Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Not A Month In Pictures

December had a very quiet start on my blog and my Twitter feed was so full of tumbleweed that I think a couple of people wondered what had happened in Chloe Land...



Things got worse when some utter /d\zj/,sdjrfg;i***************** stole my phone from my rucksack and I had a total kerfuffle trying to get my replacement. In the end I was able to persuade the phone people into giving me an upgrade for my troubles, and when it did finally arrive with me, I can't say I was sorry to rejoin the world of Instagram and oversharing! 



I think Karma was showing her face though- the same day that my phone was nicked, I received an email from the lovely people at Shopcade to tell me I'd won a prize- a £200 giftcard for House of Fraser. Much needed respite from the rage caused by much mentioned phone theft. 




Luckily for me, the rest of December has really been rather good. I decorated mine and T's bedroom for the festive period thanks to Marks and Spencer, then had a chat about sustainable decorating:

Chloe Likes To Talk Marks and Spencer Christmas Room

I got my sweat on in December, despite a wobbly start, I managed to break down some of my speed barriers on my bike and got to grips with some decent winter kit thanks to the Fashionably Fit campaign being run by Sportsshoes.com.

100% Be Pretty On Rest Days but Nike are killing it and my new base layer and leggings and cosy too are freakin amazing.

I also got to go back to a city I love, a place I lived and studied and somewhere I've always felt at home- Leipzig. My parent's gift to myself, T, my Grandmother and her partner was for the 6 of us to have a few days in Leipzig and we certainly made the most of visiting the Christmas Market, eating some fabulous food and soaking up Germany in the run up to Christmas. We all managed to snag a current year Glühwein mug, so upon our return, my Dad has been trying to recreate some of the different types of Glühwein we tried at the Leipziger Weihnachtsmarkt

Fröhliche Weihnachten Leipziger Weihnachtsmark Leipzig Germany Christmas

I gifted myself a couple of new books in Germany. I do love some crime fiction and it's always nice to try a few different authors I would get at home...

Thomas Enger Vergiftet Roman German Novels Crime fiction

And then Christmas has come upon us. T & I spent the week visiting our various families and enjoying a bit of down time.

Chloe Likes To Talk Family Christmas
Family jokes - flat fenland - our dopey Fresian Spaniel - lazy Saturday mornings in a very comfy bed - Glühwein & cat slippers - Mum & I trying to keep track of our wine glasses - stunning Christmas cake made by T's dad, Dad & T engrossed in technology - Das Kaetzchen

And now it's almost New Year. I have my customary excitement for a fresh year and what can be achieved, topped off with a pleasant dose of reflection on the year passed. I have lots of things in my head for 2014, and I hope that it will be another year of getting things done. But on a more short term basis, it's all about the steak I have ready for tonight and the cheese I intend to scoff with all the lovely homemade pickles and chutney we were gifted by family this Christmas. Happy New Year 2014 and fond farewells for 2013. I will be spending New Year as I have done every year for the last few- with people I love, wishing everyone positive thoughts for the year and challenges ahead.

Happy New Year. 
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Monday, December 30, 2013

The Kitten

As with many pictures, this one speaks a thousand words, and a thousand laughs and a thousand memories. And yes, there's a back story.



This print is a Christmas gift from the rather wonderful man in my life, to say it was a surprise would be an understatement. The Kitten is one of a menagerie of wonderful pen drawings by a German artist, Sergey Yukashev whose stall I found at the Leipziger Weihnachtsmarkt. I promptly got speaking to the lovely lovely lady who ran the stall who started filling me in on the important things.



All of the animals are created based on someone the artist knows, and she quickly pointed me to her own creature. But it was the cat and the kitten I loved. The cat for is slightly befuddled look, and the kitten for it's skewed eyes.



And this one, as above is not the print pictured handing on my wall. It's an original sketch. I can't tell you how much it means because I fell head over heels for Das Kaetzchen and because these pieces of artwork will always take me back to my second and mine and T's experience of somewhere I have always felt at home. 

On a side note, there's been a lot of slating I've noticed about people who are sharing Christmas gifts, which goes far further than attitudes towards gifts and Christmas and into blogging. Honestly, I don't give a damn. I will not be shamed for showing off the most lovely gift T has ever given me, not for it's cost, but for it's thought and it's value. 

I hope everyone has had a lovely Christmas, and may peace be upon you. 
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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Marks and Sparkle

Christmas is a funny thing, and I feel like I've come *almost* full circle over the years. From full scale hating, to live and let live, to this year, trying to find my own way with the festivity. It started with an email, a mug and a Christmas tree.




I have never been a full of the joys putting my tree up on December 1st, and I'm not there yet either. Quite aside the big bushy green living spruces not being to my taste, I discovered this year that I'm allergic to the damn things. December has passed me in a haze of anti-histamines and cursing.

But, a recent trip to my second home, Leipzig (FYI) yielded some inspiration. The mug is the current year's Weihnachtsmarkt offering, gotta love the red and stone and the beautiful silver tree (it spins with the heat given out from a tealight) is a gift from my family who also joined the trip since I played tour guide and translator extraordinaire.

And the email. Well the email popped in just as my allergies were realised on my return from Leipzig. Sent by the rather wonderful people from Marks and Spencer who wanted to let me decorate a room in our home using a super generous gift card. My pretty new mug gave me a theme idea- red and white, and it set me thinking about the kind of decoration that is important to T & I in our home.

One of the biggest factors on most decisions T & I make currently is cost and value. We don't have a huge amount of disposable cash, and so if we spend on something, it needs to be good value. In recent months, I find myself focussing on sustainability in a number of senses- making a conscious effort to reduce waste and excess not just financially, but environmentally and economically- making choices that fit with the reduce, re-use and recycle ethos and my focus here was no different.

The Christmas shop on the M&S website is full of wonderful things, sparkly, rustic, scented and sweet, but away from the tradition tree decoration and twinkling lights what really caught my fancy were the beautiful interiors and with my red theme and my wish to find a sustainable way to do Christmas decorations.



Seersucker striped cotton duvet cover & pillow cases, chenille throw, both c/o Marks and Spencer


Inclusion candle, Tartan towels, chenille throw, Mandarin, Clove & Cinnamon candle - all c/o Marks and Spencer

When I stood back and admired my new, clean, fresh sheets, the absolute softest piece of fabric I have ever had a hold of that is currently masquerading as a humble throw, fluffy new tartan towels and the array of candles throwing out warm ambient light on the shortest day of the year, well I have to admit a flicker of festive joy and pride did hit.

My take on festive decoration is not to everyone's tastes, I know. There is no tinsel, and I'm now counting the hours until I can take down the SJDV|ABDFLI|HVFPDIGHRW%$^%&%**WU******************** Christmas tree. But The red, the scent of cinnamon and cloves spreading through our flat, the anticipation that comes with new bedding (just me?!) that brings with it excitement and the warm, ambient light thrown out by candles says Christmas to me.

And to top it all off, a word on the values of sustainability in economic an environmental terms. Marks and Spencer very generously provided my with a £100 gift card to show off their beautiful products and all these products featured here were purchased with that gift card, and left me with enough left over to treat myself to some new PJs for Christmas Eve and the most stunningly beautiful smelling handwash I have ever come across. Whilst £100 sounds a lot, not a single one of the products here cannot be used again- I have threatened to start removing T's organs if he so much as considers harming my throw, and like it or not, we have to have sheets on the bed- just because the bottom sheet is red now, doesn't mean it will be all year. The candles purchased seem to have a brilliant burn time- they're still going strong, they smell divine and I burn them most evenings when I shut the door on my day. Nothing featured here will be going to landfill after the festive period, nothing here cannot be recycled in one way shape or form.

All these things are important to me- and whilst I know a Christmas tree or some tinsel might just cost less than the £100 gifted to me by Marks and Spencer, the makers of (in my humble opinion) the best Christmas advertising this year came up with goods by providing me with inspiration, and decorations to suit my priorities.

Voucher provided to me by Marks and Spencer, all views and reviews are my own and all contents, pictures and standpoints have been offered freely and without obligation by me. 
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Friday, December 20, 2013

Just Do It

December thus far, fitness wise has been a total fail. Halfway in and I've only done 6 rides- 3 days of cycling to work. The new strength and conditioning training that T & I embarked upon in November is mostly forgotten and all in all, it's a bit tragic and a lot pathetic.

There have been a number of reasons for my lacking levels of fitness in December, some in my control, and some out, but when SportsShoes.com (with whom I worked before- See HERE) contacted me about their fashionably fit campaign, I saw a way to get back on it. 

100% Be Pretty On Rest Days but Nike are killing it and my new base layer and leggings and cosy too are freakin amazing.

As they have rightly identified, it can be tough to motivate yourself when the weather is against you, getting on my bike when the wind is howling outside is..... challenging, and I can't tell you how much harder it is when you know you *still* haven't found the right kit to balance the cooler weather with managing your own body heat. The theory- some nice shiny new gym kit might just be the motivator you need to get your head in the right place to train. 

My usual philosophy on kit is a bit like this..... 
Does it fit? Is it fit for purpose? Does it keep me visible? Is it good value for money? What colour is it? 

In that order. I guess you could say I subscribe to 'Be Pretty On Rest Days'. But. Yes, there's a but here. What happens if your kit is fit for purpose. It does fit you. It is good value for money AND it looks freakin' awesome on?!

Well I have to say ladies, Nike are killing it right now. And there's nothing like having new kit that promises to deliver to get back on the bike- sitting there, staring at me, willing me to snuggle into the cosiest base layer EVER and pull on my supremely cool leggings. Oh yeah.


Base layer vest top, half zip Elements base layer, leggings - all Nike via SportsShoes.com

See that beautiful flecked purple long sleeve top of dreams? I no longer need to wear 2 layers under my high viz jacket because it's so warm, and so cosy, and it has a higher neck that meets my snood and stops the wind whistling down the back of my shirt. AND IT HAS THUMB HOLES! this is my favourite of my 3 new items, because for the current winter-but-mild weather we're on, it's perfection. But also, check the awesome print on these leggings. The more festive among you might call it snowflake-esque, I'll stick with geometry, but they're still pretty cool. They're a little more snug than anticipated, but that does help them stay up, so no complaints here. And my vest.... if all future fitness clothing could come with the option for this print, that would be great, thanks. Oh and did I mention it well and try holds the *girls* in there? It does. They're not going anywhere. OOoh OOoh there's also a huge choice and women's range available, lots of it also isn't pink, which I find to be a huge bonus.




A word about price point here as well. I was fortunate enough to be sent these items for review, a lucky lady I am, but so far, Sportshoes.com have the best prices on all the Nike kit I looked at when making my choices.  And one thing I have learned the hard way with my sports kit, is that if you intend to use it, and push your body, then it's time to start considering value for money, not just price. I have shied away from spending a little more for performance kit rather than just a pair of jersey leggings and an old t-shirt, for cost reasons. When I saw cycling tights and leggings at upwards of £40 I wondered how I could justify that. then I thought about the 50-55 minutes I spend on my bike. December aside, 3-4 days per week. I thought about how cold my thighs get in my very thing jersey leggings and how that doesn't happen in cycling tights. I remember needing to wear, and therefore launder several layers of t-shirt because one is too cold.

And does shiny, new, attractive kit make a difference? Does it motivate you in the winter? Is it a cheat on true sporting aspiration? Well, I got back on my bike this morning. I smashed my time. I enjoyed it. I'm back in the game. And that's all the answers I need.


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Monday, December 16, 2013

Fancy A Broo?

Back in November, I received this rather nice box in my office, much to the excitement of my co-workers. My team, such as they are, are well used to packages arriving for me in the office, as all my online shopping comes here, and usually that means shoes. But in this case, and it's a rare case, I was willing to share the contents of the box.


FruitBroo box

Fruitbroo has been appearing all over the place just lately- I first discovered them this summer at the Foodies Festival, and it was an instant hit. A fruit based hot drink that isn't a tea, has no added sugar and comes in an insanely good variety of flavours. What's not to like?! 

For the cooler snap we've had, a hot drink that isn't caffeinated or with any added sugar is brilliant for me, as it's the perfect winter warmer when I start to cool off at about 1030 at my desk, and I've yet to find a flavour that doesn't work with a 1600 biscuit! 

FruitBroo assorted flavours

But I already knew I loved it, the real test has been letting my team loose at it for a month. I would say that given there's one helping of Honey and Lemon and two helpings of Elderflower and Lime left, they've been a success. 

".... great alternative to tea..." was a unanimous verdict, but one team member has already purchased a few flavours as a gift for a family member, another has installed a spare Honey and Lemon in his desk for emergencies (otherwise known as cold and flu season) and not one person in my office couldn't find a flavour to love. 

These are versatile little drinks too. In the summer, Peach, Pear and Honey flavour was just stunning piled high with ice, and on a day that I forgot to add cinnamon to my porridge, Apple, Ginger and Spice was the much needed lift from blandness. 

There are lots of drinks products on the market, but I think FruitBroo are the only thing I've come across that I've been so genuinely enthused by, and I was super pleased to see my team go for it too. If you like the look of FruitBroo, you can BUY ONLINE or purchase from Sainsbury's. 

**Product sent to me for review. All new, views and reviews are my own.**
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Thursday, December 12, 2013

MIA

So I went a bit quiet there and officially failed the #BEDN challenge I embarked upon. I want to say I had lots of exciting things happening to report back on, but the honest truth is that the last week or so has been just a bit messy between work and other commitments. Being a grown is not really that much fun sometimes.

But onwards and fail or no fail, it's nice to take a look back on my #BEDN posts because some of them I really was very pleased with. Overall, I'm not sure I'd repeat a challenge to blog every day, in the end it negatively impacted my stats quite significantly and I felt like the novelty of reading and commenting wore off a little. In short I'm not sure it was right for Chloe Likes To Talk.

Some of my favourites though:


Legs 11



Wish if been able to get a full length shot on Monday, as I love this dress so much.



Table Drawing E16

We're now into December, and I have discovered that I am allergic to Christmas trees, or at least the I am allergic to spruce tree my flatmate insisted on decorating on December 1st, I will mostly be enjoying anti-histamines for the rest of December. Not ideal, especially for someone who wouldn't usually be dedicated to the Christmas Cause, and never this early. Of course it's now approaching mid-December and I've just realised I have all the wrapping to do and lots of Christmas cooking to do, and not very many weekend days left in which to do it. I'm not panicking, not yet but the to-do list is a long multiple page spreadsheet.

In other news, my blog has lots of exciting things to come- there may well be a heavy German theme to come, there's a certain Leipzig shaped adventure a coming, there might be a few sneaky glimpses of the kind of Christmas decoration I can do and just possibly a few Christmas foody goodies.

In the mean time, I'm here, I'm alive, thanks Alex & Bex for checking in and I hope you'll come back to my here space for some December goodies and some new tricks for a new year.

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

#BEDN 27 - Yes Moments

Yes moments are important, however ig or small. I've had several yes moments today, most of them to do with vastly complex statements of account that I've finally made sense of or share prices. I'm glad today is over. Some of my other most important yes moments have come in the form of fitness. I've talked a lot about cycling and fitness on my blog lately, and that''s because it's become something super important to me- especially since T & I have started doing strength and conditioning training together.

This could be a recipe for disaster as I try and compete with someone who successfully finished Army Officer Training, but my yes moment tonight looked a bit like this:

Plank planked.
STOP THE CLOCK

It might not look like much, and probably it isn't, but that clock represent a lot. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury tonight I Out-Planked T.

The yes moment of this story, for me, is not especially in the 'out-planking' itself, T probably could have made himself go on far longer if he really really wanted to compete with me, but in that I planked with him, I out-planked my own personal best because I had the best kind of friendly competition to do, someone who wants to see me win the battle of my own personal demons as much as the competition between us.

Life's yes moments are important. Little ones like these are the affirmation I need, to remember why I'm doing what I do, why I make the choices I make. The bigger yes moment, when everything comes together, I sometimes think they're the ones we live for, but the little ones, the affirming ones, they're the ones that make life worth living.

To planking. And all it's quivery life affirming pain.

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

#BEDN 26 - Home Sweet Home

We're nearing the end of Blog Every Day in November, and it feels right to be talking about home, albeit for a second time. Last time, I talked about what makes a home for me, the theme being hometown, but I suppose since we're on the topic, it's good to be talking about the place I currently call home.

#london #nofilter
The City of London & Canary Wharf skyline

London is mine and T's current home and I have a love//hate relationship with the capital. Sometimes, like the weekend just passed me, I realise that it's so good to get away from the chaos and the instant nature of everything in London- not everything should be right here, right now and sometimes, just sometimes, it's good to walk not run.

Most of the time, I couldn't imagine being anywhere else. It's definitely the only place I could ever have gotten myself into cycling, and for that alone I love the city.

Untitled
TFL Londodn Cycling Maps

London is the only place I could ever have the opportunity to attend some of the awesome events that I've been to this year, not least the Lord Mayor's Banquet at Guildhall- with the Commander of the Honour Guard no less.

At The Lord Mayor's Banquet Guildhall Nov 11th 2013
November 11th 2013, T&I at the Lord Mayor's Banquet, Guildhall

And London is somewhere I feel I've found a place for my own style. I'm not professing to be the next It Girl, or even that stylish, but I don't feel awkward or uncomfortable wearing things like this

#todayinwearing #wiwt ASOS dress & @clarksshoes brogues #clarksstyle
Dress, ASOS sale (old) - shoes, Clarks (competition win)

It might not seem so bold for many, but even 12 months ago, I'm not sure I would have felt as happy setting out my stall wearing bright colours and shoes that are outside of my usual ballet flat comfort zone. London's diversity means I now just crack on and I feel bolder choosing colours and prints in a way I've never done anywhere else.

London isn't a perfect city, and my corner of the East End has it's problems, but it's my corner of the country, my home, and I'm choosing to make it home SWEET home.
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Monday, November 25, 2013

Two For One

Date Night, there's a theme. T & I have never really done Date Night. We do 'do' things, but not in the Date Night style. This weekend, since we've been away we did in fact do something a little different for us- we hit the cinema...


This weekend was cool.

Playing with hair braiding.
The Hunger Games, Catching Fire
Hair braid, model's own 

In keeping with The Hunger Games, I realised where all the recent braid trends have come from. I've recently been trying to teach myself to Dutch and French braid because since having layers cut into my hair, it's been the best way to keep all the shorter strands out of the way, especially when cycling. Next- to try and master the 'Katniss' Dutch braid around the back of my head. 

Sunday's theme, since I'm done prancing about pretending to be cool, was motivations. A good one because I was surrounded by things that motivate me- wine always motivates me, the promise of a glass at the end of the tunnel ensures things get done, food motivates me- being able to eat everything I love so much is just another good reason to stay active, and for me, this autumn has been motivational too. 


Herefordshire Brobury House Hay on Wye Autumn Garden
Brobury, Herefordshire. Autumn 2013

It's been an autumn of revelation and an autumn of settling for me. I've only once before been as active as I've been this autumn and that was when I trained to pass RAF selection. I might not be marathon fit, or Tour d'Etape fit, or as fit as many a blogger, but I'm healthy, happy and getting stronger and fitter every day. I've managed a promotion in my job, and I feel like I've started to step towards achieving the things that are important to me, and nothing spurs me on more than feeling like I'm making headway with my goals, and finding enjoyment in life.

And so it is that I find myself once more thinking, it's not long until Christmas. I still have a lot of organising to do, although thankfully my forthcoming German trip is where most of the gift shopping is being done, and I'm glad I have a plan, it's just everything else- logistics, cards, work, more work, food, family visits. As someone who goes through the motions with the 'festive' period, I'm always glad to welcome New Year and it's sense of fresh starts and (for us, anyway) lack of enforced and organised fun.

A 2 for the price of 1 post has turned into 3 for the price of 1. The end is nearly upon me for #BEDN and whilst fun, I'm reaching that slightly naughty point where I'm not quite managing to keep up. So until tomorrow, hopefully.

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Friday, November 22, 2013

Feast Your Eyes

So in an epic fail, I totally forgot to blog yesterday, as part of the #BEDN project. So today, you're getting 2 in 1. In my defence, the vile germs in my office that I've been fending off for 2 weeks have finally caught up with me overnight, and in between the work being done to the flat, I have been trying to pack and organise and generally do for the weekend.

Yesterday was World Television Day, which left me a bit puzzled. I like TV, but I don't watch a great deal of it, mostly because we didn't have a TV for ages, so I have to actually want to watch something online, rather than it being idle background. That said, since moving in with people who have a Sky TV package, I've become hooked on something. Something terrible. And everyone is paying the price.

My name is Chloe. I like to eat. I have an addiction to food programmes.

So it was probably inevitable that with my love of eating, and a slow burning love of being in the kitchen that this day would come to pass. But having access to whole channels devoted to food programmes has been the tipping point. I have discovered Nigella in a way that I never thought possible- she makes me laugh every time, whilst cooking up awesome food and I'm a bit in love with her Express recipes- so here are my 3 favourites:


The pot pie I made for T & I for a comforting midweek wonder earlier in the week, especially since it's chilly out at the moment. Exactly what's needed after a cycle against the wind. 

Schnitzel I love, and this is on my list for next week- I will be using a rolling pin the thin out a chicken breast, and dousing in flour before frying, but the Nigella recipe is what got me thinking of it as an express meal that T & I could have on a weekend with sweet potato wedges as much as with a small handful of noodles and some broccoli on a week night. 

And Quesadillas. This is something I make a lot for a weekend lunch, but the Express version of using just one Tortilla and griddling it is much better than my previous method. SOLD! 

So speaking of food, T & I are off away this weekend to visit my grandparents- the ones who feed us endlessly, the grandfather who has a sly habit of refilling your wine glass long before it empties so you never know how much you've had to drink and/or sneaking off to pay the bill before you get a chance to split it. Ties nicely into the 'Leaving on a Jet Plane' theme, right?! 

I haven't actually seen my grandparents since Easter, when we last visited, so I'm looking forward to an epic catch up, and also taking some wintery pictures. The last couple of times we've been to their place very much in the country, it's been spring or summer, but it's just as stunning in the right winter weather.


Family lunch cheese sharing French wine
Family lunches- love big shared meals to laugh and chat over, especially when they involve a splash or 5 of French red....

Contemporary fireplace roaring fire
In love with their contemporary fireplace- the temperature can be controlled to keep the room just warm or super toasty

Kir Royale winter cocktail drinks
I also super enjoy a 1700 Kir Royale in front of said fire....

Chloe Likes To Eat cooking steak
More food, my grandmother loves the opportunity to have a really nice piece of meat since my grandfather doesn't eat meat at all. 


Maydie fortified Wine French Aydie after dinner drinks
Are you getting the food and drink theme here? This is a stunning fortified wine from the Aydie region of France. Much was consumed, and they sent us away with a bottle of our own. 

My grandparents always totally spoil us with food and drink when we visit, and as with the majority of my family, food and drink creates a focal point of coming together for us all. Most conversations are held over a dinner table, and we all love some of the fantastic regional wines that my grandfather likes to hunt out and squirrel away. They also often leave us little notes if they've gone out without waking us from what is usually a very deep sleep in the true darkness and silence that only comes from being miles from most things and people. 

Family notes handwriting

Summer breakfast on the patio Brobury House and Gardens English Summer time
Another breakfast left fr us with a little note to start our day. They too subscribe to many of my favourite things- coffee, pastry, more coffee, more pastry.... 

I'll be waddling back to London on Sunday night, I can already foresee the massive amount of extra training I'm going to have to do to work off a weekend of general laziness and no doubt plentiful wine consumption. It might be leaving on a jet plane, but I can't wait to escape away and see some of my favourite people this weekend. 
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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

What I Wore: Palm Prints in Winter

I swooped in on this summer collection skirt back in April/May and wore it religiously with bare legs and short sleeves all summer, but I feel like it's totally come into it's own now we're in winter and my tights are almost as thick as thermal leggings required when cycling to the office. but hey, a palm print at this time of year is nice, and yes I am being a fraction subversive to our dress code, but I have some license now I've moved to management.

Untitled

George at Asda Pencil Skirt Clarks Shoe Boots
 Skirt, George at Asda - blouse, H&M via my flatmates wardrobe cull - shoe boots, Clarks - waterfall cardigan, ASOS £28

Turns out the shoe boots were one of the best sale purchases ever of last year. A hasty Boxing Day online order was a good idea as they quickly sold out in my size, and they have been a fab shoe for the cooler months with basically everything, and despite the height of the heel, being a wedge and with Clarks usual amazing Softwear, they're super comfy for an all day wear. I'm now on the hunt for some more casual boots, and of all brands, Ugg seem to be producing some beautiful shoes at the moment, they've really given me something to think about having seen some gorgeous biker style boots, that have an alternative design and have heavy duty wear in mind.

As well as the new (and very cosy I might add) waterfall cardigan from ASOS, I just couldn't resist this little cat ears ring. I was in that dangerous mindset of 'it's only £6...'


Gold ASOS Cat Ears Ring Sapphires and Diamonds

I'm totally snowed under with work at the moment, so I'm already super excited for the weekend- not only will I be able to forget all about work projects for a couple of days, but I'm heading to visit my grandparents in Herefordshire, which always means an epic catch up and a whole world of amazing food and wine. In preparation for indulgence, I've embarked on a new core strength/strength & endurance training plan with T who is off on a hardcore winter exercise in January, I'm beginning to wonder what I signed up for since I hurt all over when I got on my bike- my already in place cardio training, this morning. there may be more for me to add on this at a later stage, if he doesn't kill me first. 
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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

#BEDN 19 - Newsflash

Today it will come as no surprise that I want to mention cycling. My new favouritest thing ever, but also something that has hit the news big style this last week or so.

As a London cyclist, it's been quite relevant to hear about the 5 cyclists who died in 9 days on London streets, the biggest news item in this regard was the young woman killed at Bow interchange, a junction I use every day to get to and from work.

I'm not going to propher my opinions on the London cycle network, or what I think is right or wrong- they will be neither popular, nor relevant to the vast majority of you reading my blog, but instead I want to take this opportunity to say to everyone and anyone- Be safe, be visible. Read this post from Spikes and Heels for more.

If you're a cyclist, a runner or you're enjoying being active outdoors, wherever you are, be VISIBLE! Make sure you're lit up, reflective and wearing high viz. You don't know who might not be able to see you to avoid getting in your way, running into you or hurting you.

If you're a pedestrian or a dog walker on unlit pathways, bear in mind who might not be able to see you, cyclists in particular on cycleways and paths might have to swerve around you, you might scare someone else walking their dog or running if they don't realise you're there. Just because you know you're there, and where you're going, doesn't mean the rest of the world at large can read your mind.

If you're a motorist, I'd ask you please, as a driver and a cyclist who tries to stick to the law- take an extra second to look around you on the roads, don't jump the lights or push your luck with them, and don't sit in traffic on a crossing or cyclebox. All these things are there to help keep pedestrians and cyclists out of your way, and to keep everyone safe. You're putting your own life and others' at risk if pedestrians cannot cross at designated points, cyclists cannot be visible at junctions or if you're not 100% aware of what's going on around you.

And cyclists, or the love of all things motion, where a helmet. A white front and a rear red light are legal requirements when cycling on the road, make sure you're not just wearing high viz, but that you're reflective too and abide by the highway code- including traffic lights, staggered signals and crossings. Most of all, be aware. Keep your eyes on your surroundings and the traffic, don't wear headphones so you have all of your senses and even if it's your light, keep an eye for people jumping the lights or pushing their luck.

Being active in the winter is awesome, I'm enjoying it so much more than the heat of the summer, but safety is so important.

For cyclists, see my favourite five budget saftey items, all from eBay!

HIGHVIZ water proof jacket - £8.99

Waterproof rucksack cover with reflectors - £9.95

Reflective stickers for hard surfaces (helmets, boxes, panniers) Skull shaped - £2.49

Reflective vinyl tape - £2.49 for 2m 

Silicone cycling light set (front and rear) - £3.99
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Monday, November 18, 2013

#BEDN 18 - Anti-Bullying Week

Yesterday's topic, relax. I wish I could say I managed too, but sadly not, nevertheless, much as I'm enjoying the sentiment of #BEDN, I quite enjoyed not writing for one day at the midpoint. My blog, my rules and all that.

Today is all about anti-bullying and I want to keep it short and sweet.

Bullying can and does affect people in all walks of life, not just in schools, my own experience stems from university and you can read what I had to say on the topic HERE and HERE.

For me, the turning point has been moving on and learning to let go. After moving on to do a post-grad elsewhere and having a much more positive experience with people and places. This helped me make the positive decision that I did not want to be the young woman who was bullied.

I won't deny that being bullied impacts your personality and your character, and the insight it can give should be embraced, but deciding not to allow bullying to define you or to define your decisions might just be the biggest step towards shedding the fear of 'what if...' and 'what might they say about...' and to realising your own full potential.

Stand tall on proud this Monday folks, stand strong.
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Saturday, November 16, 2013

#BEDN 16 - Chloe Likes To Eat

I'm quite glad that today is themed 'Hobbies' because blogging and eating basically encompass mine. Cycling also features in there, but I've been talking about that a lot lately, so I thought it was about time I did a 'Chloe Likes To Eat'.

I've actually spent most of my day, as I often do on a Saturday, in the kitchen, but brunch is a tradition on the weekend, I usually make T do it, but today we did a trade off for some other jobs.


Not bad for a cobbled together brunch- beans, French toast style crumpet topped with a fried egg.
Baked beans topped with French crumpets & fried egg. 

IT was a bit of a cobbled together brunch because it turned out the milk I wanted to use had gone over, but I'm pleased. The crumpets are 'French toast style' here's a How-To

Pull from cupboard: 
4 eggs
1 can baked beans
2 crumpets
Splash of oil or butter

Elegantly in a silk dressing gown a la Nigella:

Dump beans in heat proof jug, shove in microwave for a couple of minutes 

Beat 2 of the eggs with seasoning- or not, if it doesn't grab you, heat a heavy base frying pan and put crumpets in, holey side up. Pour the beaten eggs into the crumpet holes- I'd recommend being gentle, but some of the mix will run out or off, and it's not a big deal. 

Turn the crumpets over after about 2 mins, and heat your fat ready to fry the eggs. 

Pour beans onto plate into bowls, dump crumpet on top and fry eggs. 

The above quantities served 2 of us- 1 crumpet and 1 fried egg each and half the can of beans. It's super quick, but you do need to keep an eye on everything all the times. It's not one you can wander away from to keep half an eye on Saturday Kitchen.....

Scoff with a side of coffee from your favourite mug. 
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Friday, November 15, 2013

#BEDN 15 - Favourite Folk

I could write about family or friends here, I could mention some of the blogger people I love, or tell you how awesome my work friends are. I could. But instead, I'm going to showcase these amazing people.

They remind me every day to keep trying, that there's never a good time for things to go wrong, and that good hair will get you a long way in this life.

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Miranda Bailey- if nothing else for the terror inducing death stare she has, but also, the woman is super cool in every way. If I were a Dr, I'd want to be her!


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How can you not love a woman who swears like a sailor on smack? I'm only up to the start of series 4 of Dexter, so forgive me if I'm behind, but I love me a bit of Deborah Morgan. She lifts the whole show.


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Everybody needs an Abby Sciuto in their lives, if nothing else because the woman behind her, Pauley Parrette is super amazing, but also, Abby is 100% her own person.


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Hot, mysterious, dark and troubled. Did I mention also hot? I miss Spooks, it's my favourite ever TV program, and I loved some of the other characters, but Adam is (by a super fine margin) my favourite, I was sad to see him go on his own personal self destructive personality, for the nation of course.

People are quick to slate TV and fiction, and I could go on with this post to include characters from books and plays as well, but then you'd click off the post because it would be hours of reading. Fictional characters are only as good as we make them, and however realistic or not their context, they can be an inspiration as much as those people we draw on in real life. And if that doesn't sway you, just take to Twitter next time a big TV show is running to see how divisive they can be!
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Thursday, November 14, 2013

#BEDN 14 - Workspace

It's quite fitting that today's topic is 'Workspace' since today marks exactly one year since I started with the company I work for. Lots has evolved in the last 12 months- I've moved, a definite upgrade in living space, I've gone from most junior in the office to accepting a promotion into management, I've started cycling and my team have moved offices too.

the problem with my workspace, is that it's not inspirational, or pretty, or even lit I can take a semi decent photo- no filter is going to make commercial furniture and strip lighting attractive. My job does not lend itself to a creative or inspirational work space, it's very much about function, and I like it that way. I'm just lucky that there are plenty of awesome things to see just outside the doors or on my journey to work, and that's what I want to show you.


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London Docklands- exactly one year ago today.

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City of London- The sun rays breaking through, this bit of my route always gives stunning views, especially as the sun starts to drop.

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January Snow on site- I'm dreading any snow fall, this was before I took up cycling and I don't know how my road tyres will take to snow!

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Canary Wharf- when the light catches the glass and metal of Canary Wharf, it almost looks like the buildings are a magnet for the brightness.

It might not be a pretty desk or a space full of inspiration, but seeing the City in varying lights and weathers is one of my favourite things, and because cycling and work are so hand in hand for me, I love that I get to see so many beautiful sunrises, sunsets, happy looking dogs, skulking cats, over-bold squirrels and people running and cycling, that it forms a little part of my work day.


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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

#BEDN 13 - World Kindness Day

Today is World Kindness Day. Kindness is many things to many people, and I follow the theory of do unto others as you would have done unto you. I try, not always successfully, to be as kind as I would hope others might do in the same situation. But one of the biggest crimes against kindness I have noticed... ourselves.

I suspect lots of people will be remind us to be kind to ourselves today, but I'd ask you to think carefully next time someone reminds you to be kind to yourself: 

If you are not kind to yourself, are you also being unkind to others?

Table Drawing E16

If you openly slate your 'disgusting' dress size or your total rubbishness that you didn't make an event for on the 17th night running out of the house, or maybe your 'just because' gift that you sent was 'so silly', then have you ever stopped to think what the people reading might think? Might they wonder, if that's what you think about yourself, what on earth must they think about me as the person digesting your self-hatred or general lack of kindness to yourself?

What must you think of my dress size which FYI is 3 up from yours, or the dinner with I ducked out because I was tired and of and my decision not to send a card or a gift recently, because I didn't feel the need or want to do so. 

I have found myself more recently taking a small step away from people who I like very much, because they're inability to be kind to themselves leaves me consistently wondering if they think I'm not generous, not committed to things, not good enough or not strong enough. The short answer is that all of the above might be true, but as my own harshest critic, I probably don't need more ammunition.

On a day dedicated to kindness, be kind to yourself not just because you will feel better for it, but because true kindness radiates from our centre and our core, and should be a positive presence in everybody's life. 

And I'm now off to send my Oh Comley swap parcel. I almost dismissed the project when I saw it, as I've had mixed experiences, but I'm glad to I signed up now everything is all packaged up- selecting goodies for others can be such fun!

Parcels a-go-go


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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

#BEDN 12 - Hometown

As we all do, I have a hometown in the literal definition of the term, but even though we haven't moved towns that many times, I don't think I've ever really felt 'at home' anywhere.

I moved from Cambridgeshire to rural Cumbria aged 8, and then all over Western Europe at university, and now I live in London for work and it's also where T is too. My parents sold their Cumbrian house just over a year ago which is the place I lived the longest, but I never did get on so well with the North. I think probably my other issue with 'home' is that I'm mostly of the 'a house is a box that you put your stuff in' school of thought, so I'm never especially attached to spaces or buildings either.

For me, home is what you make it.

Foffa Grazia cream bike Fixie

Home is where my bike is....

Should I be worries about what T keeps by the bed?!

Home is where T makes a mess


Homemade bread, maple smoked bacon, side of coffee. Happy Sunday.

Home is where the Bacon Sandwiches are made on Sunday morning

Simple things and simple minds... @checkonforchefs

Home is where the magic happens

#TFIF

Home is where the heart is

At The Lord Mayor's Banquet

I mean...... Home is where the heart is (Read more about this picture HERE)

In other news, I'm pleased to announce the winner of my Stylefruits Giveaway which closed last night......

DRUMROLL


Thank you to everyone who entered, and congratulations to Char, thank you also to the lovely people from Stylefruits who provided the awesome prizes! 

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#BEDN 11 - Remembrance

As someone with a partner in the military, you might know that Remembrance is something close to my heart, early November is a busy time for T & I with events, collections and services to be attended. I am keeping my opinions brief on Remembrance this year, as I saw a good many disappointing things, and shall instead say this: Remembrance is on the 11th November, Armistice Day, but let us not only remember those who gave their tomorrow for our today, but the thousands of service men and women serving at home and abroad right now, and the people who support them to make it possible.

Remembrance this year also took on an extra element. If  you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen my attendance at the Lord Mayor's Banquet, which is why this post comes this morning rather than last night. ssssssssssssssssssssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. T was the Commander of the Honour Guard for last night's procedures, which meant we got a money can't buy ticket to one of the biggest events we've ever attended.


At The Lord Mayor's Banquet
Guildhall- a pretty stunning setting

Not black tie but white tie this evening. So help me.
Dress, Jarlo - Shoes, Iron Fist

To clarify, the dress code for this event was not black tie, but white tie- another level up. I had a moment of panic when I started checking the standards, and white tie is in fact regulated for men, and although not for women, there are a few 'musts'- must be floor length, must cover shoulders, women shouldn't wear watches and if one owns a tiara, this is when one pulls it from the safe.

Attendees to this annual event include the Prime Minister, the High Court Judiciary, the Archbishop of Canterbury, visiting government ministers (last night was China and Turkey amongst others), the Lord Speaker and a few hundred others of the great, good and diplomatic of the City of London Corporation. Oh, and me.

I suspect this will have been a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I can say that despite being a little apprehensive before hand, we had a fabulous evening. We were fortunate enough to be seated with some interesting and entertaining people, and I was well looked after by a Colonel no less, whilst T did his Honour Guard duties. And you know you're going up in the world when your name appears in a menu so swish that it comes with it's own plastic cover so you can take it with you.
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Sunday, November 10, 2013

#BEDN 10 - Something Different

I almost made a video for today's tag, but decided nobody wants to see my face such as it is on a Sunday morning. So today, I want to talk about something that doesn't often appear on my blog.


This time last month....
Sandhurst, August 2013

I don't talk about T and my relationship very much on my blog. That's partly because T prefers to stay out of it and off the wider world of the internet. But it's also because I think some things are sacred, and for us, that's some of the finer details. 

But there are some things to share, and at a time where T and I feel like things are running at an even pace and that we know what we're working towards, it seems a good time to tell you why, as a serial single, why a disorganised boy who makes me want to be silly and thinks my personality is that of a feline, he makes me happy. 

Here's the thing- single, in a relationship- I'm not trying to tell you what  it is right or wrong for you, but here's why a certain someone reminds me this is right for us.... 

1. When someone tells you that the 3 'five more minutes' you've already had that morning might make you late for work, without you resenting them for making you leave the warm, cosy, comfy nest of a bed. 

2. When someone knows that you need a glass of wine  without even asking, just by looking at your facial expression when they ask 'how was your day?' 

3. When you have 'that' discussion about whether you 'need' the extra case of wine, and nobody resents each other about the budget you know you need to stick to.

4. That moment where you realise, that you're both talking nonsense, in different languages, at each other, and you both collapse in a heap laughing, because it truly can't get worse than this.... right?

5. The moment when you both realise, that all you really want, is to share every success, and to make each other even more successful by working forwards together. 

These points aren't to everyone's taste, and mine and T's relationship is not for everbody either, it's complex, and it's made of many a layer, but it's ours. For something different today, I wanted to try and show readers why I look forward to bickering about who's going to turn off the light or who is going to put the duvet cover on- *the* worst bit of changing the bed.... and best of all, why no matter how many times I call him Useless Features, he's still the only one who can make me meow in public, and get me in to the Lord Mayor's Banquet with a Lieutenant Colonel. 
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Saturday, November 9, 2013

#BEDN 9 - Blog Chat

Blog chat is a bit of a wildcard for me in the #BEDN project. I don't really consider myself a 'blogger' which is a bit silly because this is a blog. But- Chloe Likes To Talk is my hobby, it's something I enjoy doing and something that's given me a great deal back from the work that goes in. As with most things, I'd hate to think I'd given it less than my best, but ultimately, CLTT is somewhere in the middle of my list after work, family, paying the rent and before emptying the dishwasher and tidying my chest of drawers.

This means I don't necessarily use Chloe Likes To Talk to further my career, I don't really have any interest in this being my full time profession or even a strand of my professional life, and I've been happy to let it amble on being a space of my own.

But this evening, watching the fireworks, I think I summed up my space on the internet for myself:

Sometimes I prefer to live life for what it is rather than take pictures of it to look back on.

I love to have the memories to look back on, my blog allows me to document some of the fabulous things I've been lucky enough to see, to do, to enjoy, but those memories have to be made before they can be recorded.

So my blog may not always be 100% of me, but rest assured, it is always 100% me. 
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Friday, November 8, 2013

#BEDN 8 - A Day In The Life

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She starts the day crunching us about so we make nasty noises and she will insist on not dressing us so we get dirty first thing. Clearly, she's not impressed by this as she failed to photograph is in our slightly dusty glory!

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It gets better though, because then she puts these amazing comfy, light, supportive trainers on us, and we look THE bomb.

Still loving these babes as much as the day they arrived from @sportsshoes_com

I mean look at us. We're amazing.

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So now she's made us all sweaty and scraped leftie's toes against something when she took a corner, she expects us to get in here?! Yeah. I know. We're hard done by.

Iron fist Shoes Jacked Up

But pretty.... sssssh don't tell her she's broken us.

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She's had us in those sparkly demons all day, although thankfully she's been desk bound. There's some really annoying shrilling that keeps coming from Up There that seems to prevent her from moving much. Her problem Up There, no ours. We're happy because we're back to our fave Nike outfits, and we're off home. Although she really needs to watching our toes with those sharp turns. We get a pretty good view if we leave on time. Tonight, we did not.

#london #nofilter

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Things get much better now. All bow to us and our fur....

Legs 11

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We're officially happy. It's Friday too, so there'll be none of this silly heels business for a few days, although there's whispers from Up There about something on Monday involving lots of heel wearing. We will have to see about that, but in the mean time, if she could kick these comfies off that she used to take the bins out, we'll be at perfection. We certainly don't anticipate she'll move much for the next 3-4 hours! 

Friday night. Hope @sebbywood & @kleebelle doing mind that I started without them!

There you go. A day in the life of my feet. I think it's cool sometime to think about what you put the various parts of your body through, and as well as my poor hard done by feet, my hands and eyes are also things I should probably be kinder too. 

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