Lifestyle Blogger.

What can you do with abit of spare time?





Procrastination is a strange thing, however at the time we never really think about it. Social media has completely taken over our lives and we lose track of how many hours a day we spend scrolling through our newsfeed and timelines. Not only that but it can also anger us quite a lot, regularly we read articles we wish we hadn't, we see people posting stuff we completely disagree with and for us bloggers we see algorithms totally ruin the hard work we put into our content.

So over the past 7 days I decided to take a break from my blog, I haven't created any new content, replied to emails or anything else to do with my website. I've also ignored my twitter, the only thing I have kept up to date with is my Instagram and that's simply because if I hadn't the new algorithm would have completely killed my following. It's safe to say I feel completely refreshed and now extremely inspired to create new content. 

By taking a break from my blog, this meant I have had a rather large amount of time on my hand. It's been quite a realisation seeing how much time I put aside for creating content, editing photos, scheduling posts, attending events and replying to emails, all of that as well as working full time in another job role. I feel I've used the spare time well, simply because I now feel rested and caught up with everything else in life. I've managed to finally get the chance to sit down and book a holiday with my other half, something we've been trying to do for months but just haven't had the time to search for a hotel and flights. So in eight weeks time we are now flying out to Prague for a well needed break. I've also had time to socialise, catch up with my family, drinks with the girls and workout daily, and for once not had to try and squeeze them into my ever growing schedule. I also declined invitation to two different events, simply because I was enjoying my time off and I knew if I attended I would end up blogging straightaway. I've found it is actually possible to sleep for over 8 hours by switching off social media at 9pm giving myself an hour to unwind before bed. It's amazing how these little things make a difference to your whole mood, I feel so relaxed and happy, not my usual stressed self.

In an average week I've worked out that I would spend roughly 17 hours working on my blog, crazy isn't it! That's roughly 2-2.5 hours a day. In that time I could have flown to Ibiza, Dubrovnik or Stockholm, seems extreme when you think of it like that doesn't it?
Find out where you could travel to if you freed up some spare time here
I'm so glad I took part in this challenge by Monarch airlines, I think in future I am going to value my time a lot more.

Power Salads That Give Strength And Refreshment

Everyone knows that salads are an important part of a healthy diet. However, the thought of eating greenery, vegetables, and fruits, purely as part of an otherwise delicious dish, rich in flavour, puts many people off. The image of salads that are in most people’s minds is that they’re largely tasteless, have a high water content, and thus they’re not very filling. However, although this may be true to some extent, there are ways around this so no excuses can be made. You can add in lean meats cooked to perfection with great and easy recipes to invigorate a humble salad into a mouthwatering lunch option. A plate of salad will be low in calories, but with the right amount of lean protein, this can go up considerably, so it’s a viable energy-infused meal. Some people need the inspiration to make dishes. Therefore the are some popular ones you can make at home. 
Image by - Kimberly Vardeman
Crispy Mediterranean
Inspiration coming from Greece and Turkey, this Mediterranean salad is full of natural sweetness, lean meats, and fresh vegetables. All you need for this dish is the right ingredients because the flavours are very unique and cannot be replaced by whatever’s in your cabinet. You’ll need to choose the star of the show, which is the protein. The Greek inspired salad uses fresh seafood such as shrimp and prawns. However, the Turkish variant needs to use halal meat products. The Ottomans left behind this requirement since they were Islamic, so you should hold true to tradition.
With the body of the salad sorted, you need healthy fats coming from kalamata olives, and green leafy vegetables like romaine salad. Bell peppers add a touch of gentle spice, but you balance that out with roasted pine nuts. One finely sliced cucumber is great, and a large red onion sliced in rugged chunks is even better. Grab three tomatoes and slice them in cubes, then sprinkle a little sea salt over them. Grill the halal chicken with some Turkish spices. Squeeze a fresh lemon over the chicken to bring out the flavour a little more then pour four tablespoons of olive oil over it all. Toss for about fifteen seconds, and done; a marvellous dish of the Mediterranean. 
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Simple black beans and steak
Black beans are high in fiber which crushes the hunger in your stomach because they are high in protein value too. However, couple it with a lean, thinly sliced steak, and it may be the best salad you’ve ever tasted. Add the usual suspects, such as lettuce, tomatoes, and onions. Next, grab a fist full of black beans and sprinkle them over the dish. Add a little parsley to balance out the fiber, then add a fist full of sweet corn. A generous helping of olive oil such as two table spoons. The add your lean steak, which should be cooked Italian roasting style. Sprinkle a little black pepper over and then a tiny amount of lemon juice. 
Both of these salads are easy and quick to make, but since have lean protein as the body of the meal, they’re filling. And yet, with the combination of not-so-average ingredients, the flavours are immense and satisfying. These meals can be eaten on their own since they have all the right amounts of nutrition your body needs while keeping calories low as possible.

How To Break Into an Exercise Regime That You Will Actually Stick To

If getting fit and losing weight was easy we would all be walking around with toned abs and tiny waists. Unfortunately the reality is that after long days in the office, or running around after the kids, the absolute last thing that we want to do is to head off to the gym or to go for a run. Finding an exercise regime that works for you that you actually feel motivated to stick at is certainly one of the biggest challenges of modern day life. However it can be done and it is being done every day. So follow our tips on how to break into an exercise regime that you will actually want to stick at this time.
It is Not All Or Nothing
This is a mentality that is doomed for failure. Thinking that you need to get into an exercise regime with a ‘go big, or go home’ mentality will have you dive bombing onto the sofa the minute you feel that you just can’t handle that dreaded two hours in the gym. We can all be doing more and doing better, however the point with exercise is that something is always going to be better than nothing at all. You are much more likely to go out for a relaxing, brisk 30 minute walk, rather than face a gruelling 10 mile run. Those big fitness goals are there to be worked towards so don’t burn yourself out in the first few weeks, or set initial goals too big that they just seem too unrealistic to achieve.
It's All In the Mind- No Excuses
Sometimes we just need to give ourselves a little tough love and realise that we will never get anywhere if we constantly give ourselves excuses to get out of things that we don’t want to do. Whether you are committing yourself to just 15 minutes of exercise a day or whether you are wanting to sign up for an all singing all dancing 24/7 Fitness gyms, then you are going to want to set clear goals in your head, that are realistic.
We all stumble and fall back on old, bad habits and there are very few people that just spring out of bed and are 100% determined to change things for the better. So we should learn to be a bit kinder with ourselves and to not be too hard on ourselves. Expecting too much from ourselves is always going to result in disappointment and failure, so the first trick is to lower your initial goals and just go into it slowly and steadily and work yourself up gradually. Start with good intentions and know that stumbles and failures are going to happen but no one is perfect and they should never demotivate you.
Understand Habits
The sad fact is that most people fail in fitness because they don’t understand that they need to programme themselves into a positive feedback loop. To be successful at fitness and exercise it needs to be done in the same way as sleeping and eating. Integrating exercise into your lifestyle as something that is not questioned or challenged is the absolute best way to ensure that over time, it is something that you do without even thinking about.

Le Raaj, Sedgefield

It's always the same, me and Sean are so indecisive that every time we plan to go out for food we leave it till the last hour or so to finally come to a decision. Neither of us ever want to make the decision incase we upset the other, and it's getting rather boring dining at the same restaurants every time. I'm not normally a fan of chain restaurants because I feel like the quality of food is nowhere near on par to that at independently owned restaurants, just writing this has made me realise how picky I actually am. A friend of mine Laura over at WhatLauraLoves invited me to try out Le Raaj in Sedgefield, it's always refreshing to try somewhere new as it's an addition to choose from when we choose to go out. 






Prior to our visit I would only normally dine at one specific Indian restaurant local to me, I actually used to work there, and I'm always guaranteed great quality food and excellent customer service. So why would I want to try somewhere else? Well I suppose it was time to broaden my options, and that we did. We choose to visit Le Raaj on a Wednesday evening, it worked out well due to us both working during the day, and it was a lovely change to not have to come home to cook till daft o'clock. I had looked up the menu before our visit just to give me an idea of what was to offer and knowing Sean is extremely fussy I wanted to make sure there was something on the menu that he would enjoy. I was surprised at how big the menu actually was, from chicken dishes to fish, it was also great to see a list of chefs specialities that's actually where I choose my main meal from.



From outside Le Raaj looked very modern and clean with a crisp white and deep purple colour scheme, we were seated almost straight away and promptly asked for our drinks orders. It had to be a pint of tiger beer, what else would you drink with Indian food? The waiter brought over some poppadoms for us to start with, I was extremely happy  to see no lime pickle on the pickle tray, instead there was a spicy mango chutney, a mint Yoghurt, onion salad and a mildly spiced sauce, unfortunately I forgot to ask what it included. The poppadoms were still warm and crisp, I could have eaten plenty more. 




For starters I ordered the Bhuna King Prawn on puree, an all time favourite of mine. And Sean order the Chicken Tikka Chat on Puree both were served after a relatively short period of time. The king prawns I was served were huge, and super tasty, luckily for me there wasn't too much spice as I'm not a massive fan of hot food. Sean wolfed down his started so it's safe to say it must have been good.






For main I went with the Chicken Niagria a creamy curry sauce with mango and chicken, it was unreal, I'm a sucker for a fruity curry and this went so well with my peshwari naan. I suppose I'm sounding like a right fairy with all the mild food, but I appreciate flavouring a lot more than I do spice. Sean on the other hand ordered the Chicken Tikka Vindaloo with a glass of iced water, he would always be dissapointed if he didn't break a sweat during a curry. I did try some of his and for the small mouthful I had the flavours were lovely but there was an extremely large amount of burn. We got both our dishes with a pilau rice and a keema
rice and went for half and half, it was the first time I've had keema rice and I really enjoyed it, it was nice to have different textures.



We did take a look at the dessert menu, but realistically we had already eaten a ridiculous amount of food and there was no way we could squeeze in any more. Our whole experience at Le Raaj had been cracking, the young girls waitressing were lovely and friendly and very helpful. The service was quick and efficient but we didn't feel like we had been rushed at all. For a Wednesday evening the restaurant was half full which I felt showed how good the restaurant was, I over heard the table next to us say it was their 4th visit to the restaurant. The positioning of the restaurant probably isn't the best for them to be packed out every night but being near the services it's the prime location for those staying in the hotel on site. Sean said the food was "blooming amazing" so I think we'll definitely be paying another trip fairly soon.'



I had to share this image with you all for abit of a chuckle, this Australian chap, with the help of his family and a few of the other diners managed to polish off a 6 litre bottle of merlot wine. 

A Lean Lifestyle Is In Reach: Here's How

We are all reaching for that ultimate goal of looking and feeling lean. We want to lose weight, but we also want to be able to maintain a healthy look. Which is why a leaner lifestyle could be the way forward for you. Placing focus on your diet as well as the exercise you take and how you go about things. If you are interested in a lean lifestyle and wondering how to go about it, then read on for some top tips and suggestions. 
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Think about taking supplements to aid muscle growth
A lean lifestyle can often mean that you want to focus on the muscle tone and how your body looks, and often you need some help with that. This is when you could consider taking supplements like Aretheyonsteroids that could help. A good time to take any supplements to aid muscle growth is after a workout when your muscles need extra help repairing. Other things to consider are protein shakes. You could also consider taking other supplements to boost your vitamins and nutrients in your body. Which can all aid in muscle repair, weight loss and look and feel your best. 
Increase the amount of fiber in your diet
Fiber is a great source of energy and nutrients in your body, and can often help you to feel fuller for longer. Fiber can be added really easily into your diet by increasing the whole grains you eat, as well as some of the green leafy vegetables. It can also help you to sustain your energy levels, especially when you ar training. Helping you to release the energy stored by other food groups such as carbohydrates. 
Take regular exercise and mix things up a little
Exercise will always be a key feature of a leaner lifestyle, but it’s important to make sure you mix things up a little when it comes to the type of exercise you do. Too much cardio can result in not enough muscle tone or strengthening in your core. Too much focus on weight and muscles means that you end up with no fitness levels or energy. Balance it out, and make sure you focus on different exercises on different days. Things like interval training can be a great way to mix things up. 
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Make sensible choices with the food that you buy
You need to ensure that you make sensible choices with the food you buy. Ensure that you buy leaner meats and reduce the fat content in your foods. Invest in green leafy vegetables and ensure that you eat a good amount of protein and fiber. Don’t shy away from carbohydrates and other food groups thinking they are bad for you, it’s essential to keep things balanced. 
Drink a lot of water 
Finally, drinking a lot of water can really help with your skin, your energy and also the way you look in regards to weight loss. It naturally detoxes your body and is an essential part of a leaner lifestyle. 
I hope these tips help you to have a lean lifestyle in the future.

Conquering The Calorie Control Conundrum


Before we get into the meat and veg of the matter, we’ll start by making sure it’s well understood that calories aren’t all that make a healthy diet. What you eat matters as how much you eat. Getting to know your body’s nutritional demands is just as big a part of healthy eating as controlling your calories. However, if you’re looking to lose weight, then some calorie control is crucial. But it’s also where a lot of people stumble. Here, we’re going to look at ways to make it easier for yourself to stick to and measure a better diet for yourself.

Know how much exactly you need
People rely on body mass index measurements to get an idea of just how overweight they are, for which they are reliable, if not approximate, tools to use. However, some BMI calculators can also give you a good idea of what calorie ranges you should be keeping your diet to. It’s important to pay attention to the lower limit of your metabolic rate. Not only will going underneath it make you feel terrible, but it can actually make it harder to lose weight as your body goes into “starvation mode” holding onto as much fuel as it can.

Think volume over calories
When you’re cutting down the calories you take, your body is going to think that it’s eating less than it should and you’re going to feel hungry. So, trick the body. High-volume, low-calorie foods are some of the best tools for doing just that. Meal replacement shakes are a nutrient balanced way to fill your body up with a big drink that’s low in calories but significantly portioned enough that your body thinks it’s getting a lot more than it does. Carrots and nuts are other good foods for doing that. You’ll feel that hunger much less despite the fact you’re cutting your calorie intake.

Make it much harder to fall to the dark side
It’s time to start addressing the missteps we all make that cause us to eat that little bit extra that we shouldn’t. For one, start clearing the cupboards and the fridge of anything that could lead you to temptation. If you share the home, ask whomever you’re living with if they wouldn’t mind storing their treats in their own space. When you go shopping, make sure you use a shopping list that contains everything you need, adding to it with each week. This will lessen the chances you have to pop back to the shop later and end up picking up a chocolate bar while you’re there. Planning meals and preparing them in advance can make it much easier to eat healthily, too. After a day of work, when you’re faced with the choice of cooking a healthy meal or ordering a takeaway, your tired, stressed mind might fall to temptation. By having some prepared or mostly-prepared meals right there, it makes it easier to make the right choice.

With the tips above, calorie control is going to become a lot easier. You’ll fall to temptation less often, see what habits might be contributing to your progress, and know exactly what you should be aiming for to make sure you’re losing weight healthily.

Oddball Beauty; 3 Ways To Stand Out From The Crowd


Everyone follows fashion trends, it’s an inevitability of living in the 21st century and so most of us do so. However, we don’t all have to be looking the same! Everyone knows that one person who dresses different but still somehow manages to pull the look of fantastically, and we all wonder how they do it! But wonder no more, if you keep on reading you’ll discover the best 3 ways to stand out of the fashion crowd.
DIY Jewelry
Jewelry is the way that we enhance our look. By putting jewelry on we are making a statement, whatever that may be is up to you! Some people wear huge gemstones and others wear thin golden chains, so the choice is up to you to. However, one thing is for certain; everyone buys it. Hardly anyone makes it themselves, and if you want to stand out this is a great way to do so. You can make a huge amount of things, ranging from wood and yarn bracelets with custom engraving (or brandishing if you have the skills!) to a daisy chain tiara, the possibilities are endless! There is little guidance with this, there is no right and wrong it’s just what you like the most!
Change Up Your Hair
Our hair gives us a sense of identity, we spend hours and hours grooming it to perfection to achieve the look that makes us feel confident and comfortable. Most people do the same thing with their hair, but that’s not what we want to do! There are 2 main options to alter your hair to an uncommon standard, one is hair dye and the other is a wig. Wigs with a lace front are great because they are the most natural type of wig and will suit your head just fine, giving you a complete change of length and colour that you want! Hair dying is another option, it’s more permanent so it’s less flexible than a getting a wig but it can be less expensive, the choice is yours!
Try A New Makeup Style
Makeup is a part of a lot of people’s daily routines, so if it is part of yours too then listen up! We often do our makeup the same way every day, but if you want to stand out then buy some bright makeup palettes that can really make the dynamics of your face change! Using brighter palettes means that you get more flashy colours, bright oranges and yellows create some of the most fiery looks, so if that’s your thing then why not go for it?
Try any of one these things and you’re guaranteed to become an oddball beauty. If you give your hair a huge change up and dye it a different colour or even get a wig that’ll give you the standout colours you want. Making some home made necklaces and bracelets to will make you look more authentic and different so give it all a go! Makeup however is the most difficult thing here, it has to go onto an even and smooth face! If you’re trying to achieve that, look no further than this.

Preparing For Your Most Extravagant Holiday Yet


Part of the love of travelling is in the adventure, of climbing that mountain and exploring that wilderness. However, at some point in your life, you deserve to truly spend some time getting pampered with an experience that is truly world-class. The luxury holiday is no longer reserved for just the ultra-rich. At the same time, you have to make sure that you’re not falling for the “luxury” label that so many providers like to put on holidays that are anything but.

Get away from the crowds
You probably already have a bucket list of all the places you might one day like to see. However, there’s a good chance that a lot of them are going to be huge tourist traps. In these locations, luxury hotels get even more expensive and the experience you pay so much to see can often be a little ruined by the sheer volume of people crowding the trip. If you want a gorgeous holiday where you’re truly surrounded idyllic beauty, consider some of the lesser-visited city break spots in Europe. Just because a spot isn’t famous doesn’t mean it doesn’t have gorgeous architecture, top quality service, and weather worth enjoying.

Don’t forget about the trip itself
When choosing and preparing for a destination, make sure you think about how you’re actually going to get there. Flying might be the choice for most of you, but how long is that flight going to be? If you only have 5 days or a week to enjoy your holiday, then you don’t want to be travelling somewhere so far that you spend an entire day moving from plane to train and back again. Meanwhile, if you choose a short-haul destination, you have a lot more time to actually soak up the experience.

Give yourself more cash to splash
The greatest barrier that stands between many travellers and the truly extravagant experience is cost. But there are a lot of ways of cut down the costs of a holiday. You can immediately afford a lot more if you look at secure loans and pick the one that works the best for you. That way, you don’t need to spend as much time saving up for the holiday, you can just pay for it after. If you want a top-class hotel, for instance, you should consider populating the rest of your itinerary with sights that are free by doing your research in advance so you don’t need a tour guide. It’s always worth considering going in the off-season, as well.

Take the word “luxury” with a grain of salt
A packaged luxury holiday is something to be treated with scepticism. Same for hotels that list themselves as “luxury”. Make sure you get a good look at the amenities on offer before you fall for the marketing. Your idea of luxury might be a spa and room service, whereas the hotel owner’s idea might be an extra bathrobe. If you want to take the inconvenience out of having to plan the vacation out yourself, there are bespoke holiday providers who get a lot deeper into the particulars of the trip than your average package travel agent.

It takes a lot of planning ahead and smart budgeting to really get the luxury holiday experience without totally breaking the bank. The tips above should get you a lot closer to that once-in-a-lifetime trip.

Accessibility Guide for the UK National Parks





It's always the same, summer comes around and you struggle to fill the days with things to do. It's even more difficult for those living with a disability as not every activity or location is made accessible for them. This summer NRS Health Care have created an Accessibility Guide to all of the UK's National Parks in supports of National Parks Week. The idea behind this is to ensure those living with disabilities don't miss out on experiencing the UK's most inspiring landscapes.

From hiring an accessible electric boat in the Lake District, to enjoying the Miles Without Stiles routes in the South Downs, the accessibility guide introduces you to an awesome 27 outdoor activities available throughout the UK’s 15 National Parks, for those with more complex needs.
The accessibility guide has featured in AT Today Magazine, so hopefully this will encourage those anxious about exploring new places to feel more comfortable in new surroundings. 

Where do you plan to visit in the UK this summer?


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