Doing The Sushi Samba

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When I was little I would always imagine being some high flying business woman who would spend her evenings going to amazing and beautiful places in London. Who knew that I didn’t need to be that much older, or that high flying to go to such places. Led by my best friend Olivia (couldn’t get rid of her last week) whose childhood dreams equalled my own, we headed over to the Heron Tower and up to the 38th floor to live out our dreams for real. After the best elevator ride I’ve ever had we arrived and headed up the stairs to our metaphorical bar heaven.

DSC04770If this is what heaven looks like, count me in!

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Unfortunately we had just come from dinner, a choice I was severely regretting when I saw the magic these chefs were serving up. But on the upside guess I’ll just have to come back for it!DSC04708 DSC04710

We picked a perch with a view and set our sights firmly on the bar, although it took us about 20 minutes just to read the cocktail menu, and there’s nothing I love more than a healthy dose of choice when picking my cocktails!DSC04711 DSC04727

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To be sensible I asked for the non-alcoholic cocktail option which hear me out, was made with roasted red peppers. Sounds strange I know and granted the first sip was slightly startling, but the perfect mixture of savoury and sweet flavours made it one of most interesting and satisfying cocktails I’ve ever had.

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You can tell this one liked it too!DSC04756

Have you ever seen a view like this before? I would happily have set up camp here all evening, but unfortunately we had to make do with just a few hours.
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We would’ve happily carried on drinking and talking the night away but unfortunately it eventually came to home time and we had to make our way downstairs, but not before I’d taken a few photos of course! I mean come on when else do you get to pose with London’s skyline as your backdrop?DSC04766 DSC04767We also couldn’t help but swing by the incredible outdoor bar which was packed and for good reason due to the most amazing tree sculpture I’ve ever seen.
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I wasn’t joking when I said this place was stuff dreams were made off.
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Dragging our heels we finally got to the lift which gave me just enough time to soak in my last glimpse of the city skyline and of course give my best blue steel for one last photo. What can I say, I’m a sucker for a pretty backdrop!
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Until next time London, but thanks for letting two girls live their childhood dreams even if just for one night. Cheesy I know, but seriously if you’re looking for somewhere amazing whether it’s for a celebration or simply a drink or two, give Sushi Samba a try. Even if it’s not your cup of tea it’s worth it just for the ride and the unbelievable views.

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These two goons certainly enjoyed it anyway!

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Take a Break You Deserve It

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Raise your hands if you’re guilty of overworking… yep me too. I am one of those people that finds it almost impossible to turn my brain off, instead choosing to worry and stress about every little thing going on in my life. It reached a peak during my final months at university when I was struggling to juggle work, university exams and trying to find a job as well as day to day dramas. It left me unable to sleep or relax and created huge tension in my back which resulted in a doctors trip and physiotherapy. It became clear to me that although this was a time of great change in my life and many important things were happening it was ridiculous that at the age of 21 the stress of it was affecting me so badly. The physiotherapy was the last straw as I decided something had to be done as living under so much self-enforced stress wasn’t healthy for me mentally or physically. I would like to mention now that I am by no means any sort of expert on this topic but I just thought that I would share with you guys what worked for me in the hope that it might be helpful for one of you now or in the future.

The first thing I tackled was sleeping as I knew that with a decent night’s sleep I’d at least be able to tackle my issues with a clearer and more rational head. I decided to stop reading university related articles before bed as this often left them plaguing my mind as I slept, and instead chose one of the many fictional books I had gathering dust on my bookcase. This helped almost immediately as my mind was occupied on the fictional events on the page not to mention it majorly improved the subject matter of my dreams as well! I also stopped using electronic devices in bed as I read that the blue light they give out is a major issue in achieving deep, peaceful sleep (here’s the article which will better explain it than I ever will). I stopped using my laptop in bed and limited myself to one Instagram check before I started reading to make sure there was enough time for it to not affect my sleep as much, and the improvement was incredible.

Exercise was the next big one as I was often spending all day either at the library or running around at work, giving me very little time outside. I started by attempting at least a half hour walk outside every day which slowly increased to an hour or two or even a short run. It gave me time to think outside of the stuffy work environment, as well as giving me some fresh air and a chance to enjoy the nice weather. This provided me with an escape and a chance to gain some perspective, as well as helping to tire me out just enough to help improve my sleep.

The last is a much simpler one and I think the most universal and that is simply just taking the time to relax. Whereas before I would feel guilty about taking a long bath or some time out to have a cup of tea and read a magazine, by emphasizing to myself that I deserved it slowly allowed me to relax and enjoy it. It was difficult to begin with but once I’d acknowledged all that I had achieved and accepted the fact that no matter how much my brain may have been whirring away no work was being done for the next half hour, it helped to alleviate the stress massively. It also helped physically as I hadn’t realised how tense my body had been until I was able to relax and loosen up. Not to mention once you’ve learnt to enjoy the act of relaxing it becomes a treat that you can look forward to and actually helped my productivity as I wanted to feel that I had deserved my reward. My current method as you’ll see is a hot bath with an assortment of bath bombs and bubbles, lighting a candle (my current favourite being my Jo Malone) and reading my book with my bath pillow at the end of the day.

It’s like they say in one of my all time favourite films Zombieland “Enjoy the little things” and I think that’s what I’d recommend more than anything. Whether it’s a walk in the park or a coffee with friends it’s the little things that make the bad things not so bad, so don’t be afraid to make the most of them because it’s the only life you’ve got. I know this is a little deeper than my usual posts but it’s something I really wanted to write and I hope you enjoyed it or it at least encouraged you to take a break because you deserve it.

Summer Party Family Style

As my family lives far and wide across the U.K. it’s not often that we all manage to get together in the same place. But with my great Uncle’s 70th looming, him and my Aunt decided to celebrate with a big blow out to make the most of the sun with good food and good company, and boy they didn’t let us down.

We arrived and walked round the corner of the house into what must be as close as England is going to get to being a tropical paradise!

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While the children made the most of the pool the rest of us relaxed in the sun and had a good old fashioned catch up.

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For once in my life I forgot to photograph the food which should tell you just how good it was! They had laid on enough for a small army with everything from hams, salads, fresh bread, salmon, and anything else that you could possibly want.

But a special mention has to go to the wine which I did manage to photograph, which had been flown in all the way from the Alps! Crisp, fresh and fruity it was a perfect accompaniment to the delicious feast.

DSC03278DSC03281  DSC03286  After all that feasting we decided to wander around the tropical paradise (and take a few photos as well).  DSC03311 DSC03312

Hidden behind these Hydrangea’s which had me swooning they were so beautiful, I discovered a little hideaway from all the craziness, squirreled away in the tropical forest.
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What I wouldn’t give for one of these in my back garden as my own little office/ reading nook.

Swooning over, I couldn’t help but strike a pose against the beautiful flowers.DSC03361Dress: Zara (Similar here, here and here), Denim Jacket: Topshop (similar here), Bag: Kate Spade (similar here), Sunglasses: ASOS, Pumps: Topshop.

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Usually I am the type of person who dreads these sorts of ‘smart/casual’ occasions as I often end up either too smart or too casual, but this recent Zara purchase has saved me. The more eagle eyed of you will recognise this as the dress I graduated in which emphasises just how versatile it is, not to mention how obsessed I am with it! Paired with my favourite Topshop denim jacket and pumps and my Kate Spade Saturday bag which I picked up in New York shortly before they closed, I think I’ve finally nailed the smart casual brief.
DSC03408DSC03398 DSC03412  After all that ‘hard work’ there was nothing left to do but enjoy the rest of the day, which is already one of the highlights of my Summer. I’d love to know if any of you have any tips of how you strike the balance of that dreaded smart/casual dress code and your favourite ways to have fun with your family this summer!

Walking on Sunshine

Is it me or has Winter seemed extra long this year? Now as much as I love Christmas and snow and all the fun that goes with it, once we hit the January slump I find myself crying out for any little bit of sunshine or warmth to come my way. So as soon as my wishes were answered and Belfast, land of rain and cold had it’s first full day of sunshine, I ran out camera in tow to make the most of it.

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119422119522First stop the park, and what a beautiful park it is. With over 100 acres to choose from I got lost in the trees and cherry blossoms whiling away the hours, and the beautiful scenery proved perfect for my snap happy tendencies.

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One of my favourite bits of the park are the millions of daffodils which were scattered around, which are the epitome of spring to me and one of my favourite flowers (so much so that I had to include two photos).
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The park runs alongside the river Lagan which is another one of my favourite walks to take in Belfast as you get to see some amazing views along the way. I even stopped for a little break and took the opportunity to get some University reading done while I was at it (plus a cheeky selfie of course!)

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I couldn’t help but snap some more of my favourite flowers too!
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I finished the day with a walk through the Botanical Gardens next to the university, which even after three years still continues to amaze me and makes me feel like I’m studying at Hogwarts! The gardens are always popular when it’s sunny especially the stunning Palm House, which is our own little Alexandra Palace with an amazing selection of tropical plants inside.

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Here’s hoping we have lots more of these days to come and I’d love to know how you’re making the most of the sunny days too!