them on
Twitter @elCamino_KY

Have a great day!

Love Lulu. xx

Guest post con mia sorella gemella! :)

Hey Everyone or should I say Ciao!! :) Time for another guest blog with yours truly! 
 
I'm feeling rather giddy and excited today, as this weekend I finally completed Level 1 in Italian with Rosetta Stone! Yay me!! My husband got me this as a Christmas gift two Christmas's ago and as much as I hate to admit it, it wasn't until recently that I sat down and focused on it. It's not that I didn't want to, I was just naughty and didn't sit myself down and get on with it. But alas since moving to Florida I finally got my butt in gear! 
 
 
As you may already know, from Lucy's past posts, of which there are many about our family :p, our grandparents are from Italy. This is something we are so so proud of. However, one of the things we dislike is when they have their Italian friends round and everyone starts speaking in their native tongue as we try our hardest to keep up. In addition, when said friends look at us expectantly like we should be speaking Italian no problem and answering their questions. Even worse is when our grandparents sometimes forget that we don't speak it and happily chat away to us while not realizing we are grasping for just one word we understand. (We do understand a little bit but still. :p ) It's so frustrating as it makes us feel like phonies. If it was a case of a distant cousin being Italian or some great great aunt etc. then maybe that would be a good excuse, but when the Italian side of your family is right round the corner from you and has been for 27 years and your own dear, wonderful Mother, Auntie and Uncle speak it, why not you? Why can't we pass it on to our kids? Why can't we talk to our relatives? Why do we pick up the phone and run to our Nanna when it's international in case the person on the other end starts speaking Italian? Why? "Why?" is a good question, one that it's time to stop answering with excuses or blaming our mother, (yes, we often joke that she should have spoken to us in Italian more as kids, it's a valid point but still.. ;) ) Yes, I finally got to the point where laziness will simply just not cut it and rightly so!!
 
I made the first difficult step of actually beginning my Rosetta Stone program and now there is no way I am giving up. I think I just had to see myself progress a little and then from there it kind of gets addicting. I adore sitting down and hearing the Italian Language, it makes me smile and think of home and furthermore, when words pop up that I know, I feel so very happy inside. There's even a part of me that feels like my brain already knows so much Italian, it's just a matter of unlocking it, so this journey is rather exciting. :) For those of you who have contemplated purchasing Rosetta Stone in any language, I would highly recommend it and here's why:
 
*You don't see any English words! This has been a huge plus for me, as all those years of high school French, writing the English first then the French never seemed to work, to me constantly looking at the words you already know, in the language you already know, doesn't help. I feel like my mind then constantly has to look at it that way. Many other language programs use this like; here's the word now here's the other word. Rosetta Stone isn't like that, instead, it's here is a picture that is universal and now here is the word you need to know. It continues like this, never letting your mind slip back into seeing, reading, thinking of that "English word" and therefore being much more effective. 
 
 
* It's repetitive! You hear a phrase or word, repeat it, then hear it again. Sometimes you can think "ok, ok I get it" but I've learnt that the more you hear it, the more it starts to sink in...kind of obvious I guess but you just need to be patient. You also repeat units you've done, for example, if it's been a few days since you last logged on, it will do an "Adaptive recall" on what you last did. These happen every once in a while too, even if you logged on yesterday, just to make sure you're keeping up.
 
*You really do learn it all! One of the things that amazed me was the writing exercises. When they first came up, I was thinking "what...how am I supposed to write that phrase in Italian?" but you know what? I did! See all that repetition comes in handy! :)
 
*The layout is really easy to follow! All the levels are split into Units, then lessons. You can repeat a lesson if you feel like you can do better, which I would recommend as again it's more repetition. Plus I found out yesterday, you are only going to have to repeat them anyway! Yes I got cocky and thought as soon as I finished my last milestone the congratulations would shower down on me...I was wrong! I had to go back and get 100% in all the lessons I didn't do so well in, I actually didn't have that many, mine were mostly the writing ones towards the end but you know what? That made the congratulations so much more rewarding as I truly felt like I had worked so hard after the 10th time I had repeated an exercise for not getting one letter right! It makes you feel good when you see all those units and lessons with a tick knowing you have focused so hard on them.
 
 
All in all, Rosetta Stone is a fantastic program, one I am so grateful to my husband for getting me. It was about time I did something about the "I want to learn Italian" voice in my head. I know I still have a bit to go till I am confident with myself (I don't have the best accent) but I'm excited to keep going and to keep progressing. I'm learning to not get mad at myself if I forget a few things as to me the goal is to be able to say a few things to my grandparents and understand them a little better. It will also be great if I can watch Italian TV at their house and be able to pick up a few more words, baby steps. :) Eventually, I hope that by the time I get to Level 5,  I will have retained enough to confidently take my husband to Italy to visit my family without the fear of only being able to use hand gestures or wishing my mum was with me. 
For those of you who work better with images, Rosetta Stone is definitely the perfect language program for you. I'm so happy I got started with it and can't wait to add my sister and my husband as a learner. Yes it allows you to add people to your computer! Neat huh?
 
Are you currently learning a language? Have you used Rosetta Stone before? Let us know in the comments below! :)
 
Hope you enjoyed another of my guest blogs!
Until next time... Arrivederci! :)
 
Kelly xx

Building, conquering and a little Makeup! :p

I hope everyone is having a lovely weekend! :) I do apologize again for my random posts here and there this week, I'm still trying to get the new apartment organized and when my apartment feels messy and un tidy, apparently so does my brain. :p Does anyone else feel like that too? Things are coming together though and Chris and I really love our new place. My desk arrived last week, which has been the object of my affection, I love it and was very eager to get it set up. My little office area isn't quite finished yet but once it's all together I can't wait to share it with you! :) We did purchase our bedroom suite yesterday and I am extremely proud to say that, all on my lonesome, I put together our giant bed, built our coffee and end tables and got a six drawer dresser out of it's box, and managed to move it around, and I am most certain that things weighs more than a ton, as did many fixtures of the bed frame. Alas, it makes me smile, I am my Daddy's daughter and he taught me well. There's nothing we can't build and I was determined to get it done. House, brain, tidy, please! :p You can bet I pretended to be on an episode of "Tool Time" oh yes, there was grunting and sweating, though I could very much have done with more power! :p

On to my topic for today. I have been wanting to share some of these products with you since Christmas time and never got round to it. My two Sephora products I actually just got due to my old apartment complex losing my original parcel, so I wanted to wait a tad to try things out before I wrote about them. I have been being rather good as of late and haven't been buying any new makeup. Nothing has really grabbed my attention except a palette (Nars Virtual Domination Uh so pretty. :p ) and the odd lipstick that I'm saving for. (Dose of Color and Limecrime) But over Christmas I had picked up these goodies! :)


1) Makeup Forever HD Foundation!
This foundation won out against a few other samples I had picked up over the holidays. I just love the way it looks and feels on the skin. It has amazing coverage and is so light and doesn't feel cakey at all, which is perfect for me as I really don't like to feel like I have foundation on. I have the shade N140. :) My Mom and Dad got me a Sephora gift card for Christmas and this was at the top of my list to purchase. Thank you Mom and Dad! :)

2) Philosophy Purity!
I have mentioned this face wash in a previous makeup post, when I bought the small bottle. I loved it so much that I had been saving to get the bigger bottle. Over Christmas I received a $15 off coupon from Sephora for being a Beauty Insider, thank you Sephora, so I decided to go ahead and put that towards this. This is my favourite face wash I have ever used. It simply makes you feel so clean and fresh afterwards, in addition to being awesome for washing off makeup. It's gentle enough that I can place it over my eyelids and wipe off concealer and mascara without having to scrub and scrub or use wipes. :)

3) Twisted Peppermint Spray!
I picked up this body spray in the Bath and Body works sale. It usually costs $14 and was down to $3, I had bought the candle and adored the scent, and therefore I couldn't resist this bargain. This is a delight to make a room smell fresh. I like to spray it in the bathroom or use it as a little body spray in the morning to wake me up, it's very refreshing.

4) Buttercup Lipstick. Gerard Cosmetics.
If you have read my previous blogs you will know that I adore makeup guru Jaclyn Hill. She's just so cute and lovely and I really enjoy watching her YouTube channel and picking up tips and makeup advice. I treated myself to this little gem when Gerard Cosmetics had a sale over Christmas and I love it. It is a nude/baby pink and something that is just so wearable and perfect for everyday. It is girlie and pretty and one of my favourites in my collection. She definitely created a winner here! :)

5) Origins Gin Zing eye cream!
I had been researching eye creams for a little while as I tend to get dark circles under my eyes. When I'm tired they can really stand out and I wanted something that I could use that would look after my skin and possibly even make them look less dark and puffy. This cream had great reviews so I took the plunge and purchased it together with the big bottle of Purity, when I had the $15 off coupon. I have been using it for the past week and I have to say I really like it. I haven't so much noticed the dark circles disappearing yet, but I love putting it on at night and in the morning as it definitely feels like its taking care of the gentle area around my eyes. It feels very refreshing and moisturizing. I will keep you up to date on the dark circles though. :) Has anyone got an eye cream that they recommend?

6) Maybelline Fit Me Concealer!
I had heard so many wonderful things about this concealer and was in need of a new one with my Mac Prolong wear coming to an end. I loved the Maybelline rewind one but with this being slightly cheaper, at around $3-4, I thought I would give it a try. I have been using it for about two weeks now and think it's great, it's creamy and smooth and has brilliant coverage. I use the shade Light 10.

Did you pick up any bargains or new beauty/skincare buys over the holidays? Do you have any favourites or recommendations? I'd love to read about them in the comments below. :)

Here's another picture I took, slightly different angle, practicing around the mess on my desk! :p ( I <3 Hilary Duff)


Happy Sunday!

Love Lulu xx

My big surprise! :)

I have been away from my blog for a few days now due to getting ready to move and actually moving apartments this past Saturday, as mentioned in my last post, http://lululocket.blogspot.com/2015/01/updates-and-few-favourites.html and I have really missed sitting down and writing and have been eager to share my excitement from over the past couple days with you. :)

On Thursday I had been at my most frazzled, staring at all the boxes in my living room and feeling incredibly overwhelmed by the amount of stuff Chris and I still had left to pack. I couldn't help thinking that if my Kelly was with me this would all be a lot less stressful, as she is a whiz at organizing things and me! :p My Mum and younger sister rang in the afternoon and I got to enjoy being on the phone and chatting to everyone back home while they had dinner. It was really nice as I love these phone calls from home, they make me feel calmer and as usual I was missing them all bunches and happy to hear everyone's voices. After about half an hour though, I said to my younger sister that I would let them go so they could enjoy their evening, but my Mum said it's ok, she still wanted to talk to me. I smiled thinking that that was very sweet of her to want to keep me company. The next second there was a knock at my door, I'm rushing to answer it as I'm saying to my Mum who could that possibly be? Post had already been and I wasn't expecting anyone. Now it had been about 5 weeks since I saw my twin sister Kelly over Christmas, and we talk every second of the day, every day through Voxer, Phone calls, texts, Skype etc. but when I saw her and my brother in law standing at my door, my emotions got the best of me. I screamed, I cried and my neighbor ran out to check if I was ok! :p Needless to say, I was shocked and beyond happy to see my Kelly and Chris. They had flown in from Florida to help us move. :) Yes...I really do have the most amazing family.

So, you can imagine that my weekend was a lot less stressful and pretty darn wonderful! :) I got to spend time hanging out and doing errands with my Kelly and Chris on the Friday and on Saturday we got most things moved and settled into the new apartment rather quickly that evening. We had a few moments where it felt a little overwhelming and my Husband Chris has put me on a photo frame ban and himself on a T-shirt ban, due to the amount of said items that we have accumulated. :p Sunday was another busy day, clearing up the last bits and pieces out of the old apartment and running round, but we worked fast and efficiently and were able to curl up by the fire and enjoy the Super bowl half time show and a bit of "It's always sunny in Philadelphia" while drinking hot chocolate and eating donuts, that evening! :)

Here are a few pictures from my weekend and some sneak peeks of the new place. :)

 
With my Kelly and her Chris! We love our Starbucks and Target days and I hope to have more of these days together in the near future! ;)
 
 
Kelly and I getting excited at half price books. We needed this book to add to our collections and they had two in store! :) We <3 Kristan Higgins. Stay tuned to our Book club page as we will be talking about some of her books soon! :)
 
 
For some reason I have been craving donuts for what seems like a year, I'm not even kidding! :p I just haven't had one in forever and have been saying to my Chris for the longest time, can we get donuts today? And we always forgot to pick some up when grocery shopping. So with my Kelly with me and celebrating moving in to our new apartment, we made sure to pick up donuts for a Sunday treat and they were delicious! Craving...satisfied! :p
 
 
This has to be one of my favourite things about our new place...a built in bookshelf! :) Can you tell which is my side and which is Chris's side? :p
 
 
Who feels all grown up? We do! :p It was so lovely coming home from work yesterday and curling up by the fire with a yummy dinner courtesy of my Chris, it just felt so relaxing! We are definitely already loving our new place! :)
 
 
 
I hope you all had an awesome weekend and a great start to the week! :) Are you doing any DIY or redecorating? If so, I'd love to read about them in the comments below! I'm thinking our place needs a sprinkle of fairy lights here and there! :p
 
Thank you to everyone who helped us move and get organized. Thank you Kelly and Chris for the best surprise and all your help, we couldn't have done it without you both. And thank you to my amazing husband for being simply incredible in every way! :)
 
 
Have a blessed day!
 
Love Lulu xx
 
 
 
 




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