Sports Luxe Bloggers event | The Hut

Hale Country Spa

The whole new year, new me trend has started to slip away into the midst of 2017, but with my Ibiza holiday fast approaching, (160 days to be exact) I’m running out of time to get in shape.

Last week I met up with the lovely Hut team at Hale Country spa club for their Sports Luxe bloggers event. After getting a little bit lost, I made it albeit 5-10 minutes late.

After having a much needed catch up with The Hut ladies, I admired and awed at the amazing Sports Luxe wear clothing in front of me.

I always believe that if you look good and feel confident then you’re going to have a much better work out. If you decide to slope off from the gym early to get a cheeky Nando’s or McDonald’s then least you’re walking around in style and look like you actually work out like a pro.

I’m such a magpie for anything that shimmers, glitters or sparkles so when I saw the collection I fell in love with it straight away.

The whole health kick morning started off with a super healthy smoothie and it took some getting used to. I’ve done the whole juicing diet before but after 1 avocado and kale smoothie, I ditched the diet and opted for solids.

Next was my favourite part of the morning.. PROSECCO! Of course I drank the whole glass and mingled more before the canapés arrived. Unfortunately I didn’t eat any of the canapés as I’m not a sushi or fish eating person but they looked so uniformed and tasty.

The next part of the event, entailed us being able to ask any health or fitness related questions to a fully qualified personal trainer. To my disappoint chocolate and pizza aren’t on the cards if you want a healthy lifestyle.

He suggested eating red meat and eggs for breakfast every morning along with exercise is the perfect combo for healthy weight loss. We gasped in disbelief as I’d never dream of eating red meat for breakfast and especially not on a daily basis.

Of course carbs are also off the cards unless your body can handle them. He suggested cutting them out for a week or two and then re-trying carbs. If you’re stomach bloats and feels sore after carbs, it means your body can’t handle them! Yikes!!

Taking my new knowledge away with me, I’ve started to cut out carbs during the week and sugary cakes and sweets too. In the next few weeks I’m looking to cut them out completely until Ibiza to see if I feel any health benefits from doing so and to hopefully get toned and in shape for my bikinis.

Have you managed to stick with your New Years diet?

 

 

 

 

 

National Sausage Week | Grandad’s sausages

 

Grandad's sausages

Last week was sausage mad! Being a proud British female, I can vouch for and say we love a good banger and what better way to mark National Sausage Week (31st October-6 November) than some delicious sausages from Grandad’s Sausage  company, based in Bury, Lancashire.

They sent me a variety of different bangers to get my teeth into and I was more than a willing candidate.

The company is actually only a few miles away down the road from me so it was the perfect opportunity to try some local produce right on my door step and with Bury Black Pudding a speciality; I had something in mind to make with the sausages and pudding.

Whilst our polenta chips were cooking, me and my boyfriend (Rob) made some delicious sausage rolls out of the Lincolnshire meat. I didn’t make my own pastry because who has time for that these days?

Homemade sausage rolls

Considering the name is aptly named ‘Ye Olde’, we couldn’t help but play on this and made a big giant breakfast burger. Using Grandad’s sausages as the base we topped it with bacon, fried egg, hash brown, tomatoes, Bury Black Pudding and some crumbly Lancashire cheese. It was needless to say I couldn’t finish the thing as we scoffed most of the sausage rolls whilst cooking the burger but nevertheless the sausages were packed full of meaty goodness. They were everything you could want in a great British banger.

The Ultimate Sausage Burger

The pork and fiery chilli were the most interesting of the bunch and with these we made a hotdog meatfest in a bun. Topped with pulled pork and chunks of chorizo with mustard, these were very delicious too.

I’m sad to see National Sausage Week disappear for another year but whenever I’m looking for a tasty banger I’ve found my new favourite local shop.

Did you celebrate National Sausage Week?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mottram Hall | One night spa stay for two

Mottram Hall

Set in 270 acres of glorious Cheshire countryside, Mottram Hall, on the outskirts of Macclesfield is the perfect venue for a spa break, wedding or a spot of afternoon tea.

Around a month ago, I started to research country halls in and around Macclesfield as me and my boyfriend are looking to settle down and buy our first property in the area. This was a great excuse to check out what the surroundings had to offer.

After relentlessly looking for hours, I stumbled across Mottram Hall. Originally I booked a night here via booking.com but cancelled it when I found their amazing spa package. In need of a days relaxation away from the city of Manchester, this sounded perfect.

The package included an hour spa treatment each, light lunch, an evening meal up to £28 each, a glass of bubbly in their champagne bar, buffet breakfast, use of the spa facilities all day and a room for the night in the 4 star hotel. In total it cost £258.00 between us.

Unfortunately on arrival at 10am for our spa treatments there seemed to be a mix up and instead of treatments commencing from 10 till 12 (we had to go in separate rooms) the lady on reception told us our treatments would be 11-1pm.

She profoundly apologised and told us we could use the facilities straight away which worked out for the better in the end. We both had the chance to relax for an hour together lying on one of their comfy loungers by the pool.

We both chose the relaxing face and back ritual with spa. It was a combination of gentle exfoliations and relaxing aromatherapy back massage as well as a face and scalp massage to melt away tension and leave skin radiant.

I arrived to the spa reception and was told to relax in their relaxation room until the lady called me for my treatment. After having a nice lie down the lady called my name and I followed her upstairs for my treatment.

I’ve had a back massage in the past but this was by far the best. She started off by massaging my back and after 30 minutes in, I turned over and was given an amazing facial followed by a scalp massage. The products felt amazing on my skin and I couldn’t believe how quick time flew by in there. My skin looked really radiant, even without make up on.

After Rob had his treatment we headed into the restaurant for our light lunch. The waitress told us our lunch would consist of a picnic basket style with cheese, crackers, hummus and tomato soup with a crusty roll.

Picnic lunchbox

To be honest I didn’t have much of an appetite by this stage so I was more than happy to eat what was on offer. Disappointedly our package didn’t include any drinks, not even a glass of orange juice each, which meant I ended up forking out £5.40 on a glass of orange juice and a hot chocolate. It wasn’t the end of the world but it would of been nice to have a drink included for lunch.

After this we spent a further few hours trying out the different jacuzzi’s and steam rooms and then we headed to check in around 3.30pm . I’d already pre-booked our meal for 8pm so we headed straight to our room.

Mottram Hall bedroom

Slightly on the small size, the room was well furnished and nicely decorated. If we were staying any longer than a night, I would of opted for a bigger room but nevertheless the bed was extremely comfy. It was so comfy in-fact we both fell asleep until around 6pm!

Frantically getting ready after our nap we made it to the restaurant 5 minutes late. Although there were plenty of seats near the front we got shoved right near the back which wasn’t great as we had to ask for some water for the table twice.

Carrington’s Grill in Mottram had a 2 or 3 course option starting from around £22 but unfortunately literally nothing took our fancy… Duck confit or lamb shank with sultanas wasn’t up either of our streets so we ended up picking the steak.

Served with peppercorn sauce, chips and a portobello mushroom it came in at a whopping £29. We were both expecting some serious flavour in the meat for this price.

Mottram bread board

For starters we had the Mottram bread board with a selection of white and brown bread with olive oil and balsamic dip. The bread was nice and fresh but the dip was very sticky.

Whilst waiting for our steaks we ordered a bottle of red which came in at a disgustingly price of £28.00. Usually we would more than happily spend up to £20.00 for a bottle but this was just ridiculous. To add salt to the womb, I googled the wine and you can buy it from your local shop for £6.95!

The steak finally arrived and it was nothing but disappointment… The peppercorn sauce didn’t quite cover the meat, the chips were slightly undercooked and the medium rare cooked steak was rather chewy and a bit rarer than I’d like.

Steak with peppercorn sauce

Knowing we wouldn’t eat till breakfast time, we did order a dessert each and this was pretty damn good. I opted for the lemon posset with raspberry sorbet… It was creamy lemon goodness in a bowl.

Lemon posset with raspberry coulis

After the meal we enjoyed our complimentary champagne in the bar which was a very nice touch to end the evening before shooting off to bed.

Buffet breakfast in the morning was very standard, yet again no frills, but it was nice and hot. Rob ordered a pot of tea which came after breakfast and as we were about to head off.

Full English Breakfast

In all I would definitely recommend the spa day. The treatments were a very good standard and the facilities were some of the best I’d seen. I don’t know if I’d come back to the hotel again as I felt it was a rich person’s paradise. It was filled with people who don’t know how to spend their money. I like spending my hard earned cash on good home-cooked food without the price tag.

Have you been to Mottram Hall before?

 

 

Hey Little Cupcake | Bloggers cupcake masterclass

Hey Little Cupcake

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Last week I was invited to Hey Little Cupcakes bloggers cupcake decorating class at Spinningfields, Manchester. Being an avid fan of baking, admiring and eating cupcakes, I was so excited to be contacted by The Hut ladies to attend Hey Little Cupcakes decorating class.

As it’s bake off season, it was literally perfect timing for a cupcake class. Starting at 6pm, I headed over to the very familar cupcake shop where I met fellow blogger Lisa. (I’ve made a few regular trips to the shop already on my lunch break)

The smell as I walked in was just amazing, I could constantly whiff chocolate cake everytime I breathed in. The Hut ladies were there to greet me with a glass of pink lemonade (it had to be pink of course to fit with the theme) as well as Sean who’d be teaching us how to decorate the yummy cupcakes. After lots of natter and a quick change into a very cute baking apron, I was ready to get stuck in.

The first thing we made were the roses from sugar paste. Starting off with yellow sugar paste, Sean showed us how it’s really done and then it was our turn to make a few cute little delicate roses.

I like baking but I’d never done anything like this in my life, it was literally out of this world. The room fell silent as us bloggers released our competitive streaks & tried to copy Sean’s pretty roses.

Sean at Hey Little Cupcake

After lots of rolling and warming of the sugar paste, I managed to make my first rose- not too bad for my first attempt… well it went a bit downhill from there. We then made another out of pink sugar paste and it looked nothing like a rose at all; to my disappointment. I literally battered it to death, trying to make it emulate any flower but on the plus side I found the class very therapeutic- probably because I could bash a few rolling pins around.

Sugar paste roses

We then moved on to filling our cakes with custard and salted caramel.. using a little device bought from Home Bargains for 69p (I will be purchasing a few of these for my kitchen). This was the best bit as we got to eat the middle of the cupcake we’d taken out.

Finally we iced our cakes with a green icing to match with the garden/floral theme. Following Sean’s technique I put a lot of pressure on the piping bag and pressed the icing out on to my cake. I probably went a bit over the top.. whoops!

Of course, it wouldn’t be right taking a trip to Hey Little Cupcake without taking some cake away, so I opted for the Twix Brownie as a Thursday night treat. I had such a great time at the class and I want to thank the ladies at The Hut for my present with the lovely personalised message.

Salted Caramel Cupcakes

Hey Little Cupcake’s decorating classes are also available for Hen parties and kid’s parties!

Baking Sundays | Red Velvet Cupcakes

Since a very young age, I’ve always had an obsession with baking so when I got a few spare hours last Sunday, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to do something I love.

After flicking through my cupcake book for quite a while, I finally fixated on baking these red velvet cupcakes topped with strawberries (cherries are out of season so I couldn’t buy any from my local Tesco.

Cupcakes
Red velvet cupcakes

Make 12 cupcakes
Prep time- 20 mins plus cooling
Cooking time 20-25 mins

Ingredients for cakes:
150g self raising flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate soda
100ml buttermilk
1 teaspoon vinegar
50g lighted salted butter (softened)
100g caster sugar
1 egg
50g raw beetroot

Frosting:
200g full fat cream cheese
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
300g icing sugar
12 fresh cherries (I used strawberries)

Paper cases
Paper cases

Method:

Line a 12 section muffin tray with paper muffin cases. Combine the flour, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl. Mix together the buttermilk and vinegar in a jug.

Beat together the butter and caster sugar in a separate bowl until pale and creamy, then beat in the egg and beetroot.

Sift half the flour mixture into the bowl and stir in gently with a large metal spoon. Stir in half the buttermilk mixture. Sift and stir in the remaining flour mixture, then the remaining liquid. Divide the muffin mixture between the paper cases.

Bake in a pre-heated oven, gas mark 4 180°C for 20-25 minute or until risen and just firm to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Beat the cream cheese with a wooden spoon in a bowl until softened. Beat in the vanilla extract and icing sugar until smooth. Swirl over the tops of the cakes and decorate.

Cupcake bases
Red velvet cupcakes
Cupcake tray
Red velvet cupcakes in muffin tray
Red velvet cupcakes
Red velvet cupcakes

My verdict:

I would give the recipe 3 out of 5. The cupcakes were fairly easy to make but some of the ingredients weren’t easy to find in the supermarket such as the buttermilk and raw beetroot. I followed the recipe to a tee but the cupcakes turned out more chocolatey instead of red velvet, which was a bit disappointing. I would give these another go to see if they turned out any different. The cupcakes were gone within a day of baking them!

Recipe taken from 200 cupcakes- all colour cookbook by Joanna Farrow.

My Vintage photo-shoot experience at Alt-Studio, Manchester

Months ago after I had finished my degree, I started to brainstorm what I could possibly do as a treat for my 21stbirthday and for finishing my degree. I racked my brain for a while and remembering I had previously looked on Alt-Studio, a Manchester based photography business who specialise in Pin-up, Burlesque, Boudoir, Vintage and Tattoo shoots I knew I had to book my place.

I paid a £30 deposit which was redeemable on photos at the end which was perfect and a very reasonable price to pay to secure my day. To be honest for a month or two I almost forgot about my nerves and I used Pinterest to help me create mood boards of what look I wanted to create. I absolutely adore the Vintage look and I usually dress vintage a lot of the time which meant my wardrobe was already set for the big day.

The week of my photo-shoot finally arrived and photographer Simon Hunt phoned me to discuss my ideas. He really put me at ease before my big day and even mentioned how confident I sounded which meant by the time Friday August 2nd arrived I wasn’t even nervous, I was bursting with excitement.

I also took along my boyfriend on the day as he really helps me relax and was an absolute godsend when I had to change my outfit 5 times. Also, when choosing my photos at the end he helped me decide his favourites too as photo framed presents are always one of my favourites to give him on special occasions.

I emptied my full to the brim case of Vintage clothes and showed Simon and make-up artist Gina the Magnificent what they had to work with. Within 5 minutes I was rushed through to the hair and make-up hot seat where Gina made me look like a Hollywood star. I felt pampered and primed to perfection and for the first time I wore false eyelashes which are now my new found favourite to wear on a night out. Throughout the day I had 3 hair and make- up changes and whilst applying my make –up Gina also gave me tips and products to use if I wanted to re-create the look again which was a lovely extra. Gina made me feel at home and was really chatty which helped my confidence levels before I entered the photo-shoot room.

I was really nervous when I first walked into the room, the lights were shining down and all attention was on me. Simon was a real professional though and helped me to get into posing positions in no time. I was a bit worried my photos wouldn’t look great as I kept blinking a lot throughout the shoot due to my new eyelashes but Simon always made sure he was happy before moving on to the next outfit.

After finishing the shoot, I had an hour to grab some lunch while Simon prepared my photos for me. I was so excited to see the end result and when I walked into the room I was stunned. He made a small video of a good 55 photos from the day. At this stage he told me just to admire the photos and don’t be worried about picking my final few until I was ready. After carefully picking the final 5 I spent around £230 which was worth every penny. Alt Studio offers a range of packages for all budgets and while deciding I was never pressurised into buying extra photos which would go over my budget.

I had such a good time that I am hopefully booking another photo-shoot soon when I get some more money together. It’s such a confidence boosting experience and Alt Studio made my dream come to life.

For all you lovely blogger readers Alt Studio is giving you the chance to win a £30 redeemable voucher towards your very own photo-shoot experience. To enter just comment on this blog post saying why you would love to do a vintage photo-shoot and also follow @MissVintagevibe via Twitter.

My 21st birthday celebrations in photos

me to you

Last week was crazy! I had my graduation ceremony on Monday 21st and on Thursday 24th July I turned the big 21. It was a mix of emotions all week as I was quite sad to leave my uni town Huddersfield fully and also happy to move forward in the future and enjoy my 21st celebrations. The week was jam packed with lots of buffet food which has gained me a few pounds.

As a treat I designed my own cake from Slattery’s in Whitefield, Manchester who specialise in creating cakes for all occasions including birthday cakes and wedding cakes. I have been an avid fan of Slattery’s for years and I was incredibly impressed with how they turned my idea into a lovely cake. I chose to have a traditional jam sponge birthday cake and chocolate cupcakes. The cakes never fail to be absolute delish from here although (I honestly never want to see another piece of cake for a good while) I love cake but after continuously eating a slice a day for the past week has made me feel rather bloated.

For presents I received a Body Shop tea tree facial set which I will be reviewing soon, some owl earrings from my lovely boyfriend, chocolates and more beauty products. I also received a lump sum of money from parents which I am intending on using to pass my driving test. I also received money from relatives which I have already spent on perfume, a playsuit and a big faux fur vintage jacket which will be featuring in a fashion post soon.

I would like to thank everyone who sent me lovely messages last week, I had an amazing time but for now it’s back to my job search.

What are your memories of your 21st birthday?

Graduation day in photos- 21st July 2014

happy

Yesterday was one of the biggest moments of my life as I managed to graduate from The University of Huddersfield with a 2:1 in Journalism. At times I thought I wouldn’t have made graduation day and my mother even said yesterday the same thing as I’m the only one in our family to attend university. The day was a mix of emotions, of course firstly I was extremely happy to gain my degree and for the stress to be over but yesterday also gave me time to reflect on my next challenge ahead and to be honest I miss education already. I have been so busy applying for jobs, and organising my 21st birthday I haven’t had much me time which includes blogging and considering other options, such as studying for my Masters or a PHD. For now I am going to enjoy this week of celebrations and also forget about the mess in my bedroom which I still haven’t fully unpacked whilst moving home. I am also very happy to announce that I am back with my boyfriend, after a whirlwind of 6 months apart; we have both decided to give our relationship another chance. Now that I am back home it is a lot easier to see each other and the 6 months apart gave us both an opportunity to develop as people and realise what our goals are in life. I’m very glad I was able to share my happiness with my parents, my boyfriend and my friends at university.

To finish the day, I enjoyed a celebratory curry with my parents and boyfriend back home in Mancunian land.

Have you recently celebrated  your graduation day?

Relaxed Friday nights with ‘The Comforter’ Lush

A few weeks ago I took a trip back to Mancunian land to get my hair done and after I took myself on a mini shopping spree to Lush to get some face masks and bath bombs to indulge on weekends when I am wanting a bit of TLC.

Regrettably, I haven’t done a blog posting for a whole week as things have been super hectic at the moment. Unfortunately I am still looking for full-time employment and with my tenancy agreement ending on my flat in Huddersfield, it only meant one thing, I had to take the plunge and move back in with my parents for the meanwhile until I can secure that all important job which can pay enough to get me an apartment in Manchester. I moved out of my student flat this Thursday and from the start it was a nightmare. We had to make two trips because of the amount of clothes I have and when I arrived back to Mancunian land Thursday, everything was everywhere in my room and I didn’t even have any space on my bed.
The Friday just gone was spent clearing things out and making room so I could fit a few things in my wardrobe. On top of this I also have my graduation, my 21st birthday, my mum’s birthday, meals out and a photo-shoot to organise in less than a month which I really need to get organising A.S.A.P.
Friday night I was feeling so exhausted, I needed some pamper time so I ran myself a lovely bath and cut a small piece off the comforter and plonked it right in the water. Literally within a few minutes the water turned a stunning vibrant pink and my bathroom smelt like something from a sweet shop. A few minutes after this, whilst I wasn’t paying attention as I was applying Lush Cupcake face-mask which I shall review in another post, I turned around and noticed my bath was filled high with bubbles and to be honest I started to giggle like a little child as I felt my youth had been relived because Friday nights was always bubble bath night.
Lush say, “Sometimes you just need to shut yourself off from the outside world under a blanket of fruity foam that will put you back in the right frame of mind to face the world. This bar is supersized, so you’ll only need to crumble half a bar under your tap to make enough bubbles for a long, comforting soak. Cassis absolute gives a distinctive blackcurrant fragrance, while bergamot adds an uplifting note.”
I personally believe this bar will last 3-4 times as if I had put half of the Comforter in the bath I think my bathroom may have been flooded with bubbles. I love how a little bit goes a long way with this bubble bar and priced at £4.50 it is really good for the money. (As I told the woman in the shop I was a blogger, I got The Comforter for free). However next time I would happily pay full price for this wonderful item. In all I would rate The Comforter a top 5/5!

What’s your favourite Lush bubble bar?

Degree Celebrations- What my degree means to me

siobhan
(Ready to party on results night)
It’s that time of the year where everyone is receiving the all important degree classifications to determine whether or not to stay at university to do a masters, or enter the big wide world. After three years of hard slog and an emotional roller-coaster I received mine a few days ago and to my honest surprise I got a 2:1. I would be lying if I said I didn’t cry because I did.
I haven’t had the greatest times at university and in my first year, I was so close to quitting because I didn’t click with anyone. Living away at university, even though only a short 45 mins down the road was added pressure and although I didn’t do too bad fending for myself and making food, I had no social skills what so ever. Being an only child I think didn’t help with this matter as I was used to just me. Of course I had a few friends back home but I could never really let my hair down and be wild in front of them because I had serious confidence issues. However I didn’t want this to stop me from doing what I came to university to do. I had many arguments with my parents about quitting university because they wanted me to quit too. They would drop me off at my flat after spending weekends at home and knew I hated every moment of being there because I was alone. I managed to get through my first year thankfully and after spending all summer at home, the nerves started to come back to me when September arrived because I thought what if I don’t fit in again?
I made more of an effort although it was difficult and I partied more, made more friends and actually spoke to people off my course a lot more. However in my second year I became stressed with my university work so much I made myself ill. I had already been diagnosed with a weak immune system by the doctor which didn’t help matters at all but I would come home after a full day at uni and spend most of the night doing work too. I found it hard to make proper meals at university as my budget was so tight and in the end I was ill every week. I had the flu 10 times, and other illnesses which meant I spent time travelling home to the hospital for blood tests but at the end of the second year I received a 2:1 and I was ready to finish my degree once and for all.
I remember coming back to university for the third time round and moving into a new flat again. I noticed on Facebook there was a flat party happening that night and I had been invited. I sat there and for the first time in my life I thought I’m going to this party. I had nerves of course but going to that party was the best thing I did. I made some amazing friends this year which I couldn’t last without. Throughout the whole year we made healthy meals together which kept my immunity at bay but this time I was struggling with my course. I had a lot of bad luck with many things this year on a certain project and I didn’t know if I was going to make it through.
It was the last few months of my degree and I was in serious meltdown and to make things worse my boyfriend of almost three years finished me 2-3 months before finishing my degree. People ask me if I was hurt by it because I didn’t really show emotions but I was. The first weekend in nearly three years I spent alone. I sat in my flat a big emotional mess because I felt like I didn’t have the energy or the confidence to even go outside. To be honest on the Saturday of that weekend I stayed in bed literally all day, I didn’t shower or even get up to eat I felt sick. I had always spent my time every weekend with him and now he wasn’t there I was lost and felt a big empty space out of my life had been lifted when I needed someone the most. At one point I was going to defer my degree for a year because I couldn’t deal with things. I never missed university and my tutors said how well I looked because I got up every day and dealt with it as it came. It came near deadlines and I handed everything in to the best I could do with the situation. I did a few all nighters to try and finish everything to my satisfaction but when I received some of my results this year I was left a bit disappointed because I thought I could have done better.
Results day came and I nervously waited for them to load online and to my surprise it read upper second (2:1) and then it hit me like a brick. All those times I spent unhappy were worth it because from the start I did this degree for myself. Age is just a number because at 20 years old I have a degree under my belt and I’m excited to get more experience to pursue my career in PR. At the moment I am unemployed but as  I tell my parents every day I’ve never quit at anything and I’m certainly not going to make a habit of it now.
The biggest thing I have got out of my university experience is confidence; I can walk in a room full of people now with a big smile on my face. I can socialise with new people without even feeling nervous. I am so glad I have been given this opportunity to do a degree because not everyone has the chance to. Now four months on after my break up and I’m my own independent person. I have payed more attention to my blog and attending the gym which is what I enjoy doing. I think without going through some of these things at university I wouldn’t be who I am today and I am ready for the next challenge ahead.
Have you just recently finished your degree?