31 December 2015

A New Year Looms...

Today marks the end of 2015. I think it's inevitable that a year coming to an end will make you think back to the start of the year and leave you thinking how little or how much you have achieved within that time. It's always a bit sad once Christmas is over; there's such a huge build-up and then it's over in a flash, leaving you feeling a little deflated and uncertain of what's to come.

For some, the new year will already hold lots of exciting plans, trips and adventures; for others, there may be no certainties, despite having hopes and dreams, and this can be extremely daunting. For me, of course I have high hopes that it will be a great new year and that I will achieve many of my goals, but I feel quite pessimistic, because I feel like I've tried really hard over the last 7 months to find a new job and a new challenge, yet this hasn't happened. I know I should be grateful for what I have, which I am, but sometimes it's difficult to look past the negatives and right now, I feel like I've fallen down a well and it's cold and dark; I should be calling for help and trying to get out, but I don't have the motivation to do so. Right now, as I'm writing this, the rain is battering the windows and the daylight has faded - it suits my mood perfectly! Something to do with the winter blues, I'm sure.

So, I will try to look forward to 2016, with hopes that my dreams will finally be realised. I will work hard towards achieving my goals and try to appreciate everything I already have along the way. I will try to make the best of it and remind myself that I am very lucky to be here and that everything happens for a reason and what's meant to be will be. I do have one big goal for the coming year, which I am both excited and apprehensive about; I hope it will bring about a new business venture for me and if not, I'll have dabbled in a new hobby, which I hope to enjoy.

I want to thank you all for supporting Just Emma and I hope you continue to do so in the new year. I really appreciate your input. I have lots of blog post ideas for the new year, but will wait until I feel more inspired before I act on them.

I want to wish you all the best for 2016; I hope 2015 was good to you and I hope the next year will be even better! Let's keep telling ourselves not to give up on our hopes and dreams - keep at it, work even harder and hopefully it will all be worth it in the end!

28 December 2015

My Weekend In Pictures

You can see my Christmas Day in pictures here.

Dean had to work a few hours on Boxing Day, so I had a lazy day. I watched Call The Midwife in the morning, which was a really festive and heart-warming episode. I'm really looking forward to the new series! I had a bath and finished another book. I had a baked potato with cheesy baked beans for tea, then we played Harry Potter trivial pursuit - I won! The answers have to be pretty detailed, so it's not as easy as you think. I had a Harrods salted caramel hot chocolate with vegan-friendly strawberry marshmallows and we watched Insidious 3.

On Sunday, we de-cluttered the spare room and sorted the Christmas presents away. We got most of the housework done in the morning. Our friends were meant to be coming round in the evening for a takeaway, movie/game night and staying over, but unfortunately they couldn't make it. The elderflower champagne and Cards Against Humanity will have to wait! I caught up with Corrie and blogging and started reading my next book. We decided to make the best of the evening and had a Chinese takeaway, enjoyed this rhubarb drink and a slice of Yule log. We watched Big Hero 6 and Creep before going to bed and reading till late.

What did you get up to over the weekend?

27 December 2015

My Christmas Gifts Of 2015

I thought it would be nice to share with you the wonderfully thoughtful and lovely gifts I was lucky enough to receive this Christmas. I can't wait to get reading the books, drinking the tea, testing out the beauty products and snuggling up in my new PJs! I'll let the photos do the talking and I'm sure some of these items will be re-appearing on the blog for further analysis in the future! Apologies for the awful photo quality, but we have virtually no daylight at the moment!

Oh, and there were a couple of items I forgot to include...
...and also received the Hurraw! Night Treatment Lip Balm!

26 December 2015

My Christmas Day In Pictures

My Christmas Day started at midnight, when I was at work, where I'd been since 10:30pm on Christmas Eve. I worked till 7:30am and then drove the short distance home, loving the fact that our little town was so quiet and still, with not one other car or person in sight! I love that about Christmas Day. I did a few last minute preparations, then got into bed around 8:20am.
I got up around three hours later and once I was ready, the festivities could begin! Dean's family didn't arrive till just after 1pm, so we waited patiently before opening our gifts. We listened to Christmas songs while doing this. Dean made broccoli and Stilton soup which we ate with fresh bread, before later serving up Christmas dinner around 5pm. We served slow-cooked turkey (obviously, I gave this a miss), homemade roast potatoes, honey roasted parsnips and carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts (also gave these a miss!), stuffing and gravy. It was lovely! Everyone was stuffed. We drank Shloer with our meal and waited a while before serving up our desserts; toffee and pecan meringue roulade and tarte au citron - I wasn't overly impressed with the lemon tart, but I love this roulade!
Outfit Details:
F&F @ Tesco Knitted 2-in-1 Striped Dress
Red Herring Tartan Slipper Flats
eBay Statement Necklace

We watched Inside Out, which we'd received as a gift. I spent some time FaceTiming my family in Scotland and it was lovely to see them all. Dean's family left a little while after the film finished. Dean and I watched The Santa Clause and ate too many After Eights before retiring for the night.
We had a lovely day and were all very happy and grateful for our wonderful gifts! I'll be sharing my Christmas gifts with you soon...

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas celebration!

24 December 2015

Merry Christmas!

Just a quick one to wish all of my lovely readers a very Merry Christmas! I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas day and enjoy the festivities! Expect some radio silence here for a few days as we all get over our food comas and catch up on some snoozing and plenty of housework! I'm very much looking forward to creating some great new blog content for you in the New Year!

Much love,

20 December 2015

Winter Living Essentials

I've put together a small selection of some lovely items that are perfect for winter living! Survive the cold months in style:
1. TU @ Sainsbury's Grey Printed PJ Bottoms, £12
Snuggle up in the evenings in these pretty woodland print lounge bottoms.
2. Typography Giant Crochet Chain Throw, £79.99
Wrap yourself up and style your sofa with this gorgeous crochet throw.
3. Isle Of Wolf Cinnamon Spice Scented Candle, £15
Add a festive scent to your living space with this pretty candle. Currently available with 40% off with code WOLF40!
4. Lulu & Boo Jasmine & Vanilla Bath Oil, £20.95/100ml
Relax and unwind in a hot bath, infused with this luxury bath oil.
5. Dibor Large Mug & Knitted Mug Cosy, £6
Keep your mitts and brew toasty with this cute mug cosy, complete with large mug!
6. New Look Embellished Bow Beanie Hat, £9.99
Keep the cold at bay with this pretty beanie hat, embellished with a sparkly bow.

What are your winter living essentials?

19 December 2015

My Week In Pictures

Well, Saturday started off very badly; I was rudely awoken by industrial power tools at 7AM from a nearby factory! Not cool. Also illegal (noisy work should not start till 9am in this area on a Saturday). I want to live in a little cottage in the quiet countryside, please! So, that set me off in a bad mood for the morning. I stayed in bed until around 9ish, not having had much decent sleep. Also, there was literally no sunlight for the whole day! How depressing. I hate gloomy winter days, especially if I'm home alone. I had toast with organic honey for breakfast, along with a decaf coffee and a choco mint tea.
After an unpleasant shower (spider dangling in front of your face, anyone?), I set about getting the housework done, which, let's face it, is never as bad as you think it's going to be. I did about 3/4 of it before sitting down to catch up on my favourite blogs. Then hunger set in and it was time for lunch. I made a quick and easy bowl of basil pesto pasta with a sprinkle of rock salt, with a fruity green tea on the side and caught up on some Corrie. After editing some blog photos, I started getting ready for heading out to the in-laws' for a take-out and to catch up with more of Dean's family. With three children there, it was pretty hectic, but nice to catch up with them all. I was planning on having a nap before going to work (one extra night duty), especially since I didn't get much overnight, but I put off making up the bed with clean sheets, and in the end it wasn't worth it really. So, I just chilled on the laptop before later getting ready and picking up my friend and work colleague to go to work!

Outfit Details:
KRISP Reefer Coat
F&F @ Tesco High Neck Swing Dress
New Look Faux Leather Trousers
Dorothy Perkins Ankle Boots
PIECES Handbag
Forever 21 Statement Necklace

Work was fine and I got home a little earlier than usual, so quickly got into bed. I slept longer than planned and was up around 3pm. After a shower and getting ready, I filmed my latest haul video and then it was time to set off to our friends' house for the evening. We watched The Ridiculous 6 and had some snacks. My friend, Tracy (hi!), gave us some raw, homemade chocolates to sample, as well as some Christmassy flapjack. All was lovely - especially the peppermint cremes! I'm hoping to give them a go soon. We were home by around 10:30pm. I did some video editing before going to bed late.

We decided to go to Bournemouth on Monday to check out their Christmas market. The Christmas market was really poor - hardly any stalls! I was expecting much more from it. We did get some delicious, great quality (and bloody expensive!) Turkish delights - my favourite were the mint and rose flavours. We did a spot of shopping and had lunch at Burger King. I think I lost around five years of my life driving around Bournemouth; seriously, I'm not doing it again. I was so stressed and it was a pretty crap day all in all. We were a right grumpy twosome! I moped around at home when we got back and fell asleep for a while (so tired!) and we had a late snack for tea. We watched some Trollied, South Park and then A Very Murray Christmas, which was something a little different and quite fun.

I allowed myself to sleep in till around 10am, to catch up on some much-needed sleep. I spent most of the day doing housework, writing out Christmas cards and catching up with Corrie and Eastenders. I made a vegetable curry in the slow cooker for dinner, served with brown rice and a plain naan bread. It was really yummy! We watched the latest Modern Family episode in the evening and tried GU's maple pecan cheesecakes - not for me; pretty boring!

I had some errands to run in town on Wednesday morning, then I came home and did some laundry, had poached eggs on toast for lunch and caught up with Eastenders. I spent a lot of the day on my laptop, blogging and working on some business ideas. Dean went for a walk with his Trailwalker group, but I wasn't in the mood for it, so I stayed home. I cooked us a stir-fry for dinner and then Dean went out to the cinema with some friends to watch Krampus - I did want to see it, but was unable to go, because REASONS! So, I was left home alone to do as I wished. Cue more blogging and catching up on some of my BlogLovin' feed. I also decided to watch a new drama, The Coroner, on catch-up. I ended up watching the first three episodes and really enjoyed it.
I had an evening snack of a hot chocolate and organic natural yoghurt, sliced banana and a drizzle of honey. Before going to bed, I treated myself to a bit of a beauty pamper with a coconut oil cleanse, a pink clay and organic honey face mask (didn't work out too well, unfortunately) and a boost of moisture with Neal's Yard Remedies Soothing Starflower Daily Moisture and Pai Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil. I read my book for a while in bed before going to sleep.

I was up at 8:45am on Thursday, ready to take on the day. After a quick breakfast and email catch-up, I headed for the shower. Once I was ready, it was time to wash my car - something I've not done since getting my new car in September, oops! It's lovely, shiny and clean now, though. Although, some pigeons thought it would be highly amusing to relieve themselves on my beautiful, clean car seconds after I'd finished cleaning it and before I could tuck it safely back in the garage! I had pesto pasta with grated cheddar cheese for lunch, along with a decaf coffee and half a flapjack. Then I had some washing-up and other cleaning chores to do. I sat down to watch another episode of The Coroner before Dean got home.
When he was ready, we went into Yeovil to do a quick Tesco shop and look for Christmas DVDs. Our very important provisions for the evening included pizza and Ferrero Rocher, of course! We watched the film Cottage Country, which was something a bit different and not bad! Then we watched the last Peep Show episode before going to bed. I tried and tried to get to sleep after reading my book, but I couldn't! So, I got up and watched two Ghost Adventures episodes, staying up till 2:30am. It did the trick.

Well, after my late night, I didn't wake till 11:30am! Which is actually great, as it's my first night back at work, so I won't be up as long as usual. I had breakfast, collected the post and ran some online errands before getting showered and organised. I treated myself to a mint chocolate face mask! I caught up with laundry and did some ironing in the afternoon, while watching more of The Coroner. I didn't bother with lunch, but had an early evening snack of potato wedges with onion and garlic dip. I had toast later on. I spoke to my parents for an hour on the phone and then relaxed for the rest of the evening, before going to work at around 11:35pm.

Did you get up to much this week? Finished your Christmas shopping yet?!