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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

REFLECTIONS 4

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 

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 

My Experience with the Implant

Since getting the implant I have had a lot of questions. ‘Does it hurt? Do you still get periods? Are you having mood swings?’ – just to name a few.

Contraception can be a bit of a minefield, and it’s hard to know what option is going to be the best for you. I, therefore, thought it might be helpful to share my experience. Of course, everybody is unique and so we all react differently to different forms of contraception. However, this has been my personal experience!

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WHY DID I OPT FOR THE IMPLANT?

There are a few choices for people with vaginas when it comes to contraception, all of which come with the potential of some pretty nasty side effects. The implant, therefore, seemed to me like the best of a bad bunch (I should go into sales, shouldn’t I?). I had taken the pill for years and found that it gave me terrible mood swings, left my period irregular and, despite setting an alarm, you can guarantee I would forget about it at least once a week. I decided it was time to look for another option.

I went to the sexual health clinic for some advice. What I will say is that, although it can be awkward and embarrassing, it is well worth making a visit to one of these places. They’re confidential and I have always found them a lot more helpful than going to see my Doctor.

While there I was given an in-depth talk about my options. We narrowed it down to either the coil or the implant. Neither sounded great, but when saw the coil and she explained what the procedure would entail, the implant sounded a hell of a lot more appealing.

So, that was that.

WHAT WAS THE PROCEDURE LIKE?

The procedure itself is super simple. However, if you don’t like needles, it’s not going to be exactly pleasant! I’ve never really minded injections and so I didn’t find it too bad. They numb the area with an injection, cut a slit in your arm and then insert the impact (which was a bit bigger than I expected but nothing too alarming). Relatively painless and over really quickly. They then wrap it up and you leave it in its little bandage for about 24 hours. It is 99% effective and lasts for 3 years. If you do decide you want a baby in this time, you can just pop back in and have it removed, meaning that it follows the method of long-acting reversible contraception.

I was left with bruising afterwards for about a week, but I bruise like a peach so that was to be expected. It took a little while to get used to the thought of having an implant in my arm. I still now stroke it every so often, just to make sure it hasn’t moved and it’s still there – it always is.

WHAT ARE THE SIDE EFFECTS?

The side effects of the implant vary from person to person and so you experience could be entirely different to mine. For me, they included pains in my arm and my period stopping (for now anyway). The first month after the implant I spotted slightly, but since I have not menstruated, which is an absolute blessing!

I haven’t noticed any changes in my mood at all, which was something I was worried about, and now I hardly know it’s there. It’s only when I run my fingers over it that I remember I even have an implant. For me, it is a lot more practical than taking the pill and just fit in well with my lifestyle. I also often get asked if it interfered with my training. Again, the answer is no! However, when I first had it put in, I was very aware of it and worried it would move during upper body sessions. It didn’t, but it is important to keep checking it to make sure it is still in the right spot anyway (I just run my hand over it whenever I remember and it is always still there). 

I’ll be honest, at first, I was worried that everything was related to the implant. I fell ill with glandular fever and thought it was down to the implant. I basically was just panicking (I am a self-confessed overthinker). When I spoke to the Doctor, however, they reassured me and said that everything with it was looking absolutely fine!

tampons

HOW IS IT GOING?

Well, I’m not pregnant so that’s a good start…

In all seriousness, I am finding the implant so easy.

I have actually found the implant super simple. Yes, it does take a tiny little procedure, but it has been worth it for me and my lifestyle.

I am relatively new to having the implant and so at the moment I am still monitoring my menstrual cycle as whether I will come on or not at some point is kind of up in the air – one thing I am finding a little difficult, but I just make sure I am always prepared for that eventuality.

If you have any questions regarding the implant and my personal experience, let me know in the comments down below. Trust me, nothing is TMI here. You can also email me on jamieleejenkins27@googlemail.com 

Jamie x 

Little Things You Can Do To Help The Environment

More and more people are looking at doing their bit to help the environment and live a more sustainable life. No longer is the belief that one person can’t make a difference cutting it and people everywhere are ditching the plastic bags and water bottles, cutting down on meat and sharing lifts.

However, it can be a little daunting to try and make your lifestyle more sustainable… The pressure to do everything all at once can get a bit much and so many of us recoil back into our old, unsustainable habits out a fear that we’re doing ‘eco-friendly’ wrong (Can you tell I’m speaking from experience here…).

Well, I am here to tell you that helping to protect the environment and leading a more sustainable lifestyle doesn’t have to mean ditching the car, never going on holiday again and waving goodbye to that Brazillian restaurant down the road. Even the smallest of changes can help, and you might not even notice you’re doing them! Here are some little things you can do to help the environment.

THINK ABOUT YOUR FASHION CHOICES

 I have already written a post about fast fashion and how I think the solution is as much down to internal changes as it is external ones. You can check it out here if you haven’t read it.

While you might not think that your fashion choices have much of an impact on the environment, the truth is that the fast fashion industry is predicted to contribute ¼ of our total impact on climate change by 2050!

Luckily, there are things that you can do that can help protect the environment, while still keeping your wardrobe on point. Recently I have become a huge charity shop fan. I’ll be honest, I used to avoid them like the plague, but once I ditched my entirely unnecessary snobbish ways, I actually found that you can get some really good bits and pieces – not to mention it’s super cheap and helping out a charity! On my last browse, I got myself a cream Zara blazer for £10! Madness I tell you.

I have also started buying second-hand clothes off of friends rather than going out and buying new stuff. I am looking towards setting up a clothes swap group as well, where unwanted clothes can be swapped for someone else’s gear – the perfect, eco-friendly way to keep your wardrobe fresh.

CHARITY SHOPS

IMAGE: The Art of Thrift Shopping in Leeds

SHOP SUSTAINABLY 

Beyond clothes shopping, there are also little ways you can become more sustainable when it comes to food shopping – a lot of which you’re probably doing already, go you!

Most supermarkets in the UK have already encouraged this, but investing in a Bag for Life or reusing old plastic bags is a great (and super easy) way to cut down on your plastic use. The same applies to foods. When you’re strolling through the fruit and veg aisle selecting your Granny Smiths, if the option is there, opt for a paper rather than a plastic bag to wrap your foods up in. 

TRAVEL WISELY 

When it comes to getting around the place just jumping in your car definitely seems like the easiest option… I mean, I can’t drive but if I could I image it would seem like the easiest option.

However, no surprises here, it is not the best for the environment. Instead, why not join the sharing economy and download ride-sharing apps or share a lift into work with your friend. If a few of you are all driving from the same place to the same place, it seems a little daft all taking a car when you could just go together!

crete

If you’re travelling out of the country (lucky you), using sites like Airbnb is also a great way to be a part of the sharing economy and help look after the environment. If you’re a keen bean, you could even opt for a solar-powered apartment that would still come in cheaper than a fancy hotel. This is not something I have yet to try, but I will definitely be looking into it for my next city break.

Travelling sustainably might seem like it is going to require huge changes, but that really isn’t the case. Being just a little more aware when travelling can really help to make your lifestyle more sustainable.

CUT DOWN ON ANIMAL PRODUCTS  

More and more people are adopting an entirely plant-based lifestyle, but if you’re not willing to wave goodbye to your cheese on toast – that’s fine, it’s your prerogative and it doesn’t mean that you can’t still make little changes and do your bit.

Simply cutting down on your meat intake, even if it’s only one day a week, or switching to almond milk rather than cow’s milk, can really help. You might even want to try growing your own vegetables, which can help to reduce your carbon footprint (not to mention it’s loads of fun and really satisfying!).

ALLOTMENT

IMAGE: Country Living – Companion Planting. Getty Images – Ron Evans.

LITTLE LIFE CHANGES

The above are just a few examples of things I have been thinking about or experimenting with recently, but there are loads of other little things you can do to make your lifestyle more sustainable.

As I have said, they don’t have to be massive changes – in fact, you might not even notice you’re doing them. Making your own coffee in a morning, getting a library card rather than buying books (I still haven’t quite come to terms with this one… I love a nice, new book), even just spending more time outside are all little things you can do to help!

Since attempting to make some little life changes in order to lead a more eco-friendly life, I have learnt that a sustainable lifestyle not only benefits the world but has also benefitted my own health and wellbeing. Cutting down on meat and practically ditching dairy has really helped with keeping at a healthy weight, getting outside more has helped me get fitter, and I have found that I have been able to save a lot of money by just having a little more awareness. Give it a go – it’s easier than you think. 

What are your top tips for leading a more sustainable life? Let me know in the comments down below.

Jamie x 

For more advice and tips, here are some websites and blogs I found really useful: 

50+ Simple Tips To Live a More Sustainable Lifestyle

http://www.lovegeorgeandhaze.co.uk/

https://ecowarriorprincess.net/2015/10/101-tips-help-you-live-more-sustainable-life/

https://www.wwf.org.uk/what-we-do/area-of-work/promoting-sustainable-living

 

Inspirational Women | 2018

In Vogue’s list of Influential Women 2018, they asked: What does power look like? A question, they acknowledge, is becoming all the more difficult to answer. Power is no longer just a white, middle-class male sitting in the cabinet making big decisions. The face of power and influence has changed, and it has become about a lot more than simply governing, but also about inspiring, starting conversations and initiating change. Power is being redefined, and with it so is the world around us.  

This year, once again, hundreds of women all around the world have inspired me and made me proud to be a woman – whether it be celebrity activists, movers and shakers, or simply women I encounter on a day-to-day basis in my life whose attitude and spirit have motivated me to become a better version of my self. Here are just a few.

Jameela Jamil 

As I recently declared on Twitter, my new life motto is WWJD (What would Jameela do?). Her relentless battle again the impossible beauty standards placed upon women has acted as a reminder that I am enough, just as I am. As well as calling out BS detox diets and the negative consequences of airbrushing, Jamil also set up the iWeigh movement, which I urge you to follow if you don’t already. The movement acts as a reminder that we are all a lot more than how we look and encourages us to think less about what we see in the mirror and more about our values, achievements and qualities beyond this.

A wonderful, witty woman with an incredibly powerful message!

FORKING brilliant.

Jameela_Jamil

The Campaigners in the Irish Abortion Vote

Less a single woman and more a group of incredible inspiring women (and men), who stood up for the women in Ireland to have rights over their bodies. The vote was a huge leap forward for women in Ireland and symbolised the power of activism and fighting for what you believe to be right.

An incredible moment in history that represents progression and changing national attitudes – bravo Ireland.

What an inspiration.

Orla Doherty 

TV producer and environmentalist, Orla Doherty and her team, have made waves this year, raising awareness of the damage being done to our oceans by our excessive use of plastics.

Over 10 million people watched the final episode of the BBC’s Blue Planet that Doherty produced, and the message has certainly resulted in more action – it certainly impacted my behaviour and for that, we all have to thank Doherty.

Dua Lipa 

At only 22 years years old, Dua Lipa became the most streamed female artist in Britain and made history when she became the first woman to received 5 Brit nominations in one night.

Why is she having such a huge impact on the music industry? 

There are many reasons for her success, but for me, her music goes beyond simply a good track to dance to. New Rules has a far deeper, cultural message about female sexual empowerment that females everywhere found themselves relating to – not to mention it has hit over 1 billion views on YouTube. To find out more about the songwriter Emily Warren and how she came about writing New Rules, check out Elite’s Daily article here.

WOMEN 2

Diane Shippey

A name you probably do not recognise, but a woman that inspires me every single day – my Mother. I have written a lot about this wonderful woman here on the blog (you can read more about her here). She has taught me a hell of a lot of the past 22 years, and this year her drive, determination and dedication to what she believes in, has astonished me.

Putting her beliefs and morals before financial gain, she has gone on to start her own little business – working incredibly hard and teaching me that no one is any better than anyone else and if you have something you believe it, then you bloody well fight for it.

Priyanka Joshi 

Another name you might not have heard of, but you definitely should have, is Priyanka Joshi! As only 29 years old, Joshi is a research fellow at the University of Cambridge, offering cutting-edge Alzheimer’s research, looking into drug-like molecules to target the causes of degenerative brain diseases.

This year, dementia has left a huge hole in our family and we are certainly not alone. Dementia is now the leading cause of death for women in England and Wales and so her work in the field is crucial – now more than ever.

In the words of Jameela Jamil, I am a feminist-in-progress, constantly learning and trying to become a more informed human being. I am far from perfect but these women have all helped me on my journey, and for that I thank them. In my research for this post, I found myself in total awe of the incredible work women have been doing this year that I haven’t heard about and sadly I couldn’t write about every single one of them here. I urge you to take a look at some of these lists of Inspiration Women and read their stories.

Here are some of my favourites:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-46225037

https://www.vogue.co.uk/article/vogue-25-the-women-shaping-2018

From Pankhurst to Pink: 100 of the most inspiring women from the last 100 years

Which women have inspired you this year? Let me know in the comments down below or over on my latest Instagram post. 

Jamie x