Psychosomatic Pain and Anxiety- Why my back pain has gone

Hi guys if you read my new year post (if not you can read it here) you will notice I mentioned that my back pain has gone. Before I explain how and why it’s gone I will give you a back story (no pun intended) of when it all began and what I went through.

Back Pain 2017

So back in about March time of 2017 I started to feel a pain in my lower back, I had felt this pain before but it usually only lasted a day and was due to over exerting myself (extreme cleaning or exercise). However this time the pain wasn’t going away it was present everyday and was made worse when I tried to do any cleaning, too much walking and sitting at my desk.

I went to the doctors and they advised me to do no exercise for two weeks and to use an ibuprofen gel. After two weeks I was still in pain and went back to the doctors, this time seeing someone different she advised that I shouldn’t be in pain for this long and requested an MRI and gave me some exercises to do. The request was denied via the NHS as they didn’t think my symptoms warranted an MRI. I then used my private health insurance from work to get an MRI done, the results came back fine and they were unable to identify what was causing the pain. I was then sent for physio and given exercises to do but they also didn’t help.

Finally getting an answer

Fast forward to November 2017 and the pain was becoming unbearable I wasn’t able to do anything at the weekends and spent it on the sofa with a hot water bottle. I decided to go back to the doctors again to see if I could get some stronger pain killers as the over- the-counter stuff was not helping. Again I saw a different doctor, he took a look at the results from my MRI and all the blood tests I had and said that they had not found anything physically wrong with me and that I was pretty healthy. He then prescribed me some medication, but at first didn’t tell me what they were but believed that they would help. He prescribed me beta-blockers for anxiety as he believed that the pain was caused by stress. Within a few days, my pain has disappeared and I was feeling a lot better.

Psychosomatic Pain

After two weeks of taking the medication I went back to the doctors as I had been signed off work to see if I was fit to go back. I asked him to explain how the pain had gone away, he explained that it was caused by my mind and that because I was getting frustrated with the fact I couldn’t do anything I was prolonging it and increasing the severity. Looking back I have always been a person who gets stressed easily (my mum would call me a drama queen) due to issues with work and home I had become very stressed without realising it. I had no idea that the mind was capable of causing so much pain.

Beta- Blocker and Aniexty

Beta- blockers work by elevating the symptoms of anxiety which includes slowing down your heart rate. I would never of thought that I was someone who suffered from anxiety as I associated it with the more serve symptoms like panic attacks and not being able to leave the house. However general anxiety includes the following symptoms (taken from the NHS Website):

  • Restlessness
  • A sense of dread
  • Feeling constantly “on edge”
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability

This was basically me for most of 2017, I was restless when watching TV and couldn’t just relax even at the weekends. I dreaded waking up the morning as I didn’t know what pain I was going to be in or what I was going to face when I got into work. I constantly felt on edge and would snap and get irritated at people or get annoyed about little things. I had difficulty concentrating at work due to the pain in my back and would make silly mistakes.

General anxiety can also cause physical symptoms including the following (taken from NHS Website)

  • dizziness
  • tiredness
  • a noticeably strong, fast or irregular heartbeat (palpitations)
  • muscle aches and tension
  • trembling or shaking
  • dry mouth
  • excessive sweating
  • shortness of breath
  • stomach ache
  • feeling sick
  • headache
  • pins and needles
  • difficulty falling or staying asleep (insomnia)

Luckily I did not have all these symptoms, however I did experience tiredness which I just put down to lack of sleep rather than anything else. Muscle aches and tension was of course my back pain and I also suffered from stomach aches which I put down to an intolerance to food however the doctors could not find anything wrong within me either. I also have a difficulty falling asleep as silly thoughts would race through my mind, thinking that the worst would happen. Since taking the tablets I have noticed that I can get to sleep easier and I don’t feel as tired in the day.

Dealing with Stress

In a few months time, I hope to come of the medication as I don’t want to become dependent on it. My aim this year is to learn new coping mechanisms for when I feel myself getting stressed/ anxious. By talking to my friends about it, I have already learnt some techniques and they have been very supportive. I realise now that I was worrying and stressing about things that were out of my control and in turn making my self sick. This year I want to focus on me and dealing with the things that I have got control over and letting go of things. For now I am staying on the medication to allow my body to recover from so many months of stress and allow me to exercise and get fit again.

If any of you have any tips or would like to share your story I would love to hear about it in the comments.

Advertisements

2018- New year, Better Me

Hi Guys hope you are well.

This year rather than say I am going to be a new me, I have decided to make a better me and improve myself in the areas that I am unhappy with. So here is my goals for 2018 to make me an even better person than I was in 2017.

Get Fitter

For those of you who have read some of my previous post for my goals in 2017 (you can read it here) you may already know that this was one of my goals for last year however in about February I developed a constant back pain which meant by May I was unable to do any exercise. Fast forward to December 2017 and the pain has gone ( I will do a separate post on that) and I can finally get back to exercising. I have booked a holiday for my 30th birthday so that is my motivation to get fitter so I can go on long walks, dance to the early hours and strut around in a bikini. Watch this space, I am going to be beach body ready.

Cook Healthier Meals

As well as my back restricting me from exercising it also affected my ability to cook as often as I would like (which was hard as I love cooking). But now I am back in the game its time to start meal planning and batch cooking again. This year I also want to try to eat a bit healthier and try some new foods. Normally my main meals are pretty healthy but as I said I have got a bit slack lately, occasionally going for convenience and eating more snacks out of boredom. This year I want to make more use out of kitchen gadgets, you may have already read my previous post about my favourite gadgets (you can read it here) however I also brought a spiralizzer and an omelette maker last year. The spirallizer is still in the box, I haven’t even tried it yet.

Be more Positive

I will talk about this a bit more in my back pain post, but last year being in pain made me very down as I got frustrated that I couldn’t do things like cooking an exercise. I became a very negative person which is just not like me. This year I want to get back to my happy positive self and enjoy my life with friends and family. I am looking forward to my holiday and that is motivating me to get through every day. I also want to be more grateful for what I have got including my health. On some of my worst days last year I felt like my pain was unbearable and that I was the only one in pain. But now that I am feeling better I realise that actually I didn’t have it that bad and that I had forgotten about the millions of people who were in more pain and probably still are.

Spend more time with my Mum and Nan

As I grow older more of my friends loved ones are unfortunately passing away due to illness or old age. I was talking to a friend the other day that said she didn’t have any grandparents left and it made me realise how lucky I am to still have my grandmother. Although she has dementia she still remembers who I am and I want to make the most of that and make more memories with her. I have started to take more pictures when we are together so that I can put them in an album and show my kids in the future.

I am also very lucky to still have my mum and sometimes I do forget that. Although we don’t always see eye to eye I know that she loves me and would do anything for me. It’s hard being an only child sometimes but I need to remember all the things she did for me as a single parent. Recently my boyfriend stayed with my nan for a few hours so me and my mum could go shopping we had a great time and for a few hours it meant my mum didn’t have to worry about anything but herself. My plan is to do this more this year, even if it is just for a few hours. Like with my nan I want to take more pictures when we are together to remember the happy times and fun we had together.

Learn Sign Language

Now this is something I have wanted to do for years but have never got round to it. I learnt french, Spanish and Italian at school but can barely remember any of it now. The people who know me, will know I am a chatterbox and love talking to anyone that will listen. Sign language fascinates me as it allows deaf people to communicate without a single word being needed. I have started watching some videos on YouTube but plan to go along to a proper class. In the future I would like to offer my services as an interpreter for events, schools, hospitals etc.

Help others

I hope my friends would say I am a helpful and caring person but I have only really ever helped people I know. This year I would like to do some charity work that involves helping people personally. My Boyfriend has recently joined the Bearded Villains ( I will explain that in another post) which is a brotherhood that raises money for a variety of charities. My boyfriend last week did a homeless run with some of the guys from his charter which involved handing out items to the homeless including hats, gloves and scarfs. I was so proud of him when he came home and told me about it and how they actually spent time talking to the people. I would like to do something with the elderly for example going to visit old people who live in their own, providing them with company and someone to talk to. I want to make a difference to someone else’s life, even if it’s just one person.

Be more consistent with my blog

I started this blog over a year ago now and my aim was to put up at least one post every week, this did happen for a while but as the months went on I fell behind. This year I am going to designate time to writing blogs so that I have a few stored up ready to go. I really want to build up my followers this year and hopefully share some useful information. Please leave me comments on things you would like me to write about. I plan to to do an update on my hair journey soon and will keep you updated on my health journey.

This year is about making time for things that I want to do, to make me feel better whether it be learn something new or fit into a small size dress.  The only person that can make me better is me!

What are you plans for 2018? How are you going to improve yourself? Let me know in the comments. Happy New Year guys.

Vegan night at Chai in Peterborough

Happy New Year Guys, I am back with another restaurant review, I was meant to put this up last year but completely forgot apologies for the delay. I will go through my goals for 2018 in my next post.

If you have been following my blog for a while you will know I am a big fan of Chai the desert restaurant in Peterborough ( you can read my original post here). I am a big fan of deserts full stop, I think I have finally visited all of the ones in Peterborough. Since writing my review I have been back plenty of times and I am always recommending it to my friends. However last year I went along for something a little different …

One of my friends works for the new well-being center in Peterborough called SoulHappy ( I will talk about that in another post) and a long with her friend runs a vegan and vegetarian social group. Now I am neither vegetarian or vegan but a close friend of mine is and I often cook vegetarian meals for her. I was going through my Facebook news feed one day and spotted that my friend was hosting their social event at Chai this particular month and decided to take my friend and give it a try.

The guys at Chai kindly got in some quorn chicken and made a big batch of chicken tikka to go on their savory waffle, diary free cheese and a range of dairy free milks. I choose to go for the messy hot chocolate with soya milk and the dairy free and gluten-free waffle with quorn chicken tikka and vegan cheese. I have had the messy hot chocolate many times before and I have to be honest I do prefer the diary option however the soya version was not a bad alternative it was definitely palatable and enjoyable but I probably wouldn’t order it again.

20170823_192349.jpg

I had never ordered a savory waffle before so was quite looking forward to trying this, as well as the gluten-free waffle which I had never had before. I ordered half a waffle with the intention of having another half sweet afterwards. However the half I had with Quorn chicken tikka and vegan cheese was very filling. I have had Quorn before so was not surprised that the chicken tikka tasted very nice and the consistency was not that much different to chicken and I had tried vegan cheese before so I knew I would like that. What surprised me the most was the waffle, normally when I got to Chai I struggle to finish my waffle as my stomach becomes bloated however the gluten free option did not have this effect on me, if it wasn’t for how filling the chicken tikka was I probably could have managed a whole gluten free waffle. The waffle was even lighter than their normal waffle and didn’t taste much different to the gluten version, I really enjoyed it and will definitely be ordering the gluten free waffle again.

20171028_113036.jpg

There is about 12 of us who attended the vegan/ vegetarian night at Chai other people opted for sweet deserts in which they substituted the ice-cream with sorbet (they had four flavours) and they also had dark vegan chocolate as well.  Everyone was very impressed and happy with what they had ordered. Chai did make a special effort by getting a few extra items in especially for us but they do offer gluten and diary free options everyday.

This evening just gave me another reason to promote it even more to my friends, the menu has also extended since my last visit with some great new savory and sweet options. Can’t wait to visit again soon.

Review- Turtle Bay Restaurant Peterborough

Hi Guys, sorry I haven’t put up a post in a while, I have had problems with my back and haven’t really done anything worth writing about. However I have managed to try the new Turtle Bay Restaurant on two separate occasions for friends’ birthdays’. Now as some of you will already know I am mixed-race, my Mum is from Jamaica and my Dad is from England. I have been to Jamaica 4 times and my Mum and Nan have cooked traditional Jamaican food for me. With this in my mind I kind of had high expectations going into this restaurant. Grab your self a dink ( how about a cocktail) as this is a long post.

Turtle Bay is advertised as a Caribbean restaurant ( by the way I have also been to Dominican Republic so believe I have a good idea of what the Caribbean is like) with a vast range of dishes and drinks. When you walk into Turtle Bay there is definitely a Caribbean feel about the restaurant with the bright decor and upbeat music playing. I was really impressed with the bar area which allows you to sit down and get a drink whilst waiting for your table, you can also book a table just to have drinks.

20170703_194348

First Visit to Turtle Bay Peterborough

The first time we arrived early so headed to the bar for a drink, I had already eyed up the menu before hand and knew they had an amazing range of drinks and cocktails. However we had arrive after Happy Hour and with the cocktails being a bit pricey when not on two for one I decided to go for a mock-tail ( I also had just taken some pain killers for my back) which was pretty yummy considering there was no alcohol in it. Once everyone arrived we were seated at our table, there were 8 of us in total one person arrived late due to work. We advised our waiter that we were waiting on one person and that we would order once they arrived. However we started to get hungry so ordered our starters just as the last person arrived.

Starters- First Visit to Turtle Bay Peterborough

We were a table of eight and I was a bit dissapointed that they didn’t bring all our starters out together. My friend ordered a portion of Plantain to come out with the starters however this was forgot about which was disappointing.

I choose the Jerk platter for starters which I shared with my boyfriend as we couldn’t decide what to have. The Jerk Platter included according to the menu: Marinated jerk wings, glazed pork ribs, jerk beef riblets, Jamaican beef patty, sweet corn fritters, spiced popcorn, herb mayo & super green salad  Like I said I am aware of some of the flavours of traditional Caribbean food and my boyfriend has tried mine and my mum’s cooking. I have to be honest I was a little disappointed, especially in regard to portion size, I was disappointed in the slither of patty that I got which actually wasn’t that traditional in taste anyway. My favourite dish from the platter was the sweetcorn fritter that came with a hot dipping sauce which some people may find a bit too hot but I thought it was just right. The ribs were also really nice as they were tender and the meat fell of the bone. If I am honest I probably would not order this again and would instead just choose an individual starter most likely the sweet corn fritters. The other thing I spotted after reading the menu again is that one item was missing which was the glazed pork ribs, I only spotted this when I got home and re-read the menu.

20170703_205355

Mains- First Visit to Turtle Bay Peterborough

Again like the starters the mains did not all come out at the same time. Also another person asked for avocado with her salad which was forgotten, the waitor did apologise and quickly went and got this for her.

For mains I went for one of my favourite Jamaican dishes which is Curry Goat with rice and peas. This is a dish that I have had many times in Jamaica as well as in England by either my mum or family. I choose this dish because I wanted to compare its authenticity, unfortunately it was a bit of a let down. Although the curry did have flavour and a nice kick to it, something was missing which I couldn’t put my finger on. In regards to the rice and peas I have to be honest, I can cook better, again something was missing. I understand it’s harder cooking things for commercial purposes as it’s on a larger scale however I have been to weddings and funerals were the same dishes have been cooked for a large number of people but the flavour has remained traditional. The dish also came with two festivals which are similar to dumplings but sweet, these were skinnier than I am use to and were nothing amazing.

20170718_121204

Drinks-Second Visit to Turtle Bay

After my first visit I was more prepared this time with lowered expectations. My aim this time was try stuff I had never had before so that I had nothing to compare it to. We booked a table for 6pm so we could take advantage of the happy hour as me and my friend were celebrating her birthday. As well as being a big fan of Caribbean food, I am also a big fan of Rum and was very intrigued by their rum selection as well as range of cocktails. The only stipulation with happy hour is that you have to order the same drink and you get one free, so me and my friend ordered something different and swapped. I ordered the Reggae Rum Punch which consisted off : Uncle Wray overproof rum, bitters, strawberry liqueur, pomegranate, fresh lime, orange & pineapple. I had already had a sip of this on my first visit as my friend had ordered it so knew I was going to like it. My friend ordered the Passion Rum Punch which consisted off: Dark rum, Passoa, fresh passion fruit, orange juice, lemon & bitters. This was one was also nice however you couldn’t taste the alcohol and was just like drinking passion fruit juice. Out of the two I definitely preferred the Reggae Rum Punch as it had a nice kick from the Uncle Wray overproof rum.

20170725_145405

Mains- Second Visit to Turtle Bay Peterborough

This time the service was a lot quicker and both meals were brought at the same time which seemed strange to me as they were a lot busier. This time I skipped starter in favour of trying out their desserts and order the shrimp and prawn curry for my main. Within ten minutes our food arrived and I was very surprised. The first thing I did was dip the roti bread in the sauce and I was pleasantly surprised it had a nice little kick to it. My only criticism about this dish was that my prawns were slightly overcooked which meant they were a tad rubbery. However the overall taste was lovely. As you can see from the picture it came with one big shrimp still in its shell which I was not expecting. I left this till last and used my knife and fork to break away the shell, as the saying goes I left the best till last. My friend order the jerk chicken with rice and peas which she enjoyed. I tried a small piece of the chicken which was better than I thought it would be the skin had a nice smoky taste that you would expect from traditional jerk chicken.

20170725_14544120170722_182615

Dessert- Second Visit to Turtle Bay Peterborough

As mentioned previously we decided to skip starters on this occasion and give the desserts a try. My friend has been to a branch of Turtle Bay and had enjoyed her dessert.  I went for the grilled pineapple and asked for vanilla ice-cream instead of coconut. I have to be honest I was a bit disappointed, I expected the pineapple to be still slightly warm which it wasnt and I couldn’t taste the rum in the caramel sauce. However my friend ordered the rum upside down cake which she enjoyed, so much so I didn’t even get a chance to try it.

20170725_14575520170725_145830

Final Thoughts on Turtle Bay Peterborough

After my second visit I would definitely go back again to Turtle Bay. The menu appears to be a bit hit and miss but I will definitely be trying the jerk chicken the next time I go. I love the interior of Turtle Bay and the music makes me feel like I am on holiday. For people who have never tried Caribbean food I think this is a great way to get a feel for what it is like until you can try the real deal whether it be in the Caribbean or home cooked Caribbean food.

Cooking: My Love of Spices

If you have read my Meal Prepping post (read it here) you will know that I love cooking. I love to experiment with spices and try to create new flavours. In my kitchen I have a cupboard just to spices as well as a spinning spice rack on my work top.  My mum is originally from Jamaica and I have got my love from cooking from her. Where possible I always try and season my meat either the night before or at least a few hours before. I find this allows the flavours to really soak into the meat before cooking. Here is a list of some of the spices I use regular and what dishes/meat I use them for.

Garlic Powder

Now I know most people will say that they prefer fresh garlic, but I use both. I mainly use garlic powder for sprinkling on roast potatoes or chips before cooking as it adds a nice flavour to the potatoes and more suitable that using fresh as you can coat all potatoes. I also use garlic powder on chicken drumsticks when I am cooking them in the ActiFry as the powder sticks better to the meat. I sometimes will use both powder and fresh garlic when seasoning my meat as it adds extra flavour.

Paprika

Again this is another spice that I add to my chips when cooking them in either the ActiFry or the oven as it gives a subtle smokey flavour. I also use Paprika on my tortilla chips that I showed in my meal prep blog post. When it comes to meat I use paprika on everything, mince, chops, gammon everything. I find it such a versatile spice that works well with whatever dish I am cooking.

Cumin

This is a spice I have only discovered in the past year, I brought it when we needed it for a recipe from the Lean in 15 book (you can read my review here). The recipe was for Chilli previously my boyfriend would but a mix that you added hot water to but ever since he tried this recipe he hasn’t looked back. Since then I have used it in curry’s, chili’s and Mexican dishes. It is also another spice that I sprinkle on my homemade tortilla chips.

Mixed Herbs

Although I do have the individual dry herbs when I am cooking a dish which requires all of them I just use my mixed herbs to save me time. I mainly use this on meat which I am roasting for a roast dinner or roast potatoes.

Cinnamon

This is a spice that I have only recently started using in my savory cooking. I was following a recipe for a sweet potato curry and it was listed as one of the ingredients. Cinnamon is traditionally used in sweet dishes and i use it mainly when making apple crumble. However it just seemed to work in this particular dish. Now whenever I am making a tomato based curry I will add a sprinkle of cinnamon to add a different flavour. I also use cinnamon on my sweet potato fries when I cook them in the ActiFry, something I picked up in America.

Spice Mixes

In the past year I have picked up spice mixes that have been blended together for certain dishes. One of the first ones I brought were an Italian selection and Curry selection. I think this are great for new cooks who are not quiet sure what spices go together. I particularly like the Italian one I have used this a lot when making my own pasta dishes and I also sprinkle the herbs on pizza to add extra flavour before cooking in the oven especially if i have brought a base and added my own toppings. The Indian spices I haven’t used as much as I find that some of the spices that look like little seeds don’t taste as pleasant when you are eating it, so some times I will crush them if I have the time.

wp-1495111006894.

I recently brought three new spice blends to try, so far I have tried the fajita and Moroccan spices. The Moroccan one I used for the dish you can see in my meal prep post which was chicken, sweet potato and tomatoes. This worked really well I seasoned the chicken with the Moroccan spices and then added a bit more once I have mixed the chicken with the sweet potato and tinned tomatoes in the slow cooker.

My Fitness Journey- Meal Prepping

As some of you will already know this year I am trying to get fitter and what you eat is an important part of this. If you follow me on Instagram ( if not please do) you will know that I spend most Sundays prepping my lunches and some dinners for myself and boyfriend so that we are not tempted to eat out. Normally I try to cook at least two different meals so that we can alternate our lunches everyday. Sometimes if I am in a rush I try to use similar ingredients for both dishes so that there is less prep.

It’s such a great feeling going to bed on Sunday night knowing that you have your lunches organised for the week, I actually feel a bit smug when I am posting the pictures on Instagram. If I didn’t prep our lunches we would end up going to the shops and buying probably a meal deal which included a sandwich, crisps and a drink. I prefer to have a hot meal at lunch time especially in winter as I find it fills me up for longer and I tend not to snack as much.

I will put up a selection of my recent meals with a brief description of what they are. If you would like any of the recipes, please leave me a comment and I will do a blog post. Hopefully my pictures will inspire you to do your own meal prepping and give you some ideas of what you can make.

IMG_20170514_201212_927In the top left hand corner is a Beef Curry Bowl which I actually got the recipe for from Pinterest, I usually make chilli or bolognaise with mince and wanted to try something different. In the right hand corner is a dish I made up which has chicken, sweet potatoes and a tin of tomatoes and I just left it in the slow cooker for a few hours. The dish at the bottom is Basa fish with plum tomatoes which I cooked in the oven with foil over the top. All of my dishes include a bunch of spices that I just chucked in, I love spices and have so much to say that I will do another post on that.

photostudio_1488840828759

So the top dish is chicken pasta bake with sweetcorn, peppers, onions and bacon bits. Normally I make pasta sauce in the slow cooker and then just use it whenever we are having pasta I just take a portion out of the freezer the night before.This is a regular dish that we cook as its quick and easy to do and normally we make about ten portions at a time and freeze some of them. The bottom dish is a quick chicken stir-fry that I threw together with some vegetables that I had in the fridge. I normally buy the vegtables separately rather than already prepared as I find they last longer.

IMG_20170423_221653_277

Next up on the left is red snapper fish (which I brought frozen from Aldi) with vegetables this was for dinner rather than lunch hence why there is only two portions. The other dish is chilli con carne that my boyfriend made, however I made the rice as he hasn’t mastered that one yet.

photostudio_1486386680034

Last but not least in the top left hand corner we have salt fish with tomatoes, onion and bacon bits. This is a recipe that I got from my mum, saltfish is very common in Jamaica where my mum is originally from.  In the top right hand corner is a chicken and pasta dish that I threw together with the ingredients I had in my fridge. In the bottom right hand corner is pork mince chilli with the same veg that I put in my pasta dish. Lastly in the bottom left hand corner is a new discovery of tortilla chips made in the ActiFry. previously I had made tortilla chips in the oven from a Lean in 15 reciepe but thought I would give it a try in my ActiFry and it they were so tasty and so quick to do.

Like I said towards the top of the post if you would like any of the full recipes please let me know in the comments and I will do a blog post. Hope this post has inspired some of you to do some meal prepping of your own. Follow me on Instagram to find out what meals I prep next sunday.

Review- Tetley Indulgence Flavour Blends- Chocolate Mint Tea

Hi guys I am back with another review, this time it’s about another love of mine which I haven’t talked about before which is tea. For most of my adult life I have been obsessed with tea, I get excited when I go down the tea aisle and there are new teas to try. So you can just imagine my excitement when I came across this new and unusual flavour -Chocoalte Mint flavoured Black tea from Tetley’s. As they were new they were at an introductory price of a £1 I didn’t think twice about buying them as I didn’t have much to lose. I am also a big fan of anything chocolate mint flavour so I was convinced that I was on to a winner. With the added bonus of being only 1 cal per tea bag, I just couldn’t go wrong.

Packaging

As a big fan of tea, I have brought a few boxes in my time and know what good packaging is. Straight away this Tetley Indulgence Flavour Blends packaging caught my attention due to the silver embossed leaves which I haven’t seen on any other tea boxes giving it a luxury feel. I also love the mint green colour they have used for this box it’s very eye-catching and appealing.

photostudio_1495465061914

When I opened the box I was very happy to discover that the Tetley tea bags are individually wrapped, which I much prefer as I believe its keeps the tea fresher and retains its flavour better. It also means that if I wanted to, I could remove them from the box and put them in a separate container and still be able to easily identify what brand and flavour they are which is not possible with some brands.

Flavour/ Smell

Naturally the first thing I did once I opened the packet was smell it to see if I could smell the mint, which I could only faintly smell. On the packet it advises that you can have it with or without milk, I opted to have milk in mine. To make the flavour more intense I choose to leave the tea bag in my travel cup. Once I had added my hot water and milk it looked like a normal cup of black tea but you could smell the lovely aroma of mint. On a side note I drink peppermint nearly everyday to help with bloating so I am very used to the taste of mint in tea form. Now I know the box says chocolate mint, but I would say it tastes more like normal tea with an aftertaste of mint, the chocolate flavour is non- existent. However I am not complaining as I love it regardless, since buying my first box I have had it every morning at work. I think it’s a great twist on the classic black tea that most people have. There is 3 more flavours in the collection: spiced apple, gingerbread and cookies and cream which I am definitely going to be trying soon. So watch this space for another review coming soon.

Are you a lover of tea? If so please leave me a comment with your favourite flavour of brand. I am always on the look out for new flavours to try.

My Fitness Journey- 5 Reasons why I Love Zumba

As part of making 2017 my year ( you can read my post here) I decided to improve my fitness to help improve my health and hopefully lose a few pounds.My favourite form of exercise is Zumba, however currently due to a sore back I am unable to do it. But I thought I would share my top 5 reasons why I love zumba:

  1. Dancing- To me dancing is a hobby which is why I love Zumba and I don’t see it as exercise as I am having too much fun. It doesn’t matter if you have no rhythm, as long as your moving and having fun. One thing I love is that when your dancing in a Zumba class no one judges you, it doesn’t matter if you don’t get the move right first time.
  2. Music- I love the different styles of music that are played at my Zumba class one minute it’s a Latin- American themed song and then its Justin Timberlake. You can do Zumba to lots of different styles of music, all you need is a good beat. However I do like it when a songs comes on that I know as I like singing along whilst I am dancing.
  3. Friends- Every week I go I make new friends, I normally arrive a few minutes early so I can catch up with people and the instructor. I have made friends with a girl and we normally stand near the back of the class, whenever a new move is thrown in or it gets more intense we laugh about it.
  4. Energy- There is something about the energy in Zumba classes that you don’t get  from any other class. Zumba instructors are normally full of energy and very enthusiastic. My instructor normally comes round whilst we are dancing to give us an energy boost and push us to work harder. No matter how bad my day has been I know that by the time I finish my Zumba class I will feel better.
  5. Burns calories- An hour class can burn 600-1000 calories, without me realising. I only realise how hard I have worked the next day when my body aches.

Disney Twisted Tale- As Old As Time- Book Review

As mentioned in my Disney haul ( you can read this here), I picked this book up to read on my train journey to Norwich. I have finally finished it and thought I would let you know what I thought. I use to do a lot of reading when I was younger, I would spend hours in my conservatory just reading. However since I have moved out with my boyfriend I have spent more time in front of the TV cuddled up with him. I worked out we watch about 3 hours of tv a night in the week and even more at the weekends if we have no plans. I have also brought the book Hidden Figures which has been turned into a film, which I plan to make time to read. So watch this space for more book reviews, if you have any recommendations please let me know in the comments.

Now unless you are new to my blog, (in which case welcome) you will be aware that I am a big Disney fan and Beauty and the Beast is my all time favourite Disney film. I recently reviewed the live action version (which you can read here) which I enjoyed and gave an 8 out of 10. If you haven’t heard of the Twisted Tale series, the idea behind them is that they have taken the classic Disney story and added a twist. As you will see from the picture, on the front of the book it says “What if Belle’s mother cursed the Beast?” If you are familiar with the original you will be aware that there is no mention of Belle’s mum however in the new live action she is mentioned briefly. However for the rest of this review I am going to compare it to the original animated version of the story.

To begin with I found Twisted Tale- As Old As Time a bit confusing as it flicks between life before Belle was born and the original story which starts with Belle visiting the village. However after a few chapters I got use to it flicking between the two periods of time. I enjoyed the addition of finding out about her mother as there is no mention of her in the original. Twisted Tale- As Old As Time book begins with Belle’s father and continues on to how he met Belle’s mother, who in this book is a witch who has powers. At the same time you get to follow the story of how Belle meets the Beast which is very similar to the original until she finds the rose in the West Wing (I won’t spoil it for you). Being the avid fan that I am I could spot the subtle differences between the original story and the Twisted Tale- As Old As Time book but I assume the point was to be different as it is a Twisted Tale but I like the fact that in the beginning it doesn’t stray too far from the original.

Twisted Tale- As Old As Time focuses more on the untold story of her mum and the curse she is meant to of put on the beast. It was interesting to find out about Belle’s mother and her father and how they supposedly met. I liked the fact that the servants and their personalities from the original story were included in the book, my favourite character is Chip, followed by Mrs Potts.

Now I won’t spoil the ending for you but it’s not what I expected in the slightest, at one point I was nearly crying. This was a perfect twist that I just didn’t see coming and very far from the original story. As much as I love the original story I have to admit that I did really enjoy this, it was well written and an unexpected ending. I kind of wish this had been made into a live action film rather than re-making the original. I would recommend this book to anyone that is a Disney fan, especially if you love Beauty and the Beast. Due to loving this book more than I thought I would, I will now be looking to purchase the Aladdin one from the series.

Lent 2017- How did I get on cutting back sugar?

If you are a regular reader of my blog (If you are thank you for coming back, if not welcome) you will know that for Lent this year I cut back on sugar, this included chocolate, sweets, biscuits and added sugar. Normally I just give up chocolate for Lent but this year I decided to take it a bit further and challenge myself. On a whole I did pretty well, the worse sweet thing I had was sweet popcorn at the cinema and an ice junkie.

I would say that I have a pretty good diet, I cook most of my meals from fresh and only have about one takeaway a month however my weakness is sugar. I am a big fan of chocolate and cake and find it hard to say no if offered to me ( working in an office, it’s always someone’s birthday or a bake sale). Normally when I finish a meal I get an instant urge to have something sweet, which is a habit I have had for many years. So this Lent I decided to try to break that habit so that I could improve my health and hopefully lose a few pounds.

Weight

In my previous post I mentioned that I had lost about 9 pounds, however weighing myself again I have put a few back on. I also mentioned previously that I have hurt my back which is stopping me from exercising. I have been back to the doctors and been advised I can do some exercise and have been referred to the hospital. I have been going to Zumba once a week which seems to help although I do feel a slight bit of discomfort when doing it. I am going to try going back to swimming and see how that affects my back. Hopefully my hospital appointment will come through soon.

Food and Drink

Normally I would have sugar in my tea, but for the whole of Lent I used sweetener and honey instead which I didn’t mind. I think that I will continue to use sweetener as I don’t mind the taste and its fewer calories. To help with my sweet cravings I ate more fruit and yogurt which I enjoyed, this is something I will continue to have for breakfast or as a snack. Whenever I had a sweet craving at work I had a handful of raisins and nuts which seemed to work a treat. The hardest bit was when there was cakes at work, especially ones that were homemade but I resisted. One of my workmates actually sent me a message saying well done for not caving in to temptation which made me feel good.

Now Lent is over

Once it hit midnight on Easter Sunday I did have some chocolate, my work place had kindly given me a dairy free Easter egg (which was surprisingly tasty). I did enjoy it but not as much as I thought I would, they say that your taste buds alter once you have less sugar and I believe that is what has happened to me. Sweets that I used to happily eat before now taste really sweet and I don’t actually enjoy them. I did enjoy a couple of normal Easter eggs over the Easter weekend but since then I really haven’t had much chocolate at all. When I couldn’t have it for lent at the beginning I missed it but now I can have it again I am not actually that fussed which is a good thing. If you have read my blog before you will know that I love the new dessert restaurants that have opened in Peterborough and use to go at least once a month but now I see it being even less often as that as I feel like that will be a sugar overload for me. I think I can proudly say I have broken my sugar addiction and I won’t be going back to my old ways.