Chloe Jasmine's ORIGINAL X-Factor audition from 2006

The nation fell in love/hate with Chloe Jasmine at her recent X-Factor audition.  She's "tipped for the top" by Simon Cowell, marked as "the X-Factor's poshest contestant" so far and Twitter was buzzing with memories of Chloe on Sky's The Face 'find a model' programme from 2013.

Why don't you watch this video at exactly 27 minutes and see who appeared on the X-Factor back in 2006 (the year that Leona Lewis won)... 



Isn't it amazing how Cheryl can remember someone from six years ago but both Simon and Louis fail to remember someone who was "every parent's nightmare" and "fame hungry" and has appeared on our screens on many occasions over the past eight years?



X-Factor, Chloe Jasmine Whichello


At The Start Line Everyone Is Equal

Back in May of this year I read Sandy's post about how she had just finished running a 10K race and was now a size 12 in clothes. It was so far removed from being a post about complying to society pressures and ideals that it really resonated with me plus Sandy is one of my oldest blogging pals and I have a huge amount of respect for her. Her post made my eyes a little bit wet and instantly became the push I needed to do something similar. She became my inspiration.

motivational quote

Coincidentally, Sandy's post was published on the same day I joined Slimming World and the weight loss has been a slow but steady process. None of this "I lost 6lb this week" for me which disappointed me at first when comparing myself to my fellow group members but then the group leader told me that if I lost 1lb a week for a year I would have lost almost 4 stone (my actual goal).  On Tuesday 27th August I had lost my first stone.

Some of the Slimming World group members had also taken part in a local Group Park Run using the "Couch to 5K" programme. I'd tried this method about four years ago but suffered from shin splints and lack of motivation. Spurred on (again) by Sandy's story and the enthusiasm of my fellow dieters I started running on the park with a few hundred other people on 21st June and on Saturday 30th August I completed my first official 5 kilometer (3.1 miles) run in a time of 42 minutes and 40 seconds.

photos from the 5K Group Run in August 2014


My goal is now to reach my goal weight by the time I attempt to run next year's Race For Life in 35 minutes (or under) after speed-walking it for the past two years. And I'm a little further down the road to regaining the body I want rather than the body I've currently got.  

Did you want to know about the quote at the top of the page? That was on the certificate given to us after completing the 5K run yesterday. Nothing has ever rung more true to me after doubting myself on the start of this journey.  



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If you live in or near Blackburn have a look at the 5K Group Run group on Facebook for more details. The whole team is awesome and I'll be volunteering with them in the future to pay them back for everything they have done for me.  Also, huge thanks to sportsshoes.com for kitting me out with the best running shoes ever and some proper running clothes.

[REVIEW] KatchUp : Saving And Sharing Photo Memories

KatchUp, Review,
I often want to share a bunch of photos from an outing or event with family or friends but have found that not everyone has a Facebook account (yes, really... who knew?) and privacy settings can be an absolute nightmare.  

KatchUp has created the perfect solution.

KatchUp has a tiered membership system.  A free membership allows you 1GB of image storage (this is about 500 photos taken on your average smartphone) and a Premium membership is £2.99 per month with 10GB of storage and additional features such as photo editing.  I am going to share my membership with all my family members so we can all upload our own photos to a "moment" when we have been together because everyone has a different view, don't they?

Privacy is of absolute importance with your KatchUp account.  There is (currently) no social media sharing and you choose who you send your selected album to, either by email or with your own KatchUp contacts. 

It is very easy to upload images to KatchUp and you order them by date (either date of upload or date of event) and each album - or "moment" as KatchUp call them - are found within a timeline.  Here's a short video I made which shows you exactly how simple the process is:


KatchUp is designed to be consumer-led therefore the community hub is full of ideas and examples of ways to use KatchUp.  As the website is very new, there is also a feedback section where site adaptions and features can be suggested.  Founder, Katie Hobbs, is very pro-active in responding to suggestions.

Also, have a look at the #AugustKatchUp page where there are competitions for the whole of this month including a prize draw entry for a 5* holiday for all new members and a Twitter party with prizes on Wednesday 13th August.


KatchUp : Web | Facebook |Twitter 

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I have a "50% discount membership code" for my readers.  Use the code KTYPE0814 when registering (or in your account settings if you're already a member) and you will receive an email inviting you to upgrade to Premium membership for £1.50.

Added : 10th September 2014

This review was taken off-line for a while whilst KatchUp ironed out some technical glitches on their website. I'm happy to report that they have all been fixed now and that customer experience and service is top of their priority list.

For more information about reviews on this blog please see my disclosure policy.

How Do YOU Pronounce The Word "Vlog"?

wikipedia logo
According to Wikipedia, THIS is how you pronounce it (hover your cursor over each letter in the link below):


video blog or video log, sometimes shortened to vlog /ˈvlɒɡ/ is a form of blog for which the medium is video.


Or you can watch this video for the Northern way to say it - and to see where my rhyme came from.




What's In My Handbag (Part 5)

These "What's In My Handbag" posts could now be called a series seeing as though this is the fifth one I've done. As a bit of a move from the norm as I have done this one in a video for #vlogchallenge rather than write it out and take photographs.  

satchel, handbag, Zatchels, denim,


I'm loving using a real satchel for my handbag - so much more than I thought I would have done. This satchel is a 13" and is from Zatchels, bought in the sale a short while ago.  I did order another to use as a work/laptop bag but I have had to return it so that I can exchange it for a slightly larger one.  

Gorgeous, isn't it?



Win A Digital Download Of The Sunrise Of Your Special Day

digital download from The Day That...
Every day since 21st June 2005 photographers from The Day That... have been taking amazing photographs of the sun rising at dawn. They convert these into a selection of unique gifts that capture the start of a momentous day for you or someone special to you.

Even Elton John has been enraptured by this concept saying, "It captures the spirit of a new life beginning, it's so beautiful."

I recently received a fully mounted picture of my own 'new beginning' and I chose to use the day that I started this blog - 28th July 2009. It was a beautiful way to represent a new beginning for me and a reminder of how far I've come.

Today you have the opportunity to win one of three digital downloads of the sunrise of the day of your choice.  Once you receive your digital download you can choose to use it in any way you like such as desktop wallpaper, a wall canvas, greetings cards, jigsaws... the list is endless.

To enter this giveaway please follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below (if you cannot see the widget please click through to the web version of this blog post. To enter you must comment on this blog post, answering the question provided. There are additional entries available which include social sharing. If you are a new visitor here for the giveaway, it would be great if you could stick around. There are some subscription options in the sidebar.  And finally, GOOD LUCK!



a Rafflecopter giveaway




TERMS AND CONDITIONS * This giveaway will begin at 17:00 on 1st August 2014 and will close at 23:59 on 10th August 2014 * This giveaway is open to any of my readers aged 18 or above who reside in the UK. * There is no cash alternative to the giveaway * There is one compulsory entry which asks the entrant to comment on this blog..  You can gain additional entries using the options in the Rafflecopter widget * There are three (3) prizes in total * The prizes have been provided by The Day That... *  The prize winners will be asked to provide their email address so that the prize can be delivered to them electronically * Entries will only be accepted as instructed and any entrant that does not complete the qualifying requirements will be disqualified * The winners will be chosen by using a random number generator built into the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted direct on the email address provided within five (5) days of the draw.  If the winner does not respond within seven (7) days a new winner will be drawn.  


Please see my disclosure policy for further details.

That Time I Jumped Out Of A Plane

skydive illustration
Back in May I was invited to take part in a skydive. Jumping out of a plane is high on my midlife crisis bucket list and these opportunities don't come along very often, do they? The event was cancelled due to bad weather a few times but eventually the rain clouds cleared and it was GO, GO, GO!

My husband drove me to the Skydive NorthWest centre in Flookburgh (just north of Lancaster) and I met up with the other divers of the day.  We had about 20 minutes training which explained that the instructors that we would be paired with for our tandem dive really know their stuff having jumped out of planes thousands of times. We learnt how to help the instructors to make our experience safer and more enjoyable by learning three jumping and landing positions.

And then we were off... up, up and away.
(Brian was my tandem instructor and Gary filmed my dive)

I love flying and being in this small plane took me right back to when I learnt to fly and glide with the Air Training Corps.  Gary was filming and snapping pictures for me and Brian was checking the harnesses and pointing out the sights of the North West to me.  We could see over the Lake District, the whole of Morecambe Bay and even the outline of the Isle of Man.  Being in the air is an amazing place to be and I love to see the shape of the land from a privileged position (hence my obsession with Planescapes).


I only had one moment when I might have regretted my decision and that was when I was sat on the edge of the plane.  But there was no turning back as Brian flung us out into the air, we went into freefall for a minute or so and then he opened our 'chute.  In fact, you can watch the whole experience here:







It's really easy to sponsor me


Cancer Research UK

As you know, each year I raise money for Cancer Research UK.  This year I have taken part in the Race For Life in Blackburn with my own cancer survivor - my daughter Rachel - and I have jumped out of this plane.  Later this year I'll be running another 5K and all contributions to the fund are very welcome.  You can visit my fundraising page or donate by texting NMLC99 and your donation amount to 70070.  






Chicago Town Pizza
Huge thanks to Chicago Town for funding the skydive.  We sampled some Chicago Town pizzas whilst waiting for our turn at the Skydive Centre and they are DELISH! They pride themselves on delivering a freshly cooked pizza straight from your freezer and manage this by quickly freezing the freshly made pizza rather than pre-baking it.