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Wednesday, 28 June 2017

We Have Lost The Coffee by Paul Mathews

*AD - GIFTED* Today I am joining in with We Have Lost The Coffee by Paul Mathews book tour. The third book in the We Have Lost mystery series.

We Have Lost The Coffee by Paul Mathews

We Have Lost The Coffee by Paul Mathews - The blurb

London, 2045. Three months into the Coffee Wars and Britain’s caffeine supplies are at critical levels. Brits are drinking even more tea than usual, keeping a stiff upper lip and praying for an end to it all.

A secret Government coffee stockpile could save the day … but then mysteriously disappears overnight.

One man is asked to unravel the missing-coffee mystery. His name is Pond. Howie Pond. And he’s in desperate need of a triple espresso. Meanwhile, his journalist wife, Britt, is hunting royal fugitive Emma Windsor on the streets of the capital.

Can Howie save the British Republic from caffeine-starved chaos? Will the runaway royal be found? And just what will desperate coffee drinkers do for their next caffeine fix? Find out, in Paul Mathews’ latest comedy-thriller set in the Britain of the future…

'We Have Lost The Coffee' is packed with dry British humour, political satire, dozens of comedy characters and enough coffee jokes to keep you awake all night. It's full of crazy action and adventure in London, and beyond, and is guaranteed to set your pulse racing faster than a quadruple espresso.

So, join Howie, Britt and friends – as well as some enemies – as you travel forward in time to 2040s London.

We Have Lost The Coffee by Paul Mathews - review

We Have Lost The Coffee by Paul Mathews follows Britt and her husband Howie around London in the 2040's as they investigate the mysterious disappearance of the nations coffee supplies. The two main characters are both investigating their own stories full of twists and turns. Both characters come up against problems, trouble and plot twists.

Paul Mathews We Have Lost The Coffee is a cozy mystery that draws you in quickly and keeps you reading until the end. I love that it is set in the future and I love how that future looks. (Apart from the no coffee problem of course!) It will keep you guessing as to who has taken the coffee right until the reveal.The main characters are both very likeable and I found myself rooting for them in their hard times.

Although this is the third book in the We Have Lost series it can be read as a stand alone novel. I haven't read either of the previous books and didn't feel like there were things I didn't know or understand. Now I have read We Have Lost The Coffee though I would like to read the previous books.

Whilst the story doesn't end on a cliff hanger there can definitely be more in this series and I am looking forward to finding out what happens next for Howie and Britt Pond.

You can buy We Have Lost The Coffee by Paul Mathews here and find out more about it on Goodreads here.

I am giving We Have Lost The Coffee by Paul Mathews 4/5 stars ****



Monday, 26 June 2017

Mallorca Travel Diary - exploring this Balearic Island

 This year we have chosen to not have one big holiday and instead have a few different shorter holidays throughout the year. This way we get to see more of the world quicker and it keeps the wanderlust under control. I have already had a trip to Dublin and a few months later we were jetting off again to Mallorca. Today I am finally sharing my Mallorca travel diary. 

Mallorca Travel Diary day 1

Our first day was an early start as we were at the airport for 7am. We were there in plenty of time so had breakfast and the usual nosey around duty free and the shops. Before we knew it we were on the plane and on our way to Mallorca.

Mallorca travel diary plane selfie

The flight to Palma, Mallorca is just under 3 hours, just enough time to have a drink, food and a bit of a read.

I arranged my own transfers but unfortunately this didn't work out too well! After picking our suitcases up and finding the company we were waiting over 2 hours for other flights to come in before they would take us. It  was a very scenic wait and the sun was shining which made it much more bearable.

Mallorca travel diary Palma airport view

After our long wait in the airport and the transfer from Palma to Alcudia it was late afternoon but the time we got to the hotel. Check in took so long! We arrived at the same time as 2 coaches of Spanish students, which had me cursing the transfer company all over again.

By the time we got to our room there was just enough time to quickly unpack, freshen up and head straight back out for dinner.

The first thing we saw coming back out of our hotel was this stunning view!

Mallorca travel diary hotel view

After food, a few drinks and a good explore of the hotel resort both me and Ellie were ready for an early night.

Mallorca Travel Diary day 2

Day 2 of our Mallorca travel diary and we were both awake and up early. We were dressed and in the dining room for breakfast as soon as it opened. By 9am we set up on sun loungers ready for a day relaxing in the sun.

Mallorca travel diary hotel balcony

The hotel has a really good entertainment programme that you can join in with as much or as little as you want. Even if you're not joining in the activities there is plenty to watch from the sunlounger. We did a yoga session, being on mats out in the sun by palm trees is just amazing! Joining in an afternoon water aerobics was a good way to cool down and get ourselves moving after a hard day sunbathing.

After dinner we had a long walk exploring Alcudia town and the beach. The beach is just stunning and the views there are amazing!

Mallorca travel diary Alcudia beach

Mallorca travel diary Alcudia beach

I could quite happily spend the rest of my life on Alcudia beach looking out to sea.

Mallorca Travel Diary day 3

Day 3 of our Mallorca travel diary saw us at breakfast again at opening time. Another morning yoga lesson under the palm trees was a great start to a day in the sun.

Mallorca travel diary pool pose

The weather was gorgeous again so we spent the day around the pool and making the most of the All Inclusive food.

We spent the night on resort watching the entertainment and playing pool. We were lucky enough to time going back to the hotel room just right and saw this beautiful sunset from our balcony.

Mallorca travel diary Alcudia sunset

Mallorca Travel Diary day 4

After two days lounging by the pool day four of our Mallorca travel diary saw us wanting to explore more. After another early breakfast we were on the bus to Palma to see the capital city.

Mallorca travel diary Palma

I'm not going to talk too much about Palma as there is a whole post coming up about it. But it is probably THE most beautiful, breathtaking city I have seen. We spent the day exploring, sight seeing, eating and shopping. I was honestly heartbroken to get on the bus back to Alcudia.

Mallorca travel diary Alcudia sunset

Coming back wasn't all bad as we got to see another Mallorcan sunset before bed!

Mallorca Travel Diary day 5

Day five of our Mallorca travel diary is a sad day. Home time *sob*. We had time for breakfast and a last walk around the resort we called home for 5 days before the coach came to pick us up.

Mallorca travel diary selfie

Unfortunately our flight home was delayed by 4 hours. Even more unfortunate was that they didn't realise the delay until everyone was on the plane. This meant we couldn't get off the plane and because the plane hadn't taken off the crew are not allowed to serve drinks or food. (How ridiculous is that rule?!) 4 hours on a hot plane without so much as a drink of water was not fun!

After a long day travelling we were back home for about 8pm and our Mallorca adventure was over.

Mallorca travel diary round up

Both me and Ellie had an amazing break. Mallorca is such a beautiful country with so much to see and do. We were so lucky with the weather whilst we were there as it is early in the year to go. I definitely want to go back as there is still so much I want to see of Mallorca and it really has stolen my heart.

Have you been to Mallorca before? Has a country ever stolen your heart too?


Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Skinade - The Daily Skincare Drink

*AD - GIFTED* We all know how to take care of our skin and the majority of us have a daily skin care routine. We at least cleanse, tone and moisturise twice daily. Have you ever thought about caring for your skin from within? It isn't something I had ever thought of until Skinade got in touch with me.

Skinade daily skin care drink review

What is Skinade?

Skinade is a "better skin from within" daily skin care drink. It works from the inside out to rebuild and strengthen the collagen matrix below the skins surface. It boosts hydration and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Each bottle contains 7000mg of high grade collagen which is sourced from fresh-water fish. There are no artificial colours or flavours and each bottle has less than 35 calories.

How to take Skinade?

Skinade comes in either ready to drink 150ml bottles or travel sachets to mix up with water. There are 5 days supply of bottles in a box or 10 days sachets. You drink Skinade once per day and avoid caffeine one hour before and after. Simple! 

Skinade daily skin care drink review

Skinade daily skin care drink review

Skinade review

I drank my Skinade at lunchtime, popping it in my bag along with my lunch each day quickly became a habit. The drinks are peach and mangosteen flavour and it tastes surprisingly nice! Very fruity, not a false flavour and no taste of the fish products it is made from. The travel sachets are super simple to mix up, you just squeeze the liquid from the sachet into a glass of water. I personally prefer the ready made bottles, for no reason other than they need no effort at all to drink.

Skinade daily skin care drink review

Sorry if this is TMI BUT one point I have to make is Skinade has a very distinct smell and it does filter through in to your urine. It isn't unpleasant or embarrassing just strange the first time you notice it!

After 30 days of drinking Skinade I can honestly say my skin really does feel wonderful! It is really hydrated, plump and soft and I no longer have dry patches around my nose. I'm in my 30's so only have the first signs of ageing with fine lines around my eyes. I haven't noticed a difference in these after my 30 day trial but can believe they would soften due to how plump and moisturised my skin feels. They do advise a 90 day trial and I'm sure after another 60 days I would be able to report on a change there. It has had a great effect on my hair and nails too, both of which have been  growing like weeds.

A 30 day supply of Skinade is £105, which works out at £3.50 per day, a daily coffee for some people. Not everyone has £105 a month for skincare, myself included, but if you are considering  a product like this and it is in your budget I recommend it.

If you would like to try Skinade for yourself you can find out more and buy it here.

Make sure you enter my giveaway to win a 30 day supply for yourself

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Monday, 19 June 2017

One Love Manchester charity concert

Todays post is very picture and word heavy but it is such an important post that really needs to be done justice. One Love Manchester, the charity concert for the victims of the Manchester terror attack. The concert not just our nation but the world was watching. The day Manchester stood up together against terrorism with the world behind it.

One Love Manchester stage

If you follow me on Instagram you will already know I was lucky enough to get tickets for One Love Manchester. It is such an amazing way to raise money and to show support for Manchester.

In the run up to the show I was a little anxious after the horror in Manchester just 2 weeks before, but felt ok about going and taking Ellie. The morning of One Love Manchester we woke to the awful news that there was another terror attack in London. Deciding to go was a difficult decision. Showing our respect, solidarity and defiance was so important and on the day that won for us.

One Love Manchester Tony Walsh

Tony Walsh opening One Love Manchester with his now infamous "This Is The Place" Manchester poem.

One Love Manchester Marcus Mumford

Marcus Mumford leading a minutes silence for the victims before performing Timshel. I have seen Mumford & Sons quite a few times so it was different to see Marcus on his own. He is a brilliant musician and a great start to the show.

One Love Manchester Take That

Take That performing Shine, Giants and Rule The World. You'll already know I'm a huge Take That fan (if not read about that here) so I was always going to enjoy seeing them. Being from Manchester themselves I'm so glad they were on the setlist. Their set was really upbeat and everyone was up dancing.

One Love Manchester Robbie Williams

Robbie Williams performing Strong / Manchester We're Strong and Angels. I love the change of lyrics and hearing the entire crowd chanting along. In the run up there were whispers of him singing with Take That, I'm glad he didn't. It might have taken away from what the day was actually about.

One Love Manchester Pharrell Williams

One Love Manchester Pharrell Williams and Miley Cyrus

Pharrell Williams performing Get Lucky with Marcus Mumford and Get Lucky with Miley Cyrus. Although I'm not a fan of Pharrells music it is upbeat and got the crowd dancing along.

One Love Manchester Niall Horan

Naill Horan performing Slow Hands and This Town. Ellie is a big Niall fan so she was happy to see him at One Love Manchester. He came across as very humble and genuine.

One Love Manchester Ariana Grande

After a speech from Scooter Braun which was very moving and so relevant after the two attacks Ariana Grande came on to the stage. Her sets were intermixed with all the other artists throughout the day. She sang Be Alright, Break Free, Side to Side and Love Me Harder. She is amazing to see live! Such an incredible voice and such a sweet, lovely person too. Her speeches throughout the day were so heartfelt and moving, I was brought to tears more than once.

One Love Manchester Little Mix

Little Mix performing Wings. The girls are great live and again kept it upbeat and energetic.

One Love Manchester Victoria Monet

Victoria Monet performing Better Days with Ariana Grande.

One Love Manchester Black Eyed Peas

Black Eyed Peas performing Where Is The Love with Ariana Grande. Despite being 14 years old I don't think you could find a more relevant song. It could have been written especially for One Love Manchester. It definitely brings a lump to your throat seeing it live in this setting.

One Love Manchester Imogen Heap

Imogen Heap performing Hide and Seek.

One Love Manchester Parrs Wood High School Choir

Parrs Wood High School Choir performing My Everything with Ariana Grande. The choir are beautiful singers and so brave performing to such a big audience. This was one of the most moving moments of the day.

One Love Manchester Mac Miller

Mac Miller performing The Way and Dang with Ariana Grande.

One Love Manchester Miley Cyrus

One Love Manchester Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus performing Inspired and Don't Dream It's Over with Ariana Grande. Despite her "wild child" press Miley is a brilliant singer and seems genuinely upset at the awful attacks.

One Love Manchester Katy Perry

Katy Perry performing Part of Me and Roar. Damn she can sing live!

One Love Manchester Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber performing Love Yourself, Roots Bloody Roots and Cold Water. Ellie is a big Justin Bieber fan so seeing him at One Love Manchester was a great experience for her. He seemed genuinely upset at the attacks and it was moving to see him so upset.

One Love Manchester Coldplay

Coldplay performing Don't Look Back In Anger, Fix You and Viva La Vida. I'm generally not a Coldplay fan but they are an amazing band to see live. Chris Martin is an amazing singer and musician and the show they put on is incredible. I did quite a good job of keeping myself together through all of One Love Manchester but this is the point where I lost it. Chris Martin on his knees singing Fix You was my tipping point!

One Love Manchester Liam Gallagher

Liam Gallagher performing Rock n Roll Star, Wall Of Glass and Live Forever. One Love Manchester couldn't have picked a better Mancunian to perform! Liam is probably one of the most famous singers to come from Manchester. It is disappointing Noel didn't come too, but like with Take That, it might have made the day about them.

One Love Manchester Ariana Grande

The finale, Ariana Grande performing One Last Time and Somewhere Over The Rainbow. I don't think there was a dry eye in the crowd!

One Love Manchester was such an emotional day and it is a day I will never forget. We stood as one, showed our respect and we were defiant. We sang loud and proud, we danced, we hugged and we cried. Every artist performing was amazing. The crowd were amazing. The atmosphere was like nothing I have ever experienced.

What you didn't see on the TV was the atmosphere, so strong you could almost touch it. The crowd were calm, there was no pushing or surging to the stage. Everyone looked out for one another. Grown men lifted strangers children on to their shoulders so they could see. Strangers hugged as they sang. It wasn't a sad day, the music and the crowd made it uplifting and upbeat. We were strong and happy to be there.

The music never stopped, once the TV cameras stopped filming we carried on singing. We sang queueing to get out of the grounds, we sang walking the streets and we sang on the buses and trams.

I am so grateful and proud both me and Ellie got to be a part of One Love Manchester.

One Love Manchester banner

If you haven't already please, please donate to the We Love Manchester fund here.


Friday, 16 June 2017

Yeadon Stoops Beefeater review

*AD - GIFTED* Last week me and Ellie were invited down to Yeadon Stoops Beefeater to try out their new menu in their new look restaurant.

Beefeater is a British brand that launched back in 1974 and now has over 140 restaurants nationwide. The restaurants are warm, welcoming and modern with cosy booth seating and an informal, relaxing atmosphere.

The brand is famous for serving up great tasting quality steak but prides itself on a wide affordable menu that has something suitable for the whole family, from succulent steak, chicken and fish to fresh salads and indulgent puddings.

Steak lovers of Leeds can now rejoice, the Beefeater Yeadon Stoops is now open following some exciting changes.

The restaurant has undergone a stunning makeover to create a light and welcoming environment for guests. The venue boasts a fresh look inside and out, with booth seating now available for larger groups. With comfort and style a priority for Beefeater, visitors can now enjoy the modern interior and relax in the new-look bar.

With strong family values at the forefront of the business, the menu is jam-packed with a wide range of favourites, including tender steaks, mouth-watering burgers and fresh salads. Guests can also tuck into Beer-Battered Cod & Chips, Smothered Chicken and the Beefeater Mixed Grill, each prepared with care and presented with flare. In addition, Beefeater is now offering unlimited skinny or triple cooked chips with selected main meals.

Yeadon Stoops Beefeater

Yeadon Stoops Beefeater - starters

For starters, these are the sharers Garlic Flatbread Strips (£4.59) with the trio of dips (£1.99). The garlic flat bread strips are delicious, they are nice and thin and perfectly crisp. They have just the right amount of garlic too, you know it is garlic bread but it isn't too overpowering. The three dips compliment the flatbread perfectly. With a yoghurt, cucumber and mint dip, a smokey hummus dip and a guacamole dip theres a dip for everyone.

Yeadon Stoops Beefeater garlic flatbread strips

Our next starter is the Loaded Potato Dippers (£4.89). These are full of cheese, bacon and spring onions and have a sour cream dip. The potato skins have a thin layer of potato and really crispy skin. I love the combination of toppings and the sour cream dip is delicious with them! Despite being such a huge plateful they aren't too filling as they are thin and light.

Yeadon Stoops Beefeater loaded potato skins

Yeadon Stoops Beefeater - Mains

Ellie chose the Arrabiata Meatball Linguine (£11.49) This is linguine pasta with chilli pork & beef meatballs in tomato sauce. It has basil, a sprinkling of Regato cheese and warm flatbread pieces. The meatballs are really tasty with a slight kick of chilli, the sauce is nice and thick and perfect for dunking the flatbread in.

Yeadon Stoops Beefeater arrabiata meatball linguine

As steak is the Beefeater's speciality I had to pick one of those. I went with the 6oz flat iron steak (£11.19). Flat iron steak is new to me, this thick cut steak's marbling is what gives it its succulent texture and flavour. It comes with chips, side salad and tomatoes. I have added the rich beef sauce (£1.49) and beer batter onion rings (£2.89). This is THE best steak I've had! I like mine medium, which it was, and the flat iron is a really tasty, juicy cut. The rich beef sauce is super thick and really beefy. It goes perfectly with the steak and the chips. The beer batter onion rings are definitely worth having too.

Yeadon Stoops flat iron steak

Yeadon Stoops Beefeater - Desserts

Despite being incredibly full from the previous course we both found room for a desert. I chose the lemon curd sorbet (£3.99). This is 2 large scoops of lemon sorbet with a lemon curd ripple through it. It is really light and refreshing and not too tart.

Yeadon Stoops lemon curd sorbet

Ellie is a massive brownie fan so she chose the Warm Chocolate Brownie (£4.99). This is a huge wedge of chocolate brownie with ice cream and chocolate sauce. Again everything was just perfect with this. The brownie is crisp on the outside with a gooey middle and the chocolate is really rich. 

Yeadon Stoops warm chocolate brownies

Yeadon Stoops Beefeater review

Both me and Ellie absolutely loved our meal at Yeadon Stoops Beefeater. I honestly can't make one criticism about any of it! The food is really good, freshly cooked to order just how you request it with quality ingredients and definitely not "pub food". The staff are lovely, the waiting staff really know the menu and are attentive without interrupting or coming over too often.

Yeadon Stoops is our first Beefeater experience but it definitely won't be our last. If you have a Beefeater near you I recommend heading down and trying it out for yourself. 


Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Menu tasting at Water Lane Boathouse Leeds

*AD - GIFTED* On a gorgeously sunny day I went down to the newly opened Water Lane Boathouse in Leeds for a menu tasting event. Water Lane Boathouse sits on the canal in Leeds city centre and was formally the Pour House. This is my first time here, it is an absolutely gorgeous venue with a rustic, open feel and huge glass windows that look out over the canal.

Water Lane Boathouse menu tasting

The first item from the Water Lane Boathouse menu is the vegetarian sharing platter. This is £5.95 per person. The platter has buffalo mozzarella, pickle vegetables, quinoa salad, tomato jam, roast beetroot, bread, nocellara olives and pecorino cheese with honey. Everything is really good! I especially like the quinoa salad and the pecorino with honey. Who knew honey and cheese make such a perfect match!

Water Lane Boathouse menu tasting vegetarian sharing platter

Next is the Beetroot, White Bean and Fennel burger. This is a sesame bun, beetroot white bean and fennel burger, tomato jam, pickles, lettuce, tomato and burger sauce. It is £8.50 and you can add chips for £2. This was my absolute favourite from the menu. A beetroot burger isn't something I would have chosen myself but I will definitely be ordering it again! The burger is really tasty and juicy and goes perfectly with everything else.

Water Lane Boathouse menu tasting Beetroot, white bean and fennel burger

For the meat eaters the Small Victories burger, £9.50. This is two Yorkshire beef burgers in a sesame bun with cheese, bacon jam, tomato, lettuce, pickles and burger sauce. The burgers are perfectly done and still juicy and the bacon jam is to die for!

Water Lane Boathouse menu tasting Small Victories burger

This is the smoke aubergine and roast cauliflower pizza which is £6.95. It is a sourdough base with smoke aubergine, roast cauliflower, san marzano tomato and gremolata. As it doesn't have cheese its a perfect choice for vegans. Cauliflower seems to be having a real moment right now in the foodie world. Unfortunately I'm not a fan so it just isn't the pizza for me. The base is amazing though and the smoke aubergine is lovely.

Water Lane Boathouse menu tasting Aubergine and cauliflower pizza

The prosciutto pizza, £8, is another favourite of mine at the Water Lane Boathouse. This sourdough base has prosciutto, buffalo mozzarella, pickle radicchio and mozzarella. It is really light and I could quite happily eat the whole thing!

Water Lane Boathouse menu tasting prosciutto, mozzarella and radicchio pizza

Salads are something I often overlook on a menu when I'm eating out but Water Lane Boathouse salad bowls are definitely worth trying. The bowls are huge so would make a meal for one or would be great to share as side salads.

First is the roast cauliflower and green lentil salad, £5.50. This has roast cauliflower, green lentils, baby leaves, squash, golden raisins, smoked almond, yoghurt and turmeric. Although I don't like cauliflower everything else was really nice and went together perfectly.

Water Lane Boathouse menu tasting roast cauliflower and green lentil salad

This is the roast beetroot salad, £5.50. Inside this bowl is roast beetroot, raspberries, sorrel, baby leaves, raspberry vinegar and olive oil. Raspberries in salad is new to me but they work so well. Raspberry all the salads from now on!

Water Lane Boathouse menu tasting roast beetroot salad

Finally the skin on chips with oregano salt, £2.95 are AH-mazing. I definitely recommend adding a side of these to your order.

Water Lane Boathouse menu tasting Skin on chips

The food at Water Lane Boathouse is really good, the prices are very reasonable and the setting is just perfect. Sitting out in the sunshine on the side of the canal or even inside looking out at it really is amazing. It's the perfect venue for a girly lunch with friends, drinks and a bite to eat after work or even a laid back date.


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