Friday, 23 September 2016

Hello Autumn | My season essentials

Welcome back guys! So it's official. Sweater weather has arrived and Autumn is finally upon us! Not too sure which one I'm more excited about. But we can all definitely tell it's no longer summer... Even just in the past week I've really began to notice a change in the weather. The nights are longer, the mornings are so much cooler and the leaves are slowly changing colour and falling to the ground. Even though I'm not happy to be saying goodbye to the sun and heat until next Spring, I'm actually really looking forward to Autumn this year. I am so ready for conker fights, leaf crunching and pumpkins galore, who's with me? But now that the weather is starting to cool down, it's time to replace all of them t-shirts and shorts with light jackets and sweaters. So I'm just going to share with you guys some of my latest Autumn purchases that are definitely essentials for this season. 
Featuring: Black Top - Zara Menswear, Camel Jacket - Primark Menswear, Ripped Jeans - H&M, Shoes - Primark Menswear, Watch - Fossil

So a couple of days ago me and my friend met up in Belfast City Centre to grab a coffee and have a catch up before I start back to University next week - so nervous for it! One particular area we like to stroll through is the Cathedral Quarter of the city which is where we headed. Soon we found ourselves in the centre of Saint Anne's Square which acted as the background to these photos here. Considering I don't live very far from the city centre I was actually quite surprised that I had never been inside the square before. But I loved it! The architecture was stunning with incredible views of Saint Anne's Cathedral - very Instagrammy indeed! I love the fact that even now I'm still discovering new and exciting things in this city.
  Luckily the square was very quiet during this part of the day so we could snap away with ease. On that day I was sporting my new black suede top from Zara that I picked up when I was in Manchester. I couldn't recommend it enough due to the comfort alone. Not too tight, not too baggy, just right. Plus the length of the arms are great as they're not too short like a casual t-shirt but are long enough to keep you comfortable during the cooler days. I think a plain black top is a classic for any man's wardrobe, it goes with so many things. So definitely look into picking one out this season. I was also wearing my Primark slim fit camel jacket which I love not just for the colour but for the fit as well. I can't tell you how many times I've cycled through jackets over the years and always wanted a camel one. When I found it I thought it was perfect for this time of year, not too heavy or tight. You can also layer it with other pieces which I like.    
Now a pair of jeans are a no brainer for this time of year. You can't go wrong with them, especially ripped ones. They're a statement piece for any outfit you put together. As Autumn is now here I'm starting to build my wardrobe with confident, classic pieces and a good few pairs of jeans will definitely be in there. Black shoes are nothing new but I love these black converse and thought they completed the outfit that I was going for that day. Now a stylish watch is an essential for any man. Adding a bit of decoration to your wrist can make a big impact to your whole outfit. They're so convenient and you're able to mix and match if you have several. These days I never leave the house without a watch on. I absolutely love my new watch from Fossil - I definitely need to get some more before the year is up. 
So there you have it folks, a few of my Autumn essentials for this season. Give it a month or so and it'll be cold enough to bring out the big coats, woolly jumpers and hats but for now I'm enjoying the lighter pieces. I'm very excited to see what the next couple of months will bring, especially Halloween - I'm already thinking of what I could dress up as! But what are you guys wearing this season? What are your Autumn essentials? I'd love to hear from you. Drop a comment below or come chat to me over on Twitter.
Until next time guys.

Friday, 16 September 2016

The Body Coach | Quick, Healthy Lunch Idea

We're quickly entering the season of long nights and fluffy jumpers. And that means everyone wants to give up on their summer bodies and eat, eat, eat. So, again, I thought I'd try something a little bit different with this one. In my previous post I briefly mentioned how this summer I've tried to become much healthier and fitter. I feel like I've changed my life around for the better, cutting down on all the processed food, opting for fresh, tasty meals instead. Obviously treating myself on the weekends - can't live without chocolate! I do a lot more exercise as well, mostly High- Intensity Interval Training or H.I.I.T for short - quick, intense bursts of exercise followed by a short recovery period. But I honestly feel so much better for it. I can also eat so much more food which is always a bonus. So why did I make this change in the first place?

Several months ago I came across The Body Coach on Instagram who's a bit of a fitness guru; always posting photos and videos of healthy dishes and different workouts. His enthusiasm and passion really inspired me so I went out and I bought his book: Lean in 15. It was one of the best purchases I had made in a very long time. It's absolutely filled to the brim with healthy meals that are absolutely delicious. Along with that, it's actually pretty informative as well. It gives so much information on all the nutrient groups, the importance of staying hydrated - I have a bottle of water beside me while typing this - and prepping like a boss, as he would say. Now when he says these meals will only take you fifteen minutes to make, he isn't joking. They're so easy to prepare and cook and taste 100x better than what I was eating before. So since the beginning of summer I have been cooking my meals for the week using this book as well as getting inspiration to create my own healthy dishes. Along with the H.I.I.T training, I just feel so refreshed and energised all the time.

 Now there are several recipes in this book that I absolutely love, it's pretty hard to choose a favourite - they all just taste sooo good! But I'm going to share with you all one of the meals from this book that are definitely up there in my top five. I think it's a perfect quick and healthy lunch idea for anyone who wants a tasty meal. So check out how to make it below:

Cheesy Chorizo, Chicken and Spinach

So according to the recipe, you will need:
- 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
- 75g chorizo, finely diced
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 1 x 240g skinless chicken breast fillet, cut into 1cm slices
- 4 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 3 big fistfuls of baby spinach leaves
- 1 ball of mozzarella, torn into chunks
- 20g pine nuts
1. Heat the coconut oil in a large frying pan over a medium high heat.
2. Add the chorizo and fry for a minute.
3. Add the onion and fry for another minute.
4. Increase the heat to maximum and add the chicken.
5. Stir-fry for 3 minutes, the chicken should be almost completely cooked through.
6. Throw in the cherry tomatoes and cook until they begin to collapse.
7. Toss in the spinach and stir through until fully wilted.
8. Use a wooden spoon to make little pockets in the chicken and vegetable mixture, then drop in small chunks of the mozzarella.
9. Turn off the heat, let the mozzarella melt before spooning the whole delicious lot onto a plate and scattering over the pine nuts.
10. Devour.
Writing about this is making me so hungry. I really wish I had this book when I was living away at University last year, it would have been so helpful. I can't wait to buy his next book: Lean in 15: The Shape Plan, for more delicious recipes and even more advanced exercises. So if you want to know anything more about this recipe or The Body Coach himself, then click here. Anyway I hope you enjoyed reading this, just something a little bit different for me. I've prepared the majority of meals in this book and they're so tasty but feel free to take liberties and add your own twist. Who knows, you could be the one with a book out next.  
Anyway, have a great day folks!
Until next time.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Summer 2016 | Photo Round Up

Hello everyone! It's crazy to think that just like that summer is over with for another year. The past 3 or 4 months have went by so quickly and so much has happened. Now Autumn is practically upon us, it's the time to bring out all the coats and woolly jumpers - I'll probably be seeing pumpkin spice flavoured everything too. Now Autumn is definitely one of my favourite seasons for so many different reasons but I'm pretty sad to say goodbye to Summer '16, especially because we probably won't be seeing the sun again until next Spring...
This post is a bit new for me but I thought I'd round up all the things I did this summer which made it fun and special for me. From travelling to different parts of the Mediterranean to getting a job to catching up with family I hadn't seen in years, I thought this summer was brilliant and I can't wait to share it with you.

Photo 1 // End of First Year - This photograph was taken the day I had to hand my keys in to the accommodation officer and say goodbye to what I had called home for the past year. It was quite emotional seeing the place so empty and it's going to be weird not being there in September. But the place is filled with so many brilliant memories from my first year at university that I'm going to remember for a very long time!
Photo 2 // My Friend's Birthday - For my friend's 19th birthday I travelled out to the countryside to her boyfriends house where we all had a party. It was the first time all of my friends were together for a long time due to work or university and it was so lovely to catch up on what everyone had been doing. We all sat around the fire and had a barbecue while watching the sunset across the field, it was a great start to summer. 
Photo 3 // New, Healthy Lifestyle - Since the beginning of this summer I've been trying my hardest to become much healthier and fitter. Now I wouldn't say I was unhealthy as I did enjoy some exercise but I did have a strong sweet tooth and wouldn't say no to some chocolate or doughnuts. But I wanted to make a change. So I bought The Body Coach which is a book filled with quick, healthy recipes that are delicious as well as different exercises you can do wherever. So I started making these meals, I exercised more, I got more sleep and I felt 10x better. And I still do. I still exercise 4 or 5 times a week now and still eat healthily, obviously having the odd chocolate bar on the weekends...
Photos 4 & 5 // Holiday to Calpe - So at the beginning of June a couple of my friends and I travelled to the Spanish coastal town of Calpe for a week. It was absolutely beautiful, I couldn't fault the whole trip. From the scenery to the hotel where we stayed, it was stunning and I really didn't want to leave. I wrote a blog post about the trip here if you want to learn more about what we did.   
Photo 6 // Robert James began - At the very start of July I decided to set up this blog and it's honestly one of the best thing I've ever done. I didn't think I would enjoy blogging so much. I feel like it's given me so much more confidence especially with everyone on here being so friendly. The photo above is taken from my very first blog post that you can read here - don't judge too much as it was very early days and I didn't really know what I was doing...
Photo 7 // My Sister's Graduation - Back in July my sister graduated University with a First Class Honours Degree in Geography and I couldn't be happier for her. She worked so hard in her last year and she deserved it! The day was brilliant - any excuse to wear a suit - but it was a lovely day spent with family at the university and along the North Coast of Ireland.

Photo 8 // St. Georges Market - I visited St Georges Market in Belfast with my parents. I had never been to it before but I absolutely loved trying all the fresh produce and walking around all the stands - I bought so much!

Photo 9 // Catching up with friends - Over the summer it was hard to see my friends all the time as the majority are working different hours to each other. But when I did meet up with them we always did something fun such as going on a road trip to the coast or taking a hike up a mountain. The photo above was snapped inside a cave at the top of Cavehill overlooking the city of Belfast.

Photo 10 // I got a job! - Yes I did it! I got a job! I couldn't be happier after desperately trying for so long. I've been working there for nearly 2 months now and I wouldn't change it for the world!

Photos 11, 12, 13 & 14 // Holiday to Mallorca - This was definitely the highlight of the whole summer for me. Two weeks away in the sun with my family exploring this beautiful island. It doesn't get much better than that. I wrote a blog post highlighting some of the things we got up to including a spectacular trip that I will never forget. So check it out here.

Photo 15 // Reunited! - Two days after returning from Mallorca I found out my Pilipino friend who had been away for over 18 months would be returning back to Northern Ireland. I was so excited and happy to see her again! When we met up we went to Nandos for a bite to eat and she had brought me presents back from the Phillipines which were so cute. The picture above is of us at Belfast City Hall relaxing in the sun - which is quite rare in Northern Ireland...

Photo 16 // Bank Holiday Weekend in Manchester - My family and I travelled to Manchester for the weekend to attend a family wedding. Not only was it amazing to see all of my English family again after so long apart but we also got to explore Manchester and the picturesque town of Wimslow too. I wrote a blog post all about that weekend here.

So there you have it folks, that was my Summer 2016 photo round up. I hope you've enjoyed reminiscing with me. I've had a brilliant time over these last couple of months but now it's time to get the head down as I'll be going back to University for second year in a matter of weeks! That's quite scary as I've still got so much to do before that but I'm looking forward to going back. But what was your summer like? I'd love to hear from you! Drop a comment below or come have a chat with me over on my Twitter, I love talking to new followers. Also don't forget to follow me on Bloglovin' and Instagram too.

So until next folks.

Bloglovin' // Twitter // Instagram


Monday, 12 September 2016

Top Tips for Freshers

So it's that time of the year again. Soon enough the Hogwarts Express will be leaving Kings Cross Station and all the universities across the country will be opening their doors to welcome in another batch of students. I can't believe it's been a whole year since I was in that position - minus the Hogwarts Express, unfortunately. My first year at university has been a complete roller coaster from start to finish but I've loved it! It really began to sink in that I would be leaving home when I went to collect my keys for the accommodation and I started to get really nervous about the whole thing. I didn't know anyone, I would be away from home and I didn't know my way around the university at all. I felt like my world was about to be turned upside down. I was panicking so much that come the very first day I was just a bundle of nerves. But looking back on it, I really didn't have to be so nervous. Everyone on my course was in the exact the same position and they were all so friendly. After the first day, I was chatting to people on my course and even went out in the evening with my housemates. Overall I absolutely loved my first year. I didn't go out drinking 3 times a week like some people I know and I still enjoyed myself. The first year at university can seem really scary, like I said, I was terrified this time last year. But my best advice could be not to feel so nervous and worry as well as always look at the positives. Your in university!! Not everyone can say that, just enjoy it while it lasts. So I'm just going to run through some of my top tips for surviving freshers: 
 Use social media - I would say this is a biggie, especially if your living away from home. Before I moved into my accommodation there was a Facebook page set up which I was added to. This included everyone that was going to be living in the same area as me. I thought this was so handy. Not only did I get to find out who my housemates were before even moving in but I could talk to and get to know the people I'd be seeing every day for the rest of the year. I thought it was a really good way to introduce us to the place and settle our nerves a bit. So definitely check out if your university accommodation has any Facebook pages or forums set up so you can get to know your peers. Also don't hold back with social media once university/freshers has properly begun. It's a great way to talk to the students on your course and get involved in things, which leads us on to my second tip...
Get involved - I know it will be nerve-wrecking starting somewhere new where you might not know anyone. But try and get out of your comfort zone and try new things, even start conversations with people. If your waiting in a cue why not talk to the person in front of you and get to know them, more than likely they'll appreciate it and feel better as they're probably just as nervous as you. Or. Once your moved in why not knock on you roommates door and get to know them. *Hint* Bring food with you, your roommates will love you instantly. There's also the Freshers' Fair. Here you'll probably get all your pens for the next 6 months along with some pretty cool information on things you could get involved in. Seriously don't hold back, just go for it. Joining clubs and societies are a fantastic way of meeting new people especially if your not a huge drinker. So whether it's the Environmental Society or Film Club or signing up to be on a sports team, just go for it. Put yourself out there and I'm sure you'll meet some great people.
Work out a simple budget - Okay I don't think I could emphasise this enough. But please budget!! There are so many people I know who used their entire student budget in the first few weeks. They also spent the next couple of months living off of pot noodles, water from the water fountains and having to use the university toilets as they can't afford toilet paper. Yup, the student life can be hard. But please try and budget. If you like going out clubbing, even limit yourself to one night a week. I used to get money out at the start of the week to do me the next 7 days and it actually worked. So I'd recommend trying that.
Sleep - This is a pretty big one. You'd think this would just be basic knowledge. But a lot of students think going to sleep at 4:30am for a 9am lecture is fine three days in a row. No. Not it is not. You will more than likely fall asleep in your lecture and not have a clue what's going on for the rest of the week. So definitely get a good nights sleep, you'll feel 10x better come your morning lecture.
Do your work - You'll hear so many people say that first year doesn't count for anything and second and third year are the important ones. Well my friends that's a load of nonsense. If you have that mind set and don't try in first year then you won't even be back for second year at all. As a fresher you'll probably just want to get out and party but do take the work seriously. Get your head down and get stuck in. If that means completing a deadline in advance then do it, relieve some of the stress and avoid a breakdown. 
Make your room your own - You heard me. This is going to be your place for the next year, you''ll want to make it look homely. Whether that be through sticking up posters, photographs, polaroids, song lyrics, special memories, anything to remind you of home. It will make you feel so much better.
Enjoy every moment - This is probably a bit cliché but these years are going to fly by so quickly. I still can't get over how I'm going to be starting second year in a couple of weeks! But they really are an amazing few years so don't take them for granted. Take advantage of everything that's thrown at you and have a great time!  
Oh and one last thing. Be careful at the end of the year, it tends to be when Voldemort tries to kill you.
So there you have it folks. There's my top tips for surviving freshers. It's probably a lot longer than I was expecting but I hope you've enjoyed reading it. Hopefully this will help someone who's starting university this year. So what are your tip for surviving freshers? I'd love to hear from you. Drop a comment below or follow me on Bloglovin', Twitter and Instagram.
Until next time folks.

Friday, 9 September 2016

72 hours in Manchester | Bank Holiday Adventure

Hello guys! So I briefly mentioned in my last post how I was busy with family over the bank holiday weekend, and what a fun couple of days it was. Catching a flight over to Manchester for the holiday was definitely more exciting than staying at home. Yes the sun wasn't shining the whole time, and yes the roads were absolutely bunged. BUT. I got to spend the weekend catching up with family I hadn't seen in years. AND. I got to explore parts of Manchester and the cute little town of Wimslow that I'd never seen before. So this will probably be quite a lengthy post, but stay with me. We squeezed so much into 3 days, even a wedding! So read below to find out what we got up to:

So I woke up on the Friday morning with the sun splitting the trees, my bag already packed and the smell of eggs coming from the kitchen. At that point I knew it was going to be a good weekend. After arriving at the airport we took a short coffee break before boarding our flight which surprisingly was only up in the air for 35/40 minutes before making it's decent - a lot shorter than travelling to New York! Once in Manchester we got a taxi from the city airport to our hotel which, again, was fairly close. We stayed at a Premier Inn hotel which was located on the outskirts of Wimslow, just 15 minutes away from the airport. Being the UK's top rated hotel chain I was actually looking forward to staying here. And it did not disappoint. I had such a relaxing stay, the staff were so friendly and the food was absolutely delicious, especially breakfast! 
So we dropped our bags, got freshened up and caught a taxi to the Trafford Centre. Now. I hadn't heard much about the Trafford Centre before, my sister just said it was a big shopping centre. If I'm honest, I wasn't expecting much. Boy, was I wrong. I could not believe the sheer size of the place, it was absolutely massive! It had every shopping and restaurant chain you could ever think of, a huge arcade which included bowling allies, spectacular architecture and palm trees everywhere you looked. I also found out it has Europe's largest food court and the UK's busiest cinema! It was amazing! After hours of shopping and exploring the gigantic centre and a quick drink and bite to eat in Mardi Gras, it was time to go home or back to the hotel at least. As we were heading towards the entrance we walked past the most beautiful and grandest staircase I had ever seen - I could not resist taking a photograph of it. I just wish we had shopping centres like that back in Northern Ireland.  
The next morning, I started my day with the most delicious Eggs Royale before starting to get ready for a family wedding. I was actually quite nervous because I hadn't seen my English family in so long. But on the other hand I was extremely excited to see everyone and watch my cousin walk down the aisle. The location of the wedding was absolutely stunning. Situated in the grounds of Styal Golf Club, it must've been one of the most beautiful wedding settings I had ever seen. The whole day was amazing and the weather actually held up which was great. It was so lovely being able to spend the entire day with my family, catching up with my cousins and aunties and uncles. With me being the youngest in the family everyone kept commenting on my height as I was a lot smaller the last time they saw me - okay, I was a very small teenager. The band which came on during the evening was great, the drinks being served were even better and don't even get me started on how delicious the wedding cake was - I may have went up for a second slice. But it was probably once of the best weddings I had been to in a very long time.
I woke up the next morning feeling rather tender, shall we put it like that. Thank god for the hotel breakfast! But we got ready for the day ahead and met up with some of my English family again for some lunch. We went to the Coach & Four pub which looked so old fashioned and beautiful as the original stonework was still intact. We all sat in the conservatory part of the pub where there was a huge buffet and an array of wine just for ourselves. I don't think I've ever eaten so much food before in my life but it was delicious! Afterwards I had to say goodbye to my English family which was sad but I know we'll keep in contact and hopefully I'll be seeing them again very soon. Later on, my family and I decided to explore the town of Wimslow and discovered two of the cutest parks I'd ever seen. One even had a huge lake in the middle of it - great photo opportunity. We then watched the sunset and headed back to the hotel for a couple of drinks at the bar before sitting down to watch a film in our hotel room.
On the Bank Holiday Monday we woke up, had our last breakfast - I couldn't resist a full English fry - and headed back to Manchester airport. The flight home was so relaxing and it was so lovely to be welcomed back with some sunshine. I honestly enjoyed every minute of that weekend and would love to go on some more short breaks in the future as well! Have you went on any short breaks recently or can recommend any? I'd love to hear from you! Drop a comment below and don't forget to follow me on Bloglovin', Twitter and Instagram. So until next time folks.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Uni Edit: Keeping in touch with friends

Happy Friday folks! It honestly feels like I haven't posted in ages, I've just been so busy with family over the Bank Holiday or with work. But now I'm back and it's September already! Where has 2016 gone? It won't be long until the long nights roll in and I start seeing Christmas stuff everywhere - that's not entirely a bad thing though. September is always such a busy month for everyone, getting back into the swing of things with school, work, university etc. Lucky me doesn't have to go back to university until the end of this month though. It's crazy to think that I'll be beginning the second year of my degree in just a matter of weeks. First year went by far too quickly!
This time last year I had so many worries and concerns about starting university, especially because I was moving away from home and I didn't know anyone at all. I was worried about so many things; who was I staying with? What's my course going to be like? Will I like my course? Will I get along with the other students? How much is food going to cost me?? (The last one - very important!) But even though I was (I know this is cliché) starting a new chapter in my life, I didn't want to lose contact with any of my old friends. That was a big worry for me. And I'm sure I'm not alone, it's probably a big worry for a lot of students starting first year every year. So I'm just going to quickly run through some ways you can keep in contact with your old friends while away at university. Hopefully I'll be able to keep your home sickness at bay.  

FaceTime/Skype - I think if you're ever missing your friends or family members' faces back home, then FaceTime or Skype are the next best thing. When a voicemail or text won't cut it and you want to have a conversation face to face, definitely download either of them. Trust me, when the cold months arrive and you're wrapped up in your duvet because the heating won't come on (again) a friendly face will make you feel 10x better. FaceTime is easy enough to install in Apple products and Skype is basically the same thing on a laptop. With both, you can exchange video and audio calls, messages and much more. You'll never feel lonely at University with these two installed.
Social Media - Whether you have Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, it has never been easier to connect with your friends or even your family while at university. With the ability to post photographs and videos, status' about your day and even private messages, you'll never miss what's happening in your friends' lives and vice versa. Honestly seeing a quick post or message from a friend can really lift your mood while at uni. So basically make sure you have all 3 before you start and then you'll definitely have a good idea on what's going on back home. 
Snapchat - Now I only got Snapchat when I first started university - literally in the first week. And I'm so glad that I did! It's such a simple way to stay in contact with your old AND new friends. Your able to take photos and videos and then send them to your contacts where they can see them for several seconds. It's hilarious, I love all the different filters. It's great when you end a stressful day of lectures to look at your phone and find a funny video from your friend. Just makes your day that much better.
Phone Call - Yes, a good old fashioned phone call. They still exist. If your friends aren't that great with technology then a phone call at the end of the day is a great way to keep up to date with everything. And if you and your friends are all on the same phone contracts then it won't cost a thing to make a call, even better!
So there you have it. Hopefully that helps with anyone's worries about old friendships while at university. You can still keep them strong as long as you stay in touch every once in a while. I know a lot of people will be starting university very soon and reading something like this might help. Also if you have any questions about university life, don't be afraid to ask. It can be hard keeping friendships alive sometimes, especially when you don't see each other that often. But it's well worth it in the end.
Thanks for reading guys, until next time.