#323. January's gratitude list

3 February 2016


Li Li, a NYC and Scottish lifestyle blogger chats shares her January 2016 gratitude list

January is always a funny month for me. Sure, it's the start of the new year with a whole 12 months of unlimited possibilities but it's also cold and just after Christmas and I have an innate pull to hibernate in my flat like a bear and binge watch Jessica Jones, Making a Murderer and 30 Rock. But, this is my year of yes and so I had a good mix of seeing pals and some chill time, wonderful theatre, applying for jobs and generally having fun.

I've really enjoyed putting this list together as it reminds me of all the good and happy things that happened over the course of the past four weeks and as part of my 'get happy' resolution for this year, I'll be sharing a list like this at the end of every month.

  • Bringing in the bells with wonderful friends wearing the most beautiful fringed dress and sparkly heels
  • Ordering the biggest pizza I have ever seen
  • Getting a lovely and unexpected email from your Dad that made you cry just a little
  • Taking steps towards my new years goals
  • Volunteering at an exciting theatre festival, meeting a tonnes of new and lovely people and learning a lot
  • Not letting rejection get me down and instead use it to fuel me to keep going
  • Discover an exciting new podcast - Sarah Starrs
  • Starting to receive Gala Darlings Radical Self Love letters
  • Snow! And building a snowman in Central Park
  • Putting myself in a situation completely outside of my comfort zone and doing well
  • Snuggly socks to keep out the cold
  • Discovering The Happiness Planner
  • Planning exciting travels and adventures for 2016
  • Seeing some really exciting and unique pieces of theatre
  • Cute puppy updates from Rosie
  • Long overdue phone chats with friends
  • Falling in love with some cute cats at the cat cafe
  • Realising how much I love colouring in
  • Getting a new hair cut and feeling so fly afterwards
  • Learning to cook pulled pork carnitas and they were the bomb
  • Spending time with new friends
  • I loved Ayden's post on being brave and doing things that scare you
  • An overnight stay in a hotel with a pool and a gym - feeling pampered
  • Setting up an awesome work station out of the flat and feeling like a productivity unicorn
  • New stationary
  • The Netflix series Jessica Jones
  • Bear hugs
  • Red Raspberry tea
  • An interesting take on new years resolutions from Abigail.
  • I want to go to Bruges so bad after reading Katy's post
  • Starting a new exercise regime and walking becoming increasingly difficult but feeling myself getting stronger everyday
  • My new gym tshirt with the awesome slogan - 'Busy getting stronger'
  • Having some free time to start planning 2016
  • Lovely long catchup emails from family and friends
  • Jasmin Charlotte's awesome and refreshing post on accepting yourself
  • Creating a morning routine
  • Surprise flowers from the hubster
  • Setting up a fun book exchange with a lovely new blogger pal to help us both read more
  • Carrot and ginger soup with huge chunks of ginger
  • Sitting quietly reading in a coffee shop
  • Mimi's beautiful photos from the Harry Potter studio tour - take me back!
  • Multi coloured tulips
  • This honest post from Rosie asking is the grass really greener?
  • Laughing along to the movie Sisters
  • Filling my bookshelves with inspiring and motivation books that make me want to be a better person
  • This print which I hope will find it's way to my flat soon

What happy things have happened to you this month? What things would you add to your own gratitude list?

#322. Keeping my new year goals with Boohoo FIT

1 February 2016

Li Li, a NYC and Scottish lifestyle blogger reviews two items from the Boohoo FIT range

Li Li, a NYC and Scottish lifestyle blogger reviews two items from the Boohoo FIT range

Li Li, a NYC and Scottish lifestyle blogger reviews two items from the Boohoo FIT range

Keeping fit and working out regularly are things that I am determined to make a part of my routine. I do struggle though and it takes a while for me to form habits. Even though I know that exercise is good for me there is always something more interesting or exciting to do and before you know it I have taken the rubbish out, cleared my inbox, watched two episodes of 30Rock and spent an hour strolling fitness pics on Instragram for motivation and not actually done any myself. Give the queen of procrastination a crown.

This year I really want to prioritise my health and commit to a workout schedule, as I chatted about in my post on my new years goals. Last year in the run up to our wedding I was beastin' it. I felt so strong and confident, able to run for long distances without stopping and actually enjoying it and doing Hiit workouts the whole way through, not taking pass out breaks in the middle. It felt so good. I want to get back there.

With time on my hands over the past few weeks I've come to realise and be more aware of 'me' than I have before. I've been reading a lot, trying to spend some time focussed on myself and seeing what changes that might bring. In the past I wasn't really sure I bought into all the personal development stuff, but I have been learning a lot and so much of it rings true for me, sometimes its scary. It's funny when it takes a total stranger to speak clear enough that you can see those characteristics in yourself. Through a lot of soul searching I've realised that I am not very good at keeping habits for myself but can do things for other people readily and will actively go out of my way for others (see Grechen Rubin for more info). Not that that is a bad thing at all, I enjoy being the sort of person I am. But what that means is that commitments I have made to myself like fitness and working out, tend to fall by the wayside really, really easily. Rubbish! 

A way to help with this though is external accountability, so I have been actively telling people (including you lovely lot!) what my goals are for this year so I won't be as encouraged to break them and will do updates every month. I'm also researching runs around NYC that I can join to keep me training and have signed up to the Night Nation 5km with some friends in June. My glow sticks are ready!

Another thing that I also find helpful is getting new workout gear. It might be a superficial thing, but if I have nice fitness clothes to wear and buy them for myself as a treat, I am more likely to get up off the couch, switch off netflix and go on a run or pop in a fitness DVD or two. I like to look good when I'm working out. Nothing wrong with that.

So when Boohoo got in touch asking if I would like to choose an outfit from their FIT range to review I jumped at the chance. The Boohoo FIT range is extensive, focussing on pieces that you can move in, run in, squat in...you get the picture. But also are fashion forward, making all those gym bunnies jealous and are comfortable, affordable and good quality too. There were so many pieces that I was tempted by but eventually I chose a pair of contract patterned leggings (no longer available online) and this motivational slogan vest. I was hoping to get out and snap some photos of me actually wearing the pieces but the snow sortof took over a bit.

The leggings are thick and stretchy, so are very comfortable and not see-through and I've now worn them out running and doing yoga. I really like the contrast pink piping and the pattern across half the leggings, rather than just a solid colour. They also have a thick waistband so sit high up on my waist which I really like, avoiding any gym embarrassment if they decided to slip down during a hard core running session. (Trust me it's happened!). The two things that I would change about the leggings is the thickness of the piping detail and the material. I find that the piping can be slightly uncomfortable under my legs when I am doing floor work and the material means that my legs get really hot very quickly. Other than that, I think they are great and would highly recommend them to anyone for cute workout gear that won't break the bank.

The vest is definitely my favourite piece though. I love a good motivational slogan and this one is complete fitspiration and damn catchy. It's a strong slogan, so positive, body loving and ace and I was drawn to it right away. The vest is made of cotton so is soft and breathable, perfect for gym wear. The cut outs are a lot lower than I expected them to be so I have to wear another top underneath, but I enjoy the layered look. 

Overall I was impressed with the two items from the Boohoo FIT range that I tried and have already been browsing online for my next purchase. There is just so much choice for whatever type of fitness you enjoy and they are affordable, making a sportwear wardrobe seem a lot more possible.

So, I will keep wearing my new leggings and top to help me keep my fitness goals for 2016. I'll be checking in soon with an update on how things are going. Keeping me accountable ya'll.

Have you got any health and fitness goals for this year?

Disclaimer - I was gifted the top and leggings featured in this pist by Boohoo. While the clothes were complimentary my thoughts on them are completely my own. I really do love them and will be wearing them a lot in my keeping fit quest, so stay tuned.

#321. NYC snow days

28 January 2016

Li, a NYC and Scottish lifestyle blogger talks about the snow and blizzard in NYC, January 2016. © Lianne Whitelaw

Snow! Even the word fills me with all the feels. I am giddily excited the moment there is even a whisper of snow and anxiously wait at the window with the weather app poised on my phone, complaining to Robin about why the app is wrong and where all the snow it predicted has gone. I am just desperate to get out and play and make all the snowmen and snow angels and explore the different world a fall of snow creates. Like a big kid at Christmas time, I run around, yelling, searching for my hat and gloves and not quite being able to get out the door quick enough. As an adult it's so refreshing to be as innately excited about something and just let the happiness take over. There is just something so magical watching snowflakes fall and cover the ground in a white blanket, muffling all sounds and leaving this sense of stillness and quiet. 

You might have seen on the news about the blizzard we had in NYC last weekend? Across social media it was labelled 'Snowmageddon' and from late on Friday to Saturday evening, thick and heavy snow flurries fell all across the East coast. This was the first snowfall NYC had had this winter, much to my disappointment, so you can guess how excited I was to get outside and explore on Saturday morning.

Li, a NYC and Scottish lifestyle blogger talks about the snow and blizzard in NYC, January 2016. © Lianne Whitelaw


Li, a NYC and Scottish lifestyle blogger talks about the snow and blizzard in NYC, January 2016. © Lianne Whitelaw

Li, a NYC and Scottish lifestyle blogger talks about the snow and blizzard in NYC, January 2016. © Lianne Whitelaw

Li, a NYC and Scottish lifestyle blogger talks about the snow and blizzard in NYC, January 2016. © Lianne Whitelaw

Li, a NYC and Scottish lifestyle blogger talks about the snow and blizzard in NYC, January 2016. © Lianne Whitelaw

Li, a NYC and Scottish lifestyle blogger talks about the snow and blizzard in NYC, January 2016. © Lianne Whitelaw

Li, a NYC and Scottish lifestyle blogger talks about the snow and blizzard in NYC, January 2016. © Lianne Whitelaw

Li, a NYC and Scottish lifestyle blogger talks about the snow and blizzard in NYC, January 2016. © Lianne Whitelaw

We are lucky enough to live one block from the East River and Carl Schurz Park and so that was our first port of call. We stepped in deep patches of freshly fallen and untouched snow, walked to the river to see the view totally obstructed by the blizzard, visited the snow covered Peter Pan statue and tried to make snowballs. The snow was so different to any I have ever seen at home. It was like powder, so light and fluffy and fell through my fingers easily, making it hard to form into balls. So like the adults we are we just threw snow at each other instead, running and ducking to avoid getting hit, which was a lot of fun.

There weren't many people around yet. A total winter wonderland and I couldn't help but sing the song the whole time on our walk. It seemed rather fitting.

After a quick pit stop on the roof to see the view from above, we headed back into our apartment to have some yummy and warming brunch before heading back out again in the afternoon to meet some friends. This time we ventured further afield and went to Central Park. Again, things were a lot quieter than normal as there was now a city wide car ban (apart from emergency vehicles) in place. Central Park however was full of people, sledging, building snowman, playing football, skiing, snowboarding, snow shoeing. Everyone was out enjoying the first snow of winter. And boy, it was an epic one. That's another thing I love about snow - it can make everyone stop what they are doing and just have fun. It brings people together.

Li, a NYC and Scottish lifestyle blogger talks about the snow and blizzard in NYC, January 2016. © Lianne Whitelaw

Li, a NYC and Scottish lifestyle blogger talks about the snow and blizzard in NYC, January 2016. © Lianne Whitelaw

Li, a NYC and Scottish lifestyle blogger talks about the snow and blizzard in NYC, January 2016. © Lianne Whitelaw

Li, a NYC and Scottish lifestyle blogger talks about the snow and blizzard in NYC, January 2016. © Lianne Whitelaw

Li, a NYC and Scottish lifestyle blogger talks about the snow and blizzard in NYC, January 2016. © Lianne Whitelaw

Li, a NYC and Scottish lifestyle blogger talks about the snow and blizzard in NYC, January 2016. © Lianne Whitelaw

We spent a lot of time building a little snowman, watching the sledgers and exploring the beautiful park, before heading over to the the Upper West Side for a late lunch and a hot drink. By the time we had defrosted and eaten our fill of good food, we were ready to head home. It was dark with low cloud and the snow lay even thicker on the ground. The streets were getting quiet again, as everyone headed home to get warm and snuggly, vegging out in front of Netflix. As there were no cars on the roads, there were none of the insistent horns you normally hear wherever you are in the city. It was quiet, which for the city that never sleeps is a bit of a big deal and so it almost didn't feel like NYC at all. We could have been anywhere, transported back to a time before cars, phones and social media. 

Li, a NYC and Scottish lifestyle blogger talks about the snow and blizzard in NYC, January 2016. © Lianne Whitelaw

Li, a NYC and Scottish lifestyle blogger talks about the snow and blizzard in NYC, January 2016. © Lianne Whitelaw

Li, a NYC and Scottish lifestyle blogger talks about the snow and blizzard in NYC, January 2016. © Lianne Whitelaw

Li, a NYC and Scottish lifestyle blogger talks about the snow and blizzard in NYC, January 2016. © Lianne Whitelaw

Li, a NYC and Scottish lifestyle blogger talks about the snow and blizzard in NYC, January 2016. © Lianne Whitelaw

We walked across Central Park, back home to the Upper East Side, crossing untouched sports fields and paths with snow higher than my knees, leaving big deep impressions that someone had been here, leaving our mark on this snowy wonderland and navigating by the glowing lights of the streetlamps ahead. Everything was bright white and beautiful and unbelievably quiet and meditative. It was as if Central Park had fallen asleep and time was standing still. Wandering past lampposts, with the snow glittering like diamonds underneath reminded me so much of Narnia. There was such a feeling of magic in the air that I was half expecting to see Mr Tumnus with his umbrella trotting past. It was cold and the snow was still coming down heavily, stinging our cold faces but we didn't notice or didn't care. We were in love and swept away by the magic of it all.

What a complete winter wonderland and I'm so glad we got to experience it for our first year in NYC. Do you like snow as much as I do?

#320. Outfit: My dream boots

24 January 2016

Li, a NYC and Scottish lifestyle blogger writes about her outfit featuring Ted and Muffy boots, ASOS, J Crew and Topshop

I wanted to do this post before Christmas, but you know, life happened and I got distracted by all the twinkling fairy lights, working my way through my gift list and eating ALL the festive food, (here's looking at you roast potatoes) that was the last part of 2015.

So, here you go, better late than never pals. This wee post is to show off the wonders that are my new boots* from Ted and Muffy (formerly Duo) and also to chat about my love of boots, cause they are bangin'. Like all of them. All the boots.

I was always an ankle boot kinda gal, loving a black pair of chelsea boots teamed with skinny jeans and leather jacket combo, that was my casual to go outfit for a long time. Perfect just to throw on, slick on some led lipstick and look ace. But after being treated to a pair of Ted and Muffy kneehigh boots, I might have a new favourite. Hello tucked in jeans and barelegged with little dresses, oh and maybe with a little striped tee and look like a sophisticated Parisian lady who has life all worked out. Boots are just so versatile, come in so many styles and colours and can be worn with literally everything. They rock.


Li, a NYC and Scottish lifestyle blogger writes about her outfit featuring Ted and Muffy boots, ASOS, J Crew and Topshop

Li, a NYC and Scottish lifestyle blogger writes about her outfit featuring Ted and Muffy boots, ASOS, J Crew and Topshop

Li, a NYC and Scottish lifestyle blogger writes about her outfit featuring Ted and Muffy boots, ASOS, J Crew and Topshop

So here's me posing in my A-MAZ-ING new boots and swinging around pipes like a numpty. On our NYC rooftop though because helloooo big city lights, even though technically we look onto a tonne of other buildings, but still. I'm in NYC! I don't think I'll get fed up of ever saying that.

I love the riding boot style, the tan colour and the little flat heel because I am definitely getting old and struggling with wearing heels for extended periods. Like an actual Granny. But hey, I'm rocking it. The leather of the boots is incredibly soft too, inside and out which makes them so comfy and perfect for strutting about NYC. What's more, they fit like a dream. Ted and Muffy call themselves 'fairytale fitters' as each boot comes in a range of sizes for calf, foot width and size so you can find your perfect fit. No more plasters for boots that are slightly too big! Nuh-uh.

I decided to wear my boots with this gorgeous denim tunic from J Crew, - getting all American over here! - layered over my Topshop blouse and the biggest and cosiest blanket scarf ever from ASOS. I like to think I am channelling my inner 70s chic. This outfit is casual and comfy and I like it. A lot.

Have you been to check out the boots at Ted and Muffy?

Disclaimer - I was gifted my beautiful boots by Ted and Muffy. While the boots were complimentary my thoughts on them are completely my own. I really do love them and will be wearing them a lot, so stay tuned.