Saturday, 23 May 2015

May Hero -

I've most definitely got to the age where home-ware, decorating, and new furniture get me pretty blooming excited and I'm not afraid to admit it! I've lived in different cities but always loved creating a space where I feel happy and comfortable. Although I still rent, I know I can still make my space a home with some easy touches. 

Pinterest is great for home inspiration and I'm always on the lookout for a bargain. When we moved flats in London we we had a big old list of things to buy. Wanting to keep things in budget we went for good old reliable flat pack furniture but oh what a lesson that was. Moving in one day + flat-pack + very little food & drink = tears & broken flat-pack furniture

So, since then, I've been more selective about the staple items I buy as I want them to be great quality, a great price and also stand the test of time. I wanted a new chair for my dressing table and had been searching for a while for the perfect chair. I'd seen some beauties in Next, Laura Ashley, M&S and other online shops however at £250 upwards I didn't want to couldn't spend that much. Then came along

I'd signed up to their emails after seeing lots of ads on the tube late last year. They don't inundate with emails plus they have some pretty great flash sales. One such sale in January had this lovely Flynn Scoop Back Chair on offer at £99 and it was just what I'd been looking for! They have different colour options and make up the item once you've purchased. You can select delivery days and times so it fits around you which is brilliant. Admittedly it look longer than expected top arrive with delays in production but when it eventually arrived in April I was in love. Super comfy, durable fabric and looks great. WIN. 

What do you think? Bargain right! Have a lovely lovely weekend! 

Monday, 18 May 2015

Working Out!

So the sun has reared it's oh so gorgeous head recently and summer items have already flooded the high street so I guess that means summer is on the way! 

I've wanted to write this post for a while but was put off because quite frankly...who am I to tell people how to workout?! I know the bare basics, I haven't always worked out, I'm definitely NOT a gym addict and I don't have rock hard abs...I'm not writing this to preach I just want to show that a little bit of work has made a big difference in my life but it doesn't mean you have to turn into an eat clean train mean kind of gal (unless you want to - I have friends that are and they are fierce, but, I'm just not that disciplined!) 

My attitude towards health and fitness has changed a huge amount in the last few years. Well what changed I hear you ask? 

Well, it wasn't anything massive, I went out with a friend for lunch one January and we chatted about resolutions and of course the topic of losing a few lbs after a small HUGE Christmas binge came up. Right there and then we both decided to do something about it! I downloaded My Fitness Pal onto my phone and immediately added in what I'd eaten so far - my lunch alone came to nearly 1,200 calories (and they weren't the healthy kind of calories I can tell you!). Shocked...yes I was. We popped to Boots to weigh ourselves and get an accurate BMI on proper scales - I've still got that print out in my purse as a reminder! 

Nike Air Max Thea Trainers ASOS £90
So what happened next? I signed up for classes at a local gym, I love classes as they keep me motivated and they're fun. My faves are Zumba, Body Conditioning and Yoga so I teamed these with trying to eat healthier by tracking my food on My Fitness Pal. It can be used to set goals and track progress but I just use it to keep myself mindful of what I'm putting in my body. 

What I do now

I'm aaaaaall about saving money so decided to try HIT (high intensity training) at home instead of a costly gym membership. I love it. 
I'd really recommend Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred as a great starting place. They're basically 20min workouts based on interval training - cardio and strengthening with light weights and your own body weight. There are 3 levels design to challenge you as you improve and even though in theory it's 30 days - I did each level until I felt I could do them properly. She's hilarious, I still laugh every time when she exclaims at the end of level 2 'I WANT YOU TO FEEL LIKE YOU ARE GOING TO DIE'. Oh Jillian. 
I combined 30 day shred with a yoga workout at home but honestly, yoga is just not the same on your own so I'm looking for a new class to join! 

Me after a sweaty Jillian workout...sorry!
I've noticed since I've moved onto harder, longer Jillian Michaels workouts like No More Touble Zones I can see a little bit more definition. Sorry about the photo - I think I have one bikini photo of myself ever so this is not a regular occurrence, but it's good for me to see little results.  I love my food so I'll never have a 6 pack but the DVD is my new favourite, it's a real killer as it ups the weights slightly and is around 50mins. I tried Charlotte Crosby's huge no1. seller 3 Minute Belly Blitz and although the workout is good I don't like the stop-start process as they talk through each section pretty slowly and as time is of the essence when working out it's not my go-to. 

My Top Tips

1. Set your own pace and don't compare. If you're new to working out start slow and build your strength. Start with 1kg weights and work your way up. Everyone starts somewhere and where you're new to this it's A-ok.
2. Don't think you need an expensive gym membership - some gyms are pretty cheap but I'd rather spend the £20 on other things! Workout at home. I have a small flat so you don't need as much space as you think!
3. Try out lots of different things - What works for one person might not work for everyone. Try whatever you like - pole workouts, dancing, bootcamp, pilates - you name it it's out there!
4. Invest in a good pair of trainers, a good sports bra, workout leggings, yoga mat and hand weights.
5. Plan your workouts - personally unless I workout first thing in the morning, I won't workout at all. So even though it gets tough I get up at 6.15am. See what time works for you. 
6. Plan your meals - yes it's a little boring however if you plan your meals before you do a food shop you'll save so much waste and you'll be less likely to grab naughty stuff because you're starving and don't know what to cook (yep I ate a share pack of Malteasers for just this reason the other week)
7. Drink lots of water and start the day with a peppermint tea or detox drink - It really does help digestion and gives your skin and eyes a little extra sparkle.
8. HAVE FUN! The way you feel after a workout is a feeling to hold onto - it pushes me to workout when I can't be bothered but we're not robots. Have a rest, life is short. workout with friends, dance the night away, go for a long walk and natter, if working our isn't your cuppa there's still a million ways to be happy & healthy!

I'd love to hear any tips or routines that work for you, I'm always looking for something new to try out! 

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Street Feast London - Food Heaven!

@MeringueGirls at Lewisham Model Market
As you might know by now I live in London and boy, it's taken me some time to get used to the hustle and bustle! I'm originally from Manchester so hardly the countryside however the difference is huge - the never ending rush hours, pushing for a place on a tube or train, the different different zones with hundreds of different boroughs each with their own personality. 
Since I moved here almost three years ago now we chose to live in the South East of London mainly because a) we knew it would be a little cheaper and b) my flatmate was friends with an estate agent who was based in the South East. 

There's so much to love about the South East, sprawling Greenwhich Park, beautiful Blackheath Village with it's cosy pubs and wine bars or Bromley for when you want a bit if Intu shopping centre action. Food plays a huge part in my London life as you're literally spoilt for choice for amazing places to eat. From chains to independent businesses to pop ups plus every type & style of food known to man - it's here! Instagram is a great place to follow the food scene and after a friend recommended London Street Feast I looked them up and wow their food looks mouthwateringly amazing. If you're a fan of food porn you can follow them HERE.

SE Cakery Brownies, Meringue Girls, Pork Buns & buckets of  Champagne
When I heard that street feast was adding to it's foodie family with a market in Lewisham I couldn't wait to try it. Lewisham Model Market is set in a little nook behind the shopping centre. Lewisham is in development and this food heaven is such a gem in a town I rarely venture into even though I practically live there. 

I met up with some friends on a Friday night after work, the week after the feast opened and it was busy even before 7pm. Free entry before 7pm and £3 after.

As soon as we entered we were met with the sweet smell of bbq, rum and smoky fires. Small but perfectly formed there were so many stalls to chose from. After a few laps around the market we settled on chicken naan creations from Rola Wala with herby fries from the Poutine stand washed down with rum punch and beer. They.were.amazing. We glanced around at other drool-worthy plates passing us by and everything looked incredible. My friends also tried pork buns from Yum Bun which again smelt delicious and from their mmm's and ahhh's they tasted great too! 

For desert we shard a mix of brownies from SE Cakery (honeycomb, chocolate, salted caramel) with  Eton Mess & Rainbows, Unicorns & Fairy Dust from the Meringue Girls - check them out they already have a HUGE following and rightly so as we died and went to desert heaven. 

I'll definitely be heading back until I've tried every stand there, it was really that good plus the vibe was relaxed with great music and great drinks.

If you have any foodie recommendation anywhere in the UK or further afield I'd love to hear about them (and drool over any of your photos!). 

Monday, 4 May 2015

My First Mulberry

I own my second designer item and most of all my first ever leather purse! Yes I've got to the age I am happily switching from River Island to Topshop to Mango to Primark purses. My last Primark black purse with gold hard-wear lasted me around 3 years and if I'm being honest still had some life left in it...before this beauty!

I was so lucky that I got not one Mulberry purse...but two for my birthday! My family clubbed together to get me the black Continental Wallet which I'd had on my wish list for ages, and my amazing friends clubbed together and got me the nude zip around purse. A complete surprise (they know me too well!).

First of the packaging...I'm a sucker for luxurious packaging, it just feels extra special, you know? The thick grey mulberry bag was tied with a soft grey bow and inside tissue paper nestled a Mulberry box. As soon as I opened the box it smelt amazing; rich luxurious leather with gold hard-wear. They both have plenty of card space, coin room and are just the perfect size to house all of my cards, vouchers, receipts and loyalty cards for a multitude of places. It's ridiculous to feel so excited about two Mulberry purses but I don't splash out on things like this, especially on my tight post drama school budget! I've been scared to use it but that's plain silly so it's become my daily purse (I won't lie, I had a mini freak out when I got a little dent on the leather from something pressing against it in my bag but hey it needs to be used!).

Happy Bank Holiday weekend for those in the UK, have an awesome extra day off work!