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.



Tuesday, 4 April 2017

LIFE: The Month Ahead - April

So...My 'monthly series' is going well...I already missed a month and we're not even half way into the year! March absolutely flew by - as I say about every month, it seems.

I spent the first week or so of March recovering from a very busy February! I'd been away most of the month and my last trip was to Vegas and, unfortunately, the jetlag hit me much harder than usual this time.

H and I had a lovely trip to Edinburgh for his birthday. We were super lucky with the weather; although it was windy, it was pretty sunny the whole time. It was so nice to spend some time together without having to think about work and everyday life.

I've had a couple of trips down to London, mostly for work, but I managed to explore a few places that I don't get to visit too often - Brick Lane, Spitalfields (one of my favourite areas) and Westminster. I was really saddened, as I know everybody was, about the attack - especially considering I was in the exact spot 24 hours before. It just goes to show, life is short...you never know what's around the corner and it brings home how important it is to embrace each and every day.

We're now 4 days into April and this month already feels like it'll be gone soon. I've got a lot of deadlines and a lot of hard work to put in this month so I'm nearing peak anxiety/stress levels trying to get my work/life/everything else balance right.

This month I also turn 26. Which scares the shit out of me. TWENTY SIX. That means I'm now scarily nearing 30. My whole 'I want to be married/have kids and own a house by 30' is looking laughably unrealistic now. I may have a dog by that point though...so every cloud has a silver lining.

I'm looking forward to having a few days off - Easter falls pretty well this year so I'm off for that, working the Wednesday after Easter then off until the following Tuesday...which is pretty much the end of the month.

So, how badly did I do with my aims this month, you ask?

1. One blog post each week - Fail. I couldn't even manage to get my 'The Month Ahead' out on time so this wasn't exactly going to happen...
2. Analyse spending habits - Done. I'm *almost* in a good position financially. This has been a LONG time coming.
3. Get up earlier - Done. I've also been getting much better quality sleep. We've been making an effort to get up earlier at the weekends and I feel loads better for you.

Proud of: myself for handling Mother's Day so well. After my parents separation last year, my 'mum' hasn't spoken to me for around a year now. Don't ask why, as I have no idea (and I genuinely mean that - I've tried but been ignored!) In a year that's been particularly hard, I've had to cope without a mother - that said, my dad has become Superdad and I have plenty of motherly figures supporting me. Although, I've come to realise, I'm strong enough to handle my own life, my own problems. It might have taken me almost 26 years but I'm finally becoming independent. I thought Mother's Day would be hard but, really, it was quite nice. It was Dad and Daughter Day, with H also there. We had a lovely day out at Charlecote Park and went for a pub dinner, the weather was glorious...it was a very good day.

Grateful for: A long weekend away. It was very, very nice to have some time away with H and to not think about anything but us being in Edinburgh. I really loved Edinburgh and can't wait to go back in the future. That said, there are SO many places on my 'I NEED TO GO RIGHT NOW' list.

Letting go of: frustration - with myself, with trivial things. I get worked up about the smallest of things so easily and it does me no good.

Committed to: looking after myself - I want to commit myself to getting fresh air, to eating well, to getting to bed and getting up at a reasonable time, to eating well, to taking a few moments for myself during the day.

Excited about: Spring - I love Spring. The flowers, the lighter mornings and evenings, the warmer weather, the Easter break, my birthday. April is always my favourite month.

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

1. Go for a walk at least 3 mornings every week
2. Have a Spring clean - sort out my clothes, spruce the house up.
3. Watch one new film each week - I'm useless when it comes to watching films.

MARCH MOTTO: focus is key.

Happy April - I hope it's a wonderful, fun-filled month for you.


Monday, 20 March 2017

ATE AT: Fat Hippo Underground, Newcastle

I am SO excited to tell you about this place.
We came across it at Peddler. For those of you that don't know, Peddler is a street food market ft. food trucks, djs, bars (including a cocktail bar with THE best Espresso Martinis) and more. It's run by a uni friend of mine and his team in Sheffield. It's held the first Friday and Saturday of every month and it's 100% worth a trip. The food stalls change (often with some of the favourites returning) and...the point I'm making - this is where I discovered Fat Hippo.

Fat Hippo are (in my eyes) the King of burgers - and I feel that I eat enough burgers to make this kind of judgement. Their motto is "GOOD FOOD. MESSY FINGERS. JUICY BURGERS. FAT HIPPO DO THE GOOD KIND OF GLUTTONY." Yes, yes, yes!
When we'd decided we were having a night in Newcastle on our way up to Edinburgh, it seemed like fate that we tried our first Fat Hippo Burger two weeks prior *instantly books restaurant two weeks ahead*. They have 3 restaurants in the North - Newcastle, Jesmond and Durham and I'm pretty sure they'll pop up at Peddler again so you've got plenty of options!

Hidden just around the corner from the Theatre Royal, Fat Hippo Underground is located on Shakespeare Street in Newcastle. Look out for the hippo!

The interior is great - you can tell how out of sync I've been with blogging, I didn't get a photo - BUT let's use our imagination. Bare brick, a kind of speakeasy feel with hanging pendant lighting (is that what it's called?) and cool industrial-style tables and stools.

I know décor like this seems to be popping up all over the place - coffee shops, bars etc - but it really does work with this underground, cave-like spot.

We had a browse at the menus, both already knowing what burger we wanted...

H had a beer and I had this absolute dream. There really couldn't have been a more perfect drink for me - gin, elderflower and limoncello slush. Despite getting hideous brain freeze a few times, this is 100% a drink I will be attempting to recreate once the weather gets better.

We decided on a sharer starter of deep fried gherkins with garlic mayo to dip. Don't knock them until you've tried them! We both loooove gherkins and having tried them deep fried for the first time, I can't help but feel I've been missing out!

Onto the burgers...

We both went for the PB&J - a 4oz patty topped with crunchy peanut butter, bacon jam and cheese. No words can explain how amazing this burger is.
The peanut butter is more of a nut butter rather a standard PB. Nut butters are not as dry because of the natural oil and this PB is kinda the same texture. Maybe it's the heat of the patty that make it this way, who knows?! The bacon jam is really, REALLY tasty. Perfect consistency and full of flavour. The patty is cooked perfectly as well. So many restaurants overcook the patty and it's so disappointing when this happens but Fat Hippo nail it!

Really, they are SO good. Obviously, teamed with the standard side of sweet potato fries.
Another thing I really want to perfect making at home but it's impossible to make SP fries as well as the restaurants do!

Definitely want to try the Candy Man next. The candied bacon sounds like a dream! And those deep fried mac 'n' cheese balls mmm!

I won't ramble on anymore. Just please trust me when I say - if you're near a Fat Hippo or see them as a pop-up - go and try one of their burgers!

2-6 Shakespeare Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 6AQ.
Book online - here.