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Thursday, January 29, 2015

What I Got In My Christmas Box Swap

A few months ago I took part in Clare from The Love Of All Things Beauty's Christmas box swap, and I was lucky enough to be paired with Clare herself! I've know Clare since my early days of blogging so I was really pleased to swap with her. I've taken part in a few box swaps in the past, and it's always great fun to see what other people pick out for you. We agreed a spending limit and a day to send out our boxes, and I was super excited to see mine arrive just before Christmas. 

I almost tore open my box when it arrived, I was so excited to see what Clare sent me. Inside was a book called 'Cat Selfies', which is full of hilarious photos of cats, a Natural Collection brown eyeshadow, and a No.7 cracker which had a mascara and eyeliner in. I've tried a handful of products from No.7 and Natural Collection before, but none of these so I'm pretty excited to try these out.

I'm glad I got paired with Claire, and I'm really happy with all of my presents! I can tell Clare knows me pretty well, especially with the Cat Selfies book, its given me endless amusement. Once again this was a great box swap, and I'm glad I took part! Have you done a box swap before? 

You can see what I sent to Clare on her post here.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Inamo Resturant Review

A few years ago I discovered Japanese food and since then I've been obsessed with it. I love visits to Yo! Sushi and Wagamama, but I'm always on the look out for a new place I've not visited before. When I was looking for somewhere new I came across Inamo, an oriental fusion restaurant based in Soho. I didn't just want to visit for the food, but because I was intrigued with how it was described as an 'interactive' restaurant, where you're in control of the dining experience. Chris and I have been talking about visiting for ages, and when we found an excuse to go into London we decided we had to come visit Inamo and see what all the fuss was about.

We were excited when we first arrived and saw everyone on their 'interactive tables' and couldn't wait to get seated at ours. Once we were shown to our table our waiter explained how it all worked, and that we could order all our food and drinks on the table, meaning there's no need to talk to the waiters! I was a bit sceptical at first as I wasn't sure how this would work, and knowing me I would accidently order something wrong or not at all.

I was surprised at just how easy it was to order, you just selected through the menu, which then projects an image of the food onto your plate, as well as giving you description of the dish. I also really liked how there was a 'goes with' button, which would then suggest other dishes that went well with your selection - perfect if you're not sure what you want to eat! Inamo suggest that you have one large dish and two small dishes per person, and their all made to be shared, which was great for Chris and I as we wanted to try a couple of new things. All the dishes come out of the kitchen as their ready, but I was surprised at how quickly our food came. I really liked how you could order everything from your table, especially when I wanted to order another drink I didn't have to wait to track down a waiter as the case is in most restaurants.

Not only could we order all our food and drinks on the table, but there was also some cool extras like being able to change the pattern of the tablecloth. Me and Chris kept having a war over what tablecloth we wanted and we eventually settled for a setting that changed it every two minutes. There was also a 'Chefcam' so you could look inside the kitchen, but I think my favourite part was that you could play games with your partner, and Chris and I had a pretty intense game of battlleship!

I really enjoyed our visit to Inamo, not only was the food amazing, but the restaurant it's self was so much fun with the interactive tables! We'll certainly be coming back here, and I'm already looking forward to beating Chris at Battleship again.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Three Things I Love About My Favourite City

Anyone who knows me will know that I'm obsessed with New York, completely and utterly obsessed. For as long as I can remember I've been in love with the city, and I was so happy when I visited my favourite city in 2009. I remember planning my trip in amazing detail, especially as I was only there for a few days! Despite my trip now being 6 years ago (sob), and being a rather short visit, I still found many things I love about the city and I thought I'd share a few of my favourites.

The Empire State Building
The Empire State Building is an iconic part of the Manhattan sky line, standing out from most of the buildings. While I was in New York I enjoyed seeing it light up at night, once being bright blue when the Yankees won. I planned to go to the top of the Empire State but I ran out of time, but I did get the chance to go to the Rockefeller where I got a great view of the Empire State, and took this photo!

The Statue Of Liberty
Another iconic landmark is the Statue of Liberty situated on Ellis Island. Despite being a huge New York fan I only recently found out that it was originally from France.. I've never been good at history. I thought Lady Liberty looked beautiful as I sailed past her on the Hudson river, and luckily we picked a lovely clear day to do so!

The Yellow Taxis 
I loved seeing the yellow taxi's everywhere in New York, but as they can be rather pricey I only used one to get back to the airport on my last day. I thought they added a great splash of colour to the city, and they made me feel rather cheerful, so I spent hours photographing them. I loved them so much that I edited this photo of them, and made it into a canvas hanging above my bed so I remind myself of my favourite city everyday. 

I like reminding myself why I love New York, filling my room with photos of the city, and I even seem to always watch TV shows based in the city. I'm planning on saving up so I can visit again one day, but I'm the worst person at saving money so you can probably guess how that's going...

*Post written as a competition entry for Accor Hotels

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Sunday Post #23 - Cats The Musical

Yesterday it was Chris's birthday, and as his birthday fell on a weekend we decided to have a day out to celebrate. Being only 40 minutes away from central London we thought we could have trip into the city and do something fun. Something we've talked about for ages is about going to see Cats The Musical, I saw it once when I was a little girl and being a cat lover of course I love it. So as one of Chris's birthday presents I bought him tickets to see Cats The Musical, but secretly it was a present for me..

As we were going in on a Saturday we decided to see the matinee performance, meaning we could then go get some dinner afterwards and not be in a rush. Cats was performing at the London Palladium, which is a gorgeous theatre, and super easy to get to just off Oxford Street. The musical was amazing, I know the story line fairly well so I sat singing along to a few of the songs. The dancers were amazing, and I love watching how cat like they perform. When I booked our tickets I didn't know Nicole Scherzinger would be performing, but she was absolutely amazing as Grizabella, definitely worth seeing if you get the chance! Cats the Musical is only back for a short time, until the end of April I believe, so make sure you get tickets if you're a big Cats fan like me! I'm glad I went to see it again, especially as the last time I was it I was about 7! 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Giving Up Sugar

For what seems like 10 years now I've been trying to lose weight. I've always been the bigger one out of my friends, and when I was 18 I put on about 5 stone that I've never managed to lose. Something that makes me find it hard to lose weight is that I'm literally the worst person at sticking to diets, I always find myself giving into my sweet cravings. The only diet that's worked for me so far is Weight Watchers, and only because I can still have my chocolate as part of my daily points. Recently I've been trying to be a lot healthier, and I've found that eating healthy food is making me feel a lot better, but I'm still giving into my sugar cravings. I definitely have an unhealthy relationship with sugar, and I often feel like I need it to get through the day, but once I've had it I find it doesn't make me feel any better. 

Recently I was contacted to see if I wanted to take part in a 6 week sugar detox programme from Happy Sugar Habits, and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to try and give up my terrible sugar habit. Not only will I receive a 6 week detox plan, but I'll also get daily text messages to help keep my motivation in my giving up sugar mission. The programme is run by the lovely Laura Thomas, who's been through a similar sugar addiction and come out the other side. The programme also gives you some great meal plans and recipes, and I'm really looking forward to trying out a few of them! I've been reading some interesting things about sugar, and how addictive it is, and all about the benefits of giving it up. I think for me these 6 weeks will quite a struggle, especially with how many boxes of haribo sweets that seem to be going around my office, but I'm really interested to see how this will effect me, and this might actually help me to lose some weight. 

I'm starting my six weeks today, meaning that my last day of the programme will be the 2nd of March (which already seems incredibly far away). I'll be writing a couple of updates throughout my journey to let you know about my experience, and knowing me, probably a few failures along the way. I'm kind of looking forward to seeing how I get on with this, and I'm hoping this will help cure my sugar addiction.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Sunday Post #22 - Getting Back Into Fitness

It's no secret that I'm not a sporty person at all. A typical conversation for me at work is "Did you go to the gym last night Lisa?" "No I stayed in and ate a pizza". I'm completely lazy and I just can't seem to motivate myself to get into a healthy routine. I'm now doing my best to drag myself kicking and screaming to change my lifestyle into a healthier one, and although diet is a big part of it, I also want to get back into fitness. 

Once upon a time I was a regular gym goer, going at least three times a week and really enjoying it. These days I come in often tired from work and spending the rest of the evening watching rubbish TV, with exercise being the last thing on my mind. I'm no stranger to my gym, and I've been a member for nearly two years now, but I really struggle to motivate myself into a gym routine. My problem is getting myself to the gym, especially with these horrible dark evenings, but once I'm at the gym I'm fine. I decided as a way to motivate myself to get back into fitness I'd treat myself to some new trainers as my old ones were about 12 years old. Their nothing fancy, and were relatively cheap from Sports Direct, but I like them because they've got some pink on them and they make going to the gym that little bit nicer. I also picked up a copy of Cosmopolitan's Body Magazine to give me some fitness inspiration reading. Just flicking through this has given me some great workout ideas as well as some tasty looking recipes I'm thinking of cooking up. 

While I doubt I'll ever be a big fitness lover I'm certainly getting a little more motivated, aiming to workout at the gym 3 times a week. Although I did blow that off twice this week in favour of my TV.... 

Friday, January 16, 2015

100 Day Spending Ban Update - Week 1 & 2

So it's now been two weeks since I started my 100 Day Spending Ban Challenge and I'm actually pleased to say I've been sticking to it! I'm quite literally the worst person at saving money ever, but I've been good and not bought anything new, and I've even been good and stuck to bringing my own lunch into work each day which has helped save some pennies. I think I'm sticking to my spending ban so well as I don't have many temptations near me. I haven't gone to any shops, and the only thing near me at work is a Tesco, so I'm not walking past billions of shops each day.

There's been a few times when I've spotted something online and thought about buying it for myself but I've reminded myself why I'm saving, and how I don't need that extra lipstick or pair of shoes. I saw a great post on Tales Of A Pale Face's blog on Ten Tips To Help You Survive A Spending Ban, which has really helped! Kat's got some great tips on surviving spending bans, and I think I'm going to look into getting a Tastecard which will help save some money. Overall I'm feeling pretty positive about my spending ban so far, although I am only 14 days in, but lets hope I keep this up! If you're on a spending ban how's yours going?