Thursday, 1 February 2018

LIFE: So what if I don't wan't to go to the Gym!

She's back! For the 15,000,0000 time!

Strange title for a blog post or what?!

Well not so strange if I told you I was getting married in just over 3 months and that little statement there is my daily affirmation. An affirmation to enable me not to give in to the societal expectations that all upcoming brides must be on a crash diet and spending 15 hrs a day in a gym!

For some reason so far in 2018 my mind has just been saying no, and instead or forcing anything, I'm choosing to go with the flow.

I'm not partaking in the pre bridal ritual of both crash diet or crazy gym routine, don't get me wrong I've dabbled in the past couple of months but no longer, and because I am choosing to just go with the flow, I find myself wanting to justify my actions to everyone around me.

I'm not saying all my pals are berating me for living my best life, I mean what kind of pals would they be if they were?! But each time I tell people I'm not on any sort of diet at the moment (shock horror size 18 and not on a diet), each time I pick up that drink or those snacks, I still feel compelled to rationalise what I am doing.

It got me thinking, why, when someone asks us to marry them, do most of us decide that in order to spend that one day getting married we must loose 100lbs, be plucked and pruned to perfection and essentially present ourself as an entirely different human for a day.

Is it the unforgiving white/ivory we will wear? Is it the fact that there will likely be 100's of pictures appear of us on social media within the 24 hours following the big day. Or is it because of the age old media hype you see the minute you flick through a bridal magazine that all brides surely must present themselves as these "perfect" creatures.

To be honest I think it's a bit of all the above for me, and yet I still refuse to give in. Instead, I'm choosing to live life without the added pressures of pre wedding societal norms. I'm essentially living my best life, one that includes hot crossed buns and red wine. One which includes at most a 2 weekly trip to the gym. One which includes choosing time with friends and family over a great meal in place of drinking a shake and surviving off 600 calories a day (oh yeah I did that, and it was awful!).

Does all of that make me any less worthy of being a bride?! Errrrrm NO!

And recently I'm more acutely aware than ever before that this life is short, this life is precious, and the most important part of being alive is appreciating what you have. If your lucky enough to convince someone to marry you, it's the fact you'll spend the rest of your days with them that counts, not if that extra back fat roll creeps out the top of your dress on your big day! Trust me, no ones going to notice, and those that notice probably don't matter!

Sure it's great to go to the gym and be fit and healthy, but ask anyone taking there last breaths, I bet they don't tell you they wished they did that diet for longer, or fit into those damn jeans better. Instead, they probably just want one more day on this crazy journey we call life.

And AMEN to that!

Monday, 19 June 2017

Celebrating Summer with Moët & Chandon at Freemasons Arms

Anyone who knows me, will know that bubbles, and specifically Champagne is one of my favorite tipples of choice. So what better way to spend a weekend on one of the hottest days of the year, than sipping beautiful Moët at one of the most historic pubs in Hampstead, The Freemasons Arms.

Over the weekend Moët & Chandon hosted 100's of parties across the globe for #MoetPartyDay (explore some of the events here) so of course I had to be involved! Lucky for me it would only take me a couple of hours to get down to The Freemasons Arms so I was there with bells on to celebrate Moet Party Day in style.

For the whole day, the outside bar was serving delicious Moët Ice cocktails and had a BBQ fired up serving tasty burgers, all whilst listening to a live set of chilled house music from Stuart Ojelay of Word Of Mouth, I mean could a sunny day get better than that? The whole set up was literally the perfect recipe for a brilliant day and I was absolutely loving it!

I've only been to The Freemasons Arms a couple of times, but these guys really know how to entertain, whether that catching up with the girls over a cocktail or joining one of their exclusive parties, it's always a fun time (helps that the drinks are always flowing).

Over the summer the Freemasons Arms has a couple more events coming up, and if there anything like last weekend, they are set to be really great reasons to get the gang together. Any reasons to celebrate in style right?! I for one know that I'll be heading back.

If you are interested check out their Facebook page here, you'll get a good look at what you can expect.

Now, I know it's only Monday...but where are the bubbles at?!

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Purnell's Birmingham: The Perfect Dining Experience

I'm going to caveat this entry by stating that these are some of the most hideous photos I am yet to post on here, and for very good reason...because no one wants to be that person in a fancy restaurant who stands on chairs to get the perfect "from above", well maybe not everyone, but certainly not me so these will have to do!

Let's start by mentioning Christmas, I know... it was AAAAAAGES ago, but only last weekend did I get to reap the benefits of the present I brought for my mum and stepdad for Christmas. Turns out buying someone restaurant vouchers for a posh restaurant is a great idea! You solve the classic problem of finding something to buy the 'people who have everything' and you also have a chance of enjoying the benefits of the gift; WIN WIN!

Having gone back and forth trying to find a date we could all get together we finally fixed on Friday 14th. A whole 4 months after Christmas, but let me tell you it was worth the wait by the time we got together at Purnell's Restaurant.

For those not aware, Purnell's is owned by Michelin starred chef Glynn Pernell who set up the restaurant in the heart of Birmingham in 2007. You may also spot Glynn on Sunday brunch (a personal fave watch of mine whilst lounging on the sofa suffering alcohol anxiety from a previous nights partying) or from any of his published cook books.

It's pretty obvious that when you dine at a restaurant with such a reputation, that the food will be amazing but the 6 course menu which we enjoyed was out of this world.

If anyone is a foodie out there, below is the Spring 6 course menu which you can currently dine from and we have the pleasure of experiencing:

Bread and goats' butter

Taste of cheese and pineapple - cheese and pineapple - emotions of "soixante-dix"

Poached duck egg yolk - cauliflower - black pudding - bacon - birch syrup*

Chicken liver parfait - port turnips - toasted oats and grains - redcurrants

Tuna au poivre - lemon - capers

Slow cooked neck of Wiltshire downlands lamb - "leek and potato"

Blood orange curd tartlet - baie rose honeycomb - lime

If you enjoy great food at an affordable price for such an experience than this is a great place to visit at just £68 per head for the 6 course Spring menu and £88 for the 9 course Spring menu. But more to the point if you enjoy great food whilst not feeling like you're somewhere you have to talk in hushed tones, and maintain a stiff upper lip then this is also the place for you.

I think it's fair to say the place might benefit from a slight face lift in the decor, but the ambiance was great, the staff were attentive, and any menu which includes a DOUGHNUT next to The most perfect parfait is always going to win in my book.

The 6 course menu was overall the perfect combination of theatre (dry ice always brings out the "ooh and aahs"), rich flavours and food enough to leave you full and not wanting to eat a burger on the way home #keepingitreal.

If you live near enough to make the effort to visit I would definitely add it to the list, and next time you're struggling to buy a gift for someone who simply put "has everything" then why not get some fine dining voucher's, you never know if they like you enough you might just get an invite...

Yes; you spotted it! There's dishes missing. Sorry about that, too busy enjoying myself!!! 

Friday, 10 March 2017

It's OK To Want To Get Married

I think it's fair to say it's taken/taking me some time to come to terms with the fact that I am getting married. That's not to say I'm not overwhelmingly happy with this prospect, it's just that I never really saw it in my future. I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling that way either, being 28 with a string of failed relationships behind me, as a result leaving me working through the reality of being someones wife to really settle with me.

I've been trying to put the pieces together as to why I feel this way, and why I never really saw being someones wifey (I swear he can never call me that ha) in my future.

I guess there's several reasons... Firstly, I've not really been surrounded by lasting relationships, for a long long long time my mum always said to me through my childhood that she didn't believe in marriage (with one failed marriage behind her). I couldn't so much as suggest that one day I wanted to get married without feeling like I would disappoint her feminist ideals in some way. I suppose mums abject detest for marriage ingrained a feeling in me that marriage was some kind of gushy luxury that wouldn't mean anything at all aside from a piece of paper and a man's ownership of me.

Secondly, I've had a string of failed relationships, looking back I was too young to even be in relationships, but hey they have led me to this point. The point here is that when another relationship failed, I always decided it was because of me. Sometimes the other person really made me feel that way, sometimes it clearly just wasn't meant to be. But as a result there's always been that feeling that really, no relationship is permanent, simply just another chapter in my life with different characters passing through, and I think I thought that that too was OK.

Thirdly, I kind of feel like I'm just not bride material and never will be, that's not to say I'm not wife material, I've got that shit down! What I'm about to say isn't for want of a pity party over here, no way! Essentially though, I just feel like I've never really loved myself enough for someone else to love me. Surely I will look like a fraud walking down an isle in a while dress? It's taking time but that one I'm really working on. I just don't want to spend the day feeling like a phony, struggling to enjoy myself without feeling self conscious.

And finally, when the hell did I become old enough for marriage to be considered the next step in my adult relationship? Am I not 17 still? The thought of getting married and being a wife; I'm not going to lie, makes me feel so bloody old! It's terrifying me that life is really passing me by in the blink of an eye. One minute I looked like a 8 year old little boy going to street dance classes, now I'm old enough to walk down the isle without having to get eloped in Gretna Green. I mean what?!

As each day passes and the wedding get's ever closer I still work my way through these feelings. There's no part of me who doesn't want to be his wife, not one ounce. It's just coming to terms with expectations vs reality, and working through understanding that it's OK to want these things and to be fulfilled by them.

Does any of that make sense? I'm sure I'm not the only one who's been in this position.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Life: Where Did October Go?

Honestly I feel like I've been in a time machine! No sooner had my Birthday month began before it was over! I guess that's what happens when you have a lot going on.

October was a busy one; from handing in my notice (horrible times), to my birthday and to anticipating my new job it was all a bit of a whirlwind, and an emotional one at that which kind of took it out of me.

Although I found leaving my old job pretty tough, and undoubtedly I let it get to me, October remains to be one of my favourite months of the year.

When October hit's I really begin to feel like the seasons have changed. The leaves change colour and fall from the trees, the nights draw in and ever so slightly it becomes cooler and for the most part I love it.

Saying that, I need to seriously have a word with myself now that the clocks have changed as it's messing up with my already early nights, I find myself drifting off at about 8 and nothing about that is cool, nor productive. No kidding my Grandma probably stays up later than I do at the moment. Not actually sure if that is the result of the nights drawing in or the stress I've been under but I'm going to put it down to, a bit of both!

Me and my sister joke that we want to live a hygge lifestyle akin to the Danes livestyle, everything about it appeals to me. From the coziness, fires, candles and friends I kind of wish I could pull it off, but I can pretty much guarantee the moment the lights were dimmed, the throws were draped over me and the candles were burning, I would for sure fall asleep and I don't need any help in that department.

So heading into November I am full of excitable anticipation. Looking forward to unraveling what my new role will be in my new job and hopefully adding value, spending nice evenings with friends, and forcing myself to stay up and hit the gym instead of the Gin.

Here's to making November count!

Friday, 28 October 2016

Another Year Older

Last Tuesday marked my Birthday. Another year older and from the time I've been having lately, I think another year now much wiser.

Birthday's always seem to make me feel a little odd, contemplative even. I always reflect on the year I've had and worry that as time flies by I need to make the years count. I worry that I've whiled away the time without a care in the world when actually years are so precious. 

But it's different this year; when thinking about writing this post I realised, my 27th year was one which contained many firsts. So here's just a snapshot...

In February I bought my first home, an absolute ruin if you will and I restored it to the best of my abilities, and it's now a place I'm so proud to call home and take comfort in losing hours burrowed on the sofa watching Netflix in. 

In April I rehomed my first animal. I am now a responsible cat lady and Murdoch has turned me into all sorts of a crazy cat lady, and I love him for it. I've said it before and I'll say it again, he is my favourite part of every day, coming home to his little face is perfect.

I went to my first professional Rugby game and it was pretty ace and is now a regular occurrence. 

I said no to my head and went with my heart in the pursuit of my dream job instead of taking a significant pay rise (fingers crossed it all works out). 

I visited Bath for the first time, and fell in love with the place. 

I failed at every diet attempt I made, and came to terms with it and owned the bikini with my average, overweight body on holiday without hating myself too much. 

I visited The Hand and Flowers for the first time and it was worth every single penny (that's an AWFUL LOT of pennies ;p)

I had a boy move in with me. As in move in officially, own key, shared chores, split bills, the lot! Shock horror I managed to convince someone it's easy to live with me, pah hah ha.

And most of all I learnt what it means to be loved completely and utterly unconditionally for what I genuinely think is the first time. I've loved before, it's well documented here, but I've never been accepted, completely and utterly as I am without feeling like I need to change. That's a pretty serious first there! Proper unconditional love really does make you feel like you can take on the world, and that's a pretty serious super power right there.

With thinking about all these things, I got planning how I might make year 28 matter and here's just a few firsts I have lined up. 

First trip to New York in February. Recommendations are welcome, especially if they include doughnuts. 

First 5k run without stopping. I'm getting physio and am determined to sort these knees out so I'm going to tackle this silly run once and for all. 

First retreat, not sure where yet, but I've got my eye on a few and hope to finally go to one. That kind of thing is right up my street. 

I'm sure there is more but not going to commit myself to anything else in writing now. Thankful for another year and looking forward to what's to come.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

LIFE: Moet Ice Party - The Lyttelton Arms

That's the final bank holiday of the year been and gone which sucks because I've become quite accustomed to a long weekend, but boy did I celebrate the long weekend in style this past weekend at The Lyttelton Arms in Stourbridge attending their Moet Ice Party.

What on earth is a Moet Ice Party though? Well I wasn't sure at all when I was invited but let me tell you, it's basically the perfect place to spend an early evening, sipping the bubbles, listening to some chilled out tunes played by some great DJ's and surrounding yourself with friends in beautiful surroundings. So that's where I was on Sunday making the most out of that precious extra day in the best way possible.

When we arrived we were greeted by a bustling lively venue full of groups of gorgeous ladies (and a few stylish men), the DJ was in full swing and tables were buzzing with groups of friends making the most of the summer sunshine (I'm ignoring the 2 downpours, shhh).

Rain aside the whole place looked amazing, I'd never been to the Lyttelton Arms before but I'll definitely go again. As with all Premium Country Pubs the place was gorgeous both inside and out with amazingly opulent interiors, the kind of perfect pub 'date' venue if you know what I mean. There was also the same friendly staff who I seem to encounter at all their pubs I visit, who got extra brownie points on Sunday for making sure my glass was never empty of the good stuff.

I hadn't really heard of a Moet Ice Party before I was invited but I had seen a couple of displays for this new champagne offering from Moet so the party was the perfect place to try it, and although slightly sweeter than their traditional bottle, I would definitely order it again. Heck I'd probably drink anything, let's be honest. If you fancy trying it yourself I believe you can buy it here, and I'd recommend it for a special occasion.

That being said I would recommend The Lyttelton Arms also if you're in the Birmingham area. The place is gorgeous, the food CANNOT be faulted, specifically the Sunday Roast, and the staff are some of the friendliest waiting staff around, especially under the extremely busy circumstances I first met them so I'm pretty sure that comes as standard. If you fancy a trip check the menu here and give them a call and book a table, I'm telling you, you won't be disappointed.

All-in-all I had one of the most perfect Sundays with close friends and my favourite tipple, oh and to boot I woke up hangover FREE, winner winner chicken dinner!