Things I wish I'd Done When I was Younger

Post in collaboration with Yorkshire Dentistry

I've always tried to pride myself on having no regrets, I've always said that I've done things my way and that's been the only way for me, I've often not taken advice because I've been adamant that I need to make my own mistakes. But I'm nearly 25 and I've finally realised that there are probably some times when I should have taken advice...


I wish I'd gone out more - Freshers week should be the time in your life when you can just go out every single night and not feel one bit of guilt about it, however I was on tablets for a latent form of tuberculosis which meant that I couldn't drink any alcohol at all so Freshers was a bit of a drag for me because it was like being at work; being surrounded by drunk people while I was totally sober. Even after I came off the tablets I didn't really go out much because I felt totally out of my comfort zone, I'd put weight on and I just didn't feel confident at all, which brings me to my second point...

I wish I'd never put weight on - Obviously we all know how nice pizza and chocolate tastes but when it becomes your staple diet along with copious amounts of red bull and full sugar coke, obviously your waistband is going to suffer. I put on 2 stone between September and December 2009 and I just kept putting more and more weight on as the years went by. It made me unhappy, I totally lacked confidence and I basically became a hermit for 3-4 years until I eventually started Slimming World in 2013. I know everything happens for a reason but I really do wish I'd not put all that weight on, I would have probably gone out more and I wouldn't be left with horrid stretch marks!

I wish I'd had braces - When I was 13 I was told that I needed braces, which was fine but the only snag was that I would need 4 teeth out. The thought of having teeth out without just a local anaesthetic absolutely scared the living daylights out of me but now in my adult life I really wish I'd have got some braces when I was young and now I'd have nice straight teeth. Instead, I now really need to consider paying to have something like Invisalign braces from the Centre for Advanced Dentistry Yorkshire to correct my teeth because I don't think normal braces would look great in adult life!

I wish I'd concentrated more at college - I could have definitely got better grades at college which would have stood me in a position to apply for better university courses. I really wanted a B in History but instead I ended up with a C because I was lazy and didn't concentrate anywhere near as much as I should have; I never really revised and just did the bare minimum really.

I wish I'd done a different degree - Retail Marketing Management is all well and good but I feel like it restricts me so much now as to what jobs I can consider doing. Although I learned a lot of transferable skills during the course I wish I'd have had more time to think about it and thought about it in a more rational way to give me more options. If I could do it all again I'd probably do a History degree because I'd now love to be able to teach it but alas! I can't because I don't have the right degree!

The Best Denzel Washington Films

Post in collaboration with Panasonic

You may remember that way back in January I confessed that I had a massive crush on Denzel Washington and because one of his most famous films was on TV the other night I decided I wanted bring you 3 of the best films I've ever seen which just happen to have the man himself as the leading role.


Flight - The beginning of this film puts Denzel's character, Whip Whitaker, into a less than favourable light as he wakes up next to a very attractive young lady, snorts a line of coke and steps out of his hotel room in his pilot uniform. Using drink and drugs to feel 'level headed' he sets off on a fateful journey from Orlando to Atlanta when the plane malfunctions and he is forced to make a crash landing which, however skilful, still ends in the loss of life and serious injury. His blood is tested and comes back positive for alcohol and drugs so the investigation begins to determine whether Whip will serve a sentence in prison for manslaughter. Strangely enough, this also turns into a bit of a love story too, it's well worth a watch (even though Piers Morgan manages to get his head in at one point!). For all you Netflixers it's on there for your Denzel viewing pleasure.

Man on Fire - This was probably the first film I watched with good old Denz in it and I remember absolutely crying my eyes out. If you've never heard of it, it's centred around the kidnapping of a young girl in Mexico City and Denzel plays the role of John Creasy, an ex-CIA agent who lost his way in life, who was hired to protect her . When she's taken he sets upon killing each and every person who was involved in her kidnapping. It's a classical gritty, good vs. bad kind of film that tugs at your heart strings on more than one occasion. Rotten Tomatoes have only rated it 2/5 so I can only come to the conclusion that they have no idea what they're on about. 

The Equalizer - I think this one has to take the title for my favourite ever Denzel Washington film. Released in 2014, he plays a somewhat mysterious character with a form of OCD and an apparent sleeping problem who meets a working girl who he quickly realises is involved with set of Russian gangsters. You can imagine how the story goes as he goes from a quiet reserved man to showing off his particular set of skills to help the girl out of her situation and bring the Russians to justice. It keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout and ends in the most spectacular way, involving Denzel and a set of DIY tools. 

Slimming World Onion Bhaji Loaf Recipe

Who doesn't love a good onion bhaji, especially on a Saturday night?! There are obviously healthy choices on an Indian takeaway menu but there is a way that you can be 100% Syn free but still enjoy Indian food. For your main meal you could have a Slimming World Chicken Tikka Ready Meal and either as a side or a starter you could have some of this onion bhaji loaf with a yoghurt and mint dip...


Onion Bhaji Loaf

- 1 tin of Asda 'Chosen by You' Chickpea Dahl (make sure it's Asda, don't substitute it without checking the Syns first because some brands are quite high in Syns!)
- 1 Packet of Bachelors Mild Curry Savoury Rice (if you can find the old style packaging in somewhere like Pound World or B&M Stores buy that, otherwise the new version which you'll find in normal supermarkets is actually 1.5 syns for the pack)
- 3 onions, sliced
- 3 eggs

- Cook the rice as directed on the packet
- In the meantime fry the onion in Fry Light until soft & pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees
- Beat 3 eggs and add the Chickpea Dahl and rice and mix together
- Transfer into a loaf tin and put in the middle of the oven for 40 mins
- Slice and serve (you can eat it warm or cold!)


Yoghurt & Mint Dip
- Fat free natural yoghurt
- Colman's Fresh Garden Mint Concentrate

- To be honest you can experiment and do this to your own taste, I just emptied the pot of yoghurt into a ramekin and added the mint concentrate to taste.

As I say you can eat the onion bhaji loaf hot or cold so it's perfect to serve as part of a meal or as a something to snack on, I enjoy it either way and it's so easy to make which is a bonus!

Easy Ways to Make Your Bedroom More Luxurious

Guest post from Julian Charles

With winter on its way, now's the time to take luxury to the next level in your bedroom. While temperatures may be set to take a tumble, some simple additions to your sleeping space will ensure you stay snug and comfy this chilly season. 

Photo credit: Julian Charles

Top your bed with a feather and down duvet - For sheer indulgence, it's hard to beat a feather and down duvet. This natural filling is effective at trapping the heat of your body, helping to keep you warm on even the iciest nights. Meanwhile, because they're so airy, these duvets are surprisingly lightweight, even if you go for a high tog. Bear in mind though, if you're prone to allergies, you may be better off opting for a micro-fibre filled duvet instead. This bedding is similar to traditional feather and down designs, but, as soft furnishing specialist Julian Charles highlights, it is anti-allergenic. Whichever duvet you decide to go for, make sure you encase it in a soft, sumptuous cover. 

Treat your feet with a high pile rug - If you have wooden floors or your carpet's looking a little threadbare, a quick fix for winter is to position a high pile rug underfoot. As well as being much cheaper than laying an entire carpet, this transformation to your flooring is simple and takes a matter of moments to complete. As a general rule, the thicker and softer the rug, the better. For the ultimate in cosiness, consider buying a sheepskin or faux sheepskin rug. Watch out though, if you're placing it on top of wood, make sure you add a strip of anti-slip material or rug underlay to ensure the new addition to your room doesn't slide around each time you stand on it

Layer your lighting - Nothing can sap the feeling of luxury out of a bedroom quite like bright, harsh lights. So, if you rely on one main illumination in your room, now could be the time to make some changes. Firstly, if you don't already have them, try installing dimmer switches on your ceiling and wall lights, and think about adding at least a couple of lamps with different watt bulbs. This will help to ensure you can set the perfect ambiance in your room, whatever your mood. 

Light some scented candles - Last but not least, why not introduce some scented candles to this space? The reassuring flicker of these small flames can bring an instant feeling of warmth, and you can choose from an array of fragrances that are perfect for winter. Perhaps you'd like to fill your room with the scent of spices like star anise, nutmeg or cloves, or for a hit of nature you could opt for pine needles, fruits or flowers.

With a little imagination, there are plenty of ways to make your room more luxurious. The best thing is, as long as you know what you're doing, you can revamp your bedroom even on the smallest budget. 

Imperial Leather Sweet Treats Shower Gel

I love a good gimmick when it comes to bath and shower products, I'm a sucker for anything fun and fancy from Lush and I'm always drawn to the weird and wonderful fragrances, especially anything sweet, so when I heard about the new Imperial Leather Sweets collection I kept my eye out for it. I happened to see them on offer in Tesco for just 85p each so I decided to get one of each for research purposes, obvs. 

Imperial Leather Sweets Range (85p, Tesco)

The 4 sweetie fragrances are Fruit Salad, Sherbet Lemon, Marshmallow and Spearmint so all quite retro kinds of sweets; the colours reflect their scent and each of them does actually smell like sweets. I think Marshmallow is my favourite of the four because it's more of a soft sweet scent, the only problem is that it always leaves me craving Flumps when I've used it! The Fruit Salad one is also pretty unmistakable, it's kind of tropical and really does smell exactly like the sweets (I was never actually a fan of them but I really like the smell of this). Spearmint does obviously smell like spearmint but to me there's nothing really special about it; if I'd have been picking a minty scent for a Sweets collection I would have tried to make it a creamy minty smell like a mint humbug but this is like lots of the invigorating mint scents already on the market. Of course, there has to be a least favourite and mine is the Sherbet Lemon, again it does smell like sherbet lemon but in my opinion it smells too much like lots of other shower products on the market. 

In terms of the cream formula it doesn't lather too much if you just use your hand but they're great to use with a shower puff. My skin isn't left feeling tight after washing and I love being able to smell whichever scent I've used even when I've got dried. In my opinion though the main reason why you would buy these is for the fun fragrances, not for their skin nourishing properties. 

If I was going to recommend one that you should definitely pick up if you're in Tesco it would have to be Marshmallow with Fruit Salad following in close second. These were actually £1.85 in Tesco a couple of weeks ago which I think is way too expensive; I would begrudge paying that for these but at 85p/£1.00 I don't think you can go wrong. They're fun, they smell good and they get the job done.

Neom Pillow Mist and Energy Mist Review

At some point in our lives we all struggle with sleeping or waking up, in fact I dare say that I struggle with waking up every single morning unless it's for a holiday or something like that because let's face it the hum-drum of normal life isn't always the most inspiring thing to get you out of bed in a morning so there are times when you might need a little helping hand to relax you to get to sleep or to energise you in the morning even before you've had your first coffee. Neom have the answer to both with their Perfect Night's Sleep Pillow Mist and Energy Boosting On the Go Mist.



Chances are, you've probably heard of Neom Organics; they're well known for their beautiful natural wax candles which envelope your rooms with the most gorgeous scents (I was so disappointed when they discontinued my favourite candle!) but I recently got to try the mists from their new collection and I had a sneaky feeling they weren't going to disappoint. They've brought out these nifty little on-the-go spray mists which are simple to use but using a careful blend of essential oils they've created two powerful little aids to help you get to sleep and feel energised the next morning. 

The 'Burst of Energy' energy boosting on the go mist* is designed to invigorate your senses with grapefruit, lemon and rosemary. A spritz of this above my head whilst breathing deeply for a few seconds leaves me feeling a lot less groggy and gives me the motivation I need to get on with my day. 

Similarly, the 'Tranquility' Perfect Night's Sleep Pillow Mist* is made with a blend of lavender, sweet basil and jasmine to create a light yet effective fragrance to help relax your mind and muscles to create the perfect environment for sleep. I personally have definitely got more use out of this than the energy boosting one, purely because I find it more effective; the fragrance is so relaxing!

Not only are these two little spritzes perfect for awakening your senses and then winding down they also leave your room smelling beautiful without being overpowering. You could be forgiven for assuming that anything with lavender in will be too much but I think the pillow mist really does have the perfect blend of essential oils to make the lavender an asset rather than an overpowering scent which I think it is in a lot of pillow mists. 

These might look like tiny little bottles but you can get up to 100 applications from each depending how liberal you are so for £8.00 each I don't think these are bad priced at all considering that Neom is a high end brand. You can buy these and lots of other products from the Neom Organics range from Beauty Expert (who also offer free delivery, winner!)

How to see Cornwall in 24 hours

Travelling is quite a massive part of my life, I work hard but I try and make sure that I make time to enjoy life as well. I've been wanting to do Cornwall for a while now, I've heard lots of people rave about how beautiful it is and the weather is often far better than what we get up north. A couple of days sounds a bit mental considering that it's a 6 hour drive on a good day but when you're so desperate to get away it matters less. We knew we only had 24 hours to see Cornwall so we had to make sure we made use of every bit of time.

Setting off at 12.30am on Tuesday morning to get a good run down to St. Austell (which was the base for the couple of days) it took 6 hours 5 minutes to arrive at the Premier Inn. I quickly grabbed some breakfast and had an hours snooze in the car before I set off on my travels at 9.30am. This is where it became a bit of a whirlwind.

First stop was Newquay and the beautiful Fistral Beach




It's true what they say, Cornish beaches really are stunningly beautiful. Fistral Beach is a surfers haven with up to 4ft waves perfect for riding (not so much on the day we visited, it was pretty calm). I couldn't believe how clear the water was, it was honestly like being somewhere in the Mediterranean. I can totally understand why this gets so busy on a hot summers day. Thankfully it was quiet when we visited probably because it was still fairly early in the day and most of the kids had gone back to school. I expected Newquay to be very commercialised but I was pleasantly surprised and would definitely want to spend more time here.

Next we moved onto one of the places on my travel bucket list; Land's End






If you ignore the massive commercialisation of Land's End, (and it is very commercialised, presumably because it's actually privately owned) the views out to see are quite breath taking and to think that directly across sea the next bit of land you'd hit would probably be America is quite fascinating. There is a way to escape the commercial aspect of Land's End; you could do a coastal walk but I just took the obligatory photo of the sign and pressed on.

I did consider going to the Minack Theatre but when I saw the massive walk up there I decided to give it a miss as the only real reason I would be there would be to take a photo and move on.

Next stop: a rather cloudy St Michael's Mount


When the tide is low you can actually walk over to the island but as you can see the tide was pretty high so I looked and took a photo from afar. I did grab a quick overpriced drink from the little shop there but moved swiftly on to my next destination which was St. Ives.







You could easily spend at least half a day in this lovely little picturesque town. With it's narrow streets it's not advisable to take cars down there so I parked at the leisure centre and took advantage of the £1 shuttle bus there and back; after seeing how steep it was I realised it was the best couple of quid I'd spend in a long time!

The harbour is beautiful and the streets are full of quirky little shops, restaurants and obviously pasty bakeries. I may have partaken in a Cornish pasty or two, be rude not to wouldn't it?! When the sea is right you can hire your own boat and take a little trip around the harbour or you could hire a deckchair and soak up the sun on the bit of beach.

St. Ives marked the last place I would visit on my first day and I finally checked into the hotel at around 5.30pm, had some tea and got some much needed sleep.

I woke up the next morning and decided to take it a little bit easier; Port Isaac was my first calling place, the home of Doc Martin.






Port Isaac was a beautifully quaint little place, again with very steep, narrow roads which you had to walk down. You can jump on a bus to take you around the Doc Martin sights or you can grab a freshly dressed crabs from one of the popular little seafood shops. I found Port Issac really beautiful and you can take another short coast walk where there's some stunning views out to see.



My final call of the day and indeed the break was Padstow. Slapped quite hard by the hand of Rick Stein, it's another commercialised little town which is very popular with tourists desperate to get a taste of what they think is Rick Stein's handy work either from his Fish & Chip restaurant/takeaway, posh seafood restaurant or little patisserie. I gave all three a miss, settled for a quick coastal photo and a short walk around the Lobster Hatchery and headed back to the hotel for some food and a well earned rest.

After realising that I wouldn't get in anywhere for tea I decided that another nights stay in St. Austell wouldn't be very productive so I set off homeward bound at 8.45pm to try and ensure another clear run home; I was home in my own bed for 2.30am which was absolutely heavenly.

I really, really enjoyed the few days away and I've found some places that we'll definitely visit again (Newquay, St. Ives and Port Isaac) and some that I'll probably never see again but I can safely say that even though I crammed a lot in in a short space of time I loved every minute and it was just what I needed.

Affordable Bluetooth Speaker

The other day I happened to be in the market for a new set of affordable bluetooth speakers, I already have the Bose Mini Bluetooth Speaker which I use and love but I wanted something which was a little cheaper and a little more portable. I stumbled on this KitSound Bluetooth Speaker (£16.99) and decided to go ahead and buy it.


Listening to Peanut Butter Jelly, Obvs.

How lightweight they are is one of the first things that I liked about these and they're not bulky at all so they really lend themselves to travelling, they come with a handy compact carry case which houses the speakers, the charging wire and the audio jack wire (if by any chance you did want to use it wired instead of bluetooth). The initial set up of it is really simple: you switch it on and quick-press the 'play' button to start pairing with a device, you then select bluetooth on your device and wait a couple of seconds for 'boombar' to show up, just click that and away you go! You can control volume on both the speakers and on your device; for a little speaker this really does pack a punch volume wise and the quality is surprisingly crisp even at it's loudest. 

For a set of what I would consider 'budget' wireless speakers, these really are quite brilliant. They work perfectly with any apple device and they can really enhance your experience if you're watching videos/films on your iPad/iPhone. Obviously they will work with any bluetooth enabled device and you can also use them with the audio jack. On a full charge you should get around 4 hours of play out of the speakers and they are recharged by plugging them into a USB charger via the cable which is supplied with them. 

These particular speakers actually come in quite a few different colours aside from the one in the photo so if purple isn't your thing you can get them in pink, red, black and blue so there's something to go with all tastes and colour schemes. The other colours are slightly more expensive so because I wasn't bothered about the colour I went with purple which is the cheapest. 

Are Women More Susceptible To Depression?

If there's one thing I really struggle to tolerate, it's narrow-mindedness. I can't for the life of me understand why there are people out there who can't accept that someone has a mindset different to them (perhaps I'm being narrow-minded for not accepting that people are narrow-minded? I dunno?). Depression and mental illness in general is massively misunderstood; because those affected don't have anything visibly wrong with them for example a pot on their arm or a wheelchair their illness is often considered not 'credible' to even be classed as an illness. I struggle with my emotions and feelings but it's not something I've ever been to the doctors about because I feel stupid, and the fact that I feel stupid about it surely says something about attitudes towards mental illness?


'Why is it always women who get depressed?' was a question I was asked the other week when I was having what I call one of my 'down days', you know those days when you just feel so lacking in motivation, energy or tolerance for anything else but your own company and sometimes even that can be borderline unbearable; those days when you just want to sleep. Depression doesn't discriminate between gender, height, weight, age or anything else for that matter but do you think that as women we are more susceptible? Or do you think it's because women are more likely to talk about it and report that they are feeling unwell? Statistics from The Mental Health Foundation say that 1 in 4 women will require treatment for depression while only 1 in 10 men will require treatment, now that statistic does suggest that women are more susceptible but it only seems to consider those men who have gone to the doctors about how they feel; presumably there are plenty of men who don't go to the doctors because maybe they don't consider it a real reason to get help?! I'm sure some (sexist) individuals would suggest that this is because women are the weaker sex but in my opinion this just shows that women are slightly more comfortable discussing their feelings whereas men feel like it isn't the 'masculine' thing to do to ask for help? The fact that men are 3 times more likely to commit suicide than women must say something, surely? So clearly it isn't always women who get depressed, they just seem more likely to talk about it.

Another phrase that really gets on my nerves is 'pull yourself together', pull myself together how exactly?! Don't get me wrong there are days that are a lot easier than others but if I'm having a bad day I honestly feel like there is nothing that will make me feel any better and to tell me to 'pull myself together' only serves to make me feel even more stupid than I already do. When you're feeling mentally weak, to belittle someone further, to me, is one of the worst things you could do.

I'm babbling on, I know but the main purpose of me writing this blog post is to try and encourage those who don't understand depression, to try and understand a little more. Understand that even if you feel you can pull yourself round from what you feel is a bad mood, other people cannot. What you think is a 'bad mood' is actually probably a swirling downward spiral of horrible feelings that the person probably doesn't know what to do with.

I urge anyone who doesn't consider mental illness as a real illness to read up about it; people who are closest to you might be suffering but because there are often no visible signs it goes completely unnoticed. Don't belittle anyone who you think might be suffering from a form of mental illness and don't ask them to pull themselves together, just be there and if you don't feel you can be there, suggest where they might be able to get some help.

Here are some useful links:

A-Z of mental health - for those who just don't 'get it'

Mind - someone who might be able to help whether it's for yourself or someone you care about
Samaritans - As above