Friday, 13 July 2018

Currently Reading #10

It’s been a hot minute and a half since I put up my recently read run-down! If you’re looking for a little reading club inspiration, here’s my latest completed page turners that might just take your fancy! Also let's celebrate this being the tenth post in my currently reading series! That's a whopping 50 books! I wonder how long it will take me to get through the next 50?

Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine - Gail Honeyman

I feel like I’m a little late to the party (forgive me Eleanor!) when it comes to reading this one! It’s been all over my feed for the last few months so I had to pick up a copy and see what all the fuss was about! I admit, it took me a few chapters to get into, but once I did I was completely hooked! So much so, I’ve been recommending it to everyone - and I’m really looking forward to the film adaptation that’s on it’s way out. Let’s get between those pages - Eleanor is completely fine, thank you very much, and that’s exactly how she likes it. Her life is lived in the exact same way every single day and she see’s no reason to live it otherwise. Until she falls in love. Head over heels, diving in at the deep end love with a man who is clearly Romeo re-born. Braving make-up counters, personal stylists and tip-toeing into the world of hair removal and grooming, she is preening and primping herself for the day he realises she is his Juliet. Love never does run smooth, there’s an eccentric Mummy to deal with, an unexpected friend and her routine starts to go off the rails. Eleanor Oliphant is no longer fine. I found myself so wrapped up in Eleanor and her ways, she brought me to tears on one page then fits of giggles on the next. It’s a fantastic summe read and would be the perfect poolside companion!

Call me by your name - Andre Aciman

I found this book so frustrating in the beginning! Talk about an unreliable narrator. Just when you think everything that’s happening couldn’t possible be happening, something happens that makes you go back and re-read the whole lot to see how you could have missed seeing that coming. When Elio falls passionately in love with Oliver, the families summer lodger, and their friendship turns into something so much more, I couldn’t stop turning the pages (once I finally started trueting everyone!). I actually found this book really heartbreaking, especially the ending. I had to stop and take a minute. Seriously, this one will break your heart. Elio and Olivers relationship was intoxicating, unhealthy, maddening and passionate, all the building blocks of a summer affair that turned into a lifelong mark on both their hearts. Get it read!

Women, food and desire - Alex Jamieson

This is all about listening to your body, fueling it with what it needs and not having to feel one ounce of guilt about it either. I hate the title of this book, and the cover of the copy I had was just awful (chocolate dipped strawberry dripping over the nether region…not exactly one to read on the bus!) but the contents really surprised me. If you’ve ever needed a cravings whisperer Alex is just that! She breaks down why your body craves what it craves and what it really means, not just what your body is physically after, but mentally too. She quotes my favourite Brene Brown a lot too and both women’s ideas really compliment each other and really speak to me and where I’m at right now.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz - Heather Morris

Let me start by saying that this is a true story. I feel like this is a really important fact that I didn’t know until the very end of the book - and just knowing it actually happened makes it all the more powerful. This one was recommended to me by Hollie of Hollie in Wanderlust and she was spot on about how great a read it is. As Auschwitz literature goes, in my experience, it was an easier read (and blimey do I use that term loosely) compared with other Auschwitz stories I’ve read but it was still a kick in the gut at times none the less. Lale was determined to survive Auschwitz, whatever the cost, and he ended up becoming the tattooist who numbered his fellow prisoners. Eventually, Gita is brought into the camp and his survival becomes totally dependant on her surviving too. Their love is so strong and pure, and to think they found each other quite literally in hell on Earth, could any relationship get off to a scarier start? Another one that took me a few chapters to get into, but once I did I couldn’t put it down. 

Surfacing - Margaret Atwood

If you’ve been around for a few of these reading round-ups now, you’ll have seen a few Atwood books popping up! She is one of my favourite authors so whenever I discover something of her’s in the library I’ve not read yet I immediately pick it up. I can’t say she’s ever wrote anything I’ve not enjoyed - until now. Surfacing is the story of a young woman who takes her boyfriend and another couple up to her old family cabin in the remotest woods in Quebec in search of her missing father. This book is choc-a-bloc full of symbolism and metaphors, to the point where they start to lose all meaning. As a piece to study it would be bloody perfect, it’s exactly the kind of text we would have picked up in University - but as a casual read? Nope. I found myself getting as lost in the woods and the main character was in her own mind, twisting and turning, unable to make sense of the world, which was undoubtedly Atwoods intention, but when you just want a book to chill with on a Sunday afternoon, this one gives you far too much to think about. Post finishing it, the more I thought about it in a critical way, the more I started to get out of it. This was Atwoods second publication, and my oh my has she come a long way since then! I’m happy to tick it off my Atwood reading list, but it’s not one I see myself coming back to. 

What have you been reading recently? Any recommendations for me?

Until next time, 

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Vegan Afternoon Tea - Cuthberts - Liverpool

cuthberts bakehouse afternoon tea liverpool

When it comes to finding afternoon tea in Liverpool, this city spoils us. We have so many venues out there offering various takes on afternoon tea, from the traditional to the out of the box that it’s hard to choose which one to go for! This past weekend, I ticked another afternoon tea experience off my bucket list - Cuthbert’s Bakehouse.

Situated on Mount Pleasant, Cuthbert’s is minutes outside of the hustle and bustle of the Liverpool high street. After drooling over the menu for a couple of days, I finally decided to give their vegan afternoon tea a try. I've never had a fully vegan afternoon tea before and the offerings sounded delectable! My friends went for the Vegetarian New Yorker inspired afternoon tea - a combination of state side delights and traditional offerings. We pre-booked a few weeks in advance and eagerly awaited our experience. 

cuthberts bakehouse afternoon tea liverpool

I've walked past Cuthbert’s I don't know how many times, and so many people have told me how amazing the cakes and treats are there, but I think with it being just outside of the main city centre, it's never been high on my radar. It's crazy how we're less likely to explore the places on our own doorstep! So to say I was looking forward to it is an understatement. Be careful when checking Cuthbert’s opening hours, as almost everywhere online says it's closed on Sundays (Google, Trip Advisor etc) but clicking onto their own homepage actually says they're open on Sundays during the Summer, 11am - 4pm. We booked in for 1pm, there was a large baby shower party in at the same time as us, easily 20+ women and the venue is pretty small. That being said we didn't feel on top of the larger group and had no problems getting food, drink top ups and the final bill - the poor girls working that day were run off their feet but they never stopped smiling and chatting to us which was lovely. 

After being seated straight away, we were talked through how the afternoon tea would work, our drinks options and given menus to mooch through. With unlimited tea and filter coffee refills, I went for the tea. You can add a glass of wine, prosecco or bottled beer for an additional charge (they do have vegan beer options too). One thing that did surprise me was that I didn't just have to stick to the same tea, I could mix and match from the menu at no additional cost! I went for a delicate jasmine pearl loose leaf tea - and loved it so much I didn't switch it out to try anything else!

cuthberts bakehouse afternoon tea liverpool

Before we knew it, our afternoon tea was before us, in all it's cream covered, precision cut and baked to perfection glory. For the vegan afternoon tea I had 2 white bread sandwiches, one with avocado and chilli jam, the other falafel and hummus. One pretty little tea cup contained a carrot and walnut slaw, the other a pomegranate and pumpkin quinoa salad. Last but not least, 2 bruschetta slices; one with avocado and chilli jam, the other hummus with peppers and mushroom. The slaw and quinoa salad were by far my favourites on the sandwich tier, they were bursting with flavour, I didn't want either to end (I'm going to try and recreate them at home!) and served in dainty little tea cups was just far too cute for me to handle! The sandwiches where OK but the bread was really dried out and bordering on stale, but with the weather being what it is, I'm not surprised or complaining. Avocado will always be a winner for me and topped with the sweet chilli jam was just perfection! I was stuffed before I even made it to the cakes!

cuthberts bakehouse afternoon tea liverpool

But I was not leaving a crumb behind! For the cakes I had a Victoria sponge, carrot cake, chocolate orange cup cake and of course, the classic scone. The Victoria sponge wasn't great I'll be honest, the 'cream' was really grainy and the middle of the sponge tasted really bitter and almost off? Something just wasn't right with it, but the carrot cake more than made up for it - I'm not sure what it was topped with but it had the taste and consistency of marshmallow fluff and it was just divine! The chocolate orange cup cake was ridiculously rich and moorish, no sweet tooth would be left complaining! And what afternoon tea isn't complete without a scone? Nothing fancy to shout about but it was tasty and it just wouldn't be afternoon tea without one if you ask me!

cuthberts bakehouse afternoon tea liverpool

The Vegetarian New Yorker looked amazing, and got a resounding thumbs ups from my friends. I didn't quite catch everything on there but they couldn't stop gushing about how great the wedges, halloumi, new york cheese cake and cannolis were! I would be up for giving this a try next! There was more than enough food to go round and if it wasn't for the hot weather I'd have been tempted to save some and take it home with me for later! 

Cuthbert’s is such a quaint, lovely little place and I can see why everyone raves about them. They have some great offerings, extremely reasonable prices (£18 for the vegan, £21 for the veggie New Yorker) and the place overall has such a welcoming atmosphere! I really want to go back and try some of their other lunch options and oh, there were so many cake choices behind the counter I could be there all day trying to decide which to try next!

cuthberts bakehouse afternoon tea liverpool

What's your favourite kind of afternoon tea? Traditional or something a little different?

Until next time, 

Monday, 9 July 2018

Moments and Favourites - June 2018

highlights of the month

Another month of 2018 has flown by - I swear, I’ve become one of those people who says time is just flying by but it really, really is! I have no idea to put the breaks on and just have a minute - any and all tips welcome people! Trying to cut the rambling to a minimum, here’s the highlights reel of my June 2018!

highlights of the month

Reusable cotton rounds

June marks the first month of me switching to reusable cotton rounds! I picked up 12 of these lil guys for £10 on Etsy and haven’t looked back! If you caught my switching to a safety razor post, you’ll know I’m trying to ease my way into a more minimal, zero waste beauty routine, replacing things with more sustainable, planet friendly versions as I go along. I’ve got a whole post coming on these soon, but in short, I love them, so go get yourself some!

highlights of the month

White Wolf Yoga

I partnered up with the lovely Antonia of Allure La Vie and we headed to White Wolf Yoga Studio, Liverpool, for our first breath and being workshop! 3 hours of yoga, meditation and chanting - it was a real eye opener for the both of us. Not only have I thrown myself fully into my home yoga practice, but I’m eager to find another workshop this month and continue on this journey!

highlights of the month

Race for Life 5k

I’ve not ran for more than a bus since December, so rocking up to Aintree Racecourse for a very unprepared for 5k with a hangover was probably not my best move BUT I nailed it! My gorgeous Melissa of Just a Slimmer has recently hit the 10stone weight loss milestone and this was her first time running 5k! We crossed that finish line in under 40minutes and I couldn’t be more proud of her!


Another live band ticked off the list! I headed to Wrexham with my work family for a day of gin, toilet antics, face glitter and lots of singing! Stereophonics were amazing, the weather was brilliant and I had the best, best time! I need more live music in my life that’s for sure!

Going veggie

This is something that I feel like has been coming for a while. I’ve done a few vegetarain month long challenges but slowly meat has become less and less prominent in my diet and I’ve now completely cut it out. Health reasons, ethical reasons, personal reasons, I’m sure I’ll do a post on this at some point in the future when I’ve collected my thoughts a bit more! But June seen me make the switch official and I have zero regrets! 

Call the Midwife

I’ve only ever caught the Christmas specials but the last few weeks I have binged watched almost 4 seasons. I bleeding love this show! I cry at nearly every episode and I am totally OK with that, sometimes you just need to let all the feels in and all the emotions out! 

And you’ve been loving…

My most popular post this month by far has been the first in my cooking with confidence series (that I am still working on! There’s more to come!) I love talking all things cooking and getting people in the kitchen in real life, so of course, I’m bringing it here to you lovely lot!

What have been your highlights of the past month?

Until next time, 

Header image: @mr_kuchen

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Firsts as a blogger

milestones for bloggers

A lifetime ago I put together a blog post talking about revisiting old websites. I absolutely loved this little trip down the digital memory lane. Inspired by that post, I decided to have a cringeworthy look back on some of my first ever blog posts here at Saloca in Wonderland. Grab yourself a brew and let’s go back through the history!

milestones for bloggers

My FIRST ever blog post

First Post! What a click-baity filled title that was! I can’t believe I posted this all the way back in 2012!! When did my blog hit 6 years old?? Talk about blink and you miss it! I’ve probably spoke about this a million times but originally, this blog was supposed to be about all things and nothing but Disney. I’d like to think I still keep true to my blogging roots, posting a little Disney magic as and when I can, but I’m glad I branched out from the niche in the long run! 

Also note the lack of pictures and back links! Blogging was so different back then!

milestones for bloggers

The FIRST post to surpass 100 page views

Look at me go, less than a month into my blogging journey and I nailed a post that flew past 100 views. Even popping in pictures - screenshots no less! I remember being so proud of this post, thinking it all informative and viral-worthy before the days of anything going viral. Even though the pictured version of Excel is out of date now, the idea of planning your Disney trip in an Excel workbook is still something I stand by and would do (OK, I’m on Mac now) for any and all upcoming trips! 

milestones for bloggers

The FIRST failed daily blogging 

Ah, the start of a very slippery slope. A month into blogging and I thought I was the big I AM of the daily blogging world. Suffice to say it didn’t last long - within 48 hours I’d already missed a day! This became a pattern over the next few years, attempting and always failing at daily blogging! It’s a lesson that has took a long long time to learn but daily blogging will never be for me!

milestones for bloggers

The FIRST post to surpass 1000 page views

Need an excuse to stay on Disney property? This post was the most basic of rundowns but it went down well enough! That euphoria is hitting 1000 views on a post in my first 6 months of blogging was amazing! I think what really made this a magical milestone was it was in the days before we advertised blog posts through Twitter and I knew nothing about SEO either! 

milestones for bloggers

The FIRST (and last) year long break

After a two week break in Walt Disney World, I came home and abandoned the blog. I actually have no idea why I disappeared for an entire year, I had all the plans for putting together a kick ass trip report and just poof! Nothing! Gone! But I eventually came back, and I was out of the niche and into the lifestyle blogging world.

milestones for bloggers

My FIRST ‘sponsored’ post

If you’re a blogger then your first sponsored post will have been a big deal! Praire Charms was the first company to get in touch and ask to work with me and I was so excited! It’s one of those little milestone moments where you feel like you’re finally getting some recognition for the work that goes into your blog. 

milestones for bloggers

My FIRST blogger event

This is when blogging really did become all about the community for me. Writing of any kind can be really lonely. And way back in 2013 barely anyone outside of my immediate family knew about my little ol’ blog (and even they didn’t really understand what blogging was all about then!). The only other blogger I knew in real life was Jackie of Just Add Ginger so to step into a room full of other bloggers, it was crazy! 

milestones for bloggers

The FIRST I carried a watermelon moment

I’d been reading blogs longer than I had been writing one and two bloggers I had been following for the longest time were Hayley Tea Party Beauty and Corinne SkinnedCarTree. So when Hayley organised the first Bloggers Blog Awards back in 2015, I almost wet myself when my invite came through. We’d chatted back and forth on Twitter and commented on each others blogs religiously for so long. Yes, I’d met bloggers before, but these two where my blogging idols. Walking into that event was the most nerve wracking blogging moment hands down. I bumbled my way through hellos before running off to the bar for dutch courage! Clearly I must have done something right because I didn’t scare them off and they’ve become two of my closest friends who I speak to daily all these years on! If there’s only one amazing thing to ever come out of blogging, it will always be the friends I have made thanks to this little corner of the internet! 

As a blogger, what are some of your early blogger days highlights?

Until next time, 

liverpool bloggers

Header image: @rawpixel

Monday, 25 June 2018

Castle Street Townhouse - Liverpool - Breakfast

breakfast in liverpool

Heading out for breakfast in Liverpool is one of my favourite weekend treats! Not only is it quieter, but it’s cheaper too, so much more chilled and the city in the dusky morning hours is just far too pretty to not enjoy. This past weekend we had ourselves a little breakfast date and headed to Castle Street Townhouse!

breakfast in liverpool

The sun might not have been shining on our side of the street, but that didn’t stop us from taking a table outside. It was lovely to sit out in the fresh air, and Castle St has a very European, platz style vibe, with so much outdoor seating for the bars and restaurants than run along the street. This side of town is one of my favourite spots, the architecture, the tourist spotting, even just staring up at the Town Hall, it’s so chilled out! There are so many fantastic breakfast spots in Liverpool, we're spoilt for choice! I swear, my goal before I move out of town is to try as many as possible!

breakfast in liverpool

I went for the smashed avocado on sourdough toast with chilli and poached eggs. Yum! I’ve not had avocado on toast for so long and this was just right up my street, super refreshing and light. I’ve never put chilli on my avocado before but the kick actually made what would have otherwise been a simpler, plainer dish way more exciting! 

breakfast in liverpool

The Mr went for 2 fried eggs with chorizo and straw fries. Again, it sounds like a simple enough dish but he cleared his plate - which is a rare thing for him. Honestly, there is nothing wrong with restaurants offering simpler fare if it’s done right and it’s tasty. You don’t need all the bells and whistles! 

Paired with a coke for him and a cranberry juice for me, breakfast came in at just £19! An absolute bargain, great service and good food. I’ve had a little nosey at their lunch menu, 2 courses for £11.95,  the linguine primavera sounds delicious! They have a stuffed sweet potato dish on the a la carte menu that seriously has my name all over it too! I do love a good sweet potato dish!

breakfast in liverpool

I love a Sunday morning breakfast out, followed with a little stroll through town. Most of the shops are only just opening up so everyones milling about, relaxing with a coffee - the city gives off the perfect holiday vibes at times like this! 

What’s your favourite time of day to eat out?

Until next time, 
liverpool bloggers

Friday, 22 June 2018

*How do Scouse girls get ready for a night out?

hd eyebrows in liverpool

We all know the London Look but how about the Scouse look? From shell suits to sliders, there’s no telling us to calm down when it comes to fashion and beauty. Liverpool ladies from the Aintree races to a Saturday night down Concert Square, we’ve always done it bigger and bolder - especially when it comes to our infamous Scouse brow - well except maybe those curly wigs! Getting ready for your big Scouse night out? Get your rollers in, grab a pre-drink drink, and take note of a few Scouse beauty top tips!

What does it mean to be a Lady of Liverpool? A Scouse lass, a Queen of the Royal Court? There’s a few beauty boxes we have to tick first before we’re ready to teeter down those Bold St cobbles on a Friday night. First up - the signature Scouse brow! When it comes to brows, where can you get HD eyebrows in Liverpool?

HD brows, or High Definition are the go-to when it comes to a look you can take from day to night any day of the week. They’re all about creating that big, bold shape using a combination of waxing and tinting techniques - and with only a 4 - 6 week commitment, if you want to go even bigger or bolder, you can pop back and take your Scouse brow up a level or two (Or, if you’re a nervous nelly like me, down a peg or two!). 

hd eyebrows in liverpool

With the brows rockin’ and ready to go, there’s nothing us Scouse lasses like more than some seriously big hair. Even if it’s naturally big and full of volume, if we can’t dangle it down the side of the Radio City tower, it’s going to need a few extra inches! Don’t be afraid to get right up in those roots with the back comb and the hairspray, you need your hair to balance out those skyscraper heels you’ll be sporting (before slipping into the flip-flops they’re handing out at Lime Street at 3am!)

Your brows might be your crowning glory, but if there’s just one other thing us girls don’t do by halves, it’s out false lashes. You’d be hard pushed to find any girl stepping off the train at Moorefields on a Friday night whose lashes you can’t see from the other side of Dale St. For the expert hand, individuals can add a more natural fullness and length to the lashes - but if you want to go all out, a full strip with a feather or three on the outer edges will really give you something to bat at the bar staff!

Some would say the sun shines 365 days of the year in Liverpool - I mean we are a really friendly bunch of people - but no, we just love a good false tan! Whether you spray it, mousse it, cream it, or gradually build it up, you’ll find no pasty pins around here! Thankfully, we’ve almost moved away from that garish orange glow Timehop is so fond of reminding us of and into something much more wearable and a little more natural looking! 

hd eyebrows in liverpool

You’ve got your glow on, your make-up is on fleek and you’ve already posted half a dozen selfies, long shots and pretend I’m looking at something really interesting over there shots on Instagram. The heels are uncomfortably on, the nails shellacked, and there's more glitz on your dress than the queue for Alma De Cuba 5 minutes to the petal drop. 

Alright Scouse-erella la, you’re off to the ball!

How does the fashion and beauty differ where you’re from?

Until next time, 

*This post is a collaborative post. All words, thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Header image @jannerboy62
2nd image @sharonmccutcheon
3rd image @lillynwilson

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Breath & Being Yoga Workshop - White Wolf, Liverpool

breath and being workshop white wolf liverpool

I can’t remember the last time I went to an actual yoga class. Nor do I remember doing a home practice that lasted longer than 20 minutes. I also fail at meditating for longer than 10 minutes. So when I randomly signed up for a 2.5hrs long yoga and meditation class, I had zero idea what I was getting myself in for!

It all started with a tweet that popped up on my feed about a breath and being yoga workshop at White Wolf yoga studio. I’d not long just published my latest balance update and I was in the need for some guidance and grounding. With a Saturday afternoon to spare, I took the plunge, signed up and paid around £26. Yoga, meditation, chanting, chakras, all those juice good vibes rolled into one yoga mat session. 

Chanting? I won’t even sing in public unless I’m a few gins deep. And as for my yoga? Well, we all like to think we’re a bendy Barbara behind closed doors - and if we let out a fart or two nobody knows but taking those downward dogs public? I bet you can just feel the heat rising in my face! 

Thankfully, the lovely Antonia of Allure la Vie, decided to put herself through the practice right along side me - guys, if ever you’re going to a new class that’s even the tiniest bit out of your comfort zone, take a friend! A knowing smile, a puzzled glance, a we’ve got this nod as you sink a little deeper - it makes a world of difference! 

I rolled out my mat, popped off my socks and got down to it. Thalbia, our instructor for the afternoon was a dream. She was full of energy and passion that was contagious from the get go! As nervous as I was feeling, she really put me at ease, taking us through the motions, easing us into the practice. The yoga portions of the session where great, easy to follow and ideal for beginners!

Ok, now to the bit I was most concerned about - the chanting. I have never done any chanting practice before and I was barely audible for the first chanting session (we did 5 in total). Slowly, as we got further into the class and further into the chanting, with my eyes closed and Thalbia to guide me, I started to find my voice. It wasn’t really words we were saying, it was more of a sound that created a vibration in our chests and a hum that bounced off the ceiling of the room. It was a surreal experience. Out of nowhere, I just felt myself being carried off into the collective sound, my voice going in with 20 others, lost in there but feeling strong from within. 

When it came to the meditation, I lost track of time! Every inch of my body melted into the mat, my mind relaxed, breathing focused, I’ve no idea how long each one lasted! I found it so much easier to focus during these guided session at the studio than I ever have at home! 

Before I knew it we were Namasta-ing our way out the door and the 2.5hrs was over. I didn’t walk out, I floated. I felt like I’d just stepped out of a spa day, my entire being beyond relaxed. I tried to put it into words with Antonia and all I could come up with was surreal. The experience, how I felt, it was all so surreal

I always thought me time was about investing in massages or facials, and don’t get me wrong, I still love those things, but they don’t touch my soul. Sometimes you really need to delve deeper inside of yourself to really work out the kinks and knots of what’s bothering you. 

I’m still working on my home practice 5 times a week, and I’m trying really hard to get into a meditation zone like I felt in the class, and I will be attending future sessions at White Wolf, Liverpool Im hoping for at least 1, if not 2 sessions a month at any and all extended workshops. I think they will make for perfect grounding points, learning tools and third-eye opening exepreinces!

Have you ever attended a similar workshop? What did you experience?

Header Image: Chris Ensey