Big night in with Jack’s supermarket

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At the moment, particularly in Liverpool, things have taken a bit of a turn for the worst haven’t they? Just when we thought things were looking up, we were meeting friends, enjoying meals out and catching up with family, we’ve all been locked i again. When Jack’s got in touch to ask me to work with them in exchange for a voucher for one of their supermarkets, i wanted to do a little bit more than just my weekly shop! I decided to create a little bit of a dinner party, with some of the fab food Jack’s had on offer.

For those that don’t know, Jack’s supermarket is named after Tesco’s founder Jack Cohen and they aim to bring great-tasting food at the lowest possible prices, which, after a visit, i can definitely vouch for. I was super surprised at the variety available on the shelves and even more so at the price of everything, especially things like fruit, veg and the bakery. Here’s what i got:

So i don’t know about anyone else, but i feel like you really can’t go wrong with a grazing table full of crusty bread, oils, dips, crisps, cheeses and chutney, cooked meats, olives and other antipasti nibbles. A table full of this and a cold prosecco (or five), is the dream evening for me. Luckily, Jack’s were able to make my vision a reality with their selection of olives, cheese, bakery delights, crisps, dips and even things like mozzarella dippers from their party food freezer section. To wash it all down i picked up a bottle of Cava (this was just over £5) and an Elderflower Presse, which tasted unreal when mixed together. There was also plenty of other mixers so i picked up a few of the fevertree flavoured tonics, too.

As well as everything i needed for my party spread, i also picked up some essentials such as greek yoghurt and honey, almond milk, some frozen and fresh veg and also some cleaning products – i was pleased to see they had the Astonish surface cleaner as this is my favourite and also some rhubarb Zoflora – can’t get enough of this smell at the minute!!

As well as food and household bits, Jack’s also has some fab bargain baskets packed full of random products (when they’re gone, they’re gone) so i loved having a little route through those as well. Pictured below is the cutest plant that i just had to have (at £2.25 i wish is have got a couple more) and a really nice ceramic vase – perfect for my dries flowers. The tidbits available in the bargain baskets cost next to nothing so it’s well worth a good hunt if you have the time!!

We went to Jack’s on a Saturday morning and i have to say it was a super relaxed, chilled out experience compared to most Saturday shops and for the bargains inside, it’s well worth a venture to your nearest one! I have a fab night nibbling and sipping on Prosecco and i think another one is due soon!

*This is a paid partnership with Jack’s Supermarket, but all of the opinions are my own!

Drinks at the Royal Institution Colquitt Street

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Now that Saturday night drinks are back on the cards in somewhere other than my own front room, it’s important that we take advantage of them at any given moment, right? So last Saturday we went to try out the Royal Institution, a brand new bar on Colquitt street.

You could say that the Royal Institution has had a bit of an unfair advantage when it comes to grand opening as it opened its historic doors two weeks before lockdown. What was once a private member’s club, is now a beautiful venue with a super boujee, art deco interior, with a cocktail menu to match. The bar mixes iconic history with contemporary decor making it potentially the next most instagrammable place in Liverpool, you heard it here first.

Walking in through the gorgeous pillars, you’re met with a huge flamingo mural and as you continue through the building, you come across a tropically decorated rook intended for hen parties and whisky tasting a sessions and another with the bar in, which is where we enjoyed our cocktails. The cocktail menu is so well thought-out and are finished with the most perfect attention to detail, so anyone whose a lover of a well-made drink or a vintage whisky, will also love it here.

As lockdown restrictions ease and we all start going out a bit more again, id definitely recommend a visit to this little gem of a bar. For those that want to take the experience at home, the Royal Institution’s exclusive off-licence will also be open for takeout!

Friday night drinks at the bombed out church garden bar

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It’s been a really really hot minute since ive written a blog post and really, truth be told, it’s because ive done nothing other than spend time making our brand new flat our own (more on that later). Anyway, as everyone is already aware, the lifting of lockdown restrictions mean that we’re now all free to eat back in bars and drink in restaurants and as a huge foodie whose partial to a gin or five at the weekend, i am MADE UP. So when the garden bar at our gorgeous bombed out church got in touch to ask if id like to go down for a few drinks and some pizza, i had booked my Friday night slot within five minutes.

Incase you haven’t noticed, the weather in July so far has been far from ideal, but last Friday we had a tiny hint of sunshine, which made for a gorgeous little evening sat outside with a drink. The bar and Wood-fired pizza stall are literally in the grounds of the bombed-out church with benches and umbrellas making for somewhere to sit and enjoy the scenery. We were greeted at the door and showed to our bench and told that to order, we simply scan the bar code on the table and select manually from the menu, paying as we go. Someone would then bring our order over. It was a pretty faultless system and worked perfectly for us, as well as making sure social distancing is adhered to at all times.

The bar has a wide selection of different gins and to drink i went for the grapefruit aintree gin with an an elderflower tonic cos im basic like that. To eat, we chose the ham and mushroom pizza and the olive and feta, both of which were cooked fresh by Turncoat and were utterly delish. Im ashamed to say id never been in the gorgeous grounds of the bombed out church before now, but with delicious food and drink, fab staff and super efficient social distancing, this place is a no-brainer and im sure we’ll definitely be back more than once this summer.

We’ve bloody done it – moving into our first home

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It’s been a hot minute since i wrote any kind of blog post and to be honest, even from before lockdown, let’s say just after i broke my wrist, my life has slowed down massively (at risk of sounding.a tad dramatic). Since February 14th when i fell and broke a bone, what was once me heading out for up to 4 blog events per week, seeing friends, gymming from 6-7.45 am every morning, came to a standstill. After surgery i felt super vulnerable and terrified of even walking too quickly incase i slipped and fell or of going somewhere busy where someone could bump into me. Just as i was getting back to a sense of normality and beginning to feel more ‘me’ again (i returned to work, put on my fake tan, had a few occasions out for drinks/food with the girls) we were in lockdown and the staying at home thing started again. Only this time we were doing EVERYTHING inside the same four walls, whether it was date night, going to the gym or catching up with friends (can i get an amen for Zoom?). And just as i was about to scream with the frustration of groundhog day, our flat purchase completed.

We started our flat hunting journey at the end of 2019, straight after my boyfriend had come home from a super long patrol. We’ve been together for six years now but never bothered to rent as we are apart a lot and just didn’t see the point in putting money into it (im very lucky we had the option to live at home all this time). This meant we could save a pretty good amount for a deposit. We knew we wanted a flat/apartment, city centre (ish) based but other than that, were pretty open minded but we finally found our gorgeous little 2 bed  apartment with river views after a good few weeks of searching. We were really close to getting our keys and then just like that, we were locked down. Not ideal.

The process slowed slightly as there were fears the banks wouldn’t lend and that moving could be stopped altogether because it was classed as ‘non essential’ movement. However, luckily for us, the property we were moving into was empty (previously a holiday let) and we’d agreed it would be left fully furnished, so all we had to do was physically drive there with our things. We finally got our keys on May 4th and the new home adventure begun.

We’ve been in our little flat for just over two weeks now and absolutely love everything about it (despite the old decor/ugly wallpaper and brown carpet) and are slowly but surely going to work on making it our own, so feel free to follow my journey as we take the time to get it exactly how we want it!

Kinder Bueno Cookie Slices

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I probably don’t need to state the obvious but last time i blogged we definitely weren’t stuck in isolation. Since then, we can’t go out, we’re all working from home and we’re all massively missing going out to eat and drink, socialise, workout etc etc. But you knew that already. Now, we’re all frantically trying to find ways in which to entertain ourselves in the house, with baking and head shaving being amongst the most popular. Whilst I’m probably not going to do the latter, ive always been into baking, but never really post about it as im the kind of person that completely makes up the recipes or only follows it roughly so i never really have any kind of recipe to share. However, i posted a giant slice of a Kinder Bueno cookie i made yesterday on my story and had a fair few messages (when i say fair few, i mean a fair few for me) asking for the recipe so thought id do a little blog so that people can follow along…cos what else is there to do?! And these go just fantastically with a glass of wine and your fave book….a dream night in. The recipe i follow is age old and written on a battered piece of paper so im going to write it out again here – it’s super simple and literally takes 10 minutes to make and you probs actually already have the ingredients at home.

The recipe:

225g butter
120g brown sugar
120g granulated sugar
1 egg
340g plain flour
300g of your chosen content (this can literally be anything. For my kinder bueno cookies I added chunks of kinder chocolate into the mix and stuck bueno pieces on the top, when the cookie was cooked, but you can add anything into the mixture, rolos, reeses, white choc chips, m&ms etc).

Combine all of the ingredients into a bowl (i literally just chuck them all in and crack the egg on top and mix it all together) and stir until the ingredients form a dough. At first it will seem like you’ve added far too much flour but if you keep at it, it will eventually form a dough. Part way through, use your hands until it forms a big ball.

Spread the ball out onto a pizza tray, making sure it doesn’t touch the edges because the cookie will expand in the oven. Bake for about 15-20 mins at 180 – it will still be soft in the middle but browning around the edges. Leave to cool and cut into slices! This is best stored in the fridge.

The broken wrist diaries: surgery

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So we’re into my second week of having just one hand and I’m finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Not only can i now make a cup of coffee and breakfast one handed i can now also shower some, wash AND dry my hair and apply make up. I’ve even left the house for a walk on my own – it’s amazing how you adapt so quickly. So this blog post is just an update for anyone that cares (i know id definitely be the nosy type to read one of these blogs online if i came across it). I guess it’s also a blog for anyone who might have gone arse over tit like me and ended up in in a similar situation.

So to recap, it starts like any bad story: in the gym. I’m toe tapping away on a high box in a circuits class, i catch my foot, fly backwards and take my entire weight on my left wrist which now resembles some sort of weird squiggle. It didn’t take a genius, this wrist was broken.

So im rushed to the royal (by my sister), given an x-Ray and the nurse explains I’m suffering from a ‘nasty fracture’ which is professional speak for you’ve fucked it up good and proper. They put me on gas and air and pull it DEAD hard so it’s straight again and then wrap me in plaster cast and send me home a bit dazed and emotional. This was Friday 14th February – happy valentine’s to me.

I had an appointment at trauma and orthopaedics in the royal for Thursday 20th Feb where they changed my cast and x-rayed me. They saw that my wrist had returned to being bent (the swelling had reduced and my plaster cast had become a bit loose) and was now pointing 20 degrees in the wrong direction. The doctor explained that I’d smashed my wrist into a ‘few pieces’ and likened what was once the smooth surface of my joint to a ‘cobbled street’. He said it’s one of the worst breaks he’s ever seen in someone my age (usually occurs in elderly people) and that to have shattered my bone so badly i must have hit it really, really hard (i fell from a height so kind of makes sense) which is all v reassuring but hey, what’s done is done, right?! He explained that they wanted to operate quickly before the bones healed in the wrong position and before i knew it i was booked in for my op on the Friday.

So Friday arrives and although it’s only minor surgery, I’m not gonna lie i was shitting my pants. I was told to arrive at the hospital at 7.30am but want taken down for surgery until 1.30pm which meant a surreal wait in a room with Eamon and Ruth on the telly and other people with various broken bones just kinda awaiting their fate. Eventually, it was time to go down. In had a quick catch up with the surgeon who proceeded to look at my x-ray and tell me that I’d ‘done a good job of this’ (i mean, in for a penny and all that i guess) before explaining that they were going to insert a plate and screws to connect the bone back together. The anaesthetist informed me that they would put a nerve blocker in my armpit so my arm would be numb when i woke up. She told me  not to panic that it was gone completely (lol, something i would definitely do). And with that i put my belongings into a blue bin bag, put on my sexy hospital gown, slipper socks and this weird kind of fabric shower cap (a LOOK) and headed into theatre.

If you’ve ever had an op before you’ll know that theatre is scary. There’s machines beeping EVERYWHERE and you’re told to lie on the table in the middle and relax. The lovely nurses talk to you about holidays you have booked and where you work and what does my partner do whilst simultaneously taking my blood pressure and jabbing an anaesthetic needle in my hand. It’s ALOT. However, as it goes, the anaesthetist couldn’t find my veins because they were ‘too small’ (idk what that means) so after several attempts at jabbing my hand with a needle they decided to send me to sleep with the gas and air mask. I was sceptical that this would actually knock me out but after a few deep breaths through the mask, i was gone.

I woke up to the nurse saying my name and because of the gas i felt chilled AF. I couldn’t feel my arm and the only pain was the super annoying drip in my other hand (i hate these things). I looked at the clock, it was 4.20pm. Id been out for just under 3 hours. After about another hour a bed became available on the ward so i was taken down to recover. I had a cuppa and some toast (i hadnt been allowed to eat before the op so i was READY).

 My blood pressure was too low for them to let me go home so i stayed another hour, praying to the blood pressure gods that it would go up – i did NOT want to spend the night. I explained to the nurse that the catheter in my hand was really knocking me ill (im super squeamish) and perhaps that was lowering my blood pressure. She agreed to remove it, i drank loads of water and lo and behold, my blood pressure was normal again. My mum arrived and sister arrived, i had a wee (you have to have one before you’re discharged) and i was ready to go armed with codeine and various forms and information sheets. Our first stop was maccies for 5 chicken selects and mozzarella dippers and the second was my bed. What a bloody day.

After the surgery, my arm wasn’t placed back in a plaster cast, just a tight bandage to encourage movement. I was allowed to keep my sling but ive been told to limit its usage because it can cause stiffness of the shoulder and elbow. And I’m slowly getting more confident without it. Not to put anyone off, but i woke up in the night after my surgery and i was in the worst pain id felt since I fell over. Weirdly, it kind of felt like some had cut open my arm and fitted some metal into it and sewed me back up. But not to worry, there’s what a codeine and paracetamol concoction is for and this passes. I’m now on day 4 post-surgery and the pain is so much more manageable. I can move my fingers up and down and even flex my wrist slightly. Before the op i had little to no function and feeling in my fingers and zero forearm mobility so the slightest movement is such a relief. As my granny would say: it’s amazing what they can do these days!

I’ve been told to expect a slow but steady recovery so despite my restless nature I’m taking things slow. I’m trying to get at least some steps and fresh air in per day and I’ve arranged to work from home as of next week. In the next couple of weeks I’m having physio at the hospital as well as having my scar assessed/stitches removed/dressings changed. It’s honestly amazing what can happen in a split second and whilst my life might be on hold slightly for the moment, i know in the grand scheme of things this is nothing. If anyone is in a similar situation just be patient, give your body a minute to heal and you will be just fine!

Putting things into perspective: the broken wrist diaries

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I’ve broken my wrist and it sucks. Like badly. One minute i was doing high box toe taps in the gym giving it my all and the next minute I’ve fallen backwards with my whole wrist taking my weight. I wont go into detail about the state of my wrist as i lifted it up to assess the damage but let’s just say it resembled a banana and hurt like HELL. A shit load of gas and air and a couple x-rays later and here i am awaiting surgery to fix it. I can’t shower, put my hair in a bobble or leave the house independently at the moment and for someone that thrives on a lil routine and pleasing myself, being reliant on someone else for basic everyday things has really got me down. So, as sit on my arse and trying to find a comfortable position to rest my arm in (difficult) i decided to have a word with my sorry self and put things into perspective.

Since last Friday i havent really done an awful lot apart from eat, watch teen mom Australia (dont knock it) and read a couple books. This will also be my second blog post thanks to the drag and type feature on i-phone which has really been  a game changer. But despite the boredom, i’m still lucky. I have a warm house and clean pyjamas and food in the fridge and a gorgeous family to do things like help me in the shower and tie my hair in a bobble and despite the setback and scary surgery ahead, i WILL recover.

When your life slows down so suddenly it actually gives you the opportunity to sit back and think about what’s in front of you, the stuff im guilty of neglecting as i rush out the door at 5.30 am for my 7th gym class of the week before a full day at work, usually followed by some sort of blog event. Perhaps this sudden setback only exists physically and in fact emotionally will give me a second to stop and express gratitude for the thousands of things i have, that others don’t. Yes, I’m not living a full week of complete productivity which for me brings a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction but why can’t i look to feel the same sense of satisfaction when my body literally heals back to normal, a wrist which is currently bent in the middle?

So instead of getting worked up that I’ve spent a week without a SINGLE day of 10,000 steps or that I’m off work and doing very little, im going to use this time to appreciate everything i actually have. I’m safe and secure with the ability to control my own mindset, which in light of recent traffic events in the news is definitely something to be thankful for, i have so many loved ones around me that actually dedicate a whole moment of their day to ask me how i am, and despite the temporary broken bone I’m fit and healthy. Not to mention the amazing treatment I’m receiving free of charge from our NHS.

Instead of a fast paced run where I’m trying to get my 10k below a certain time, I’m taking slow steady walks to the park, engaging in conversation and breathing in the crisp February fresh air. My ability to read means i can experience that amazing feeling where you’re totally and utterly lost in the world of a good book and i can go to bed knowing there’s going to be someone there to give me a hand when i wake up.

So for anyone that needs to hear it, sometimes all it takes is a lil bit of perspective to put your head where it needs to be.

The real halloween costume: double denim

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Notoriously the trickiest trend to pull off, i feel like the whole entire world is scared of double denim but at the same time has this insatiable itch to match up your fave denim jacket and blue jeans it when they see someone else rockin’ it well (it was queen Gigi’s party dress code after all). Whether you reckon it’s the worst crime against fashion since the trouser skirt of the 90’s or love it loads, it’s a trend that’s never gonna disappear. And you know what they say, of ya can’t beat em, join em.

Unless you’ve got balls and just think fuck it am doing it anyway, putting together a double denim outfit can be a little daunting. However, with so many fab denim wardrobe staples available to buy (straight leg jeans, oversized shirts and belted dresses being my fave) pairing your denim pieces doesn’t have to mirror Britney and Justin‘s iconic 2001 double denim date (unless that’s your whole thing cos if so I’m HERE for it all day).

I think for me, the trick to double dressing it to mix up the fits of your items, so unless it’s a jumpsuit, i wouldn’t pair a tight fit denim jacket with super skinny jeans. Instead, i’d mix it up like i’ve done here, with this fab Zara denim shirt and waist belt as its oversized fit allows for tighter jeans and boots. If you were going to go tight on top (a cute cropped jacket for example) id go for baggy boyfriend style jeans, breaking up the denim with a cute bralet. The oufit im wearing here was for an event so i went for boots but you could totally remove the belt, roll the jeans slightly and throw on some chunky trainers or high top converse for a casual cool vibe.

People go on about mixing tones to make the full matching a little more subtle which it some good advice but TBH with any co-ord being a total v i b e right now, i wouldn’t be scared to go full matching with the shades of denim. Trust me.

If you’re brave enough to rock double denim for a special occasion (i really hope I’m that person tbh) id go for a denim bralet and denim flares. Ive been trying to get my hands on the perfect denim bralet for a whole minute and the struggle is real – any suggestions HMU!

So if you’ve got a few denim bits and before now haven’t worn them together, then i urge you to take the plunge. A motto i live by can also be applied here: if kanye can do it, so can you x

The perfect lunch hour @ 200 Degrees

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Working in town definitely has its perks, especially when it comes to the choice of food and drink available during lunch. Whilst my bank balance and waistline might not agree, i think it’s fab how much choice we have right on our doorstep. However, with that being said, there’s only a handful (in my opintion) of lil gems that reallllyyyy serve top notch coffee (not that im a coffee snob – more of a caffeine whore) but now i’ve found a new one to add to the list: 200 degrees. 

I was invited to try 200 degrees for myself after sadly missing their launch event – id heard amazing things so was super excited and it was the perfect opp to treat ourselves in our Friday lunch hour. 1pm came around and when i say the heavens opened i mean they OPENED (bye bye cute outfit pic) so we ran down to the metquarter and were welcomed into the warm and dry arms of 209 degrees with the smell of cake and coffee making me dribble a lil bit – there is so much delicious choice on display.

All of the staff at 200 degrees are super friendly and we were immediately shown around by the manager. Im a little bit obsessed with the decor situation in 200 degrees – rustic but contemporary with bare wood and bricks but industrial style light fittings and super trendy chairs and stools – the perfect place to enjoy lunch with friends, have a quiet coffee moment alone or bring your laptop to get some much-needed work done (with cake).

We sat in the corner of the shop on a super cosy high table and ordered a mocha (the most delicious mocha ive ever tasted – true story) and Ruth a rhubarb lemonade which was equally as good! We were brought out a selection of sandwiches which included both meat and veggie options. Standouts included the salami and feta baguette, the falafel wrap and the winner for me – the beetroot humous baguette. It was obvious that the sandwiches had been freshly made and i just love how there’s so many new and exciting flavours to choose from – because you can’t underestimate a good sandwich, but you can definitely experiment with filling! Alongside our sandwiches, we also got to try two of the gorgeous salad bowls on offer with a delicious potato salad and giant cous cous going down an absolute treat with our sandwiches. 

Once we’d enjoyed our sandwich platters (serioussss lunchtime goals) we were presented with an array of mouthwatering cakes to try and if i thought the sandwiches were good, it was fast becoming clear that 200 degrees don’t mess around when it comes to sweet treats either. From pastele de nata (livin’ the Lisbon dream all over again) to a moist (lol SORRY but it was) courgette and lemon loaf, a WARM piece of squidgy banana bread, a super thick, oozing caramel slice, crunchy (yet oh so melty) Rocky Road and, the piece de resistance (in my opinion) the espresso brownie. Now let me just tell you that this was the gooiest meltiest stodgiest brownie ive ever had the pleasure of putting into my mouth and the combination of coffee and chocolate made it a delightful sweet treat and i could honestly have easily polished off 10 no bother. 

It’s safe to say im MADE UP that 200 degrees has opened up in Liverpool (although its proximity to the office with THOSE brownies is definitely probbaly gonna be a massive issue for my willpower). Inside, 200 degrees combines delicious coffee, a fab quick, easy but also super fresh menu with chilled out vibes and the best sweet treats ive had in a while. Whether you’re heading in alone or fancy lunch with friends and/or family this fab coffee shop is an amazing new addition to our city centre. Try it out for yourself!