Monday, 28 March 2016

STAYING ORGANISED WITH STUDY NOTEBOOK CO //


I'm currently studying a fitness course which I've wanted to do for a really long time. As long as I've been in education, I've taken part in dance and sports in particular and it's something that seems to have stuck with me. The only issue with a distance learning course is that it takes a massive amount of self-discipline and time management, something that I'm yet to master!

I'm writing up a schedule for the weeks to come including set times of studying which will hopefully get me on the right track. The next step? Stationery that will motivate and inspire me to work!

 The lovely Becky from Study Notebook Co kindly sent me one of her creations to help me with revision woes and I've absolutely fallen in love. It comes with note cards and stickers and just look at how pretty the marbled mint cover is!




The book is customised to your needs, mine being a mixture of plain and lined paper which is PERFECT for taking notes and drawing diagrams without having to faff with multiple bits of paper.

It's by far the prettiest part of my desk at the minute - the gold spiral binder to match the gold lettering is a dream. With a few bits of washi tape and a pack of pretty felt tips, I'm pretty much set.

I'm definitely better off for having this in my stationery drawer and I'm hoping it'll be what gets me through this course!


Check out some more notebooks on the website here and let me know if you have any study tips for me!

leanne

x


Tuesday, 22 March 2016

SUNNY SOUNDTRACK //

It's officially Spring and the sun has finally made a few appearances which can only mean one thing: festival season is on it's sweet, sweet way.

I've been feeling super seasonal after the sun graced us with it's presence this weekend so I've put together a few songs I'll be playing from now, and probably the entire way through Summer.


Mike Posner - I Took a Pill in Ibiza

This song has struck a chord with me because it's catchy AF with a great remix by SeeB but also, it's from the guy who had the hit 'Cooler Than Me' a few years back and he writes a pretty truthful story about his Ibiza pill-popping experience. Not normally my kind of thing but this is going to be, as the kids say, my jam.

The 1975 - The Sound

Now I've finally listened to their new album (I'm not even going to write the name because it's so ridiculoulsy long it resembles a Fall Out Boy track title) their single The Sound is still my favourite. Such a good Summer vibe.

Hozier - Jackie & Wilson

I've 100% overplayed this but as the single actually missed Summer last year, it'll be a great one this time around. This song is the epitome of a sunny day in the park with your bae.

Birdy - Keeping Your Head Up

In vast contrast to her haunting and beautiful cover of Skinny Love in 2011, this recent single is such a great Summer evening track to dance and sway to. Her voice is captivating and if this song is anything to go by, her new album (released this week) is going to be brilliant.

Izzy Bizu - White Tiger

There's a remixed version of this that I heard a few weeks back but this single version is much more my cup of tea. It's chilled, easy listening music and the kind of thing I'll be doing my makeup to on a Saturday night from now on.

Biffy Clyro - Winter of Wolves

Having listened to this well a few times since it being released yesterday, I'm already 100% certain I'm not going to be disappointed with their seventh album 'Ellipsis' - was there ever much doubt though, really? Can someone also please confirm their sampling of The Turtles in there somewhere as well please? Either that, or they're a fan of Shrek idk.

July needs to hurry up and get here so I can listen to their seventh album on repeat.



I've made my Summer playlist over on Spotify including some of these and many more tuuunes, go follow it and let me know what you're going to be playing next season.

I definitely don't do as many music related posts as I'd like to. I'm making a few changes to the amount and time I spend blogging so hopefully this will improve this year... so tell me if you want to see more!


leanne

x

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

DRINKING HOLES IN DUBLIN //


Until I visited Ireland, I had assumed that the stereotype of Irish people drinking Guinness and singing Molly Malone was one that was a terrible generalisation. I'm going to be honest, Dublin didn't do a lot to discourage this.

I joke, I joke.

Seriously though, the Guinness craze is real and if you're looking for somewhere with a fantastic atmosphere and plenty of friendly faces? Dublin is the place to be.


Temple Bar

So this is the place you've probably heard all about from people who have visited Dublin. Temple Bar is an area of Dublin full to the brim with drinking holes, from a trendy bar to the rustic, sing-song Irish pubs. The only thing I will say though, drinks in this part of town are - like they are in most touristic cities in the world - ridiculously overpriced.

It's a fab, colourful area to explore however and you're definitely likely to bump into fellow tourists on the way. Not only is a great place to enjoy live Irish music with a pint of Guinness but there are lots of great restaurants to choose from too.

Note: Check out The Jazz Cafe just round the corner from Ha'penny Bridge.


The Porterhouse

This is somewhere we stumbled upon and just really liked the look of. It's four floors of bars, a restaurant and a world of craft beer. With a drinks menu featuring beer from around the world and a for me, great pint of Erdinger - it's really difficult not to enjoy The Porterhouse pub brewery.

Drinks are reasonably priced in comparison to some other places in the Temple Bar area but I'd say it's worth a visit for it's unique beers and instagram-worthy set up.


John Kavanagh 'Gravediggers' pub

Quick note: always listen to what your local taxi driver has to say. On our drive from the airport, ours insisted we avoid Temple Bar and head further out of the town to a place nicknamed 'the gravediggers' - not creepy at all - for a 'proper' Irish pub experience.

It's in Glasnevin, just a bus ride away from the city centre next door to the cemetery (of course.) It was a pretty quiet night when we visited but it's a vision very different to the typical Irish pub experience you'd expect . With no music at all let alone a live band, it's a pub true to it's Irish core and relies solely on the hum of friendly conversation.

One part of the place hasn't changed much at all since it's opening in - wait for it - 1833. Definitely somewhere to add to your list for a bit of real history and great atmosphere.


The Bankers

Great food, great atmosphere. Simple as that.

This was another gem from our wise taxi driver and was one of our favourite places throughout our trip. We had amazing food, lots to drink (no surprises there) for a really great price and with fantastically jolly service. It's the kind of place you'll make friends in quickly, or at least become involved in a bolshy Ireland/Wales/England debate whilst everyone drinks their Sunday afternoon away. True story.

Note: Not to be confused with 'The Bank' around the corner: a place which resembled a Wetherspoons downstairs and the snobbiest of restaurants upstairs with not the greatest welcome. Don't go in there.


Guinness Storehouse

Yes, this is a tourist's dream but really, if you're visiting Dublin for the first time it's well worth the visit. Probably at the beginning of your trip because then you may find yourself drinking Guinness for the rest of your stay.

You learn about the history of the drink, how it's made, blah blah blah but then YOU CAN DRINK IT. You have a choice of pouring your own or visiting the sky lounge bar at the top (opt to pour your own because A. It's fun and B. You can take it upstairs anyway afterwards). The 'Gravity' bar sits atop of the seven storey building with a super 360 degrees view of the city.
Guaranteed you'll want to stay here for a while!


Hope this helps if you're planning a visit to Dublin in the future, remember to pack your trousers with the elasticated waistband and leave your dignity at home.

leanne

x


Friday, 11 March 2016

WHAT TO DO IN PENANG //

Last year we visited Malaysia and during our trip, hopped on a super speedy flight to Penang island. This was absolutely my favourite place we visited throughout our time there and I'd love to go back and explore more. Here are a few things you must see or do if you get the chance to visit Penang.


Georgetown

We stayed in a hostel that I wanted to pack up in my suitcase and bring home with me. I'll write a more detailed post on this and what to do in Georgetown later because it's honestly such an amazing place to explore. If you visit the island, Georgetown is 100% the place to stay.

With temples and churches around every corner, there's an abundance of glorious architecture alongside the colours, street art and culture. Oh, and there's a lot of love for Queen Victoria here.

Street food

Travellers always seem to rave about the street food in Asia but seriously, it's something you cannot miss out on. There's often food stalls around every corner and we ventured out of our hostel one night for tea. We found ourselves just a few metres away surrounded by amazing smells and opted to join the longest queue of locals we could see - that's a sure-fire way to know the food is going to be good!

From hearty nasi lemak (rice with egg, nuts and anchovies) for breakfast to an amazing char koay teow (rice noodles stir-fried with meat or seafood) for tea, there's definitely going to be something for you that comes wrapped beautifully in a cucumber leaf. Make sure you go for the stalls that cook their food fresh in front of you - not only is it the best way to avoid dreaded food poisoning, it's also ridiculously entertaining!

Visit Langkawi

Okay, so this isn't technically Penang, however, Langkawi is another island just off the coast and it's really easy to take a ferry trip here for a night. We stayed in Melati's VIP female dorm and the beach was on the opposite side of the road to us, literally. It was a fab location and although rain was a regular occurrence, we managed to score a few hours in the sunshine and enjoy the amazing Cenang beach.

Taxi is pretty much the best and only way to get around Langkawi but it's still super cheap if you're used to paying Uber fares back home.


Does Penang sound like somewhere you'd like to visit?

leanne

x

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

KHANA BOMBAY CAFE //


Headingley - a.k.a student capital of Leeds - is chock full of enticing places to eat and drink, so where better than here to welcome a wonderfully quirky independent restaurant?

Khana Bombay Cafe serves classic Bombay dishes in a super zen-like atmosphere, with some amazing cocktails thrown in. To say this place has only been open since February, it's already made a huge stamp on the area. They're also partial to a great value offer or two, so make sure you follow them on Twitter to keep up to date before you visit!

Myself and a pal were lucky enough to be invited to their press night to sample some of the menu and it's safe to say *spoiler alert* we were left absolutely stuffed.



For ourstarters, which took us so long to decide on we were offered poppadoms in the meantime (!) we opted for the dahi bhalla (hot dumplings) and aloo tikki (cold, fried potatoy-onion deliciousness.) Both of these were great and actually went perfectly well together, would definitely recommend sharing these with whoever is lucky enough to across the table from you.

Our main courses were the jalhandari saag paneer and chole batura, the latter always being one of my favourites in an indian restaurant so I obviously had to try it here too! The jalhandari saag (creamy spinach) brought some welcome greens to the table amongst the carb-fest we ordered - we got naan bread and bombay potatoes too, don't judge us.

Everything was super tasty and of course, it's the perfect place to visit if you're a fan of spice in your food. I'm a massive fan of curries and hot food but the bombay potatoes were something else!


After protesting a lot about how we'd be unable to stomach any dessert unfortunately, the lovely staff encouraged us to try the chikandar halwa, which is vanilla icecream with beetroot. Think that sounds questionable?

I hear you, I was sceptical at first but it actually turned out to be amazing.
If there's one thing you try at Khana Bombay that's out of your comfort zone, make sure it's this.


To say neither of us are actually vegetarian, we ended up with a completely veggie-friendly meal because the dishes sounded so tasty. Definitely somewhere to keep in mind if meat isn't your thing.

With beautiful cocktails, craft beer, nautical inspired decor and a huge selection of vegetarian dishes, Khana Bombay definitely caters for everyone. For the great prices as well, it's well worth venturing out of the city centre. Plus, you can head next door to Arc for a drink after too ;)

Massive thanks to PG & HL for the invite and the Khana Bombay staff who were superb. Visit the website here to peruse their food and drinks menu if you're not sold already!


Does Khana Bombay sound like your cup of tea
East India Cocktail?

leanne

x

Friday, 4 March 2016

HOW TO DEAL WITH A FULL FRINGE //



I've had my fair share of experiences when it comes to having a fringe. From the gappy, too-short child fringe to side-swept 'emo' bangs. Name a style - I've had it. The full fringe is always risky territory and although I've attempted to care for one a few times before, it usually only lasts a couple of weeks and then I become too lazy to care.

The most recent one however, has lasted a surprising amount of time and now I feel I'm finally (24 years on) equipped to give it the love and attention it requires. Here are some things you need to know about dealing with a full fringe.

A proper blow dry

One thing I never took enough time to do is prep for a blow dry. A combination of a good radial brush, heat protection spray and hairdryer is everything you need to sort out your fringe on a morning. Towel dry your hair then in quick bursts, blow dry your fringe around the brush as much or as little as you need it to curl. I use a large round brush (here) as it's quite a thick, long fringe that needs a wide curl so it falls on my eyebrows rather than over my eyes.

Add a tiny bit of hairspray to set it. Boom, done.

Avoid the heat

Do not, and I repeat, DO NOT straighten your fringe if you can help it. If you've adhered to the first piece of advice, you shouldn't need to even think about reaching for a burning tool of frizz.

If you reeeally have to (y'know, waking up late or it's just not playing ball) it's acceptable to straighten it lightly into submission as long as you use a good heat protection spray. You should be using this for your entire head but when a fringe is framing your face and is difficult to hide, you don't want it to resemble a hay bale. Been there, done that - just ask my 18 year old self.

Master the length

The whole short-fringe thing is something that I'll be avoiding at all costs. Don't get me wrong, it looks cool AF on the right person but alas, I am not one of them. I've found my place in the 'fringe-so-long-it-almost-covers-your-eyes' part of the fringe-sphere. And that's where I'm staying.

Having a longer fringe also means it's easy to switch between full fringe and a side fringe for lazy days or when you've left it a little too long between trims.

Forget the dreaded early morning hair wash

 A pro of having a fringe is that instead of setting your alarm early because you need to wash your hair before work - gals, I feel ya - you can JUST wash your fringe and it suddenly looks like you're doing a much better job of grooming than you really are. The rest can be screwed into some sort of tumblr messy bun or ponytail and your clean, perfect fringe disguises it as a chic up-do.

You're welcome.

When all else fails...

Remember that Daisy Lowe is QUEEN of the fringe.

Seriously, check out her Instagram for a positivity boost when you wake up with a hair disaster and it will put everything into perspective. Sure we don't have her banging body and beautiful face but hey, we can show the same sort of confidence when it comes to rocking a gappy fringe.


I hope this helps a bit if you face the same daily struggles or thinking about making the leap into full fringe-dom.

Do you have any fringe tips?

leanne

x

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

BLACK SWAN // LEEDS


Having not ventured in this place since the ever classy (ahem) Bar Room Bar was closed, it was exciting to get the chance to visit the gem of a Leeds restaurant - Black Swan.

Their other venues include Leeds favourites Sandinista and Smokestack so of course, expectations were high. We got to try some amazing starters, mains and desserts from their new menu as well as complimentary craft beer. There's a lot of places offering a good selection of beers in the city at the minute but none offering them alongside as great a selection of food, too.

My stand out of the night were the starters to die for, that could probably be a wonderful feast of a main course by themselves. Favourites include the duck oxo cube and the spinach & ricotta gnocchi - definitely couldn't recommend these enough. There's a lot of variety to the menu and I can almost guarantee there's nothing on the menu you'll have tried exactly this way before.



Having already returned with my pals for more beautiful food, it's safe to say this place is a new favourite. The second time we visited, we sat in the main restaurant and had the most beautiful pork belly dish, alongside a black pudding croquette.

We realised you can also order from the homemade sourdough pizza restaurant on their ground floor too, as if the original choices aren't enough for you. Great value and options for everybody - there's no room for complaint. They also do a Sunday roast menu too which is next on my list!

I've previously used the online booking system at pretty short notice too and it was super quick, simple and the service is always spot on. It's a friendly atmosphere in Black Swan, whether you're after a catch up in the bar downstairs or a romantic date complete with flowers and candles.
Next time you're in Leeds, definitely try out their menu.


Thanks to I Like Press and Black Swan for wonderfully good times.

leanne

x

This post features products and events that were paid for in return for my review, all opinions are honest and my own. Look at that food, though.