Friday, 20 March 2015


20 MARCH 2015

It's not often that I can say an article in the Metro has inspired me to do something, but ever since I read this when I saw it on my Facebook feed a few days ago, I have been craving a turkey and swiss on rye sandwich...

If you've read it, you'll know that the series of pictures shows one mans's hilarious passive-agressive fridge-note attack on the triviality of modern day 'problems' (if you haven't read it, please do - I was in stitches). But aside from enjoying the humour and witty repartee of the "Sandwich Thief", by the end of it, I really wanted a sandwich.

So, since I've had the last two days off work with very little in the way of fun things to do, I thought I may as well get back in the kitchen and at least make my lunches interesting.

I didn't realise quite how long rye bread actually takes to prove, so I missed out on a yummy lunch yesterday, but I got cracking first thing this morning and here's what I ended up with...

Oh. My. God. It was worth the wait! Applewood smoked turkey breast with avocado mayo, Swiss Emmental and English mustard on homemade dark rye bread (recipe to follow) = so damn fit. 

So, thanks for introducing me to T-Swizzle, Sandwich Thief. I think I owe you one ;)  

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Triathlon Update: 192 Days to Go...

19 MARCH 2015

Time for a little triathlon update everyone. Not much exercise has been happening over the last couple of weeks - actually none has happened since last Wednesday for various reasons, but I got back on the horse this morning...

Not a great time really, but then I did have to stop to rectify a shoelace malfunction for a minute or so. It works out at pretty much exactly 30 minutes for 5k - not sure how that's going to work after a 20k cycle...but we'll have to wait and see, it's a start at least!

Keep up the good work triathletes! #TeamHelen 

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

DIY: Up-cycled Sideboard

17 MARCH 2015

I've been getting crafty again guys. In my quest to bring Scandinavian style into our dining room and banish teak from there forever, I've taken to up-cycling all of our furniture. Here's what I had to work with...

...and here's what it looks like now I've had my hands on it...

Inspired by geometric designs I found on Pinterest, I used frog tape and RustOleum chalk finish furniture paint, building up in layers to create this minimal, quirky piece. 

Using a mini roller gives a really flat, streak-free finish you just can't achieve with a brush. The colours I used were Winter Grey, Anthracite, Mustard and Chalk White. These are really beautiful paints for furniture. They give a gorgeously matt, flat finish with minimal surface preparation, and the coats dry pretty quickly too! Definitely worth the investment to buy these (£5 for 125ml and £15 for 750ml) rather than use any old emulsion you've got lying around. 

I've finished it off with RustOleum furniture finishing wax to protect the paint from chipping - around £12 for a 400ml tin which might seem a little pricey, but this stuff goes a reeeaally long way (I can't see myself buying another tin. Ever. If that helps put it into context...)

Ok, so it's probably not to everyone's taste, but I love it and Blue seems to be a fan too, so that's all that really matters!

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Happy Mother's Day!

15 MARCH 2015

Happy Mother's Day to all the beautiful mums and mums to be out there. I know everyone has the best mum in the world, but mine really is pretty damn special! Here's a little look at how we've spent today...Love you always, mum. xxx

Monday, 9 March 2015

Things I've Learned Since Graduating: Never Get Old...

9 MARCH 2015

Something my great Grandma always used to tell my mum was 'never get old'. It always seemed stupid, even to the childhood me - everyone gets old eventually, it's a fact of life. It's only as I've begun to feel myself growing older (that extra 'snooze' I find myself needing in the morning, the feeling that a month has passed me by in 4 seconds, or the inevitable write-off of a day and brain-splitting hangover that follows every. single. night. out...) that I've realised how significant my great Grandma's words were. Now that I feel time slipping past me more and more, I want to hang on to it, catch it between my fingers and replay it over and over again...

Whilst I know that's truly impossible (I never grasped physics quite well enough to build a time machine), I've found other ways of following my great Grandma's sage advice. I'm definitely getting older, but that doesn't mean I have to act like it. After all, age is just a number right? 

My most recent endeavour to reclaim a bit of my youth has been through joining an adults gymnastics class. When I think about my childhood, the one dominating feature, and the thing that probably brought me the most happiness growing up, was my love of gymnastics. A number of health issues in my teens meant I had to give up training, but after an 8 year hiatus, staring gymnastics again in my twenties has made me feel like a kid all over again. It feels freeing to jump and tumble and dance without limits or rules, and the sense of satisfaction I get from feeling this freedom to express myself has me leaving with a smile on my face every time. Here's a little preview of what I've been up to...

(if the video doesn't work, take a look at the link below...)

Don't get me wrong, there's lots of good things about growing up - too many things to talk about right now, but finding my independence and being able to shape my own future are a couple of things that spring to mind. Finding someone to share that future with is also pretty high up on the list too... 

Even so, I still promised my parents last week that I won't get old, and that's my intention. Even if physically that's not a reality, I can and will remain young at heart. Anyway, don't they say, you're only as old as the person you feel? In which case I've just bought myself 3 months! #winner. 

Tuesday, 3 March 2015


3 MARCH 2015

So, it's about time I told you about what I'm doing on 27th September 2015. After a small amount (by that I mean a lot) of coaxing, my wonderful friend and colleague, Laura Cooper, convinced me to take part in the Warwickshire Sprint Triathlon as part of Team Helen. 

The team was set up in memory of Helen Pote, who sadly died in September last year. Before she died, Helen inspired so many people by showing them what incredible things can be achieved if you put your mind, body and soul into them. Helen fought cancer fiercely, completing the Warwickshire Sprint Triathlon in 2013. 

I didn't know Helen personally, but, like many others, I was inspired by her story and the passion with which she fought her cancer. Even after being told her illness was terminal, Helen turned a negative into a positive and used her tremendous strength and determination to raise money for Birmingham Children's Hospital by completing the 2013 Warwickshire Sprint Triathlon. 

Building the team has taken flight and we are now approaching 200 members, smashing our original target of 100, thanks to a passionate Facebook campaign by the team's organisers. What's even more special, however, is that - save for a choice few - none of us are seasoned triathletes. In fact, most of us are triathlon virgins...

So, in just over 6 months time, around 200 of us (hopefully more!) will be descending on Stratford to complete a 400m swim, followed by a 20k cycle and finally a 5k run. 

I can't speak for everyone else, but I normally limit my exercise to around an hour a week (if I'm lucky), and then that's usually only a short jog or some light weights at the gym. Up until Sunday I hadn't  been in a swimming pool to do serious lengths since I was about 14, and I don't think a long weekend cycling round Center Parcs in 2013 can really count as cycling preparation...

To put it lightly, I am an amateur, and I'm going to need some serious encouragement to get through this. However, I'm determined as ever to do my best and make the most of the opportunity to raise some money for Birmingham Children's Hospital and Cancer Research UK! 

I have a target of £300, so if you would like to help me reach it, please visit my JustGiving page  or, alternatively, you can text HASK90 followed by your donation amount to 70070. 

I'm going to use this blog to keep a record of my training and keep you posted on my progress over the next 6 and a bit months, so stay tuned for the next instalment...

Details of the team and what we are doing can be found on our Facebook page 

Thanks everyone for reading, and to those of you who have already supported me with your generous donations. If you're interested in taking part, please get in touch by leaving a comment or email me -