Wednesday, 17 January 2018

LIFE: Goals for 2018


Yes, it's now 17th January and I'm only just checking in. You see, it's been a very hectic start to the New Year.

We had a lovely Christmas at our house with 10 guests (including us!) then went off to Pembrokshire for 4 days to see in the new year.

After getting back on the 2nd, being straight back to work, having a weekend of basically de-Christmas-ing the house and then I was off to Italy for a week spent in Florence and Italy (for work).

I'm now back to reality, trying to catch up on a mountain of work, a mountain of house work and really in need of a general new year de-cluttering.

I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling a little down in the dumps throughout January. The festivities are over, the endless supply of chocolate is gone and it's now time to get 'back into the swing of things' (ugh!)

I also find it a bit of a tough one with all of the 'new year, new me' army out there as well as the new January gymgoers that are taking up all the spots in my favourite classes. That said, it's giving me a chance to partake (for the second year running) in Yoga with Adriene's 30 day daily practice - which I'm LOVING by the way.

I must admit, I'm feeling a little like I'm treading on eggshells walking into 2018. It's likely to be the year of change - which, considering the last two years, seems impossible. Finally it feels like things may settle down a bit and some normality (well, new normality) can be restored.

You see, I feel like I've lost myself these past couple of years and I want 2018 to be filled with the things I love doing, the people I love seeing and the places I want to get ticked off my bucket list. I want to feel calm and content - which, although I felt like at points during 2017, the most part of it I felt like I was floating through at high speed. Are we over saying 'where HAS this year gone?' yet.

So, as I do every year, I've set myself a few goals. Goals I feel can be achievable and are part of finding this 'calm and contentedness' I'm craving rather than 'lose weight', 'buy house' or 'become yoga instructor'. The goals I'm setting myself are to keep me on track, or at least try to find the path I want to walk down (LOL!)

Here goes...

1. Read More - books, news, blog posts
I love reading but I find it difficult to sit myself down and read these days. I read so many books during my English Lit/Lang degree and it kinda left me needing a break. However, it's 6 years this year since I finished uni so I don't really have much of an excuse anymore. I got a bit of reading done last year (mostly Laura Jane Williams, Daisy Buchanan - that kinda stuff).
But, in general, I feel like I need to consume more words - whether it's being a bit more on top of what's going on in the world, reading blog posts that will motivate and inspire me - and books too.I'd like to aim for a book a month, but we'll see.

2. Balance and prioritising
I know we all dislike the way 'balance' is thrown around but I feel like I need a bit of it in my life these days. Sometimes I'll have crazy busy weeks where I'm here there and everywhere - on planes, trains, in London etc - and then I'll have others where I'm simply working from home four out of the five working days. I mean, it's the nature of my job but I feel like I need a bit of somewhere in between. It won't always be possible, but I want to make a really conscious effort to not make myself too busy in a week but also not spend too many days working in isolation.

3. Buy less
Literally my goal EVERY year but it's one I always need to write down so that, when I look back on this in a few months, it gives me a kick up the bum. I've said it before, I'll say it again...I have a serious spending problem. I'm a sad shopper (ie. bad day = buy loads of clothes/shoes/food/whatever takes my fancy). I'm aiming for no unnecessary purchases during January and February..possibly longer. This means clothes, shoes, candles (I have a problem) or anything that I haven't already got plenty of.

4. Capsule wardrobe/declutter
I suppose this goes hand in hand with the above really. I have been toying with the idea of a capsule wardrobe (or at least a huge declutter) since the summer and I feel like it's time to put that to the test.
I have SO much stuff. It's actually crazy. I dread the day I move out of my house because it will be worse moving out than it was moving in. So, with this in mind and the buy less manta...I need to declutter/ try the whole capsule wardrobe thing for 2018.

5. Really look into my diet
...and I'm not talking anything crazy. I have always considered myself a reasonably healthy eater but as I near 30 my metabolism isn't what it once was (I only have to look at a bowl of pasta and it goes to my bum/thighs/stomach/face). I want to make sure my diet is balanced and that I'm getting what I need as well as what I need for 3-4 gyms sessions a week. I just want to make sure I'm looking after myself in the right way and keeping my body healthy and happy.

6. Be tidier and more organised
I have never and possibly never will be the most organised person in the world. I'll write lists and forget where I've put them or I'll 'tidy up and put something in a safe place' and I've lost it 5 minutes later. This year I want everything to have it's own place and to make my life easier. Honestly, the amount of times I tore the house apart looking for something as I was due to leave the house. I'd never find what I was looking for until like a week later then come home to mess everywhere. And, when you work from home, a messy house isn't good for a productive day.

7. Be kinder
To myself and to others. I give myself a really hard time pretty much 80% of the time. I get myself worked up VERY quickly. It's something I need to learn to control. I need to give myself a break. But equally, I want to be kinder to others. 2017 was the year of me feeling like a bit of a misery-guts sometimes and being that friend that's always a bit negative and grumpy. I want to always make sure I'm a version of myself that I like when I'm around others.

And that's it folks. I may add to this as the year goes on as I had some little things like 'learn to stand up paddle board', 'go to Cornwall more' and 'get heels to the ground in downward facing dog' but let's see how I get on with these first. They're not necessarily measurable goals in the traditional sense but I think there will be plenty of lessons to be learned from my 6 goals for the year.


Tuesday, 12 December 2017

ATE: Turtle Bay Christmas Menu, Leamington Spa

As you'll all know by now, I'm a big Turtle Bay fan! Particularly TB in Leamington Spa. The staff are always so darn lovely and I'm always so impressed by the new dishes they release.

Not only do I love Turtle Bay...I also love Christmas (stick with me here...)

So imagine my absolute JOY when I was invited to try the Turtle Bay Christmas menu.

I've always had a fascination with the Caribbean and Caribbean food (having travelled there often as a child) and there's nothing I love more than a bit of Reggae or a nice little tune on a steeldrum (especially if it's a Christmas song on a steeldrum!)

If you're anything like me, you'll want to decide what you're having before you arrive...

The one thing that surprised me was the price. 4 COURSES FOR £24?! Amazing.

While we deliberated the menu, we went for a Caribbean Pimms and an Elderflower Cooler. 

Both delicious!

We went for two starters, the garlic & herb flatbread and the duck rolls (as always!)

We both love anything garlic bread-esque and you literally cannot go wrong with the duck rolls. Seriously, we have them every time we eat at Turtle Bay and I don't think I could ever get bored of them.

For main, I went for the half jerk chicken with the classic glaze, rice & peas and Caribbean slaw. H went for the Guyanese duck curry.

The one thing I will say about Turtle Bay, no matter what day you go on or how busy it is, there's always a great atmosphere. We go with friends usually on a Friday or Saturday night but we ended up having this meal on a Sunday night after a busy weekend in London.
It was actually so nice to go out for food on a Sunday night and, even though quieter than a Friday or Saturday, we got a nice seat near the window and the music was top notch, as always.

The food arrived and smelt SO GOOD.

I'm not embarrassed to say, I wolfed my jerk chicken down. The glaze was absolutely beautiful and, I'm usually a bit wary of coleslaw but this Caribbean one was so so tasty!

H said his duck curry was probably one of the nicest curries he's ever had - I tried it, I can 100% verify this!

Thinking we were too full..we umm'd and ahh'd about about the likelihood of us fitting a desert each in...but our lovely waitress had told us that the black treacle sticky toffee pudding was new to the menu and not to be missed out on.

I love sticky toffee pudding. It always reminds me of my Grandad. It's always been a desert that, when we would go to the pub for a family meal, we'd both have it (or share if we were too full!)

So, we decided on a sticky toffee pud to share.

And the waitress was so right.

Best sticky toffee pudding I've EVER eaten. I'm not sure I could have managed a full one but luckily H was there to help me out.

With full bellies, ears filled with reggae music and smiles on our faces we headed for home.

Genuinely, I can't recommend this menu enough, or a visit to Turtle Bay in general.
Even though they are a Caribbean-inspired restaurant, I'm always impressed with the campaigns and menu introductions - not only food but cocktails too - that they have throughout the year.

Make sure you don't miss this cracking deal - Christmas is coming around VERY quickly!

Check out their website to pick you're meal for your next visit -

**We were invited to try the Christmas Menu by Turtle Bay PR but all views are my own. I just blummin' love it!**

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

LIFE: The Month Ahead - May

Yep, we're 9 days into May but better late than never, ay?

April was a good month. Lots of bank holidays, my birthday, lots of time with Dad, with H and with my pals. But, on the flip side, that meant I felt quite unmotivated for anything that wasn't socialising, brunch or gin.

So during April, we went to Coughton Court for an afternoon - such a beautiful National Trust spot and one I urge you to go to. I had a day with my BFF Emily. We had breakfast at Hilltop Farm then afternoon tea at Vinteas.

I had a Pattenmakers dinner in London which was a lot of fun. This time it was at the Ironmongers Hall which was possibly my favourite yet.

For my birthday, Dad, H and I went down to London. We spent the day at Kew Gardens then had dinner at LeBab - which, if you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen was absolutely wonderful.

We stayed overnight and spent the next day having breakfast at one of my favourite spots, The Riding House Café then had a wander around Carnaby Street before heading home.

H and I went out in the Stratford for the evening with some friends but first having a lovely dinner at the Giggling Squid.

The last weekend of the month was a fun one. I met up with my 7 besties from uni and we had a night out in Leeds and Bank Holiday drinks at the Belgrave the following day. I then headed home and had a night out for one of our friends birthdays.

As usual, a lot of food, drinks and friend-filled days and nights.

What a great month <3

May is basically a lot of work commitments, family meals/visits, trying new coffee shops and trying not to overspend on unnecessary things as I've got a few trips coming up.

1. Go for a walk at least 3 mornings every week
- amazingly I managed this...even if it was just half an hour running errands!
2. Have a Spring clean - I've half managed this...I started sorting my clothes out and started sprucing the house up but still have bits to do
3. Watch one new film each week - yessss! I did this too which I'm very proud of myself for managing!

Proud of: not giving in. You will probably be able to tell by the next few paragraphs on here that I've had a bit of a dip in motivation/energy during April. I think it's because of the stop starting with working weekends. I love a Bank Holiday as much as the next person but taking a break always makes it harder to get back into a routine, doesn't it? That said, I've not given into my tiredness, my bad moods, my lack of energy, my 'oh woe is me!' days...

Grateful formusic. On the day's where I've had zero motivation, putting on some upbeat or decent music has really perked me up. I've even found myself listening to the Spice Girls for a bit of a 'girl power' boost this afternoon...I'm sure many will disagree BUT their songs still sound good all these years on.

Letting go of: being moody. I don't know what's been going on this month but my moods have really been up and down (is this the type of thing I can blame on the changing moon or something? I heard somebody say something about this the other day but it's probably not even relevant and now I look like a tit!) I've found myself getting in a real strop over nothing so I need to kick this to the kerb!

Committed to: fitness, health, sleep...I'm blaming the whole being moody thing but I've had days where I'm super on top of healthy eating, keeping fit and getting enough sleep then there's been others where I've overindulged on leftover Easter chocolate (yes, I'm amazed we still have any left too!), I've not even wanted to walk upstairs, let alone go to the gym and I've stayed up too late and not wanted to get up in the mornings.

Excited about: holidays woooooooooo. I'm super excited about the trips I've got coming up! Most are for work but I've got a few days away with the girls in Copenhagen and H and I have booked a super duper exciting trip to Lisbon and Porto for a week. A WHOLE WEEK AHHH! I cannot wait!

Action Steps & Thought Provoking Questions
1. Am I achieving the things I want to at the moment? In life, in work, socially.
2. Am I educating myself enough? - news, work-related, reading etc
3. Am I motivated enough on a daily basis? How can I improve it?

1. Healthy eating and exercise - with holidays booked comes self confidence issues. I'm not into the whole 'beach body ready' idea...I don't really care that much what I look like to other people but I want to feel comfortable in my own skin in the sunshine. Not like a sweaty, beached whale.
2. Get clothes up on Depop/ebay - this also means finishing off my 'Spring Sort Out' and getting things either up online to sell. I need to get a few bits to the charity shop as well.
3. Spend less time on my phone/watching Netflix and more time reading having ACTUAL CONVERSATION - honestly, H and I can go a couple of hours without saying a word to one another because we're glued to our phones and I think it is SO unhealthy but, sadly, I'm sure a lot of people are in this boat. So I'm going to consciously make an effort to spend less time with technology and more time actually learning, talking, living life how we used to do before we all got addicted to iPhones, the internet etc.