Sunday, 23 July 2017

Netflix: 5 British Shows To Binge Watch Right Now


I am actually surprised it has taken me this long to write a post on Netflix.

Netflix is my life. I love Netflix. If I could, I’d probably chuck on a gown and say ‘I do’ in front of a collection of my closest friends and family. 

I am always on the look out for new shows and movies, so I thought I would start writing some posts on things I have loved watching.

I have been watching a lot of British TV shows lately so I’ll start my potential Netflix series of posts on them.

Getting On

I did not know Jo Brand had made a TV show! Probably because I don’t have normal TV, I literally just watch Netflix.

But I am so glad I discovered this show.

It is written by and stars Jo Brand, Vicki Pepperdine and Joanna Scanlan and has a total of three series.

It’s a brilliantly satirical sitcom that follows staff working for the NHS on the extended care unit.

Kim Wilde (Jo Brand) is a return to work nurse and a no-nonsense, don’t beat around the bush kind of woman. She is immediately managed by Denise Flixter (Joanna Scanlan) who is often finding ways to get out of doing the hard work, in between dating the male matron Hilary Loftus (Ricky Grover). Hilary is a confused soul, as well as being an annoying jobs-worth. They are regularly joined by Dr Pippa Moore (Vicki Pepperdine) the consultant on the ward. She’s extremely talented but lacks a lot of social skills and is rather self centred.

The show is very satirical and a bit of a dark comedy, I think one of the opening scenes in the first episode involves Kim and Den eating the sweets of a just deceased patient. 

I showed this show to my mum, who work for the NHS herself, and she’s assured me it’s very real to life. I guess you can expect this given that Jo herself was once a nurse. 

I watched all three seasons within 2 days, I couldn’t stop! 

Big School

I have only just started this but I can tell it’s gonna be one I blast through pretty quickly.

As you can imaging by the title it is set at a school, with a whole bunch of dysfunctional teachers. Amongst them is the socially inept Mr Keith Church (David Walliams) who falls for a self-important Miss Sarah Postern (Katherine Tate), the new French teacher.

Like I said, I am only a few episodes in but I already enjoy the characters and the cringe-worthy story lines.

Luther

I’ve just realised that most of the ones on my list are comedies. This is probably because when I am writing my blogs I like to put on easy-watching shows in the background, ones that I can come in and out of watching.

Luther is not a comedy, although it does have its funny moments.

Basically Idris Elba play Luther, a Detective Chief Inspector for the serious crime unit. Luther is not a truly imaginative and unique character, he is a hardworking cop who sometimes bends the rules to get the best results. We've seen this played before.

But Idris Elba is incredible and the dark storylines are instantly addictive. I am usually shouting at my television and literally sat on the edge of the seat. 

That Mitchell and Webb Look

I used to watch this when it was on television, so I am more than happy it has made the move to Netflix.

It is one of my favourite sketch shows and stars the hilarious duo David Mitchell and Robert Webb. 

There are quite a few regular sketches, as well as some one-offs.

My favourite recurring sketch has to be Number Wang, a seemingly illogical and impossible TV game show, where the contestants have to shout out numbers until the host confirms they have got ‘numberwang’.

Then there’s the behind-the-scenes sketches, where Mitchell and Webb  play themselves, usually on a ‘break’ between filming. It usually ends with them involved in a heated debate.

Cuckoo 

I’m just gonna throw it out there, I think this is my favourite from the whole list. I am addicted.

The series starts with Ken (played by Greg Davis) and his family awaiting the return of their daughter, who has been travelling on her gap year. When they pick her up from the airport they’re surprised to discover she has brought back with her a husband! A zany, far out hippy guy named ‘Cuckoo’ (played by Andy Samberg). 

Lots of hilarity ensues, as I am sure you can imagine, with the dad and Cuckoo regularly disagreeing. 

The cast is amazing, each one bringing their own unique comedy to the table. From series two onwards they are joined by Taylor Lautner (Team Jacob) who plays Cuckoo’s son. I was a bit unsure of his character at first but I actually think I prefer him to Cuckoo now. 

I am left laughing my head off after every episode, many times there are even tears of laughter. 

I’m struggling to think of a box to put it in, as it’s different from other British TV comedies I have watched. please just give it a watch and you will fall in love too!

What have you been watching and loving lately? Please leave some recommendations in the comments below, I'm always on the lookout for something new!


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Wednesday, 19 July 2017

36 Hours In Prague


I only had a fleeting visit in Prague as part of my Europe trip, two nights in total but around 36 hours altogether.

Before I got there I was told that Prague was beautiful, but you also didn’t need to spend more than 2 nights there. As I was trying to see as many places as possible I decided to follow peoples 2-night advice.

First of all, Prague is really beautiful. Like, really beautiful. it’s cultural and historical, there’s something pretty to look at everywhere you turn.

I stayed at an Air BNB, just a short walk away from the old town. The first night there I headed straight for old town to see some sights and soak up the atmosphere.

Prague is known for being fairly cheap, but obviously old town is a little pricier than other areas. There are so many bars and restaurants around, I sat down for pizza just a little walk away from Charles bridge. I swear I ate so much pizza this holiday I vowed to not eat it again for months, in reality I actually only resisted for like 2 weeks.

The next day we tried to fit in as many site seeing as possible. 

The first stop was breakfast. I have already written a post dedicated to the glorious pancakes we ate at De Noc. Seriously, they were so delicious you have to stop by and get some.

After we were full with sugary goodness we walked up to Prague castle, which takes around 30 minutes from the old town. It’s a bit uphill so you may get a bit out of breath if you’re as fit as me. But on the walk you get to see some pretty good views of the city, layered with oranges tiled roofs.

Once you’re up there you can get into the castle grounds for free, but it seems you have to pay to get inside everywhere else. We decided to pay to go up to the top of the bell tower, that way we could get a better view of the city and it was also one of the cheapest things to do.

There was like 280 steps (more climbing!) but the views were pretty breathtaking, definitely worth the climb.

Walking back from the castle to the old town we made a couple of stops, checking in on some sites. My favourite was Lennon’s wall, filled by inspirational graffiti and pieces of lyrics from Beatle’s songs. 

We also stopped as some more historical sites, such as the Infant Statue of Jesus, Charles Bridge and the astronomical clock. 

After a day of sight seeing, and a quick rest and relaxation break at the apartment, we headed out to the new(?) town for food and drink. It’s a lot more affordable than the old town, but it still has lots of lively bars and restaurants. they’re just a bit more scattered around.

So that’s about everything I got up to in my short stay in Prague. It is just one of those cities where it is fun to get lost in.


Have you been to Prague before? Where’s next on your travel list?



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Tuesday, 18 July 2017

A Couple of Light Reads



I spent a few months barely picking up a book, which is really unlike me.

I usually read on my commute to work, but I got into the habit of scrolling through social media instead. When I realised this it made me sad, so I decided to turn things around.

Here are a couple of light reads that I recently picked up.

The Peculiar Life Of A Lonely Postman by Denis Theriault

This book is just as peculiar as its name. 

The story follows Bilodo, a postman who prefers to keep socially distant from others. One day Bilodo starts to take home some of the mail he handles, steaming open the letters. 

He becomes enthralled with the correspondence of two people who communicate to each other in haikus. One of the writers is a man named Grandpre, who is on Bilodos delivery route. The other is Segolene, a teacher from Guadeloupe. 

Segolene becomes the focus of Bilodo’s obsession, and when Grandpre dies in a car accident, Bildo is quick to take his place. He begins to write back to Segolenes letters, quickly learning the art of haiku and falling even more in love with Segolene. 

The book is a quick read, but still manages to provoke a lot of deep thoughts. Although the book was rather quirky, it had a dark undertone. It is a strange little love story that left me feeling a little sad, but still a story I have recommended others to read. 

I’ve yet to buy the sequel, The Postmans Fiance, but I will make sure I do.

Siddhartha by Herman Hesse

The boyfriend picked this book up for me as I had told him I wanted to learn more about Buddhism, but I just didn’t know where to start.

This story follows Siddhartha, a Brahmin’s son. Siddhartha is a brilliant,handsome and intelligent young man who is not satisfied with the simple life he lives, and leaves his home on a journey of self discovery.

Although his intentions start out spiritual, he is soon involved in a world of wealth and pleasure. After this all gets too much Siddhartha leaves, and comes across a river where he meets a ferryman. 

He befriends the ferryman, who tells him that he can learn much from the river.

I’ve done a bit of research since reading the book (I looked at wikipedia) and apparently Herman Hesse spent his time in a semi-reclusive state, fully immersing himself in the teaching of hindus and buddhists. 

The trouble he had was that he had not experienced the nirvana that Siddhartha was seeking, so it took him a long time to finish the second half of the book.

The book is spiritual and deep, and answered the questions I didn’t think to ask.


What books have you been reading lately?




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Sunday, 16 July 2017

Body Confidence At The Beach


Holidays are what keep me going throughout the year.

I need to have one booked so I have something to look forward to, they get me through the stressful days!

I usually go on city breaks, which involve a lot of running around busy city centres trying to find lots of cool places to eat and drink. No swimwear needed.

In the past year I have gone on a couple of beach holidays. At the end of last year I went to Cuba, and more recently I went to Croatia. Both of these obviously required swimwear, so naturally I had a little freak out.

I had always worn bikinis cos they were the ‘in’ thing, I am beyond happy swimming costumes are back in fashion now! I was happy to discover there were so many different options out there, rather than just the sporty ones. 

If I am going to have any sort of confidence at the beach then I have to choose a swimming costume that I love and feel comfortable in. This is very important!

I spent a good few hours trawling the Internet and I found a couple that are a little more than I’d look to pay, but an extra £10/20 is worth it to feel a bit more confident on the beach.

What also gives me confidence at the beach is other women. When I stopped focusing on myself and worrying what people were thinking about me, I noticed there were so many different looking women all rocking swimwear.

If they didn’t care what other people thought about them, then I wasn’t going to either.

There are still moments when I feel a little self conscious but I try focus on relaxing, having fun and pushing all other worries out of my mind.

What helps you to feel confident at the beach? Any tips or tricks?


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Saturday, 15 July 2017

25 Things That Happen To You In Your Mid-Twenties


1. Apparently you need to get credit cards to get good credit rating to get a mortgage. It may be flawed logic but that’s how it is. You’ll now spend your time comparing credit cards, 24 months interest free you say…

2. You’ll start to dress sensibly. Gone are the days of going out in the middle of winter in teeny tiny dresses, no tights and no jacket. You’ll now look at other girls with nothing on and say things like “she must be ab-so-lutely freezing!” 

3. Do you know those long locks of yours that you swore you would never get rid off? You’ll suddenly get the urge to chop them off and get a bob.

4. Everyone around you will not only pair up, they will also decide they want to send the rest of their life together. Your summers will be jam packed with weddings.

5. Everything will start to ache a bit more. You’ve not fallen over or injured yourself, you just start to ache. 

6. Because your body aches so much, you’ll start to want to look after it more. You will start to exercise and actually enjoy it.

7. You’ll get so excited to buy homeware! Trips to IKEA become the highlight of your weekend. And thank god Primark has seriously started to pad out it’s homeware section.

8. You’ll start to become really tired all of the time. As soon as you wake up you will look forward to going back to bed again. 

9. You’ll also start to drink at nicer places. Going to the student bar and getting £1.50 snakey b’s was good and all, but you’ll now prefer to pay a little bit more to get something a lot nicer. 

10. Everyone under the age of 20 is a youth and you will refer to them as such.

11. You’ll find yourself sat in a bar saying “do they have to play the music so loud???” What’s wrong with adequate seating and reasonable noise levels anyway?

12. You’ll start to worry about what will happen after you retire. Suddenly it doesn’t seem so far away. You may not start a proper pension just yet but you’ll give it some serious consideration.

13. You’ll start looking at the macronutrients on food packaging more and try to make some healthy swaps. At least during the working week, come the weekend calories don’t exist.

14. Staying home will begin to sound like a much better option than going out to overcrowded clubs for overpriced drinks. But when you do go out you’ll just hit it that much harder!

15. No matter how organised you are, there will just not be enough hours in the day or days in the week. It will now take at least a month of planning just to meet up with friends.

16. You’ll start to grudgingly put money into savings.

17. Remember when you could drink 5 nights in a row and feel fresh as a daisy? Now a hangover will leave you sofa bound for a whole day, eating junk food and craving attention.

18. You’ll realise that just because you’re technically an adult, it doesn’t mean you know what you want to do with the rest of your life. 

19. Everyone around you will start to buy property, pushing you into starting a help-to-buy ISA.

20. You’ll start to care less what other people think of you. This is especially true on the dance floor, where you’ll break out some of your best shapes.

21. Netflix will be your new best friend.

22. You’ll become actively interested in politics and world events, but then become so depressed you’ll have to look at cute animals on YouTube.

23. You’re earning more so you’ll be able to travel to more exotic places and stay in fancier accommodation.

24. People will start popping out babies left, right and centre. 

25. You’ll begin to really, really love Gin.
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Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Traveling Europe: Coach or Train?




So you’re about to start planning your backpacking trip across Europe. Eeek exciting!

A crucial thing you have to decide is how you’re going to get around. There are several options, from flying to cycling, but the main way many people travel is by train. I want you to consider another option - coach!

I know coach isn’t the go-to choice for travellers. I know this because every time I told someone I was travelling across Europe they would ask if I’m inter railing, I would say no, they would ask if I was flying, I would say no, they would look confused, I would say we’re travelling by coach, they would still look confused. 

I must admit, I would never have thought of travelling by coach if it weren’t for the boyfriend. Inter railing is the first thing that sprung to my mind when I initially sat down to plan my trip. The boyfriend had previously travelled by coach and he assured me that it was the better option for several reasons. Let’s run through them, then at the bottom of the post I’ll put a little comparison…

Duration

One of the reasons most people might not choose coaches over trains is the amount of time they take. Coaches take so much longer! Or do they? I was so surprised to find out that coaches took roughly the same amount of time as trains, sometimes they were actually quicker! 

Price

An obvious reason to choose coach is the price. With there being relatively little time differences for so many of the journeys, price played a big role in my decision. Coach tickets cost just fractions of what a train ticket will set you back, which is obviously super important if you’re travelling on a budget or if you just want to do everything as cheap as possible. 

Less money spent on travelling = more money spent on food and drink. Think about it. 

Comfort

Coaches have come a long way. Gone are the dingy, small and disastrous coaches you’d expect to see in a Carry On movie. In their place are new, sleek, trendy, modern coaches, showing off with their leather seats and air conditioning. A lot of the coaches I travelled on were fairly empty meaning I could push my seat back and have a good kip.

Entertainment

That’s right, entertainment. Bet you didn’t consider this one. Whether you’re travelling by coach or train, you’re probably gonna be seated for a few hours. We caught a fair amount of Regio Jet coaches and they had TV screens on the back of each seats, just like you’re on a plane, with a fair amount of films choices. I was so shocked and impressed! As if that’s not enough there was also free wifi and phone charging sockets for all.

Ease of Finding

Both stations are just as easy to find as each other. I had no trouble finding the coach station using public transport, a lot of them are actually next door to each other.

Extra Benefits

I just really want to give Rigio Jet a shout out here. They give you a FREE hot drink, including hot chocolate!!! How amazing is that?!?!

Comparisons

So just to give you a better idea of the small duration and huge price differences I decided to look up a few journeys. I’m comparing journeys on the same day (just over one month from day of writing post), with the start of the journey between 9am and 10am.

Berlin to Prague

Coach - Duration: 4hrs 30mins, Price: €15
Train - Duration: 4hrs 23 mins, Price: €34.40

Prague to Vienna

Coach - Duration: 4hrs 35mins, Price €15
Train - Duration: 4hrs, Price: €73.40

Vienna to Budapest

Coach - Duration: 2hrs 50 mins, Price: £16.90 (prices in GBP)
Train - Duration: 2hrs 20 mins, Price: €48.20
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Wednesday, 5 July 2017

I Meat Cheated...And That's OK

I started 2017 filled with all of the usual hopes, dreams and ambitions associated with the start of the new year. I will lose 3 stone, I will get a £10k pay rise, I will buy my first house, I will learn to play a musical instrument, I will learn the basics of a new language, I will practise yoga every night, I will visit a new country, the list goes on.

On my list this year was cutting down the amount of meat I consumed. Towards the end of 2016 I had already started to make some small changes. I would occasionally choose the veggie option when eating out and I had introduced more veggie options into my evening meal rota. Small changes but I felt good for doing them.

When I discovered that my friend had decided to go meat free for January I thought it would be a great opportunity to tick one goal off the new year resolution list. Wouldn’t that make a nice change? So January came and went and I managed to resist the juicy temptation of meat all month. Surprisingly it was a lot easier than I thought it would be!

As it was easier than expected, I thought carrying it on as long as possible seemed like the right thing to do. So why do I want to be a vegetarian in the first place? 

Well I don’t disagree with actually eating meat. I think it is the circle of life and quite a natural thing to do. What I do disagree with is how the meat is reared before it is turned into food. I don’t want to go into the horrid details in this post, although I recommend you do a quick search yourself if you haven’t already as it might help change your mind, but it truly is horrendous.

That being said it’s not the easiest thing to give up. I miss so many of my favourite meals like bacon butties, burgers and burritos. They’re so hard to resist when everyone around you is happily tucking into them! I have also seen too many restaurant menus with just goats cheese salad as an option (bleugh). And why does my local Tesco just have a falafel wrap in the whole meal deal selection?!

I have come to accept that there will be times when I will ‘meat cheat’. This is a phrase I have inherited from my sister, who has been a vegetarian for several years now. She meat cheated a few times during the initial years but it is now mostly restricted to the Christmas meal.

I managed to stay meat free all the way up until my holiday to Europe. I knew this was going to be tricky before I went and I mentally prepared myself for a meat cheat. I even knew precisely what I would be eating for the first meat cheat. In Berlin there is a burger restaurant called Burgermeister that apparently makes the best burger in Europe.

What’s a girl to do? I absolutely love burgers and I miss them. Vegetarian burgers are fine enough but they don’t quite hit the same spot. I just couldn’t resist the best burger in Europe! I’m a horrible human being, I know. I shouldn’t just disregard my beliefs for a juicy, cheesy burger. 

But I did. And that’s OK. I have gone from eating meat every single day to having meat once in 6 months. I never thought I would be able to do that. I never thought I would be able to do it for one week! I am extremely impressed and proud of how far I have come. 


I know that I will very occasionally meat cheat, which sometimes makes me think I should not call myself a vegetarian. As I am meat free 99% of the time I think I have earned the title, although I know there will be people who completely disagree. I guess what I wanted the message of this post to be is that any change, no matter how small, is good. 

Are you a vegetarian? Or have you thought about cutting down on meat? What are you reasons? Do you slip up occasionally too? Let me know in the comment section below.

Please find below a completely unrelated picture as I could not for the life of me think of a suitable picture to go with this post. A picture of said burger seemed a bit inappropriate, as did a pic of some farmyard animals. So here's a pic of me and a graffiti cat...



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Sunday, 2 July 2017

June Favourites || 2017


This is actually the first time I have done a monthly favourites post - and I call myself a blogger! I’ve always meant to but by the time I remember we’re halfway through the month so I think it’s too late, I’ll do it next month, and thus the cycle continues. 

Well, new month new me! At least for this month anyways. 

There are a few products I have been using almost daily throughout the past couple of months so I thought now would be the perfect time to do a favourites post. Always, here they are…


Soap & Glory Sexy Mother Pucker Lipstick


Ah I just love this lipstick. The shade is called ‘Super Nude’. I don’t usually go for nudes but someone told me that they are supposed to go with ginger hair so I thought I’d give them a try. And I love it! It’s subtle enough that I can wear it during the day but it also adds a nice touch to my evening look.

Soap & Glory Peach Party Blush


I bought a Soap & Glory blusher last summer and it was my favourite and I used it ever since. So when summer came around I went to Boots to check what new shades they had (I’m not sure if this is new, but it’s new to me!). 

I’m ginger so naturally my skin is a little pale. When I first used this I didn’t think it suited me, I was gutted! Then I went on holiday and caught  bit of sun, my ginger skin tans surprisingly well! I tried the blush again and lo’ and behold it worked. Phew! Now I’m using it almost daily.

Benefit Gimme Brow Gel


I’m going to be completely honest here and tell you that I have absolutely no idea what to do with brows. I just enviously stare at other peoples wondering how they create their work of arts. Also, I have bought a few eyebrow pencils and they never seem to be the right shade. I don’t think there are many ginger friendly shade out there!

So I went to the Benefits counter because I heard they are the Queen of brows and I asked them for help. The woman recommended the Gimme Brow gel and showed me how to use it. It is SO quick and simple to use which is perfect for me because anything too fiddly and I’m likely to give up.

VO5 Dry Texturising Spray


It’s been really hot lately which is great, but it’s not forgiving on my hair. Also I’m way too lazy to wash my hair more than twice a week. So dry shampoo is a god send for me. 

VO5 is a brand that just really works on my hair. So when I won a VO5 giveaway I was extremely happy, especially when I saw it contained a few of these! It works well and has that delicious VO5 smell.

Michael Kors Sexy Amber Perfume


Well i have been nagging the boyfriend for about three years to get me a Michael Kors handbag. I don’t actually expect one because they are too expensive but it’s just become a running joke. What I have received so far is a Michael Kors purse from a lucky-lucky man in Tenerife and this perfume.

i go through phases of wearing perfume every day, then I won’t wear one for a couple of months straight. Right now I’m in the wearing phase and this one has been my go-to. It has a floral base to it and smells so good. 


Have you tried any of these? What products have you been loving lately?


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