A travel and style blog

I Quit Sugar: A Life Without Mint Aero

I am now the proud owner of a shiny new cookbook, I Quit Sugar For Life by Sarah Wilson: 'A Fad-Free Wholefood Wellness Code and Cookbook.' I spent this bank holiday stocking up on the kitchen clobber that I'll need to overhaul my fridge and my health.
I Quit Sugar Cookery Book and Kilner Jars
What motivated me to change my culinary lifestyle and improve my health and wellbeing? Basically I'm going to be bored in September when the boyfriend goes on not one, but two, lads trips. That's TWO lads trips in one month! So while poor old me is home alone, I thought I'd throw myself into a well being month and let the whirring of my newly acquired magic bullet, drown out any thoughts about the fun he'll be having. When he rocks up at my front door, laden with duty free presents (he better be laden with presents) I'll be looking ten years younger and have the energy of a teenager! Cowabunga!

I set the ball in motion and went out on the hunt for a well being recipe book! The thought of giving up sugar hadn't even occurred to me until I flicked through I Quit Sugar For Life. The concept here isn't to diet, but to change your entire approach to the kinds of foods you eat and return to your natural appetite, before the world of processed sugary foods was born. The author, Sarah Wilson, writes how after she quit sugar she "experienced a steady, calm happiness that has previously eluded me." Sold!
I Quit Sugar For Life cookbook by Sarah Wilson
The book is gorgeous, packed with colourful, inspiring recipes and photos. I felt healthier just reading it! The gist is that we're all actually addicted to sugar, and we need to go back to basics to introduce a healthier sugar free lifestyle.

I always thought of my food choices as reasonably healthy, but I was struck by how the notion of a sugar free life scares me. I can't actually imagine it! No Aero chocolate bars, no Kit Kats, not even the mint ones! and you can forget Maltesers!
Sugary treats are a bigger part of my everyday life than I realised! I might well be a sugar addict. I'm anyone's for an apple turnover.

So, since Saturday, when I made the decision to challenge myself to a sugar free diet, I haven't stopped salivating at the thought of sugar. I'm salivating now as I write this!

I'm excited at the prospect of a healthier me though. If I ever have children, I'd love to be one of those mother earth types who raise their children to believe that a raisin is a Saturday night treat. While other kids will be sat playing Grand Theft Auto on the X-Box, my darling Tarquin will be rummaging about the family vegetable patch picking carrots for our evening supper.
He'll sit wide eyed, listening intently to my lecture on the perils of addiction to Mars Bars. He'll also attend Karate class, as it's possible he'll get bullied to hell.

Anyhow, yesterday I headed out to buy a magic bullet, the ingredients for two recipes, kilner jars and the essential...pretty straws.

As a novice, it's a bit overwhelming. Especially when you have to google some of the ingredients to find out what they even are! I thought arrowroot was a vegetable. Would you have known what it was? I was in Sainsburys for ages with my chap, hunting for arrowroot, or 'bloody arrowfoot' as I was calling it by the time we'd scaled the baking aisle about twenty times.  
Healthy Food in my supermarket trolley
Supermarket Baking Aisle
 Ten points if you can spot the arrowroot here!

A new lifestyle is a little bit pricey on the offset, but once you've stocked your cupboards with the equipment and made a start on the ingredients the damage to your purse will lessen. Let's be honest, it's a worthwhile investment in the long run. I did sack off the optional chia seeds this time though! £5 a pack.
Chia Seeds
Now I claim that this is an honest blog, so between you and me, after Sainsburys we nipped to Holland & Barrett for protein powder, and en-route scoffed a Greggs pasty! I know, the irony is ridiculous. It was a sort of goodbye pasty. If all goes to plan, I may never have another Greggs Pasty for the rest of my life. Thanks for everything Gregg, but it's over! It's not me ,but it is actually you! FYI my last fling was delicious!

There is a four week wellness programme in the book and tips on how to prepare for it, but as a novice there's a lot to take in. On Sarah's blog there's a beginners 8 week detox programme available which is the best place to start. Have a nosey here.
I decided I'll start by trying out a few recipes from her book that have jumped out at me and make changes gradually. As I get the hang of things I'll introduce more recipes until hey presto, I look and feel bloody marvellous. Her ethos is to 'gently commit' and not punish yourself.
I might need to resort to her detox programme in the end, but I'll see how I go. I figure that even if I just have one healthy, home prepared meal a day it's a positive step towards a new way of living.
So far I've whizzed up a couple of smoothies and baked Paleo Inside Out Bread. I tell you, sprinkling sunflower seeds over the top of my loaf made me feel like I was winning at life.
I'm like totally healthy these days, I cook with sunflower seeds and have spinach in my drinks don't you know!
Vegetable Ingredients and Sarah Wilson's I Quit Sugar Cookbook
The jury is out on whether I'll succeed and maintain this new way of living but I'm all for giving it a go. I'll keep you updated on how I get on!

Are you a sugar addict? Can you imagine a life without sugary treats? I'm excited to see if I can do it. I'm doing it for a healthier me, a glowing complexion and of course, for little Tarquin.

Thanks so much for reading. Don't forget you can follow me on Twitter here and Instagram here.
Muchos love x x

Five Friends One Luxury Lodge

Well hello there! Last week I experienced the absolute euphoria that is finishing work for the week on a Tuesday! Oh, and I spent two nights in a luxury lodge with four friends. Oh, and it was completely free!

This week I am experiencing the absolute slump that comes when you're back at work after spending two free nights in a luxury lodge with four friends.

A journo pal of mine landed the trip to The Celtic Manor Resort, in Newport Wales, after striking a deal at work. Remember, a friend who invites you for a free luxury break, is a friend for life.

Since my pals and I hit the ripe old age of thirty something, finding weekends when we're all free to meet up can be next to impossible. You'll be shocked to hear that when the invite for this bobby dazzler of a break reared its head, our diaries miraculously emptied.

Say hello to our humble abode
Hunter Lodge Celtic Manor Resort Wales
Dining Room at Hunter Lodge Celtic Manor Resort
Private Sauna At Celtic Manor Resort
White Bathrobes in the Hunter Lodges Celtic Manor
View of the golf course from hunter lodge celtic manor Outdoor Hot Tub
View of the golf course at Celtic Manor Resort Wales

What do you think? Aside from the gorgeous interior, private sauna and jacuzzi, double ensuite bedroom with fluffy white bathrobes and Elemis toiletries, it's ghastly isn't it? Don't even get me started on the panoramic view of the golf course.

Now I have been known to be a little bit of a negative Nancy from time to time, but this place left nothing for even me to grumble about. The rainy weather wasn't even a problem. It just made the lodge all the more cosy. Sitting in the comfort of your private jacuzzi, watching the mist roll in, sipping Prosecco is exactly how I want to spend my afternoons. I firmly believe that I was in fact born to do this. I know money doesn't buy happiness, but, I was pretty damn happy strolling about Hunter Lodge No.1, Plucky Pheasant, with my pals.

If the accommodation itself wasn't enough we were greeted with a fully stocked fridge of afternoon tea and refreshments. I'm talking 'proper' refreshments too... "Here's a little something we prepared earlier..."
Afternoon Tea Cakes
If only I could have my fridge at home stocked miraculously like this. A half used jar of pesto, bit of cheese and packet of sliced ham, just doesn't cut the mustard now that I've stayed in a Hunter Lodge.

For any greedies in the group (that'll be all of us) a complimentary takeaway of our choice was delivered to the lodge for our first night's evening meal.
Well we could hardly be expected to go out and collect it could we! Lifting tiny cakes in an afternoon really takes it out of you! 
Allow me to introduce the genius of all genius ... the option of a healthy takeaway. Something that's yet to hit Lancashire. I went for grilled chicken with ginger and lemon, served with asparagus, a super food salad and pitta bread! That's what I call a takeaway. A treat without feeling your cholesterol rise as you chew. "Now listen Giacomo, you can stick your stuffed crust...."

Healthy takeaways are the future!

WARNING: Although you may have a private sauna, please use it with caution. Preferably not after an afternoon/evening supping prosecco, chomping on tiny sandwiches and takeaway. Hotter than the sun and delirious is not a good look.

Meanwhile, after a luxury nights sleep (over heated though I was) and an evening of over indulgence, what better way to start the day than with an indulgent breakfast! Can I get a Hell Yeah?! Let me just throw in here that the fridge was fully stocked with a Continental Breakfast for us each morning!
Thursday morning had us heading out for 'Activities.' Now I know what you're thinking. Crikey your doing too much, don't over do things! Well worry not, the resorts shuttle bus tootled along to take us to our activity destination to avoid major fatigue.
We spent the morning trying our hand at laser clays, and archery. As you do! It was so much fun to try something that I never usually would. It's unfortunate that I write this blog anonymously or I could've shared my ridiculous laser clays face with you! Think crooked neck and squinty eye!
Laser Clays
Archery at Celtic Manor Resort Wales
So what does one do next after a morning's activites? A spot of lunch in the resorts Merlin's Bar. You had me at tiny millionaire shortbread and tea!
I had a quick three hour dip in the private jacuzzi, before the shuttle bus came to ferry us for our evening meal and final destination! A slap up meal was a perfect end to the trip. Well let's face it, we'd hardly eaten a morsel the whole time.

I can't believe how lucky I've been to experience this trip. The treatment was faultless. Well actually, okay I had one complaint. No tea bags in the lodge. A pal had to phone the concierge, who swiftly brought some along! I know, I know, disgusting!!

For the rap fans amongst you (as many as I'm sure there are) I have it on good authority that Snoop Dogg has stayed in one of the lodges. Just a bit of subtle gangsta rap name dropping for you there. 

Thanks so much for reading. Don't forget you can follow me on Twitter here and Instagram here.

I've got a day at a desk ahead of me tomorrow. Why oh why can't I be doing a spot of archery with my pals again?! What will I do when mid afternoon creeps round and I want to be sat in bubbles while drinking bubbles, but I can't? The world can be a cruel cruel place x x

From Thong To Brief: The Evolution Of A Relationship

Don't ask where the inspiration for this post came from. The idea struck and I decided it's either absolute genius, or a sign I need to up my Evening Primrose Oil, again. I'll let you lovely people be the judge.

As your relationship evolves, so to will your choice of thunder crackers. It's a natural process that happens to us all. Or at least I hope it happens to us all.

This is a journey from thong to brief. If, in the unlikely event that you are a male of a sensitive disposition, in the early stages of a relationship, you might want to look away now.

Your First Few Dates and THE THONG
Ladies Black Lace Thong
I want you to find me sexy, but don't be thinking I'm a brazen harlot. Take me home to meet your Mother, I'm a lovely girl.
'The First Date Thong' is more than just a tongue twister. We have Sisqo to thank for the insight into the male psyche when it comes to thongs. When the time feels right for you to whip out your undies, let the lucky suitor see a classy lace thong. (If a thong can ever be described as classy, but you know what I mean).

You're not seeing anyone else but it's still early days and THE FANCIER THONG
Agent Provocateur Lace Thong
I'm feeling more comfortable with you, and heck secure enough to be a bit more playful too. Don't you be looking elsewhere, you won't find fancier thongs anywhere else. P.S It's Agent Provocateur so yeah I like nice presents. Write that down if you need to.
You're getting the vibe that this one might just like you. He's come back for more after all, plus he seems to have got the message that you're not just a one night hussy. You're a gal of substance. Bring out the fancy pants without fear of being judged.

You're definitely exclusive and THE LITTLE SATIN BRIEF
Ted Baker Ladies Knickers
And breathe...a little bit. This one's almost in the bag. I'm relaxing more and more with you, but check out the lace back to my pants. That's right, I'm still keeping things sexy. Well a bit.
It's official! You're an item! I'm talking Facebook relationship status updated and everything. These little satin knickers will lure him into a false sense of security. He will, poor thing, think these are your big pants. He doesn't know anything yet.

French Knickers
I know by now that you love me enough to cope with a larger pant. I love you enough to let them be lace ones.
The emergence of the larger pant signifies you're in a 'proper' relationship. Congratulations! The parents have been met and you're part of the furniture round at his Mums. The 'dates' as such have eased off and you're hanging out with each other most nights. It's highly probable that the two of you can be found curled up on the sofa watching The Great British Bake Off (whether he wants to or not, I mean you put up with Top Gear repeats, it's only fair).

You're in it for the long haul and THE BIG BRIEF
Pink ladies briefs
So I'm assuming you have feelings for me by now. How do you feel about cotton briefs? I'm so happy that you've seen me in these and are still around.
Cast your mind back to your first few dates. You would've died on the spot if he'd have seen you in your big pants. I can feel a flush of horror just imagining it. See how far you've come as a couple. You have by now probably broken wind in front of him. He'll feel comfortable enough to ask/accuse you of it anyway. Always deny it, ALWAYS! He'll also feel comfortable enough to make 'parachute' remarks. Ignore these.

As your love for each other grows, so does the size of a gals pants. This is a scientific fact. Probably.

Now because it means so much to me that you've taken the time to read this post, let me leave you with a pearl of wisdom. There is a point beyond the big cotton pants. Try at all costs to avoid going there.
You may well know already what I'm talking about. That certain pair of pants lurking at the back of your drawer. You know the pair, the ones that you don't even want your fella to see. What can be worse than a pair of big briefs you ask? Try colour faded, tiger print, cotton pants...
I know, I know, ghastly aren't they? Very Del Boy. They came in a multipack, I'm not wholly to blame. I don't even know why I still have them. Maybe I'll start a bad pant amnesty and throw out my horrendous ones. Well, after one more wear!

Has your relationship followed a similar pant pattern? Do you have pants that can match my holy horrors?

Don't forget you can say hello on Twitter here and Instagram here ! Thanks so much for reading. x x

Kendal Calling 2015: Photo Diary

Hello there! As a little change from my usual style of post, I thought I'd share a quick photo diary with you from my weekend at Kendal Calling. A change is as good as a rest, plus, after all my festival bashing here and here I owe it to British music festivals.

Aside from the rain, and portaloo related health and safety fears, it was fun fun fun. I really had no option but to accept my fate and embrace the hot mess that I became (about an hour after stepping out of my car).

Kendal Calling 2015
Music Festival Drinks With Friends

The absolute treat that is The Temples

THE tallest guy in possibly the world stood in front of yours truly
Night fall and The Vaccines headlining...
with an amazing end to the set...best I could capture clinging on to my camera in the crowd
Love rummaging through the stalls...welcome the 'finger piano'. No really that's a thing.

An armchair at a festival!!! Yes!! Thank you Jagerhaus
Exploring the weird and wonderful in The Garden of Eden

Literally jumping in Tim Peaks Diner, with Tim Burgess just casually on the decks!
As always thanks so much for reading. Have a great mud free weekend!

For the Great British Bake Off fans amongst you...may your chunks be evenly dispersed!

Don't forget to come and say hello on Twitter here and Instagram here x x
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