Tag Archives: blog

Information Overload

16 Apr

We live in a world of constant approval and updates – the first thing the majority of us do when we wake up is scroll through our smart phones browsing social media; what our friends are up to, what our peers have been doing and how we measure up. We get coffee and we watch the news, and then we head to work where we sneakily check Instagram, tweet here and there, and wait till we go home, where we spend the evening doing it all again. Consumer brands are reporting that their biggest online sales times are coming from these periods, where we sit watching TV yet can’t focus, tweeting away or purchasing on iPads and phones.

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It doesn’t say much for quality time with our families and loved ones, does it?

A lot of it falls down to constant marketing; being shown products geared towards an aspirational lifestyle and being asked to buy into lifestyles we can’t yet afford. The results are detrimental to lives up and down the country with people being tied into credit agreements and wanting things before they can technically have them.

We need to start living for today, rather than chasing tomorrow, as for some people, tomorrow isn’t coming. By treating life like it’s the last day we will spend living it, and by appreciating what we have rather than constantly striving to gain what we haven’t got, we will start to see the magic in the moments we are living now, rather than looking back and wondering where so much time has gone.

What do you do to switch off from the world? UNICEF recently launched a pretty cool campaign to provide water to people who don’t have it. by not touching your phone for increments of 10 minutes, the phone companies will donate to the charity. It makes you realise quite how regularly you reach for your phone during the day.

I vow to make the most of my trip to Vancouver, and turn my phone off. I want to enjoy my time in a new city, exploring and visiting new places, without having to check to see what the rest of the world is up to.

How do you switch off?

Warning: This Will Change Your Life. Chicken, Edamame and Ginger Soup

2 Apr

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Pret – a -Manger inspired Chicken, Ginger and Edamame Soup.

A few weeks ago I forgot to take lunch into work, and nipped out to Pret to get food on the run. I opted for the Soup-er Healthy Chicken, Ginger and Edamame Soup for a quick lunch, and I’ve not been able to get it out of my head since, with it obviously not appearing on the menu again, like a mirage in the desert.

Like when I was a teenager and insisted on playing the same album on repeat until my sister threw it away, I have become somewhat obsessive about popping in just on the off chance that they have it again, totally prepared to throw my sandwiches at a passing seagull and stock up if ts on the menu. It hasn’t been.111

So I decided to recreate it. I Googled the soup to see if I could find the recipe, and all I found was a soup-er unhelpful pret page telling me about the fantastic wonder of said soup, sans recipe.

But wait……… it did have the main ingredients. I could totally work with this.

Chicken, Ginger and Edamame Soup

According to Pret: dairy free, egg free, gluten free and under 200 calories (unless you buy a cream cake to go with it, or a family pack of crisps).

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Ingredients

1 cooked chicken

3 spring onions

One red onion

3 tsps sliced ginger

1 tsp garlic paste

2tsps tomato paste

2 packs edamame beans

Handful kale (optional, freestylin’)

2 pints chicken stock

Method

Shred the chicken meat from the roast chicken, removing the skin. Heat some oil in a large stockpot and throw in the shredded chicken. Add the diced onion, ginger, garlic paste and tomato paste, and stir. Fry for 2 mins before adding 2 pints of chicken stock. Simmer. Stir in the tamarind paste and add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer for 20 mins.

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Voila!!

Seriously, this soup will change your life.

Have you ever eaten something that you wish you had the recipe for or could recreate yourself?

2014 Travel – The Norway Edit

1 Apr

As part of branching out and extending my horizons, I booked a trip to Norway.

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There was no particular reason for choosing Norway as a destination, other than it was the cheapest place Easyjet went to, and I found a pretty little apartment on Air BnB. I was sold.

And the whole trip was amazing.

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As the plane landed we flew over show capped mountains and gorgeous expanses of water, and were glad we booked the fjord tour for the next day. The trip took us from Bergen through Voss, to Gudvagen and then on a boat trip to Flam, with the final part of the tour taking us on the old fashioned railway from Flam through to Myrdal, and then back to Bergen.

The tour was pretty expensive (it translated to £110 each), and took 8 hours from start to finish. It was a really great way to see a lot of different places when on a really short trip, and the scenery was breathtaking, especially the little villages on the shores of the fjords. I do think however that for the price you pay, it could have done with being a bit less of an independent tour; the bus was a local bus service and had no guide to tell you where you were, only a book that told you what to look out for.

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It was peaceful, pretty and out of the ordinary from what we normally see in London, and was a beautiful weekend. I would totally recommend it, however be aware that England is pricy, but it has nothing on the cost of Norway. £10 for a beer?!

Where have you been that surprised you?

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Make Memories

5 Mar

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For the past 2 weeks I have been back in the place I love the most, San Diego, California. The sun has shone and I have been happily ensconsed in family, ocean and sand, getting the fresh air into my lungs and loving the bones of life.

Don’t get me wrong, London has its appeal and this sprawling city full of life sings to me in the summer, yet my heart longs to ditch the faceless streets of the city for the fresh air of the cliffs and the song of the sea.
So here are some shots of my time. I hope you enjoy them, and I promise I’ll get my fingers moving again shortly, Samantha!

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Scripps Pier, La Jolla, California. Looks like a horrible cement pier from the top, but underneath its alternative beauty. I love it.

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Lifeguard post, La Jolla, California

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Palm trees are my absolute favourite, and this is why. They remind me of La Jolla Cove.

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Lifeguard post at Torrey Pines State reserve, a hike I love to do to see the ocean from a different angle and get some exercise!

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This sign got Nicki Minaj stuck in our heads. FOR THE WHOLE DAY

If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?

On The Road Again

6 Feb

Next week, I am heading back to the place I love the most, California. I plan to take the boy, hang out with my family and visit some of the places my Granddad loved to go to when he was there. Paying my respects, and filling my world with his happy memories.

So while I am busy packing and getting prepped for the trip, I thought I would share with you some of my favourite shots from my past trips, ready for hitting the locations again with my new camera! (I opted for a Nikon).

Enjoy!

Las Vegas by night (I know, not technically Cailfornia)

Las Vegas by night (I know, not technically Cailfornia)

La Jolla Shores, and the seal colony

La Jolla Shores, and the seal colony

Jellyfish at San Franscisco aquarium

Jellyfish at San Franscisco aquarium

The Bluffs, Del Mar

The Bluffs, Del Mar

 

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Cable cars in San Franscisco

Happy Snapping

1 Feb

I’ve been blogging for a long time now and my blog has evolved during this time. I have shared good times and bad, embarrassing (and funny for everyone else) situations, and loads and loads of inspirational quotes. Which I love. Even if you don’t.

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But I have never branched out and bought myself a good camera, and I am feeling like now is the time. Gone are the days when I can get by with my camera phone, complete with dodgy flash and go faster blurs if I geta little over enthusiastic. Nope, its time to make the change.

But I have a real issue with purchasing anything of value. If I see a pair of shoes over £60 I will always rationalise that I don’t need them and I can cope with what I have, and anything over the £200 mark makes me feel a little uncomfortable.

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So ive been doing my research. I’ve spent what feels like days on Amazon reading reviews, ive scoured the blog world for recommendations for all kinds of bloggers, and I have made a shortlist. But it still makes me, you know, a bit itchy.

I wanted to reach out to you guys and ask what you would recommend? I did a photography A level at school, but that finished 10 years ago and I haven’t picked up an SLR since. I want something that is easy to use (like childlike) and that is reliable, so does anyone have any suggestions?

Thanks peoples!

Insta Catch Up – Bye Bye January!

31 Jan

I’ve been pretty busy this week, dashing about and planning the next (and hopefully very exciting!) chapter, but I have been neglecting Instagram slightly less, so I thought I would catch you all up.

1Can’t is so negative. I am guilty sometimes (like everyone else) of dwelling on the things that I can’t do rather than focussing on the positive and things I can do. This year I’m all about turning the frown upside down and taking those cants into YES I CAN!’s.

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My darling baby cousin Emily turned 15 this week, and celebrated accordingly. I am so excited to be with her in 2 weeks doing girly stuff and celebrating her (nearly) grown-up-ness!

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I fell in love with the lighting when we went to Lobster Burger recently, and began daydreaming of a beautiful loft conversion flat where I could accommodate these. And then I remembered it would be cold. And drafty.3

I’m not a girly girl, and so my nails remain very neglected. Sometimes I do a French polish, sometimes they go for month with barely a file. But left to my own devices in Topshop’s Flagship store on Oxford Street, I went dotty for the detail on these bottles! I was, however, very restrained. Small savings enable big dreams.

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Tulips are by far my favourite flower, and great for brightening the flat when the rain is lashing down. My housemate came home from an extended Christmas break, and I filled out carton shaped milk jug with flowers to brighten her day too. Its all about kindness in 2014.

Eating My Way Around – Cape Town Fish Market, London

30 Jan

This week, I met with one of my best gal pals, and we visited our meet up haunt, Cape Town Fish Market (Oxford Street, London). It’s a restaurant just off Oxford Street, and it does the most amazing seafood. It even has the tag line “any fresher and you would need a fishing rod”, and the fish swim around in massive tanks, which adds to the whole drama of the place. It’s lovely.

They have a great offer for card holders, so we often meet up on a Tuesday and gorge on the most delicious sushi; California rolls with tempura prawns and a mango wrap, melt in your mouth sashimi and all different types of nigiri, plus wasabi mayonnaise, kohlrabi sauce and of course, soy glaze. It’s a bit pricey, but with the deal card it makes it really reasonable for good sushi (and I am a massive sushi snob) and honestly, I would go on a non deal night, it’s that good.

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Sushi, it makes miso happy

They also have a fairly extensive menu, including my personal favourite, the surf and turf. You think you know surf and turf, right? Hunk of steak covered in prawns?

You can’t even begin to imagine.

This surf and turf is out of this world, and features a real twist on the classic. Instead of steak they present you with twice cooked pork belly, and replacing the prawns are some dainty little scallops. The whole thing comes with wilted spinach, and is by far my favourite meal out. in fact, I love to try different things if I go to the same place twice, but on this occasion, I JUST CAN’T. I fear that I might get food envy if anyone else chooses it and I don’t, so I hedge safely and choose my favourite. And I am never disappointed.

This is my local go to when guests from out of town visit as it’s a bit of a crowd pleaser, and although its busy if you book you are generally guaranteed a table. The staff don’t rush you (I was there 20 mins before my friend this week and they happily let me sit with my wine and browse Facebook) and the general feel of the restaurant is happy and chilled. Just my jam.

Have you been? What is your favourite place to take guests when they are in your town?

Whats The Deal??

29 Jan

Deal sites.

I’m obsessed with them. There, I said it.

On an almost daily basis, I will go through said deal sites and look at what they have to offer me. And on the whole, I find some fantastic bargains. I have had discount contact lenses, dinners out for 2 and even a holiday through these sites, and on the most part I am fairly happy with them. Granted, we did bring the average age on the holiday down by 50 years, and enjoyed some rather eclectic cabaret singing, but there was 40 degree heat, a pool and a beach, and some relaxing memory building with my best friend. Which is all you really need in life, right?images

But recently I have been left a little disappointed by the deals they offer. I recently booked a deal for me and the boy to go and have a seafood platter dinner (with lobster, what more could you ask for) and when I called to book they never picked up. Eventually I got the cleaner, who wouldn’t pass me over to anyone else or take a message for me. Right. I called Groupon and complained and they returned the money. All good.

Then last week I excitedly found a deal to Reykjavik (a place I have always wanted to go) and a friend who would go with me, and excitedly booked. For days after I emailed to reserve our spot no one responded, and calls were often met with the engaged tone. Again, when I finally got through, they tried to charge me extra (“The time you have booked for is VERY busy”) and also tried to send us out on days different to those we had booked, and from an airport miles away. it culminated in me very calmly stating that it was false advertising, and the lady at the company (I’m too much of a lady to name names) hanging up the phone on me. Perfect customer service, right there.

I’m kinda gutted. I had my heart set on exploring the wintry tundra of Iceland in my ski gear (because I don’t use it for skiing, do I?) with my BFF. And now, if I want to, I will have to organise it myself for a higher cost. I don’t mind doing that, don’t get me wrong, but when it’s a flippin good deal, it’s all a bit disappointing when it’s too good to be true.

What are your thoughts on deal sites like Groupon? Would love to hear about your experiences.

Eating My Way Around: Burger Lobster, London

28 Jan

I’m a foodie. When I say that, I would like to caveat that I am not one of those foodies who thinks that there should be a big plate and not a lot of dinner on it, nor am I the type of person that eats things like ‘seafood foams’ or ‘chicken basket’ (the latter sounds slightly more like the fare you would expect in KFC rather than a Michelin star restaurant, but I digress :) ) I simply love food.

Doesn’t matter what food. There is very little I don’t like. Living in a city like London, I am like a child in a sweetshop. Spoilt for choice on interesting cuisines to nibble on or places to visit. I have a list as long as my arm of restaurants I have heard about on the grapevine, and I like to go and see as much as I can.

In 2013, I crossed off some really good ones, including Shaka Zulu (Camden, London – read my review here) and Balthazar (Covent Garden, London) but this year I am upping the ante and eating my way through London, one mouth-watering morsel at a time.

This weekend, we visited Burger Lobster in the City, one of the 5 of this chain in London. The premise is simple, there are no menus, you simply have the choice of burger, or lobster (with the added bonus of a lobster roll). You can have the lobster grilled or steamed, but they are the only choices (the cocktails menu however, is pretty extensive!).

Simple. Perfect. Having heard great things about the lobster roll; a brioche bun stuffed to the brim with dressed lobster, complete with fries, side salad and an amazing lemon and garlic butter sauce, I plumped for that. And I wasn’t disappointed. If you ever come to London then you need to get yourself there and try it out. its by far the best lobster I’ve had in a while, plus its nice to have it all de-shelled before its plonked in front of you (I know I’m a heathen but it prevents me from getting covered in it).

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The dessert is pretty simple too. There are 2 options, and they change regularly. The white and dark chocolate parfait was AMAZING – all in all, a fantastic lunch.

For an additional secret tip, I recommend visiting the City location on the weekend. Soho always has a line right round the block during lunch and dinner sittings, but with the weekend being mostly closed in the city, the tables are a lot easier to get and there isn’t much need for a reservation.

Where are your recommendations for fantastic places to eat out?

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