4 Paradise Islands You'll Want To Retire On

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If you think of the word paradise, the image of a silent island bathed in heavenly sunshine and calm blue waves will appear to mind. That is no fantasy, as there are countless islands that provide that kind of dream for someone who is ready to move to such a place. They have the same sort of weather but their cultures are different. You have many islands in North America, just off the coast of Florida. You also have islands that are in South America, the Indian Ocean and around the South China Sea. But some are better than others, so we’ve compiled a list of the best.



Just off the east coast of Madagascar, this beautiful little island is in the Indian Ocean. It's so popular that it has a population of 1.2 million people. But don’t worry, it's not as crowded as you might think. Here's why you would want to live in Mauritius. From Grand Baie to Tamarin and to the airport, there are villas, apartments, condos and gated communities that are never too far from the beach. It has a landmass of 1,600 square miles and a GDP of $31 billion. That means that there’s plenty of money for infrastructure and keeping the island clean, heavenly and just the way it should be. So you have peace, quiet and the island is kept in tip-top shape to keep residents happy. 


The British Indian Ocean Territory is further east to Mauritius and it's just as beautiful. Home to coral reefs and turtles, it's also full of penguins during certain times of the year. The white soft sands and the leaning palm trees are just a classic sign that you are in paradise. However, you have a lot more privacy on this island because there are 1,000 people, 3,000 military personnel. It's just 23 square miles but a little shack by the beach is all you’ll want for the seclusion, privacy and quiet you get in return.


An amazing island that is one of the most-loved of the UK’s overseas territories, as well as for its mystique regarding the ‘Bermuda Triangle’ conspiracy theories. It's fish hook shape makes for a great riviera island, with plenty of harbours, ports and places where you can ride around in your private boat. The weather is really quite calm for being further out into the North Atlantic Ocean. It's warm and humid, perfect for roaming around in flip flops and shorts, just the way the British like it! 


Most people have never heard of this island, but that’s even more alluring for someone who wants to retire in peace and quiet. The see-through turquoise waters are incredible. Warm and smooth, these waters will have your floating and swimming in them for hours and hours every day. The long sandy beach is just what you would want in a classic paradise island. Nothing more to say about Anguilla.

Some of the greatest islands on earth are yearning for more inhabitants who want to retire and enjoy the more beautiful parts of the world. Have you chosen your favourite yet?

La Boca Doncaster Food Review

Good steak restaurants can be few and far between but I really wanted to share an absolute gem of a steak restaurant that I've found in Doncaster and it was all down to a happy coincidence. We have eaten at steak restaurants like Miller and Carter and Estabulo but both were booked up with the Eat Out to Help Out government scheme running; so I logged on to Open Table (an absolute must-have app, by the way, if you eat out a lot) and there was a table available at La Boca in Doncaster town centre. 

La Boca is a fairly new steak restaurant in Doncaster town centre, offering the finest cuts of meat with an Argentine inspired menu. The restaurant itself is quite small but perfectly formed; they've done a great job of making it Covid secure and the staff are wonderfully friendly. 


The menu is concise but there are some amazing-sounding dishes on there. We decided to get a starter each; Kev went for the Empanadas which are Argentinian pasties filled with spicy beef, served with a small salad, I went for the Provoleta which is an Argentinian baked cheese with a red onion and chilli marmalade.




As you can see, the empanadas are filled full of pulled beef and it tasted absolutely unreal; the beef itself was very flavourful but not too spicy. These were completely different to any other empanadas I've ever tasted because the meat was so generous. 

The provoleta was also gorgeous; I'm a huge cheese fan and I live for a good cheese pull so this was perfect for me. One thing I will say is that you need more bread, which I asked for and was given but if I were the restaurant I'd serve it with 4 pieces of bread rather than 2 because I knew before I even started that it wasn't going to be enough. 

The main course was obviously what we really came for. We both went for the 10oz rump steak served with rustic fries, chimichurri and roasted peppers. All steaks are brushed with rosemary and paprika butter and cooked to perfections. We also paid extra for Diane sauce on the side.



That for me was the perfect medium rare steak, Kev went for medium which was also cooked perfectly. Obviously rump steak isn't the 'best' cut of steak but for me it is definitely the best value for money as the meat is tender and flavourful. There was a little bit of fat in mine which was inedible but this didn't spoil it for me at all because the rest of the meat was so tender. Until now, I didn't realise how well chimichurri goes with steak and it was the perfect accompaniment. The rustic chips were cooked to perfection and are far better than what we have had at Miller and Carter. You can tell that there's real care and attention paid to these meals and serving good quality food really matters to the staff. 

We saw other people in the restaurant who had ordered the mixed grills which have a mix of steak, lamb, chicken and chorizo which looked absolutely amazing and definitely something I'd consider next time but I would be loathed to choose anything but just steak because it was so good. 

There's a reason why this is the number one restaurant in Doncaster on Trip Advisor and I'm just sorry I have left it so long to visit! Due to the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, this meal only cost us £45 including 2 pints of Diet Pepsi which is almost half the price of Miller and Carter and I can honestly say that the quality of this meal far exceeds that. 

If you're looking for a good steak restaurant in Doncaster, I can highly recommend La Boca!

Fat Hippo Sheffield Food Review

It's been a while since I've done a proper food review (mainly because we had the luxury of restaurants stripped away from us for a few months) so I thought I'd come back and tell you about my experience of Fat Hippo in Sheffield. Fat Hippo are known for their burgers, specifically big dirty burgers that require napkins when eating so they pretty much had me with the pictures of their burgers on Instagram.

We visited Fat Hippo in Sheffield (S1) which is kind of hidden away in Lane 7 which is a bit of an entertainment centre with a bowling alley, pool tables and darts. We actually really enjoyed the vibe in there and I'd definitely go back just for that and probably couple a burger with a few games of pool. But anyway, I digress... onto the food. We ordered a Fat Hippo Burger each which consists of a double patty, American cheese, smoked bacon, chorizo, onion rings and Fat Hippo sauce; I went bunless with mine but Kev got his as normal. All burgers are served with fries and there's the option to pimp your fries so we got our fries with bacon bits and Fat Hippo Sauce:

As you can see, the Fat Hippo burger is a bloody good stack and even though mine doesn't have the bun it still looks good. To be honest I'm sold on any burger with onion rings and those onion rings were so good; crispy and a good thick ring of onion. The burgers themselves were clearly homemade and extremely tasty. The combination of cheese, bacon, chorizo, onion rings and burger patty was perfect. Fat Hippo sauce is a little bit like thousand island and also complements the burger perfectly - I'd always recommend getting some to go with your burger even if you just ask for it on the side.

As for the fries, in all honesty I wouldn't get them covered in Fat Hippo sauce again because it was just a bit much, although I daresay if they were in a wider pot it may have been better but there was just too much sauce dolloped on top and it became overpowering. They were nice to begin with but you know when you just have too much of the same sort of taste? I ended up leaving some

We also ordered a side of 'Freddie's Fingers' (nice little play on the movie title, I assume) and I was really underwhelmed by these to be honest. They were clearly homemade and were supposed to be southern fried but the coating was pretty tasteless and dry. The redeeming feature was the buffalo sauce which was amazing but I still couldn't recommend ordering these.

Despite the disappointing chicken, we did really enjoy the burger and we would visit again but I'd be tempted to just go for regular shoestring fries with plenty of salt and maybe try a different style of burger. Fat Hippo have two locations in Sheffield, and one in Jesmond, Newcastle and Durham so it's very much a Northern gem - I'd highly recommend visiting if you're near a branch! Also check out the Fat Hippo Instagram for some ultimate burger pictures to get your mouth watering!

3 Ways a Trip Away from Home Can Help Improve Your Perspective

There are all sorts of different reasons why people travel, and why travel can be a great and life affirming experience. Part of the joy of travelling is, of course, seeing new sights, trying new cuisine, and turning the excitement level of life up a notch. Obviously holidaying has taken a different turn in the wake of a global pandemic and staycations are becoming much more popular this year than ever. We have just returned from a weekend break at Haven Golden Sands caravan park in Mablethorpe and my step-sister has taken a mobile home to tour around Cornwall for a week which is something I'd definitely consider as it looks like she's having a great time! (with that being said, if you are thinking of buying a caravan make sure you find the best caravan insurance before travelling!)

Regardless of what you choose to do, even a few days staycation in the UK can improve your perspective on life, especially after being cooped up for so many weeks! Here are a few ways in which a trip away from home can help to improve your perspective:

By reminding you of how much you can do when you are being proactive

If your holiday involves getting out of your comfort zone, squeezing in some sightseeing, or otherwise managing your schedule more proactively than you would have been on any given weekend at home, then your holiday has the potential to dramatically remind you of just how much you can actually do and achieve when you are being proactive.

Although there are holidays which are based around relaxing at a resort-side pool, for example, most holidays will involve the holiday-goers trying to optimise their time to get as much out of the trip as possible. Often, therefore, a holiday can really be a reminder that it’s important to break free from “analysis paralysis,” and meet life head-on.

By getting you far enough away from your normal environment, that you can start to view it with more objectivity

We all have assorted troubles, insecurities, preoccupations, and hangups that can haunt us in our everyday lives and cause a great deal of stress and frustration.

Often, what is really needed in order to break free from these negative cycles, is to gain a bit of outside perspective – but that’s more or less impossible to do, in most cases, when you are in the middle of the situation.

Travel can get you far enough away from your normal environment, that you can start to view it with more objectivity. This can then serve as a great impetus to begin making changes, and to adjust your thinking about particular issues.

By putting you in a more optimistic and confident frame of mind

A good holiday will generally put you in a more optimistic and confident frame of mind than you would typically have been in if you had remained at home.

There are many reasons why this can be beneficial, but one of the key reasons is that it can give you the inspiration and self belief necessary to really set yourself some goals, and to commit to going after your dreams and ambitions in a way that you might have felt was out of reach before.

Consider taking a notebook and pen with you on your trip, and brainstorming some of the things you would like to do when you get home, as the inspiration hits you.

What You Need To Know Before Buying a Historic House

Buying a historic house is appealing in a lot of ways. For one, most historic homes are beautiful and unique in their architecture and design. It could also be fulfilling to know that you have a hand in redeveloping or improving upon a town and its economy. Before you go out and buy there are a few things you need to know.

The Benefits
There are many benefits to owning historic property. The first thing is knowing your contribution to the preservation of history. Who knows what opportunities will open up because of your preservation of the historical building. You can give back to the community by allowing local residents to rent the space out. Just make sure you know all the laws and permits you need. Some homes are permitted to host weddings and events, while others can only be used in a museum setting. Some historical buildings are also retrofitted with a commercial quality kitchen for catering. The possibilities are endless. You also receive tax benefits. They are gorgeous additions to any neighbourhood because of their unique architecture, in addition to the tax benefits, you may also get lower interest loans to restore these historical homes and sometimes to even buy and preserve them.

You May Have Some Restrictions
When you own a historic home, there may be some restrictions that come along with it since it is a historical building. There may be some prior guidelines imposed by your local and state government when it comes to modifying the building. As a general rule of thumb, as long as the integrity and style of the home are maintained, you are good to make changes to the home. It goes without saying that the guidelines have to be met.

Make sure you have a proper home inspection by a professional who has a specialty in historic homes. When trying to figure out what you need to invest in, make sure you get estimates from at least two contractors to cross-reference the repair work needed before you move in. Another part of that is making sure the home meets all the health and safety standards.

You may also need a certain type of home insurance that covers historic properties. Typically these are more expensive than the regular home insurance of a newer home.

Do Your Research
Make sure that your historical property is actually a historical property. Do research on why the home is significant. It is important to note that your historic building has to be up to a certain code. You can do this by having your home inspected by a professional. Have a full understanding of what you can and cannot do with the home. It is very important to get a home inspector and have the house thoroughly looked over. You should also get estimates from local contractors on how much all of that will cost.

These are a few things to keep in mind before you purchase a historic building. Be sure to search for a historic building conservation East Devon, or wherever you are local.

Holiday Dreaming And The Inspiration For Next Year

There is no denying that many of us will have holidays on our minds right now, partly because they still feel a little impossible right now. But as lockdown eases and restrictions become less, holidays will be possible once more. Whether it is later this year or next, you may be looking for some inspiration. With that in mind, here are some of the options for you to consider.

A rental cottage

One of the first options to consider would be a cottage somewhere different. A staycation this might be, but looking online for cottages for hire may highlight parts of the country you have never thought of visiting. It avoids you having to worry about any potential restrictions and allows you to enjoy a holiday that feels more home from home. There are some beautiful parts of the country to explore, so this might be the ideal incentive to stay closer to home and see it. 

A road trip
Now more than ever you may have been thinking about seeing more of the world we live in. When the option gets taken away from you it can often reignite a passion to try it once more. A road trip could be the ideal solution. Planning your trip and where you stay, seeing more than one place and exploring new countries. It might not be the first holiday you are able to take, but it is certainly one to plan for the future.

A cruise 
Cruising was extremely popular, but right now those floating hotels on the seas are not a possible option for a holiday. But that doesn’t mean to say it will never be. Cruising will come back, and it is certainly going to be popular once those ships sail the seas once more. A cruise gives you the chance to see multiple destinations and countries in one holiday, so it may be worth planning which one you want to do once the opportunity arises again.

A fun time adventure 
Who doesn’t want a bit of fun and excitement in their lives and a holiday to somewhere like Disney World or Lapland could be the ideal one to plan. These fun locations will start to open up once more, and enable you to enjoy the festivities that surround them. Again this might be a holiday you plan for the future, but it could certainly be fun counting down to that special holiday when the opportunity comes.

An active holiday
Finally, the last spot of holiday inspiration you might need is one for the active person in your life, be that yourself or your family. Holidays don’t always mean lounging by the pool or the sea, so why not choose an adventure instead? A hiking holiday, a boating trip or something like skiing could all be possible options for amazing vacations away with your nearest and dearest.

Let’s hope you are full of inspiration to start dreaming, planning and potentially booking those holidays so we can all start to see the world we live in once more.

8 Ways to Take Better Care of Yourself

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You’re going to have more energy and not feel as sluggish when you put your health and wellness first and foremost. Putting these essential to-dos off for another day may leave you feeling stressed out and lacking the motivation to reach your goals.

Learn about eight ways you can take better care of yourself so that you can reap all the benefits that come along with doing so. Changing your habits can be time-consuming and challenging initially but try to stick with it and notice how over time it gets easier for you. Take action now so that you can experience more gratifying days ahead.

1. Make Sleep & Rest A Priority
You can take better care of yourself by making sleep and rest a priority. Get on a schedule by going to bed and waking up around the same time each day, even on the weekends. Also, take the time to configure your room for optimal sleep. For instance, make sure it’s at a cool temperature, that you have a comfortable mattress and sheets, and that the room is dark enough. You should not only focus on getting more and better sleep but also taking breaks and resting when your body tells you that it’s tired.

2. Pay Attention to the Products You’re Using
Take better care of yourself by paying attention to the products you’re using on yourself and around the house. There are many toxins in your everyday purchases that you should be aware of and try to avoid. For example, you can make your own house cleaners at home with natural ingredients. As for your beauty routine, look for skincare lotions and nail products such as those at ciennarose.com that are vegan and that have nourishing ingredients that aren’t harmful to you.

3. Take Breaks & Time Away from Work
You’ll also be doing yourself a huge favour by practising work-life balance and not overdoing it at your job. It’s vital that you set boundaries and take breaks and time away from work if you want to stay well. Go on a holiday with your family or friends or have a staycation at home where you can rest and participate in activities you enjoy. You’ll likely return to the office feeling refreshed and rejuvenated and find that you make fewer mistakes while at work. Plan ahead and prioritise your work tasks so that you can leave the office each night at a decent hour and don’t have to bring your work home with you.

4. Get Daily Physical Activity & Exercise
Daily exercise is good for both your mind and body. It’s an excellent way to tone your body and manage any stress you’re feeling. Find activities that you enjoy and mix up your routine so that you don’t become bored or disengaged in working out. It may help to find an accountability partner who you can count on to keep you motivated to continue exercising and taking care of yourself. Once you start exercising and you notice how good you feel you likely won’t want to miss a day. Also, be sure to stay hydrated and stretch so that you can recover more quickly.

5. Cook Nutritious Meals at Home
Another way to take better care of yourself is to cook nutritious meals at home. It’ll be cheaper than going out to eat, and you’ll likely consume fewer calories. You can control your portion sizes and what ingredients you use better when you’re the chef. Your clothes will fit better, and you may not have as many health issues when you eat well. Make a grocery list and shop and prepare food on the weekends so that your weekdays aren’t as busy. You may even want to think about making meals that you can cook ahead and pull out and serve when you’re short on time.

6. Spend Less Time on Technology
While technology is useful and makes your life easier, it can also be addicting and hard on your health. You may have eye strain, a sore neck or back, and pain in your hands if you type and stare at a computer screen a lot. Therefore, monitor how much time you’re spending on technology and take breaks away from it so you can feel better mentally and physically. Think of all the other activities you could be doing, such as getting outside or participating in a hobby. You’ll likely find you feel less stressed and anxious and that you don’t sit around comparing your life to other people as much when you limit your time on social media and the Internet.

7. Connect with Friends & Family
Another way to boost your health and well-being is to build and nurture your relationships with others. Make it a point to connect with friends and family members more frequently and open up and get to know people on a deeper level. It’ll be nice to have people in your life who you can turn to when you need advice or to engage with when you need a good laugh. Pick up the phone on your days off or ask a friend out for coffee to catch up. These connections are valuable for your well-being, and you’ll likely find that you’re a lot happier when you have people who you count on to brighten your day or who will listen when you have a problem.

8. Make To-Do Lists & Journal
Take better care of yourself by attending to your mental health and finding ways to manage your stress. You may find it helpful to make to-do lists and keep notes about what you want to get done each day. There will be less information floating around in your head, and you can stay on track with tackling your responsibilities. Also, keep a journal of what you’re grateful for and what you like about yourself so you can maintain a positive outlook and uplifting self-talk. These are small actions you can do that will make your life easier and bring you a lot of joy.

The Things That Are Keeping Your Home From Smelling Fresh

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You invest a lot of time and effort in making your home perfect. You sweep, mop and polish your floors until they sparkle. You apply a liberal dose of elbow grease to your windows to the point where guests question whether or not they even contain any glass. You vacuum your carpets and rugs to keep them fully, lustrous and free of dust and crumbs of yuckiness. Yet, no matter how much you scrub, wipe, mop and sweep there’s something that’s keeping your home from looking and feeling completely clean.

Yup, it’s that funk that subtly permeates your living space, and undoes all the hard work you’ve put in elsewhere. While we human beings are inherently visual creatures, we tend to judge our surroundings by their scent, as well. It’s how we’ve evolved to know which foods will do us harm and which environments aren’t safe to live in. As such, our sense of smell can affect our moods. So when your home is permeated by pongs, it can make it really difficult to enjoy your down time. Here are 4 things that are keeping your home from smelling, and feeling, as fresh as it could:

Your drains
Be honest. You’re washing the dishes and an errant pea, piece of sweetcorn or nugget of mince gets stuck in the drain. What do you do? Push it down with the butt of a fork? Thought so. But when food waste is pushed down the drain, it isn’t banished to another dimension. It can get stuck in the u-bend, decomposing and bringing the funk to your kitchen. In some cases a little baking soda and lemon juice down the drain is enough to rid your home of funky odours, but when matter accumulates in your drains over time, you may need to get a specialist drain repair service over to make sure your pipes are spotless. And you can cook safe in the knowledge that the only aroma is the delicious food you’re making. 

As much as we love our furry friends they can be a source of unwanted odours, especially in wet weather or if they're partial to a dip in some water on their walks! Regularly washing pet bedding and blankets will go a long way to stopping any unwanted pet odours as well as replacing them when they become old and worn (because let's be fair they do get to a point where no matter what you wash them with, nothing will get rid of that lingering smell).

Your carpets
You may vacuum regularly. But over time pet dander, crumbs of food waste and other nasties can get trodden deep into the fibres of your carpet and prevent it from smelling as good as it could. As well as getting your carpets and upholstery cleaned annually, you can mix some baking soda and essential oils to make your very own Shake n Vac. Sprinkle it on your carpets, leave it for a few minutes and vacuum it back up for instant freshness.

Your bin
Finally, after a while, your bin may start to smell, even if it’s empty. Sometimes waste can escape your bin bag and linger in the bin itself. Rather than rinsing it out with soap and water, first try sprinkling in a combination of baking soda and your favourite essential oils. Leave it for about an hour then rinse out. Your bin will look and smell good as new!

Always remember to stay safe when cleaning your home!

Tukin Foods Discount Code and Review

The last 10 weeks has been a testing time in more ways that one; we've had to completely transform our lives in a lot of ways and adapt quickly to new ways of living - most of which I will continue with well beyond lockdown because some of it has actually been revolutionary! One of the biggest changes I have made over 10 weeks of lockdown is the way I buy food. I've gone from shopping 3/4 times per week; just picking up a few bits on the way home from work (which by the way, was totally inefficient and used to do my head in!) to relying on a 'big shop' once a week and topping up with other bits and bobs usually from smaller businesses as and when I can.

Tukin Foods is a small business I've been introduced to recently who offer handmade curries delivered to your door which I think is absolutely revolutionary. Sounds a bit daft to refer to a ready meal as revolutionary but I think we all have that image of 'ready meal curry' in our heads as being a bit sad and uninspiring; something that you chuck in the microwave because you have nothing else to eat. Tukin has completely changed my perception of ready meals!

Based in Leicester, Tukin offer a full range of handmade curries, naans and and sides which make for the perfect takeaway treat at home without paying a premium. They were kind enough to send me a care package full of a selection of their products so I wanted to share my thoughts.

I'll start with the curry ready meals: I've tried the Chicken Korma, Chicken Tikka, Chicken Jalfrezi and Butternut Squash and Spinach Curry (all priced at £4.50). These can be heated in the microwave or the oven (I would recommend putting the curry into another container if you are going to use the oven though as I found that the plastic packaging isn't oven-proof). The first thing I noticed about each curry is the beautiful texture and consistency; they are gorgeously thick and the meat curries all contained plenty of chicken. They also do a Lamb Rogan Josh and a Vindaloo if either of those tickle your fancy. 

My personal favourite has to be the Chicken Korma; it was so creamy and coconutty - I much prefer this to the Kormas I've had from restaurants and takeaways because it was creamy but not overly sweet. The Chicken Tikka, again, wasn't as sweet as I've had from takeaways but it was so tasty and doesn't have that luminous red colour that you often get from restaurants and takeaways as it's made with all natural ingredients and no preservatives. I was also pleasantly surprised by the Vegetarian curry - this was delicious and very filling! The Jalfrezi is the hottest of the 4 curries but not unbearable - still not too hot that you don't get any of the flavours but if you don't like a kick then I would stay with the milder curries such as Korma.

Now onto the Indian side orders - I had a Chicken Tikka Samosa, Vegetable Samosa and Onion Bhaji (all £2.00 each) and they were all lovely! They're large enough to share between two if you wanted to try a bit of each and done in the oven they come out beautifully crispy as you would expect in a restaurant - I highly recommend these even just as a snack to take to work!

I was also sent some drinks which were the Nix and Kix Cucumber and Mint and Blood Orange and Turmeric (both £1.30 each). I'm not a fan of the Cucumber and Mint because it was simply just like drinking cucumber water which really isn't for me but the Blood Orange and Turmeric was so refreshing straight out of the fridge!

Mango Lassi is classed as a drink but it's basically a yoghurt drink and I can't describe how nice it is! I would 100% buy this again as it's the perfect dessert kind of drink after a curry - it really cools your mouth down and is gorgeously creamy!

Finally, onto the Curry in a Naan. Where do I even begin with these. Gone are the days when I will buy a boring pre-packed sandwich because these are a quick lunch game changer! They can be eaten hot or cold (although they are better hot) and they are absolutely divine! They do the Naans with Korma, Tikka, Jalfrezi and Vegetarian and I can confirm that they're all beautiful and only £2.70 each. If you check out the Tukin Foods Instagram page you'll see that I'm not the only one raving about their fresh products!

You can buy Tukin products at selected Tescos, One Stops, Co-ops, Wilko's, Nisas, Booths, Jacks and Franprix but I think the most convenient way to order is by doing it directly on the Tukin Foods website. They offer free next day delivery nationwide if you spend over £25 and if you enter my discount code: FOODIE10 at the checkout you'll also receive 10% off your order! All their foods are delivered in a box with cool packs so it reaches you in tip-top condition and it's all freezable so you can stock up to reach that free delivery threshold!

Why You Should Always Get your Car Serviced on Time

It can be so tempting to just put off that oil change or ignore that pesky engine light on the car for a few months. Taking the car in for repairs, or even regular servicing, is such a hassle for those of us who have busy lives, chaotic schedules and way too many responsibilities on our plate. While you can sometimes avoid these little checklist items without facing any real repercussions, the truth is, more often than not if you avoid getting your car serviced at the right time, it can lead to bigger problems down the line. 

That engine light may just be alerting you to a small issue that can be easily fixed, but those small issues, when ignored for lengthy periods, can lead to larger issues later. Sure, it’ll take some time, but when you find yourself faced with a huge mechanic bill, you’ll wish you had taken care of it when it was just a minor issue. For example: forgetting to put oil in your car for a few days is no big deal, but when you’ve put it off for a solid month, you could destroy your engine. The same goes for larger maintenance tasks, like an oil change, having tires rotated, and more: it might not seem like a pressing issue but it will be when you’ve messed up your alignment, have to replace an engine, or worse, get in an accident because you didn’t change your brake pads.

Photo credit: Malte Luk

One major reason that people put off car maintenance is because of the cost. Things like oil changes and tire upgrades cost money, and often we’re strapped for cash. It’s an understandable concern. If you look, however, you can find reputable mechanics and shops that will work with you, providing financing, bundle deals for getting more than one vehicle serviced or having more than one issue taken care of at once, or even free oil changes after you’ve paid for so many. Having your car serviced at a dealership that specialises in your type of vehicle can also save you cash. Some mechanics and shops are even offering discounts for key workers, such as Vauxhall Servicing for Key Workers, providing a major discount for NHS and other essential service workers. These generous shops are happy to give you a discount as a thank you for the hard work you’re doing to help others. 
It can be so tempting to just put off getting the car taken care of, but if you can afford to, don’t. Biting the bullet and getting those little things taken care of will not only take a load off of your mind as a task checked off, but will save you time and money in the long run as you avoid larger problems later. It’s an annoying responsibility, but it’s one worth doing, and doing on time. Your car (and your wallet) will definitely thank you later. 

Friction Free Shaving Review & Discount

Lockdown has definitely got me trying to get more things delivered via mail order than I did in the past; I've now get eco-friendly laundry tabs delivered every so often and I finally decided to take the plunge and order a my razors online too after seeing a few people signing up to subscription services like Friction Free Shaving. After months of using disposables because I was too tight to pay for Gillette Venus refills I decided it was time to try out some good quality but affordable razors.

When you first sign up you tell FFS how often you shave, I personally opted for 'a few times a week' which means that my box will come once every other month which sounds ideal to me as you get 4 refill blades in every box. You also get the chance to choose your handle, currently they have 4 different colours including the beautiful rose gold one that I went for. You can also get yours personalised for an additional £6.

The handle itself is really quite heavy, it reminds me of how sturdy men's razors tend to be which gives me confidence that it'll last for many refills to come; it also has a rubber grip underneath which is useful in making sure it doesn't slip out of your hand while shaving.

The blades themselves have 6 diamond coated blades which makes the shave brilliantly smooth and close with no drag whatsoever. I was a little sceptical at first because the moisturising strip is only very thin and when I've bought Venus razors I've always liked the moisture bar that some of them have on them as it means that even without much shaving foam you get a really smooth shave, however, I am pleasantly surprised by how these razors don't need the moisture strip - in fact that I'd say they're better for not having it. These Friction Free Shaving blades seem to give me a much closer shave than Venus, presumably because the actual blades get closer to the skin with the absence of a moisture block.

The blade head also moves with the contours of your body which makes it perfect for ensuring you don't miss any patches on your legs - that's another issue I had with disposable: the fact that I would think I'd shaved properly only to discover a huge patch of hair at the side of my leg! I didn't get that with this and my legs felt beautifully smooth with no dragging or nicks (nicks were also something I'd started to get pretty much every time I shaved with disposable which is another thing that prompted me to change because shaving cuts bleed like heck!). You'll also see in that last picture that it comes with a clamshell protector so you can pop that on between shaves to stop it getting damaged or damaging anything else!

Now onto arguably the most important bit - the price. It is a subscription service but you can cancel it at any time and you are in full control of the frequency of your order. Your initial order when you sign up will come with the handle, 4 blades, and a clamshell protector; this will cost you £9 (subsequent refills will also cost £9) however, I have a link which will get you a £3 discount off your first order taking it down to just £6 which I think is an absolute steal! Just follow this link to get your Friction Free Shaving discount and let me know how you get on if you do order.

Personalised Disney Planning Notebooks | Papier Discount

Unfortunately, this year's trip to Disney has had to be cancelled for obvious reasons but I'm straight on with planning for a trip in 2022 so I've treat myself to a new Disney planning notebook from Papier. They're selling through the last of their Disney notebooks so now is the time to grab one if you'd like one; they have lots of different designs from traditional Mickey and Minnie to the Genie from Aladdin and they are available in either hard backed or soft backed books with plain, lined or dotted paper inside so there's something to suit most needs!

If you've ever been on a Disney holiday you'll know that it does involve at least a little bit of planning to make the most out of your holiday so that you can decide what you're going to do each day 

I can't wait to start planning my 2022 Disney holiday with my new notebook so if you'd like to do the same you can get £10 off your first purchase making it only £9.99 which I think is an amazing price for such a good quality personalised Disney planning notebook. 

Follow this link to the Papier website to get £10 off your first purchase! (I also get £10 to spend on Papier if you use this link) Please do let me know if you buy one, I'd love to see your choices of Disney planning notebooks!

5 Things To Get Excited About This Summer

If you’ve been following the news, you’ve heard that the summer holidays are probably going to be cancelled. It’s hard to tell how long the Coronavirus is going to impact our lives. However, the government has issued warnings about pre-booked summer holidays. In all likelihood, I'll not be able to jet off on the Florida holiday I have booked but in all honesty, the last 8 weeks really has put things into perspective and made me realise that having a holiday isn't the be all and end all; there's loads of other things I'm looking forward to being able to do eventually.

#1. Seeing friends and family
We can expect lockdown rules to ease more and more as time passes (fingers crossed that the 'r' stays down!). As of this week, car trips are allowed, which means that you can drive to your favourite spot in the countryside if you fancy a walk in the woods. Of course, social distancing still applies, but we can gradually expect a change of tone. In a few weeks’ time, you may be allowed to meet with friends and relatives. Perhaps, it will be an opportunity to have a catch up picnic in the park or play a game of ball together... who knew I'd actually look forward to maybe partaking in a bit of sport?!

#2. Getting more fresh air
Finally, you don’t need to worry about how many times you want to step outside. As we’re now allowed to go out as often as we wish during the day, chances are you’re going to work on your summer tan. Here’s a little tip to remember: your skin has not been prepared for prolonged sun exposure this year. If you haven’t already, it’s a good idea to add some UV protection makeup and lotions to your beauty kit. You can find out more about SPF protective makeup here, because nobody wants the typical chalky sunscreen lotion. Or if sunning yourself in the actual sun isn't your thing then I'd highly recommend Skinny Tan Wonder Serum for all your fake tanning needs.


#3 Seeing the UK
This one is a little bit more tricky in my opinion, because I realise that lots of the tourist hot spots currently want to keep people away still which is completely understandable but hopefully, in the coming months, before summer is over tourist areas in the UK will start to welcome us back - I for one can't wait to visit some of the seaside areas local to me!

#4 Sales, sales sales
We’ve been told to limit unnecessary purchases. However, you have to be realistic. The fashion industry contributes heavily to the UK economy. It’s time to embrace fashion sales – mid-season sales are everywhere – to support the country. Ultimately, brands are trying to survive as much as any other industry. Buying your new summer number could help to keep jobs and it's well worth having a look online before the fashion retailers re-open their doors to the public again.

#4. Garden Parties
Kind of ties into the whole seeing friends and family but hopefully there'll come a time this summer when we will be able to have a few people round for a BBQ or a little garden get together. Add a summer playlist, a few fruity cocktails, and some homemade ice creams and you’re ready for the summer. 

Summer is going to be different this year However, it doesn’t mean that you can’t make the most of it. The lockdown rules are allowing for more freedom and movements for everyone. If we respect the rules today, chances are it’ll be safe to meet up with friends before soon! 

Lockdown Restaurant Recreations - Wagamama Style Chicken Raisukaree

We're in the third week of the UK 'lockdown' and I think it's safe to say that we're all starting to miss our favourite takeaways and restaurants and it's definitely made me realise how eating is an actual hobby of mine rather than just a necessity to live!

One of the things I miss the most is Wagamama Chicken Raisukaree so I decided to try and recreate my own and it was surprisingly simple to do so I thought I'd share my recipe and method so you can also have your own piece of Wagamama while in lockdown and beyond!


Chicken Raisukaree Ingredients (serves 2)

250g chicken breast (cut into thin slices)
2 teaspoons lazy garlic (or 2 cloves minced)
1 red onion
2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 can coconut milk (400ml) - I use light coconut milk but you can use normal
1 chicken stock cube
100g mangetout
1 red pepper (sliced)
Juice from 1 lime
Small handful of coriander

How to make Chicken Raisukaree 

1. Heat a wok or frying pan with a drizzle of oil or a spray of fry light 

2. Slice the red onion (I like it to be quite chunky) and add this, along with the garlic, to the pan and fry until soft. 

3. Add the chicken and cook through 

4. Add the curry paste, fish sauce, stock cube, coconut milk and lime juice. Mix gently and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

5. Add the sliced red pepper, mangetout and coriander and continue to simmer for another 3-5 minutes. This should mean that the pepper and mangetout still have a crunch.

Serve with rice (I used a heart shaped dipping bowl to get the heart shaped pile in the middle of the plate) 

So that's it! That's how to make Wagamama style Chicken Raisukaree - a really simple recipe that doesn't cost an absolute fortune to make and I guarantee you'll want to make it more than once! 

What's one recipe you'd love to recreate at home?

Making Your New House A Home, On A Budget

Moving into a new home is an exciting time. Finally, you’ve got your own space to decorate and do with as you please. But one of the things you can expect when buying your new house is that it’s going to cost you a lot of money. By the time you’ve covered the deposit, fees and moving costs, you might not have much left at the end of it.

But no doubt you’ll want to start working on making your new house a home, something that can feel difficult when funds are low. Luckily, there are some great ways you can decorate your home on a budget and turn your hand to DIY projects without having to spend a fortune.

Take a look at the following tips to help you get started:

Prioritise your needs versus your wants

When you first move into your home, it’s natural to want to decorate every room straight away. But if you add up the total of what that’s going to cost, you’ll soon see that it’s a very expensive job! Prioritisation is key here, and you’ll need to spend time thinking about the things you need (bed, sofa, wardrobes) versus your wants (garden furniture, expensive rugs, etc.). Buy the things you need first, and then you can save to bring in some of the things you want.

Browsing the sales is a good way to find some home bargains, so you could pick up some excellent bargains on furniture and home decor that can free up some room in your budget for other items.

Shop on the high street

The high street is an excellent place to find fashionable and affordable home items. Some of the best homeware retailers on the high street include Zara Home, H&M, Marks and Spencer and Next. You can also find some extremely affordable decorative pieces in places like Wilko or Primark, helping you kit out your home for less. Taking the time to browse different stores could help give you some inspiration, and could even help you find some of your most coveted items at a much lower price.

DIY can go a long way

A bit of DIY can go a long way in your home, with projects like wall panelling being a simple way of making your home look chic and more unique to you. While buying ready-made items or hiring help seems like an easy option, you’ll save a lot of money by doing these projects yourself.

Get the items you need from a building supplies store  and watch some tutorials to help you get started with some DIY projects that will really help to transform your home.

Turning your house into a home is a lot of work, but it’s a lot of fun too. Remember that these things rarely happen overnight, and while someone’s home might seem perfect on Instagram or Pinterest, it’s taken them a long time to get there. Take your time and pursue the projects that will make you happy - which room will you start with first?

Sunday Lunch Around Yorkshire - Bishop's Bar and Bistro Review

I recently decided that there's definitely a market for rating Sunday Lunches in my area, yes we've got Trip Advisor, the semi reliable source for restaurant reviews but I think there's so much more to reviewing a Sunday Lunch than just a couple of lines and an overall mark out of 5, so treat this as the first of many reviews.

Finding the best Sunday lunch in Yorkshire will be a difficult job, I would imagine, but by looking at a number of aspects of each venue I hope to give you a properly rounded view of where's best for Sunday Lunch near you. When reviewing, I will be looking at 5 aspects: quality and choice of meat (obviously), quality and choice of veg, quality of Yorkshire pudding, eating environment and value for money.

Firstly, I'll be doing a review of Bishop's Bar and Bistro in Howden. I will start by saying that this meal was complimentary because I won it but there were no obligations whatsoever for me to review it, in fact I daresay that unless the owners read this review, they'll not know I even have a blog to share my view on.



Eating Environment

Space isn't a luxury enjoyed by Bishop's Bar and Bistro, I must admit, although the atmosphere and decor is lovely. As you can see on the photo, they have beautiful copper beer pumps mounted on a solid wood bar; I think they've gone for a rustic yet modern kind of look which I do think they've achieved for the most part. In the bar area they have some sofas and other comfy seating which can be used while you wait for your table and it does section off the main eating restaurant from the customers just in for a few drinks which is always a good idea I find, if possible. 

The restaurant area has wooden bench seating which runs across the back of the room which then has space for several tables to be positioned in whichever way suits the bistro at that particular time and they then have 4/5 other separate tables and chairs at the other side of the room. Quite rightly so, they have utilised every bit of space available but at peak times when the room is full it does seem very, very busy and ends up being quite a close eating experience with other guests. Not a huge issue for us as we were on a table for 2 in a bit of an alcove but if you don't like being close to other diners I would suggest you make the team aware so they can try and seat you accordingly.

Quality and choice of meat

As you can see on the menu above, they have 7 choices of main course: roast beef, roast lamb, roast belly pork, poached chicken, poached haddock, steak and ale pie and leek and potato pie (vegetarian option) which, for me, is an amazing choice for any pub or restaurant for Sunday Lunch and to have the option of lamb is also quite a luxury compared to some places so in terms of choices there's definitely plenty of them! You can also choose between 3 different sizes of lunch, small £8.50 (one meat), medium £10.50 (two meats) or large £11.50 (to be honest, I'm not sure whether this gave 3 choices of meat or just more of two meats). 

We both went for a medium with beef and belly pork. 

Unfortunately, you can't actually see the beef as it's hidden under the slab of belly pork but it was definitely there. The belly pork itself was beautiful, obviously it is a fatty meat so please be aware of this before you order but the fat makes the meat beautifully tender and flavoursome. The crackling on top wasn't the best I've tasted but I ate it nevertheless because for me, there's something strangely appealing about a layer of cooked fat on top of pork. 

I was slightly disappointed with the beef, but only because it was sliced so thinly, thin slices will suit some and not others though! I just prefer a thicker cut. It was still lean and tasty though so I can't fault it on that basis. 

Yorkshire Pudding

The Yorkshire definitely looked and tasted homemade which ticks a box straight away and it had properly risen to pretty impressive heights. Was it the best I've ever tasted, no, purely because maybe the mixture was a little bit thick as it was quite a stodgy pudding, less crispy and more stodgy but it was also by no means a bad Yorkshire!

Choice and Quality of Veg

In my opinion, the veg really can make or break a Sunday lunch and luckily, Bishop's Bar and Bistro delivered on that side of things aswell...

In separate serving bowls, we had carrots, brocolli, leeks in a creamy sauce then cauliflower cheese and I think they were honey roasted parsnips and carrots. All veg was cooked to perfection and I love the fact that they offer leeks in the creamy sauce - I'm not 100% sure what the creamy sauce was but it was gorgeous! The cauli cheese was also really tasty and had obviously been finished off under the grill or something to give that browning on the cheese. We could have had more veg, if we'd wanted but it was more than enough for us two to share!

Value for Money

I couldn't do a review of Sunday Lunches up north and not make a comment about value for money because it is something that most of us look at regardless of what we're buying. As I mentioned earlier, they do have 3 different prices for Sunday Lunch at Bishop's Bar and Bistro; between £8.50 and £11.50. I realise that we didn't actually pay for ours as it was a competition prize but if we had, it would have been £10.50 each which I think is more than reasonable considering the quality and amount of food we received! It's definitely not the cheapest Sunday lunch you'll find but as we all know, it's often a case of 'you get what you pay for'

Would I recommend Bishop's Bar & Bistro? Absolutely, just make sure you book in as they do seem to get very busy and make sure you give any seating requests on booking and I'm sure the team will do their best to accommodate you!