Friday, July 13

FitBit Versa Review | My Everyday Tech Accessory

I recently reached 50K subscribers on my YouTube channel and in celebration and as a congratulations, my boyfriend Benji treated me to something I'd had my eye on for weeks. The FitBit Versa. I started the year with the cheapest, most basic Fitbit and it was great for what I needed. As time went on, it was apparent I was looking for something more advance, and that's where the Versa ticked all the boxes. Here's how I've got on!


Design & Comfort
I'd had so many compliments on my FitBit, mainly from people mistaking it for an Apple Watch! I've got the Peach / Rose Gold Aluminium and I absolutely love it. I was worried pink wouldn't match everything, but it looks really lovely against my skin tone. The size of the face is perfect, and I like the rounded corners. It feels more girly to me than the Apple Watch, and is really comfortable. I wear it to sleep, in the shower, exercising, typing, editing and never notice it. The rubber is really easy to clean (and keep clean!) too.



Features
I originally wanted a FitBit to track my steps, but it's become so much more than that to me. The features I use the most are:

- Sleep Tracking
- Alarm
- Timer
- Exercise Tracker (particularly for Swimming)
- Relax (2 Minutes Breathing Session)

Everything else I either don't use or haven't quite figured out. I know I can use my wireless headphones for music, but I haven't done the transfer over yet. I set up a Deezer account but haven't connected headphones yet. The weather app is handy, but not essential. I like the idea of using the Wallet, but it currently isn't supported with my bank account. I believe it's only Santander in the UK.

I absolutely love the FitBit app and how it shows all your activity. You can see below the exercise I did and how accurately it tracked it, and then how my homepage looks. I also have my weight loss monitored as I have scales which are connected. I like how it also tracks my period too and tells me when I'm due on. 



Battery Life
It comes with a really neat little charger that you slot the watch into, perfect for on my desk or by your bed. The battery lasts around 3-4 days for me. If I have it tracking exercises, I normally get around 3 days on average, which includes wearing at night. I've also noticed it charges really quickly too, I've normally back at 100% within an hour or two!

Exercise Modes
There are 15+ different exercise modes available, I've used Treadmill, Yoga and Swim the most. You can rely on SmartTrack to automatically pick up your exercise (it recongised when I was on a elliptical machine) or you can click start and stop. There's also a 'Coach' mode with on-screen workouts which I haven't used yet but is going to be so handy when I need some support in the gym.

Straps
I haven't tried but you can change the strap. I've heard it's not as simple as changing the Apple Watch, but it is possible! You can get different colours, textures and styles of straps these days too.

Customised Faces
If you see the images below, you'll notice I've changed to a more girly floral clock face since getting the watch. You can swap inside the app and it's really easy to do so! It makes it interesting and feels like a new watch when you get a bit bored.


There are so many more features so be sure to check out the website. I absolutely love my FitBit and use it every single day. It's 100% worth the money in my opinion. I can't wait to see our steps when we're in Florida too! If you're interested in getting yourself a FitBit Versa, check out Amazon here.
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Wednesday, July 4

HelloFresh Rapid Box Review | Veggie Chilli Dinner In 20 Minutes!

*This post is in collaboration with HelloFresh*

Picture this. It’s a Monday. I woke up at 5.30am, said goodbye to my boyfriend Benji as he heads off for work, jump in the shower and made the bed. I’m at my desk at 6am and I have a huge to-do list this week. I make a brew, swap my glasses for contact lenses, and write down everything I need to achieve. I have three birthdays this week, I’m filming three videos, need to edit my weekly vlog, write a blog post for a Spa event I recently attended, approve a new brief that just landed on my desk, reply to my emails, sign for a parcel, buy train tickets for a trip to London next week, look into getting a PO Box closer to home, update my description on my YouTube videos and organise my recipes and taxes for the end of the month. Not to mention the washing, dishes and other chores around the house that need completing. I’m ready!


So when I got a knock at the door at 11am, I quickly realised it was my HelloFresh box and was pretty relieved. I now didn’t need to even consider what I was going to cook for dinner. HALLELUJAH. Ready-meals are not my thing, and I like having fresh dinners made from scratch, especially suffering with IBS. But I don’t always have the time. And I don't mean the time it takes to cook, I mean the planning and prep too. Just thinking about what I want to make, finding a recipe, going to the supermarket and then packing it all away in the fridge can take a huge chunk out of my day. HelloFresh is the absolute ideal solution, and really suitable for some many people, families and dietary requirements.

When the summer comes around, I’m even busier. With more events, drinks with pals and family gatherings happening, HelloFresh fits in easily and conveniently with my plans and I am always about anything that makes my life simper. You can choose how many people you’re cooking for, what recipes you fancy and where and when you want it delivered. Planning a UK staycation? They’ll even deliver to your holiday home. Holidaying abroad? They’ll deliver on the day you return too.




Rapid Box: Deliciously simple recipes in under 20 minutes!
I’ve been using HelloFresh for years, but when I heard about the Rapid Box my first thought was “GENIUS! Exactly what I need!”, but could their chefs really create meals that were as tasty, for a shorter period of time? Yes, yes they could. With handy shortcuts, simplified recipes and specially pre-prepared ingredients, you can rest assured dinner will be on the table within 20 minutes. And the best part is, with minimal pots and pans, there’s minimal washing up to do.



Today I tried the Veggie Chilli with brown rice. Taste is the key ingredient to a great recipe, so they’ve made sure to inject as much flavour into the 20 minute meals as any other beloved HelloFresh recipe. With added garnishes and fresh, quality ingredients, we guarantee you deliciousness. The chilli had smoked paprika, ground cumin, tomato puree and Worchester sauce, so packed with flavour!

What I really love about HelloFresh, is the perfectly pre-measured ingredients. The seasonings came in little pots, so I didn’t have to faff around finding the right tools to measure the right quantities. Even the rice, which is a Tilda brand I recognise too, is the exact quantity (and I always make too much normally!). The rapid recipes always require minimal chopping, but any chopping I do need to do is clearly written on the easy-to-follow recipe cards with bullet point instructions and clever hacks. Once it asked me to use a rolling pin (which I didn’t have), but gave options on using a wine bottle and cling film (things I definitely did have) instead. Genius.


I’m not very experimental with food, so HelloFresh encourages me to try new things I would have never picked from a recipe book. It removes all the hassle of cooking when I have everything I need in one handy box.

So if like me, you’re feeling the pressure of busy life and need a helping hand with inspiration, preparation and easing up life in the kitchen, then HelloFresh is for you. 

*This post is sponsored by HelloFresh.
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Monday, June 25

HarSPA Product Launch & Spa Day | Christchurch Harbour Hotel, Dorset

Last week I very kindly had the opportunity to join some of my fellow Bournemouth Bloggers at Christchurch Harbour Hotel, for the launch of their new range of products in the HarSPA. I had a full spa day including a treatment, tried their beautiful range of skincare, and enjoyed a healthy lunch filled with smoothies, canap├ęs and fruit. Here's what I thought.

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Friday, June 8

Park Plaza Hotel Review | Waterloo, London

I've been coming and going from Bournemouth to Waterloo ever since I started my blog seven years ago. I love visiting the city for events, press launches, meetings, conferences, food, shopping, theatre and everything in between. London is such a great place, and sometimes I need a room to rest my head. However, I'm quite fussy, and I know what I like! When I knew I was coming for 3 days and staying for 2 nights, I was looking for a hotel that ticked all my boxes. The Park Plaza Waterloo is absolutely perfect, and I really couldn't fault it. They have several of their chain all over London, but here's everything you need to know from my recent stay this week.

(For full clarity and disclosure, I paid for a night at a media rate, but I was also kindly gifted one nights stay. I was not asked to write this review, I just liked it so much, I had to tell you about it.)
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Wednesday, June 6

Mickey Mouse True Original Festival Edit | #Mickey90


What a night! Last week, I got an email from someone at The Walt Disney Company inviting me to the Mickey Mouse True Original Festival Edit. "What's that?" I hear you say. I wasn't quite sure myself on what to expect, but it was such a great evening! The invite said 'an unmissable chance to immerse yourself in Mickey and Minnie's unique style'....sold. THIS IS ME ALL OVER! With Mickey celebrating his 90th Birthday this year, Disney are having a global celebration of his heritage, personality and status as a pop-culture icon, and we were invited to start the party!

The event was held downstairs inside a record store called Phonica Records, but it was so spacious and bright, my eyes lit up with excitement. There were areas to get Disney fake tattoos, Make Up with Spectrum, a bar, food from a festival 'van' and Minnie Mouse ear making. Not to mention how many photo opportunities there were too. In the middle was a great display of all the Disney collections you can find in stores including Primark, Uniqlo, H&M, Samsonite, Swarovski, Danielle Nicole, Funko Pop and so many more favourites. Check some of it out below!
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Tuesday, May 29

8 Things I've Learnt Since Starting Slimming World



1st May marked my first weigh-in at Slimming World. I've lost 9.5lbs so far in my first month, which is a great achievement and one I'm so proud of, but I've learnt a lot more than just losing weight. My journey is a bit different to others, it was actually never my full intention to join, even though I had been struggling with my weight for years. I'd been having some health issues (recently diagnosed with IBS) so I went to my doctors for help. It was then they referred me to have 12 weeks of Slimming World (or Weight Watchers) for free as part of a local scheme called Live Well Dorset. My BMI was too high and I was told they'd have to stop giving me my contraceptive pill if it stayed this high. Now was the time to make some changes. I agreed a group, time and location, and a month later, here we are. If you're unaware with how SW works, I'd highly suggest checking out the website.

I thought my diet was okay, but it obviously wasn't...
I work from home so I snack. A lot. I was buying in cakes and crisps and eating them whenever I was hungry. It wasn't satisfying or fulfilling, it just got rid of the craving for a short while. I eat out a lot too, and of course I like everything that is fried and creamy, and my sweet-tooth for puddings doesn't help me either. I was having meals without vegetables, and not eating a piece of fruit for days. However, I was going to the gym and training with a PT, so I really expected the weight to come off from all my hard work. Someone said to me "you can't out-exercise a bad diet" which is so true. I thought my diet wasn't too bad, but since starting Slimming World, I've really noticed how often I order takeaways, how many Starbucks I drink, and how little fruit I was consuming. It's opened my eyes to a healthier diet.

Writing a food diary is hugely eye-opening
I enjoy writing list and notes, and I've really liked the 'Weight Loss Planner' tool on the Slimming World website. They encourage you to handwrite a diary to give to your consultant, but as I'm always on the go, I didn't get on with physically writing everything down. The app and Planner however is amazing, as it accurately shows your Syns and Healthy Extras. I add everything I consume. The directory has pretty much every brand and food, so I can work out the Syn value accurately and not just guess it. It's amazing how noting it down can show you what you've already eaten in the day, and maybe some water or a cup of tea might be a better idea instead.

The feeling of being part of a community (& finding friends!)
I wasn't sure if this one only applied because of the fact I put my life online and therefore, have opened a new door to a wave of people also doing Slimming World, but I've come to realise that everyone doing SW actually feels this way. Even last week, I was in a store and the sales assistance tried to sell me chocolates. I told her I was on SW and she said "oh, me too!" and we had a lovely little chat about it. In that moment, it felt nice to bond with someone over something new. I've made new friends, chat regularly with people online in the same boat, and just feel part of something hugely benefiting my own life and many others too.


Swapping snacks with a sweet-tooth can actually be really simple
I said before that I have a real sweet-tooth, so it's been a new challenge finding snacks I can swap. Of course I always try and grab fruit or free food where I can, but sometimes all I can think about is a bloomin' cake. The SW Hi-Fi bars are great, along with the Alpen Light Bars. I have a Muller Light almost every day, the ones that are 'sprinkled with dark chocolate' are best. For pudding, I like having a meringue nest (2.5 syns), breaking it up with fruit and a Muller, it's perfect. Curly Wurly's are a must (6 syns), I suck them so they last long! If I fancy ice cream, Ben & Jerry's have a 'Lighten Up' range (6 syns for 100ml) which is delicious. I also like Mini Milks (1.5 syns) and Twisters; the mini ones are 2 syns but if I'm at the beach or out with friends, the bigger one is only 4 syns. I've also been drinking a lot of diet coke/pepsi max, and have a new love for Cream Soda too. The Sainsbury's one has no added sugar and is made with real vanilla extract. It's completely Free and hits the spot in the afternoon. Lastly, my favourite drink when I fancy a chocolate bar is an Options Hot Chocolate. The orange one is my favourite. I pop a little bit of Soya Chocolate Milk in too and I swear it's the golden ingredient.

You can eat whatever you like, as long as it's tailored to fit your allowances
A lot of trying to lose weight has been a mental journey for me. I comfort eat. I stress eat. I'm lazy with cooking so never used to make much, and of course, all those naughty snacks I didn't have to tell anyone about were my weakness. SW has shown me a different mind-set. Instead of telling me what I can and can't eat (which makes me want it more/less), I can have whatever I like, as long as it's in my allowance...and moderation! It's okay to have a maintain or gain one week too, because it's all about learning what your body needs and wants. Overeating wasn't helping me physically or mentally, but eating in moderation certainly is.


Having an 'off plan' day or going over your syns, isn't the end of the world
A few weeks ago, I had a Chicken Korma Curry (around 25 syns) and was convinced I'd ruined my weight loss. I got on the scales a few days later and I'd still lost 2 pounds. Goes to show that a day or two off plan isn't going to ruin your hard work. I then had a full weekend of alcohol, doughnuts and pizza and only gained half a pound. I quickly realised that it's absolutely okay to do this every now and again. It's okay to have a takeaway. There is no point pressuring myself daily, it's about sticking to it where you can and not worrying yourself silly if you have a day or two off. We all do it.

Staying for group is as beneficial as they say
I've learnt all of the above by staying for the Image Therapy, aka 'group'. I find it nicer to say 'I stayed for group'. I associate the word therapy with seeing a therapist and it doesn't feel like that at all. It is time-consuming (around an hour and a half for me), and I originally found clapping for people I didn't know a bit tedious, but I've realised it helps me stay motivated. I learn so much from the others, and when my consultant asks me how much I'd like to try and lose for the week ahead, it makes me believe I can do it when I say it out-loud and make that commitment.

I'm learning to cook!
I've never enjoying cooking much but since joining SW, I was almost forced to get my act in gear. I have learnt so much about different spices, cooking from scratch, making my own sauces, and the reality of what goes into ready-meals and takeaways. I feel so much better meal-planning, food shopping and making dishes that both myself and Benji enjoy.

1 month down, 9.5lbs lighter, but a hell of a lot happier, more confident and more determined than ever to get to my goal weight. I can't wait to go back to the doctors and tell them I've done it. My BMI is down, my jeans are starting to fit again, and I actually love eating, cooking and exercising alongside too. Thank you, Slimming World.
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Wednesday, May 9

The Ultimate Guide To Booking A Disney Trip | Walt Disney World 2018

Booking a trip to Florida is a big deal. I took my first trip as an adult in October 2017, with my second ready for September 2018. For my first trip, I saved up for a really long time; was counting down from 300 odd days, and couldn't contain my excitement in the lead up. The booking process is sometimes just as exciting, and there's so much more involved than you think. It takes practise and research to get your head around things, and can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming. But let you tell you, once you know these handy little tips, you'll be on cloud 9, smug as anything, having sorted and organised everything! If you find this handy, be sure to share it with your family and pals, and if you have a trip booked and just want to check you've covered everything, then I wish you a magical trip! Here's everything I personally think you need to know, in the lead up to going to Walt Disney World and beyond.


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Monday, April 30

Beauty H Spa | Hoburne, New Forest

Having a massage, going to the spa, getting your nails done and being pampered is a real treat. It's a form of self-love and can make you feel so beautiful inside and out. Having worked within the Spa industry before, not as a therapist but certainly with enough experience (I've literally had hundreds of treatments) to know the difference between an average spa and an excellent spa, I can confirm that Beauty H Spa is going to be somewhere I return again and again. Opening brand new this week, and found inside Hoburne Holiday Park set in the New Forest, this is perfect edition if you're staying for a break, or if you're local and are looking for a new spot to visit.


The drive up to reception is already enough to make you feel zen; the tweeting birds, beautifully fresh cut grass and towering trees are the perfect setting to help take your mind away from our everyday busy lives. With easy access and free parking outside, you'll be pleasantly surprised with how modern and fresh Hoburne is. I used to visit another site locally as a kid every summer, and have very fond memories with my cousins growing up. However, I was really naive to how much work has gone into giving the whole place an overhaul! Beautiful decor, a newly refurbished restaurant available to spa guests, and a huge cafe if you'd like a coffee or lunch after. I was very impressed.


On arrival, you take the stairs to Beauty H, and can instantly hear the music playing as you're greeted by the staff. I was greeted by Justine, the therapist who kindly gave me a Back, Neck and Shoulder massage. The reception area where I filled in my consultation form was filled with Elemis products which are used throughout all the treatments. They offer everything from body scrubs, facials, moroccan tan, shellac nails, Biotec Skin Solutions, Waxing, Lash Tint & Lift and Novalash. They also have specific treatments for men, or if you're pregnant too.


The room was really perfect, I loved the high ceiling and lighting. There were pegs to hang clothes but my own critique was that there wasn't anywhere to leave jewellery or valuables, so I tucked them inside my bag. The bed was so comfortable, and I wasn't distracted by outside noises or my therapist walking around.

I had a vigorous but grounding massage, tailored entirely to my needs to help relieve stress and muscle pain. 30 minutes was £45, and so worth it. I've been struggling so badly with back problems recently, having not long needed treatment at a Chiropractor, so I told Justine that I wanted a medium pressure. It was easily one of the best treatments I've ever had, she used techniques I've never experienced before, and it felt so much longer than half an hour. I'd love to go back for an hour full body one next time.


The relaxation room after was really gorgeous, I loved the hanging chairs. I can imagine having a full spa day here, staying in my robe and enjoying tea in the restaurant. Plus, the nails area was so lovely for having a manicure or pedicure. I enjoyed it so much, that I purchased some Elemis Bath Soak after to continue my pampering at home, and I took down Justine's details so I can call and book with her again. It was exactly what I needed to help release my knots, and she was so knowledgeable on explaining my body and what she had helped me with. I went to the cinema later that night, and normally I struggle with sitting still for that long, but my posture felt so much better and I was much more relaxed. You know you've had a good treatment when you feel like that.

Huge thank you to Beauty H for having me, it really was a great sp and I can't recommend it enough. If you're interested in Beauty H, be sure to check out there website here!
*Complimentary massage. Review and opinions are my own.
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Wednesday, April 18

Titanic The Musical | Mayflower, Southampton


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Friday, April 13

Ask Italian New Spring Menu 2018 | BH2, Bournemouth

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