Fitness Friday – My Winter Cycling Gear

It’s that time of year again where all of us fitness freaks have to dig out their winter kit, or buy new winter kit because you’ve either lost weight since last winter, or your body shape has changed entirely over the year. Normally, I would just stick to the stuff that I had last year, but I’ve actually gained a bit of weight across the year, and normally I’m not committed enough to take my exercising outside in the winter months. This year, I’ve decided to man up and actually continue to do some exercise and thus ended up buying some winter cycling gear to help me on my merry fitness way (and hopefully, lose that weight I’ve gained this year!)

DHB Softshell Jacket – I bought this with money that I received for my birthday, however, they don’t do the colour that I bought it in any more. I opted for the burgundy one because I love burgundy normally and it goes so beautifully with my bike. This jacket is so warm, it’s unbelievable. It’s a windstopper which is exactly what I wanted, but it’s thermal as well and is insanely fleecy inside. I’m very happy with my purchase. We went out in 2 degree weather and I was still perfectly warm!

Boardman Thermal Tights – what I absolutely love about these thermal tights is the reflective detailing on them which is so important with the dark, wintery nights setting in. Again, the tights are so warm, an excellent fit and the padding in them is superb (my bum was not sore in any way shape or form after a 30 mile test ride). The only downside to the tights is that they’re regular tights, they’re not bib tights. However, having said that, the waist band goes up high enough that you won’t need to worry about flashing your builders bum at any riders behind you or any passing cars!

I am still missing some cosy winter riding gloves, thermal base layers and overshoes (and socks for that matter), so if anyone has any recommendations then let me know!


One Christmas In Paris – Mandy Baggot

After joining Netgalley a few years ago, I discovered Mandy Baggot and I’ve been hooked ever since. Every time one of her books is on for review, I MUST, MUST, MUST get it. As a result of that, I’ve had this book for review for about a year and it’s about that I actually got around to reading it as her new Christmas read is out shortly.

I read quite a variety of books and particularly around Christmas time, I love picking up a good romance novel and Mandy Baggot delivers every time. I would highly recommend her novels if you’re wanting a light, fluffy, easy read that you will not be able to put down from the moment you start reading. One Christmas In Paris follows Ava post-breakup as she goes to Paris with her best friend Debs on a mission to forget about her cheating ex and the fact that she left her job. What Ava isn’t expecting is to bump into dreamy Julien on their first night in Paris, and the sparks start flying. But what is Julien hiding and can he be trusted to mend her broken heart?

One Christmas in Paris will have you dreaming of travelling to Paris, whether you’ve been there before or not. Mandy Baggot paints such a vivid and romantic picture of Paris during winter, you’ll be drooling over all the food Ava is eating and you’ll be dreaming about Monsieur Fitoussi whenever you’re not reading the book.  Baggot’s writing will have you routing for Ava, hating Ava’s pushy mother and wanting to curl up on the sofa with a hot chocolate and a pain au chocolate next to your Christmas tree.

Honestly, if you’re a fan of Lindsay Kelk or Giovanna Fletcher, I would highly recommend that you try Mandy Baggot. There are plenty of books to catch up if you’ve never read any of her books before and her newest Christmas read is out now too!

*I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

November TBR

It’s been a while since I’ve done a book blog post! I’ll have a review or two coming in the next week or so too so do not dispair. What’s on my reading plans for the upcoming month? We’ll keep reading to find out.

1. The One That Got Away -Melissa Pimentel

I’m 300% sure that this book has been on my TBR list at least three times before but this time I’m actually going to read it. I got it for review from Netgalley before it first came out and I’ve just never gotten round to reading it. But I need to up my Netgalley feedback percentage so I’m making my way through all my Netgalley requests!

2. One Christmas Kiss in Notting Hill – Mandy Baggot

I discovered Mandy Baggot through Netgalley and now whenever she releases a book, I have to request it! With the nights getting colder and darker, a cozy Christmas romance is exactly what I need before bedtime! With my electric blanket and a hot choc of course! 

3. The Lies of Locke Lamora – Scott Lynch

I’m about a quarter of the way through the audio book of this and I’m not overly enjoying it at the moment. But it’s keeping my company on my commutes to and from work so I’ll persevere with it (although it’s like 20 hours long!) 

What is on your TBR this month? Are you turning to cozy Christmas reads now that it’s getting colder too? 

Weekend Wanders – Muckmedden Fair City Enduro

Boyfriend was taking part in  the Muckmedden Fair City Enduro in Perth on the 21st October and I went along with him to take photos of the competitors and to support him. Missed opportunity as I should have take a banner to try and embarrass him, hindsight is a wonderful thing!

I ended up having a picnic at the Deuchny Wood jump park, where two of the enduro stages passed by each other. I got a few photos of the competitors doing one of the larger jumps at the jump park. 

One of the unique things about the Fair City Enduro is that because it is the last enduro race before Halloween, the competitors are encouraged to dress up in fancy dress on the day. There were riders dressed as the Cookie Monster, a banana and the Doppler Effect! 

And of course, I witnessed a couple of crashes and even managed to capture one of them! The racer was okay! 
A great day was had by all, I enjoyed my wander through the woods and managed to walk ten miles! We then enjoyed pizza at a restaurant  called Duo which was delicious! 

Five Ways I’m Going Green – November 2017

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Five Ways post, but boy does it feel good! I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how to up my eco-living and how to take the next few steps to being zero waste. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not taking the plunge and doing everything at once, because that wouldn’t work for me, I need little changes that I can manage to get me there. But I am excited for making the next few changes and I’ve been thinking long and hard about what they should be. 

1. Loose Leaf Tea – I didn’t ever think about tea bags. I was ignorant to the fact that the majority of them are not biodegradable. So I’ve purchased a tea infuser and I’m going to start using it, my only issue is that I can’t find any decaf loose leaf! I’m also super annoyed with myself because I saw a tea infuser in a charity shop for pennies a few weeks ago and when I went back with my purse a few days later, it had been snapped up! I should have gone back instantly! 

2. No Diet Coke – I’m in the process of weaning myself off of Diet Coke. I’ve said this many times in my Healthy Habits posts but I’ve never stuck to it. When I was away on holiday recently and didn’t have any, I had THE WORST headaches every day because of it. No matter how much water I drank, it didn’t shift it. What a waste of metal (I have cans not bottles) and what has it been doing to my health? 

3. Wholefoods – wholefoods is actually quite rare in the UK, there are very few wholefoods shops and very few places to bulk buy, but I have a little shop in my town which has bulk spices and herbs and I’ve started going there with my spices jars when they’ve run out to get them refilled. Little bit less waste in the world. They also grind coffee for you in bulk too, must look there for loose leaf tea! 

4. Join the Library – i used to be an avid library user and I don’t know why I stopped. Even when I was at uni, I would frequent my library often. I need to get back into borrowing books rather than buying, saves cutting down a tree and it saves me money!

5. Netgalley – so this one only really applies to book bloggers but use Netgalley for ARC ebooks. I’ve had many a hidden gem from them for review and they’re all ebooks so there is no tree harmed in the making of them. 

What are your top tips for going green and zero waste? I’d love new ideas! 

Top Five Favourites – Netflix Programmes

Okay, so it’s getting to cosy indoor weather again, which for me and Boyfriend, it means that we spend a lot more of our evenings indoors and watching the TV. I’ve had Netflix since I was a uni student and it’s definitely a service that I would not go without again so long as it’s online. So today, I thought I would share with you guys my top five Netflix must watches! I’m not meaning Netflix Originals because that could be a post in and of itself at some point in the future, I’m just talking about programmes that are available to watch on the UK version of Netflix.

1. Daredevil – I’m not overly keen on the rest of the Marvel Netflix programmes, but boy did I love Daredevil. Boyfriend and I are currently on round two of season two watching because The Punisher is my absolute favourite. I love the idea of Daredevil, a blind superhero because he has the perfect daily disguise. Let’s be honest here, you wouldn’t expect a blind lawyer to be the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen, would you?

And can I just take a second here to rave about how excited I am about the thought of The Punisher being released onto Netflix soon!?

2. Stranger Things – I’ll be honest here, I didn’t really fancy watching Stranger Things in the beginning because I’m not really that into creepy programmes. However, Boyfriend made me watch it and I ended up loving it. We actually became addict and binge watched the whole series in about 3 nights! And can I just mention the fact that season two is out in a few days? SO EXCITED!

3. The Gilmore Girls – I’m meaning the original series here, I wasn’t a huge fan of the reboot. Particularly not keen on what they did to Rory’s character, but hey, it was still worth a watch. I am a huge Gilmore Girls fan, and I regularly (probably a couple of times a year) re-watch the series in their entirety. Just so you know, I’m definitely team Logan, although I have always had a soft spot for Jess.

Just for full disclosure, I have the DVDs of the Gilmore Girls and I’ve never actually watched it on Netflix.

4. Homeland – oh my days, where do I even begin? I freaking love this programme. It’s right up my street because it totally challenges you’re perspective on good and bad (and who can be a terrorist) and calls into question what the governments are willing to do to ‘protect’ their own people. My dad told me to watch this for months and years before I finally actually did it and I wish I had done it sooner. I’m late to the party, as season seven is now out on DVD but it’s so good and I don’t actually know anyone bar my Dad who has watched this series.

5. Suits – Another TV series that I was late to the party with, but fell in love with and binge watched. Plus it does help that Patrick J Adams is gorgeous to look at! I’ve not actually watched the latest series that’s available online but I will get around to it now that the weather is getting colder and that the dark nights are setting in.

What are your favourite programmes on Netflix at the moment? I’m always on the look out for some new programmes to watch!


Life Reflection 

Something happened last week that made me stop and think about how lucky I am in life and how much I appreciate and love everyone that I’m surrounded by on a daily basis. 

One of the ladies that I work with, her husband left the house as normal in the morning and was involved in a motorbike accident. He won’t ever come home again and that breaks my heart. How many times have I rushed out the door and yelled goodbye, assuming that Boyfriend and I will both make it home safely that night? Anything can happen and I want to make sure that each and every day, my family and friends know that I love them.  

It’s made me realise that every second of life should be enjoyed, even the mundane, everyday things. Nothing is important enough to have an argument about it and fall out, disagree and move on and still love each other. The age old reminder to never leave or go to bed on an argument is something that has definitely struck home with me 

I’m a very sentimental person normally, but since the accident, I’ve become even more so. I cherish photos and memories and living in the moment in a way that I don’t think many people my age do. My home is covered in photos of my nearest and dearest and tokens of our friendships and relationships across the years. It’s such a special thing, to show your loved ones that they’re appreciated and it’s something that I’m going to focus on from now on. 

To my family and friends, I am always here for you, no matter the time of day. If you need me, I’ll answer the door or the phone. And I hope that you would do the same for me. 

Explore Scotland – Isle of Lewis

In August, we headed up to the Isle of Lewis to stay with a friend for a week and I thought I would document it and tell you guys how beautiful the island is. It’s not somewhere I ever dreamed of going (it certainly wasn’t on my travel bucketlist) but it’s now one of my favourite places. We’ve been before in 2016, and I was more than happy to go back for a week.

Although it’s quite a trek for us to get there, almost a full day of travelling, the journey is worth it when you get off the ferry and see how beautiful the island is. We stayed at Uig, as our friend works in the lodge there, so we literally travelled right across the island to get to our accommodation. We witnessed the most beautiful sunset as we drove to Uig.

The first day that we were on the island, the weather was horrible. Torrential rain and gale force winds which hampered any plans of exploring. We did attempt to go out sea fishing but we ended up drenched and turned back, although we did have to take the dog for a walk.

The rest of the week the weather was good, so we managed to get out and do a lot of the touristy bits and Boyfriend got out to do a lot of fishing (mainly in the sea). We did get the chance to go salmon fishing, although they were fishing in a loch that hadn’t been fished for salmon before so they didn’t actually catch anything. I spent the time reading and snoozing amongst the heather, that’s why our hobbies go so well together.

The one thing that I wanted to do when we were on Lewis was to go and see the old blackhouses that the crofters used to live in. We got to go inside Arnol blackhouse which is still set up as it was when it was lived in, complete with a peat fire constantly burning. Honestly, everything is just so picturesque on Lewis, it’s impossible to describe something well enough!

I would also recommend paying a visit to Mangersta Bothy, which is not to far from Uig. The bothy was built to commemorate the life of Linda Norgrove, who died during a rescue mission after she was kidnapped in Afghanistan. I honestly cannot think of a more special way to honour someone’s life, it’s a beautiful idea and the bothy could not be in a more perfect spot (it’s literally built into a cliff edge!)

Lewis is definitely one of my favourite places to go on holiday, I just love everything about it. The best part is definitely how out of touch with reality you are with the world, as unless you’re in Stornoway, you don’t get phone signal at all on the island!

October TBR

Another month, another TBR list! What’s on the agenda this month you ask? 

1.Salt to the Sea -Ruta Sepetys 

The last book I read by Ruta Sepetys was amazing and I definitely have high hopes with Salt to the Sea! I love a WW2 historical fiction novel so I can’t wait to get stuck into this book! 

2. The Lies of Locke Lamora – Scott Lynch

I’ve had this book as an audiobook for a while but I’ve never gotten round to listening to it. It’s 28 hours long which is daunting but I want to get cracking on it this month on my commutes to and from work! 

3. After You -Jojo Moyes 

I’ve been meaning to read After You since it came out and it’s just been sitting on my shelf gathering dust! Time to bust it out as the weather is getting to cosy weather and I love romance novels when it’s autumn and winter! 

What books are you picking up this month?  

Five Ways I’m Saving for a House

I’ve done a few posts on five ways I’m going green, zero waste, healthy etc before but I thought to make it a little more different that this time I would do a post on five ways I’m saving up for a mortgage down payment. I don’t know how many of you guys are like me, you’re in your mid twenties, have a decent full time job and you’re thinking about your future because let’s be honest, we’re getting older. I’ve been living with my boyfriend of almost six years for almost two years now and we’ve been talking about houses for a while. What’s the point of renting when you can buy and pay off a mortgage right? Here’s the thing, it’s a lot of money to put down a deposit on a house and it’s hard to save that money when you still want to have a life and you’ve already got rent to pay, a car, food etc. So I thought it might be an idea to show you a few way in which I’m making little adjustments that mean I can put more money away for a mortgage and hopefully you guys can give me more tips on how to save more money.

  1. Drink water – I’ve stopped buying juice/tea/coffee when I’m out and about and instead have been putting the equivalent money into a money jar when getting home. Now a couple of pound here and there might not sound like a lot but it adds up quite quickly and it’s a very simple way of saving. Ask for tap water when in restaurants, it’s more eco friendly (no plastic waste) and it’s better for your health than fizzy juice.
  2. Cash Only – I have a weekly budget and I withdraw the money on the same day each week (normally a Thursday depending on when I get paid) and it has to last me until the end of the week. If I run out of money then that’s tough, I have to live out of the freezer for the rest of the week and my other half knows that this is the way that my money works. I don’t include bills and petrol in this, the cash is only for food and any other products that I might need, but I allow myself normally £50 a week, which is more than enough and anything that is left over at the end of the week goes straight into my mortgage fund.
  3.  I’m only including this because it was my birthday last week and we’re all looking towards Christmas at the moment. I’ve been asking for practical (and maybe boring) presents for my birthday and Christmas. I really needed a new holdall as mine was falling apart, so that’s what I asked for from my boyfriend for my birthday. Mum and Dad gave me a voucher for the cinema and dinner so I can go to see Thor when it comes out and I don’t have to pay for that out of my weekly budget. My brother got me enough smellies that means I won’t have to buy shower gel for the foreseeable future. Might not be as exciting as a fancy handbag or the latest phone but it saves me money in the long run.
  4. Borrowing Books – This is more apt to me because I am a book blogger, but I’ve stopped buying books (or should I say new books because I still buy from the charity shop). I’ve taken to borrowing books from my family and friends, or swapping them locally for ones in my collection that I’ve read but don’t want to keep. I’m also looking at joining the library as that means an even bigger selection for me to read without having to spend money. I should also point out I have 200 books on my TBR list that I currently own but haven’t read so that should keep me going! I might start putting away a couple of pound each time I acquire a new book and it will still be cheaper than buying them new!
  5. Nights In with Friends – instead of having nights out and wasting lots of money on transport and drink, we’ve been having nights in with friends who each bring a bottle of wine (cheaper than going out for drinks) and having a games night in with dinner and drinks. Equally as fun if not more, it’s quieter so you can actually hold conversation and it means that anyone who has kids doesn’t have to miss out either, they can bring them along or they can host. You have as much fun for about a quarter of the price of going out to eat and drink.

I might make this a regular thing as there are so many other ways that I save money each month to try and squirrel away as much money for a house as possible. Have you guys got any tips on how else I can save?