Friday, 29 August 2014

GROUPON

I'm sorry






Groupon email, delete, Groupon email, delete. That’s what I tend to do each time I receive an email from Groupon, a deal-of-the-day website that offers substantial discounts for various services and products including hotels, flights, restaurants, appliances and events. It’s sheer laziness and an overwhelming number of gratuitous emails that resulted in me being so blasé with the Groupon emails, but for the first time last week I decided to open the email, chiefly to find the unsubscribe button, and as I scrolled down the page I saw a voucher for Marco Pierre White restaurant; a restaurant I had intended going to in the next few weeks, coincidentally enough.

I’m a self-proclaimed foodie and can be quite pretentious when it comes to dining out, so when I saw the discount voucher for two or four meals at the new Marco Pierre White restaurant I decided I had nothing to lose and at least a 50% reduction on the food bill to gain – good ole’ Groupon. The new £12million rooftop Marco Pierre White restaurant, which affords you the luxury of 360 degree views of the city, resides in the Cube, an iconic and imposing building situated in the The Mailbox - home to some of the most desirable eateries and exclusive, high-end shops in Birmingham,

We chose a lunch time slot and whilst the culinary skill was commendable, we were a little disappointed with the wait time inbetween courses. Nonetheless, the surroundings and atmosphere made the wait a little easier to digest, excuse the pun. We opted for 3 courses even though the voucher only entitled us to two; asking me to choose between a starter and a dessert is criminal! 

I’ll definitely be avoiding the delete button the next time I receive a Groupon email. Do you use Groupon or any other similar scheme or coupons that offer discounts for shopping, travel or restaurants?





Cream of Tomato for starters

Sea bass for main

Bread and butter pudding for dessert


And the outfit of the day - one of the rare occasions I'll wear a skirt this short is when my legs spend most of the time under a dining table.
Skirt Zara
Biker Jacket (old) - Firetrap at House of Fraser
Shoes - Kurt Geiger (sale)
Bag - Mulberry at House of Fraser
Later x

Thursday, 21 August 2014

THE DAY AFTER THE WEEK BEFORE

The recovery process











Okay, so that’s enough of the cheery Kodak moments from my latest cruise venture across the Mediterranean, courtesy of Royal Caribbean. This post is all about the day after the week before – what I do to recover from my trip before the holiday blues kick in.

Despite exultantly voyaging from city to city in the environs of a well catered cruise ship, by the time I return home I feel like booking myself in for a spa weekend to relax. You see, I’m not a beach bum (nor babe) so lying on a beach day after day doesn't really appeal to me; I like to get out there and be a full on tourist exploring what new places have to offer. The downside of this is that it well and truly wears you out, especially in temperatures exceeding 30 degrees.

I love going on vacation, but in the words of Dorothy, there really is ‘no place like home’, and once I've endured a 9 hour recovery sleep in the comfort and familiarity of my own bed and home, the next day I wake up with a vengeance to get back on track physically, mentally and emotionally – almost like a 12-24 hour detox.

I don’t work out as often or as intensely as I should while on holiday so one of the first things I do is get myself on the treadmill and do some toning exercises in the garden.

My skin feels fabulous when I’m basking in the sunshine abroad, but by the time I exit Birmingham airport it feels dry and ashy so I always like to indulge in exfoliating and moisturising my face and body the day after I return.


 Although I eat a lot of fruit and vegetables on holiday, particularly because they are refreshing and hydrating, I make a conscious effort to incorporate lots of fruit and vegetables as soon as I get back from my trip.

 I do miss home-cooking when I’m away so I peruse my cookery books for inspiration for the week ahead.

 I slurp down litres of lemon and mint water throughout the day to take my mind off all those cocktails and contribute to my 'detox'.

Mid-afternoon, I like to take a seat in the garden (weather permitting) to relax and casually catch up on social media and emails, without extortionate roaming charges! I also like to reminisce on my holiday adventures by flicking through my Kodak moments.

                                           
How do you like to recover from a holiday?

Later x


Thursday, 7 August 2014

WHERE HAS THE TIME GONE?

Is summer nearly over?




Yikes! It’s been over a week since my last post – I’m becoming a tardy blogger, eeek!  Of late, I've been frequently hearing and reading how we've only got the luxury of one more month of summer and that we therefore need to make the most of the sunshine, so I have been doing just that and consequently neglecting a few other, shall we say, responsibilities.

This weekend sees me venture on my summer vacation which means for the last week I have been convincing myself that I have no summer clothes and accessories to take and thus need to invest in a new summer wardrobe. I've been relatively successful in sweeping up some last minute bargains from the high street, but alas, this jumpsuit was a full price purchase from Dorothy Perkins; still a reasonable price but nothing beats a major coup when it comes to clothes shopping, even if you have to sift through piles of clothes strewn across the shop floor, right?

Anyone else own a jumpsuit? Well I wore mine for a date night this week and felt rather smug that I was wearing my new purchase, until it was time for the toilet and my smugness was wiped firmly away. I hadn't thought through the main downfall with this particular outfit: how the hell do I unzip myself and then zip myself back up when visiting the little ladies room without asking my date to help me out? (*confused look on face and arms akimbo*)

Hope y’all having a great summer x



and some continuing signs of summer







Jumpsuit  - Dorothy Perkins
Hat - Topshop
Fanny pack (bum bag, whateva) - DKNY at Selfridges
Sandals - Bertie
Later x

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

SUMMER FOOD

It's all about salads, right?


According to some folk, we Brits should have lost a few pounds over the past couple of weeks - that’s pounds as in weight (lbs) rather than currency (£) – because apparently when the weather is hot and sunny we lose our appetite. It’s not the first time I've heard this and many of my clients echo the same thought, reporting that they prefer to eat smaller portions and consume foods that are light and refreshing when the meteorological conditions are such that you could fry an egg on the ground.

The UK has seen some of the hottest days of the year during the past couple of weeks and although the sunshine can bring about changes in clothing, mood and day-to-day activities, it appears it can also have an impact on our diet. While I was in London last week, my friend and I went for lunch and I chose chicken prosciutto at which she questioned how I can eat a cooked meal when it’s so hot and humid. I've always thought this about people who puff away on cigarettes when they’re clearly clammy from the heat, but being a foodie I can eat anything at any time of year no matter the weather.

In terms of food, summer is synonymous with salads; firstly because they are quite refreshing and hydrating, and secondly because the summer sun is a reminder that it’s time to get bikini-ready. It’s a bit of a common misconception that all salads are low calorie and therefore can contribute to achieving that svelte, beach body because some salads are laden with high calorie dressings: creamy, oily and sugar-based dressings are all guaranteed to add calories to your leafy greens so you do need to be mindful of this if you are trying to lose weight.

I decided to make one of my favourite side-salads at the weekend. I incorporated some healthy mono-unsaturated fats (avocado and olive oil); and combined it with some deliciously sweet strawberries and balsamic vinegar. The salad accompanies white fish beautifully.

  • Simply slice some strawberries and avocado into small pieces
  • Tear some fresh basil leaves and sprinkle on top of the strawberries and avocado
  • Drizzle balsamic vinegar and virgin olive oil over to your preferred taste (add pepper if you like) and then mix together and serve – feel the mixture of textures and flavours tickle your palate.





Later x


Sunday, 20 July 2014

THE DOTING DAUGHTER

I try to be.....


After 40 years of committing to his job and working for the same company since leaving school, my dad decided to hang up his boots and retire in March 2014. Is it out of the ordinary for a daughter to envy their pensioner father? I don’t mean to wish my life away but I do relish the idea of discarding my alarm clock and having a life which revolves around deciding each day what I can do to occupy all my spare time – where week days and weekends all roll in to one.

Four months in to his retirement and my dad is still living the life of 'riley' and often preaches that he still feels like he is on holiday; however, I have made it my duty to ensure that he doesn't sink into the deep depths of some of the negative stereotypes that are out there about retirees: that pensioners get up, eat, read the paper, sleep, watch TV, sleep etc.

Dementia has been in the news recently because future projections suggest that the number of people with dementia will double in the next 40 years, and increasing age is a well-known risk factor. There is some evidence to suggest that rates of the disease are lower in people who remain as mentally, physically and socially active as possible throughout their lives, as well as among those who enjoy a wide range of different activities and hobbies. For this reason, I've always attempted to keep my parents' mind, body and soul stimulated, but particularly my dad during his retirement. The most recent thing I have done is treat him to some golf lessons for his birthday; isn't that the kind of sport old, retired men do (sorry pops)?

He had his first personal golf lesson this week, which he thoroughly enjoyed, and I decided to accompany him, Zatchels satchel in tow. I’m just considering what else I can get him involved in now – any ideas welcome, we've got to keep our old folks on the ball?








I even tried my hand at a spot of golf too - I won't tell you how many swings it took for me to actually hit the freakin' ball


We finished the lesson with a well-deserved drink!
Later x