Zizzi’s AW16 menu…

This is it guys! Time to put away the salad and get stuck into some dreamy gooey carbs. I literally couldn’t be more excited – but Laura you had lasagne for lunch you cant have spag bowl for dinner – but it’s cold?! – Touché you go for it babes.

Yep Autumn is officially here, the weather is getting cooler and it is now totally acceptable to stuff your face with the kind of food that makes your insides melt with love and happiness.

My go to meals, my meals that make my heart smile, are always of the Italian variety. If I’m feeling a bit low all I need to do is go see my mum and she will whip me up a delicious bolognaise that gets me back on track. Food has this wonderful way of healing the worst of days (especially if it’s accompanied by wine.)

SO when I saw Hannah Gale’s instagram post inviting followers to a dinner of dreams (free carbs and prosecco) I couldn’t resist entering. They say you got to be in it to win it so boy am I glad I entered cause I only went and got picked! (No longer that girl in P.E #winning!)

Hannah and Elle (both bloody amazing bloggers fyi) got to pick 5 pals to join them at their Zizzi dinner. We were supplied with super strong cocktails and the perfect setting for a sassy girls night.

Zizzi had literally launched their new menu that day (27/9/16) so we were one of the first to give it a taste and in order to get the full effect, our long table was filled with ALL the dishes so we could try a bit of everything. I felt like a kid at a candy store – which carby cheese babe do I eat first? Can I just shove it all in my face please?! Then a sudden anxious – will this outfit make my food baby look cute or no?!

Now you will know if you have ever been for dinner with a blogger that you cannot just tuck in! Girl gotta get the perfect insta shot so on a table full of bloggers it obviously took some time before we tucked in.

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But when we did…. oh sweet heavenly Jesus is was delicious! So let me list here a few of my faves for you guys to go and try ASAP! (Also little tip for my Chelmsford readers – we now have deliveroo…. that deliver Zizzi’s ….. you can literally eat this stuff in your pjs – I KNOW RIGHT! Dreamy AF!)

Starters

The Pulled Beef Arancini – Yeah I thought this was a pear too but don’t let the shape deceive you! This little gem was filled with meat, rice and mozerella. What’s not to love? The taste was pretty mild and that gooey texture had all the mmm’s leaving my lips.

Pumpkin and Mozerella Crocchette – I kind of loved this and wasn’t sure about it all at the same time mainly because I’ve never had pumpkin before, so if you have, and you love it this is deffo the starter for you. And I couldn’t really leave the pumpkin dish out of this post could I!? Autumn is basically a giant pumpkin wrapped in golden leaves.

Butterfly King Prawns – yep yep yep yummy prawny goodness. Garlic pesto and wine – literally all my favourite things!

Mains

Venetian Duck Ragu – I’ve started with my absolute fave of the entire evening because I need you to know about this as soon as possible so you can drop whatever unimportant thing you are doing and find your nearest Zizzi’s (don’t worry I’ll wait!) ……

I bloody love duck! It’s just so flavoursome and YES! (mega descriptive points here.) I’ll certainly be dreaming about this until we are reunited.

Duck Arrosto – Woo more of the good stuff! This time served on the bone, accompanied by mash and lentil ragu. Again super delicious, the meat just fell off the bone and I’m always game for a bit of mash.

Rustica Pizza Pulled Pork Roma – Ok guys don’t loose your shit but this pizza is covered in pulled pork (amazing) AND CRACKLING!!!!!!! (I know, my mind is just as blown). It shouldn’t work but it totally does. And you know, pizza!

Dessert

Ultimate Salted Caramel Chocolate Brownie – I wasn’t really feeling in a dessert mood by this point (having stuffed my face with so much starter and main). That was until someone passed me the salted caramel dessert of dreams and all my taste buds wishes came true at once! You HAVE to try this! Sweet, gooey, warm. It’s like a hug for your insides, letting you know that no matter what, you will always have salted caramel brownies. The weirdest thing is, I don’t usually like chocolate brownies but this my friends, this is a game changer!

(Ok this is A tiramisu which I did not try BUT I didn’t get a pic of the brownie soz!)

So who’s coming to mine for a deliveroo Zizzi night in?!?!!

Whether you head into a Zizzi restaurant or you get it delivered to your home, make sure you are surrounded by your fave gal pals (mainly so you can share the food bill guilt.)

Spending the evening with a bunch of people you have never met can be a bit daunting but once the food got going and the skinny prosecco got flowing (oh yeah I forgot to mention… skinny prosecco – half the calories, double the pizza!) it was like we had all been friends for ages, sharing our cringe stories that can only be released after a couple glasses of fizz. (And you know the stories are going to be good with Vix Meldrew on your table!)

A massive thanks again to both Hannah and Elle for being such babeing hosts! And to Zizzi’s for supplying ALL the components needed for the perfect girls night!

Let me know when you try the duck ragu please guys so we can lust after it together!!!!

You can find all of the above plus more on the new menu here: Zizzi’s AW16 Menu

Peace and Love xoxo

When in Rome…

Rome is a place I have always wanted to visit! Italian food, to me, has to be the best on the entire planet – am I right?! Although it’s not just the food itself that I love, It’s also the whole culture associated with it; the relationship Italians have with food and what it means to them. After visiting Venice this time last year and getting a taste for it I just knew Rome was where we had to go for our mini-moon. It was romantic, full of history and culture and most of all carried an abundance of cheese and carbs (which I had been starving myself of for the wedding.)

So let me set the scene, it’s the morning after the wedding. I’m feeling pretty fresh (still on a high from the day before.) We get all our stuff together and head home to open our gifts – mainly because people had got us euros for our trip, not because we’re Monica Gellar in that episode of Friends. (Was that at all convincing?!) We then packed the car back up with our holiday gear and started our journey…. first stop Gatwick.

It is in the car that I start to feel peaky and begin to relive the amount of shots I had done the previous night. Safe to say that kept me quiet!

As soon as we got to the airport and checked in we headed to find food. I was SO hungry and it was not helping my hangover in the slightest. After much (painful) deliberation we settled on Wondertree. Jon ordered a burger and a beer. I ordered mac and cheese balls with fries and an apple cider cocktail – sorted me right out!

The flight went by pretty quickly – I devoured more food on the plane (a tomato, basil and mozerella foccatcia), read some of my new book (After You) and had an unsuccessful nap.

We arrived in Rome pretty late (around 8.30pm) and IT WAS HOT!!!! Faced with a sea of cabs, we kind of just stared at them until someone approached us. He gave us a quote (60 Euros) and we hopped in. (I will point out now that we could have done this trip a lot cheaper by using the trains etc BUT it was our mini-moon so we indulged – when in Rome!)

Our first views of Rome were covered by a blanket of darkness, but this didn’t stop me eagerly staring out of the window. Our driver was quiet at first but once he started talking he was actually a really nice guy! He pointed out different landmarks and gave us some real local knowledge. He was also happy to hear of our recent matrimony (Italians love marriage!) and proceeded to inform us that the older you get, the better it gets. You understand it more, you love harder! So I guess we have that to look forward to. We also got to see some prostitutes scouting for work so yeah… take from that what you will.

We arrived at our hotel (Relais de l’Opera) around 9.30ish?! I didn’t actually check the time so this is a total guess. We got a little tour from the guy on reception (who had kindly stayed late to accommodate us) and took some time to sit down and figure out a plan of action.

The hotel, we found out, was within walking distance of all the major sights – winning! Our room was reasonably sized and SO COMFY. We also had a complimentary mini fridge which was restocked every day (unfortunately not with alcohol.)

Given what had proceeded us in the last 24 or even 48 hours we were understandably shattered so going out out was off the cards. Instead we took a little wander to a local corner shop, bought 3 bottles of wine and a tube of pringles – that was us sorted for the evening.

Jon had kindly been gifted a lonely planet guide to Rome from the people he works with and we used this ALOT during our trip. I actually don’t know what we would have done without it and I highly recommend getting one if you travel. We also got a map from the hotel which was easier to use than the fold out one in the book.

Day 1

We set a reasonably early alarm to start off our first day. I’d been advised by so many people that if you do a city break, it’s best to get up early, beating the crowds to all the sights. This didn’t go quite to plan but at least we tried.

As breakfast was included at the hotel, we decided to eat there. I wasn’t overly impressed to be honest, it was a basic continental breakfast – meats, cheese, bread, cereal, cakes and croissants. The bacon was good though! And the guy working in the breakfast room was super friendly, striking up a football based convo with Jon – much to his delight.

So first sight seeing stop – The Colosseum.

After walking in the wrong direction for a while and finally correcting ourselves, we made it to the Colosseum. If you walk down the right roads you literally cannot miss it. It was huge and so impressive. You could almost feel the history associated with it (if you blocked out the sounds of people trying to sell you selfie sticks – as if I travel without one, come on!) Jon is also a massive fan of the Spartacus/Gladiator era so he was in his element.

Sooooooo we didn’t beat the crowds and the queues were massive. There was no way around it, we admitted defeat and joined the back of the line. After about 5 minutes a guy approached us saying that it would take at least 2 hours to even get into the colosseum if we carried on queuing, but if we went with him although it would cost a little extra, we could join a tour that left soon and would take no more than 10 minutes to get in. This obviously sounded too good to be true and usually I would be super sceptical BUT we had enough money so took our chances.

Luckily it worked! We paid around 60 euros and joined a tour that pretty much got us straight in. We had a guide who told us interesting facts about the Colosseum itself as well as the history at that time. I’m glad we did it this way, you really got a sense of what it may have been like and learned things you wouldn’t have known had you gone in on your own.

We decided that if we go back (fingers crossed!) we will definitely book in advance to get a tour of the dungeons.

The tickets we got from these people also included a guided tour of the Palatine Hill and Roman Forum, however, we decided to do this alone. Obviously doing it this way meant that we didn’t really know what we were looking at but it was still enjoyable. I wasn’t all that sold on the Palantine Hill (although I did enjoy the chickens we stumbled upon.) On the other hand, I really liked the Roman Forum, it had a lot more structure and was therefore more appealing to the eye.

Before coming to Rome I had heard of a cat sanctuary and thought that this was in the Roman Forum – we were disappointed to find that it was not!

The weather was growing hotter and there’s only so much you can look at ruins so we took this as our cue to leave (walking about a mile out of our way to try and find the exit.)

It was definitely time for lunch, so as recommended in the lonely planet guide, we set off in search of Circus – a roof top bar on top of the FourtySeven hotel near the river Tiber. The guide noted their speciality dish was the spaghetti in garlic and oil, so that is what we ordered, as well as a starter of parma ham and mozerella (the biggest ball I have ever seen) and a bottle of gavi d gavi – perfection!

I thoroughly enjoyed the food and devoured it before I could even snap a picture. It was so nice to take some time to relax, soak up the views and just enjoy each others company. The bar was small and relatively quiet which made it a great pit stop.

After lunch we headed back to the hotel to freshen up and drink more wine – when in Rome!

That night we decided to find the Trevi Fountain. We were a lot more successful in our directions this time and found it without much hindrance. I feel like this may have been helped by the fact that I’d got some gelato for the journey – I mean how can anything go wrong when your filling your face with such deliciousness!? (oreo and caramel in case you were wondering.)

The fountain was absolutely packed!!!!! But the atmosphere was buzzing! I was informed that it had recently been closed for refurbishments so maybe this had something to do with it – or more likely, it’s always this way. Catching a quick glimpse of the fountain in all it’s glory we agreed to find food, arranging to come back a bit later on when it was dark.

We found a small authentic Italian restaurant in a cobbled side street called “La Locanda Del TemPio” – seated outside we ordered the same starter as we’d had earlier in the day. I then went for the lasagna with fries (to which the waiter asked if I was from England) and Jon ordered a steak.

I promise I am not lying when I say this was probably the best meal I have ever eaten in my whole life! I nearly cried into my food it was so delicious. All my hopes and dreams for Rome had been pilled into one huge plate of lasagne all washed down with a glass of something fizzy. I also have to note here that the lasagne was almost exactly the same as the ones served at Tarentino’s in Brentwood, which happens to be my favourite restaurant and says a lot about their authenticity.

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The waiter had been right in his assumption that I was English and probably laughed to himself that he had sold me some fries I definitely would not be needing – I’m not a girl who likes to leave food but my god was I full.

Back to the Fountain we went, with happy tummies in tow. We fought our way to the front and did the obligatory coin toss (complete with boomerang evidence of course).

The Trevi fountain was probably one of my favourite sights, that and the coloseum. It was just so beautiful and grand and anyone who follows me on insta will know I love a bit of water, it just photographs so well and had it been quieter I would have had a field day on the photo front. If we ever go back to Rome I want to get up really early one day and revisit the fountain when it’ll hopefully be quieter.

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Back to the hotel for more wine and a blissfull sleep. (Seriously I hadn’t slept for about a week before the wedding so this coupled with the mega comfy beds, the wine and the carbs – I slept like a baby!)

Day 2

So this day we decided to go find the cats! Yes we left our little moggy at home, travelled to Italy and decided to search for more furry friends, but come on! Cats … in Roman ruins! What’s not to love?!

Torre Argentina cat sanctuary, as it’s officially named, was pretty easy to find. However, we had some time to kill before it actually opened and decided to walk around for a bit. This saw us stumble upon a cute market (gutted I didn’t buy any pasta to bring home) and take a pit stop at a small bar. As we had just had breakfast at the hotel, Jon decided to get some fruit…………..I got a pizza! – When in Rome🙂
Another impressive and delicious meal from the Italians! So simple yet so bloody good!
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Then it was opening time so back to the sanctuary we went. Ok… I don’t know what I was expecting, but it was a little depressing! The lovely lady from the sanctuary showed us around and told us how their main aim is to neuter as many of the strays as possible to stop the problem. It looks as though it’s pretty successful but they obviously rely heavily on funding and volunteers (Jon announced that if we lived in Rome he would work there lol.) We were then shown to the less abled cats who weren’t allowed outside due to the different conditions they all possessed. My favourite was Ray Charles – a black blind cat. At least they have a sense of humour eh! You can adopt any of the cats from afar or actually have them shipped to your home!
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Our next known stop was a hotel bar the lonely planet guide suggested but obviously we would fit in some sights along the way. The first of which being the pantheon. The contrast of this building was truly phenomenal – the outside is weathered and old leaving much to the imagination and nothing very grand except the sheer size of it. The inside however was a totally different story. Beautiful artwork, architecture and statues. There is a hole in the top of the building which lets in the light – the lonely planet guide suggested getting there around midday as this was when it was most prominent and luckily enough this is when we arrived.
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A short walk from here was the Spanish steps. I wasn’t greatly impressed by these to be honest – I much preffered the Altare della Patria which was close to our hotel and also had a lot of steps. (Although our cab driver had told us the Romans hate this building due to it’s annoying placement.)
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We then walked down a road paved with designer outlets until we reached our destination – the Stravinskij Bar, described in the lonely planet guide as a “celebrity hotel”. Unfortunately we spotted no celebs but the courtyard we sat in was so picturesque and we had the most fun here! Flashing the cash as 22 euros a cocktail I tired a Stravinskij spritz and a couple of rum based cocktails which were SO GOOD! Really tangy and fresh. Jon opted for whiskey based cocktails and we were showered with all the nibbles! Glazed almonds, crisps and olives. After a couple of cocktails we thought it was probably a good idea to eat some real food and so we ordered lunch. I went for a tomato and basil pasta, Jon opted for a vegetarian lasagne. Both delicious! (of course I tried his too.)
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Feeling a little tispy we headed back to the hotel for a power nap (and more wine – rude not to really.)
Our evening plan was to find the rooftop bar overlooking the coloseum. I really wanted to see that baby lit up at night! As we weren’t really in the mood for posh nosh we agreed to grab some food on the way there and just have some drinks at the bar. We found a little restaurant on the main road and sat outside. I had spag bowl and Jon had pizza (which I ate about a quarter of too – are you impressed yet?) We also had a bottle of wine to share (it wasn’t as good as the gavi but it still went down smooth.)
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Unfortunately I can’t remember the name of the restaurant but it had a great atmosphere and the guys working there were really chatty.
The coloseum is just as impressive at night if not more so. I loved how it was illuminated in the darkness!
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We found Aroma – the rooftop place we had been looking for and were ushered into an elevator to reach the bar. The view out to the coloseum was breathtaking BUT that was just for people in the restaurant LOL good one guys! However, this didn’t matter in the end as we were shown to the bar on the other side which was totally empty apart from the two of us. It was the perfect end to the most amazing day! We had more wine (gavi woo) and cocktails, were given some random little treats to try and spend the night in the open evening air laughing and talking. I’m literally pining for this right now just thinking about it.
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We walked home via the coloseum, manoeuvred some dodgy looking alleys and finally found our way back to the hotel.
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And that was it! Our cab arrived the next morning and off we went back to reality.
If you are considering a trip to Rome then do it!!! Even if you aren’t considering it, just go. I couldn’t recommend it more and I cannot wait to go back one day. It was the most beautiful city and I will keep the memories we made there close to my heart forever!
Ciao Bella’s x
Peace and Love xoxo
P.S, If none of that persuaded you…. Jon caught some wicked Pokémon there too!

Intu lakeside AW16 fashion…

Guys it’s basically Autumn now, despite the heat wave the end of September has bought us it is now in fact raining (although I cannot deny I’m still bloody sweating) so let’s talk Autumn/Winter fashion!

Some of you may remember the post I did a while back on my personal stylist experience at Intu Lakeside – well the lovely Carlene (head stylist) and the guys at Voice Communications decided to set up a little blogger event to fully show case what the stylist lounge can offer as well as giving us some insight into the latest trends.

Going to a fashion event is always a bit nerve racking …. As if finding an outfit isn’t hard enough at the best of times! I had recently bought these beautiful thigh high boots from New Look and was yet to wear them so I basically planned my entire outfit around those!

Did I feel too dressed up – yes! Did I care? – hell no! (FYI the boots are not easy to drive in but surprisingly comfortable)

The personal stylist lounge itself had changed to a different location and a much better one at that! It was bigger, brighter and felt a lot more professional. You can now find it situated on Brompton Walk at Intu Lakeside.

The girls had laid out some snacks and drinks and us bloggers got stuck right in while waiting for everyone to arrive. (My post wedding diet is on point!)

So the main event – we were taken into the stylist room and given a couple of talks. Voice Comms and Intu Lakeside spoke about their new VIB (very important blogger scheme) which we are all super excited about (contact Megan here to get involved megan@voicecommunications.co.uk).

Then Carlene spoke to us, giving a little background about herself (having been stylist to the stars and working with some big brands) and explaining about the top trends for this season.

Don’t worry pals, I wasn’t going to leave you out of the loop now was I!? Being a good friend and all I’ll give you a little insight into the hottest trends this season. (Although if you’ve been in any shops recently you could probs figure this out yourself!)

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Velvet dreams – Love love love! While being told about this trend I gave myself a mental high five for wearing my velvet boots and choker, so on trend babes!

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Purple reign – Although I’d say more burgendy/plum as that’s what I’ve seen most of out in stores. This is always a fab autumnal colour and fun fact… Apparently purple suits everyone – there’s a shade for every skin tone so yeah get some purple in your life!

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Midnight sparkle – Always a fave! I’ve just bought my dress for a black tie event at work and it couldn’t be more sparkly if I tried so again another on trend tick for Laura! But seriously what is winter without sparkles???

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Heritage -Now this is a trend I enjoy but also don’t know if I can pull off! I also think it’s difficult to get this right but when you do … Oh boy you look like you should be strutting the streets of Chelsea on the way to ride your pony! For me the trend really suits those tall, model thin, straight up and down girls! But who knows maybe I’ll get myself some jodpers and a Burberry coat.

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Animal print – always making an appearance somewhere in the year! If you don’t own something animal print then are you really a girl? You must have something …. Even pants! Personally I have a massively too big fur coat in leopard print and a leopard print bag! (I also have zebra print pants) I definitely think this style can get a bit OTT but a few pops of print or a (faux) fur coat always goes down a treat! Unfortunately everyone must have got to this trend way before me cause primark sold out of the leopard print shoes I wanted! (Probably not helped by the fact zoella put them in her primark haul – cheers doll!) but I definitely plan to snap those up at some point! I also love the white shirt in Zara with the leopard print pocket! (Can you guess what my animal print of choice is?!)

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Ok I think that’s it for the trends!

And if you’re planning a shopping trip let me just tell you that New Look is on point at the moment! I’m obsessed! I went three times the other week – I need help!

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After the talks we were split into groups, there were 4 stations around the room and we got to spend time with each. My little group started off with Tony & Guy discussing hair dye, condition and whether or not to have the dreaded chop! If you book in a session with the personal stylist lounge and are thinking of changing up your entire look then the girls can organise a consultation for you with Tony & Guy for the same day! They’re aiming to be a one stop shop for all your styling needs.

Next was boobs…. Or you know bras. Your underwear is the foundation of your outfit, it can really make or break a look so getting it right is SO IMPORTANT! We were joined by a lovely lady from Victoria Secret who basically made me want to spend all my money in there as well as giving us a cheeky measuring.

Then to skincare – again if you’re looking for a make up look or skincare advice the girls at the lounge can hook you up! We were joined by kiehl’s and the lady explained a range of different products to us; what the are, what they do and who would benefit most from them.

They also tested our skin types by sticking this paper thing to our face, it was bizarre and as I had a face full of make up I’m not sure how accurate mine was but it’s definitely something you could try out if you arrive fresh faced!

If you haven’t heard of kiehl’s don’t be alarmed, neither had I and this is probably due to their unique marketing approach…they do not spend a penny on advertising and rely purely on word of mouth/reviews! So us bloggers are integral to their business… As are you! I was kindly gifted some goodies from the brand so I’ll be sure to let you know how I get on with those!

And last but not least Carlene…. She took us through what would normally be the beginning of an appointment. This is were you discuss your body shape and what sort of silhouettes and trends would suit you best. Carlene is great at this and really gets you to see the potential in your body no matter what shape or how confident you are!

We ended our day with a quirky catwalk show involving a lot of contemporary dancing and of course the AW16 trends (take a look at my vlog – coming soon- to see the models in action.)

So there we have it! A lovely afternoon mingling with some fashion frenzied bloggers, learning the new trends for this season and eating all the Percy pigs LOL don’t tell anyone!

If you’re interested in setting up a personal stylist session you can find all the details here:

*style me*

The sessions are totally free and something I would 100% recommend! Whether your looking for a staple item, occasion wear or a whole new wardrobe these girls can sort you out!

What’s your favourite trend this season???

Peace and Love xoxo

Our wedding day…

HEY GUYS I’M MARRIED!!!!

After months and months of planning and talking about it, it finally happened, I am a wife and I could not be happier!

I’m seriously struggling to find the words to describe the best day of my life in a way that gives it the justice it deserves and to be honest, I don’t think it’s possible. It’s one of those, had to be there moments, but I will give it my best shot!

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THE NIGHT BEFORE

So our wedding adventure started on the Sunday when I packed the car up with decorations, booze and bridesmaids. (And by this I mean packed up 3 cars – and me mum was there too, let’s not forget her, she’s a sensitive soul.) Off we went to Coggeshall, me and my little convoy, trying failing to keep up with each other and not get lost.

We were staying at a cottage near the wedding venue called Firmin’s Bakehouse. I’d found this little place online after being pointed in their direction by an AIRBNB host who could not take the booking. I had never actually seen it in real life (well not the inside anyway.) So it was a bit nerve racking wondering whether it would be fit for purpose.

IT WAS PERFECT! It was beyond perfect, exactly what I’d dreamed of. The décor, the location, the chickens (yep there was 2 and they were HUGE!)

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After we had dropped all our stuff to our heavenly cottage we headed to the Chapel Inn, a local pub literally on our doorstep. We had roast dinners and prosecco, we laughed, mum nearly cried – it was fab! (not mum nearly crying, just realised I sound really mean.) Then we trundled back to sit outside in the last of the days sun with more bubbles. The perfect setting to give my bridesmaids their gift bags!

I’d got these amazing bridesmaid bags from Etsy and filled them with little thank you presents for being such babes. They all got a bracelet from Accessorize which matched their dresses, a personalised champagne glass from Etsy, a make up bag from Primark filled with essentials for the day (deodorant, clips, dry shampoo etc), bride squad pj’s, and my sister’s had a matching silk dressing gown to the one’s we got for the hen do.

Jenna also got me this lightbox which I LOVE and now takes pride of place in my bedroom.

The rest of the evening was filled with snacks, more bubbles, face masks and laughter. I’m so happy I chose these girls to be my bridesmaids, they couldn’t have been more perfect for the job!

THE WEDDING MORNING

I woke up so early! In fact I don’t think I even slept. As lovely as our cottage was, it did happen to be situated next to a church which rings it’s bells every hour – not ideal.

I woke up SO CHILL! I laid there chatting to my sister for a while before jumping on my other bridesmaids exclaiming that I was getting married and I’d only woke them up half hour before I was supposed to.

Me and Jon had got each other gifts to open on the morning of the wedding and so obviously this was the first thing I did! I’d got him a box of goodies, a little bottle of whiskey, a personalised hip flask, some whiskey stones and a cigar. Jon got me a beautiful Rocha John Rocha watch and wrote me the cutest little note!

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The girls set up for breakfast but I couldn’t eat. I literally forced myself to have a cereal bar so that I could function.

As I got a pretty sweet deal in terms of the cost of our venue, we unfortunately had to set everything up the morning of the wedding (rather than the night before). So at 9am Jenna and I headed to Marks Hall to meet my big sister, my mum, stepdad, step sister, florist and wedding coordinator – all hands on deck.

In the months leading up to the wedding I must have drawn the plan for the venue about 10 times and what did I do on the day, yep I left it at the cottage. I mean it was fine for me, I knew exactly what I was doing. Everyone else on the other hand, they were a little lost and I found it really hard to delegate (control freak!?). But after a while we got into the swing of things and it all started to come together.

It is SO surreal watching something you’ve been planning for so long suddenly appear in front of your eyes and not only that but it looks EXACTLY like you wanted it to. I’m honestly getting emotional just thinking about it! All that hard work, all the late night pinteresting, the drawing of plans, the organising, it was suddenly real life!

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I’d like to point out that at this time I was still super chill, no bridezilla here. *insert sassy emoji*

By the time we got back to the cottage the make up artist had already arrived and Millie and Rebecca were looking so BEAUT! Then the photographer arrived and the hairdresser – cue ladies everywhere!

I absolutely love being pampered and revelled in the whole getting ready phase, sipping bucks fizz, listening to chilled songs (courtesy of Jaimie, the MUA) and soaking it all in.

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My hair and make up was ON POINT and I highly recommend both Jaimie (MUA) and Gemma (HAIR) for any events you have coming up!

Once we were all dolled up it was time to get dressed – this was the scary part as everyone wondered, will our dresses fit?!?!?! I’d been working so hard at the gym and I’d cut my calories way down, trying to eat as clean as possible. My dress fit like a glove! THANK GOD! All the stress, the wondering, the starving myself of cheese – it was finally totally worth it.

My mums dress on the other hand, although fit perfectly, would not do up! Now that was stressful. BUT Jenna to the rescue and once we got mum into her dress it was time for photos.

And what an amazing backdrop this place is!!!!

WAITING

After the photos mum and Stacey (the photographer) headed to the venue to get some shots of people arriving and of Jon with his Groomsmen. It was during this time that I started to freak out (literally writing this is making my heart jump), I still didn’t feel nervous and I didn’t know why it was happening but I thought I might throw up! Obviously subconsciously I was nervous but all I felt was sick… I paced back and forth along the length of the kitchen sipping my sisters water bottle and breathing big deep breaths. I had a packet of crisps, because food helps everything. Nothing helped… and then it was time to leave.

My stepdad was driving me and the bridesmaids there in Jenna’s Land Rover. We wacked on the radio and the aircon and I tried to calm down – making jokes, trying to pretend I wasn’t going to throw up all over my beautiful dress.

A rush of relief came over me as I got out of the car at the venue, I started to chill out again and catch my breath. I stood by a large wooden door, which my soon to be husband was standing behind and waited to go and speak to the registrar. It was a weird feeling knowing he was right there, we hadn’t seen each other since Saturday afternoon and hadn’t spoken all day. Finally it was my turn to go in, I met with the registrar and the lady in charge of the marriage licence – both really lovely! And then it was time to get hitched.

THE CEREMONY

The girls and I were ushered round the back of the venue and my dad came to meet me inside. We were to be married under an arch in the flower garden (thank god the weather was so beautiful) and we would be walking out of the coach house which led us straight down the aisle. I had picked Jason Mraz I wont give up as our song to walk out to and me and the girls had been practicing our timings the night before. (why is my heart beating so fast while I write this?!?! lol)

Basically there was a certain part of the song that I wanted to walk out to but it was like 2 minutes in, being a nice person I had pre-warned Jon of this (I didn’t want him to think I’d done a runner) but the rest of the guests were clueless. I sent the bridesmaids out at the first chorus and waited for my cue, I could see my family looking at me through the window like what are you doing?? Even my dad was like can we go yet?

Eventually it was our time and we walked out of those double doors and down the aisle. I don’t think I noticed anything except Jon, I was SO HAPPY and SO in love. It sounds cheesy but it’s true. My dad basically ran me down the aisle almost dragging me down the steps we had to manoeuvre on the way and then there I was, face to face with my almost Husband!

The ceremony was great, neither of us messed up our lines, I felt so calm, I didn’t cry – it literally couldn’t have gone any better. I’ve recently watched it back and one of my personal highlights was the moment they ask if anyone objects, I turn around to survey our guests and when nobody say’s anything I turn back and say WINNING … *insert monkey covering face emoji*

So there we were, husband and wife. We kissed, signed the register, had some pictures and walked back down the aisle (to Stevie Wonder’s signed sealed delivered of course) greeted with a glass of bubbly each and time to mingle with our guests.

POST CEREMONY

Originally I had planned to go straight into photos and not give anyone anything to drink until they were finished – apparently this is really harsh!? Who knew hahaha.

Instead we took some time to say hello to our guests and thank them all for joining us, let them neck some drinks and then we started on the photo’s. I thought this would be super stressful but like everything else so far, it went without a hitch! (Thanks in a major part to Jon’s best man who was running back and forth into the venue grabbing the people we needed – most of whom, he had no idea of, so I was pretty impressed!)

It also helped that Stacey is just fab! So personable and friendly but also knows what she wants and how to get it! (Stacey was actually a guest at the wedding too and did all our photo’s for the day whilst occasionally having to breast feed and attend to her baby who was being looked after by her husband – I know right #girlboss!)

Our singer arrived around 5pm and set up outside, I grabbed her and her boyfriend some drinks and got lost in her beautiful voice! Seriously you need to see this girl sing. It was such a chilled vibe and so perfect for our day. (Check out Cat’s social media here) It was also really nice to have them stick around for a while after Cat had finished singing.

Then came the food. OH THE PIG! I only managed to have a small plate of meat but everyone was loving that succulent babe! If you’re looking for a hog (I mean who isn’t?!) Definitely check out David Long. It was a serious hit with the guests and went so well with our laid back vibe… no table plans, no stuffy sit down dinners, just grab some pig and carry on with your day!

At around 6pm Jon and I went off to have our oh so cute pictures, the ones you put on your lounge wall and show your kids in years to come. I promptly swiped a bottle of cava from the bar for the 3 min walk #classyweddinggoals. We decided to have our photos in this beautiful gated garden not far from the coach house (the grounds of this place are amazing and open to the public so definitely get yourself down there one day.) I’d visited the garden a few times before the wedding so I already had some ideas of my own but Stacey was great at figuring out what we should do and I’m sure you’ll agree they came out great!

Then all my “jobs” were done, get married – check, photo’s – check…. time to relax. Jon on the other hand, was not feeling the same as it was almost speech time!

Around 7pm after the singer had finished and the pig had been devoured we moved everyone inside so we could cut the cake. (We literally just stabbed it, no cake smooshing was ruining my face!) Then it was time for speeches.

My mum went first and gave a short but sweet speech welcoming Jon to our little family and telling tales of baby Laura. Next was Jenna, my made of honour, who reminisced about our dodgy teenage days, our 16 years of memories and her love for me…  (well what can I say haha!) she is a great public speaker so it went down a treat! Laughs, awww’s, the lot!Next up was Jon, now me and Jon had discussed his speech before and I told him it was customary for the groom to say lovely things about the bride… being totally unromantic and literally hating public displays of affection he promptly told me there was no way that was happening. Well that cheeky so and so lied and he said such lovely things, not only about me but my bridesmaids and our families – great job!! And then the best man’s speech, the one everyone is waiting for. Now Mitch had previously done a speech at a friend of ours wedding and (soz pal) but it was a bit crap. Thank god he pulled it out the bag for ours though! He reminisced about him and Jon and was super nice about me (having to put up with him and his ways for so long!) he even did an unintentional mic drop LOL.

Ok so I lied, the “jobs” weren’t totally done and I almost forgot the first dance ooops!!! We had chosen Rod Stewart’s Have I Told You Lately and it was the perfect classic love song! We swayed, we kissed and we sang to eachother, it was so lovely! (and a rarity as Jon hates to dance.) Then we called the others onto the dancefloor to join us for the rest of the song. Surrounded by all our friends and family dancing together into the evening.

And that was it, all the formalities were over and it was officially PARTY TIME! There was plenty of bubbles, multiple shots and ALOT of dancing. I think I lost my shoes within about 5 mins (and they were flats!) I literally had the best time – all my friends, family and new family in one place celebrating a love me and Jon have had for 9 years!!!! It was the most amazing end to the perfect day!

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POST WEDDING

Me and Jon got back to the cottage, my dress was filthy and ripped, Jon struggled to undo my mountain of buttons, we ate meats, pitta and hummus in bed and the rest is history!!

(alright, yes we did it – I know that’s what you’re all wondering you saucy devils (sorry mum hahaha!))

Next stop….. our mini-moon to Rome….

Peace and love xoxo

What happens in Weymouth….

If you are a regular reader of Life By Laura you may have seen a previous post on my tip to Dorset (if not click here). Basically a school friend of mine made the big move this year and Jenna and I had so much fun visiting last time that we decided to go again!

The only difference was she had moved (again!) from Bere Regis to Blandford Forum. After a quick discussion deciding whether our “new home” gift/card was sufficient for both moves (we agreed that it was). We promptly booked our tickets.

Our previous journey down to Dorset had been delightful, full of snacks, canned cocktails and most importantly space! This time we were not so lucky. After spending too long enjoying ourselves in the Natural Kitchen at Waterloo we swiftly realised that we had 10 minutes to board our train. We made a quick dash to M&S to get supplies but to our dismay (and by that I mean utter torture) we had to abandon our wine and crisps because the queue was HUGE. We ran through the ticket barriers and along side the train to try and find a seat. LOL good one girls, you booked the busiest train and you now have to stand up for the 2 hour journey – hope your Natural Kitchen was worth it. (It totally was by the way.)

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Don’t feel too bad for us (although I’m sure you don’t anyway) because we made some fab tipsy train friends. Charlie – I hope you won your boat race around the Isle of Wight and to the ladies who had spent the day at Buckingham palace – I hope you got to finish your wine and your prawns weren’t ruined.

FINALLY we arrived at Poole, greeted by Holly (and a bottle of wine). We drove to Holly’s new place. Which happened to be the 2 bedroom flat of dreams, an amazing registered building of high ceilings and arched walls. We drank wine, ate snacks and tried failed to keep quiet so as not to disturb her new house mate. Probably the biggest feat of the whole evening though, was the three of us trying to put a camp bed together – the amount of innuendo’s filling the room would have made you blush (or maybe not, I mean I don’t know how your mind works.)

We had pre-planned our activities for Saturday, an early morning drive to the New Forest for bike rides in the wilderness followed by a boozy night in Bournemouth. All of which was thrown out of the window when we were offered a caravan in Weymouth!!!! (I know what you’re thinking, not quite as hip, cool or instagramable as option A but stay with me here.)

We started the day in a cute little tea room (literally in the same building as Holly’s flat) and I devoured the most delicious bacon and cheese bagel I have ever set eyes on. Then it was Weymouth time! The excitement in that car would have made you think we were off to Disney.

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Arriving at the Caravan we were unable to check in for another couple of hours BUT that was not a problem due to fact that Holly had pre-booked us a private spa to fill the time! (Suddenly Weymouth is sounding more glam, right?!) For 2 hours we were escorted to this little haven, including our own private Jacuzzi (which was huge), a sauna, steam room and aromatherapy shower where essential oils flowed through the water – dreamy! The best part was, we were able to bring a bottle of prosecco with us AND it was only £15 each!

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After 2 hours in a spa any ideas of going out had been thoroughly squashed so we set about creating the best girls night in EVER (which obviously meant stocking the caravan with as much booze and food as possible!)

So here’s how our night evolved – 7 bottles of prosecco, a bottle of sangria and a jug of daiquiri consumed. A meat, cheese and bread platter, 2 pizzas, popcorn, chocolate, crisps and hummus also consumed. 2 full films and half of 2 other films watched. Tunes listened to. Dancing, singing, laughing and an anecdote that shall remain between friends (what happens in Weymouth…). And we did it and all in the comfort of our little carva-van (Cleverly renamed by Jenna!)

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We ended our trip with a cute walk along Weymouth beach and a mad dash back to Poole station resulting in us missing our pre-booked train home – oops!

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As I get older, going out gets less and less appealing and this weekend just confirmed that for me! I don’t doubt that we would have had a lovely time out on the town in Bournemouth BUT I can guarantee that we had the best weekend in Weymouth with our comfy’s on surrounded by all we could possibly need. (We definitely left with less money guilt… although way more food guilt.)

If you take anything from this post take away the idea of a night in, or a weekend in. Take a trip or stay at home but do not get out of your pjs, make sure you are fully stocked and get your best people around you – trust me you wont regret it.

(this post should 100% have been sponsored by prosecco – maybe I should take out shares?!)

Peace and Love xoxo

How do you cope with wedding blues?

This is more of a question post than an answer cause at the moment I’m not really sure!

I realise I’ve not yet written about the wedding but I can’t wrap my head around how I can possibly describe the most amazing day of my life in order to give it the justice it deserves! A post on our minimoon to Rome will also be on its way but today I need to talk about this post wedding limbo I’m in, I need to get it all out so I can move on from it – does that make sense?

Let me first get this straight, I’m in no way depressed about it and I’m still on such a massive high from the wedding, I couldn’t be happier right now about being married and the life we have ahead of us. I’m just a bit overwhelmed on the whole getting back to reality thing; catching up on work and washing and tidying, in a way that makes me want to pack up my bags and move me, my new husband and my cat to a desert island so we don’t have to deal with it.

Firstly I need to change my name and Lord Jesus let me tell you there is a whole host of things you won’t even think of that you need to change your name on! My banks already screwed it up on the name change front and ended up sending me 2 credit cards in my old name – not all bad I suppose! But yeah that’s a brain teaser!

Next getting back to work and trying to summon up some motivation when you have SO MUCH to do is a little daunting!

And the flat, oh cripes the flat needs some love but I’ve taken to eating left over wedding cake in bed watching YouTube videos rather than actually doing anything about it!

And lastly the weight, I got down to a champion weight for the wedding and without wanting to sound big headed I looked bloody great in that dress, and I deserved to cause I worked really hard for it!! Now…. I’ve been enjoying the finer things in life, napping, Carbs, cheese! And lots of it so yeah I put on half a stone in 2 weeks but don’t tell anyone that part.

All of this that i’m feeling now though, is 1million times worth it and I would do it over and over again!!!! If only weddings were like Christmas! But yeah yesterday I was feeling like a total misog and I could not snap out of it! (It didn’t help that a woman working in new look decided to tell me she used to have awful skin too and used whatever it was to clear it up – cheers babe I love it when people basically call me a cretin on my lunch break). However, I have an air of change in me today (I think it’s the new top I got!) and I’m hoping that I can muster up all the motivation, smash out some amazing work and go home with some left over to sort out the flat!

Personally for me, I know that exercising again will spark all of this BUT I have so much stuff to do going to the gym on my break isn’t really the best use of my time right now. Also I’m sure you’ve all been in that position where you know exercise will help but, you cannot be bloody bothered!

So yep this is me, post wedding, learning to live in the normal world again! Any tips throw them my way please🙂 also any desert island tickets would be fab, cheers pals!

Peace and love xoxo

PS I wrote this on the train this morning and between now and then I’ve been nailing life so the whole getting it on the blog and out my head thing seems to have worked! Thumbs up for blog therapy.

Yo! Sushi 

It feels like an absolute lifetime ago that I was invited to try some new dishes at Yo! Sushi …. I mean I’m practically a different person now! (Well I have a different name at least but more on that to come soon.)

I’ve not always been a fan of sushi, in fact the thought of it used to make me want to vom in my mouth but I was a sheltered individual, food wise anyway! I stuck to my bland, beige basics and that was me.

Let’s just say I’m soooo glad that I became more adventurous cause boy was I missing out on some sweet sweet food delights.

So about 3 weeks ago I headed to yo sushi in Chelmsford for the second time ever with a friend of mine. I’d been invited to try the new poke dishes on the menu as well as sample a couple of signature cocktails. Yep Yo! Sushi does cocktails, well the Chelmsford one does, in fact they’re the only one, so make sure you check that one out if you decide to go to any!

Out of the 4 poke dishes available we sampled 2, one meat (chicken) and one fish (salmon). Personally I preferred the chicken one cause you can’t beat a bit of chicken really can you.

Not realising how filling these dishes would be we decided to order an array of other menu items, which in hindsight was NOT needed (but welcomed none the less)! The poke bowls are a pretty hefty portion in themselves, they could definitely do you for lunch and with Yo! Sushi’s take away option you can either sit in or grab and dash back to the office! (We have also been teased with the idea that a cheeky delivery service may become available once the John Lewis complex is open…. That’s right guys and gals, Deliveroo is coming to Chelmsford! What next Uber????)

Anyway back to food…. The poke dishes were filled with so much flavour (although I took the ginger strips out of mine ’cause I made the mistake of eating one of those before and was NOT a fan!) They aren’t stingy on the ingredients they give you, especially the rice – so much rice!!! And aside from this they actually look exactly like the pictures which I think is pretty rare in the food industry.

The other menu items we ordered were Soft shell crab tempura, Tuna sushi rolls and Ebi fry curry (prawn katsu)…. I have to say the crab was definitely my fave!


Then for dessert, the ice cream mochi’s and the less I say about these the better because they were not for me! (My friend on the other hand really enjoyed them so don’t rule them out purely on my opinion.) These new dessert balls were creamy in the middle and squidgy on the outside… I just could not get my head around the layer of rice stuff on the outside so yeah maybe it’s your thing maybe it’s not! (Flavours are mango, salted caramel, sesame seed and coconut.)

Now cocktails! I actually visited Yo! Sushi on my first day off of the 2 weeks I took to get married so I was totally in the celebratory mood! There are 3 cocktails on the menu and we tried 2 – the mojito which was actually delicious! I’m always skeptical of a mojito because although it’s pretty easy to make its not easy to make well! The second cocktail I forget the name of but was essentially kiwi and prosecco and it looked great!!! Got to love those insta worthy cocktails eh!? It helped that it tasted fab too, so fresh and fruity without being too much.

During our visit we got to speak to the manager quite a bit and it was instantly easy to see how passionate he was about the brand. He seemed like a pretty enthusiastic and creative guy so keep an eye out on the Chelmsford branch ’cause I vision all sorts going on here! I believe they even had a live music night for the V festival weekend.

We were also informed of the teaching side of things…. I’m sure you’re all aware of the cocktail master classes you can go to but here they offer sushi making classes! Perfect for those who don’t drink OR big sushi lovers! There are also classes available for kids using only vegetables and of course, no sharp objects! The manager is looking to get into schools to promote this little ninja initiative which I think is great! We need to teach our younger generation how to prepare good fresh food so if you have any mini ninjas yourself deffo get them signed up!

Overall I’m really impressed with Yo! Sushi in Chelmsford. To me Yo! Sushi always seemed, from the outside, to be an in and out no personality kind of place due to the conveyor belt sending all your dishes round but I couldn’t have been more wrong. On my two visits I’ve had a great experience and will definitely be heading back at some point!


Do you have a Yo! Sushi near you? Have you tried the new poke dishes? Let me know what you think!!!!

If you want to check out their website you can do so here: YO! SUSHI

Peace and Love xoxo

#bigbloggerexpo – Food

As promised here is the first in my series of spin off’s from the big blogger expo and what better way to start than with one of my true loves…. Food!

Food is a glorious thing, not only nourishing our bodies and keeping them going but also giving us all the feels, comfort and inside hugs! (Let’s ignore the part where it can makes us squidgy emotional wrecks shall we?!)

So let’s dive in….. (I could dive into a pool of cheddar right now mmmmmm 17 days without it guys, give me strength!)

Chia Bia

Ok so first up is ChiaBia a company started by Barrie Rogers and Ray Owens, their main aim – bringing affordable Chia to Europe. Why? Because it’s amazing!

You may have heard chia seeds described as a super food and Barrie discovered first hand that this was the case when they aided his recovery from a back injury with their anti inflammatory properties.

Other such benefits include:

Antioxidants

Nutrients

Lower risk of heart disease

You can research these benefits and more yourself but you get the gist…. They’re bloody awesome!

Chia Bia kindly gifted a packet of their seeds and a bar. Now I’m no stranger to chia and usually incorporate the seeds into my overnight oats for breakfast! They give it an interesting texture and a little crunch but have no real taste – just tons of goodness.

The chia bar I had never tried before but it was so good! It’s a perfect on the go snack to curb those cravings! It’s not totally healthy but it’s a great alternative to that kit Kat or twix! It’s also super textured which I love! I’m deffo a texture girl, I’m more likely not to like something for that rather than taste. No taste is over powering either so it should be pretty palatable to everyone.


You can find out more information on the company and what they offer here… CHIA BIA

Aduna

Aduna treated us to some of their baobab powder. Baobab is another superfood – it is a 100% natural and organic African fruit.


Benefits include:

Immune function

Skin health

Energy release

Again, like the chia seeds I added this to my overnight oats. It gave my breakfast a subtle citrus flavour…. Perfect for people who aren’t keen on adding whole pieces of fruit to their oats but wanting to reap the benefits!

Not only this but the company itself have a fantastic mission! Their aim is to create sustainable livelihoods in rural Africa. So you aren’t just getting fab nutrients into your body, you are also helping communities in need! What’s not to love?

Find out more here: ADUNA

Ombar 

Ok this was by far my favourite food item that I received!

I’m not the biggest chocolate fan in the world and I’m not a great lover of dark chocolate as its way too bitter for my liking but after reading about the benefits of cacao, I started to introduce it into my diet. I currently add cacao to my overnight oats and occasionally make energy balls with it too.


Benefits of cacao include: 

Hormone balancing

Protects heart

Mood enhancing

Helps shed fat

Yep, it tastes like chocolate BUT it’s so good for you! It’s like a dream come true.

I don’t find it to be as bitter as dark chocolate but it’s not quite as milky and dreamy as dairy milk.

Then Ombar came along with its “coco mylk” bar and OH MY LIFE it’s delicious! So creamy and like velvet on your tongue. BUT it’s totally dairy free which is great if you’re lactose intolerant, vegan or if you’re like me, cutting down to help with skin issues.


To get your hands on these babies and find out more about the benefits and processes head to the website here: OMBAR

Borders Biscuits

Now it’s not every day that you’re gifted two dark chocolate gingers! No!? Too dad joke?? You’re right lets pretend that never happened!

Ok so biscuits…..

I’ve actually only recently got into ginger and usually have it in the form of herbal tea (or ginger beer with my rum). I was actually pleasantly surprised to note that I really enjoyed these biscuits, especially as they were dark chocolate but the tastes paired nicely!

This may not be as healthy as the other items mentioned but if you’re after a decadent little treat and you’re a ginger fan, then this my friend might just be for you, with its fiery kick and it’s delectable crunch. It’s probably the naughtiest thing I’ve eaten for some time now which probably goes towards why I enjoyed it so much!

Borders “about us” section on their website may be one of the most British things I’ve ever read! But you can tell that they’re are passionate about biscuits and what they can represent, therefore striving for quality in every crumb! Follow this link to find out more: BORDER BISCUITS

Let me know if you try any of these yummy treats or if they are already a personal fave’s of yours!

Peace and Love xoxo

PS I wrote this post a while ago so my 17 days without cheddar is now about 10 mins BUT I did go for a whole 4 months without any so yeah there’s that. I’m also eating cake as I edit this … don’t judge!

Getting wedding ready…

17 DAYS TO GO GUYS! Just in case you were wondering🙂

I’m currently feeling like a shell of my former self, I am a hormonal, emotional, lethargic little bean and I need to get a grip!

Why am I feeling like this? Oh let me see… mother nature has reared her ugly head! My flat is an absolute tip (you know they say clean home, clean mind…. well currently I am the opposite with no real energy to do anything about it) and lastly I HAVEN’T HAD CHEESE FOR 12 DAYS!!

Who even am I?!?

Ok so I know giving up cheese is a bit drastic, and when I say a bit I mean catastrophic disaster leading me to be on the verge of a bitch fit 24/7! BUT I want to be beautiful on my wedding day so swings and roundabouts.

We all know dairy is not kind to the skin so I am trying to cut waaaaaaaaaaaay down in the hopes that I am basically the new gold snapchat filter on the day!

Please #prayforLaura at this difficult time….  although probably more necessary #prayforJon!

But in all seriousness I am truly trying to clean up my diet… It currently consists of a lot of chicken, salmon and spinach! Cutting down on anything processed, dairy or carby.

I did purchase the Nutribuddy 2 week kit but tbh I’m not great with taking things or having to use my brain for anything that is not wedding related right now. I have had the odd protein shake though (sometimes in the space of breakfast when I haven’t had time to get anything).

I’ve also been upping my gym game! My main classes at the moment are, bootybarre, burn 360 and body pump (well I did my first pump class yesterday and nearly died but I plan to carry on!) I’m also partial to a body attack class but my ankle has decided to swell up so that’s fab! Better keep to the lower impact options.

The above classes focus mainly on muscle tone/building with some cardio type sections (which are absolutely killer). Both burn 360 and pump incorporate weights, where bootybarre is about using your body weight and doing all these weird squat moves until you want to scream – sounds great right?! Body attack on the other hand  is running and jumping around like a lunatic, sweating out of places you never knew existed!

Ok I’m not really selling this to you am I?! These classes are actually really fun… well I think so anyway. Maybe I’m weirdly sadistic without realising but we all know that exercise releases endorphins and therefore makes you happy soooooooo there’s that.

I tell you what doesn’t make me happy…. this cute little bloat I’ve got going on the day before my final dress fitting.

Can we all just take a second to appreciate how hard being a girl is?!

Ok so I don’t really know where I’m going with this post?! Basically wedding prep physically is going well, emotionally – well that’s debatable!

All jokes aside I am SO BLOODY EXCITED! Only one full week left at work and then shit gets real! Only 17 more days as Miss Laura Butcher till I start a brand new life as Mrs Grant (which begins with me stuffing all the pizza, cheese and pasta into my face on our trip to Rome – Oh lord I can’t wait.)

Peace and Love xoxo

#BigBloggerExpo

Normally Sunday’s are for laying around in your pants watching Netflix BUT sometimes something comes along to change those very important plans.

This Sunday, that came in the shape of the Big Blogger Expo! An event hosted by LDN Meet Up in order to get bloggers and brands together.

So off I headed to the Danubius hotel in London, sun shining and resisting the urge to play Pokemon go cause girl needed that phone battery to last!

Luckily, I’m not the kind of person who is afraid to attend events alone and I’ll often say yes without really thinking too much about it. For some reason though I couldn’t shake thoughts of walking around by myself all day (as I have done previously) and let’s just say, it didn’t give me all the feels!

However, when I arrived any such thoughts were totally diminished as I bumped into numerous bloggers I’d met at previous events. It’s so nice to see those friendly familiar faces and feel like you’re not totally alone! It also made me realise that I’m not doing too bad… as bloggers we all have those “am I good enough” “what am I doing” “does anyone actually read this” phases and this was just a small affirmation that hey, you’re doing ok!

Obviously there’s too many blogger babes to mention but I just wanted to give a particularly massive shout out to the following girls for making it such a fab day, Char, Emma, Maryam and obviously Lauren and Abi who put so much time and effort into the event.

Onto the event itself…

Well, it was beautifully set out across two separate rooms making it spacious enough to comfortably speak to each brand in turn without feeling like you’re being swamped. The brands were so lovely and really interesting, happy to answer any questions and super enthusiastic about what they were doing. I think it’s a real testament to a product or a service, when the sales people look genuinely excited about it.

Lauren had come up with a new system for this years event; all blogger attendees were required to get a stamp from every brand before being able to collect their goody bag at the end of the day.

Personally I think this is a great idea! It really weeds out the good from the bad and ensures that us bloggers actually take some time to build a relationship or at least strike up a conversation with a brand in order to be rewarded with amazing products. Cause is that not why we are there in the first place?! It also means that certain brands who may not have had as much attention, actually get to see and speak to everyone.

For example I wouldn’t ordinarily have spoken to the baby stall, not having children myself however, I actually found the whole concept really interesting and the prices to be super reasonable. I mean who doesn’t know someone who’s having a baby right now? It seems like everyone’s pregnant!!!

And same goes for the cosmetic surgery stand who were extremely informative on what they offer and how it all works, I don’t know if it’s something I would personally consider but it’s nice to know your options and be fully aware of what’s available.

I will be doing some separate review posts on the attending brands, testing out some of the products we were given and these will most likely be grouped in categories like food brands and beauty brands so keep an eye out for those!

I think events like this are so useful especially if you’re newer to blogging. It gives you a safe and friendly environment in which to network and showcase your blog, your skills and yourself! I know a lot of people can get nervous or anxious about going to these things but I really couldn’t recommend them more, not only are you put in contact with some fantastic brands which could see you building life long partnerships, you also get to meet new people and make genuine friends with people who understand your passion, what it is you actually do and how much time and effort you put in!

I’ve been to a couple of LDN Meet Up events now and have always come away feeling so positive and motivated! Lauren is fantastic at not only coming up with these ideas but putting them into practice, so another massive thanks to her! Make sure you check out the website for upcoming events – especially the newly announced masquerade ball which is set to take place in November!!

If you have any questions about these events or anything else I’ve mentioned then please let me know or feel free to give Lauren a shout on social media🙂

Peace and love xoxo