Saturday, 27 December 2014

The health benefits of an Epsom salt bath

With the cold weather setting in and the stress of Christmas, you'll be forgiven if you have a few aches and pains in your muscles. Along with regularly using my foam roller (I blogged about my love of this recently) I also try to treat my aches to a a very vigorous deep tissue massage (I went to Achilles in Fulham FYI, which is great). Jerry, my masseuse therapist, always suggests that I have a long soak in an epsom salt bath.

epsom salts don't bubble so add a little bubble bath!

I have heard about this before (thanks to my dad actually) but I didn’t realise how many health benefits there were from epsom salts. I must admit too, after a long soak I felt so much better, my aches and pains practically gone!

my tub of Epsom salts

Firstly though, what re Epsom salts?
Epsom salt is not actually a salt but a naturally occurring pure mineral compound of magnesium and sulphate.

Here are some of the health benefits of using Epsom salts...

Health benefit one: restore magnesium levels
Magnesium actually plays an important role in the body including reducing inflammation, helping to prevent artery hardening and helping muscles and nerve functions. Most of us do not have high enough magnesium levels and as the body easily absorbs magnesium through the skin, an Epsom salt bath is an easy way to boost your levels.

Health benefit two: eases stress and relaxes the body
We all know stress is bad for us and I am guessing it is something you would welcome into your life like you would a swarm of wasps at a picnic. Stress drains the body of magnesium and increases levels of adrenaline. The magnesium in Epsom salts help to produce serotonin, a mood-enhancing chemical within the brain, helping to produce a feeling of calm and relaxation. When dissolved in warm water, the Epsom salt is absorbed through the skin and replenishes the level of magnesium in the body.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Four Corners cafe, Lower Marsh, Waterloo London

The other day at work, me and my friend grabbed a bite to eat on our lunch break, popping over to the Four Corners Cafe in Lower Marsh, Waterloo. I have been there a few times but haven't got round to sharing it on my blog. It is such a cute little place though, I want to share it with you as it is worth a lunch if you are in the area. 

the four corners cafe, lower marsh 
friendly staff serve your needs

Serving decent sandwiches, soups and tempting cakes, this is a great place to grab a quick bite to eat. It also has that vibe where you could happily sit all day with your laptop, working away, ploughing through tea. And you'd be there a while as it has the largest loose tea selection!

mozzarella and rocket 
serrano and cheddar 

I love the concept of the cafe, which as the name suggests, has a focus on world travel. From the decor to the merchandise, you'll feel at home if you like to travel. They even have lonely planet guides on the side for you to browse whilst you dine. 

travel inspired decor 

plan your next trip with your cake! 

We opted for the ciabatta style sandwiches - I went for mozzarella, rocket and pesto and Georgina went for serrano ham and cheddar. I was trying to be good that day so skipped the cake, but they did look good! 

soya hot chocolate for me 

slurping on my hot chocolate 

Unlike other cafes, Four Corners sells wine and beer, which is a nice touch I think! My favourite though is their tea and coffee infused spirits, such as their earl grey gin and tonic (which I have confirmation from my dad that this is pretty good).

X x X 

Monday, 22 December 2014

A long weekend in Budapest with the girls - part two: eating, drinking and what to know

Read part one here


The choice of food in Budapest is brilliant, from local Hungarian food to Japanese sushi bars, there will be something for everyone. And the prices are so reasonable, especially if you are coming from London. 

view of chain bridge 

I must admit, I went to Budapest thinking that I wouldn't enjoy the food, mainly because I ignorantly thought it would be all watery stews and plain potatoes, but I loved it. Admittedly it ain't IBS friendly with the rich sauces and red meats but we didn't have a bad meal when we were there. I went for the Hungarian option as much as possible, trying Goulash, their steaks and a paprika sausage dish which I really enjoyed (even though I didn't think I would).

Friday, 19 December 2014

Christopher's restaurant Covent Garden, London

Last week I took my dad for a treat of a meal to celebrate a new promotion. Seeing as my dad now lives in Cambodia and is forever moaning saying that there aren’t enough nice restaurants in the area, I knew he’d be wowed by my choice of restaurant – Christopher's in Covent Garden.

our feast! 

Christopher's Covert Garden

He’d mentioned before that they have a fabulous bar downstairs, serving the best martinis, although he had never eaten there, and he was right. Accidentally arriving 25 minutes before our booking, I had no other choice than to prop up the bar and order  myself a martini. 

My choice? The Earl Grey Mar-tea-ni. Get it? A tasty blend of Earl Grey infused gin, Earl Grey tea syrup, fresh lemon juice and orange bitters. 

Earl Grey Mar-tea-ni and a classic Martini 

When my dad arrived we ordered some particularly strong dirty martinis and headed upstairs to the restaurant. To be honest, I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I was impressed by the place!!! Elegant and classic, this was a lovely setting to celebrate.

tuck in! 

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

How to make the perfect roast potatoes

Seeing as it is nearly Christmas, I thought I would share with you a blog post on how to make the perfect roasties. It is an important part of any Christmas dinner and no one likes a bad roast potato. 

Not crispy enough, too squidgy in the middle or lacking in flavour are all no-nos. They need to be golden and crisp on the outside and fluffy in the middle! 


my dad enjoying the roast potatoes 
(and a bottle of vino) 

It is actually really easy to make the perfect roast potato and I have it nailed! They got the seal of approval from my dad so they must be good! 

What you need:
1 kg of potatoes (I used Maris Piper)
sea salt
olive oil (about 100ml)  
garlic (optional)
dried rosemary 

2 tbsp of flour 

fluffy and soft in the middle 

Monday, 15 December 2014

Elizabeth Arden hydrating face mask: review

This is something I blogged about a year ago (on the 20th November if anyone is asking) but I love this product so much I want to share it with you again. I first bought this face mask because the wintery weather was wreaking havoc on my skin at the moment. My face was feeling permanently tight and dry.

I am in love with this product

Doing what I always do when I need to find an answer to my problems, I went to Google. I simply typed in "hydrating face masks" and one of the answers returned was this Elizabeth Arden's hydrating mask. But it has been the best find ever! I've just bought a new tube of it and using it religiously twice a week. 

Friday, 12 December 2014

Easy to make, healthy tzatziki - perfect side dip for any meal!

I do love a good healthy meal, and chicken and salad is always a winner in that respect. But after a while, it can sometimes get a bit, well, boring.

But when you start “jazzing” up your salad with fancy dressings, croutons, flat breads etc, you start taking the health and goodness out.

So with that in mind, when my latest boring chicken and salad, low fat, low carb dinner needed something to make it a little tastier, I welcomed some tzatziki!!!

homemade, delicious and light!

I love tzatziki but its often quite high in fat, salt, additives and all the other nasties when you buy it. So why not make your own?! 
Here's how...

Monday, 8 December 2014

Sticking to a healthy diet this Christmas season...

With Christmas less than 3 weeks away I can really feel this season’s festivities kicking in now. With work Christmas parties, drinks with old friends and more mulled wine and mince pies that you can shake a stick of tinsel at, it’s no wonder that most of say that we find it hard to eat healthy. Generally I am a really healthy person and try to eat as “clean” as possible without being extreme and still enjoying the cakes and cocktails in life.

I stumbled across this article from one of my favourite health websites – popsugar – so want to share with you that today! It is about eating clean but I think that these can easily be incorporated now to help reduce some of the unhealthy habits  of the Christmas season and I am hoping it will help me stick to the healthy way of life! I have added some of my own tips too (time will tell if I listen to my own advice!)

picture from

Stop With Processed Food
One of the easiest ways to get started is to replace processed grub with natural, minimally processed ingredients. Not only are these options more nutritious, their flavors are also more satisfying. The occasional indulgence is absolutely necessary, but cleaning up your daily diet is one of the best moves you can make to ensure consistent weight loss. Opt for natural whole foods with ingredients you can pronounce!

Thinking about Christmas season… stick to this season’s whole foods, like turkey and roasted chestnuts over processed party foods like sausage rolls.

Eat More Produce
If you're not sure how to snack, always pick up some produce; fresh fruit and veggies will fill you up in a healthy way, and the fibre will keep you fuller, longer. Just like we've got to retrain our taste buds to stop with the salt and sugar, you'll find that your body will beg for produce once you start eating it consistently. These are the cravings we welcome with open arms.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

The trigger point foam muscle roller

If you are a fan of exercise, then you'll know the importance of a good post workout stretch to sooth your muscles and aid recovery. You may also have heard the importance of massages, or heard how professional football teams are treated to a post game rub down. But it you're not on £150,000 a year then you might not be able to afford a massage after every workout like they do! Fear not though, invest in this...

my Trigger Point roller 

... a Trigger Point grid foam roller! 

This hard, hollow tube is specifically designed to mimic a deep tissue massage, to help work out the knots and niggles in your muscles after a good sweat on. My sport of choice is kick boxing, and after an hour and half of and trying not to get hit, you can feel it in your muscles! A role on this after always sorts me right out! 

the grid design 

The Boy first introduced this to me a few months ago and I haven't looked back since! I love it. Well, it is a kind of love hate relationship though as it bloody hurts when you use it! 

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Find Christmas that bit too stressful – here are my top tips on how to deal with it...

Find Christmas that bit too stressful – here are my top tips on how to deal with it...

As we have officially started eating the chocolates out of our advent calenders (I say officially because no doubt there will be some of you that will have had a cheeky few before the 1st), I think it is officially ok to start getting excited about Christmas!!!

As we steadily creep into December, many of us are well and truly into the Christmas spirit.

Christmas is meant to be the time of year when there is laughter and joy filling our houses, we gleefully smile to strangers and our generosity and good will is in abundance. We might even fancy partaking in a spot of carolling. Who am I kidding! Christmas can be a dam right headache! 

Clashing family members, juggling party invites and Christmas do’s, buying presents for people with fussy taste (and you know it will then go on to be half price as of Boxing Day just to rub salt into the wound!)... you’re forgiven if you’re not in the mood to shout love and joy, but in the mood to tell people where to shove it! 

The build up to the 25th is pretty manic but it is also the actual day that can tread a bit fat boot on festive tidings.

According to an article in The Telegraph (2012), the average family first rows at just 10.13am!!!  From your mum moaning at your for setting the table the "correct" way, accusing your sister of nicking all the good chocolates from the celebration tin and debating the rules to charades. 

I could go on but I won’t. What I will do though, is share with you my top tips that will stop you from pulling your hair out, relax and actually enjoy the Christmas season. 

picture from

Don’t overdo it
Firstly, don’t overdo it. Either learn to say no or learn how to leave a party early (even just an hour earlier will help you in getting more shut eye). In that way you’ll stop yourself from burning out before Christmas even starts! Everyone’s diaries are back to back during this time of the year so perhaps schedule some of your parties and Christmas do’s in January.

Plan ahead
Having a plan written down automatically makes me feel 10 times calmer as I can clearly see what needs to be done and when. I have already written down what I will be cooking and serving on Christmas day and nearer the time, I will even write down a hour by hour of what needs to be cooked and when to ensure I can enjoy myself and not be a slave to the Christmas dinner. Might sound OTT but it saves me the drama on the day!
Plan as much as you possible can – even plan what you are going to wear to what party to ensure you don’t have any last minute stresses.

Monday, 1 December 2014

A long weekend in Budapest with the girls - part one: the sights and tourist bits

I must admit Budapest hasn't ever been on the must have travel list but having spent three nights there a few weeks ago, I absolutely love the place (we've even penned it as a hen do destination for when another one of us bites the dust). With a long weekend ear marked, we did look into going to Cardiff but when it was actually cheaper the go abroad to Eastern Europe Budapest won hands down (sorry Cardiff).

Budapest is the capital of Hungary, and split in to two sides of the Danube river into Buda and Pest. Most of the things to see and do are based in Castle Hill and in Central Pest. Budapest is a fairly small city so it is pretty easy to navigate and you can see the main attractions over a weekend quite. 

they had the skinniest trams! 

We arrived Thursday night and had three full days there. Whilst this was enough time to comfortably see most things, I could have spent another night there easily. It is just a great little city! There is such a relaxed vibe to the place, we took it pretty easy and took our time wandering around - moving from coffee shop to restaurant, soaking in the atmosphere, people watching and keeping warm from the November chill with a cup of mulled wine. 

first mulled wine of the trip 

The tourist stuff 

There is so much culture and history to the city, it is perfect for culture vultures (it is filled with museums, statues, galleries and churches) and is such a pretty city with the neo-gothic architecture. You must remember to look up and see the beautiful buildings. The cathedrals in particular are worth a look - they look like they have stepped out of a Disney film! 

The hop on- hop off bus and river cruise 

For an easy way to see the city, we went for the classic touristy hop on-hop off bus. It cost about 30 euros and this gets you access to the river cruise, two days of the bus and entry into one of the spas (from a choice of 4). The bus takes you around the main sights of Budapest, including the Castle District, Hero's Square and Andrassy Avenue. It is an easy way to see the main sights, familiarise yourself with the city and as a mode of transport.

Shot from the river cruise