Ice Lolly Delight at the Linwoods Hemp Protein+ Launch Evening.

Towards the end of July, I had the pleasure of being invited to one of my favourite cafes in Belfast to go to a launch event for a brand new hemp protein powder made by a local Northern Ireland company. The product was launched in Tony and Jen’s and if you know me or follow me on Instagram, you’ll know I’m quite fond of their pancakes.

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(The lemon meringue ones were replaced with cacao ice-cream one day and they were amazing!)

20170804_150347(The mint and cacao pancakes have been my absolute favourite so far, and yes, this is a double stack!)

While you scroll back to the pancakes again, I’ll tell you about the new product they’ve been making. With it being the Summer, who doesn’t love an ice lolly during the Summer months? That’s exactly what’s been going on in the special kitchen on the Lisburn Road; they have been making healthly popsicles that have been packed full of gorgeous ingredients. One of the ingredients being one of the Linwoods Organic Hemp Protein powders.

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(My favourite is the blue bag pictured on the right!)

Linwoods Health Foods are a local company based and founded here in Northern Ireland, which I think is what makes this just a little more special. We’re always saying we should celebrate more local businesses, so isn’t this the perfect way?

On the night, you got the option to pick between four different flavours. I ended up having two lollies (I had no dinner before I got there, so my decision was justified!); the first being cacao and mint (My favourite by far!) and the second being peanut butter and banana (My favourite smoothie combo!). This is where you got to be really creative with your lolly.

20170804_133807(Easier than ‘Snap Crackle and Pop’ right?)

Whether you’re a Notella person (like myself) or maybe cashew sauce is more your drizzle, you had the chance to add a sauce or two, add some ground nuts or sprinkle some raspberry sparkle over your lolly to really make it shine. Being a blogger event, you have to make sure your creation is Instagrammable so they had four mini perfectly laid out booths for them, but I am a fan of a marble background so I went there each time.

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(This was my first one: cacao and mint. From what I can remember, I drizzled it first in Notella, sprinkled hazelnuts and almonds over it and added an extra drizzle of cashew sauce over it.)

Jenny (one half of the lovely Tony and Jen) gave us an brief overview of their restaurant towards the end of the evening explaining why they choose to eat the healthy way, how the collaboration with Linwoods came about and then she showed us the process of how you make the lollies.

The goody bag we received at the end of the night were great! We even got our own little ice lolly moulds so we could make the recipes at home with the little recipe cards we received for the different versions of the lollies (See below!) We then got treated to a big bag of our own Hemp Protein+ and a few of Linwoods snack foods; all of which I have tried and I couldn’t wait until I got a good photograph of, sorry!

20170804_133709(When you turned it over, it gave you all the ingredients you needed, which wasn’t many to be fair, and how to make them.)

As I’ve mentioned before on the blog, I haven’t been to too many blogger events before and I’m slowly getting over my nerves of being shy and slightly to myself (I wrote a blog post on how my shyness could be perceived) so I feel like I pushed myself out of my own comfort zone by just walking up to someone new and introducing myself.

One thing I loved about this event in particular (apart from it being all about healthy food that I could eat) was that it was interactive. It wasn’t just someone handing out samples and telling you about the product so everyone had the same photographs or same experience; you got to choose what flavour you wanted to eat, you got to choose how to decorate it, you got to choose your own experience.

20170726_195024-01(This was my second lolly of the night; I chose Peanut Butter and Banana with the same toppings as my first creation except this time I added a little raspberry sprinkling too!)

If you want to find out anything more about the Hemp Protein+ Powders, you can click right here. If you want to find out more about the company itself, you’ll find it right here and finally if you want to find out more about Tony and Jen’s, you can find them on Facebook and Instagram.

Thank you so much for reading! All the recipes for the lollies will be on the Linwoods website and I can’t wait to make my own, I’ll probably be doing it in December, but hey, you can eat ice lollies anytime of the year, right?

 

SS: Sunday Saves (#61)

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Good morning, good afternoon or good evening, whenever you’re reading this, I hope you’re having a lovely day so far! I’m back with another edition of my Sunday Saves where I pick out three blog posts that I’ve read during the week that I want to comment on, and I want others to see too. So there’s no theme this week but I’ll be talking about body image, travel guides and fitness documentaries.

1) Katy Belle (A Note About Body Image)

Katy’s post really hit home with me, not only had I already planned a similar post myself for the very next day but she spoke my language. Body positivity is something that is a very scary roller coaster for me; I know what helps me when it comes to looking at my body and I know what doesn’t help but I tend to fall into the “not so positive” attitude more than I would like to. I’m not a fashion blogger like Katy is so I don’t have to edit photographs of myself as often as she would, so I can’t relate that way, but this is an emotional and raw post that I feel is an absolute must read from such a truly lovely girl.

2) Steph’s World (Travel In The UK // Introduction)

So I’m very excited to talk about this post because I’m one of the contributors! Steph put a call out for bloggers from the UK to write a blog post about their home city or one of their favourite cities within in the UK. I’ll be writing about Belfast! The series begins at the beginning of August so make sure you tune in and I can’t wait to read the other posts in the series.

3) Life of Kitty (4 Must-See Fitness Documentaries on Netflix)

One of my favourite films of all time is surprisingly, Super Size Me. It’s classed more as a documentary film, but a film none the less. It has always fascinated me and I’ve lost the amount of times I’ve watched it so unsurprisingly, I love watching food and fitness documentaries. I haven’t found a lot of fitness documentaries on Netflix or online but that’s where Katie has stepped in and listed four of her must see fitness documentaries that can be found on Netflix (The UK one at least). I can’t wait to watch these particular ones because they all sound like they’re all up my street.

That’s all from today’s Sunday Saves. If you’re interested in looking at my previous Sunday Saves, you’ll find them here or if you want to keep up with me on my Instagram, it will be linked here.

A perfect Valentine’s Day gift for your loved one (or yourself!)

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With the most romantic day of the year (Please take this with a pinch of salt!) coming up next Tuesday (February 14th, if you didn’t already know), it’s important to know that the day isn’t just for boyfriends and girlfriends, husbands and wives; it’s also for your friends, for the people around you that you love and most importantly, yourself!

To tie in with Valentine’s Day, I’m very happy to announce that I’m now an affiliate with the lovely Itty Bitty Book Co. who I have spoken about a number of times on the blog now. I talked about their #PositivityTakeover movement and I posted a recent update including the gorgeous city of Rome. I even have their “Book of Strength” and I’ve had that for a few years now and it’s still in perfect condition, so I’m a huge advocate of the company and their ethos.

Itty Bitty have released a Valentine’s Day collection and of course, it’s shining brightly as always so I wanted to share what they had in store for everyone this year.

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We’re going to start with the big one first, naturally! This is jam packed full of goodies for that special someone in your life and/or going all out to treat yourself too!

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We’ll start off with a lovely 6×8 print (that you could even put in one of those lovely box frames after it’s opened! It’ll be the perfect print to stand out in the bedroom or even the bathroom.) If you want to tell someone they’re beautiful but you can’t find the right words, this one will serve you very well.

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Next up is the full set of mini Itty Bitty Books which boost motivation, strength and inspiration. They’re really small so they can fit in your handbag or they can even sit on your bedside table for a reflection of gratitude (and if you add a ten minute meditation to this just before bed, it’s the ideal way to fall asleep straight away. It’s a tried and tested method, trust me!).

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Finally, it’s the ‘Choose Love’ Irish Linen wall hanging which I think would go perfectly in the kitchen. I know I would put mine beside the kettle because that’s where a lot of love goes for me, into a perfect cup of tea!

This bumper set is priced at £40 and postage starts at £3.30 (UK to UK), all you need to get is a cute little bow, you won’t even need to wrap it (but if you do, it’ll be even more of a surprise to the recipient.)

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However, if you’re looking for something a little smaller in size and in price, I introduce the smaller version of the box. It’s £15 and includes the Positivity Itty Bitty Book as well as the gorgeous print listed above.

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If you want to find out more about their Valentine’s Day collection, you can click right here and it’ll take you to their full collection. If you live in Northern Ireland, you’ll find them at St. George’s Market most Saturday’s and Sunday’s but if you’re not from Northern Ireland, don’t worry! As I mentioned earlier, they do ship across the world but if you’re from the UK and Europe, you only have a few more days to get your orders in in time.

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Finally, and probably the most important thing I want you to take away from this blog post; it doesn’t matter if you have a boyfriend or girlfriend or if you don’t, you’re still loved no matter what. A lot of people (including myself at times) make Valentine’s Day to be the be-all-end-all of romance and you feel like you need to have the perfect day or you’re not in the most wonderful relationship or you’re a failure because you don’t have someone to share this day with. At the end of the day, the most important relationship you have is with yourself so cherish yourself, treat yourself and take care of yourself.

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(*I have used affiliate links throughout this post but this post contains 100% of my own honest opinion and that’s it.)
(All images belong to the Itty Bitty Book Company except the first image which I have downloaded from Pexels.com under the Creative Commons Zero licence.)

Super Cuts UK: #SquadGoals (Part Two)

If you haven’t read the first part of this post, it’s right here! It talks about my experience at my first blogger event with SuperCuts and all about their campaign launching a very special competition. So make sure you read that first! (And remember you have until 20th September to enter!)

At the VIP blogger event we got a great goody bag but apparently we were missing products because they hadn’t arrived in time, so we got a free extra products thrown in and then the other ones that didn’t arrive in time, got posted out to us. I’ll not need to buy hair products for a long time now!

I’ll talk about the ones that arrived in the post first. Both from the Bed Head range from TIGI; the Fully Loaded Massive Volume Shampoo and the Fully Loaded Volumizing Conditioning Jelly. I have never used any TIGI products before but I’m really excited about it because you know if a salon uses them, they’re great. I can’t describe the smell but it is incredible! It reminds me of sweets that I used to have when I was younger, but I can’t put my finger on it. If it’s one of those shampoo and conditioners that has the “long lasting smell throughout the day” I will be in love!

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We got two mini gift sets on the day itself. The first one is from Wella Professionals; the only Wella Professionals product I have ever used was the Thermal Image Heat Protection Spray and I can say without a doubt, it was the best heat protection spray ever. It even worked through the tangles in my hair instantly; three sprays and I was good to go! Seriously.

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In the Wella Oil Reflections set, we got three little mini products; shampoo, conditioner and a hair mask. I have used the shampoo and conditioner already but I don’t feel I can give a true review of it yet. What I did notice when I was drying my hair was that my hair was incredibly softer, more than it had been in a very long time, so I think I’ll test that until it runs out. And we got a cute little brush too!

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And finally in the TIGI gft set, there was another three products; a mini Masterpiece Massive Shine Hairspray, Small Talk Thickifier and a Manipulator Texture Paste. When it comes to products like the thickening cream or the paste, I’m not so good at adding texture and volume to my hair. I just end up making a huge mess and then the wind making it ten times worse. But I can’t have them go to waste, so I think I’ll be heading to YouTube to figure out how to use those!

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As a little extra bonus, we also got a lipstick too! It’s from Max Factor Marilyn Monroe range and I got the Ruby Red colour. I don’t wear too many red lipsticks, but hey, everyone needs to try new things now and again!

I’m so pleased with the goody bag! They went to so much effort and I couldn’t be more thankful, thank you to Rhys and all the team at Supercuts Belfast!

 

SuperCuts UK: #SquadGoals (Part One)

That moment when you get invited to your first blogger event, you get really excited for about five seconds then fear sets in. That’s what happened to me when Super Cuts UK kindly invited me to their #SquadGoals VIP Blogger Event in Belfast’s Castlecourt store a few weeks ago.

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The campaign is based around a new competition that has launched for an amazing winner! They have teamed up with TIGI to offer the chance for you and up to six friends to win an overnight stay in London worth £6,000 along with a VIP photoshoot and to become the next face of Supercuts! So whether you use Facebook, Twitter or Instagram; just take a photograph of you and your friends (up to six of you altogether) and upload it using the hashtag #SquadGoals and tagging @SuperCutsUK to be in with a chance of winning. For all the terms and conditions of the competition, you’ll find all the info. right here. You have until 20th September to enter!

I had a blow dry complete with a lovely Kerastase hair mask (I can’t remember which one but it was brittle hair, I need some strengthening at the minute!) as well as some volumising products after my hair was dried. (Take note Victoria, take a picture of all the products that were used in your hair! *shakes head*)

The event overall was fantastic! I was at so much more ease than I thought but because I’m still pretty shy, I don’t really have any photographs from it. So if I get the chance to go to another event like this, I would definitely take more! However, when  I got home I took a picture of my hair (as you can see below!) because I wanted to be able to see that I can actually have it a little messy with volume and have it turn out really nice.

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All the other bloggers I met were so lovely and it was really nice to find out more about them and why they started blogging, and how it has progressed for them. It definitely made me more passionate about evolving with my blog.

I want to say a special thank you to Supercuts and the team at the Belfast branch for inviting me and making it a really enjoyable experience!

 

So you want to try yoga?

I’m not an expert in yoga at all but if you read my first yoga birthday post, I have some quite fresh experience in getting into the lifestyle, so I thought I would give you some advice if you’re new to yoga or even if you want to try it, but don’t know where to start.

Do your research.
Do you know anything about yoga? Do you know what type of yoga you would like to do? Have you done it before? Is this your first time or are you getting back into it again? These are all questions you have to ask yourself while researching about the practice.

Find classes in your area.
I’m all for watching videos online, I think it’s a fantastic resource and with so much free content out there, I don’t think you should let it go to waste. HOWEVER, for yoga especially, I think it’s an absolute must to go to a class and learn how to do the poses correctly. You will never know if you’re doing it right if you’re watching it and trying to copy it, you could end up hurting yourself.

It shouldn’t cost the earth.
It doesn’t have to be expensive either; depending on the area you live in, you can find affordable classes with experienced teachers. I live in Belfast so I learn through Yoga Belfast who have a range of classes for beginners right up to intermediates, in a range of areas, and are affordable too. There’s some drop in classes and others were you can sign up for a certain amount of weeks. There are many other yoga companies in Belfast of course, but I haven’t had any experience with them.

Get the right gear.
You don’t have to buy a £200 yoga mat, you don’t have to spend loads of money on new workout clothing, but make sure you’re equipped to work out properly. You don’t need to worry about trainers because yoga is done in either socks or in your bare feet. Try to avoid very loose clothing but don’t go really tight either, try and find a nice balance in between the two. I personally don’t like the cheap foam yoga mats because they can slide back on the floor (First week I went to yoga, this actually happened, so personal experience is talking.) but I got a good yoga mat from ASDA and it wasn’t expensive at all. I’ve heard TKMaxx or Sports Direct do some nice ones too.

Practice makes perfect.
This speaks for itself really. You can’t expect to get better at anything if you don’t practice. You’ll mess up, you’ll fall over, you’ll lose your balance, your posture will need corrected, but you know what? That’s okay, if you learn with someone who is willing to show you the ropes and if you’re willing to put the effort in, even one or two times a week, then you will gradually get better.

I am very thankful to have introduced yoga into my life, I don’t know what I would do without it. It has helped me physically; I’m now more flexible and that is particularly helpful when I go to the gym too. It has helped me mentally; I still get stressed and I still panic but yoga helps to bring me down (If only I could do yoga in work every day, now that would be heavenly!). I believe yoga is for everyone, no matter what your age, gender, flexibility, fitness level, lifestyle, whatever it is. It’s such a good focus for people to get stuck into and I would highly recommend it to anyone. I hope my advice has helped even just one person, good luck!