Getting Wild In The City

 

SP gives it a month before I start whinging, but right now I’m kind of glad to see a bit of cloud.

 

It has been the most fantastic summer, hasn’t it?  The past few months have felt like we’ve been on a permanent holiday and it was bliss, but the heatwave has left me pretty lethargic at times, so I’m looking forward to some fresh air, a change of pace and a new season.

 

Not that I’m willing us bad weather.  Please don’t blame me if we have non-stop rain the next few months…

 

As the new season approaches I’m starting to pick out tops with sleeves from the wardrobe and shove the summer dresses to the back. I’ve even worn jeans a few times recently (didn’t thank myself for it afterwards!) and as I start to think about to wear I’m thinking of venturing back to shops.

 

I’ve have looked in the shops or online for a couple of months, there’s hasn’t been a need since I went holiday shopping as I then needed to wear my holiday at home while the temperatures were high, but now I’ve started to take some interest and we are starting to see new shapes and designs coming into store.

 

One look that is going to BIG this Autumn has to be animal print.  I know I mentioned it so many times since I started writing this blog, but really it’s going to be huge in the stores this season.  I’m glad I bought my midi leopard skirt from Zara way back as it will be on repeat with boots the next few months.

 

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Long gone are the days when leopard and zebra print fashion were seen as uncool.  Nowadays, animal prints are defined as neutrals by the fashionistas and there’s so much choice, from coats and bags, to belts and skirts that everyone can find their own inner animal and wear it with style.

 

I’ve worn my skirt with bright colours this Summer, but I’m also looking to buy a camel colour sweaters this Autumn and wear it with tan ankle boots. Then I’ll turn to skinny black turtle necks jumpers as we head toward winter.  Yes, I can lots of ways that it will continue to be a staple in my wardrobe.  Red also looks good, see above, but we careful to pare the red down or the two can become a little competitive for the attention.

 

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If you’re thinking of starting the transition into Autumn (and there’s no need to rush just yet) then here’s a few pieces I’ve pulled out from what’s new in store.  It you want to start out slow, choose a belt.  That’s where I started and now I wear head to toe leopard at times. LOL.

 

 

Have a great weekend!

 

Gail xxx

Coffee and Me

Credit: Snapbythree- va Unsplash

 

About a month before we went on holiday in June I decided to give up milky coffees.

 

I drink at least three or four coffees a day, two mugs before work and then one at nine and the other around 11 am.

 

Not only do I like the caffeine kick to help wake me up I love the taste.

 

That said, it was causing me two problems.  I was full before even thinking about breakfast and I think the dairy was leaving me bloated.  I’m not a doctor, but I’ve taken an intolerance test (Cambridge Nutritional Sciences) and know that cow’s milk and sady, cashew nuts, should be avoided.

 

Leaving the intolerance aside, not eating breakfast was leaving me with low reserves of energy to keep me going through the latter part of day, but also, I would eat most of my daily food intake during the evening, erm, and then go to sleep on a full stomach.

 

I was basically enduring a famine during the day, when I needed to nourish my body with energy-giving food the most, and then rewarding myself for getting through it at the end of the day.  What is she doing, I hear you cry?!

 

It’s amazing how you can pick up bad habits and live with them for a long time, without realising the harm they’re doing.  Perhaps these habits had been okay during my twenties and thirties, but not in my forties when I need all the energy I could get, and this pattern was obviously not helping.

 

So, my day needed a better start, but should I cut the coffee?

 

According to the British Coffee Association drinking coffee can have a positive effect on an individual’s alertness and concentration.  Well known for containing caffeine, a mild central nervous system stimulant, it can aid a better performance and benefit when an individual is feeling tired or lethargic.

Credit: Devin Avery pic via Unsplash

 

Keeping coffee in the equation was therefore a necessity and in truth a part of my daily routine I was keen to keep, so first off, I dropped the milk and went straight for an Americano (black coffee), using the same instant coffee, but to be honest without the milk is was a bit bland.

 

Luckily, we do have a Nespresso coffee machine that my mother-in-law bought us when we got married.  At the time we made lots of cappuccinos, but it hadn’t been regularly used for a while, so off I went to my nearest store at The Mall, Cribbs Causeway.

 

The assistant sat me down and asked me what type of flavour I was looking for.  Not being a connoisseur, and giving a poor description “uh, something quite strong please” she began pouring a few samples.  After a few that were too light and a couple that were too intense for me I ended up choosing Roma, which offers ‘a balance of lightly roasted south and Central American Arabicas with Robusta beans, giving it sweet and woody notes and a full lasting taste on the palate’.   Roma is an intensity level eight in flavour.

 

I have started enjoying two espressos in the morning, along with drinking lots of water throughout the day.  At first, I thought I would suffer a headache or two, but no those two small cups were enough to get me started and keep me going for some time.  I would then have an Americano around 11ish.

 

A new habit has been formed and because I’m not full of the milky mugs of coffee I have started to eat earlier in the day.  Breakfast is now fruit and yogurt or at the weekends a cheeky crumpet and peanut butter, or a lean bacon butty (with the fat cut off and no butter).

 

At least I’m starting the day better.

 

Since getting stuck in to the espressos I’ve also tried the Nespresso pod dupes from Aldi.  I love the Colombian Coffee Pods

which have an intensity flavour level of 6.  Perfect!

 

I really kind of love the mornings now.  I’m getting the hit, starting the day off stronger and I don’t have a bloated tummy from all the milk I was drinking.  I can also choose different coffee tastes to suit my mood, so I’m building a selection of choice rather than reaching for the same jar every morning. Yep, I’m really enjoying all the benefits. I think this new habit is going to stick.

 

Hope you had a good weekend folks.  Here’s to a great week!

 

 

Gail xxx

Three Reasons To Wear A Belt

 

I haven’t really worn belts for a while. Hadn’t really thought they were necessary to be honest.  My jeans were staying up or if they needed a hoist it didn’t seem to bother me that much.

 

The lack of belt love became more obvious when I ventured in to the wardrobe to look for a belt for my holiday and I found a number a low slung wide belts from the 2000s and a couple of elastic/plastic numbers that I can’t believe are still hanging around.

 

Obviously people do still wear belts.  This Gucci belt is THE belt to own right now, but at £315 and my past history with belts to keep my head in check, my hard-earned cash was safe.

So why did I want a belt anyway.   I’ll give you three reasons:

 

  1. I wanted it to appear as if I have a waist.  Sometimes denim and in this particular case, denim shorts, need something to help give you a bit of shape
  2. Accessories, when done right, turn a plain outfit into something way more stylish.  A great belt can be just the finishing touch you need
  3. I wanted to switch up the look of several outfits.  See dress below.

 

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I think I actually prefer the dress worn with the tan belt, but it’s great to have the option.

 

So without having over 300 hundred quid for a Gucci I looked around for some dupes and ended up with the double circle tan belt from Miss Selfridge (via ASOS) for £10.  I didn’t want to go mad now did I!!  It could end up in the drawer with all the others.

 

But I absolutely love it.  I wore it loads on holiday and I’m still wearing it back in blighty.  I’m chuffed to bits with it and to be honest I don’t need to swop it for a more expensive version.

 

If you fancy belting up (couldn’t resist), here’s some options.

Have a great weekend!

Gail xx

Skinny Bakery: Review

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If you’ve been following me since Christmas or longer, you’ll know that I want to cut down on the evening sweet treats.

 

It’s a thing.  Started by SP, but certainly supported by me, and it shows!

 

If we can’t cut it out then surely we should cut it down and I’d love to lose some lbs before we hit summer hard.

 

So you can imagine my delight when I was contacted by Skinny Bakery to try some of their low calorie cakes and cookies.

 

Needless to say, no arm twisting was required and in pursuit of utter joy, wrapped up in a delightful treat that gives me (and him) a slimmer waistline we eagerly anticipated a delivery of goodies.

 

I have tried Skinny Bakery before.  My good mate bought me a gift of goodies for a birthday present once.  (Only a good mate can do that.  Can you imagine my disdain if it had been my mother!)

 

They offer next-day delivery across the UK and you can take your pick from the range, so you can choose which treats you fancy?

 

We received:

 

NEW Choc-Nut Pearls                                                                     199 cals per 80g pack

Mocha Pearls                                                                                     196 cals per 80g pack

Double Chocolate Meringue Cookies                                           141 cals per 40g pack

Skinny Red Velvet Pearls                                                                169 cals per 85g pack

Skinny Mini Gingerbread Men                                                      109 cals per 30g pack

Skinny Choc & Orange Cookies                                                     181 cals per 50g pack

 

These really are bite-size bundles of joy.  I’ve listed the calories per pack above, but these bakers ensure you don’t lose out on taste, while making sure they limit fat and sugar per mouthful.

 

For example, our favourites, the Choc-Nut Pearls, are 40 calories per mini cake and if I went mad and gobbled them all I still would only have eaten 199 calories (7g fat, 18g sugar) for the whole 80g pack.   A Cadbury’s Dairy Milk bar is 240 calories (14g fat, 25g sugar) per 45g bar, so for the same size as the pack of pearls I would consume an awful lot more in calories, fat and sugar.

 

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We absolutely loved the pearls, which are light, soft bite-size cakes.  SP’s favourites were the Skinny Red Velvet Pearls – beetroot sponges piped with a quark-based low fat cream cheese frosting.  The sweet smell when he opened the box pulled him in within seconds and the taste was just as good.  Click on Instagram highlights to see SP steaming in on my taste test.

 

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For me, it’s Choc-Nut all the way – chocolate and hazelnut sponges made with Nutella and piped with Skinny Bakery’s signature tofu-chocolate frosting.  Hello!

 

I also really enjoyed the Double Chocolate Meringue Cookies, which crumble in your mouth and enjoyed the gingerbread cookies, which had a strong smell and delicious taste.  In fact, we devoured them all, but would have loved more taste with the Skinny Choc & Orange Cookies, which are lovely and chewy, but could have more ‘pow’ added when it comes to taste

 

That said, I’ve just heard new PBJ Pearls have been launched and Orange Cheesecake Pearls are available to order too.  Yes, I am placing an order.  Prices for the range start from £2.99 plus delivery, with free shipping in the UK on orders over £24.99.  You can freeze these treats too, so I’m going to buy in bulk and eat at my leisure!

 

I want the enjoyment without the guilt and if I can cut back a little more, I’m all for it.

 

Have a great weekend.

 

Gail xx

 

Just to be clear, I was gifted the selection of cakes and cookies sent to me, no money has exchanged in payment for this review and I have given you my honest opinion.  Have you tried Skinny Bakery?  What are your favourites?  Please share in the comments below.

 

Baby Got Back

 

 

Ignoring that we’re expecting beautiful weather over the next few days, I’m planning on wearing my brand new jeans.

 

I’ve been looking to update my denim for ages.  Out of skinnies and into straight leg has been a move I’ve wanted to make for a while, but it’s taken me ages to find the right pair.

 

Straight leg, of course, harps back to my youth and I couldn’t abide trying on jeans back then.  Too short in the leg and too wide in the waist, my shape didn’t ‘wear’ jeans very well and I always felt too bulky in them.

 

Cut to 2018 and there are enough jeans to go around that I should be able to find a pair that flatter, right?  Well it’s taken me ages to find some, even though kind stores now have more sizes and styles available.  I guess you’ve got to kiss a few frogs eh!

 

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Traditionally, jeans were made of tough, thick denim and straight legs are from that ilk, so expect them to feel a lot different than our skinny, lycra-made jegging friends.  They don’t cling to your shape, more hang over it, which depending on what you want to show or hide, is something you’ll like or hate.

 

Due to my thicker middle I realised that I needed a high waisted pair to pull me in and give me some shape.  Consequently, when I showed SP what I’d chosen, the first thing he said was “blimey, it gives you a bum”.  I took that as a sign of appreciation!

 

I also went for a pair slightly cropped at the ankle, because I either look better in crop with a heel or to the ground…. with a heel.   Neat on the ankle accentuates my lack of height.

 

So, I finally found my perfect pair in Zara.  I know this store is not everyone’s cup of tea, but for me I know their sizes work in my favour and I confidently ordered these online.

 

The most popular straight jeans of the moment are in Top Shop.  I’ve spotted loads of people saying that they are perfect.  They look better on ladies who have some height, I think.

 

Levi’s are a classic source and pretty much every store on the high street will have a pair of straights in their denim range.  Look out for tapered ankles if you have a waist as these can align with your curves. Raw hems give you a street, casual edge and you’ll find everything from dark to pale washes to choose from.

 

Here’s a selection to start your search.

 

 

Have a great weekend.

 

Gail xx