Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Simply Cook Subscription Box

simply cook subscription box review

If you’ve hung around my Instagram long enough, you’ll know I love to cook. I find cooking after a long day at work really relaxing and I love putting together meals for the Mr and me to enjoy, from traditional to quick 20 minute meals, and pushing the boat out with experiments in flavour and style. I’ll give anything a go once, but sometimes, it’s coming up with the initial ideas of what to cook that leaves me stumped! I love meal planning but sometimes, it’s nice when someone else does it for you. Hello, Simply Cook!

I found Simply Cook through Twitter, a subscription box that promises 4 easy to follow recipes, flavourings, spices and seasoning, to make 4 new and scrumptious meals. Usually, £8.99 a box, I managed to bag one for just £1 with a promotional code. Winner! The box came quickly, and more importantly, fitted through my letter box - I hate having to go to the Post Office to collect things! 

You can customise your box in several ways, from the meals you would least like to try, to gluten free, spice rating, no seafood ingredients and low calorie. I left the contents of my box entirely up to the Simple Cook team, I wanted someone to tell me what to cook for a change!

simply cook subscription box review

Each box contains 4 recipe cards and 4 accompanying boxes which house 3 flavour pots. From pastes to mixed herbs, garnishes, spices, sauces, what great is that nothing needs to be kept refrigerated and they all have long expiration dates on them so you don’t have to use your box up in a short time frame. It actually took me 4 weeks to cook every meal in the box, doing just one a week. This helped to split the cost of additional ingredients I might not normally buy over several weeks, and it gave us a bit of a treat night once a week with a new meal to experiment with and try. 

The meals.

simply cook subscription box review

BBQ Tandoori Chicken. I started with what looked to be the easiest and quickest meal in the box. I also already had all of the required ingredients already in! The dish itself was very simple, I was simply marinating the chicken breasts in a mixture of yoghurt and one of the paste pots from the kit, then grilling, seasoning, and serving with wedges that I had a flavouring for too. We didn’t actually have the wedges this night, so I saved that little pot for when we did. The chicken was juicy and flavoursome but nothing special. It was all a bit too simple for me, but still, a flavoured chicken breast is better than a plain one and it was ridiculously easy and inexpensive to cook up. 

simply cook subscription box review

Beef Massaman. This one required a couple of extra things in the weekly shop but nothing that broke the bank. A little more complicated than the first recipe but still, it only took 2 pots and 25 minutes! The massaman curry was absolutely gorgeous, not at all spicy and full of flavour. The potatoes and green beans in the curry made a huge difference and have already given me ideas for the usual curries I make. If you every get this one, make sure you add the extra peanuts! Makes all the difference!

simply cook subscription box review

Malay Laksa. This one, I was a little sceptical about when I was cooking it. It’s a curry but of a water soup consistency and it didn’t exactly look all that appealing in the pan when it was cooking but it smelt great. It took 20 minutes and one pot and before I knew it I had this gorgeous, warming chicken and rice noodle curry soup with butternut squash and asparagus. I haven’t made a curry with a coconut milk base before but this has seriously converted me!

simply cook subscription box review

Bokkeumbap. Last but not least, the bokkeumbap was the one I had looked forward to the least, purely because it didn't seem like much. Rice, cabbage, spring onion, some leftover meat if you had any, then the sauces. The Mr really enjoyed this one but I found it really sickly, it wasn't unpleasant but there was something about it that just didn't agree with me, which is a shame! 

Each meal is designed for 2 people, but the laksa and bokkeumbap made enough to have leftovers  the following day. The recipe cards are thick and durable, making them ideal to keep and store for later inspiration. They come with a detachable shopping list too which I thought was a cute idea, especially if you’re running out to just pick up the bits for the one meal. 

Cost wise, buying the extra ingredients didn’t affect our weekly shopping budget at all. If anything it saved us money. By cooking up one of the Simply Cook meals, we were more inclined to do that for a different tea than order a takeaway! 

Simply Cook boxes are a fantastic idea for the foodie in your life. Though I wouldn’t get one every week, they retail for around £8.99 a box, one a month is ideal. I love trying new recipes and this subscription guarantees at least one new, exciting meal for me to try every week. I think this would be perfect for someone who is looking to get into cooking or fancies trying something quick, easy and more exciting than fish and chips! 

If you fancy trying out Simply Cook, why not go through my referral link? If you do, you'll get your first Simply Cook box for just £1! Go! Do it! Do it now! Let's get cooking!

Are you up for cooking new meals or do you stick to tried and tested?

Monday, 27 June 2016

Reasons to smile

aquafresh intense toothpaste review

I’m all about reflecting, and considering most of the chatter online over the past week hasn’t been the most positive, I’m keeping the good vibes going over here on the blog, well I’m trying to at least. Did you know, June was National Smile Month? So, regardless of what’s been going on, I say we still need to try and find something to smile about. So chin up, flash those pearly whites and let’s try and find a reason or two to smile about something right now!

Happy Body!

I’ve been really pushing it with my workouts over the last week, successfully making it to all three of my planned gym sessions (early morning gym sessions are my life!) and I even managed to hit a Pilates class this weekend. I’m feeling full of energy and sleeping better already, so here’s to another week of stretching and sweating! 

Adventures on the horizon!

There’s a couple of outings and holidays on the horizon over the next couple of months, as well as birthdays and celebrations, meaning I have a lot to look forward to! I’m having loads of fun planning upcoming trips with family and friends, and having something exciting to look forward to is keeping a smile on my face. I’ve put a countdown app on my phone that’s counting down to everything that’s coming up so whenever I’m feeling a bit meh I just load it up and see how soon something exciting is happening!

aquafresh intense toothpaste review


Well, it is National Smile month after all! I was brought up to believe that your teeth are worth investing in, so regular check-ups, zero fizzy drinks, and keeping them clean and fresh. I’ve been giving the *Aquafresh Intense Clean range a go this month, with its fancy microcrystal system with 5 times smaller cleaning particles, it reaches even the tiniest nooks and crannies of your mouth! My teeth look and feel cleaner for longer than with other toothpaste I’ve tried and the mouthwash literally bursts freshness in my mouth! So, I’m left with no choice but to smile to show off my squeaky clean teeth!

Making the most of the good times!

Work is one of those places where when things are good, they’re really good, but when they’re bad, I want to jump off the top of the building. The last couple of weeks things have actually been really good. Sure, there are issues and problems, most of which will never go away, but lately, I’ve been having a ball, and work has actually been a laugh and somewhere I’ve almost, dare I say it? Looked forward to going to? It won’t always be like this so I’m making the most of it and soaking up all of the fun and good vibes whilst I can!

The Bloglife

Blogging has it’s up and downs, but lately, I feel like my little corner of the internet is on an up. Views have increased, followers have come aboard (hello you lovely lot!) and I’m working on some exciting PR pieces that I can’t wait to share with you all! I’m really enjoying creating content, hell, I’m even enjoying taking and editing pictures (which I usually hate to do!) so yeah, the bloglife is loving me at the moment and I am loving it!

aquafresh intense toothpaste review

What are some of your reasons for smiling lately?

Until next time,

This post is in partnership with Aquafresh. All thoughts and opinions are 110% my own :) For more information, see my disclaimer here.

Friday, 24 June 2016

The AM/PM Tag!

am to pm blogger tag questions

I love a good blogger tag post, also known as the 'I don't know what to post about so let's post a tag' post! Jokes aside, I think they're a great way of getting to know the being behind the blog! Plus, I'm just really nosey and I figure you are too! I found this tag over on Sophies blog; Essential Twenty, so make sure you stop by and check out her answers too!

In the AM

What is your morning beauty routine?
I try and keep it quick and simple, the sooner I’m ready the sooner I can get out of the door and on with the day! Plus I’m half asleep for most of the morning so anything that is bleary-eyed friendly is a winner! I cleanse with No7 foaming facial cleanser, then follow with my Derma V10 eye cream and Olay beauty fluid. Done!

What’s for breakfast?
Porridge is my go-to most morning, topped with chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and honey. When I’ve got a bit more time, I love having eggs for breakfast, usually part-boiled with soldiers - yes, I still call them soldiers!

Coffee or tea?
Tea - green - after my detox drink. I start every morning with a cup of half hot, half cold water with honey, cinnamon, matcha and a slice of lemon mixed in. It kick starts my body and helps to flush out any toxins without giving you an upset stomach - just a really big wee!

How long does it take to get out the door?
I get up at 7am and I’m out the door by 8.30am, but I do have a pretty laid back morning. I can be up and out in 10minutes if I have to be, just don’t expect my shoes to match!

What is your go-to makeup look on a fuss-free morning?
Mascara. Done. I don’t tend to wear a full face most days, so a lick of mascara is all I need to feel that touch more put together. Is that fuss-free enough for you?

In the PM

What is your evening beauty routine?
It depends on the day! Most nights I cleanse with Lush’s Ultrabland, but twice a week I use Murad’s AHA/BHA exfoliator. I follow with my Derma V10 eye cream and Origins Night-a-Mins. On the nights I’ve exfoliated, I use Origins Drink up Intensive overnight mask

Snack time! What’s in the bowl?
Lately, cake! I’ve been having a slice of my Mums homemade bun loaf most nights with a cup of tea. Bun loaf is basically a fruit cake with lots of brandy in it, Mum makes them every Christmas and they mature over time and taste better the longer you let them mature! It’s so good!

How do you wind down and prep for bed?
I love to read and write before bed. It’s something I’ve done for years and it really helps me sleep. The writing helps me dump onto paper anything that might be bothering me, thoughts that might keep me awake, and reading has always relaxed me!

Cozy up! What are you wearing to sleep?
Pjs! I don’t mind shorts or a full-length bottom, but I have to have a full t-shirt, I can’t stand stringy vests or tanks!

What are some things you must do before hitting the hay?
OK! This might sound odd but before I even think about going to bed I end up doing a quick pick up around the house, putting dishes away, cleaning the sink, emptying the kettle, checking the windows and doors are shut, then I can start getting ready for bed! I’m not the only one, am I?

I tag YOU!

Until next time,

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

*Royal Afternoon Tea with Browns Bar and Brassiere.

royal afternoon tea browns

The Queen and I have a few things in common, our regality (ok, a girl can dream, can’t she?), our taste for the finer things in life, and using our birthdays as reasons for month long celebrations. With celebrations having run throughout the month of June up and down the country, Browns Bar and Brassiere have launched a limited edition Royal Afternoon Tea fit for a queen, or anyone who fancies themselves one for the day!

royal afternoon tea browns

I popped along to my local Browns in Liverpool One this weekend, the Mr in tow, promising him an afternoon of sophistication, and scrumptious goodies. I love a good afternoon tea, and after being thoroughly spoilt the last time I had one, over at The Tea Parlour, the bar was already set high. Mid afternoon on a Saturday was putting their service to the test, the place was booming so it was a good job we had a reservation. We were seated quickly and had a British Royal Cocktail put in-front of us before we had even gotten comfy. Vodka, prosecco, rose hip and rhubarb cordial with a splash of apple juice and topped with blackberries, it was so refreshing after the heated hustle and bustle we fought through to get to the restaurant and strong! 

After putting in our hot drinks orders, we were presented with a three tiered art deco tower jam packed with delicate delights. On the bottom tier; coronation chicken, smoked salmon and, egg and cress. Each served up on a sweet brioche roll, the coronation chicken was a clear winner, a filling that has been added to the menu in celebration of our dear Queenie. 

royal afternoon tea browns

Moving onto what I was most looking forward to, the cakes! On offer; lemon and early grey cake, salted caramel profiterole, Pimms jelly topped creme brûlée and a red velvet. The clear winner here was the profiterole, it even impressed the Mr and he really doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth. The lemon and early grey cake was nice, though a bit dry, and the red velvet really creamy and sweet, which I loved but the Mr could take or leave. The Pimms jelly creme brûlée was…interesting. I really couldn’t get my head around the taste or texture, it was something totally different and unexpected. 

royal afternoon tea browns

Finishing off, the scones! No afternoon tea is completed without a scone smothered in jam and cream. We had one fruit and one plain each. The scones were easily the best part of the whole thing! They were still warm and baked perfectly. The clotted cream and jam tasted great, but the question here is; how do you spread yours? Cream then jam or jam then cream? Answers on a postcard (or a comment will suffice!). 

royal afternoon tea browns

Available throughout the month of June, Browns Royal Afternoon Tea is an absolute treat, coming in at *£17.95 per person, you’ll get a British Royal cocktail each, an afternoon tea for 2 people, and a hot drink of your choice. It’s a truly British way to celebrate our Queens birthday, to chill out after a shopping spree and to thoroughly spoil yourself like it’s your birthday!

Do you prefer a more traditional afternoon tea or something with a weird and wonderful twist?

Until next time,

Browns Bar and Brassiere kindly provided the afternoon tea in exchange for this review. All thoughts and opinions are 110% my own :) For more information, see my disclaimer here.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Pandora #MakeitRose with Marie Claire Magazine

pandora rose gold jewellery

Last week I popped along to my local Pandora store in Liverpool One for their #MakeitRose launch with Marie Claire magazine. I’m like a magpie when it comes to anything and everything shiny, and am slowly building what I would consider a very meaningful and shiny jewellery collection. One thing it’s severely lacking is some rose gold - which as a blogger, is probably some kind of sin - #bloggerfail. So I went along hoping Pandora and Marie Claire was going to save my blogging soul and give me some rose gold inspiration for my collection. 

The season of the ring is upon us folks, and though I’m not much of a ring wearer, my hands are just so childlike, I can’t find anything that really suits my little fingers, Pandora have brought out some too lovely to ignore pieces that are so dainty and delicate, even my little fingers could pull them off. I was especially taken with their dazzling daisy band (£75) that screams Spring Faerie, and their signature bow ring (£55) that is dainty beyond words. This year it’s all about stacks and mixed metals, and I saw many a sales assistant, and the Marie Claire fashion editor herself sporting silver stacked with rose, and gold stacked with silver rings of all sizes, from your traditional ring to rings that came just past your nails. Not exactly my cup of tea size wise, but I love the look of the metals mixed with each other. 

pandora rose gold jewellery

Pandora is one of my favourite jewellery brands, I am obsessed with their charms, especially their leather wrap bracelets, of which I have acquired several since they launched a while back. I have pathetically tiny wrists that make bangles and traditional bracelets difficult to wear, but Pandoras wraps and charm bracelets fit like a glove. Their current rose collection has several delightful charms that would look stunning on any charm bracelet. Everything about the collection screams sparkle, it all catches the light superbly and instantly glams up the simplest of outfits. Pandora jewellery is all about being able to treat yourself with affordable luxury pieces that are timeless, effortless and meaningful, of which I might have treated myself to a little something on the night purely because I decided I deserved it. Why the hell not? We all deserve a little luxury now and then!

pandora rose gold jewellery

Flighty feathers are bang on trend this year but don’t think that means wearing a simple set. Oh no. It’s all about mismatching, mixing, the imbalance of a stud in one ear and a bold statement piece in the other, think a laid back rock and roll Kate Moss. Mismatch your pieces, mix up your metals and make your own statement. Now, thats a trend I can get on board with! It’s also a great way of recycling some older pieces, giving them new life by mixing them with one or two new statement pieces in your collection. 

Remember I told you I might have treated myself on the night? I ended up coming home with these stunning Pandora Signature earrings (£65). My inner magpie, and the enabling voice that was Danielle wouldn’t let me leave without them. They are ridiculously shiny for something so small and catch the light even on the dullest of days. Though I’ve paired them with a dainty silver necklace, I already have my eye on the matching Pandora Signature charm (£45). Shopping with Danielle, Danielle and Katy was so much fun, even if I did end up doing a little damage to my credit card haha!

pandora rose gold jewellery

The rules are out the window this season, so how will you #MakeitRose and stack your style?

Until next time, 

Friday, 17 June 2016

The Cinema Sleepover Club - Potters Bar

cinema sleepover club review

This past weekend I found myself gearing up, heading all the way down South and camping overnight in a field. Camping. Me. In a tent. What? I’m a hotel girl at heart and haven’t entertained the idea of camping since I was 13 - long story short, we camped, it was horrendous, a bull got loose in the field - I never camped again. Until Now. Almost 17 whopping long years later, I figured it was worth giving another shot, with brilliant company, gin, and the promise of watching some of my favourite films under the starlight, who was I to say no?

cinema sleepover club review

The Cinema Sleepover Club is one of the first in the country to combine all the highlights of a grand night out in one spot, from movies to music, food, drink, and staying out under the stars. We found ourselves in a field in Potters Bar under what turned out to be glorious sunshine on Saturday afternoon. I’d successfully pitched my pop-up tent, put my camp bed together, grabbed a gin and burnt by mid afternoon - ah, the camping life! 

cinema sleepover club review

By 6.30pm, we all headed into the main tent at the bottom of the field to watch our first film of the night; Mean Girls which is easily one of my favourite girls night films! It’s so fetch! After narrowly missing a downpour, we headed back to our tents for another gin and chill as the sun started to set and a huge blow-up screen made an appearance back down the bottom of the field. We threw on some extra layers as night fell and headed down to the big screen for the evenings main event; Dirty Dancing under the stars. Hands down, this is my all time, ultimate, desert island film. I got cosy with a hot tea, it was getting pretty cold at this point, grabbed some sweets (popcorn was on hand but I totally forgot to have some! Fail!), pitched my umbrella over my head just incase the rain came back, and took a trip to Kellerman's. The film was, as always, amazing, but what was more amazing was the atmosphere during the whole film, from calling out to singing along, laughing and dancing the finale in wellies and rain coats, it was a totally new and different way to experience the film. 

cinema sleepover club review

Cinema Sleepover Club pairs their films, so you’ll always get two on the night. They try to match them up by stars or theme, for example, they’re doing Grease and Moulin Rouge soon, and have recently done Fight Club and Pulp Fiction back to back. Camping is optional, you can just pop down for the films, food and atmosphere but for me, the camping had to be a part of the deal. As much as I was dreading it, and though I didn’t sleep much, I thoroughly enjoyed it! I loved chilling out on the camping chairs and laughing with the girls, I loved the random people walking by we got chatting to, and seeing all the weird and wonderful tents other people had. There was a really chilled out atmosphere right across the site which was wonderful. The dry weather really helped me like camping all the more too!

Food and drink were more limited than I expected. As in, there were 3 vans; a bar, a cafe, and a food truck serving up the likes of burgers, fish, and chips. From what I’d read online, I was expecting more food choices, a bit of a street food atmosphere, and I also read there would be stalls selling trinkets and wares, of which there was none. We made our own entertainment during the afternoon but the stalls would have been nice to browse! The bar prices weren’t bad either, surprisingly, it was only £3.50 for a single gin and tonic. Water, tea, and coffee were around £2 each. 

After the films, the main tent turns into a nightclub, from around 11pm - 2am, you can dance the night away in your wellies, the bar stays open, the foods still hot, and your tent is there for you to roll into once you’re all danced out. We stayed at the tent-isco for a while but the music really wasn’t up my street, we needed girlie, cheesy, sleepover tunes and what we got was techno dub-step which I just wasn’t drunk enough for! We still enjoyed ourselves though and headed back to the tents just after 1am. The music was pretty loud and it was starting to get really cold, most of the campers had zipped up and settled down by about 3am so there was a chance to get some sleep. Marshalls and security patrolled the site day and night and only those with wristbands were permitted so I felt really safe too. 

cinema sleepover club review

Before the tea and coffee van had even put their first kettle on, we were up and packing. It was raining most of the morning and though we could stay on the field until 1pm, we didn’t much fancy the trek back to Liverpool soaked through! We said good-bye to Potters Bar, packed up the cars and went in search of breakfast and running water. Around late afternoon on Saturday, the water started to run out. The toilets still flushed but you couldn’t wash your hands! 

All in all, a fantastic experience that I would love to repeat again if it was to come closer to home! London was great, but it was a bit far! There’s something so magical about watching movies outside!

Have you experienced an outdoor cinema?

Until next time,

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Revolucion De Cuba - Liverpool

rev de cuba liverpool review

Cuba has come to Liverpool. Revolucion De Cuba has opened it’s doors and is ready to show our city how Cuba does it, and boy oh boy does it do it well. From tapas to cocktails, music, salsa, rum and more,I was lucky enough to be invited down last week before the doors officially open to get a sneaky peek at the Cuban fiesta coming to the waterfront.

Greeted on the door and immediately handed a mojito, we started as we meant to go on! Mojito in hand, we took a tour of the lavishly redecorated space. Previously Blue Bar, for anyone who remembers how it looked then, you won’t believe how much better it looks now. The space itself has been split into 4 sections; city side, dock-side, bar Havanna, and Casa de la Musica. Each space is unique, but oozing Cuban flare! Bar Havanna was easily my favourite space, all dark woods, dark leathers, intimate and with a fully stocked rum bar, what more could I ask for? Casa de la Musica is going to play host to weekly salsa lessons, for those looking to blow off a little mid-week steam to the more seriously salsa dancers looking to hone their skills. I can’t wait to check out the salsa sessions! 

rev de cuba liverpool review

After our tour, we grabbed another cocktail at the bar then headed upstairs to check out what Cuban culinary delights that are going to be on offer. Jamie, the head chef was on hand to talk us through each dish. We started with a chicken quesadilla;  basically, a chicken and cheese butty as Jamie put it! followed by mojito battered prawns, which were amazing - and I don’t even like prawns! Honey glazed veg; a mixture of peppers, sweet potato and carrots covered in a sticky sweet honey glaze, patatas bravas; brave potatoes! I was almost fighting for the last one on our table these were that good, with a slight kick to them that really set them apart from others I’ve had. Finally, we finished on albondigas; meatballs made with beef, chorizo and pork, smothered in a rich tomato sauce. We got just a sample of what the Cuban cantina has to offer and my mouth is still watering just thinking about everything else on the menu! 

rev de cuba food liverpool

Another cocktail, another activity. This time, we were split into groups and had three sessions coming up! Our group started with a burrito making masterclass which was fantastic! We each made burritos under Jamies guidance, each of us competing with one another to be crowned the  burrito champion! With the salsa flying all over the show, it was a good job we were only three cocktails in at this point or things could have gotten really messy!

With our burritos wrapped up and ready to take home to be devoured later, we headed into the Casa de la Musica for a cocktail making masterclass with Alex and David where we learnt to slap it, rim it and shove it to make the perfect mojito! I also discovered that cocktails have two straws because you're supposed to share them (bent for the ladies, straight for the men) - but sharing? I don’t think so! You're also supposed to always pour your bottles by holding the neck of the bottle! We had a ball making and drinking our very own cocktails!

rev de cuba liverpool

But then, came what was the icing on the cake for me. I have always wanted to try a spirits masterclass. I’m a gin girl at heart and I’ve never been a huge fan of rum but Coco, our rum master for the evening, was setting out to change that! Rum, the rogue spirit, has such a fascinating history to it that I could probably do a separate post on everything I learnt! From how the colour gives, it’s age away, to what's the best rum to use in cocktails and why, and what rums you should never spoil by adding coke to them! Coco was so knowledgeable and passionate about all things rum, there wasn’t a question he couldn’t answer or a drink he couldn’t suggest. We sampled 4 rums personally chosen by him; Goslings, Appleton Estate, Santa Teresa, and Pussers Rum. All had amazing backstories, take Pussers for example, also known as gunpowder rum, it was originally used by the British Navy who would give their sailors a pint a day to fend off scurvy - the original booze cruise! They also donate a portion of their profits to veterans charities that help to get veterans homes and build a life when they come home! Amazing!

rev de cuba liverpool

Everything about Revolucion de Cuba is right up my street, from the fantastic food to the kick ass cocktails. They’ve thought of everything, even the little things like plug sockets for every table so you could easily come and chill in the afternoon, working on your laptop with a very highly rated coffee, or keep your phone going on a night out! One thing that really stood out to me all night long was the staff. There’s such a fantastic atmosphere amongst the crew, they’re more than colleagues, they’re like family and I cannot thank each and every one of them enough for how well they looked after us all on the night. A huge shoutout and thanks to Jack for organising the event, he did a brilliant job!

So grab your taste buds and your dancing shoes folks, Cuba has come to Liverpool and the fiesta is about to start - don’t miss out!

Until next time,

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

10 things kids these days will never understand!

things my kids will never understand

How dangerous Don’t Try This at Home was. Forget Kangaroo testicle chewing or being buried neck deep in sand and snakes in the jungle. Pffft! Those celebrities don’t know how easy they’ve got it! Don’t Try This at Home was some edge of your seat Saturday night drama that always stopped my pizza half way to my mouth as I watched, wide-eyed, as someone attempted to tightrope walk between two hot air balloons! And there was no Twitter chat hashtag to follow along with the show either, just the sound of my Mum behind a pillow saying ‘STUFF that! I CAN’T watch!’

How nervous you would get knocking on at a friends house to see if they could come out and play. We didn’t have Whatsapp group chats, where we could arrange times and corners, which bikes to bring or if we would try and sneak round to the big kids park. We had to walk up the path, knock on the door and hope that we hadn’t caught them in the middle of their tea! And what was even worse than knocking on?

Phoning your friend's house! Nobody had a mobile phone! Everyone had one number, a landline, a house phone and anyone could answer! It wasn’t until we got into our teens that we might be able to text each other to arrange a time to call to make sure the other person got to the phone before their Mum did. And boy, if your mum got on the phone, why did it always seem like she purposefully stayed on longer than usual when you’d mentioned earlier that you wanted to phone your mate?

The dreaded dial-up. No broadband, no wireless, the Internet came from your landline and if you went online, nobody could phone your house and you couldn’t phone out either! And the noise! That dreaded scratching and squeaking that gave the game away every time you tried to sneak back online after your allotted time was up! OR, if you tried to sneak on and hadn’t realised someone was using the house phone! The murder that dial up caused, I’m surprised any of us don’t still have the phone cords wrapped around our necks!

Point and shoot! You couldn’t check any pictures you’d taken, you just had to line up the viewfinder and hope for the best! Oh, now it’s super cool to take pictures on vintage, screen-less cameras, but back in the day, it was a seriously fine art to get everyone in the shot and standing still! We didn’t have sports mode, or night mode, or any mode! And if you managed to convince your parents to develop a roll of film with the weekly shot, you prayed there were more than one or two usable ones before they rollicked you for wasting money!

Hotels and holidays were booked through word of mouth. You could only be talked into going somewhere, never talked out by reading a zillion reviews online. You took it on faith that the pictures and write ups in paper brochures were true, you booked your trip and always expected the best. If it all went wrong, well, you’d get on with it and complain to your neighbours when you got home!

And when you did go abroad, all the mobile phones went in the safe. With roaming charges more expensive than the holiday itself, nobody was risking coming home to that bill - especially when it came out of your parent's bank account. You’d take your phone with you, but as soon as you checked in, it was switched off and chucked in the safe, never to be looked at until you checked out and headed home!

You would cut out pictures from the Argos or Index catalogue, maybe even the Grattan, and pin them onto a cork board. One day it was your dream home, the next your Christmas list, after that, your ideal Summer wardrobe, or how many outfits you could create with 5 pieces of clothing. This was only shared with friends who came round and had the privilege of being allowed into your bedroom! 

Music was played from CDs, one album at a time. A playlist was a poorly recorded mixtape! 
A vlog was a shaky camcorder recording of random, unrelated segments of your last trip. Usually involving your mum trying to run out of the shot, voiced over by your dad and you jumping in front of the camera with a song you just had to sing right then and there with your brother crying in the background! 

Kids these days, they don’t know what they’re missing!

Until next time,

Monday, 6 June 2016

Early morning gym sessions!

how to be a morning gym person

The past few weeks I’ve really been trying to get back into the habit of going to the gym on a more regular basis. I was doing well at the start of the year but one thing I really struggled with was the tiredness and the lateness of going to the gym after work. So, I took the plunge, set a ridiculously early alarm and got there one morning before the doors even opened. Over the last few weeks I’ve been heading out, come rain or shine, at hours only the milkman knows. As ungodly as that might sound to some of you who would rather get back under the covers for a couple of snoozes than squat your way to 7am, I’ve discovered that it’s the best time of day to workout for me - and maybe it will be for you too! Here’s how I get my ass out of bed and into the gym for 6am!

Prep the night before!

Right before I go to bed I grab my gym clothes, trainers, deodorant, micellar water, anything I’m going to need in the morning that I don’t want to fumble around bleary eyed for in. I’ll even put my keys, headphones and trainers in the pile too, so when I head downstairs I know I will have everything on me and I’ll be good to go. With everything already out and waiting for me, it takes me less than 5 minutes to change and get going! It also means if I have a falling out with my alarm and wake up a little later, I don’t lose too much time!

Pre-gym snack

This one took a while to get right. I point blank refuse to go the gym on an empty stomach, I’m too worried I will pass out, especially first thing in the morning when I already haven’t eaten for a good 10+ hours. I tried peanut butter on a whole grain bread but the consistency was impossible to chew at such an early hour! I’ve found a banana or a cereal bar is about all I can handle and it’s enough to get me through my morning workout! I’ve tried having smoothies but again, I just can’t handle it so early on! 

Post gym prep

While I’m working my way through my banana, I’ll get my protein shake ready, as well as put water in the kettle and a tea bag in my cup. Again, it’s all time saving when I get home and need to start getting ready for work. It’s the little time-savers that make such a huge difference. 

Know before you go

I always have in mind exactly what workout I’ll be doing before I head to the gym. I’ll usually plan it out after a previous session or the night before. I tend to follow a lot of Pinterest workouts, so I’ll save them to my camera roll for quick and easy access. If I’m going to be following a YouTube video, I’ll get it loaded up on my phone before I leave, so I don’t have to hang around the gym looking for one I want to follow. 

Stop for nothing

Don’t start scrolling through Facebook or Instagram as you try and will yourself to get changed, or start checking your emails before prepping your post gym protein. Cut out any and all distractions! I struggled with this for such a long time but have found if I look at my phone as little as possible whilst I’m getting ready, I can easily get myself sorted out and out the door much faster! And let’s face it, that’s what this is all about! Getting out, getting to the gym and getting it over with before the warmth and comfort of your bed can lure you back under the covers!

I’ve found these morning workouts give me so much energy throughout the day and, bonus, they give me my evenings back too! I used to sit around after my tea for an hour or more, unable to really start anything because I knew I would have to go get ready to go to the gym. Getting home late meant late showers, late hair drying, and feeling wide awake when I really needed to be getting into bed. 

I really did think getting up early, hitting the gym for an hour then slaving away at the day job for a further 8+ hours would leave me feeling exhausted during the evening but 9/10 I don’t! I’m still awake as late as usual, working on the blog, catching up with friends, Netflixing and chilling with the Mr, if anything I’m getting more out of my day just by getting up 80 minutes earlier than usual!

What time of day do you prefer to workout?

Until next time,