Garden Planning For My Future Home

Although I’ve mentioned it a few times, I haven’t made too much of a ‘thing’ of it as I’m ever-cautious and after the history I’ve had, am too scared to get my hopes up in case it all gets snatched away from me, but K and I have decided to buy a house together.  We are very much in the early stages of saving up and it’s going to be a long time before we start going out and viewing properties, but it’s something we have talked about and are aiming towards together.


I’m really happy, but as I said, I’m too scared of it going wrong to really be focussing on it too much.

That said, my previous dreams of how I would have my home when my debt was cleared and I could move out of mums is having to adapt slightly as there’s going to be a boy living there.  I’m not sure he’d want to have the décor exactly the same as I do… I suppose I’m going to have to let him have some input aren’t I?  (Say no, please).


As I’m forever seeing things I love and getting inspiration from websites, blog posts and Pinterest, I thought it would be a good idea to start a scrapbook of all the things I like, so when the day does eventually come that we get the keys to our first home together, I will have some idea of how I want the different rooms to look.


One particular area I’m looking forward to getting perfect is the garden.  I want it to be fairly low-maintenance as I hate gardening with a passion and I want it to be a really relaxing place to be.  I’m envisaging days lazing in the sunshine and BBQ’s with friends and family around us.  I’m a total summer baby and when the sun’s shining I’m always to be found in the garden – albeit under a shade to stop my milk-bottle-white skin from burning!

Here’s the sort of look I’m currently dreaming of:


Rattan furniture, a table with built-in fire pit and fairylights strung around to create a cosy look.  This makes me think of glamorous ocean views abroad with a cocktail in hand – I’m sure I can recreate that same feeling in a back garden in Essex, right?


What do you think of my dream garden look?

Penny xx


* In Association with Brand *

Ideal Home Christmas Show 2013{AD-REVIEW}

The day after our stay in London, K and I ventured off to Earls Court for the Ideal Home Christmas Show.  I’ve been to the Ideal Homes show a few times before, but never to the Christmas one, so I was really looking forward to it.


We didn’t realise parking on-site was pre-booked, but we managed to get into a car park not too far down the road, so that wasn’t a problem and it also meant we didn’t have to queue up with all the other cars trying to get into the venue.


Outside Earl’s Court they had created a Winter Wonderland with a snow-covered floor, twinkling Christmas trees and Santa in his sleigh.  They also had a snow machine on the roof, so it was falling from above and made it feel really festive!  I tried getting a good picture but, unfortunately, because I’m such a short-arse, I struggled to get a picture above everyone’s heads, even when I stood on tip-toes!



Inside the arena there were dozens of separate display areas for the various exhibitors.  There was furniture, toys, homewares, garden accessories, gadgets and much, much more.  Although the venue was decorated really nicely to a Christmas theme and had a skating rink in the middle, plus a singer providing Christmas tunes, we were a little disappointed at how few of the stalls had made an effort to be Christmassy.  There were also only two small stalls selling decorations and we’d hoped we’d get this year’s one there.


They had a restaurant in the middle of the arena (Gregg Wallace’s) which looked really beautiful, laid out in white and red with lots of lights twinkling and bouncing off the glass and tableware.



This was the first Christmassy thing we did this year so I was really looking forward to it and it definitely kicked off the festive season for me, getting me into the right frame of mind for all the fun and frolics ahead, but if I go again I would hope that it was a bit more Christmassy and had more festive themed stalls, rather than it purely being a showcase for various companies to tout their wares.


There was a lot to see though so I snapped some shots of my favourite bits:
Mood reactive cat ears / Images crafted from paper
Wooden carved elephant table / Birdcage style candle-holder
Light-up tree (for indoor or outdoor use) / Yankee Candle display
Perhaps because of HOW excited I am about Christmas, I built my expectations of the exhibitors at this event to be bursting at the seams with magic and festivity, therefore maybe I’m being a little unfair and I was expecting too much?  I don’t know, but overall we had a lovely day and it was a perfect start to my Christmas 2013.
Did you go to the Ideal Home Christmas Show?  What did you think of it?  And are you ready for Christmas?
LilliesandLove xx


*We were gifted entry to this event but, as always, all opinion are 100% my own (and K’s!) *

The Perfect Personalisted Gift – A Vinyl Clock {AD-GIFTED}



If you follow me on any of my social media accounts, you will have seen me raving excitedly last week when I got home to find a little parcel waiting for me.  A gift from a company I had been speaking to on Twitter, ‘just because’.


(Aren’t presents just because the best kind?)


The company in question is called Vinyl Clocks and their name pretty well explains what they do – they take vinyl records and turn them into clocks.


I think you’ll agree, it’s a pretty simple concept, but produces a really special result and a gift that someone could really treasure.


Music plays a huge part in life and it never fails to amaze me how hearing a song can evoke memories and take you back to a certain point in time, which is what makes these clocks so special.  You could choose ‘your song’ to give to your partner, a friend’s wedding song as their anniversary gift, or the song that never fails to have your best friend on the dancefloor as their birthday present – anything special and meaningful.



Should your song choice be slightly unusual, never fear, if it’s not on the Vinyl Clocks website, they will do all they can to source the record in order to be able to make it for you!


When I tore open the wrapping of mine (as gently as possible so as not to damage the clock!) and saw the record that had been chosen for me it put a HUGE smile on my face.  Not only does it have my name in it, but it’s also one of my favourite songs!  A perfect choice!



When I get a home of my own again, this clock is going to go above my work desk, but I’m going to find somewhere special to put it in the meantime.


I love my Vinyl Clock so much, it made my day.  What song would you have on your clock?
LilliesandLove xx
* This item was a gift from Vinyl Clocks to me, but as always, the opinions are 100% honest and my own *

Shopping For My Fantasy Home With John Lewis {AD-SPONSORED}

Despite a minor set-back over the weekend (£500 vets bill anyone?) meaning my Debt Free Day has been put back by a month to June 2014, I’m past the halfway mark and really feel like I’m on the home straight.  It seems crazy to me that by this time next year I will have paid off my debts and will be back to having a normal life again.


For me, the biggest thing I’m looking forward to is having a home again.  At the moment, I feel very much ‘homeless’, spending my time flitting between K’s house and mum’s.  I can’t wait to have my own home and be able to put my own mark on it.  In fact, when I was going through a ‘mid-debt crisis’ just a week or so ago, I started focussing on the day I have my own place again and thinking about how I will dress it.


Having worked in estate agency for 7-years, I’ve always had a keen interest in interior design and I love looking at how other people decorate their homes.  I find it fascinating and really believe it can give you an insight into what a person is like.


At the moment, one of my fellow Essex bloggers, Ria from Urban Butterfly, is redecorating her home and I’m really excited to see what it looks like when she’s done, as she has a fab vintage style and I just know her home is going to be as beautiful as she is!  (She was sending me pictures of potential wallpapers she’s looking at and there were some gorgeous ones in there!)


As I’ve mentioned before, this second half of my debt is the most emotionally difficult for me as it’s a case of “so near and yet so far” but I’ve decided to turn the situation on its head and really focus on the finish line; the main part of that being having a home again.  I’ve decided to start a scrapbook of ideas and inspirations so I have something to look at during my low points and something to refer back to when the big exciting day comes that it can become a reality!  I did think about utilising Pinterest, but decided I’d rather have a physical thing to hold in my hands and flick through when I need it.


So what have I been looking at?  Well, I thought I’d show you a few of the pieces I’ve fallen in love with from the John Lewis website – I think you’ll be able to see a general theme running through them…

Just a small selection of the bedding from John Lewis.  I definitely want white bedroom furniture.
John Lewis coffee table with drawers for magazines, books and the remote controls!
A delicate bedside cabinet – I deliberately chose one with small drawers to discourage clutter!
John Lewis Lamps – I’d love to see the pattern the birdcage style one makes on the walls and ceiling.
These would be perfect for storing pretty items I want to display.
A big snuggly chair, perfect for long winters day cosied up reading a book.
A selection of the wallpapers John Lewis sell – I found this section the most difficult to narrow down, they have some great designs for a whole range of different rooms and situations.

Until I put these all on one page, I didn’t realise quite how ‘cosy’ my ideal home interior was!  My previous home was very modern with lots of chrome and glass, but this is the complete opposite, however, I think it is much more suited to the person I am these days.


Although I don’t have my own home to decorate yet, I definitely feel that this will be the next big thing in life for me after I’ve paid off my debts, so I think I might start including interior design and homewares on my blog.  I haven’t done so before because thinking about these sort of things reminded me of everything I had lost, but now I can see the finish line ahead of me, I definitely feel like it’s looking forwards rather than backwards.


Do you like this cosy style of decor, or are you more of a modernista?
What do you think of the John Lewis range?
LilliesandLove xx


* Sponsored Post *

Debenhams Flowers & Gift Delivery Service{AD-GIFTED}

Last night I posted something on Twitter/Instagram/Facebook and I wanted to share it here as well:

“Blogging is a strange thing – although I never stop loving it, I do lose confidence sometimes when people ask me “What’s the point?” or “Do you really think people are interested in your boring life?”  It makes me doubt myself and wonder whether I should even continue.  But then, somebody says something lovely to me or, like today, I get a beautiful gift and I realise that yes, some people ARE interested in my boring life.  Thank you all for your continued support, it means so much to me.”

I got a picture message from mum yesterday saying that something had been delivered to me from Debenhams PR people.  It’s not that often that I get anything so I’m always excited (and massively grateful) when anything is sent to me.

To be honest, I then had such a crappy day at work that I totally forgot about the delivery, until I walked in mum’s front door and saw it sitting on her dining room table.

EEEEEEEK!  Flowers!!

Now, I’ve only been given flowers on three occasions in my entire life:

  1. By a man who kept asking me out and wouldn’t take no for an answer (they were delivered and the florist refused to take them back and refund him, so I gave the bouquet to mum)
  2. When my ex broke another girls ankle in the early hours of one morning when he was doing goodness knows what with her.
  3. Valentines Day this year when K bought them for me as a joke because he knows I’m anti-Valentines.

So,  you can understand why I say being sent flowers for a positive reason is new and exciting for me!

I perhaps too eagerly busted my way into the box (by ‘too eagerly’ I mean I ripped the box apart in my excitement), did a squeak and yelled “MUUUUUUUM!!” as soon as I saw what was inside.


20 hot pink roses and a three-pack of Sanctuary Spa products!


No matter what I did, I couldn’t get a photograph of the roses that would do them justice – they are SUCH a beautiful colour and they smell amazing.  As for the Sanctuary Spa products, they’re all products I would use – body wash, body scrub and body lotion.

Now, I have to admit that I had absolutely no idea that Debenhams even offered a flower delivery service – if I’d been looking to send flowers to someone it would never have occurred to me to check the Debenhams Flowers website, but having been sent these I’ve been online and had a little nosey at what they have to offer…

There are various different options so you should be able to find the perfect something to send to someone special.  Here are your choices:

Flowers and Sanctuary Spa gift sets
Flowers with scented gifts (some including photo frames too)
Flowers with baby gifts
Flowers and chocolates

When I’ve been sending flowers to people for special occasions in the past, I’ve sometimes spent ages searching the internet trying to find something a little different rather than just sending a standard bouquet, so to have this many options for additional goodies to send along too is, in my opinion, brilliant!

As you know, I’m on a spending ban, but I’m still allowed to buy friends/family presents for birthdays etc, but I do make sure I’m clever with my spending and don’t go overboard.  So, me being the skinflint that I currently am while I clear my debts, I obviously checked out the Debenhams Flowers prices.  The prices range from £19.99 (for a bunch of 50 daffodils) up to £129.99 (for a luxury hamper with a HUGE amount of items in it) for the more financially flush amongst us.

From now on, honestly, I think Debenhams Flowers will be my go-to when I want to send a gift to someone; there’s so much choice, I’m bound to find the perfect-something.

If you’ve got a special occasion coming up, or just want to show somebody that you care, I definitely recommend taking a peek at their website and seeing what you think.  Oh, and as always, if you buy something, make sure you let me know what you’ve got!!

I’m off to go and stare at the photo of my flowers until it’s time to go home and stare at my ACTUAL flowers instead…


The Debenhams Flowers people saw this blog post and have offered a 20% discount code on the flowers and Sanctuary Spa product gift range to my readers (valid until 31st May 2013).
Just enter LLBLOG20 when you get to the checkout!


LilliesandLove xx
* PR Sample *

A Penny For Them uses affiliate links occasionally. Affiliate links means that sometimes if you click through to a website and register or purchase something, I get a commission from that sale at no extra cost to you. However, rest assured that all opinions and reviews are 100% honest, open and entirely my own.