Wednesday, 29 June 2016

How to organise a hen do or night out in Windsor or Palma de Mallorca (or both!)

Planning a night out or hen do in Windsor or Mallorca, Palma, Magaluf
Planning a night out or hen do in Windsor or Mallorca, Palma, Magaluf

My big sister is getting married in a couple of weeks, and I spent a few weeks in May organising her hen dos. I've organised many a hen do in my life - I even set up a whole blog about it - so I threw everything I had at this. Obviously my sister is more than worth it.

When you're organising something like this, I always find it handy to see what others have done, so I've put together a little post that might help you if you're organising a hen do, a night out or a trip to Windsor or Palma de Mallorca.
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Sunday, 26 June 2016

Batch Cooking Day: Three hours, three meals, twenty portions for £20.

Batch cooking on a budget with a slowcooker or crockpot, meat, vegan and vegetarian options

Every few weeks I have a batch cooking session. I load up the fridge with the ingredients for a few different recipes, prop up my iPad in the kitchen with something compulsive on Netflix (right now it's iZombie or the Scream TV series), and I spend an afternoon chopping, stirring and cooking.

I’ve spoken a lot about what an advocate I am for batch cooking. The simple reason is that a day of work once a month or so means that you can come home from work most nights, pop something in the microwave, and relax in the knowledge that you’ve had something nutritious and healthy, but most importantly, QUICK. Some nights I still cook from scratch, but I’d say 80% of the time I eat freezer-food. But this, the good kind, not the crispy pancakes kind.

On my last batch cooking day, I documented some of the process to share just how easy it can be. So clear some space in your freezer, do a quick food shop and come with me now, on an adventure through slow cookers and ovens… we’re going to make Chicken Burrito Bowls, Butternut Squash Lasagne and Coconut Lentil Dhal. In three hours (plus a little slow cooker maintenance at the end).

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Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Review: The White Horse, Harpenden, Hertfordshire

Review of White Horse Harpenden Hertfordshire Gastro Pub near St AlbansReview of White Horse Harpenden Hertfordshire Gastro Pub near St Albans
Review of White Horse Harpenden Hertfordshire Gastro Pub near St Albans

I guess it's easy, when you're based in London or a big city, to assume that you walk or get public transport everywhere. But when you live in a smaller town, like I do, sometimes that's not an option. And sometimes, you don't want it to be an option. Sometimes you don't want to get the train into the town centre and walk 20 minutes to get lunch. Sometimes you just want to hop in your car and pull up outside somewhere that will give you nice food.

This is actually a common conversation in our house. Where can we go that's nice, but involves next-to-no walking? Sometimes laziness plays a part in this - okay, often - but almost as much it's about meeting older relatives who aren't as mobile as us whippersnappers, or friends with kids and a boot-full of pushchairs and toys and other baby-related equipment. So as soon as we pulled up outside The White Horse, in Harpenden, I said 'Oooh, we need to remember this one!' It's a lovely pub with good food in Hertfordshire that has lots of parking. I literally googled that last week. Perfect.

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Sunday, 19 June 2016

Glastonbury: My most helpful advice

Glastonbury hints and tips from a veteran

It's nearly Glastonbury time! I have been frantically getting ready for the past couple of weeks, and will continue in this frantic vein until we leave on Wednesday morning. It's my 10th Glastonbury this year - my first was 2005 - so I pretty much know what I'm doing by now. I even did an interview for Opodo's blog with some of my tips - have a look at my overwhelmingly practical advice. And don't wear playsuits.

If you're going for the first time, I might be able to help:

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Friday, 17 June 2016

Home is where the heart is

Gift ideas for new homes

It seems like everyone at the moment is moving house, and it's... well, making me super jealous. I'm longing for a place of my own at the moment - seriously longing.

It also occurred to me that some of you might be wondering why I don't actually have a house of my own yet. If you remember, I moved back in with my parents at the start of 2014 to save up for a flat of my own. I hit my saving goal that year, but my circumstances changed, too.

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Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Photography: what I use

Sony A5000 Camera review with photography examples

Ever since I got my first DSLR back in 2009, I've loved taking photos. I always did, even before that – photos of my friends on nights out, pretty bits of scenery – my computer is full of folders called 'Sunsets' and 'Nature' and 'Clouds' and other incredibly basic things. But having a DSLR made me say "Sarah, you have a GOOD camera. Do it justice." It made me more mindful of the things I photographed, it made me want to seek out interesting locations, and it made me want to get better.

I'm still pretty much self-taught, and there are still plenty of gaps in my knowledge, but it's satisfying to look at my latest posts and feel proud of the images, and think that yeah – I've got a lot better. While I think it's true that you don't need the most expensive camera or the fanciest equipment to be good at photography, I do think it makes a difference, especially when you've got to the point where you sort of know what you're doing, but want to get better. So this is what I'm using at the moment...

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Sunday, 12 June 2016

A VIP day out at Newbury Racecourse

Al Shaqab Lockinge Day at Newbury Racecourse hospitality experience

Apologies for the radio silence around these parts. May was a super busy month with hen dos and yet more hen dos, and June so far has been spent recovering from said hen dos. But now I'm back! With so much to say! About food I've eaten! And things that I've done!

One such thing that I did recently was to go to Newbury Races for the day. I was kindly invited along to experience the Al Shaqab Lockinge Day (remember my giveaway?) from a hospitality suite. Fancy, right? It totally was.

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