2014: The Round Up

Happy Christmas readers! I hope you've all enjoyed the last few days of festivities. It's Boxing Day, or as I like to call it Trifle Comedown Day, I assume we're all hungover from food and feeling a bit lethargic. Here I am with my wordy end-of-year post to keep you entertained as you read this in bed on your iPad. I assume that's where you are, that's probably where I am at the time of publishing.

As this is my last post for the year, I thought I'd write a little retrospective and look at some of the highlights of my year, but first, let me tell you all about my December.

Doctor Who
It's the end of my Doctor Who 50th Anniversary calendar. Sad times. 
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How to Not Quit at Christmas

I wrote an article a couple of years ago about how I was planning on not stuffing up my healthy eating at Christmas, after a re-read I thought I should drag it out of the archives, refresh my memory and take some of my own advice during the next week or so.

Regent Street Christmas 1960
Regent Street, London. Christmas 1960. (source)

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Work Space in Home Space

It's rare that I have to do my day job from home, in fact I don't think I've worked from home since we had a snow day in January 2013.  I like going into the office as it puts me in a 'work' frame of mind.

However, as I moonlight as a writer, having a work space for that at home is pretty important these days. I've spent years occupying a little space at the dining table, balancing my laptop on my lap on the couch, or even using pillows as a desk in my bedroom. Don't get me wrong, it's comfy but also a little impractical!

Desk Bed Love Life Lexi
All the essentials: laptop, iPad, tea, Hobnobs

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Sherlock Holmes at the Museum of London

Last month I had one of my geeky museum days out. I love that London has so many museums and galleries and most don't charge for entry (unless it's a specific exhibit that you want to see) so it can be a really cheap but fun day out as long as you have a contactless debit card to beep your way in and out of tube stations (which I actually did that day, I used my debit card for every journey, and it worked!).


Sherlock Holmes Museum of London


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Twelve

Eleven's hour is over now, the clock is striking Twelve's ...


Are we all on the 'I <3 Capaldi' bandwagon now?

You guys, it's December on Monday! 2014 is almost over. I cannot believe it. It's been such a fantastic year. I'll talk more about the year as whole at the end of next month, for now here's what happened in my November.


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My Modern Life Essentials

Recently I've been getting a lot of use out of apps on my iPad; mostly Skype and Face Time. When you have important people in your life scattered all over the country (the world, even) these things have become so useful and important, and I spent one evening last week genuinely wondering what I did before such amazing things came along and allowed me to communicate with those I love who are miles away from me. 

Then I started thinking about all the things I use which have become essentials in my modern life, which I use on a regular basis. It ranged from savings accounts to peanut butter cups, almost like a survival guide for my lifestyle. So here is a definitive guide to my modern life essentials.


Modern Life



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MCM London & Cosplay

An autumnal Sunday was my first time on the MCM convention circuit and my first outing in cosplay. Both at once? Yep. Go hard or go home. Classic Lexi.



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A Date with the Shocking Miss Emerald

Last summer I bought myself a birthday gift. A ticket to see Caro Emerald on the weekend before my birthday in March. A Friday night date for just me to celebrate turning 35, seeing one of my favourite artists perform in London. 

Caro proceeded to get pregnant and had to cancel her spring tour. DAMNIT! I received an email shortly after the announcement that the tour would be delayed until the autumn, and would I be able to make the new date. Of course I would, I could wait six more months. 

Therefore, I have now been holding onto this ticket for 15 months ... this was the day I finally got to use it.

Love Life Lexi London o2 Arena


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Eleven

Woah. Eleven's here already. I'll need a new calendar soon!

Matt Smith Eleventh Doctor Who Calendar November


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London Film & Comic Con Winter

After my first experience at London Film & Comic Con this summer, I couldn't resist a trip to the Winter event.

London Film and Comic Con Winter Ticket

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Seasonal Sales, Sunrises and Sunsets

There aren't many good things about the end of summer. Well, the wasps die and the leaves on the trees go a pretty colour ... and I'm out.

Autumn colours London


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How I Quit Caffeine & Didn't Lose My Sanity

In August this year I embarked on a bit of a detox. Well, that was my intention, instead I caught a tummy virus and had an enforced detox, which I can assure you is even less fun than a regular detox.

The idea behind my detox was to eliminate caffeine, as I'm pretty addicted to the stuff, and try to survive without it. I quit caffeine a few years ago for about 4 months and found it really easy, surely I could do that again, right? Right?!

Just another manic Monday ...

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Incoming October

Wait, we're ten months in already? How did that happen?

Doctor Who Tenth David Tennant #youlooklikeroblloyd


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Session Sales & Clothing Bargains

One of my work colleagues is on a great emailing list. She gets a notification every time there's a clothes store 'session sale' at Chiswick Town Hall. I know she's gone to a few of these in the past but I've never been that interested. When she asked me if I'd like to go to one a couple of weeks back I was 1) jet lagged and 2) full of post-holiday blues, but 3) I had left over holiday money, 4) it was a Phase Eight event, and 5) I needed some other kind of distraction as all I'd done for 4 days by that point was put chocolate or blueberry muffins in my mouth. 

Confessions of a Shopaholic
SAAAAAAAAAAAALE!!!
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Autumn Arrives

It's officially September when Eccleston appears on my calendar ... 

Chris Eccleston Doctor Who Calendar September 2014

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Suddenly September

I'm back, you guys!

Adler Planetarium Chicago Skyline
Chicaaaaaaaaaago!

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A Little Admin

ADMIN POST ALERT!

Admin is fiercely boring but entirely necessary. My apologies if this is a very disjointed post, I'm just trying to catch up on everything I've missed out on during the last month.

Alex Marshall Writer Blogger Love Life Lexi
Admin in my pyjamas. The glamour never ceases. 
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Chaos

Forgive me blog, for I am waaaaaay behind with my writing. It's been a chaotic few weeks.

I've had the busiest two weeks at my day job ever, some nights I was so tired I was ready to go to bed at 9pm, I knew it wasn't forever, so I ploughed on through. 

After that period was over I was ready to relax and take care of myself more, so I managed to make my monthly YouTube video:




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A Hard Day's Nerd

I'm going to level with you, readers; I don't have a specific topic in mind to write about this week, nor have a made a YouTube video yet for this month. I'm going to nerd out on you instead with some photos that I've taken around London and a few things I've purchased over the last week.

First up, at the weekend I had a trip to Orbital Comics and Forbidden Planet:

Orbital Comics London

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July

It's the last post of the month again. Already? Yes, already. But what a month it's been. July has been the best month of the year so far. August, you have some big shoes to fill!


July London

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WE NEED YOU TO VOTE LEXI

It's not Friday, why is Alex publishing a blog post? BECAUSE I NEED YOUR HELP DEAR READERS!!




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The Con Virgin: Full Frontal Nerdity

Last weekend I attended my very first convention; London Film & Comic Con:

Stan Lee walked RIGHT PAST ME. I was starstruck. STAN EFFIN LEE!

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One Down, Five to Go

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of going to see one of the best comedy groups the world has ever known perform live - Monty Python.

Monty Python One Down Five to Go
I am unable to resist merchandise at an event

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YouTube: My Favourite Beauty Products

Hello readers, Friday means blog post day - so happy Friday!



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Here Comes Summer

Summer Solstice always has the potential to make me go a bit funny. It's all tied into my seasonal affective whatnots as it's the longest day of the year - maximum daylight. I accept that most people would be loving that day but to me I always see it as the turning point of the year, the days start getting shorter and not to be too Game of Thrones about it, but winter is coming

I know this is ridiculous but it's hard to change a mindset when you're stuck in it, however as I've been making a huge effort this year to change some of my thought patterns (hence all the motivational stickies around me that I've talked about before) I recognised that this really needed a better perspective.

So, you know what? Here's my new perspective: 




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Kitchen Science: Making Water Kefir

If there's something I can do in the kitchen which makes me feel like a scientist, then I am all over it. If there's something I can consume that will make my digestive system behave itself, then I'm all over it. If I can find something which combines the two? JACKPOT BABY.

Last week I embarked on making water kefir.

Dubious pouty face alert! 

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Do this Don't: Buy Crocs

A friend came to visit me at the weekend, which usually means she winds up watching me impulse purchase my way around central London. For this visit I had a plan, I even Whatsapp'd her about it a week earlier:

"Brave yourself; next weekend we're going to Covent Garden to buy Crocs."


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Away with you, May!

It happened again, didn't it? The month just vanished before our eyes! But it's June which means it's officially summer time! :D


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YouTube

Hola readers, ready for the weekend? I am! 

Here's my monthly YouTube attempt. The topic for this one is, of course, HAIR! Please find much swishing and flicking herein. 




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Gym Joy

It's been a gym-focused couple of weeks in the land of Lexi.

Last week was a VERY active week!


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Catching up

Readers, I have been ALL OVER THE PLACE in recent weeks, so here's a quick update.

I've been raiding charity shops again. Never one to miss out on a bargain and I love, LOVE the Fara shops in West London, I picked up a couple of bargains. These were 90p and £2.70! The skirt is a long, swishy 1990's Laura Ashley maxi skirt. It's awesome!



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YouTube

Hello readers, happy Friday! You look lovely today. 

For your viewing pleasure, here's my latest YouTube video, it's the one where I talk about oil pulling and try to not make it sound rude.

Enjoy and have a great weekend! 


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Another Month Bites the Dust

Hey April, where d'ya go?

It's no secret that I loathe winter in the northern hemisphere, so when spring comes thundering in like an excited bunny I'm full of the joys. FULL OF THEM.


Therefore I always feel a bit cheated when the nice spring months start whizzing by. The daffodils have been and gone, the bluebells only have a good week left in them, then I guess we're making serious summer headway!


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From the Corners of my Kitchen

You know what I haven't done for a while? Bore you all with food. Here's a bit of a round up of the products that have been gracing my kitchen over the last couple of months.



This sounds like a hideous product, I mean, WTF is nutritional yeast anyway? Answer - an absolutely brilliant cheese substitute for those of us who have sarcastic digestive systems.


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Lots of planets have a North

... and my planet is no exception as that's where I hail from.

You can take the girl out of Yorkshire ...

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YouTube: April

I'm out of London for a few days, visiting my folks in the North.



I'm a little behind with blogging at the moment, so you've got my monthly YouTube video to keep you entertained (?!) this week: 





and I'll hopefully be back with a decent post when I have lots of free time over Easter. 

(VIDEO EDIT, about the argan oil, it's a great product if you're someone who straightens their hair as I'm told it will make your hair very smooth and shiny, however as someone who doesn't heat style it's a bit of a wasted purchase!).

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What I Learned from Doctor Who

Last month I listened to a great podcast about Doctor Who in which the guests and presenters spoke about what they learned from watching the show. Listening to it one night in bed made the think about the things I've learned from watching Doctor Who, and as so many things ran around my head I had to write them all down! Inspired by the Splendid Chaps podcast here's what I have learned from watching Doctor Who. 

Just a few essentials ...

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Giving Up & Adding In

I don't think I've mentioned my Lent shenanigans this year, as we're a good few weeks in I should really update with what's been happening over the last month.




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My Birthday

As I may have mentioned (ten thousand times) it was my birthday last week. I wanted to do something I loved for my birthday; food was obviously top of the list followed by galleries and museums because I'm a massive nerd (I say this with total pride, really).

Birthday celebrations began on the Saturday with lunch at Byron on Charing Cross Road and a trip to The National Gallery.


I love their courgette fries!




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35 and free!

The cool thing about starting blogs on your birthday is that you never forget you blogiversary! 

On the 17th March 2010, 4 years ago, I started blogging over at Al's Food & Fitness Adventures and last year I made the switch to Love Life Lexi. My old blog is still there (and still gets a good 1000+ views per week!), even though I no longer write for that blog I am still super proud of all the work I put into it for those 3.5 years, which is why it remains out there in cyberspace for all to see (and read, evidently!). I'm glad that even over 6 months later people still enjoy the content there, it reaffirms my faith that my time was well spent and that I must be a decent writer after all!

My little writing corner

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The Cult of the Green Smoothie

(That title works best if you sing it in the style of this song.)

There are many things in life that people don't warn you about; overplucking your eyebrows, forgetting to moisturise daily, why it's imperative to carry hand sanitiser on the London Underground, why opening a jar of peanut butter and picking up a spoon will be the end of your skinny jeans ... and so forth.

I recently encountered this with the cult of the green smoothie. I make no denial here; I am in so deep with this cult that it's a daily ritual that I love and wax lyrical to  anyone who is mad enough to engage with me on the subject (my admin gets it every day when she asks me what's in my smoothie jar for lunch), however there are certain aspects (I want to say side-effects, but that's too severe) that NO ONE seems to tell you about. As an active member of the healthy living blog community and Pinterest addict you'd think someone would have covered these things, right? NOPE.

So here I am, your smoothie-guzzling saviour, here to tell you some of the interesting aspects of the cult of green smoothie that no one will have told you before you embark on this dietary experiment.


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Lexi's Salsamole

It can be quite a task to find decent guacamole when you're dairy-free. Some stores love shoving random ingredients in it (Waitrose, I'm looking at you! Double cream in your regular guac and creme fraiche in your reduced fat one? Whyyyyyyy???!!) Whole Foods do the best 'authentic' one on the market but it comes in a massive pot and there's no way that I even can consume that much in two days (yes, I've tried). So I decided to make my own.

As much as I love avocado, a whole one is a calorie-bomb. So I had to figure out a recipe which was a little lighter but still provided a decent amount of dip. The solution was my Salsamole. 



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Back on YouTube

Having been absent for so long (4 months!) the return of the daylight in my house means the return of the YouTube videos.



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Goodbye February

Just when I thought January was the worst month of the year, February really pulled the rug out from under me this year. If February was a man, we would have broken up this week. It's not me; it really is ALL YOU.




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Snap Snap

Another lovely photo post for you all! Here's some more things from my month, less beauty-focussed, more of my other interests.



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Operation Goddess - Interval Training

I'm a good few weeks into my interval training.  This was something I originally started in 2009 when I saw a trainer at my (then) gym, who created an interval running program for me to get my fitness up, help me shift some extra weight and as a way to get me running more.

I started slowly; walking for 3 minutes, running at a steady pace for 3 minutes, sprinting for 1 minute - eat, sleep, rave, repeat. By a couple of months in I was able to negate the walking, just run and sprint. I was fit, very fit, between that and Zumba I felt at the peak of my fitness. 

Then I got married and it all stopped. Sigh. Marriage is so bad for my health!


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Snap Snap

I'm struggling with lighting for YouTube videos at the moment, so I'll be doing a couple of photo posts this month to show you what products I've been using this month.



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OperationGoddess - Vitamix & Dairy-Free Treats

Here comes the long awaited Vitamix post. Brace yourselves!



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Skinnyshaming

Rant approaching. Stand well back.

The internet annoys the hell out of me some days. I know everyone has moments where things fly out of their mouths without thinking (which we will have to apologise for at some point, because we will have hurt someone's feelings) and it's no different online - I'm guilty of thinking before typing sometimes, I've made a point of encouraging myself to draft a lot of things before hitting send these days, just so I can go back to it at a later point with fresh eyes and a clear mind. 

The internet is full of campaigns these days; no slutshaming,  no to Page 3, yes to Page 3, stop everyday sexism and no fatshaming, to name just a few. And yet skinnyshaming has been all over the internet in the last 24 hours thanks to the US final of The Biggest Loser

Rachel went from 260lbs to 105lbs to win (source)

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In Search of the Perfect Dupe

If you've seen any photos of me online in the last couple of months, I will have been wearing one lipstick. My Benefit Full Finish Lipstick in shade Lady's Choice.



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Fashionably Fit

You know what I'm terrible at? Wearing bright colours in winter, seriously awful at it. I just naturally get drawn to all my dark wardrobe pieces; blacks, greys, dark blues, dark greens. I manage stripes (a lot!) but that's about it. I know that if I surround myself with bright colours it lifts my spirits a lot at this time of year so I thought a change was due.

So when I was asked to take part in the Fashionably Fit campaign and try some new Nike workout kit from SportsShoes I saw this as a brilliant excuse to choose some really bright colours and brighten up my workout wardrobe. 


I went a bit crazy with pink. I ORDERED ALL THE PINK. 2 tank vests, capri workout pants and, as I'm dancing a little more these days, some studio training shoes. 


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January Purchases

Yes, it's a cliche but shopping really cheers me up. I've appreciated my salary a lot this month!

source

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January; you are horrific.

I stand firm in my judgement that January is the shittiest month of the year in the UK. It's dark in the mornings, it's dark in the evenings, it's cold, and this year it won't stop bloody raining. ENOUGH WITH THE CALENDAR EMO ALREADY.

January, YOU SUCK.

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It's all about the bunnies, bunnies, bunnies ...

Yes, I'm writing about pastries in January. Hear me out before you start throwing things at me, okay?

January/New Years weight loss resolutions are hard to stick, REALLY HARD. So hard that 80% of us have sacked them off before the month is out. I never go into January too hard, I don't like crazy eating routines and daily gym visits; my mantra is the same for 2014 as it was for 2013; everything within moderation.


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Another Significant Ten

Number 10's are slowly taking over my life right now!

Any excuse for a Who reference (source)

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Ten Years Ago ...

I came back from New Years in New York with my girlfriends and saw this photo of myself from Boxing Day: 


And resolved to change my life for good (after I'd eaten my entire Christmas selection box in one sitting - how I managed to eat 5 chocolate bars one after another I'll never know ...)

By August that very same year ...


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