Monday, 30 October 2017

How I lost 8lbs with the So Shape Remove Challenge

Transformation Photo
My overall progress from 2014 through to 2017
Embracing a new lifestyle is never going to be easy, but when you are backed with determination and willpower, there really isn't anything that you cannot achieve. I discovered this back in June 2014, I was at my biggest point and truly miserable, but when I got behind my dream to shed the weight and run in a new direction, I started to see change.

3 years later I have continued to run in the right direction, yes there have been bumps in the road, yes I have taken breaks, but the point is that I always picked myself up and dusted myself back down again, because there is only going forward, and there is absolutely no going back. 

Last month I hurt my wrist in the gym, I took some time off to let it heal (because you always have to listen to your body right!), and it didn't seem to be getting any better. It was clicking and grinding, and just didn't feel all that great, suddenly my body started calling out for sugar and all things sweet (just like it always does if I hit a halt), and so I lovingly started to feed myself Haribo (mistake!). For me as soon as the exercise comes to a halt, my eating decides to throw itself into oblivion too, and this is where So Shape comes into play and how they can help you achieve your goals regardless of where you are in your fitness journey...

Shape are Smart Meal Flavours

So Shape are Smart Meals that contain everything you need to lose weight, you pick one of their 3 different challenges and it really is as simple as that:

Reboot - 5 Days 
Eliminate all effects due to an excess - A kick start in the right direction, a great way to ease yourself into better habits. 
10 Smart Meals, 1 Shaker and 1 Booklet.

Remove - 14 Days
Get thinner and fit into your favourite jeans again - Throw yourself in and see what you are made of.
30 Smart Meals, 1 Shaker and 1 Booklet.

Reborn - 28 Days
Completely change your shape - Go all out and see where you are this time next month.
60 Smart Meals, 1 Shaker and 1 Booklet.

For me I don't find the eating side difficult on a whole, I have been feeding my body fit from the inside out for the last few years now, but I have decided to give the 14 day challenge a go because I want to take it all back to basics, after taking a good few weeks off from the gym (and eating my bodyweight in Cola bottles, and of course putting on a few lbs).

It is suffice to say that I have been feeling a tad fluffy of late, and I am excited to share my personal experience with So Shape and the Remove challenge right here.

I am taking this challenge pretty seriously, and I will be following the challenge to the T, and combining the dietary side of things with my exercise sessions. I haven't been on a 'diet' in a long time, and I am not primarily doing so to lose weight (I by no means consider myself overweight), but I would like to give my body a reset and loose a few lbs over the coming weeks ahead (I am by no means at my leanest physique right now, and the aim is to really just give my body a reset so to speak).

So what is the method behind So Shape?

Well I am glad you asked, when I first heard of So Shape I spent quite a considerable amount of time trying to get my head around it, but now after trying it first hand I can explain it to you.

Basically it's all about simplicity. When you choose your challenge, be it the 5, 14 or 28 day challenges, you choose a certain number of Smart Meals, they are the basis of the So Shape plan. The Smart Meals come in small cartons that you have once in the morning at breakfast, and again for an evening meal. 

Each of the cartons is around 200 calories, the break down the flavours that I personally chose are as follows:

Coco Choco - 215 Calories
Cappuccino - 204 Calories
Sea Salt Caramel - 211 Calories
Pesto Pasta - 213 Calories
Cheese Pasta - 214 Calories
Mint Chocolate Chip - 200 Calories 

For those of you reading this and thinking about giving it a try, and are wondering about the different flavours and whether you need to order from The Sweet Flavours/ The Iced Frappes/ The Hot Meals/ The Hot Soups - It quite honestly doesn't matter, you could have a Coco Choco for breakfast and dinner if you wanted!So Shape Diet Plan

Lunch is completely up to you, it's called an open lunch, and it is called that because you can choose from any of the Open Foods (See below), There are lots that you can eat on the So Shape plan, and this is in conjunction with your Smart Meals, so if you're feeling snacky, you can by all means snack on cucumber or tuck into a turkey and green salad for lunch.

It is definitely worth remembering that switching up 2 meals a day with low calorie meal replacements will help get you started, but you do have to make sure that you are making healthy eating choices alongside the plan and after to see lasting and sustainable results. I have decided that I will be having the Smart Meals for breakfast and lunch instead of for my evening meal, this is because this combination is going to work better for me in many ways. My other half is usually home for the evening meal, so I have to cater for him too, and I often go over to my parents for dinner, so this just gives me more flexibility, and I would prefer to have the food options for my final meal of the day.

I would usually eat around 2,500 calories a day in order to sustain my training routine, so I am thinking that over the next fortnight I am going to have to switch my training up somewhat for this challenge so that I am not over exercising.

I will most certainly be making a dent in the Open Foods though! I would ordinarily eat many of the foods that are on this list anyway, so this won't be a shock to the system. 

NOTE: Be sure to eat a balanced diet.

So Shape Open Food List

Right, so it is time to pass the Cola Bottles over in favour of water (a personal goal of mine is to make sure to chug, chug, chug at least 1.5 Litres a day!) 

I will be keeping a track of my calories in Myfitnesspal (and I have had a look already to see if the So Shape products are listed, and I was pleased to see that many are!), and also keeping a track of my exercise deficit over the next fortnight. 

Finally, I will be sacrificing my morning coffee for a Green Tea (you don't have to, but this is a personal choice that I am making alongside the challenge).

You can watch my So Shape Journey right here!

*Gulp...Wish me luck*
SO here goes nothing...

The So Shape Remove 14 Day Challenge 
First Week
Day 1 - Friday 13th October 2017 

I am starting this challenge by weighing in so that I can stay accountable throughout the coming fortnight.

My weight as of 13th October 2017 is: 8 Stone 13lbs / 125lbs or 56Kg.

It also means that I am taking brand new shiny before photos so that I can showcase my journey over the next 14 days (make sure to check out my So Shape vlog over on my YouTube Channel!, as I have shared lots of the meals so that you can see first hand what they are like).

So Shape before and after photo
My before photos prior to my So Shape Challenge
NOTE: I have been receiving many questions asking about my bikini in these photos, for those of you who have asked, it is the Star Fame Triangle Bikini from UK Swimwear

Ok so it is Day One and I am pleased to report that everything has gone really well. My breakfast today was the Cappuccino flavour Smart Meal. I had this a little later than I would usually eat, but I was getting familiar with everything that has been sent over (and of course deciding on a flavour to have!).

You can see in my Vlog how I prepared it, but I simply put 350ml of water into my shaker and then poured one sachet of the Cappuccino inside and shook it up until there were no lumps. This was then transferred into a mug and microwaved for 2 minutes.

So Shape Cappuccino Flavour Smart Meal

I was really pleased with the taste of the Cappuccino and think I might make it this week's breakfast flavour of choice! The nice thing is that I can actually use the flavours as snacks because they slot into the open food's!

I decided on the Pesto Pasta for lunch, and I was pleased to see that it was actually a pasta dish. To make this it was very similar to the mornings Cappuccino, but this one went into the microwave for 1 minute 30 seconds before being covered with a plate for 5 minutes and finally being zapped in the microwave (I gave it another minute as there was still quite a lot of water). I liked this dish and it satisfied my hunger pangs, there was still quite a lot of water when I came to eat it, and I later discovered that I had added 350ml of water instead of the instructed 150ml! I will get it right next time... We live and learn right?

So Shape Pesto Pasta Flavour Smart Meal

I prepared some carrot sticks to have as an afternoon snack, and this was followed by the rather delicious Choco Mint Ice Cream Smart Meal that I had as a late afternoon snack to tide me over until dinner.

I am pretty impressed with the Smart Meals, they have all been pretty tasty so far and I have been logging them in MyFitnessPal and even before my evening meal I have already had 64g of Protein!

So Shape Mint Chocolate Ice Cream Flavour Smart Meal
So Shape Mint Chocolate Ice Cream Flavour Smart Meal
My open plan dinner for the day was baked parmesan broccoli seasoned with garlic and pepper, served with chicken seasoned with jerk spice and vegetables.

 I am feeling really good about the challenge so far (and day 1 of these kind of things is usually the hardest!), I don't feel hungry and I have enjoyed the flavours that I have had today, I like that the meals are easily transported so that if I am out I can literally just take my lunch with the shaker and I can enjoy it pretty much enjoy them anywhere! 

Total Calories Consumed: 1,267
Total Calories Burned: 269 (Dog Walk)

Day 2 - Saturday 14th October

I kickstarted day 2 off with a Cappuccino for breakfast again, only today I tried it iced. I thought that it tasted even better today and think that this will be the way that I consume it from now on. I really like this flavour (and we are down to the last Two... Boooooo).

So Shape Iced Cappuccino

From this point I am going to try and keep the daily posts shorter and only add in photos of the flavours that I have shared with you yet (the aim is to show you how all of the flavours I have received look and what I think of their taste. I will of course be showing you the Pesto Pasta again though as I messed that one up!).

Lunch: Coco Choco

Snacks: Carrot Sticks, Cucumber, Popcorn

Dinner: Ham, Cheese, Onion and Mushroom Omelette

Total Calories Consumed: 1,374
Total Calories Burned: 229 - Legs and abs home workout

Day 3 - Sunday 15th October
Day 3 already and today has been a bit of  a tough one, my Granddad passed away on the 10th October and today we had to go and sort his room at the care home he was residing at. It was all pretty sudden so none of us were expecting to have to do this, but I had kickstarted my morning with a Cappuccino (of course), and this kept me going until around 12pm.

I had come prepared with a second Cappuccino for lunch, but with a massive spread of food around me I decided that I was going to have to tuck into it with everyone else, so instead of  a smart meal today I made some healthy lunch choices instead.

Lunch: Carrot sticks and Houmous, Coconut Chilli Chicken and Watermelon.

Dinner: 375g Turkey Breast cooked in soy, garlic and honey with broccoli and sweetcorn.

Today I only had one So Shape Smart meal, but in it's place I made healthy choices (even though there was so much cheese calling out my name!), and I am ready to pick back up tomorrow with 2 Smart Meals.

When I got home I took the dog out for an hour's exercise.

Total Calories Consumed:  1,356
Total Calories Burned: 128

Day 4 - Monday 16th October
I have started my day with my last sachet of Cappuccino, it truly is a sullen morning (as there is no more!) and I again enjoyed this on ice.

I am feeling a lot less bloated today and I feel like I look it when I look at my reflection in the mirror, today my muscles are feeling the height of their soreness from my work out on Saturday, and I am going to try and get an arms and abs session in (Arms is my worst workout session!).

So Shape Cheese Pasta

Lunch: I tried the Cheese Pasta for lunch today, and I have to be honest that it wasn't one of my favourite choices. I at least made it correctly with 150ml of water, but out of all the flavours I have tried so far, this one would rank at the bottom.

Dinner: Tonight I decided to have an almost identical meal to day 3, 375g Turkey Breast cooked in soy, garlic and honey with broccoli and celery. This is a really quick easy meal and it always satisfies my taste buds and fills me up.

Healthy Eating

Snacks: Greek Yogurt, Soreen Loaf Bar

Total Calories Consumed: 1,200
Total Calories Burned: 103 (Dog Walk, I never did get the arms and abs work out in!)

Day 5 - Tuesday 17th October 
This morning I tried the Caramel flavour for breakfast, and I was pleasantly surprised by this flavour. it was quite sweet but not so much that it stopped you from enjoying it. I would definitely recommend this flavour if you are a fan of Salted Caramel! I put mine with ice as I have enjoyed all of my shakes so much more if they have been chilled. If you wanted to make it extra cold, you could put the 350ml of water in your shaker before you start to prepare it!

Lunch: Coco Choco

Dinner: 375g Turkey Breast cooked in soy, garlic and honey with broccoli and celery.

Snacks: Greek Yogurt Pot, Soreen Lunchbox Loaf, Clementine, Pink Lady Apple, Large Slice of Watermelon.

Today I had a hungry day as you might see from the snacks, I would usually have some fruit snacks throughout the day, but I have been trying to keep that down as per the So Shape plan, but today I felt like I needed that extra energy, and I am pleased to report that it did the job.

I did a very short abs workout today, I haven't been as active as I would have liked so far, and I am hoping to get to the gym and get a cardio session in. I am aiming to get some more home workouts in this week!

Total Calories Consumed: 1,441
Total Calories Burned: 65

Day 6 - Wednesday 18th October 
This morning I found a stow away Cappuccino flavour which made me rather happy, so I sat down with Leo and enjoyed a leisurely morning before the school run. I do like how quick and easy the Smart Meals are to prepare, as I usually wouldn't get chance to have my breakfast until after Leo is in school.

I am feeling so much less bloated and my tummy is feeling flatter. I have been drinking only water for 6 days now and I have been doing my best to make sure I get the recommended daily intake. I have cut down on how many snacks I would usually eat, and I know for a fact that I would usually eat when I am bored. Although I eat vegetables daily anyway, I have been increasing the portion sizes this week and I know that is contributing to the overall good feeling right now.

I gave in and had my first coffee today (I lasted 6 days), but this was one of those Little's Coffees (Amaretto flavour), and you literally drink it black (I would only usually have milk with mine anyway!), so I don't feel like I have cheated on myself.

Lunch: Caramel Smart Meal

Dinner: 75g of brown rice with Tuna and Baked Mushroom stuffed with Cheese.

Snacks: Greek Yogurt Pot, Soreen Lunchbox Loaf, Clementine and Watermelon half.

Total Calories Consumed: 1,661
Total Calories Burned: A big fat zero as I didn't even get a dog walk in...

So Shape Coco Choco

Day 7 -  Thursday 19th October 

Breakfast: Choco Mint Ice Cream Smart Meal

Lunch: Caramel Flavour Smart Meal

Dinner: Healthy selections from a birthday buffet

Snacks: Soreen Lunchbox Loaf, Melon, Vanilla Protein Yogurt

Tomorrow is weigh in and I am pretty excited to see what the scale says. I am a firm believer in not being obsessed over what the scale says because you can lose inches or gain muscle and this cannot be seen on the scale, but I am definitely feeling less fluffy and my tummy is looking flatter.

Total Calories Consumed: 1,200
Total Calories Burned: A big fat zero as I didn't even get a dog walk in due to the weather

Second Week
Day 8 - Friday 20th October

Today was weigh in day, I have been eating well for one whole week now and it turns out that not only do I feel better for it, I have also lost 5lbs (2kg)!

That takes my weight to: 8 Stone 8lbs /120lbs or 54kg) based on my starting weight of 8 Stone 13lbs / 125lbs or 56Kg.

Pretty good eh?

I feel really good, towards the end of this week my body seemed to suddenly realise that it hadn't had any sweets in a while and that is when I started adding some fruit in (better that than the Coca Cola Bottles I would have liked to chow down on!)

I haven't been feeling hungry, I have found that I am satisfied by the food and if I have felt a hunger pang I have had a healthy snack. I am a firm believer in giving the body what it wants and needs (unless it starts demanding Haribo...)

I have stuck to the challenge everyday, my breakfast and lunch are Smart Meals and my evening meal, and it's paying off! YAY!

Today I was running late so I missed my So Shape Smart Meal for breakfast, and I had plans to meet a friend for lunch, so I took an unintentional day off the Smart Meals. Instead I made healthy choices.

Breakfast: Honeydew Melon

Lunch: ABC Salad (Avocado, Bacon Chicken)

Dinner: Homemade Chilli and rice at the parents.

Snacks: Soreen Lunchbox Loaf, Greek Yogurt Pot.

Total Calories Consumed: 1,200
Total Calories Burned: 51 - Dog Walk

Day 9 - Saturday 21st October
Today I am back on plan and kickstarted my day with a Choco Mint Ice Cream Smart Meal for breakfast (Who said you can't have dessert for breakfast?). Leo, the pup and I went out for a stroll around 10am and started to feel the arrival of Storm Brian as the winds started to pick up!

Lunch: Pesto Pasta

Dinner: It was homemade chinese over at the parent's house this evening, and this is a meal that I always find it hard to ration (because I love Mother's deep fried Chicken a little too much!), but I did well. I opted for some wholegrain egg fried rice with some of the chicken, and I am pleased to report that I ate well and for once curbed my cravings!

Snacks: Soreen Lunchbox loaf, Greek Yogurt, Fresh Watermelon

Total Calories Consumed: 1,220
Total Calories Burned: 82 (the windy dog walk)

So Shape Coco Choco

Day 10 - Sunday 22nd October

Breakfast: Choco Mint Ice Cream Smart Meal

Lunch: Pesto Pasta

Dinner: This evening we were over at the inlaws for dinner, and it was homemade beef stew and dumplings (which I have not had in years!), I had a good portion but opted for lots of veg and only a dumpling or two. I even passed up the ice cream and sweets for dessert!

Total Calories Consumed: 1,200
Total Calories Burned: 66 (dog walk by the river)

Day 11 - Monday 23rd October
The end of the 2 weeks is in sight, and I feel really good so far and I can definitely see and feel a difference in my body. My bloating and general fluffiness has gone right down and it has done me good stripping back on over eating, almost as a general reset.

Breakfast: Caramel Smart Meal

Lunch: Pesto Pasta

Dinner: Turkey and Veg in soy sauce and honey

Total Calories Consumed: 1,269
Total Calories Burned: 0 (lazy day watching Dr Foster)

Day 12 - Tuesday 24th October

Breakfast: Caramel Smart Meal

Lunch: Pesto Pasta

Dinner: Homemade Chicken Curry and Brown Rice

Snacks: Fresh Water Melon, Cacao and Orange Protein Bar

Total Calories Consumed: 1,200
Total Calories Burned: 0

So Shape Pesto Pasta

Day 13 - Wednesday 25th October
Today was my Grandads funeral, and by the time we arrived at the wake I decided I deserved a glass or 2 of wine. I didn't go prepared with my So Shape lunch because I wanted to enjoy the spread that was on offer, and I decided that it was all about balance, and one day off to celebrate my Grandad's life was an essential.

Breakfast: Mint Choc Ice Cream

Lunch: Chicken Nuggets, Sausages and potato skins.

Snacks: 1 Prosecco, 1 G&T and 1 Pimms and Lemonade. (Guilty!)

The beauty is that the meal has filled me up, so I am opting for a light dinner in replace of a full sitting.

Total Calories Consumed: 1,329
Total Calories Burned: 47 (Short dog walk)

Day 14 - Thursday 26th October

Breakfast: Coco Choco

Lunch: Cheese Pasta

Dinner: Healthy Cauliflower Cheese with Turkey Breast.

Total Calories Consumed: 1,359
Total Calories Burned: 0

Day 14 - Friday 27th October
14 Day Challenge COMPLETE

Breakfast: Coco Choco

Lunch: Cheese Pasta

Dinner: We ate dinner out this evening, I opted for a bean salad.

Total Calories Consumed: 1,632
Total Calories Burned: 0

How did I get on?
2 Weeks Later...

So Shape Before and After photos

So Shape Before and After photos
 So Shape Before and After photos

Weight: 8 Stone 5lbs /117lbs or 53kg)
Weight lost: 8lbs/3.6Kg

How did you find the challenge? I enjoyed the challenge, I liked how it made me feel and it has been nice to see the change in how my clothes fit.

Would you recommend the challenge? I would recommend this challenge to people who are looking to make a change to their lifestyle. It is not a quick fix as no such thing exists, but it will help you get on the right path and it will help you see results.

What were the Smart Meals like? My favorite flavours were the Cappuccino and Mint Choc Ice Cream.

I have tried to include as much information as I can in this review, because I know first hand how difficult it can be to get your head around, especially when you are desperate to see results. These are my own personal experiences with So Shape, and I have been as transparent as possible (for more information and detail please check out the vlog here!). 

If you have any questions about So Shape or my experience, please feel free to drop me a comment here or on the YouTube video and I will get back to you.

If you are thinking about purchasing So Shape for yourself, make sure you enter the below discount code that will allow you to get 10% off your 14 or 28-day Challenge, UK only! LIFEUNEXPECTED 10  

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Living Solo

Living Solo

When you live on your own there are certain things that you need to know, when we first moved in I fumbled my way around the house having a list of jobs to do that I had never had to do before, and I had never had to do them because I lived with my other half. 

One of the first things I had to do as soon as I moved in was sort the gas and electric, I remember being asked to give them the meter readings and suddenly realised that this was something that I had never had to do before, and the lady on the phone must have taken the silence on the line as confirmation of this, because in her next breath she was talking me through how and where to access the information she needed.

When you live on your own, jobs that are usually split (Into Pink and Blue jobs if you're talking to my other half!) all become yours, and after a slight settling in period, I eventually began to remember that bin day was every Friday, and I am pleased to report that I quickly adjusted to the demands of my new home.

I have had to get accustomed with the fuse box, heating system and become the responsible adult within the home (stranger things have happened right?), but I wouldn't be true to myself if there were not a few bumps along the road...By bumps I do mean having a major blonde moment that makes it hard for anyone to forget you...

It was 5am and I was heading to London for a press event, I ran the water for the shower so that it was nice and hot when I stepped in, but boy did I have the shock of my life when I did. The water was ice cold, not something that you want to experience at such an unholy time in the morning. I ran downstairs to check the boiler to find that nothing was working, there was no sign of life, no boiler light and definitely no hot water.

One ice shower later and I was out of the house on my way to the capital. I called up the maintenance team and they arranged to send someone out the following morning (it would have been sooner but as I was out of the house all day, nothing could be done). The following morning the young man arrives, I offer him a warm drink, which he politely declines and tells me that he won't be here long. Hi simply flipped a switch and my boiler sprung back to life. 

'It was just switched off love he said. I had to laugh or I might have fallen off the edge of the world in embarrassment, he couldn't help smiling and I imagine that he was just relieved that his first call out of the day wasn't going to give him a headache.

I was relieved really, because in my mind I had already narrowed it down to either needing a new boiler or a zilmet ultra pro heating pump, so really it simply being turned off at the wall (we are still not certain which one of us it was, it doesn't help that the on/off switch looks just like the kitchen light switch and they are right next to each other...).

My advice to anyone who is going to be moving out on their own for the first time is to always lead on the right side of common sense (if you think the boiler is broken, make sure you check that it hasn't simply been turned off...), and as long as you realise the following... You should be just fine...

- You will have to go shopping, there is no such thing as a food fairy and your fridge won't magically replenish.

- A light bulb blew... YOU will have to change it.

- You have post? I hope you like bills!

- A morning cup of coffee is one of the most expensive habits in the world, wave goodbye to your Costa and say hello to instant!

- Some months you have to decide what's more important... The new clothes that you NEED or eating.

- Some months it may come down to fuel in the car...or food in your belly.

Above all else though, you will become independent, and you surprise yourself with what you can achieve on your own. You learn how to budget your money and eventually you will be able to fuel the car and keep food in the fridge.

It's all about baby steps, just try not to call out help for your boiler when you don't really need it, because there is a call out charge!

Wednesday, 18 October 2017


Work Space

Working from home is a dream come true for me, it was something that I had wished I was in a position to do for a long time, and as amazing as it is, it turns out working from home can sometimes be harder than you may think. Much harder.

When you're working from home people don't really seem to consider it as working, because you are not going out to work in the conventional way (and let's face it blogging and freelance writing is a new age sort of job, especially when you are your own boss!). 

People call upon you for a favour that hinders your bottomless to do list, the dog decides he needs a 2 hour walk because he quite simply won't settle when he knows you're in the house, or you have to go and pick your poorly child up from school.

So yes, on a good day working from home is a dream come true, but there are so many things that can and do go wrong. This chain of thought got me thinking about my ideal work space, and I have to admit that I do have a pretty good setup (now that I have managed to invest in a desk chair!), and not to mention that I can work in my dressing gown and slippers if I so desire (and do when the weather gets colder!). 

There is no fighting over the office temperature, no freezing under the air conditioner, and I can quite simply revel in the cosy warmth that I covet. As I type this I am wearing the thickest fluffiest cardigan that I own, and I have matched that with a rather nice pair of slipper socks. At least this way when the doorbell sounds and I am face to face with yet another delivery driver, I won't have to look quite so embarrassed. 

At home office

So what would my #WorkSpaceWonder be? Ideally I would like a dedicated office space, right now I have my desk setup in the front room, but ideally to have my very own office with a door I can shut on the world would make life so much easier. Right now that is not an option, but this means that my two other family members are forever placing paperwork, toys and everything else onto my desk. It's not ideal, it can be rather annoying... And I have to clean my work space off most mornings before I can even sit down at it. It feels like I am forever having to sort through paperwork that isn't mine, I try and leave only my to do list and essential work load on the desktop, but they of course have other ideas...

I am not saying I would need to rent a office at Pall Mall Estates, but a designated room with no children and no dogs would be an absolute dream come true....For now though it is that, just a dream.

One day when we do eventually buy our own home, it would be amazing to have the room to set up my desk in a room all on it's own. This desk of mine is pretty special to me, it belonged to my Granddad who passed away just over a week ago, so I feel very blessed to be able to keep it in the family. It's an antique desk and although it doesn't keep in with my overall style, I was determined to make it work.

My little at home work space is pretty close to my heart, and even if the house changes, the desk will remain, and it will follow us to wherever I call home next. 

I have a pretty good setup all in all, it's a constructive place to work and above all else I can be flexible, flexible for friends, for family, for the pup. Working here, working from home allowed me to go and visit my Granddad in the care home on a weekly basis, it meant that I got some special extra time with him, it might not always be an ideal circumstance working from home, but how lucky am I to have been able to take that time out of my working day to spend with my Granddad.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Everything You Need to Know about is a super fun, online multiplayer game. It was the first public release for its developers and is a raging success for .io game lovers everywhere. This game is not only fun to play but becomes addictive as you want to do better and better each round. The gameplay is simple and easy to pick up on and pretty soon you’ll develop strategies for how to be the best player out there. You can play with all your friends, too. Just send them the link and share what username you decide on. You can even choose a different username for each game if you want.

Here’s how it works: Your goal is to be the biggest animal. How do you become the biggest animal? You bite other animals on the butt. The bigger you are, the harder it is to kill you. So, if you’re just starting the game and another player bites your butt, you’ll die instantly. If you’re a larger animal being bitten by a smaller one, it may take two or three bites to take you down. Your creature will get smaller with each bite. If you take down an animal that’s way bigger than you, you’ll gain special abilities to evolve. You can also get bigger by eating the little dots you’ll see around you, but it takes quite a bit longer than biting other animals.

The controls are very easy to learn and grow accustomed to. Your creature will follow your cursor. To bite other animals, you just have to direct your creature up to their butts; no other region can be bitten. You use the “Q”, “W”, and “E” keys to activate your special skills. You’ll know which to use for which skill by looking at that skills icon at the bottom of your game screen. It will say which key for which. The first ability you choose will be accessed through the “Q” key, the second through the “W” key, and the third through the “E” key.

There’s very little strategy necessary to succeed at this game, however, there’s opportunities wherein you can utilize strategy and improve your skills. If you follow the link we provided above, there is a walk-through video to show you how the game is played and demonstrate what it will be like, so you’re better prepared. This game was released just last month and is already very popular.

Similar to Katamari Damacy, the more you devour the bigger you grow, but if other players bite your butt you’ll shrink until you die. It’s also similar to and, if you are familiar with those games. The whole point of the game is to bite as many opposing players as possible and make your character as big as possible. To block other players from biting you, you merely have to spin around to not allow them access to your butt. The bite only works if it’s on the butt.

This game is a great time-waster and is actually enjoyable. It’s not like those pointless freemium games you can download on your phone; there’s some strategy involved, but it’s not so challenging that it will become too time-consuming. This game is light and fun.

If you’re looking for a great online multiplayer game that’s free and easy to pick up, look no further than this addictive game. You should not that this game is relatively new, just having been developed last month, and is already available on several websites and loved by many. This addicting game will have you logging on every spare second you get to try to make your animal the biggest in the round. The longer you last, the better your chances are at being the best. There’s opportunities to develop and utilize strategy, or you can just play casually when you have some down time. This game has a little something for everyone and involves cute cartoon animals; who doesn’t love cute animals? What are you waiting for? Start playing today and get all your friends playing too!

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Take me to New York

Empire Sate Building from Top Of The Rock

I always seem to find my mind wandering to warmer climates when Autumn arrives, don't get me wrong. I love the changing seasons and there is definitely something refreshing about the crisp mornings and cooler temperatures that can be felt now, but it has got to the point where I did use the hair dryer to warm my bed for the first time last night (yes, apparently the hair dryer is the modern day equivalent to the bed warming pan). Maybe I should just admit defeat now and stick the heated blanket on the bed...

Luke and I were talking the other day about holiday's and where we would like to jet off to next. Realistically if we want to go anywhere next year, we do need to start thinking about it right now so that the finances are in place to accommodate such luxurious dreams. There are a few ideas that come to mind when we start shooting destinations back and forth between the two of us (and these change again when you Leo jumps in!). 

New York, California, Costa Rica, Mexico and Australia.

As you can see we are quite indecisive, these are the 5 parts of the world that keep coming back into the conversation... 

Empire Sate Building from Top Of The Rock

We seem to keep landing back at New York though, and it does seem to be a pretty good place to start.

Leo is already very well travelled in Europe (I hadn't even been abroad at his age), and has so far visited France, Tenerife, Cyprus and Crete twice, but  he has wanted to visit New York ever since I flew out there in November of 2016. 

Leo has seen it in the movies, he has admired my pictures and now he wants to visit the concrete jungle that is the big apple for himself. It's something that I really want him to see too, I was completely blown away for the whole time I spent in this rather wonderful city. You never do stop looking up at the buildings, you can't help walking along the sidewalk and just marvelling up, I couldn't help wondering how anyone ever found anything.

We were only there for 3 days, we had flown from London and used Purple Parking for the car while we were Stateside. 3 days was not enough time to do everything that we wanted to do, and I long to go back and walk around the 9/11 memorial, I will never forget the feeling of standing at the foot of where the twin towers once stood, it was still a very raw place even all of these years later. It was hard to wrap my head around that I was stood exactly where the events unravelled all of those years ago, where all of those people lost their lives. 

Ground Zero - 9/11 Memorial New York

We walked into Brooklyn over the world famous Brooklyn Bridge, took a boat ride out to see the Statue of Liberty and did all of the typical touristy things that you would do when in New York, but the whole time I was there I kept thinking how much Leo and Luke would love this experience too. 

Brookyln Bridge

Statue of Liberty - New York

Leo talks about going all the time, and I can't help looking at deals to fly back out, and it would be so nice to go during the festive season again. We were lucky with the weather and the sun shone throughout the entire time that we were there (creating some absolute stunning backdrops over the iconic city), and we even saw them preparing the Rockefella Christmas Tree. 

Then there was Ice Skating in Central Park, you know, where the bad guys in Home Alone 2 Lost in New York go skating! 

Central Park Ice Skating  - New York

There is so much to see and do in New York, but of course this kind of experience doesn't come cheap. Once you have taken into account your flights and accommodation you have to remember that food costs on top with the additional tips that are even applicable on drinks that you may order from a bar (This completely threw me!), it can get pretty pricey. 

What an experience though? When I arrived home, I felt like I had been gone for weeks. I had never left Leo for this duration before, and it felt like a lifetime. When I go back here, we will be going as a family, as I want to show my boys just how amazing New York really is, and we will most definitely be going for longer so that we can fit EVERYTHING in.