sophie didn't do anything at all.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

/ my 21st / part 2 + Marlow Bar and Grill review

So yesterday, if you read this post you will have known it was my 21st birthday. I promised to reveal my second pile of presents (I know, I can't quite believe it myself) from my mum - and here they are....


Working in an orderly fashion from the top we have a camera bag (complete with two 16GB memory cards), an assortment of stationery and a Nikon D2500. I needed a sit down. Wow. It's a culmination of a lot of presents from many people (jointly) but even so, that is one hell of a gift.

To top it off, my dad decided we were going out for dinner (do you see why I got emotional?). I hate photographs of myself, but apparently on your birthday it is mandatory. Please excuse the trainers - a large number of my nice shoes are tucked away safety in my wardrobe in Newcastle. See how I'm wearing the skirt my dad bought me?

We headed to our family favouirte Marlow Bar and Grill and settled down to chose our dinner. Stuffed from those giant Nachos at lunch, I took a deep breath and reminded myself it was my birthday and I could push the boat out.

Whilst waiting for our cocktails, we were presented with complimentary dough balls and a kind of chilli dip - could have eaten it all.

From left to right, mine was a Triple Berry Fizz, my mum's was a Chauffeurs Kim Sha (she was driving) and my dad went for the Cosmopolitan (at my request, he's not normally a fan of pink!)

Starters (pictured below) were delicious. Of course I tried them all. Pictured top is my crab salad with avocado and crab mayo, my dad's scallops with champ potatoes is in the middle and mum's asparagus with a poached egg is the bottom one.

After starters we topped up on drinks (I was working towards quite a collection) and didn't have to wait too long for our mains. 

 Pictured above is the Thai Green Chicken Curry. My dad managed all of it (I was struggling already at this point) though I will admit it was gorgeous - if not a tad spicy. 

Mum's Smoked Haddock Risotto looks quite small in that bowl, but trust me it was enormous. Aside from a slightly over cooked poached egg (yes she had two) the risotto was spot on. My own Tandoori SeaBass was exceptional. It's my favourite choice from there and I normally have it with a salad and some fries. Unfortunately I couldn't finish the meal and left an embarrassingly large amount on the plate.  

 Some stunning snaps before dessert. I know - such a beaut.

 Creme Brulee for mum and me, Lemon sorbet for dad. Again, I struggled to make it through more than half of the portion (give me credit it's massive) but enjoyed every single mouthful. As I'm typing this I tempted to go and get some more!

I can't believe how lovely my day was - honestly it was perfect. I'm so very lucky!!



/ review / Eclipse Leisure / Stagette-do

The idea: Eclipse Leisure.
  • Source a group of female bloggers to take on a stag experience in Newcastle. Ensure said females possess genuine feminine traits (hair, make-up, legs etc.) and enjoy normal female endeavors
  • Organise for the male friends of said females to select their nicknames for the day, activities and 'stag' accessories.
  • Keep all the above a secret, just tell the women where to meet and what to wear
Given Newcastle's reputation for a top night out and a large number of 'out there' activities it's hardly surprising it's a hot location for Stag and Hen do's. Reading through Eclipse Leisure's site I was filled with fear at giving my boyfriend the reigns to chose between anything from Quad-biking to Clay Pigeon shooting, but had been assured they were experts in the organisation of such events and that I had nothing to worry about.

The day.

I woke up far too early (my body clock has been out of sync) and conserved my minimal strength by not going for a run - good call I'll say. Eating breakfast out of my favourite cereal bowl, I entered a mild stage of panic and woke my boyfriend up screaming 'WHAT IF ITS PAINTBALLING AND I GET PAINT IN MY HAIR'. He just laughed. So supportive.

Leaving the house extra early (I get lost all the time) I started walking towards the designated meeting point. I got about halfway down the road before panicking about what I was wearing - were my leggings acceptable? Would they mind I was wearing a vest? I had to ring my mum and she talked me through it, voicing mild concern that I was willingly being taken to man themed event, but between us we worked out the kinks and off I pottered.

When I arrived I was handed a goody bag. Inside was my t-shirt with the word 'Swallow' on the back. Hilarious. But really it only works if you've seen my tattoo (it's a swallow. as in the bird...). The other girls arrived, inspected their equally cruel nicknames and we jumped in a minibus for the adventure.

Paintballing and quad biking.

All I could think about was me diving into mud and leaping through the air - and suddenly I begun to feel that this wasn't such a good idea after all. I mean, I had straightened my hair - and painted my nails, not to mention the good half an hour spent on outfit and make-up choices.I reminded myself of the good cause, I was taking one for the future stags and needed to rouse my inner man.

So there I was joining the other equally terrified women in the taxi being driven to what could only end in disaster. Stephanie and Laura, our guides for the day, had a far more optimistic outlook on the whole shebang and were chatting with the driver - at least that part of the ordeal was stress free. Eclipse had got the whole thing sorted, so all we needed to worry about was surviving the day ahead. 

When we arrived.

Less than half an hour later, we approached the 'BATTLEZONE' near Rowley. That does not sound anywhere near the sort of place a young woman like myself should be frolicking - and with good reason. As soon as we turned off the road we could literally feel the testosterone emulating from the place - man colours, shapes and adjectives casually strewn across the fields, inviting only those with adequate genitalia to attend.

We were given forms to sign (essentially saying that if we managed to get injured it was our own fault), overalls to wear and a safety briefing on the paintball gun before being thrown outside and taken down to the battleground.

well, you don't see that every day
There wasn't an opportunity to grab anymore snaps after this point - we were all helmeted up and surrounded by burly men. Terrifying.

The paintball

OH MY GOD. I have never experienced such an intense adrenaline rush - it literally made me feel able to be as manly as I'll ever be. The first game was mental - a scaled down version of capture the flag but with a lot of players. I managed to not get hit, but I was one of few and the rest of our little group looked a little shaken up.

The second round was kicked off with a version of attack vs defense. The blue team had to make it across the field, and it was our job to stop them. Of course we did (a large majority of the other stag do's were incredibly hungover and struggling with the heat). We  played two more games, in which I took three pretty hard hits; chest, shoulder and thigh, but otherwise remained unhurt. There were some quite impressive war wounds on the men around us and by this point we'd had our fair share of fun.

After paintball we stopped for lunch. Was necessary after two hours of being shot at.

look at how Stag-do like we are

The quad-biking

So, the day so far had been good. Lunch had been filling and we were all pumped to jump on some quad bikes. They were AWESOME. It was a nice relief from the stress of the battlefield and we each got to spend half an hour driving around a big field over different types of terrain.

In case you were wondering the one in the middle of the picture is me. There's also the option to do  quad bike racing, but we just stuck with the trek. Far too much adventure for one day thank you very much!

I all but fell asleep in the taxi back into town, it had been an exhausting but thrilling day out.

My reaction.

Every girl needs a day of being a boy - it's just so much more fun and messy. My shoes were wrecked and I hadn't had a chance to shower before the plane journey home so my hair was orange, but it had been a relief to spend the day getting mucky. As a Stag-do event I would give it 10/10 - absolutely flawless!!

Currently I'm planning another paint-balling trip in a few weeks - if I'm ever left in charge of a Hen do there won't be a spa or cupcake in sight!!


Monday, 29 July 2013

/ my 21st / part 1 + Baroosh review

Today I turn 21. 

I feel old.

I feel given the amount that has happened today I may need two posts to properly do this day justice (its an important one!) 

I was up at 6 for a mandatory run (still training for that Spartan Race don't you know), before my Dad joined me for breakfast and I got to open my presents from him. 


AND THEN my mum came round after my dad left for work with her presents 

Unfortunately you'll have to wait until post 2 for what's inside.

After getting a little emotional over my presents (building suspense) me and the mother headed out to an over 21s bar - Baroosh. Obviously I'd never been there before, but I've heard great things about the food.

We ordered a mixture of nibbles; Polenta chips, Pesto and veg, Nachos and Grilled Halloumi and sipped a gorgeous apple and rhubarb concoction. The food was actually amazing but far far far too much for the two of us. I am still stuffed and that was 5 hours ago. I especially enjoyed the pesto with the veg though. Nomalicious. 

  The nachos were huge!! Here's two photos to really emphasise that point. 

Properly stuffed we meandered up the highstreet, collecting a few decorations for my party on Friday (which you're all coming too) before heading into Cath Kidston to find a new phone case.

I just want it all please. 

Anyway, my 21st so far has been AMAZING. My family, friends and strangers on the street (courtesy of the birthday badge) have managed to make it perfect.

Thank you


/ beauty / review / No7 cleanser and toner


I have recently noticed both my cleanser and toner are running a bit low. Being someone who does not like to be caught short I walked into my local store in an attempt to buy back ups. Could not find. 

No7 beautifully balanced purifying cleanser (dry/combination)

It makes me sad that I can't buy this anymore (I also searched online, and it's no longer available) because I found it truly did help keep my skin clear and was one of the few products that managed to remove all my make up.

Does anyone know of a good replacement?

No7 soft and soothed gentle toner (normal/dry)

£8.00 from boots, link here
Since searching online I was relieved to discover that this product does still exist!

Hmmm. As someone who will admit that toners mystify me, I think this one is doing the job. It makes my skin feel fresh and clear (obviously soft and soothed too), without any kind of residue or tacky-ness. Normally I put it on before bed, sometimes with a light layer of Soap and Glory 'the fab pore' on problem areas, and wake up with a bright, refreshed face.

According to wikipedia, a toner refers to a lotion designed to cleanse the skin and shrink the appearance of pores - Soft and Soothed also claims to hydrate and comfort. If you are looking for something with a bit of oomph, you'll find this toner a tad tame as it is designed for sensitive skin.

Honestly I like using this product, but I'm in two minds if it's worth the £8.00. I haven't had any problems whilst using it, but the positive effect has been quite small. 

Next up, I'll be working my way through the Simple Kind to Skin Facial Toner (bear with me this may take a while!) which costs a more student friendly £2.99!


Thursday, 25 July 2013

/ 3 years gone

Yesterday, I went to a barbeque. It was a quiet gathering of all my closest friends at one of their houses. I got a little bit emotional.

At one point in conversation we realised it had been just over three years since we left secondary school, totaling five since we all met. Astoundingly, the comings and goings have been small (mainly related to bad break ups or geographical location) so we've known each other a while.

I can't quite believe how long its been, how much I've changed - how much we all have [I'm going to source a photo but that's going to take a while].

My friends mean the world to me. I honestly was so caught up catching up that I didn't get snaps of them all (silly me!). 

This boy is like an annoying older brother - I've known him the longest out of everyone and he's ridiculously tall. He's also a reliable lift - amazing for someone like me who has only my feet to get me around. Anyway, we're like two thirds of a team, the third is below (he's normally in a plane).

I love photos. Even ones like this ^.

Buying food in Asda with my two favourite chaps. They were having a massive argument over what to get for the BBQ (one prefers going super cheap, the other wants to not get food poisoning) - I'll let you guess which is which.

This guy always does the cooking. He's like a top cook, apart from does none of the tidying up. I like that.

I've got money that this girl will get married first and have many blonde blonde haired children running around. 

This particular beaut is also a keen youtuber (apparently she likes books ;) ) - please head her way (an unshameful link right there).

That's how I feel when someone waves a camera at me. That's why it's best to be the one behind it.

When we started talking it was still light. I was meant to be in bed by this point. I think my camera was drunk as well.

My lovely jazz singer was filling us in over a glass of wine. The conversation got a bit topsy turvy after that (the wine I mean).

Sitting outside til the late hours eating good food and sharing good company is definitely the way to spend your evening. 
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