The Ultimate Winter Survival Guide

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As much as you may want to deny it, winter is here. For many people, this means a long, depressing wait until spring finally starts to show its face once again. But there are plenty of ways that you can make the colder months that little bit more bearable, and these are the things we are going to be talking about in this article. So, here they are, the best ways to keep yourself sane during winter!

 

Turn Your Home into a Den

Dean Martin had it right – even if the weather outside is frightful, the fire is so delightful! So, you should make sure that your home is as cosy as possible. Now is the time to get your boiler serviced and maybe even install a smart thermostat if you don’t have one already. Stock up on pillow and blankets, and check out these home interior design trends for winter. Your home should be a haven where you can relax and hibernate until the warm weather returns!

 

Stay Active

Even though your home may be an inviting den, that doesn’t mean that you should stop exercising for the season. In fact, this is one of the only things that is going to keep you sane! And if the weather conditions are terrible outside, you can still do plenty from the comfort of your own home. This is the perfect time to set up your own home gym, so you can exercise without having to leave your comfortable den.

 

Avoid Dry Eyes and Skin

There is no doubt about it; winter hates your face! Your skin and eyes are two of the things that will suffer the most, so these are what you need to take really good care of. Cover them up as much as possible with a hat, scarf and sunglasses. Use a good moisturiser and a humidifier if you think the house feels a little dry. This should also help out with those annoying static electric shocks!

 

Keep Yourself Healthy

Continuing with the healthy theme, you need to take extra steps during the winter months to ensure that you keep your well being in tip-top condition. Make sure that you get plenty of sleep and take on a lot of fluids. Wash your hands on a regular basis, and make sure you don’t go out of the house with wet hair.

 

Plan a Getaway

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Of course, the most obvious way to survive the colder months is by getting away from them entirely! There are plenty of great winter destinations that you could visit to soak up a bit of sunshine. Even if you can’t get away this season, it can keep you sane just to plan your next holiday for the spring or summer ahead.

So, hopefully after reading through these five pieces of advice, you feel a little more prepared to take on the winter and everything it has to throw at you.

Never fear, spring will be here before you know it!       

*This is a collaborative post

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Sky High Tea with Roberts #embracethenew

I love a good Afternoon Tea but I’ve never been on a Sky High Tea before

So when I got an invitation to join Robert’s Bakery and try out some of their new products at a Sky High Tea, I couldn’t say no. Did someone say baked goods? The bakery aisle has always been my favourite. Roberts is a northern bakery that has been around since 1887 and is currently embracing the new with some awesome new products.

What is a Sky High Tea you ask? It’s afternoon tea…on a table that’s suspended 100ft in the air. Not one for the faint hearted!

sky high tea - ticket

A few weeks ago on a particularly wet day, myself and some fellow lovely ladies from We Blog North headed over to the Etihad Stadium to meet with the brand.

sky high tea - eithiad

I wasn’t sure what to expect but the Robert’s team were absolutely lovely and explained away all our fears. I’m actually afraid of heights myself but luckily not enough to stop myself doing things like this! We were perfectly safe as each chair came with seat belts and no handbags were allowed to come with us. We were also protected from the rain with a cover so that was very reassuring.

sky high tea - rain

sky high tea - we blog north

If you have a spare half hour you should definitely check out the other’s blogs: Jacinta, Kirsten, Laura, Holly, Kat and Asma. So once we were all individually strapped into our seats (which can spin 360 degrees btw!), we were off!

sky high tea - table

The table rose a hell of a lot faster than I was expected and before I knew it, we were 100ft up. It actually didn’t feel that high at all…until you looked down of course!

sky high tea - diane and asma

sky high tea - view

sky high tea - stadium

sky high tea - long way down

Once we were all used to the height, it was time to get down to business. Afternoon tea time. Here was the menu:

sky high tea - afternoon tea

Bottom tier:

Stilton, Walnuts and oh-so-sweet Pear, on Seriously Seeded Bloomer

Creamy Wild Mushroom Crispy Bacon on Mightily Malted Bloomer

Chorizo, Fabulous Feta and Rocket on Wondrous White Bloomer

Peri-Peri Chicken on Fiery Corn Ready-to Rolls

sky high tea - sandwiches

I could only eat the chicken and the mushroom sandwiches as I don’t eat pork but I can confirm that they were both delicious. My favourite was definitely the chicken as I loved the combo of the peri peri with the fire corn roll.

sky high tea - chicken

The middle tier:

Fresh Courgette, Mushroom and Turmeric Mini Loaf

Marbled Red Pesto and Pink Peppercorn Mini Loaf with Creamy Goats Cheese centre

and a special surprise of Bijou White Bread roll with a centre of Camembert and Rose Jelly.

sky high tea - bread

The latter was my favourite as I’m a massive fan of camembert. The goats cheese roll was my least favourite as although I love goats cheese, I’ve discovered that I’m not a fan of pink peppercorn. It was just a tad overpowering for me. The courgette was also very tasty but the camembert was a clear winner.

Top tier:

Sticky Toffee Scones with Soft Fudge and Dates

Lemon and Orange Scones made with zest and squeezed juices then mixed with candied citrus

Both served with clotted cream

sky high tea - scone

I loved the citrus scone but I could have eaten the sticky toffee one all day and every day. Still dreaming about it now! I’ve never had a flavoured scone before (unless you count cheese) so this was a lovely change from regular scones.

Finally, we were all given a taste of Robert’s gin and tonic fun buns.

sky high tea - buns

I was a bit apprehensive as I’m really not a fan of gin (probably comes from my rebellious teenage self taking a swig of a bottle from my parents liquor cabinet and instantly regretting it…) but I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by these. They have the sweetness that you’d want from something that’s called a fun bun but then they have that kick of gin at the end. The kick isn’t too overpowering for someone like myself that doesn’t like it. But it’s enough of a kick that gin fans will love it. Apparently things that are supposedly gin flavoured are usually way too subtle so this definitely hits the mark for all you gin lovers out there.

sky high tea - g&t bun

sky high tea - staff

After a lovely afternoon tea, we headed back down to earth where we were sent on our way with some goody bags. I was really happy to find that one of the items was the gin buns. Also, Topher got to try the firey corn rolls which were definitely up his street!

sky high tea - goody bag

Thanks Robert’s for a great experience that certainly livened up what would have probably been a dull Thursday lunchtime!

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My Week #68 – Memories and Workshops

*Looking at old photos *Instagram workshop

*Panini *Luna and her fangs

It’s been a bit of a better week. Last week was a funny one.

I started off by heading over to Nottinghamshire to see my family. It was a nice change of scenery and great seeing them. We spent the day looking at old photos and then went out for an Indian meal in the evening. It’s nice to see that the restaurant that we’ve frequented for the last couple of decades is still there and under the same management. Seems to be a rarity these days.

I spent Monday being a guinea pig. 

Katya is going to be hosting an Instagram workshop soon with photographer Paul Wolfgang Webster so they brought in a few of us to act as guinea pigs. I had a great day and learnt loads. Take a look at one of the photos I took on the day. Flat lay skills have definitely improved thanks to them.

my week #68 - 1

The rest of the week has just been a mix of work and trying to get stuff under control as usual.

Does anyone else just feel swamped by endless adult crap? It feels like every time I get a leg up on something, there’s another pile of stuff to do somewhere else. And don’t get me started on cleaning. Obviously it’s just never ending. How do people have time to do everything? I never feel like I can relax. It just feels demoralising sometimes. Fingers crossed I can get to that ever elusive peaceful place. Does it even exist?

By the way, how is it November? 

Christmas is just around the corner now and I really don’t know where the year has gone. I guess I should start getting my Christmas shopping done? Yes, I probably should. I’ll just do what I usually do – make a big list and get it all on Black Friday. I’ll also get some gift guides up soon!

How was your week?

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Tampopo Trafford Centre – Thai Taste Tour

I’ve never been to Thailand but it’s definitely on my bucket list. 

Having only just started getting myself acquainted with the food of the country in the last year, it’s safe to say that I have a lot to learn. So when I was invited to Tampopo Trafford Centre to try out their Thai Taste Tour Supper Club, I couldn’t say no.

Tampopo has 4 branches and a kiosk in Manchester. The Trafford Centre is their largest. The chain is inspired by East Asian cuisines from Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.

Tampopo Trafford Centre - decor

Topher and I arrived just after 8 in the evening and it’s quite obvious that one of us was pretty tired!

Tampopo Trafford Centre - diane

Tampopo Trafford Centre - Topher

However he soon perked up when we were served some prawn crackers to munch on while we decided what to drink. Tasty!

Tampopo Trafford Centre - prawn crackers

Thai Taste Tour Supper Club

We both went with mocktails – Pink Lemonade for me and a Virgin Mojito for Topher. We tasted both and recommend them if you’re looking for something refreshing to go with your meal!

Tampopo Trafford Centre - mocktails

Our server began by taking us through the main ingredients that you tend to find in a lot of Thai dishes. Her knowledge was incredible and she seemed super passionate about what she was sharing with us.

Tampopo Trafford Centre - ingredients

Our first course was the Corn fritters and Thai salad. I really like corn fritters so was pleased with the dish. Both were delicious and came with a kick!

Tampopo Trafford Centre - corn fritters & thai salad

Next was the Tom Yam Soup. We both had mixed feelings on this. I loved the taste but it was a bit too spicy for me, while Topher loved the spice but wasn’t a fan of the taste. So I guess it just depends on personal preference.

Tampopo Trafford Centre - tom yam soup

The Pad Thai was next. This was by far my favourite dish of the night. I could have eaten an entire bowl of this stuff. Really craving it right now actually! It was mild and full of flavour and just incredibly moreish. Both of us hoovered these down!

Tampopo Trafford Centre - pad thai

The final savoury dish was Hot and Sour Stir Fry & Red Curry Veg served with rice. Both of us loved the taste of this but due to my wimpy taste buds, it completely blew my head off. Topher was perfectly happy though. If you’re a fan of spicy dishes, I definitely recommend this.

Tampopo Trafford Centre - hot and sour stri fry & red curry veg

The final dish was a mango sorbet which was a welcome end to the meal. My tongue needed cooling down! It was perfect.

Tampopo Trafford Centre - mango sorbet

Overall I’m so glad we tried this Taste Tour, it was a great insight into Thai food and I’m so happy to have discovered Pad Thai.

In between courses, Topher and I perused the menu and we will definitely be back to one of the Tampopo restaurants. I lost count of the amount of amazing dishes I want to try. Plus, the atmosphere was so nice and the staff were incredibly friendly and knowledgable.

Tampopo Trafford Centre - mural

Thanks for having us Tampopo! We’ll be back!

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Opportunities to Travel the World

Source.

There are many kind of programs and schemes these days that can enable you to travel the world, and do something positive and helpful while doing so. Whether you want to meet new people, gain some skills and experience to put on your CV or just really have the hunger to explore, here are some ideas for you. Included in the list are many opportunities that are volunteer or work based and are not purely for pleasure. This is just because this is an affordable way to travel, and a great way to meet people and get integrated into the places that you visit.

TEFL

This stands for “teaching English as a foreign Language”. With this you can go practically any where, Asia is a popular destination, and even South America too. Through this program you can gain a teaching qualification, and get taught some basic teaching and learning skills, then you find somewhere that will host you. This is probably the most popular programme of this kind, and as a result, is often requested specifically by host countries.

 

Camp America

If you don’t mind children, or working extremely hard for your summer, this might be great for you. You pay an initial fee, get interviewed and can choose the kind of summer camp you want at in the USA. Many people choose this because you make the money back that you initially pay, and have time to travel America after you finish a the summer camp. You have 30 days left of your visa after you finish camp, so you can travel about and do an you please. For countries that require visas, this can be a great way to travel, and a very rewarding experience too. Not to mention a great way to meet travel buddies as well.

 

WWOOF

This is a much shorter experience than the previous two, and allows you some more flexibility with travel. The company name stands for “world wide organisation of organic farming” and does what it says on the tin. With this program you work on farms all over the world, in exchange for somewhere to stay. This is great for travelers, but also one of the motivations of the company is to promote way of farming organically, and pass on this information to others. If you want to get outdoors, and don’t want to commit to these linger programs, this would be great for you. As many volunteer travel opportunities can be difficult, it’s worth keeping in mind travel costs and funding before you make your decision. It’s worth saving, working lots, or considering options like debt consolidation secured loans. This can ease your mind when travelling, as you won’t be worrying about ramping up costs.

 

Travelling is an amazing opportunity, and is well worth it, so it should be savoured.

Experiences like these can shape us as people, and it is great to get out there and see the world. Programs like these make this experience very accessible and give your travelling some structure, so you can get the most from your experience.    

 

*This is a collaborative post.

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