Sunday, 12 August 2018

My experience with a psychic

Leeds psychic and spiritual centre
living room


Well, this is certainly a tangent from my usual post subjects isn’t it?

I’m the first to admit that I’m not a spontaneous kinda gal, it’s just not my bag. I like sticking to plans, having a schedule and I’m only a few steps away from having a Gantt chart of my social life (LOL I wish this was an exaggeration but it’s not), but a few weeks ago I took myself off to a psychic evening with 15 minutes notice and I surprised myself. 

Disclaimer: apologies for the irrelevant photo on this post, I didn't want to take a photo for the 'gram whilst I was in the session.

I’ve always been curious about spirits, the future (though obviously not straying into Ouija board territory as I’m not getting into that shit) and the universe and I’ve wanted to do something like this for a while. In fact, ever since I went to a group reading when I was at university, I’ve wanted to see a psychic or medium again so when I saw that my local spiritual centre ran psychic evenings every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I thought, why not.

I didn’t have a clue what to expect as I couldn’t find much information online but I got there, paid my £12 and was told to go into a room and choose nine tarot cards, each from a different deck. In the room, there were around 15 other people and over the course of the evening, one woman was in the room doing a group reading (Chrissy) and one by one, each person went out to another room for a short five minute reading with a second woman, Diane.

Whilst in the main room, Chrissy, took the chosen cards from each person and without going into a lot of detail, discussed the spirits which were there for that person, told them about things which were going on in their lives, numbers and dates which would be relevant to them and so on. As I’m a bit sceptical, I looked for things which were down to interpretation from leading questions but there’s no denying that some things were a little to specific to be a lucky guess. For example, one guy who was in there had lost his dad 6 months previously and she referred to him by name.

I should say now that at no point was anyone asked their name. Everyone who was there for the first time went in as strangers and several times, Chrissy asked a person who someone was as it was the person they had come with. Needless to say, my curiosity was peaked.

I had my private reading first with Diane and the moment I sat down she asked me who John was – which is my Dad’s name. Without going into details, she told me about how I need to speak to the universe more about what I want but before I do so, I need to write it down and work it out myself. She also made some very correct assumptions about how I was feeling about myself, about work and about my family. I’ll admit, I was very, very emotional, as I always am when I talk about my dad, but I found the reading comforting if nothing else.

Back in the main room, I had my group reading and by this point, it was only in front of a few people (most people left after they had had both their group and private reading). Here, Chrissy said very similar things to Diane about how I need to speak to the universe more. Given I had walked in just before it started and knew they couldn’t have had any cross-conversations, it did make me believe more.

I’m really glad I went to the session as for £12, it was very interesting and regardless of whether or not you believe in spirits, it’s comforting and sometimes you need a stranger to tell you that you need to sort your shit out and work out what you want (though not in as many words!). It’s a bit of a weird situation as you’re not there to be counselled but nor are these people your friends, but they’re still offering advice, though objectively. If you’re curious about spirits, I’d really recommend going to one of the psychic evenings at Leeds Psychic Centre as it’s very cheap and you’re not committing to anything.

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Thursday, 9 August 2018

A half year round up

A half year round up
selfie


Yes, I know, we’re into August but it’s not too late to have a check in on my resolutions for 2018 is it? I hope not. Every year I use my blog as a place to put my goals for the year out there as it makes me a bit more accountable when it comes to actually achieving them and I like to use the midpoint of the year to ensure I’m on track (even if I am a bit late this time).

Here’s what I planned to do and where I’m at with it.

Do more fun stuff
This is my reoccurring resolution as I like to put it out there that I want to do fun, planned stuff that I’ll really look forward to. So far this year, I’ve seen more of my blogger gals, been to a lot of events, went to London for a Nandos, been ‘out’ out a lot, gone to two gigs and attended my first festival. With all the fun stuff that’s gone in between that, especially when it’s meant catching up with friends and family, I’d say that I’m very much on track with this one.

Improve my living space
As I got some new prints for my flat for Christmas, there’s definitely an improvement going on in my flat as I’ve started to put a bit more time into making my little home more ‘me’. That said, there’s still a bit of a way to go before it looks exactly how I want it to. I’m really enjoying this process though, even the little things like buying myself a bunch of flowers does make a difference.

Own my style
I’m definitely at my most insecure when it comes to my body but I’m starting to come round to the idea that I can still like the clothes I wear even when I’m not feeling it. I’ve definitely stopped trying to defend my style as I know I’m not the classiest or the most feminine of people in the way that I dress but I’m accepting that a bit more. I’ve actually started shopping for clothes that are a bit out my comfort zone (2018 has seen me wearing yellow!) and I’ve started picking things up because I like them the best not because they make me look slimmer than I am. I know, what a ground breaking concept, not dressing to look smaller.

Learn more professionally
So far, so good! The last few months has seen me going to London to Facebook’s first UK agency day and also their Blueprint Live training. I’ve done my first client pitches which was a kick out of my comfort zone and even spoke at a Leeds Loves Digital event. I’m really enjoying the learning curve at the moment as whilst it’s still steep, it’s all great experience under my belt and it’s making me more passionate about social media than ever before.

Going by my resolutions, 2018 isn’t shaping up to be a bad year and whilst there have definitely been some rocky patches, I’m looking forward to the challenges and experiences that the rest of the year brings. How are your resolutions going so far? Let me know in the comments.

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Monday, 6 August 2018

A weird beauty experience

northern bloc sorbet


As I had a day off this week, I thought you know what, I’m going to book in a massage and a facial as yo to the freaking low it’s just been payday. I wanted to avoid going into Leeds city centre as it’s the school hellidays holidays so I decided to go for somewhere new in north Leeds. As the address said Alwoodley, I thought it must be pretty nice so I popped my payment details into Treatwell (if you’re not familiar, this is an online booking service for beauty treatments), the address into Google maps and off I went. 20 minutes later, I’m in a residential area and realised pretty quickly that my treatment will be taking place in someone’s house. Nice one Lizi.

Still, I did think that though it’s a bit weird, that working from home isn’t uncommon and I was sure it would be OK. Well, it was an experience. The treatment room wasn’t exactly a calming environment as it was quite frankly, full of junk (even by my standards) but given I would have my eyes firmly shut for the treatment, I decided not to think too much of it. I’d booked a massage and facial which was half an hour of each and started with the back massage.

The massage itself was good – it was firm and worked knots out of my back that I didn’t even know where there. It did get a little odd when the therapist pushed down on pressure points from my feet, up my legs and right up my back as this included my ass. Not quite what I was expecting but I was going with it. I turned over and then it was time for the facial. I was asked to put on a plastic shower cap (the type you get in a hotel bathroom) so that the products didn’t get in my hair, so for a lot of the time, I could just hear rustling. As it happened, my treatment included a scalp massage so I left with products in my hair regardless.

I’m really not sure what products she used or what they did but there were three occasions where she left the room entirely without saying anything, the first two times were for a few minutes, but the last time was for at least 10 minutes. Is that weird? It got to the point where I was starting to wonder how long I needed to leave it before going to investigate whether or not she’d died. Luckily, she returned.

Another thing which I thought was a bit weird for a relaxing experience was when she put a ring light over my face (though I had cotton pads over my eyes, I thought if I opened them I might get blinded) and she went on to squeeze a spot that’s just next to my eyebrow. I don’t think that’s quite what I signed up for but I went with it, mainly as it was too late by this point to object. Whilst I’m all in favour of squeezing spots as I’m the kind of gross person who thinks it’s satisfying, I’m pretty sure the professional line is to leave them be, right?

Just when I started to think the experience couldn’t get any weirder, whilst I had one of the multiple facemasks on, she did a shoulder, neck and chest massage. Now, I don’t want to sound incredibly prudish but I’ve had a few treatments like this in the past and this was the first time that a therapist has massaged between my boobs, going as far down as just below the sternum. Without warning. I’m not a mega touchy feely or body confident kinda gal and I must admit, this was a fair bit out of my comfort zone, especially as it was a fairly firm massage. The rest of the massage bit was fine but it did make me tense up a little every time her hands were below my collarbones as I wasn’t sure if my towel was going to slip any lower!

By the time the end of the treatment came around, I was pretty keen to get out of there and whilst I can’t fault the massage or how my skin feels, I feel like I left with a weird story to tell rather than feeling all zen.

Have you had an experience like this before? Do you think I’m overreacting when I say that spot squeezing is a little too far? Let me know in the comments.


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Saturday, 4 August 2018

My first festival

Carfest North 2018
carfest north 2018


Anyone who knows me in person could tell you that I’m not an outdoorsy person, but this summer, I had my first festival experience. And let me tell you, whilst it was fun, my limit is definitely the decidedly middle class Carfest North (aka the charity festival that Chris Evans puts on for Children in Need) and Leeds fest is 100% out of my remit. My mum got day tickets for me, her and my sister for Christmas and having never been to a festival before, I had zero clue what to expect.

After the extreme summer 2018 heatwave, I headed on over to Chester with jeans, tshirts and trainers and it was the night before which saw me raiding the nearest H&M for an emergency sweatshirt and trying on my sister’s spare anorak. This anorak in particular was from when she volunteered at the Manchester Marathon and had ‘marshall’ written across the back. Excellent, well done me.

When we arrived, it was drizzling and though we got there at around 11am, we managed to park pretty close to the entrance – it was very organised in terms of getting people in so there was very little queuing. As festivals go, it isn’t massive but there’s plenty going on throughout the day. Our first stop was the world record attempt at the main stage for the most people stood in the formation of the Scouting logo – the link here is that Chris Evans is an ambassador for Scouts. I’ll happily admit that I only got involved as ‘world record holder’ looks great on my Tinder bio and the purple ponchos we had to wear for the occasion came in handy throughout the day.

As we missed the heatwave, at least it meant that when there were showers during the daytime, we could run for cover – the festival put up extra tents originally so that people could find shade, whereas actually we ended up under there to avoid the rain. As it was cooler, being able to sit outdoors in a breeze but not be a sweaty mess was really nice. We actually found that the vintage cafe, which was in a marquee, was the best place to just relax as it was very reasonably priced (£15 for a pot of tea for two, an Americano and two massive slices of cake, one of which was gluten free). It was outside the vintage cafe that we spotted Chris Evans and my mum was absolutely over the moon to get a photo with him. We ended up back there a second time later in the day too, plus it was a lovely area to wander around the vintage stalls.




carfest north 2018


During the day, there are loads of activities and things to watch including a swing dance class where my mum and I learned the Charleston, a massive parade through the show ground and even a motorcross stunt show. A personal highlight for me was during the parade when the ‘unicorn’ (AKA a white horse with a sparkly cone stuck to it’s forehead) had a shit halfway round. Absolutely magical. The motorcross stunt show was incredible, with the riders doing loads of tricks whilst flying through the air. There’s plenty of other stuff going on too, including a carnival with loads of rides, flower crown making, cactus decorating, sheep racing and some driving experiences.



carfest north 2018


When it comes to food, there was street food in every single area though my sister struggled to find anything remotely healthy as she’s both gluten free and on Slimming World. I however had a gyros from Eat Like a Greek who I’ve seen before in Trinity Kitchen and that was delicious. Other than a gyros and cake, I didn’t end up eating much else but there was pretty much every cuisine going.

The portaloo situation was also pretty good considering it was day three - the story of poo girl from Leeds Fest 2010 had filled me with horror and dread. Even at the end of the day, they were about as clean as they could be, with stewards there ready and waiting with loo roll refills.

As the daytime activities drew to a close, we headed over to the main stage for the music which started around 5pm (though there was a swing band and smaller artists on other stages throughout the day). We managed to get sat towards the back which was fine by us as any closer and we’d have had to have stood which we didn’t really fancy with five hours of music ahead of us. And it was closer to both the bar and the toilets. Pint of cider in hand, we watch Billy Ocean, The Feeling and about half a set from Texas before the heavens truly opened. It was at this point where we relented and left before the Carfest Supergroup and Madness – it was a shame to miss those acts but it was absolutely pouring with rain and we were soaking wet through so made a run for the car.


carfest north 2018


carfest north 2018


carfest north 2018


Overall, it was a fun day and definitely something different. The things we planned in to see and do like the parade and swing dance class were really fun and if I was to go back, I’d aim to see more of the motorcross stunt shows and the general driving on the track. If you’re a massive petrolhead, into vintage or have a family, it’s definitely a great day out and even for someone who isn’t, it was still a fun experience. Would I go again? I think it would depend on the acts who were playing, but I wouldn’t say no – for around £80 a ticket, it’s not a cheap day out but if you’re a fan of at least two of the main acts, I’d say it’s worth it.   

Have you ever been to Carfest North? Would you go? Let me know in the comments.


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Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Blogger gals and the best weekend

Cuckoo Leeds Review
Cuckoo Leeds


I love having things in the diary for absolutely ages as when I have something to look forward to, it really gives me a focus. It’s almost like having mini milestone rewards for surviving life. A few weeks ago, I had some of my blogger gal pals up in Leeds for the weekend and it was definitely one of those plans that I looked forward to for ages and it didn’t disappoint at all.



liquor labs trinity kitchen leeds


As it was the World Cup quarter final weekend that Haydy and Hayley were up north, naturally we had to find a great spot to watch the match so we headed straight to Trinity Kitchen – mainly as they were giving out a bottle of beer to everyone every time England scored so we had a couple on them as well as a whole load of cocktails. The atmosphere was really fun and laid back, but after the match we headed down Call Lane to my favourite bar, Cuckoo.

I’ve been to Cuckoo quite a few times as it’s becoming one of those places we go to after work a lot, but because they have really eclectic interiors, lush cocktails and a pizza oven, I couldn’t not take the girls there. We met up with Kellie and Rachel and then the five of us went to drink all the cocktails.



cuckoo leeds


cuckoo leeds


cuckoo leeds


The team at Cuckoo very kindly gave us a bottle of prosecco and some free drinks which was perfect as we could really celebrate Haydy’s new job. We all ordered pizzas too as 5-9pm every day, you can get a free 6 inch pizza with a drink, so I went for the Nacho Lucky Day which is a tomato base, cheese, crumbled nachos and topped with guacamole. FYI guac on pizza is the most underrated thing in the world. And I actually ended up having two of the nacho pizzas as I stayed in there pretty late to watch the second world cup match.

As a bar, it has a very chilled, laid back vibe but something we noticed was the music was absolutely on point. There was a lot of noughties indie rock playing which we were absolutely on board with before it changed to RnB later on in the evening. I can easily spend hours in there as the music and atmosphere are both right up my street. And y’know, I love pizza.

Being the classic bloggers that we are, we all piled into the photo booth at Cuckoo (£3 for four photos in one print and you can pay by card which is very handy) to get some gals photos before we left. I love having physical print outs to keep and having four of my favourite gals in the same city is pretty rare at times.

As the night got a bit later, I ended up staying out with some work friends who I’d bumped into and from then on it got pretty messy, as all the best nights do!

The next day, we headed to Malmaison for Sunday lunch (God knows I needed that) and then to the cat cafe for a couple of hours. I must admit, I’m not a mega cat fan but by the end of it, I was absolutely won over by the four legged cuties they have in there.



cat cafe leeds


As weekends go, it was absolutely bangin’ and I can’t wait for a repeat of it sometime soon. Thank you to Cuckoo too for giving us a booth, free drinks and free pizza for the night too, we had the best time.

What do you plan when you see your long distance pals? Are you all in on a night out or do you prefer to just catch up somewhere more chilled? Let me know in the comments.

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Monday, 16 July 2018

Summer road-tripping and keeping your car happy


Photo credit: Pixabay


Well, this heatwave is getting a little excessive isn’t it?! I’ve honestly never known such consistently hot weather and I’m the first to admit that I wasn’t emotionally prepared for this weather. In between complaining that I’m too hot and trying to sleep through the noise of the cheap desk fan I panic bought from Argos, I’ve actually tried to embrace the weather a little by making some summer plans.

A few months ago, I brought my precious Polly (aka my Hyundai i10) over to Leeds and I must admit, having my car over here gives me a new found freedom. I mean, for the first time in nearly 4 years, I’ve been able to go to a supermarket for a weekly shop – I know how to live life on the edge. I’m quite lucky in that I have a space in the carpark underneath my building as whilst I pay over the odds for it, I don’t run the risk of her getting her windows smashed (which happened the last time I parked her out on the street here, still fuming).

Car maintenance is just as important in summer as it is through the winter as nobody wants to end up cutting a roadtrip short by ending up stuck on the hard shoulder with a car that has overheated so here are my tips to keeping your car in tip top condition.

Check your fluid levels
It’s not just important to keep you hydrated but your car needs it too. Check your oil, transmission fluid, break fluid and power steering fluid periodically to make sure they’re all topped up to where they need to be so that your car doesn’t overheat.

Keep your car hot-weather friendly
If your car has air con, use it! Take cold drinks with you for long trips and switch your coffee for an iced latte so that you’ve got some caffeine in you to keep you perked up for long journeys. Hot weather can easily make you sleepy which is really dangerous, especially if you’re driving a long distance.

Make sure your tyres are summer ready
Once the temperature is regularly over 10 degrees, you can switch back to summer tyres which will perform better on both wet and dry roads. In hot weather tyres will lose twice as much pressure than when it’s cold and deflated tyres work harder, get hotter and therefore are more likely to experience a blow out. By checking your tyre pressure, you can reduce the risk of a costly repair.


As this heatwave is showing no signs of relenting, pick up your summer car tyres at Jet Wheel Tyres and they'll be able to sort you out.


*This post was sponsored by Jet Wheel Tyres but all thoughts, opinions and road trip plans are my own.

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Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Brunching with Gusto

Brunching with gusto
Gusto York brunch


The brunch market is pretty extensive right now as let’s be honest, going for brunch is way better than going out for dinner, but Gusto has just levelled up the pre-lunch dining offering in York. Most people don’t know that Gusto have a brunch menu and it’s an absolute hidden gem, in particular in such a beautiful city in a restaurant just a stone’s throw from the Minster. I was invited down to review their menu and I took my mum along with me.


Gusto York brunch


The menu covers off all of your brunch basics but I decided to go for pancakes as wanted to go for something different – usually I’m a savoury gal at breakfast time. The dish included three pancakes with Greek yoghurt and fresh berries and was absolutely delicious. I’m absolutely rubbish at making pancakes myself (mainly as my last attempt included trying to cook them in a wok...) so having them when I’m out feels like a treat – clearly I’m fairly easy to please!



Gusto York brunch


Mum went for a full English and I must admit, the food envy kicked in a little as it looked so good! My mum has to have a gluten free diet (though she isn’t celiac) and the staff were really good about ensuring that her requirements were catered for. They have a tablet which shows the breakdown of all dietary requirements across the whole menu and this information is available online which is ideal if you’re dining out with a big group or with someone with a specific allergy.


Gusto York brunch


Gusto York brunch


When it comes to drinks, there’s an extensive menu of teas, coffees, smoothies and juices but what I love is that they have Taylors tea on the menu. They’re Harrogate based so fairly local to me and I absolutely love all of their flavoured teas so they’re a perfect accompaniment to breakfast.



Gusto York brunch


Overall? I was definitely impressed by brunch at Gusto and I’d be keen to go back as the prices are very reasonable for a city centre and the setting is absolutely gorgeous. Also, unrelated but the reed diffusers in the toilets of the York branch smell absolutely incredible and that really did add to the experience. (No joke, they're that good).

Are you a brunch fan? Do you fancy a brunch date? Let me know in the comments.

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Sunday, 1 July 2018

Wagamama - White Rose

Wagamama White Rose Leeds
I’m already a big fan of Wagamama so I’m sure you can imagine how happy I was to be invited to visit their restaurant at the White Rose Centre in Leeds to review it. I must admit, it’s one of my favourite Wagamama restaurants as the branch sits a little separately from the centre, meaning you don’t feel like you’re eating in the middle of a load of shoppers but at the same time, you can easily hit the shops after work then head for a bite to eat afterwards.

I headed there with Maz for a girly night with plenty of food and naturally we spent about a week planning what we were going to have to eat. Wagamama has a few new additions to their summer menu including a couple of glass noodle salads and even a vegan katsu curry which I’m sure is a gift from the heavens for every vegan out there!

We both decided to stick with what we knew and went for our favourites on the menu. Maz had fried duck gyozas and I went for pulled pork gyozas to start, both of which were incredible. I do quite like that the food in Wagamama just comes out when it’s ready as it makes it feel a bit more relaxed and informal. It meant that we didn’t feel restricted or that we had to leave once dinner was over too - you know when you just need a night of just catching up and properly unwinding? It was one of those nights.


Wagamama White Rose Leeds


For mains, I went for grilled duck domburi which is tender, shredded duck in a spicy teriyaki sauce, mixed with carrots, mangetout, sweet potato and red onion on a bed of sticky white rice and topped with a crispy fried egg, cucumber and spring onions. It’s my absolute favourite on the menu and though it is very filling with the sticky rice, it’s so full of flavour. Maz chose the teriyaki soba with steak which is soba noodles cooked in curry oil with mangetout, bok choi, red and spring onions, chilli and beansprouts in a teriyaki sauce.


Wagamama White Rose Leeds


Wagamama White Rose Leeds


We were both impressed, as always, with the mains but of course made room for dessert as why the hell not? Maz got the white chocolate and ginger cheesecake whereas I went for the chocolate layer cake and a pot of flowering jasmine tea. The desserts were delicious but I’m really glad I finished the night with a tea as I can never resist flowering tea when I see it on a menu.

Wagamama White Rose Leeds


Wagamama White Rose Leeds


Wagamama White Rose Leeds


Overall, we were really impressed by Wagamama at the White Rose, the food was delicious and it was just one of those really lovely evenings that we all need more of.

Have you been to Wagamama recently? Will you be going soon? Let me know in the comments.

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Saturday, 9 June 2018

Brunching with Pie Minister

Brunching with Pie Minister
Bottomless brunch pieminister


You know the only decent pie restaurant on the highstreet right now? They’ve only gone and launched a bottomless brunch haven’t that. Needless to say I was pretty chuffed to be invited to indulge in the dreamy combo of brunch pies and a tipple or two. Or three. Or y’know, leaving feeling pretty tipsy on a Saturday afternoon.

I headed to the Leeds restaurant with one of my best gals, Jenna, (she’s a friend from way back in primary school), for a catch up, carbs and some Saturday fizz. We were there to review, but at £20 a person for 90 minutes, I’d say that it’s probably the best value bottomless brunch deal in Leeds right now. For that, you get a brunch main and bottomless prosecco, Aperol Spritz, Mimosas or Bloody Marys. Oh hello you delightful combo.



Bottomless brunch pieminister


We both started off with an Aperol Spritz each as neither of us had tried it before but I decided to move onto prosecco and Jenna switched to mimosas. I must admit, I was impressed with the service as a lot of places offering bottomless brunch will only bring you another drink when you’ve finished your first but our glasses were never empty. Our waitress even came over just before our 90 minutes was due to be up to get us another drink.

The brunch menu isn’t absolutely massive but it does have two brunch pies (one meat, one veggie), skillets for those wanting something less carb heavy and of course, avo on toast. The menu covers off gluten free and vegan dietary requirements too which is great to see, plus there’s enough variation to please the pickiest of eaters. Jenna and I both went for a brunch pie, Jenna going for meat and me choosing the veggie option, and both were served with braised beans and fried bread. The ‘Morning Glory’ pie which Jenna had was free range sausage, cheddar and potato hash top pie with cheese b├ęchamel, a baked egg, tomato and crispy bacon. Mine (the Munch Brunch) was smoked cheese, veggie sausage, mushroom and potato hash top pie with a baked egg, tomato and halloumi. Let’s be honest, I was sold with the halloumi.



Bottomless brunch pieminister


Bottomless brunch pieminister


We both seriously enjoyed the food, the pies were tasty and the braised beans were the perfect accompaniment. It felt like proper ‘brunch’ food as it was breakfast food in a lunch-y setting. We did the 11am sitting which worked perfectly for us as we didn’t have to get up super early but we also then had the rest of the day afterwards too.

At the moment, Pie Minister is serving bottomless brunch every other weekend and they have sittings at either 11am or 3pm. For more info, check out their website here

Will you be indulging in a bottomless brunch soon? Let me know in the comments!

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Thursday, 7 June 2018

Escape Hunt: Going head to head

Escape Hunt UK - Leeds The Light
escape hunt leeds


Escape rooms are officially my new favourite thing. Escape Hunt recently launched in The Light in Leeds with a World War Two themed room called Our Finest Hour which I was invited down to review (you can read that here), and they just launched a second room called The Fourth Samurai which is a Japanese theme. Naturally when I saw that it was launching, I jumped at the chance of trying out the second room, but this time, going head to head.

The first time we went, we attempted the room in a group of six, which meant that at times, we were more than a little frantic but worked well together as a team to escape the room with a couple of minutes to spare. This time, we worked in teams of three – as there are two rooms which are identical, it’s a great opportunity to bring in a little competition. I’d say friendly competition but we were definitely very competitive! I teamed up with Hannah and Juan and we were against Hollie, Maz and Luke.

The three of us were led into our first rooms where we were briefed by our games master who explained that we had been captured, were in a cell and our mission was to return the stone which made a Samurai very powerful back to where it came from.

I think that as it was our second escape room, we had a bit more of an idea of how to play the game than when we did the World War Two themed room as that had been a first time for all of us and we were all a bit over whelmed. I can’t give away the secrets or the clues, but we all really enjoyed working our way through four rooms and escaping with just a few clues from our games master.

When we reconvened after the games, we debriefed as a full group and worked out where we all had strengths and weaknesses. Whilst there were definitely stronger skills on each side where we could have done well as a team of six, given the nature of the rooms, I think we would have peaked at around four team members. This is the World War Two room required quite a lot of teamwork, whereas this room was less reliant on multiple team members doing different things at the same time.

Now that we’ve done two rooms, we all left saying that we felt like we had caught a bug for it. Beating the timer to get out is an addictive buzz and we’re keen to try different themes. Whilst there are a lot of rooms out there which are horror themed, I do think the rooms which are themed make you focus on the logic and puzzles rather than being side tracked by being terrified – but who knows, maybe a horror one would test how we work together under pressure. Or could just be the tipping point that pushes me to use the emergency button to get out – who knows!


Escape Hunt is definitely a great evening out, and with colleagues is a good team builder, especially when there’s a bit of rivalry going on. We all escaped but I was a little bit gutted that the other team made it out 30 seconds faster than us! Though they got more clues than us!

Would you do an escape room? Let me know in the comments!
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Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Dining with DFDS

DFDS King Seaways Explorers Kitchen


When you think of an overnight ferry to Amsterdam, I’m sure for the most of us, the food isn’t really at the forefront of our minds, right? If you’re like me, you’d be heading onboard for a fun night of drinks and entertainment before a whistlestop trip to the ‘Dam the next day (a day in the city is long enough to get some decent shots for the ‘gram, right?) and then back on the ship for your voyage home.

I was invited to try out the Explorer’s Kitchen on DFDS’ King Seaways recently and let’s be honest, nobody is going to turn down an all you can eat buffet with a bunch of bloggers, right? After a slightly frantic drive up from Leeds which saw me going through the Tyne Tunnel THREE TIMES on my way there (cheers Google maps), I arrived and checked in at the port and got my boarding card for the ferry. Disclaimer, the port is actually really easy to get to, but my ability to follow directions is somewhat lacking.

What surprised me about the experience is the quality of the food. When I stepped onto the ship and saw the sheer size of it, I must admit I was a little dubious as surely producing really good food for that many people must be a task and a half for the kitchen staff. In reality? I was blown away. The options pretty much took us around the world with British, American, Nordic, Spanish, Italian and Asian food, so naturally I tried a bit of everything. Mac and cheese lasagne? That can come right at me. On the same plate as a Spanish tortilla? Absolutely.



DFDS King Seaways Explorers Kitchen


DFDS King Seaways Explorers Kitchen


DFDS King Seaways Explorers Kitchen


DFDS King Seaways Explorers Kitchen


DFDS King Seaways Explorers Kitchen


Since getting off the ship, I’ve actually recreated the Spanish tortilla at home because I loved it so much and wanted to share the recipe as it’s such an easy lunch option (plus if you’re on Slimming World, it’s both filling and free).

Ingredients:
4 small salad potatoes
6 eggs
Handful of chopped peppers (I go for three colours of peppers)
1 red onion, diced
4-6 mushrooms, diced

Method:
  • Boil the potatoes for 20mins
  • During this time, soften the veg over a medium heat
  • Drain and slice the potatoes, use them to line the bottom of a greased flan dish (I used Frylight)
  • Spoon the veg over the top of the potatoes evenly
  • Beat 6 eggs and pour over the veg and potatoes
  • Bake in the oven, preheated to 180 degrees, for 20mins
  • Serve with salad either hot or cold

Spanish tortilla recipe



After we dined on the ship, we had a tour which confirmed to me that should I book a trip ferry to Holland with DFDS, I will most certainly be getting a Commodore Cabin as they are very fancy! With those cabins, you can access the luxury Commodore Restaurant and as it’s a two night crossing, I would definitely do one night in there for a holiday ‘treat yo’self’ and the other at the Explorer’s Kitchen as 20 euros is an absolute steal for an onboard all you can eat.

So tell me, when was the last time you indulged in a really good all you can eat? Let me know in the comments.

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Monday, 28 May 2018

Ed Sheeran: The Divide World Tour

Ed Sheeran: The Divide World Tour
Ed Sheeran: The Divide World Tour


You know when you book tickets so far in advance that something just creeps up on you? That’s what it felt like when I booked Ed Sheeran tickets this time last year.

I’ve been to a lot of concerts in the past for a lot of big artists but this one was definitely a stand out to me (and probably the people who filled the Etihad Stadium in Manchester on four consecutive nights too – a pretty hefty achievement for a guy who seems just as surprised as we are that he made it this big). Normally with a gig that big, you’d expect a massive production, but in reality, he took to the stage with just a guitar and a loop pedal so that he could create all of the backing tracks live on the night. There was no band, no dancers, no pyrotechnics. Regardless of whether you’re a fan of his music, there’s a lot of skill involved in getting an entire arena absolutely bouncing when you’re up there on stage alone. I loved that because of this, each show is unique as the tracks get wiped every night and recreated the next time.

This show was also my first stadium experience which definitely made it different for me. As I’m not a sports fan, I had never been in a stadium before in my life and I think the beautiful weather and being seated in a block fairly near the stage were deal breakers. If we’d been in the furthest block in pouring rain, I imagine it would have been a bit of a shit night! It definitely took a bit longer to get the crowds in the stands warmed up as when you’re seated, the crowds are like sheep – if one stands, they all do, if nobody does, you’re sat for the night. It was maybe two or three songs in before everyone was getting involved but after that, the atmosphere was incredible.

The only concern I’d had on the evening of the show was around the logistics of getting there and back as having never lived in a city with a tram system, there’s always that little unknown of will I make it back in time for my train afterwards. In my mind, it was going to be absolute chaos getting out of the stadium but in reality, it was organised how it would be if it was a match day – you were separated based on how you were getting home (whether you were walking, going to the carpark or getting a tram). As we ducked out just before the end, we managed to get on a tram within 15 minutes of leaving the stadium and it was only for 10 minutes or so to get back to the station. We ended up back around 40 minutes before our train home which worked well for us.

As a gig venue, it was great to see an artist I love perform on a bigger scale and when it was a warm night, for it to be open air as the sun went down, that really added to the atmosphere. But at the same time, I still prefer smaller venues and I think Leeds Arena is probably still my favourite – it’s small enough to feel like you’re not miles from the stage no matter where you’re sat but big enough for it not to be a nightmare getting tickets.

Overall, it was a fantastic evening and we felt like we’d got a great deal paying £50 per ticket to see Jamie Lawson and Anne-Marie too. Would I go back to a stadium? It probably wouldn’t be my first choice of venue but if it was in the summer for a massive artist? Absolutely.

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Wednesday, 23 May 2018

How to make an occasion special

Bakerdays Cake review
Bakerdays photo cake


Everyone has that one friend who always goes a little bit extra on a birthday or any occasion, but how do you become that person? It’s always that extra effort that you remember someone making that leaves you feeling a bit #blessed which is why I’ve partnered up with Bakerdays for this post which is full of tips – mainly borrowed tips from when my sister went a bit all out on my birthday.

Get them a cake
Well, obviously! Bakerdays do personalised cakes which can be as big as a party cake or as small as a treat that will go straight through your letterbox. Think posting a cake is risky? Let me tell you, when it turns up in a tin and perfectly intact, it’s not even worth worrying about. The one Bakerdays sent me was actually for my mum’s birthday so naturally I got a photo of her face on it and it was even gluten free as she’s a coeliac). It’s just a personal touch.

Decorating a table
When it was my birthday last month, my sister contacted the restaurant I was having lunch at with her and some friends ahead of time to make sure she could come and decorate the table before I arrived. This was a total surprise to me, but it meant I walked in to a table dressed with balloons and confetti which made it really special.

Make a favour for each of the group
Another thing my sister did was create the equivalent of a ‘party bag’ for me and all of my friends, which was a paper bag with some sweets in for everyone. It’s one of those things which isn’t expensive but the thought and time really does make difference.

Present your meal
When I have guests over, my go-to dinner is Mexican, mainly because it’s my favourite cuisine but also because it’s easy to make a simple meal look impressive. Making your salsa and guac from scratch and laying out the meal in bowls so that your guests can create their own shows that you’re thinking about them, even though you end up doing more washing up.

So, they’re my little tips to going above a little bit extra to be thoughtful on an occasion without going absolutely overboard (though if anyone wants to throw me a surprise party complete with flashmob, I would be overjoyed). Like the look of a Bakerdays cake? Get 15% off with the code GLASSESGIRL15 and surprise someone with their face on a cake via their postman.

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Monday, 21 May 2018

Spending or saving with GiffGaff Game Plan


Cuckoo Leeds


FYI, all the photos in this post are credited to the fantastic team at Search Labs who put on the event, they did a way better job at capturing it than me. It turns out my photography skills go out the window once I've played beer pong).

I’m the first to admit that money management isn’t my strong point. I’m definitely more of a yolo-er than a saver but you know when you do something that throws your attitude into a harsh reality? That’s where I’m at.

I was invited along to Cuckoo (one of my fave bars ever in Leeds) for a night with GiffGaff who were there to chat about GiffGaff Gameplan which is their financial service to help people save. I mean, they have their work cut out with me, but the night made me stop and think a little more seriously about where my finances are going. As LOL I spend a little too much time eating and drinking my bank balance rather than saving it.

We played a Monopoly style board-game on the night where you collect your wages for passing go and on each square you landed on, you’d have to complete actions like paying money for date night or council tax, or receive money from a work bonus etc. There were also scarily real chance cards including ‘you just got paid and your money turned to beer tokens, pay £100 for a spontaneous work night out’. Umm how guilty am I of going for one drink after work and it escalating into rolling in at 2am with a Dominos? Yup. But moving swiftly on.


GiffGaff Game Plan


GiffGaff Game Plan


 The night made me think about where I really want to be spending my money. I want to find the balance between living my best life and financial security as whilst it’s good to enjoy your spare time, it shouldn’t be to the detriment of your future self. There’s only so much living in the moment that you can do whilst being a responsible adult, right?


GiffGaff Game Plan


For me, it’s working out whether what you’re spending money on is worth it. For example, I brought my car over to Leeds recently which is a costly investment when it comes to parking but it also brings me freedom – even if I only use said freedom to go to the supermarket! But spending money on going out? That’s taken a back seat in recent weeks as whilst I love my friends, I don’t want to be regularly paying for the privilege of having a hangover – and it means I can get up and drive the next day without worrying about being over the limit!


beer pong cuckoo leeds


beer pong cuckoo leeds


Money is such a personal thing, as is what we prioritise spending it on. I’ve only been out the county twice in the last 5 years because I’ve chosen to spend my money on gigs, day trips, nights out and things that I want, whereas some people might have a mini-heart attack at the thought of not going on holiday for so long. But it’s personal preference and I stand by that despite the judgement I seem to get!

I think what I really took away from my night with GiffGaff Game Plan (aside from the knowledge that I’m shit at beer pong) is that money is there to be enjoyed not wasted and the better you are with it, the more you can enjoy it, regardless of whether your priorities are the same as anyone else’s. What are your money saving tips? Let me know in the comments.

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