Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Eating Out and Making Healthy Choices: The Indian Restaurant/Takeaway Edition

A good Indian probably one of my favourite takeaways to get and after I went for a family meal to one of my local ones last night I realised that it was a perfect destination for a 'how to make healthy choices' post! I used to be a massive Korma lover which is loaded with calories because of the cream, then I moved onto Tikka Masala which is almost as calorific but since doing Slimming World I've experimented a lot more with what I've been having as a main meal. You'll probably be quite pleasantly surprised by what you can get whilst staying well within your Syns for the day...


Starters:

I love poppadoms so I always have one (5 Syns) with the cucumber and onion mix (free) that most places do, you can also have some of the other dips but they're obviously synned; Mango Chutney is 2 Syns per tbsp, Raita Dip is 1 Syn per tbsp and Lime Pickle is 1.5 Syns per tbsp. You could also have a Chicken Tikka starter which is pieces of chicken marinated in tikka spices served with salad, I would maybe count a couple of Syns for any oil that might be on it but that is probably what you should go for if you're trying to keep Syns as low as possible. 

Things to stay away from are Onion Bhajis and Samosas for obvious reasons; they're deep fried and they're flour based which increases the calorie/syn content. I also wouldn't go for a kebab that wasn't 'proper' meat, by that I mean things like Sheek kebabs as you have no idea of the fat content of the meat. 

Mains:

If you think you have to have a dry dish to stay within Syns then you'd be wrong; if curry is your thing then you can have a guilt free Lamb/Chicken Rogan Josh (average portion 550g 10 syns) or a Chicken Dhansak (average portion 550g 10.5 syns) with boiled rice (free). If you are wanting a close to syn free option then Chicken Shashlik is a nice choice (chicken tikka pieces with cooked tomatoes, onions and peppers) or a Chicken Tikka Main (just don't have any of the curry sauce that comes with it). 

Things to avoid would be naan breads, cream based dishes and obviously chips.

Dessert:

Indian restaurants aren't exactly famous for their desserts are they (aside from the cool little ice creams which come shaped like a penguin or a bird) so I won't say much on this front other than fill up on your starter and main!

What's your favourite Indian Meal?

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Monday, 30 March 2015

The Perfect Life as told by YouTube

Right, third time of writing this. It’s a subject which I know could cause me a lot of grief if I don’t get it right so here goes…

Basically I want to talk about YouTubers and Bloggers and their lives that are out there for everyone to see. It’s a relative new concept which has become popular within the last 5 years or so and it’s a weird one. There’s no denying the fact that it’s strange how people want to show their lives for everyone to see on the internet. Can you imagine if we told our grandparents when they were our age that in 2010 people would start writing an online diary called a ‘blog’ and there would be people who were famous for pointing a camera at their own face and broadcasting it on a world wide platform? They’d think you were joking!


The more famous YouTubers seem to have the ‘perfect life’, and I do think this is down to what they are told to post by their management company (you’ll find that there are loads who have multiple channels so they have a bit more freedom). Big house, nice clothes, expensive makeup, the latest games consoles, wonderful holidays, perfect friends and happy family lives; so much so that they have fans who are in complete awe of what they have and they’re constantly receiving proclamations of love on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr… etc. There’s a massive array of YouTube viewers, I know, but the viewers of the most famous ones who have also appeared on TV do seem to be under 18 and this is what worries me a little bit. 

I know youngsters are open to things like TV which can show real life in a very skewed manner but I just think that it’s easier to know that most things on TV are ‘not real’ because they show ‘traditional celebrities’, I say traditional because there has been this shift in what we class as a celebrity due to the rise of YouTube and blog fame. In my opinion, viewers are much more likely to buy into a YouTuber than they are to someone who is on TV because YouTubers seem much more like our ‘best friend'; they’re just normal people who have found popularity by broadcasting themselves on social media. So when sponsorship is rife and YouTubers are under pressure from their management to keep up appearances it becomes increasingly harder to distinguish what’s really real and what’s not. 

What originally brought this into the forefront of my mind is when my 15 year old niece asked me about what I believed on YouTube and I just answered 'take it with a pinch of salt' because I don't want her thinking that what is portrayed on YouTube is 'real life'. Shit happens and although I don't think anyone should broadcast it, I also think it's wrong to make out like everything is perfect, not just for anyone watching it (especially the impressionable teens who make up a vast majority of a lot of audiences) but surely a charade like that is bloody exhausting?! Behind the scenes is obviously a very different thing, other than anxiety (which seems to be the most talked about condition), how do we know what these people are going through? We don’t, and I think when watching YouTube videos, it’s so important to remember that. 

What are your thoughts on the perfect YouTube life?

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Friday, 27 March 2015

Slimming World Ready Meals - My Thoughts

It's been a few weeks now since Slimming World released their ready meals into Iceland, everyone went a bit mental for them and it was proving pretty difficult to get hold of them in some stores (who knew a ready meal could cause such a stir?!) but I finally got hold of two of them the other day so I thought I'd share my thoughts on them. They do 8 different ready meals: Chicken Pizzaiola,  Hot Smoked Salmon Farfalle, Chicken Tikka Masala, Sweet Potato Curry, Singapore Noodles, Beef and Veg Crush, Meatballs with Pasta in a Spicy Tomato sauce and Roasted Vegetable Pasta as well as bags of syn free meatballs and sausages. I came away with Chicken Tikka Masala and Meatballs and Pasta in a spicy tomato sauce simply because the were the ones I fancied at the time (and they didn't have any of the beef and veg crush, otherwise I'd have got that too).


The most important thing, I think, is that these are all completely Syn free and absolutely perfect for anyone with a busy life and who really struggles after work to choose something Slimming World friendly when they just can't be bothered to cook. I love them because I can just heat one up when I've finished work at daft o'clock and I can enjoy it without the guilt and without messing around with any meal preparation. I would imagine that a consultant would say you need to have your 1/3 speed foods as well but I'll let you into a little secret... I don't bother most of the time because these are meals for when I can't be bothered to mess around with stuff so to me preparing and adding speed foods would defeat the object. 


I'll start with the Meatballs and Pasta: out of the two I would say that this is the most pleasing to the eye when its on the plate (or in the posh pasta bowl as I chose to put it in). It takes 12 minutes in the microwave from frozen (6 mins, stir then 6 mins again) and it's a good plate/bowl full of pasta. I was pleasantly surprised at how many meatballs were in mine; I counted 6 and they are proper meaty meatballs, so much so that I would say they taste a little bit odd to start with because it's just pure meat (beef and pork). When you look at the meal frozen, it looks as if there's not going to be much sauce but there's more than enough and the cooked cherry tomatoes and spinach are a nice little additive. The sauce is quite spicy so if you're not into spicy foods then this would be one to avoid; I like spicy foods and for me this is a bit of a mouth tingler. Overall I think it's quite nice and would probably give it a 7/10 


Next up is the Chicken Tikka Masala and I'll start by saying that although this might not look as nice on the plate I can tell you that looks definitely deceive with this one. It is absolutely amazing, honestly probably the best Tikka Masala ready meal I've ever eaten. You don't get rice with it which is a bit of a downfall but it's absolutely jam packed with chicken and it actually tastes like proper chicken, not the reformed stuff that you usually get in ready meals. It is a little spicier than most chicken tikkas i've had from takeaways but not mouth burningly spicy and you get plenty of sauce as well. I would say that even though these ready meals are made for one you could easily split this one into two if you added some speed foods and obviously your rice (if you wanted to be really clever you could do cauliflower rice to get even more speed foods on there). One tip I have for this one is that you need to let it stand for 5 minutes or so once it's cooked otherwise it does appear quite watery, trust me the wait pays off because the sauce thickens up beautifully. I'd give this a 9/10 (would have had a 10 if it came with rice)

Overall I'm absolutely loving the fact that Slimming World have teamed up with Iceland to do some ready meals and I can say with absolute certainty that they are in a different league to the Weight Watchers ones in taste, portion size and the fact that they're totally Syn free! The only slight down side is that they retail at £3 each which is on the pricey side for a ready meal but at the moment they're on offer at 2 for £5 which makes them a little cheaper. To be honest, I personally don't mind paying the £3 because I know that the ingredients are the best, the meat is the leanest you'll get in a ready meal and overall they're just superior to other microwave meals. 

Have you tried these yet? I'd love to know your thoughts

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Sunday, 22 March 2015

Simplified Skincare Routine

I think we're all a bit guilty of slapping product after product onto our face with the mentality that more equals better looking skin but just lately I've really cut back on the products I use on my face on a day to day basis and I have to say that not only am I loving not having to spend so much time, I'm also loving how my skin has been reacting to it. I've cut it right back to just two products both morning and night with two midweek face masks.


REN Clearcalm Clay Cleanser (£19.00) - This is an old favourite which I first bought around 2 years ago and I decided to get myself another bottle after I ran out of my Bee Good Cream Cleanser because I just fancied a bit of a change. This is still working just as well for me as it did when I first bought it; removing makeup and leaving my skin feeling fresh and clean whilst keeping it as clear as it's going to be. If you know REN then you'll know that they don't contain any parabens, sulphates, mineral oils or synthetic fragrances so they're generally good if you have problem skin, I also find this really calming on any redness I might have due to the clay element. I did a full REN Clearcalm Clay Cleanser review if you fancy a more in depth read into it.

Jurlique Rose Moisture Plus* (£32.00) - It's been just over a month since I started using this and I've been 100% loving it which has surprised me because if I'd have had to pick from the range of products on the Jurlique website I definitely would not have chosen this. It was actually picked for me by one of the experts at Jurlique because I mentioned that although I have an oily t-zone, I also have dehydrated cheeks which is where this product excels because it addresses both problems. The water-gel formula is brilliantly lightweight and doesn't over moisturise the areas where I don't need it but the Rosehip oil targets the dehydrated areas to leave my face with just the right amount of moisture everywhere.

Superfacialist by Una Brennan Anti Blemish Mask (£8.99) & Jurlique Purifying Mask* (£45.00) - I use each of these on a weekly rotation basis because I like how both of them make my skin feel although I do think that the Jurlique one is a little gentler on my skin and they're both very different in terms of how they apply and what they look like but as I say they both work well for me. I do think the Una Brennan one is marginally better for helping with blemishes due to the salicylic acid content but as for a deep cleanse Jurlique does a great job.

Each and every one of these products deserves a full review so I will get round to that at some point but in the meantime I just wanted to let you all know how much I'm loving my skincare cut backs. It's shown me that less can be more where skincare is concerned and that layering lotions and potions doesn't mean that your skin is going to look or feel any better. I obviously know that cleanser and moisturiser are an absolute essential to me but as anything else is a bit of a bonus really, not that i'm suggesting that I'll never pick up a toner, facial mist or a liquid exfoliant ever again though, that'd be a bit daft.

Have any of these ever been in your skincare routine?

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Saturday, 21 March 2015

Why you should be using Quidco

If you're reading this blog I can say with almost certainty that you shop online; whether it's for clothes, beauty products... whatever. Wouldn't it be ace if you could get money back when you bought something online? I always thought that cashback and things like that were a bit of a swizz and I was always really cautious with it but just before Christmas I saw Quidco advertised on the TV so I decided to sign up (my mentality is that if something is advertised on TV then it's pretty much legit). 


The idea behind Quidco is that every time you shop online (you can also get cashback in-store and there's also an app called Clicksnap which means you can get cashback on your groceries) you go through the Quidco website, it tracks your visit and how much you spend and you get a percentage of it back... I know it sounds too good to be true but it really is as easy as that to get some money back on what you spend. They have absolutely loads of different retailers on there including New Look, Topshop, Boots, Superdrug... basically if I were to list all the retailers on there I'd be here all night! 

The rate of cashback varies from retailer to retailer but there's some brilliant deals to be had and it'll tell you what percentage you get as you click through the Quidco site to the retailer. If you are a new Quidco customer you can actually get 100% cash back on a £10 spend at HungryHouse so there's potentially a free takeaway in it for you if you haven't already signed up! 

I've already got £20 cashback which I can claim at any time just from doing little shops, I haven't bought anything that's cost me a lot of money it's just that little purchases have built up over time. Obviously the more you buy the more cashback you get! The best thing about it is that it's totally free to use and there really is no catch to it!! Signing up is totally simple you just pop your details in on the Quidco website, click through on the confirmation email and you're good to go! If you've got any questions please feel free to ask me in the comments.

Do you use Quidco, if not, why not?!

*this post contains affiliate links, in other words, I earn a weeny bit of money if you sign up to Quidco

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Thursday, 19 March 2015

How I've made Nuxe Reve De Miel work for me

If you follow me on Twitter you might have seen that I've been struggling a little bit with getting along with Nuxe Reve De Miel lip balm which has been raved about no end by the beauty blogging community. I bought it after reading review after review of people saying how wonderful it was and how they couldn't live without it but when I first started using it I couldn't help but wonder why they'd said it because I was pretty much on the verge of hating it. No matter how little I used it just looked weird on my lips, it made them go a funny colour and made it look like i'd somehow buffed concealer or foundation into my lips and then slapped vaseline on top. Not attractive. But obviously I'd paid the best part of a tenner for it so I wasn't going to give up that easy!





There are of course things that I like about the product; it smells amazing, just like chocolate orange and the formula is really rich so it is a nourishing lip balm but I just don't like wearing it out and about because it's too heavy and like I say I feel like it looks a bit weird. So I decided that instead of using this during the day I would have it by my bed so I could use it after my night time skincare routine and after I've brushed my teeth so that it has time to work over night and it doesn't matter what it looks or feels like on my lips. This little plan has worked really well for me and my lips feel much better and they are so much easier to apply lip products onto. 

I wouldn't personally have this as a handbag essential (I know that some do) but it'll be on my bedside table for as long as there's still some in the pot. They actually have this on offer on Escentual at the moment where they have 1/3 off all Nuxe products so if there was ever a time to try Reve de Miel then now would be it because rather than the RRP of £9.50 it's now only £6.50.

Have you tried Nuxe Reve De Meil, what are your thoughts?

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Wednesday, 18 March 2015

A less than traditional Disney Film that you really need to see

This is a truly uplifting, feel good Disney film that I couldn't help but write about on here. I think you'd be forgiven for thinking that all Disney films are cartoons (especially if you're not a massive Disney fan) but this one has all real people with no animation in sight. It's basically the story of how Mary Poppins actually became a Disney film and it tells the story of Pamela Travers who wrote the original book about Mary Poppins.

Tom Hanks as Walt Disney with Emma Thompson as Pamela Travers (photo: Disney, 2013)

It takes you back in time to 1961 when the big man himself, Walt Disney, was still alive. Played by Tom Hanks, who bears a surprisingly brilliant likeness to Walt, he invites Mrs Travers (played by Emma Thompson) to California to try and convince her to let him bring Mary Poppins to live on the big screen. Mrs Travers is very dry and straight laced so obviously doesn't appreciate the Disney magic whatsoever and is most worried that Disney would make a complete mockery of her book character. 

Through a parallel plot, where Mrs Travers is shown as a young girl, we learn that her early life wasn't easy and that there was a good reason behind her attitude towards what Disney might do to Mary Poppins. Everything becomes clear as the film progresses and by the end of it the seemingly hard-faced Pamela Travers cracks and Walt Disney finally gets his wish. 

The notion of seeing Walt Disney in action in a film just warms me completely (even though it's obviously not the real Walt) and the Mrs Travers' life journey and the journey they took to eventually get Mary Poppins on screen makes me both smile, jig about and cry in equal measures. For me it's quite simply an unmissable Disney film that isn't talked about enough. It also reminds me how sad I am that Walt Disney can't be here to see the legacy he has left. 

What's your favourite Disney Film?

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Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Soap & Glory One Heck of a Blot Review

You'll all probably know by now that I struggle with having an oily t-zone; I have to be careful which moisturisers I use and keeping foundation on my face for any length of time can prove a bit difficult. I don't like to use a whole lot of powder to try and set my makeup because I find it can turn cakey pretty quickly if I'm not careful but when I saw The Sunday Girl's review of Soap and Glory One Heck of a Blot I knew I had to try it. 

'It offers world-class shine control and oil-absorption, is ultra-light, and gives skin a traceless, smooth, velvety finish.'

It basically sounds like a dream product for anyone with oily skin.




I've been using it since the beginning of February so I feel like I can tell you exactly what I think about it now.  I use it in-between foundation and pressed powder because I found that pressed powder alone just wasn't enough no matter what brand I used. It's so easy to load up onto a brush because it's so finely milled and soft and it glides onto skin effortlessly without leaving any real trace of colour so it truly is a translucent powder so the fact that there's only one 'shade' should be absolutely no problem regardless of your skin colour. If anything it actually helps to neutralise any redness because it's ever so slightly yellow rather than being white (don't worry though, it won't make you look like a Simpson!).

It really does control oil breakthrough like no other product I've used before and it doesn't feel heavy or cause caking throughout the day. I have personally never had to reapply this during the day so I can't speak for whether it builds up or not but the fact that I haven't reapplied is surely testament to how good this is. I haven't had any excessive shine at all since using this; you know sometimes (especially on nights out) when you end up looking like you've got a face with shine to rival that of the moon? Well I've not had that at all. It doesn't reflect with flash either so you don't end up with a stupidly white or shiny face which is a bonus.

It comes with a mirror in the lid which is really handy if you are going to have it in your makeup bag during the day and it also comes with an applicator pad (I haven't used this because I much prefer a more even application with a powder brush). It's £12.00 which isn't cheap for a high street makeup product but the fact that it's out of stock on the Boots website at the moment speaks volumes for how popular it is. I actually bought mine in a store and it's worth knowing that even though that particular store didn't stock a full range of S&G products, they did have this among the bath and body stuff so it's well worth a quick look in your local Boots if you like the look of this. 

How well this has performed has made me want to try some more Soap and Glory products, what would you recommend from the range?

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Monday, 16 March 2015

Disneyland Paris - Disneyland Park

The park with the castle is arguably THE Disney park to go to if you have to make the choice between the two; for me it probably has the most Magical feel to it with how it's designed. There's a lot for little ones to do at the Disneyland park but I enjoyed it just as much even though there's not as much in terms of big thrills to be had here. Unfortunately Space Mountain 2 was closed, as was Phantom Manor and Captain EO so although we could take advantage of short wait times we obviously had to give something up which was the low season closures. It meant that we finished the Park by around 2pm but it didn't matter to me because it just meant that we went back to Walt Disney Studios because we had park hopper tickets. There's so many photos to be had here because everything is so beautifully designed so expect this post to be pretty photo heavy!






It is so similar to Magic Kingdom in Orlando, especially city hall square and main street which leads up to the castle; for me this is where the real Disney magic happens. The parades pass through here, it's where all the shops are and it's where you'll see lots of photos taken because the castle in the background just looks amazing. I think Main Street is actually my favourite area in the whole of Disneyland because I just love the theming and walking down there gives me butterflies!

The castle itself is really beautiful, as Sleeping Beauty's castle it's slightly smaller than Cinderella's in Florida but I think it's just as amazing to look at. In fact, there's actually more for your average visitor  to do than there is in America because not only can you walk through you can also go upstairs and there's things to see and explore.





You go up a staircase where you can see a storyboard of tapestries and beautiful stained glass windows all related to Sleeping Beauty. It was really magnificent in there and although the stories were in French, if you're familiar with Sleeping Beauty then you'll obviously be able to identify characters and scenes from the film. To the left of the castle you can go into the dragon's cave which is where the dragon comes to life from the film, I haven't included a photo from inside there because I don't want to ruin it for anyone who hasn't been but all I'll say is that it's another example of brilliant imagineering.

The castle is a bit like a centre point for the whole park so from there you can go to whichever part of the park you want to. There's Fantasyland which is where you'll find It's a Small World (most repetitive ride ever but one that I wouldn't want to miss) and lots of other rides for smaller children, Discoveryland which is quite futuristic with rides like Space Mountain 2 (closed while we were there which I was gutted about) and Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast (I get so competitive on there!), Frontierland with a brill version of Big Thunder Mountain and Adventureland which is home to Pirates of the Caribbean and the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse.






If rides aren't really your bag then there's loads going on throughout the day in different areas of the park, from character meets and parades to the absolutely fabulous Disney Dreams night time spectacular show. I really enjoy watching the shows and parades, they seal the deal with the whole Disney Magic thing and they really bring the park to life. We watched Mary Poppins and Minnie Mouse's spring parade during the day and then we went back to the hotel for a few hours and returned for Disney Dreams. I'd definitely say the night time show is an absolute must; it starts at 8pm and goes on for a good 25 minutes with scenes from loads of different Disney movies projected onto the castle with the music to go with it. The finale fireworks are so amazing I can't even describe how good they are so if you do ever go to Disneyland Paris try make sure you are there at least once at night (looking back now I wish we'd done it on both nights!).

My overall experience of Disneyland Paris was absolutely brilliant; every bit as magical as I hoped it would be. *This is where I turn into an ignorant Brit who hasn't bothered to learn a second language* The only slight problem is that a lot of the attractions are in French so it's hard to understand in parts but you just have to use your imagination and any Disney fan will be able to work through the language barrier. If you haven't done DLP then I would definitely say it's worth doing especially if you can get a good deal (more on that in a later blog post). 

I've got major Disney blues now, it's been a week since we set off and I just wish I could do it all again; roll on the next Disney fix!

Would you like to visit Disneyland Paris?

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Friday, 13 March 2015

Disneyland Paris - Walt Disney Studios

If you follow me on any social media you'll know that I've just spent 3 nights in the most magical place in Europe with my friend, Leah. For those of you who don't know, Disneyland Paris Resort has two parks; Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios as well as Disney Village (which is where you'll find shops and eating places). I'm going to split this into a few different posts otherwise it would be one massively huge photo heavy essay (nobody likes blog posts that take an age to load do they and we all like little digestible chunks of Disney goodness). 

I'm going to do Walt Disney Studios today as this was the first park we visited, if you're familiar with Walt Disney World in Orlando then this is very similar to Hollywood Studios with added rides (Crush's Coaster & Ratatouille) but unfortunately the weather wasn't on our side as it would be in Florida! 


There's still the iconic water tower to be seen from quite a distance at up close near the entrance of the park, the courtyard leads into Disney Studio 1 which is an introductory boulevard of shops and eateries with a bustling atmosphere. Designed to look like Hollywood, Studio 1 opens out onto the rest of the Disney Studios park with Hollywood Tower Hotel standing out above all the other attractions. I was so pleased to also find my favourite ever Disney statue of Walt and Mickey on a flower bed with the Walt quote plaque in front of it...




The first ride we headed for was Hollywood Tower of Terror and I was so excited to see if it was similar to the one in WDW; I absolutely love the theming of the Tower of Terror and I was impressed to see the cast members were in character just like they are in Florida. The story of the Tower of Terror is in French which is obviously hard to follow if you don't understand but the initial video in the library at the beginning does have subtitles so you get the gist of what's happening when you get onto the actual ride. We actually managed to ride ToT 3 times in our trip because the queues were so reasonable; we never waited more than 10 minutes for this! I love that it opens out at the top to give you a brilliant view of the park... although I daresay lots of people are too preoccupied with the possibility of a terrifying drop to actually appreciate the view! To be honest, the first time I was too busy laughing at Leah screaming and aww-ing at the little boy behind me who was absolutely terrified.

After Leah had got over her fright we moved onto the Studio Tram Tour which in all honesty wasn't brilliant, the narration was done in French and then English but the whole tour was just a little bit lacklustre and although there was the 'movie scene' with the water and fire it just seemed to lack theatrics and there rest of the tour was just a bit boring really. 

Next had a little walk around the Toy Story Play Land area where you could find a few rides for young children as well as play equipment. I couldn't resist a photo with Rex...


Next we went to pick up a fast pass for the brand new Ratatouille ride which was in a beautiful french style setting with a waterless fountain, a restaurant, a shop and obviously the ride. The fast pass wasn't valid until 4.20 so it was obvious that lots of guests had already been on the ball and got theirs as it was only 11am by this time! We moved on round to Rock 'n' Rollercoaster which I was really excited about because I loved it in WDW world; the theming is exactly the same and I think the ride is very, very similar if not identical. Again the wait times were next to nothing, we just walked pretty much straight on each time. The only ride we actually queued properly for all day was Crush's Coaster which you can't get a fast pass for.  




As you can see by the photos, everything was actually really quiet which is the beauty about this time of year because although you can't rely on the weather you can rely on crowd levels being low because the kids are in school and people generally choose summer months to try and catch some good weather (although we all know that Parisian weather is about as unpredictable as ours in the UK!). 

I would say that Walt Disney Studios is aimed slightly more at the older Disney fan obviously with thrill rides such as Rock 'n' Rollercoaster and Tower of Terror but there's obviously there's lots of family fun to be had and there seems to be more scheduled shows than in the Disneyland Park as there's Cinemagique (a theatre/cinema style production including lots of different films through the ages), Disney Junior Live which is perfect for little ones, Moteurs... Action! (a car stunt show), The Art of Disney Animation and Animagique which was unfortunately clsoed (I was really quite gutted about that because it looked amazing). 

There's obviously opportunity to meet some of the characters; I managed to spot Mickey and grabbed the opportunity to wait for a photo (I still maintain that you can't visit Disney without meeting at least one character and why not make it the main man if you can!?). The queue wasn't bad at all, we only really waited 10 minutes or so but I imagine it's a lot longer in peak season. 


Honestly, the matching Jack Wills hoodies were not intentional, although I think those teamed with the bum bags pretty much made us into easy-to-spot typical British tourists (I'm still highly recommending a bum bag for any Disney park visit though, they're SO much easier than messing about with a bag over your shoulder). 

We made Ratatouille our last ride as it was getting late in the day, it's the newest ride at Disneyland Paris and it's a great little 3D adventure where you ride around in a mouse cart following Ratatouille through the restaurant as he tried not to get squished! It even smells like a kitchen/restaurant in parts which is a clever little additive from the Disney Imagineers. 

I really, really enjoyed our time in Walt Disney Studios and I would say that it's very similar to what you find at WDW in Florida especially the big thrill rides and there's the added bonus of Crush's Coaster and Ratatouille which you won't find in Florida!

Have you ever been to Disneyland Paris?


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Monday, 9 March 2015

The Body Shop Wish List + Discount Code

There's no better time to shop than when there's a discount code available, especially when it's a good one! You'll usually find 10% off codes, sometimes 20% at a push but have a code for a massive 40% which is valid from today (9th March 2015) right until 11am on 12th March so if there's ever a time to stock up on your favourites, now would be it! I haven't had a good Body Shop haul for a good while so I've selected done a little wish list:



Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter £12.00 £7.20
I haven't used a cleansing butter for a good while and I feel like I need to give another one a go some time soon, after I saw Kellie raving about it I thought it might be worth a look. 

Honey Bronze Bronzing Powder £13.00 £7.80
Even though I have a perfectly good Bourjois chocolate bronzer which I use religiously every day, there's always room to try another isn't there? This comes in a few different shades so there should be one to suit you and from what other bloggers have said this is a good one.

Seaweed Ionic Clay Mask £13.00 £7.80
You know that I love a good clay mask and I've tried the Seaweed moisturiser and quite liked it so I'm quite keen to give this one a go as it sounds perfect for my combination skin.

Banana Shampoo £4.50 £2.70
I love a gorgeous smelling shampoo and this one sounds like it would do a great job of clarifying my greasy hair.

Cocoa Body Butter £13.00 £7.80
An old favourite of mine. I always remember using my mums when we went on family holidays and I absolutely loved the smell; it keeps skin hydrated without being overly greasy and it smells gorgeous.

Total: £55.50 £33.30

So if I was to buy everything on my wish list I'd save a massive £22.20 with the discount code which I think is pretty impressive! Don't forget Mother's Day is coming up (15th March) so if your mum's got any Body Shop faves now would be the time to grab them because there's still just under a week for them to be delivered. 

The discount code you need to use to get your 40% off is 14665 (use it at the checkout)

*this post contains an affiliate link*

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Sunday, 8 March 2015

The M Kitchen at Morrisons HQ

When someone sends you an email to ask if you want to go and taste food you don't say no do you? I was kindly invited to an afternoon of food and wine at Morrisons HQ in Bradford so it would have been rude not to have gone! For me, Morrisons has kind of revolutionised the way supermarkets are presented; instead of having rows and rows of boring aisles they introduced Market Street which does make it a more pleasant place to shop. I did a few studies on Morrisons when I was at university so it  was really interesting for me to see Morrisons HQ and to have a chat to some of the people that work there. I tried a selection of their new foods and some wine which the head of wine operations had paired with the food (very posh, I know!)





The fillet beef was undoubtedly my favourite food on the table (and everyone elses favourite judging by how the quickly the board cleared!) It was slow roasted and then garnished with parmesan and rocket. Not a combination you'd necessarily think of but it worked really, really well! There was a selection of cold continental meat, smoked salmon, smoked mackerel, prawns as well as flavoured cous cous, creamy coleslaw and new potatoes to accompany. 


 The Douro red wine went down really well with the group, it's part of the Morrisons Signature range of wines which are priced around £7.99 per bottle. I've never really drank wine paired with food (purely because I'm a bit clueless as to what goes with what) but the manager of wine operations told us that this red was perfect with red meat or with a chunk of strong cheese which is what came next...


The chef had included some fancy butter; one made with truffle oil and another with black peppercorns and although this isn't available in stores it was nice to try something different. The cheese is obviously all widely available throughout stores, I'm not a lover of really strong cheese so I left the blue stuff alone but brie is my absolute favourite - I could eat that by the bucket load and the Morrisons one was particularly creamy. 


Even though we were pretty much all absolutely full as eggs, we all managed to fit in a piece of lemon tart; I love lemon based puddings because they also act as a bit of a palette cleanser when you've eaten loads of rich food. I absolutely loved the whole experience at the M Kitchen; every member of staff I came into contact with was so pleasant and it was just an absolute pleasure to be a part of. I can honestly say that it's one of the best organised events I've ever attended and although I didn't get to meet any other bloggers, the people I did meet were lovely!

Most of what I tasted is available in Morrisons stores and you can also shop online at . However, if you've never visited a Morrisons store I highly recommend that you check them out even if it's just to have a look at their unique Market Street set up.

Have you got a Morrisons near you?

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Thursday, 5 March 2015

What to watch on Netflix #2

It's been a while since my first Netflix post, truth me told I have neglected it severely because I just haven't had time to watch anything (although my nephews have been loving it when they've been sleeping over). However, I have now watched enough to put together a little playlist for you...



Alan Carr Spexy Beast
This is his second stand up concert recording and what a guy, seriously. Some of the stuff he comes out with has had me in absolute stitches and how camp he is just adds to the funniness for me. He's not afraid to take the piss out of himself and he really does bring a smile to my face so I put something like this on when I'm feeling a bit crappy. Netflix maybe isn't somewhere you'd expect to find stand up comedy but Alan Carr is just one of many!

The Undateables
This makes my heart melt. After watching episodes on TV I decided to watch the previous series' on Netflix because I loved it so much. After years of experience with children/people with disabilities through my mum I found this really, really heart warming. I lost count how many times I wiped a tear away when I was watching this because some of the experiences on here were truly touching; I have often said that people with some disabilities are often the best at showing their emotions and this really does show it at times. 

The Royle Family
This series is an old favourite of mine, we always watched them as a family when they were first released on TV and I could probably tell you them line by line now I've watched them that many times. If you've not experience Jim Royle at his best then you need to go watch this right now! It's the perfect working class sitcom and I never get bored of it! I would say that most families have one of each of the characters somewhere (just don't tell your dad if he reminds you of Jim Royle, haha!)

I really need to get watching Better Call Saul, I'll get that sussed and I'll do another Netflix post because I reckon that could be a lover or a hater. Also I believe Orange is the New Black is back in June, praise the lord!

What have you been watching on Netflix?

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Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Healthy Store Cupboard Essentials

If you are trying to be more healthy with your food I would say that your store cupboard is where it all begins. Being a Slimming Worlder there are some things that I try to always make sure I have in my cupboards either because a. they can be used in so many different ways and b. they're quick and easy to make a meal out of. Most of this stuff is also very cheap so this kind of healthy store cupboard would be suitable for any budget whether you're a student, a family or just a couple. I think one of the reasons I've been so successful at keeping to a healthy eating regime is because I have always planned what I'm going to eat to an extent kept the right things in my cupboard, I'm not going to go into fridge/fresh stuff at the moment but I thought I'd share with you some of the things you'd be likely to find in my 'store cupboard' whenever you might open it:



Tomato Puree
I made a schoolgirl error the other day and made spag bol thinking I had hoards of this stuff in, turns out that I'd run out of it so I had to make it without it. I usually make sure I have one or two tubes of this in because it can be used for spag bol, chilli or SW pizzas which are three of my favourite SW meals.

Plum Tomatoes
Again for purposes of spag bol and chilli and of course all day breakfasts. I buy Tesco Everyday Value because I don't think there's any difference at all between those and branded ones.

Tomato Passata
If you're unsure of what this is it's just basically sieved tomatoes so it's like a thick tomato sauce without the pips. This is great for chillis, curries and even for just using as a pasta sauce. You can get a few different variations to include basil or garlic to spice things up a little if you do use it as a pasta sauce, it's roughly 40p per carton and again I don't bother buying branded because own brand is just as good (Lidl also do a nice passata).

Very Lazy Garlic & Very Lazy Chillies
These are a brilliant alternative to fresh stuff; there's nothing I hate more than crushing garlic cloves because it's messy and it makes my hands stink! Same goes for chilli and if you happen to touch your eyes after you've worked with chilli and you forget - well let's just say I don't recommend it! 1 teaspoon of one of these is equal to 1 red chilli/clove of garlic so they're really simple to use and they last ages!

Spaghetti or Pasta
For me these are an obvious addition to any store cupboard because they're brilliant for making quick, easy and cheap meals. I like to cook pasta at night and then use it the next day for lunch because it's a nice alternative to sandwiches.

Baked Beans/spaghetti in tomato sauce
I would honestly feel lost without these in my cupboard at all times; they're brilliant for having with meals or on toast/jacket potatoes.

Sweetener
An alternative to sugar which can take some getting used to if you're a real sugar addict but now I can't really tell a difference especially in things like coffee/tea and on my Weetabix. Lots of healthy baking recipes include sweetener so I always make sure I have it in jar form as well as tablets.

Mug Shot/Savoury Rice/Pasta n' Sauce
I would think you either love or hate these packet pasta/rice things, I personally love them because they're low in fat/calories, they're quick and easy and they're pretty tasty. 

Mixed Herbs
Rather than having a rack of loads of different herbs I just buy the pots of mixed herbs because most of the recipes I do don't need specific herbs so these are a lot cheaper and more convenient.

Chicken/Beef/Veg stock pots/cubes
Stock cubes and stock are a vital ingredient in lots of Slimming World recipes and they are of course a main ingredient in soups. I always make sure I have some of each (usually more beef than anything else) because they're included in so many of the recipes I make.

Fry light
I never ever use oil in my cooking anymore because a. I don't like the mess it makes and b. I can't tell a difference between oil and Fry Light and Fry Light has infinitely less calories! Just a couple of sprays on whatever cooking you're doing adds a bit of a lubricant and helps to brown things off, like roast potatoes, in the oven. 

Are there any other essentials that you always keep in your cupboards?

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