Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Wedding Wednesday White Wedding : Lamorna View Minimoon


Oh my goodness, how long has it taken me to write this? 7 months!! I am a bad blogger! But there it is. 

So, in January we're going to Iceland for our official honeymoon but we did want to take a 'minimoon' away from the hustle and bustle and to relax after Christmas and all the wedding planning. After a lot of searching across all sorts of gorgeous cottages and holiday homes across the South West coast, we stumbled upon Kymaurah Cottages, overlooking Lamorna in Cornwall. We quickly booked a four-night break and then I spent the rest of the year checking the website and looking at the beautiful pictures of our cottage, Lamorna View

Lamorna View Kymaurah Cottages


We arrived late on 31st and were greeted with beautiful, personal touches: chocolates, champagne, and a lit log burner. Despite it being wet and cold, we jumped straight into the hot tub and watched the stars before exploring the rest of the cottage: huge comfortable bed, big copper bath, floor lit bathrooms - it was idyllic.

Lamorna View Kymaurah Cottages


Lamorna View  Kymaurah Cottages


The best bit? The cottage was at the very end of a dirt track, so once we were in and snuggled up away from the cold and rain, we didn't want to leave. Apart from popping out to get food on 1st we mostly stayed in and chilled: luxurious naps on a bed that was as comfortable as a marshmallow with a giant picture window overlooking the gorgeous Lamorna cove, watching films curled up in front of the log burner and sipping prosecco in the blissful hot tub - Can you believe I didn't really want to leave?


Lamorna View Kymaurah Cottages

We did take some time out of all the relaxing to get massages at a hotel in St Ives (about 8 miles away) and on the penultimate day, when the sun did make an appearance we went on the 20-minute walk to Lamorna cove and had a lovely Sunday lunch at the local pub. Perfect. 

I am desperate to go back, maybe in the summer so we could enjoy some more of the local area but there is definitely a lot to be said about visiting in the winter when you don't have to make an excuse for staying cuddled up and doing a whole lot of nothing!! 

Images courtesy of Kymaurah Cottages

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Review: Wahaca Garlic & Chipotle Marinade


I've said it before, I'll say it again: I LOVE Mexican food. So I was very excited to find out Mexican food chain, Wahaca had released new Wahaca at home kits complete with taco kits and yummy, spicy marinades.


Wahaca Garlic and Chipotle marinade



With Andy out, meaning I could have fish and spicy food for dinner, it seemed the perfect time to try one of the new marinades: garlic & chipotle. 

It's so simple:

Pick what you're having: meat, fish, veg and marinade for upwards of 15 minutes (whilst playing the game of "how much can I do in 15 minutes!) 


Wahaca Garlic and Chipotle marinade


Then heat a pan and griddle/fry until the fish, veg or meat is cooked to your liking. 

Wahaca recommends serving in tacos with beans and rice and a squeeze of lime. But, since I was cooking just for one,  I went with rice, corn on the cob and salad - with spare marinade used as a dressing.


Wahaca Garlic and Chipotle marinade


The marinade has a gorgeous spicy, smoky taste that I could eat again and again, hence adding it to everything. 

Now, who's for tacos? Whats your favourite Mexican dish?

#WahacaAtHome Taco Kits are available at over 900 Tesco stores. 

Monday, 8 August 2016

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Spoiler Free Review

Anyone who has spoken to me for more than 5 minutes know that I am a HUGE Harry Potter fan. From running around Orlando to get my hands on the final book to hole punching old, battered copies to use as wedding confetti, I am obsessed. So, there was no question that we would be going to see the "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" play when it came to London. Thanks to my gorgeous twin sister we were able to get tickets for one of the first shows on Saturday. 

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

I received my copy of the script on Tuesday but insisted Andy hide it so that I wouldn't ruin any of the surprises and I'm so glad I did. Without ruining anything (#KeeptheSecrets) the twists and turns were absolutely amazing and so worth being kept in the dark for a bit longer. Yet again, JK Rowling (alongside Jack Thorne and John Tiffany)
 proved she can still write an amazing story and surprise fans right until the end.

We arrived at the beautiful Palace theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue on Saturday and whilst I knew it was just a happy coincidence I loved the synergy of the play and the seventh book where Harry, Ron and Hermione hide out on Shaftesbury Avenue when the ministry falls. The staff the Palace Theatre were all so, so friendly and I'm pretty sure they were all Harry Potter fans because we were able to talk about Hogwarts Houses and Hedwig! 

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

and then the lights came down, phones were put on silent and we were transported to Platform 9 and 3/4s and I was hooked.

The staging was completely amazing, there were honestly some bits I still can't fathom, it was like genuine magic. Obviously, the famous three were present throughout the story but so was a whole new generation of fantastic characters, stories and dramas! 

The story allowed for a lot more humour than is present in the original books and films, in fact, I spent a lot of the show laughing out loud with the rest of the audience. Of course, there were times of tears and whilst there were some bits I figured out ahead of time (although from the reactions of the audience I was in the minority) for the most part I was shocked by the revelations which came out - after all this time (sorry), I can still be surprised by JK Rowling. 



Harry Potter and the Cursed ChildMy only complaints were that some (in my opinion), key characters were missed, I won't say who but it would have been lovely to see some more familiar faces and also, the new pronunciation of Voldemort, with a silent t, was used throughout, which just wound me up a bit!! - that's not a spoiler, right? Y'all knew he'd have to be mentioned somewhere. But these were minor things, for the most part, I was totally and utterly in love and couldn't wait to get home so I could read the script. Now I'm just desperate to go again (but I'll wait, because it'd be selfish not to let other people get tickets!) - and of course, I came away with a T-shirt. 


Are you going to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child?

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Berry & Thyme Gin and Tonic

Berry and Thyme gin and tonic

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen a slightly blurry picture of a free-poured gin and tonic, this weekend. I hasten to add, it was blurry more because of my photography skills than because I was free-pouring gin!

Berry and Thyme gin and tonic


 The recipe was inspired by this Tasty Video but came about using whatever we could find. If you don't mind me saying, it was yummy! Just when I thought nothing could beat the chili and Thai basil cocktail from The Botanist. I'm sharing all the details below

What is your favourite cocktail?

You will need (serves 1):

  • A handful of fresh or frozen berries (we used frozen and zapped them in the microwave for a few seconds to defrost a bit)
  • Two sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Two shots of gin of your choice (or more or less dependent on preference) 
  • Handful of ice cubes 
  • Tonic water 
  • A slice of lemon 

Method:
  1. If using frozen berries, defrost slightly and place in the bottom of a tall glass. Muddle these (you can use a muddler if you have one but the back of a spoon works fine)
  2. Rub thyme between your hands, I also tend to clap my hands together - in the back of my mind a mixologist did tell me this helps!  
  3. Add ice 
  4. Add gin 
  5. Top up with tonic water
  6. Add lemon wedge to side of glass as garnish 
  7. Mix and enjoy 
Want a top up? We used the same berries and thyme for a couple of rounds and there flavours were still good! 
Let me know if you give it a try.

Friday, 8 July 2016

Body FX Cookbook + Asian Tuna and Stirfry Vegetable Recipe


It's official.. I am a published author!!! A few months ago I was asked to prepare a recipe for a new cookbook and i'm excited to share the recipe with you today and the new cookbook. 


Body FX Cookbook


The book contains 16 really healthy recipes with ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner. and I have to say, they all look amazing and I can't wait to try some out!!

Check out my recipe below for Asian Tuna and Stirfry Vegetables - it's perfect for low-carb non workout days (if that's your thing) or lazy dinner, ready in 5 minutes days (if that's more your thing):


Tuna steak and stirfry veg



Ingredients
2 tuna Steaks
4 sprays 1 calorie oil spray
1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 red chili - sliced
1 clove garlic - chopped finely or crushed
Stir fry vegetables - pre-packaged or decide on your own (carrots, bean sprouts, onion, chili, edamame beans are all good choices)


Method:

  1. Slice the chili and crush garlic
  2. Place tuna steaks in a shallow bowl or small lunch box
  3. Cover with soy sauce, garlic and chili
  4. Leave to marinade for at least half an hour but ideally overnight
  5. Heat a griddle or frying pan until very hot - add 1 tsp of oil or 2 sprays of low cal oil spray
  6. Once pan is very hot place tuna steaks - fry on each side for 3 mins (or less if you prefer rarer)
  7. Meanwhile, in a separate pan heat the remaining oil - once heated add the veg and stir fry for 5 minutes until all veg has softened. Stir in more low sodium soy sauce to preference.
  8. Pile vegetables on a plate and place tuna steak on top
  9. Enjoy!

Calories per serving (based on Asda Edamame Bean Stir Fry veg) : 194 calories

For more yummy, nutrient packed recipes download your FREE copy of the Body FX Cookbook here.


Tuesday, 5 July 2016

The Botanist New Menu Launch


If you've been reading my blog for even a little bit you'll know one of my most favourite places in Chester is The Botanist. So I was really excited to be invited to the launch of their new menu*. 


The Botanist Chester



We arrived on a Tuesday evening and as usual, we felt really welcomed. I ordered my new favourite cocktail, Thai Chilli Crush and some Padron peppers to start. 


The Botanist Chester


Hannah, our waitress was really friendly and helpful. Due to not eating gluten at the moment, I asked if she knew which dishes didn't contain gluten and she bought over a really helpful list, do all restaurants do this? It definitely made life easier.

I ended up going with the chicken hanging kebab, it's something I've had multiple times before but it's so good - covered in sweet chilli, ginger and garlic butter - is there any better combination? Also, I dream of the seasoned chips! To make sure I tried something new from the menu I also opted for a side of summer slaw with cranberries, sultanas and lemon. It was so yummy and I could kid myself that I was eating healthy!!


The Botanist Chester

The Botanist Chester

The Botanist Chester


Andy went for chicken liver and rum pate to start which came with an amazing chutney. Before I went out I reached out on twitter for suggestions and Andy went for the highly recommended crispy salt and pepper beef salad - which looked yummy and came with a beautiful sweet chilli dressing. Finally, he finished with the chocolate chip cookie dough dessert (seriously, this guy never eats more food than me!). I cheated a bit with gluten and tried the cookie dough - it was amazing!! 


The Botanist Chester


The Botanist Chester

The Botanist Chester


I finished my meal with a pot of English Breakfast tea which came with the sweetest milk jug which I wanted to take home with me. Seriously, where do I get one? 


The Botanist Chester


The Botanist Chester

The Botanist Chester


The only teeny tiny complaint, and I say this only because I believe in giving a balanced review. Andy found a bit of wood in his salad - that looked a bit like a thing that's used to label plants. When we mentioned it to the person who collected our plates he was very apologetic but then later the manager came over and said: "there's nothing in the kitchen or the whole building that looks like that". It didn't really feel like an apology, however, since then I have had a full apology and the little incident was dealt with really well afterwards. 

Honestly though, it was a small blip and doesn't at all reflect every great experience we've had at The Botanist including this time. The rest of the staff were really friendly and helpful as ever. 

*The meal at The Botanist was complimentary in exchange for an honest review. 

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Six Women who Inspire me to Work Harder


Do you have a mentor? I recently read in Elle magazine and then again on The Pool the importance of being mentored by someone younger than you. Lorraine Candy, editor of Elle said:  "If you work within a team I would highly recommend spending an hour or so a week talking through ideas with someone just embarking on their career". Now, I'm definitely just embarking on my career. I'm less than a year into the industry I want to be in and just 6 weeks into what I am already describing as "my dream job". I don't know if I inspire or offer any form of mentoring to those around me. I like to think I do or will have the opportunities to do so, but in the past few months to a year, I have been so inspired and developed by six particular women in their actions and writing. 

I could list so many women who inspire me, across all aspects of my life. But these are women who, particularly within my career and my personal development inspire me. 



Arianna Huffington 

I'm currently halfway through Ariana's third book: Thrive. It's a reminder that success does not have to come through working 80 hour weeks, pushing our bodies to the limit and not getting enough sleep. In fact, the opposite is true. It is a call to sleep, switch off, look after ourselves and avoid burnout. It might, therefore, seem strange to list her first in my list of women who inspire me to work harder. However, in a society where I am regularly told "your 20s are the time to work all the hours" or "you can sleep later", Arianna's words are not just encouraging but a solid foundation for my firm believe in making the most of annual leave, taking time out and not over working for the sake of working. 


Jo Elvin

I've been reading Glamour Magazine for so long and one of my most favourite parts is always Jo's editor letter. Her go-get-them attitude is so inspiring. Further inspiration comes from her Me and My Career interview in the guardian. Key points include: "just go for it" and "whatever you're asked to do is integral to the magazine.. do it with a smile on your face, immerse yourself in the magazine and soak it up like a sponge" - whilst her advice is for wannabe journalists I can't help feeling that it is so easily applicable to all industries. 

Gini Dietrich 

I've been reading Spin Sucks for nearly a year now and relish my daily boost of PR news and advice. But I also love Gini's posts on leadership, development and workplace. She has a firm stance on the correct use of email (i.e. don't unless you really have to - go speak to them face to face) and is also passionate about flexible working/teams. 

Within her role, Gini mentors and advises PR professionals on a daily basis but she also offers amazing advice through the Spin Sucks blog which has been so useful to me within y own career. 

Sheryl Sandberg

I'll be honest, I'm not completely  bought into the Lean In concept just yet, mostly because I just haven't read enough about it or researched it. 

However, the work Sheryl does both within Facebook and Disney (let's be real two of the coolest companies) inspires me: she's a pioneer for women within technology and encourages women to inspire and educate those around them. 

Marie Forleo

Every single one of Marie's weekly videos are inspirational and uplifiting. I come away so motivated to chase my goals and live the life I want. I mean, the minute you step on her website you are reminded "that the world needs that special gift that only you have", which is very motivational at 7am on a Tuesday morning don't you think?

Jo 

This is probably the most personal on the list, hence the lack of last name. Call me a brown noser, but I am so inspired by my friend (and ok, boss) Jo. She has given me opportunities that have led to my career today, taken time out over the last year or so to offer training and advice to encourage my development. The work I did the other week around Ideal Week came from her. She inspires me both professionally and within my relationship with Andy. She has, and continues to, work so hard to be where she is today - whilst juggling a home life and gorgeous toddler.

Thank you, to the six amazing women, who inspires you?
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