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My Favourite Things To Do In Birmingham

 If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that I recently moved to Birmingham.

I say recently, it’s been about 6 months, but I still feel like a newbie…

Over the last few weeks, I have been out and about trying loads of new things and I thought I would share some of my favourites. Whether you fancy cocktails, bowling or being trapped in a small, kind of sweaty room for an hour – I’ve got you. 

LANE 7

Imagine a retro arcade, only there are no kids and there’s A LOT of alcohol. I’ve been here twice now and loved it both times! You can go bowling, hire out a karaoke room, play beer pong or even hit the dance mats – all with a frozen strawberry Daiquiri in hand. It’s a little pricey, but really good fun.

I would recommend booking in advance because it gets BUSY, but it is worth it. Afterwards, you’re a short walk away from the Mailbox and loads of really cute cocktail bars (Aluna is a personal favourite! I also really like Gas Street Social, but I would recommend there for bottomless brunch in the day time).

lane7.co.uk

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GHETTO GOLF

Like cocktails? Like street food? Like mini golf? 

If you answered yes to any of the above, the ghetto golf is for you! (God, I should be in sales…) 

In all seriousness, Ghetto Golf might be the most fun night out ever! I am not a huge ‘club’ sort of gal, so cocktails and mini golf is a great way to have a night out without having to hit up Broadstreet *shudders*. It has a really relaxed vibe, super cool decore (perfect for the gram) and a variety of different DJs, street foods and cocktails.

10/10 would recommend.

ESCAPE LIVE 

On my very first week in Birmingham, I went to Escape Live with work and it was so much fun! Terrifying, but so much fun. There are 3 rooms to choose from – I would recommend opting for Room 13 (the scary one)  – and you have an hour to crack the codes and break free.

If you don’t want to find yourself being scared sh*tless, don’t worry, the other two rooms aren’t made to be scary so you’ll be fine!

escapelive.co.uk

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We make it out, of course. 

DIGBETH DINING CLUB

Digbeth Dining Club might be the coolest eatery in Birmingham.

Okay, so I haven’t been to every eatery in Birmingham, but it’s got to be up there! 

Every Friday and Saturday from 5PM, some of the best street foods from around and about all head to Digbeth Dining Club. What’s on offer varies every week, so you will never get bored, and I have never been left disappointed!

The place itself has such a chilled out, relaxed vibe, with different DJs and artists performing each night and a very well stocked bar. It is the ideal place for a chilled night out!

digbethdiningclub.co.uk

THE GIN VAULT

I like gin. I reeeeeally like gin. So, let’s be honest, I was going to LOVE The Gin Vault.

It is situated along the canal and has a really cool historic, ‘underground’ vibe. It is small enough to feel cosy and intimate, but not so small you’re sat on your next door neighbours knee. Not to mention, it is also independent, which I always opt to support over chains whenever I can!

Let’s be honest though, you’re not here to read about the decor. Let’s talk gin.

They have over 200 different flavours of gin, and the staff really know what they’re talking about when it comes to the stuff. They also have a tapas menu which, although I have yet to try, has got some really good reviews from some of my nearest and dearest.

If you’re a gin lover, it’s a must. 

theginvault.com

GIN VAULT

EVERYMAN CINEMA

Take your cinema experience to the next level with the Everyman Cinema at the Mailbox. I swear, even if the film is bad, the night will still be good! No need to worry about leg room, or that annoying tall person who inevitably chooses to sit right in front of you.

The Cinema has three different screens, all with fancy sofa seating and armchairs so you really can sit back, relax and enjoy the film.

Oh, and did I mention you get table service?

Yep, that’s right, TABLE SERVICE. I’ll have a rhubarb gin, please and thank you. 

Narrowing down a list of my favourite things to do in Birmingham was actually quite tough as there is SO MUCH choice. These are just a few of my recent faves, but if you want to keep up to date with all the fun things I get up to then head over to my Instagram, where I share well, basically everything… 

What are your favourite things to do in Birmingham? Let me know in the comments down below.

Jamie x 

Favourites of the Month | January

We have officially made it. The longest month of the whole entire year is officially over… nearly. Well done us.  

It’s been a long time since I wrote a ‘Favourites of the Month’, but recently I have been trying loads of new bits and bobs (thank you Christmas!) that I have been loving, and so I thought I would share them with you all. It’s going to be a long one so grab yourself a cuppa and a biscuit, and let’s get started. 

FASHION

This month I have been making a conscious effort to make my fashion consumption more sustainable. After doing a lot of research into the fast fashion industry, I have been trying to buy less new clothes and instead buy second-hand off friends or dabble in a bit of thrift shopping.

However, I have got a few new pieces to share with you that I was bought for Christmas or purchased new knowing that I would get a lot of wear of out.

First up, it’s my vegan-friendly Dr. Martens. Yes, they’re still agony as I have yet to fully bed them in, but damn my feet look good. I got them in Vegan 1460 Chrome in a dark oxblood red and I truly am obsessed. They’re a little different to the original iconic Dr. Marten’s that have a more understated, smooth shine. These, on the other hand, have the most gorgeous reflective chrome finish that reflects slightly different colours in different lights. They’re eye-catching, they’re practical AND they’re cruelty-free. Bravo Dr. Marten’s, bravo.

And once you bed them in they do become super comfortable… I promise! 

At the time of writing this, this pair is on sale, so if you fancy yourself a pair then now is a perfect time.

Sticking in fashion, I have another  January favourite to share with you, from Gymshark. No surprises there… 

It is, of course, the black camo seamless leggings and sports bra, which quickly became my absolute favourite set Gymshark have ever designed. They’re on the pricier side of Gymshar activewear, but they are so worth it. The leggings are the most flattering I have ever worn, and the little scrunch detailing on the back gives the illusion of a bigger, perkier booty. The bra is also really flattering, not to mention it gives great support while still sporting a feminine design. I really think Gymshark have pulled it out of the bag with this one (if I do say so myself) and, if possible, I would seriously recommend getting your hands on it.

JAN

MAKE-UP 

Next up, it is time for my favourite makeup product on the month, of which there are two. I tried to pick just one, I really did, but they are both so good I thought that they should both get a mention.

First up is the Makeup Revolution Liquid Highlighter Luminous Gold. I have always been a little sceptical about liquid highlighters and I don’t think you get the same control or natural finish. However, this one is an absolute DREAM! Not only is it super affordable, but it has the most stunning finish that lasts literally all day. You hardly need any (one or two drops at the most) and it gives you the most reflective, dewy glow! I have also been experimenting with this under my foundation to give my skin a healthy-looking glow that it really misses in these colder months. If you’re on the hunt for a liquid highlight, you seriously cannot go wrong with this one. They come in loads of different colours and are available on BeautyBay. I get complimented every time I wear it! Hats off Makeup Revolution.

HIGHLIGHT

My second make-up favourite has to be Benefit’s Gimme Brow Volumising Gel. I have been using the same eyebrow kit for the past 6 years (not exactly the same one… I have repurchased, don’t worry) but it just wasn’t quite making the cut anymore. It was good for the drawn-on eyebrow days, but now I prefer a more natural finish. The Gimme Brow is my new ride-or-die. It is so easy to use, you literally just put it on like mascara and it gives you lashes and full finish, while still looking super natural due to the tiny little micro-fibres in the formula. I was also pleasantly surprised at the staying power – it lasts out even my sweatiest gym sessions. Here’s to the next 6 years Gimme Brow.

SKIN CARE

Confession: I am shit when it comes to skincare.

I wish I was one of these girls with a fancy routine they followed religiously but, truth be told, I am lazy. However, this year, I have made it my resolution to take better care of my skin and I have been sticking to it pretty well. I actually have 3 favourites in this section, but all part of the same skincare family so it’s okay… right?

First up in the family is the Elemis Nourishing Omega-rich cleansing oil. I’ll admit, I have had this a while and have been avoiding using it because a make-up wipe and some water seemed like a lot less agg. While my skincare routine might have taken a grand total of 30 seconds, it wasn’t really doing much, and I started to struggle with breakouts. I started using this and absolutely love it. It smells delicious and leaves my skin feeling so soft and nourished. Not only that, but since using it, I feel like my skin has become a lot more glow-y and a lot less like I have died. Always a bonus…

The other two products are the Elemis Soothing Apricot Toner, which is a lazy girl’s dream! Literally, just spray and go – ideal. Last up, it’s their collagen marine cream (basically a fancy name for a moisturiser from what I can tell). It’s super thick and feels really indulgent, but doesn’t leave my skin feeling greasy at all, rather it makes my skin feel plump and delicious. I tend to get really dry skin in the colder months, so a good moisturiser is essential.

This set was brought for me as a gift, so I don’t know the exact price, but I am going to take a stab in the dark and say that it will not be cheap! However, I am really liking it and don’t mind investing if it is going to work and look after my skin.

Long may my new-found skincare routine last.

EXERCISE

As you will know if you follow me on any of my social media platforms, I am taking part in Gymshark 66. They say it takes 66 days to make a habit, and so I am putting it to the test and challenging myself to eat better, run faster, lift heavier, and (most importantly) be happier. This means my exercise this month has been intense! I threw myself straight back into the deep-end with it after struggling for 2 months with glandular fever and, truth be told, I have loved every last second of it! The aches and the pains have been KILLER, but I have never felt fitter or more confident.

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My favourite exercise of the month has to be bench press! I always hated bench press, but since I started incorporating it into my routine on a regular basic, I started to notice some great improvements. It’s a fantastic, compound exercise that I would seriously recommend. If the barbell is a bit too heavy for you at the moment, try lying dumbbell press to help build up your strength before moving onto the barbell!

ENTERTAINMENT

I wish I could say that this month my entertainment favourite was going to a book, but Netflix have really pulled it out of the bag this January (and also, I have only been reading history books, which the majority of you are not going to care about..*.). I watched ‘Birdbox’ at the start of the month and, don’t hate me, but I really did not get the hype. 5/10 at the very best! ‘You’, however, I have really enjoyed. Super trippy, witty and it kept me on the edge of my seat. I would definitely recommend giving this a watch if you haven’t already.

*If you are I would recommend ‘In Defence of History’ by Richard Evans. It’s not without its flaws, but it is a really interesting reflection on postmodernism and that impact it has on history. NERD!

So, there you have it! I know this has been the longest Favourites of the Month EVER, but there is a lot that I have been loving throughout January. What have you been loving? Loved yourself a bit of Birdbox? Avoid benchpress like the plague? Let me know in the comments down below?

Jamie x

 

My #Gymshark66 Journey | January Reflections

For those of you who don’t know, Gymshark 66 is a campaign built on the principle that it takes 66 days for you to build a habit. It, therefore, challenges you to take 66 days to work towards achieving your goals. They might be physical, they might be mental – whatever you want to achieve on your journey! At GSHQ, we’re taking part as well. Every week, we’re taking on new challenges and tracking our progress. As well as tracking the company journey over on Gymshark Central, I thought I would share with you guys my personal progress. 

RELFECTIONS 1

As we come to the end of the first month of Gymshark 66, I have a lot more to reflect on that I first expected. My goals at the start were physical, mental and personal. I have some big goals for 2019, and I wanted to use my 66 days to help focus my mind and help me kick start the year in the right direction.

THE PHYSICAL 

When you think about Gymshark 66, the first thing that probably comes to mind is hitting the gym and getting a sweat on, and I would be lying if I said this wasn’t a key part of my journey.

My main aim was to regain my strength and smash old PBs out of the park over the 66 days, and so far, so good. Although I continued to train when I started work, it definitely took a back seat and lost a lot of the structure that I credited for my progress prior. Now I have regained that structure, got a training plan and am able to balance exercise, work and social life in a way that keeps me happy as well as healthy.

I am also continuing on with my journey to become a ‘runner’. RED January, alongside 66, has exhausted me, and I did not quite manage to achieve my goal of 5K every day. However, I did alright and it is important that I am not too harsh on myself as doing both together while fighting off the aftermath of glandular fever was always going to be a challenge. Learning to show myself more compassion, leads me on to my next set of goals – the mental.

REFLECTIONS 2

THE MENTAL 

As we all know, mental health is just as important as physical health and so it was important for me to create goals that were going to help me strengthen and protect it.

My first and most broad goal was to start taking care of myself again. After leaving University I immediately thought all of my problems were going to go away, and so safeguards I have put in places and skills I had learnt to protect my mental health, were thrown out of the window – I was a strong independent working woman, I just didn’t have the time.

Yep, makes you cringe doesn’t it.

While reflecting on this I realised how naïve I had been that leaving University and starting work was going to be a saving grace for all my mental health issues and concerns. Therefore, my main aim for the 66 days is to get back that focus I had before. It has been challenging, and I did not expect to regain all my good habits in the first month, but steps in the right direction have definitely been made. And you know what, now I am back taking care of myself in the right ways, I feel stronger and more independent than ever before.

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THE PERSONAL 

By taking time to focus on strengthening my mental health, I have also been able to achieve some of my personal goals for Gymshark 66. This included everything from reading more books, to finally making steps in the direction of moving out and finding a new house (both of which I have succeeded in this month). 

Since starting working, I have learnt how easy it is to neglect your own personal development. When you are on the hunt for a job, you tend to make an active effort to develop your skills, network and try new things. However, as soon as you’re in work, these things all tend to take a back seat. Gymshark 66 has therefore been an opportunity for me to address this.

While it is tough to fit in with a full-time job, the past month has been fantastic for my personal development. I have thrown myself into loads of new things. I’ve attending networking events, read more non-fiction books, booked short city breaks and even attended talks on crypto-currency! Weird flex, but okay. 

Personal development over the past month has been fantastic, and I credit a lot of this to improving my mental and physical health. Turns out development and progress is kind of like a triangle, and all sides have to be strong for it to stand upright.

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THE FUTURE 

Gymshark 66 is nowhere near over, and I still have a lot of work to do to achieve my goals. However, so far I am loving the journey, which was incredibly important to me. In between goals, it is vital to appreciate the present, and I definitely feel like I am learning to do that.

Are you taking part in Gymshark 66? Or have you just set yourself New Years Resolutions? I want to hear about how you guys have found your January, and the lessons you are going to take from it into next month. 

Jamie x 

Should you be using a foam roller?

Foam rolling. Everybody is talking about it, but is it really worth all the hype? Here are the pros and cons of foam rolling.

foam roller

My torture device… 

First things first, what is foam rolling?

The idea behind foam rolling is to release tight muscles and the adhesions in them that restrict your range of motion. In other words, in theory, it helps to stretch out your muscles and relieve any soreness.

However, whether foam rolling actually does you any good is something that is hotly debated, with evidence both for and against it.

THE PROS

Supporters of foam rolling, rave about the benefits. Not only is it meant to help reduce the risk of injury by improving circulation, it also softens tendons which results in increased flexibility. It has also been suggested that foam rolling can help to regulate your nervous system, which increases what is known as muscle extensibility (how far the muscle can be stretched to you and me).

In theory, this increased circulation and flexibility helps you to achieve your full potential when it comes to your gym sessions, as it helps to encourage better form and reduce those dreaded DOMS.

Yep, it might hurt when you’re doing it, but as they say – no pain, no gain!

THE CONS

All sounds great, where do I sign up?

Before you go grabbing a foam roller at the end of your next session, it is worth considering that while many people rave about foam rolling, others recommend avoiding it. Although the supposed benefits are great, in reality, researchers aren’t all that convinced.

Many worry that rather than helping your muscles to soften and recover, the pressure that is applied during foam rolling could actually be having a negative impact on the nervous system instead! 

TO SUM IT UP

Foam rolling is a relatively new phenomenon and so scientific research is limited. While studies have shown that it might not have negative effects in the short term, the long-term effects have yet to be studied.

Therefore, while it might help your lifts in that session, or even in that week, there is currently no way to say for certain whether it will continue to offer these benefits in the future.

If you were looking for a more definite answer, I am sorry…

Do you foam roll or are you more of a stretching sort of person? Comment down below which you prefer.

Jamie x 

Valentine’s Edit. | PrettyLittleThing

Valentine’s day is on the horizon, which can only mean one thing… very soon there will be discounted chocolates in love heart shape boxes all over the place and my Mum is on the hunt for my 2019 Valentine’s present from my ‘secret admirer’ – thanks Mum. 

Amidst the inevitable, this year you will be pleased to know that I actually have a date. Well, unless he goes off me between now and then, which is likely but let’s remain optimistic, shall we? I also have had the pleasure of teaming up with the lovely folks at PrettyLittleThing to provide you with some serious outfit inspo, no matter what your plans are.

Girls Night

Who needs a man when you’ve got your gal pals and a killer outfit? 

For this look, I went for what have very quickly become my ride or die pair of black jeans. High-waisted, skinny and very flattering on those booty gains you’ve been working on since Jan 1st.

Perfect for brunch, cocktails or hitting the clubs – these jeans are my go-to!

JEANS

Shop the High-waisted Skinny Jeans here.

I am wearing a size 10.

I dressed them with a pair a patent black, heeled boots. Very sophisticated and versatile, yet they also make a serious statement.

So shiny I can see my face in them, these will definitely turn heads. Perfect with a pair of jeans like I have on here, or even a dress or skirt, I will definitely be getting a lot of wear out of these beauties. Plus, they’re super comfortable… always a bonus!

BOOTS

IMAGE: PrettyLittleThing

Shop the Black Patent Mid-heel Boots here.

I am wearing a size 6.

The real statement of the outfit (and possibly my favourite thing in this whole blog post)  is the red silk shirt, which I wore tucked in and buttoned quite low (not too low, don’t worry Mum) with a long, drop necklace. It is such a statement piece and the perfect colour for Valentine’s Day.

I absolutely adore this top and am really impressed with the quality of the fit and material (something I usually worry about with silk), not to mention it is so versatile. You could just as easily wear this out for dinner with the family, or even to work… maybe just do up a few more buttons than I have done here. It’s oversized and so you’re free to dance the night away without feeling uncomfortable or restricted.

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Girl’s nights are never angelic…

Shop the Red Satin Button Front Shirt here.

I am wearing a Medium.

Shop the Gold Layer Disk Plunge Necklace here.

Date Night 

A romantic meal? Cocktails? Wetherspoons 2 for 1? (I speak from experience on the latter). Wherever they’re taking you, you’ve got to be dressed to impress. 

For date night, once again I have gone for red… well burgundy, only this time we’re turning things up a notch (just you wait until we get to outfit number 3). 

HIGHLIGHT

The finished look

 The deep burgundy, mini dress is right up my street! Fitted, but not clingy (even after a massive meal… again, I am speaking from experience), this dress is designed to give the illusion hourglass figure and so super flattering. I paired it with a super simple black heels and some rose gold drop earrings to really add a bit of something extra.

If you want to impress, this is the dress.

I also wore it tucked in as a top in for a more casual date night. I styled this look with ripped jeans and black heels for a sexier, casual look – the possibilities are endless.

RED DRESS

IMAGE: PrettyLittleThing (that sign in the corner means it helps gives you that hourglass shape)

Shop the Shape Burgundy Satin Wrap Dress here.

 I am wearing a size 10

PLT

Think outside the box… and please, for the love of God, wash your bathroom mirror, Jamie. 

‘Netflix and Chill’ (And yes, I do mean this in the innuendo sense) 

So, the date has gone well and your Bridget Jones pants just aren’t going to cut it? Don’t worry, I’ve got your back.

Parents, look away now. 

When it comes to sexy lingerie, I’ll be honest, I’m not exactly a pro. A pack of six pairs of knickers I picked up a few years back is about as sexy as it gets. However, I am in the process of upping my underwear draws game. They say you feel like you’ve got your life together when you have matching underwear on and, trust me when I say, I need all the help I can get.

I have two ‘Netflix and chill’ garments that I would highly recommend… Wow, recommending people’s sex clothes is weird. Anyway, let’s go with it.

First up, this red, one piece is, well… SEXY AF. Not the easiest to remove, but very sexy. It’s high-legged so makes your legs look ridiculously long, which in turn makes it really flattering. Impressive considering you’re hardly wearing anything at all really.

RED LACE

IMAGE: PrettyLittleThing

Shop the Red Lace Cupped Body Suit here.

I am wearing a Medium

I also got my hands on this super cute chiffon nightwear/playsuit number. Be warned – it is see through and so you do not want to be wearing this down in his parents kitchen the next morning, but it’s very sexy (a word we have used a lot in the blog post) and surprisingly comfy considering these things don’t tend to be made with comfort in mind. I mean, it’s not quite as comfy as my Harry Potter PJs, but I am also considerably less likely to pull in those – you win some you lose some I guess.

KEKE

IMAGE: PrettyLittleThing

Shop the Keke Red Chiffon Teddy here.

 I wear a Medium

So, there you have some of my Valentine’s Day inspiration courtesy of the lovely team of PrettyLittleThing. Huge thank you to them for sending these pieces over and for increasing my chances of a date this year significantly. You guys are the real MVPs.

Which is your favourite outfit? Let me know in the comments below. 

Jamie x