Posted in Food, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Mother’s day brunch with Gradz bakery

As I was sent a lovely package of fine artisan breads from Gradz bakery right before mother’s day I thought it would be perfect for having our own celebratory brunch rather than going out and spending lots of money at a restaurant.

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Our delivery, which was lovingly gift wrapped, contained the six varieties of bread that are currently stocked in Ocado. You can also find the bread in independent delis, health food stores and health conscious cafes and restaurants.

  • Spirulina & Pumpkin Seed Bread
  • Handcrafted Amaranth Bread 
  • Oats and Flax Sourdough 
  • Rye 100% with Honey
  • Gluten Free Dark with Seeds
  • Gluten Free Dark with Sunflower Seeds

As a family of six we manage to eat our way through a lot of bread so rarely treat ourselves to anything fancy, it was nice to try different flavours and I didn’t feel so guilty about adding that extra slice to my plate knowing how healthy the bread is compared to the normal white loaf.

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The packaging is full of information and the first thing I noticed was how soft and bouncy the bread felt when I picked it up.

Here is a statement about how the Gradz bakery was founded:

The Gradz Story
Master bakers Agnes Gabriel and Romuald Damaz have always been passionate about making healthy, delicious bread. When they discovered a treasure of family recipes hand-written by Agne’s Grandfather, they were inspired to establish the Gradz (Gabriel Romuald Agnes Damaz) bakery and share their tradition of continental-style baking with Britain.
Each numbered recipe in her Grandfather’s book brought cherished memories and baking ideas to Agnes and Romuald. By adding their knowledge, skill and expertise, the Gradz master bakers have developed traditional bread with today’s tastes and health benefits.

For our Mother’s day brunch we had a selection of toppings to go with the bread, including cheeses, pate, salad and the quintessential dish on any brunch menu; avocado and poached eggs!

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The bread was really delicious and considering my kids had a bit of a moan that they don’t like seeds in their bread they seemed to consume a fair amount of it! It is no surprise that Gradz have been winners at the world bakery awards!

Considering all the normal motherly duties didn’t disappear on Mother’s day I still had a lovely time and received lots of thoughtful gifts. How did you spend Mothering Sunday?

If you want to find out more about this artisan bread maker then checkout their website!

Posted in Lifestyle, London, Travel, Uncategorized

A ghostly walk in the City of London

When I was younger I loved all things ghostly, read the books and watched the horror movies but with age I find that the littlest things can keep me awake at night so I tend to avoid anything gruesome. I have however always wanted to go on a ghost walk around London and with it being on my list of places to visit this year, I couldn’t put it off any longer.

After Googling London Ghost walks I came across tours by Richard Jones. He has been in the business since 1982 and written 18 books on London and the paranormal so seemed like the perfect person to show us around the haunted sights of the city.

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As expected, churchyards played a big role in the tour and we passed many grave stones with Richard telling us stories of the chilling encounters of the long departed. Dressed as a Victorian undertaker and with the voice of a seasoned professional storyteller he really captured the attention of the audience. I was accompanied by my 19 year old daughter and was a bit worried that we might be alone on this walk but there was a really good crowd of people and Richard’s tours are obviously very popular.

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One of the sights we learned about was The Old Bailey where many men have been sent to their deaths, as well as a court house it also used to be home to The Newgate prison and execution site. The Viaduct Tavern over the road is thought to be one of the most haunted in London, if you buy a drink when it is not busy they may show you the cellar and if you buy a few they may just lock you in there!

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Onto Cock Lane and coincidently this was one of the first roads that prostitution was legalised, it was however made famous by the Cock lane ghost who occupied one of the apartments after William Kent’s wife died in childbirth but was this all a hoax or did people really see her?

A short walk over the road and we reached the place that all Sherlock Holmes fans will be familiar with at St Bartholomew’s hospital. I am more familiar with the hospital after spending many of my teenage years visiting the orthodontists in there. At 15 I remember having an operation and waking up in a room with eight beds but I was the only person there, it was quite spooky and it wasn’t any less spooky on this trip!

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I didn’t realise that there was a museum at the hospital but with it being founded 895 years ago I imagine there is a lot of history to be learnt about it. It is also the only place where you will still find these boxes collecting for the poor. Apparently the money was used to treat the poor in the hospital when they couldn’t afford medical care so it was mostly filled by the poor who were constantly worried about getting sick and not being able to get treatment.

As you leave the hospital towards Smithfield’s market you enter a large grass area which was used as an execution site, many people including William Wallace aka Braveheart faced his death here and it was reported that Bloody Queen Mary would watch from the Tudor building in the photo as she burnt people on the stakes.

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Our tour ended at the last surviving remains of London‘s old Roman and Medieval city wall. It is quite fascinating to see this wall that was damaged in the war with a backdrop of the cities newly built glass office buildings. Reports of ghostly sightings and sounds are often reported in the area.

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I wouldn’t say our ghostly walk was particularly scary but more of a historical lesson. I am usually supportive of old spaces being regenerated but feel a lot more appreciative of the history that is held in certain locations.

I have just touched on a few things that were covered in the tour and although it was cold and tiring on your legs I would highly recommend for anyone interested in the history of the city to take one of Richard’s tours around London.

Posted in Lifestyle, London, Uncategorized

Searching for Spring in Dulwich Park

On my journeys around London I have been spotting little traces of colour, including a couple of trees on my road sprouting blossom! Spring is my favourite time of year and I love to see colour appearing everywhere (and the sun occasionally making an appearance from behind the clouds) so thought I would take a stroll to nearby Dulwich park to see if there was any signs of Spring around there.

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Although it is not one of London’s biggest open spaces, Dulwich park has a lot to offer and something for everyone. Runners and dog walkers are around at all times but there are quite a lot of sporting facilities available. The tennis courts and basketball courts are free and open from 8am until closing and there is fitness equipment dotted around, mostly near the play area so no excuse for parents not to get in a quick workout while the kids are playing!

There is a pretty little boating lake which is open between April and October where we have spent many an afternoon navigating our pedal boat into the bushes.

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Next to the lake is a lovely little café with indoor and outdoor seating, which serves drinks, snacks and hot meals. I don’t think I have ever been to the park and it has not been busy inside so obviously a popular choice for visitors.

In my search for colour I only seemed to come across these plants which have quite an autumnal feel so I had to rely on the artwork to brighten up the day.

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So even though Spring was not in the air it was still nice to get out and about surrounded by greenery and getting my steps up on my Fitbit.

Have you seen any signs of Spring where you live?

Posted in Lifestyle, London, Photography, Travel, Uncategorized

Photography project – Haymarket Hotel

You may have seen my last post Boogie bounce with My PFF app where I attended an event at the Haymarket Hotel. In between bouncing around on trampolines, eating delicious food and talking about light bladder weakness, I managed to pop out and take some photos of the swanky interior at the hotel.

I loved the mix of traditional sculptures and ornamental vases with more modern pieces and quirky décor, particularly the fish wallpaper in the toilet! I did have a look around one of the bedrooms but I didn’t have my camera with me at the time so you will have to take my word for how luscious it was.

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I really liked the way each part of the hotel had a different style and there were so many little cosy nooks where I could imagine curling up with a good book, even this chair in the toilet looks inviting! Maybe one day I will get to try out an overnight stay!

Posted in Lifestyle, London, Uncategorized

Boogie bounce with My PFF app

Last weekend I was invited with a group of other bloggers to the Haymarket Hotel to take part in a boogie bounce session. The reason for this get together was to highlight the update of the Lights by Tena, My PFF app.

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You may be aware of the Tena brand and the Lights by Tena are just a branch of the brand that are aimed at light bladder weakness which often occurs in women of all ages.

We started the event with a presentation that included some interesting facts about light bladder weakness, did you know?

62% of women in the UK experience light bladder weakness

Light bladder weakness is more common than hayfever

35% of women still see light bladder weakness as a taboo subject

69% of new mums experience light bladder weakness

1 in 10 mums admit that bladder weakness has stopped them doing activities in their normal routine

As well as provide super absorbent pads (we know because we had fun testing them out) Tena want to encourage women to look after their pelvic floor and avoid the onset of these Oooops moments as much as possible.

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The My PFF app is free and available on Apple and android. It is suitable for all ages and provides daily reminders to help you schedule your pelvic floor exercises into your routine and lifestyle, it also tracks your progress to monitor your improvement.

If like me you only remember to do those pelvic floor exercises when you hear the words ‘pelvic floor exercise’ then this app could be for you! The pelvic floor is a muscle and just because we cant see it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be taking care of it. The new year is the perfect time to start incorporating new routines into your life and pelvic floor exercises should become part of this So look up the app now!

With 24% of people experiencing light bladder weakness during exercise it was time to put our own pelvic floor to the test…

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For me the trampoline is something that you put in the garden in the summer for the kids to play on, I didn’t realise it was a way to keep fit! We split into two groups to take turns having a boogie. We started with a warm up before the aerobic section, had a strenuous bum workout and finished with some stretches, it was such a great workout that I may have since ordered myself a mini exercise trampoline so I can continue to exercise in a fun but efficient way.

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After freshening up in one of the swanky hotel rooms we were treated to a delicious buffet to get our strength back up.

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I had loads of fun at the event and have since been making the most of the app by doing my little squeezes each day. Do you have a particular way to remind you to do pelvic floor exercises or are you one of 1/4 of women that have never practised them?

Posted in Lifestyle, Uncategorized

New year, New reads

 

I had a very busy last few months to 2017 and didn’t get much chance to read so was way off my yearly target to read 45 books. I finished with 32 but I am pretty sure I can achieve the 45 this year and have had a good start so far.

I finished two books that I started over the Christmas holidays and have put together my first set to get stuck into.

I am really intrigued by Hackney child as I was a Hackney child myself and I grew up in the care system like the author Hope Daniels, we are also around the same age so I’m interested to read about her experiences.

I received Behind Her Eyes and Truly Madly Guilty as a Christmas gift from my daughter and funnily enough I bought Behind Her Eyes for my other daughter so we now have two copies of it! They both look really good so looking forward to getting stuck into them.

I have read a couple of Dorothy Koomson books before and really enjoyed them. This one has been on my shelf for a few months so I’m glad to finally be getting round to reading it.

I also have a couple of books downloaded onto my kindle for when I’m out and about…

Here are a few of the books I read last year…

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There were some that I really devoured including –  Everything, Everything, The Breakdown, Small Great Things and Dear Amy and I don’t think there were any that were a drag to read so pretty successful!

What have you got on your new year reading list?

Posted in Food, Lifestyle, London, Travel, Uncategorized

Another 10 places to visit in London

 

At the beginning of last year you may have seen that I wrote a post about 10 places I wanted to visit in London. I do love to travel but the majority of my life is spent in London so I want to make the most of all the amazing opportunities and experiences that are on offer in the city. I managed to tick most of the things off the List which I have written about throughout the year and will share below, but I thought it would be fun to see what else is out there and create another list for this year. I’m not normally one for making resolutions but I do like to write a list of things I would like to do or achieve throughout the year so these will be added to that.

Ticked off from last year…

Sky Garden

Definitely one of my favourite places I have visited this year and would love to go back again.

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Emirates Cable car

Great experience although not much to see on the other side!

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Somerset House

I actually went to about three different exhibitions here throughout the year, really lovely setting and has an ice rink at Christmas.

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Kensington Gardens

I didn’t get to see much of the gardens as I visited late in the afternoon but had a lovely stroll around the Palace.

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Borough Market

Another place I have been to a few times, so much delicious looking food in one market!

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V & A museum

I never manage to see the whole museum when I visit the V & A because it is so grand so always ready to go back and have a mooch.

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Afternoon tea

Chelsea harbour was the perfect setting for my first experience of afternoon tea and I am now eager to visit some other posh hotels for more finger sandwiches.

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It is only from looking back at all my blog posts this year that I realise just how much I had squeezed into 2017 and I think having the blog is what motivates me to get out and see the world. I hope I manage to visit just as many places in 2018!

So here is my new list…

  • The photographers gallery – This is one that is carried over from last year and I am surprised I have still not made it, especially as one of my university tutors is a curator there and is always inviting us to events.
  • Matilda – I have been lucky enough to see some great shows in theatre this year, including Kinky Boots, Wind in the Willows and An American in Paris but I have wanted to see Matilda since it was launched so hopefully I will get the chance this year.
  • Imax cinema – Situated in the middle of the roundabout at Waterloo, I pass this cinema all the time but have never been inside. As well as having some really interesting 3D movies they also have the largest viewing screen in Britain so give a real immersive experience.
  • Ballie Ballerson – When you have spent years taking kids to soft play and ball pits then its time to find an adult version and Ballie Ballerson might just be it. With over a million balls and bottomless brunch on offer I think I need to try this place out!
  • Afternoon tea with a twist – After my first experience I would love to try some more afternoon tea experiences and love the quirky looking alternatives like Alice in Wonderland themed or on a bus.
  • The Saatchi Gallery – Another that was on my list last year. They are always putting on new exhibitions so I will be looking out through the year to see if anything interesting takes my fancy.
  • Overnight stay at a hotel – As I have lived in London my whole life I have never had the pleasure of staying in a hotel here overnight, one of the iconic ones would be a pleasure such as the Ritz or Claridges but not sure they would be in my budget.
  • Ghost walk – This is something that has to be done in the winter in the dark and a great way to explore the city in a different way. I love visiting historical places and hearing scary tales as long as it doesn’t give me nightmares.
  • The Jazz café – I do love live music but not really a fan of concert venues as there are just so many people. The Jazz café sounds like more of an intimate space to chill out and also has a restaurant. Will be looking out for future events there.
  • Ice Bar – Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a fan of the cold, if I could hibernate for the whole of winter I would but at the same time I am quite intrigued by a bar and restaurant that is made of ice and gives out blankets to it’s customers, definitely a one off experience that I would like to try.

Looking forward to a year full of adventure and I may just get to explore a bit further than London too! Where are you planning to visit this year?