Rock Up Hull

This is no ordinary blog post -not only does it include the sassiest new indoor activity in Hull, but it also features my first ever guest post! 

Rock Up Officially opens this week (22 March) in St Stephens shopping centre, and I managed to head over for a first look. Along with me for the ride was Mama Alice as well as my friend Suzy and her little girl Izzy. You’ll be hearing more from them later.

Rock Up by me – an adults day outAs someone desperate to get their fitness back on track this sounded like a different way to achieve this; after reading it could burn up to 700 calories per one hour session it sounded VERY appealing indeed!

In all honesty, I don’t think my mum really thought much about where I was inviting her to until she got there, but she and I were both super excited when we walked in to what is essentially a massive playground. See how excited she looks!

Both of us really like to try new things and feel that sense of accomplishment. Sadly, another thing we both share is that we’re both scardey cats when it comes to things like this! 

We dug deep and tried a few walls out, making a little higher up each time. The instructors were really patient and encouraging, advising which walls to start with and cheering us on.
I think the scariest bit is coming back down – basically, stick yo’ butt out and let go! Even from a couple of meters up that feels daunting, but we were in good hands and knew we would be just fine if we did as the instructors showed us.
I had a little go on the ‘Stairway to Heaven’ – nothing to hold on to on the way up, nothing to hold on to on the way down…simply step off. I say “simply” when it’s very clear from this picture that I found it anything but! My mum was actually shouting “jump to mummy!” 

I eventually made it just short of the top of one wall; if I hadn’t looked down and wasn’t shattered I would’ve been hitting that buzzer like a boss! 

We had lots of fun, felt like we had overcome a little of our fear, and definitely gave ourselves a workout! We can’t wait to go back and give it another try now we know what to expect.

Top Tips

– Wear light and comfortable clothing. Jeans were absolutely fine but definitely a t-shirt or similar on top as you really do work up a sweat. I may even opt for workout clothes next time

– Stay hydrated. Even if you’re not constantly climbing you still get pretty tired, it’s a pretty tough workout, so make sure you have something to drink to keep your energy levels high.

– Do everything exactly as they the instructors tell you. If not you may hurt yourself in some very unfortunate places. I think you know what I mean.

– Don’t. Look. Down.  

 Rock Up by Suzy – a family day out 

After being invited to tag along with my 5 year old daughter for a sneak peek and trial Rock Up before its official opening, we couldn’t contain our excitement. Izzy had done this before at a similar venue, but for me, I hadn’t rock climbed or abseiled since my early teens so my excitement was tinged with nerves. 

The place itself is very welcoming, the friendly staff are very helpful and nothing is too much trouble – suited for both the beginner and the more experienced, they want you to have as much fun as they do climbing! The brightly coloured walls are nothing but enticing, and designed to allow you to go as high as you feel comfortable. 

When it was time to tackle the walls, mum had to step up to plate and show there was nothing to fear. Unlike other climbing walls your lines are automatically counter weighted to you – don’t ask me how, it just works! – so when you’re ready to come down, you simply push away from the wall and gently bounce or glide back down to the mat. This goes against every rational thought and for me was a very mind over matter scenario and my nerves very nearly got the better of me. 

Hitting that button located at the top of each wall does gives a certain sense of triumph – just don’t look down before making your way to the bottom again! But once Izzy had seen mummy do it, she was off! 

My daredevil rock climber extraordinaire was in her element and didn’t stop until her hour climbing was up and to my amazement she even made it to the top too! Although she had no problem looking down, it was just me! Out done by a 5 year old – awesome ha-ha!

Every wall is open for trying and anyone aged 4 or over is allowed to give them a go (their oldest climber is 80!)– and as long as there isn’t a queue you can climb it as many times as you like until you want to change. Obviously some are more suited to the smaller hands/shorter legs, but if you want to try, then they let you try! Even the soon to be infamous stairway to heaven is open to all ages, making your way from pillar to pillar, it’s a true balancing act with nothing to hold onto, when your ready it’s simply a leap of faith the reach the bottom. 
Reasonably priced for the time (and exercise!) you have, we will most certainly be making a number of return visits and no doubt sign up to the after school clubs they are planning on launching in the future.
It’s nothing short of a fun and fantastic activity in the middle of a city. 

Perfect for those with both young and older children, the addition of a soft play allows parents to please both their little explorers and young adventurers at the same time! The climbing supervisors put the kids right at ease, with high fives being thrown around at every corner, kids will be confident enough to just get stuck right in – Win Win!

Top Tips 

– Let your child explore. With a physical and very adventurous activity like this, it’s hard not to worry. Being adults, we have a tendency to over think things. As parents we know that the more we ask if they are ok, the more worrisome and nervous our children can become. 

– Get your little one to trial coming down by themselves at a low height. Get them comfortable with that before letting them scale half way up (or to the top!). There is only one line available on most of the walls and the staff are unable to climb safely up to retrieve anyone finding themselves ‘stuck’…… get them used to trusting the equipment.  Once they are happy and comfortable release the reigns, let them challenge themselves and most of all let them have fun!

– Let them choose. Don’t tell them what they can/can’t have a go at or how to do it. The supervisors will make recommendations, but if they want to try a hard wall, let them. They will soon figure out what they can and can’t do – or reach!

– Be patient. If it’s their first time they are bound to be both excited and nervous. Let them change their mind a million times on what wall they want to attempt, or how they want to climb it. Let them figure it out. You may find they go back and forth a lot, deciding where they want to go, but it’s perfect for decision making and building their confidence.

– Mums and Dads – enjoy it too! The arena is safe for your little one to explore! There are plenty of supervisors on hand to monitor everyone and its regulated so it will never be over packed. I wish I had climbed more (my nerves did get the better of me a little – I even hate coming down ladders so doing this was a big challenge for me) but I enjoyed watching her so much I forgot to test myself too! Get stuck in, you won’t regret it and you will have some awesome memories of the day to share together too.

– Most of all… relax and just have fun!
Stay stylish,

J 😘xx

Little tools, big help

Oh heyyyyy there…long time no see! Honestly, I’ve had a bit of a rough start to 2017 for health reasons (I won’t bore you with these here) which has made it tricky to formulate life at times, let alone blog posts, so thank you for taking the time to read after such a long absence! Anyway…

Whether you’re a blogger or simply someone on the go who appreciates things to make your life easier/prettier, I thought I would share a few of the gadgets I’ve been using for the pats few months that have been useful to me. The best part? They’re all super cheap and easy to get hold of!

iPad keyboard
It makes things just that bit quicker to write. It clips and connects super easily and turns your tablet into a laptop without the bulk.

Clip-on HD lens
I get so many comments about this every single time I use it (I was even stopped halfway down an aisle at a wedding!). It basically turns your phone into a DSLR camera with a wide angle/slightly fish eye quality. It’s a great alternative if you’re popping out without your camera. I simply clip this to an inside pocket of my handbag so it’s with me all the time.

Short charging cable
Soooo necessary to avoid getting tangled up in your regular cake when you’re on the move!

iPhone tripod
This one is really lightweight and bendy, so it can stand up straight on a table or be wrapped around something to film from a more specific angle. Great for when you’re taking your own pics or vlogging.

Emergency charger
I think everyone needs one of these bad boys! This one is pretty good and can usually charge my iPhone 6 fully 3 times (or 1 charge of my iPad if it’s fully juiced). It’s not massively heavy and is a similar size to my phone so fits nicely in my handbag

Selfie ring light
I learnt about these lil’ marvels from Chelsea as she uses one at work. For such a small light it’s VERY powerful, it’s become another handbag staple that I reach for when it’s pretty dark. Weirdly I don’t use it for selfies all that much!

What you can’t see in this pic…

Selfie remote
I don’t know why this isn’t in the pic, as it’s really useful with the tripod if you’re taking pics of yourself.

Digi4u selfie light case
This is what I generally use to light shots taken on my front phone camera. The light is a real true ‘white’ I tried another well-known brand and I found the light to be way more dull and yellow toned which isn’t very flattering.

Fuji film finepix s9900w bridge camera
This couldn’t be in the shot, because it was capturing it! My lovely hubby treated me to my first proper camera for Christmas for me keep improving my photo taking. It’s still a work in progress but I love it! It connects to my phone via an app so I can ping the pictures straight over and delete them from the memory which is so convenient.

And that’s my little toolkit complete. If there’s anything you feel would be a good addition then do let me know and send me any links on social media.

Thanks for reading, see you again soon.

J 😘xx

BEAUTY/ Why I finally gave Lush a try (and what I picked up)

That’s right, you did indeed read the correctly: I have never bought a single thing from Lush, nor have I ever been compelled to. Do t get me wrong, their stuff looks gorgeous on pics and I really like their brand message, but every time I walk past a stored I’ve been hit too many smells that have frankly made me a little queasy. I’ve been inside just the once with Alex and it wasn’t quite so severe, but still I wasn’t tempted.

However a talk I attended by artist Mandy Barker made me have serious think about my skincare choices (she made me think quite hard about a lot of things, but this one hit the closest to home). She uses plastic debris collected from around the world to highlight the issue of its pollution, and one of the fastest increasing threats to this are plastic nodules found in beauty products such as face scrubs. As well as washing up on beaches and almost ‘becoming’ the sand, they’re easily ingested by marine life and are making their way into the food chain and also the bloodstream. Pretty serious stuff.

Until hearing this, I had zero clue that my hero product face scrubs contained plastic. I mean, with so many other natural things going in to them, why would you think they needed to do this? I can’t do much about what’s gone before, but I thought I could definitely make better choices in future, which is why I felt it was time to make a second trip to store to see if I could live that Lush life.

Popcorn lip scrub 

This was the only thing I actually needed as my lips have been ridiculously flaky. Because of the ingredients the texture is more delicate yet scrubs really well without leaving anything nasty near your mouth. I like the popcorn scent but sometimes it overpowers me and I want to eat it!

Rub Rub Rub shower scrub

Not gonna lie; this went in my basket because the sales assistant told me it was awesome and could be used on hair too. Helloooo lazy gal product! This smells ands feels lovely on my skin – I get my preferred harden scrub using it with dry skin, using a little with water makes it a little softer but still leaves your skin feeling awesome. 

Honey I washed my hair shampoo bar

Big sea sal shampoo

Not really quite sure why I bought a sea salt shampoo when I already had a product that did the exact same thing…I like the idea that it would help give my super fine hair some volume, and in the process my hair smelled sooooo good! I kept wafting it in Mr Alice’s face shouting “smell how clean it is!” I’m going to try and limit the use of this as sea salt will strip some of the toner out and dull the blonde.

It’s raining men shower gel

I’m now more than happy to admit that I’ve been wrong about what lies behind Lush’s heavily scented interior, and that I’ll definitely make more purchases in future. If you have any tips for what should be on my list feel free to leave them in my comments.

Stay Stylish (& keeping living that lush life!)

J 😘xx

2017 Week 3- The tomato red, sweaty face of determination 

This post was named based on how I looked when I caught sight of myself in the mirror in the middle of an exercise class – wobbling away, trying to get the moves right, trying not to pass out from exhaustion. My face was so red that I couldn’t understand how I hadn’t passed out, or why I wasn’t getting funny looks from anyone in the room, it was a truly unnatural colour for a human to be!

The reason I was putting myself through my colour changing paces? See below…

Trying new forms of exercise 

The next step in feeling good for 2017 was to try out some different forms of exercise (hence my less than graceful appearance at dancercise). I’ve previously gone for regular, gentle cardio, but since being in an office job that’s become impossible for me to maintain so I’ve had to consider other options.

I joined a gym back in October and have floated around doing a bit of swimming, a bit of treadmill, maybe some time on the bike, meaning to try out some classes but not quite making it happen. Cue the cliche of mass booking everything in January!

I got some really cool Ivy Park workout clothes for Christmas and in the sales (including the black tank above) their new season stuff is absolutely killing it too so if you’re looking from some sassy #ootd gym gear then it’s definitely worth checking out.

Back to meal planning I was great at meal planning before, but I’m also great at being lazy so that also fell by the wayside last year when some weird working patterns and regular office buffets started to become all too familiar. No more!

I’m still not nailing it every day; there have been a few times that I’ve forgotten to bring my lunch from home and had to make do in the canteen, or throw together a last minute brekkie because I forgot to prep the night before, but eating healthier food that’s yummy reminds me of why I want to get back in to it. Lookimg in the mirror, however, reminds me of why I NEED to!

I’ll keep you posted on my progress, in the meantime if you have any motivational tips or meal prep ideas feel free to shout ’em out.

Stay Stylish,

J 😘xx

FOOD/ Hoots snacks, snacking around the City of Culture

Firstly, let me apologise for the lack of pictures. Cards on the table – kept eating the goods, kept forgetting to take the snaps…but surely it’s a good thing that I enjoyed them that much??Summed up in a sentence: Hoots* are the BEST alternative to crisps I’ve tasted. Actually I’ll rephrase that; they’re the best savoury snack I’ve tasted. 

I like crisps fine, but I’m not a mega crisp-fiend or anything. However I am a major Foodie (sure I may mentioned that before…haha) so discovering a new snack is always a winner. Discovering a snack that’s been created and produced in your home town (just a few minutes drive away in fact) is even better! 

I’ve really been enjoying these this month as my go-to; after trying all of the flavours I’ve settled on this as my fave…though the smoky bacon and cheese & onion come a very close second!

Right now these are being sold mainly on food and vegan sites (see list stockists here) but I’m predicting these beauties will make their into more stores and become a cult hit.

BRB, going online in search of more…

Stay Stylish,

J 😘xx

2017 Week 2- developing a plan to take over the world, one post at a time…and an OOTD fail (kinda)

I decided to try and tackle my lack of confidence and blogging mojo this week, for which I turned to Courtney. As you may have read in some of posts in 2016, Courtney and I founded the Hull Foodie project as an offshoot of the Hull Bloggers collective that we’re both actively involved in. We’ve really enjoyed what we’ve done with us so far, but have decided that we want to up the ante in 2017 – try more places, promote more local businesses and encourage people to jump on board with us. 

Naturally food was involved in our meeting , to talk about it and not chow down may have been a bit torturous! We headed to Furley & co where we had had Philly cheese steak sandwiches and Haloumi fries with sweet chilli dip, yummy. 

We’re still talking about the finer details so there’s no gossip we can spill yet, but I promise we will when we can! It was great to get some creative juices flowing and actually talk through ideas I’d had in my head with someone who could either tell me they were great or they sucked (thankfully Courtney and I are on the same page so it was more of the former) which started to take care of the blogging mojo issue. Jumper Missy Empire/ Jeans Top Shop (Jamie)/ OTK boots EGO

Th second issue of self confidence proved it was going to be a little tougher to crack. 

I’d decided that I wanted to try and shoot some OOTD pics on our outing, which for various reasons didn’t really turn out as I hoped (hence me looking downcast) which definitely dented my confidence a teeny bit more. I know that most people have days where they don’t feel that great about themselves, it’s just frustrating having more bad days than good at the moment. But I’ll keep trying to dress up and show up, and hopefully I’ll get there soon.

Stay Sylish, 

J 😘xx

BEAUTY/ From brunette to blonde

Historically I’m a  gal who gets bored with her hair pretty easily. However, for the last year I’ve kept it pretty easy and simple – my natural brunette colour (with a slight touch of a warm red) in a mid length style. But I started to get itchy feet again to really change it up and push myself out of my comfort zone, thinking that being brave with my look may give me a bit of confidence back.
Anybody that’s followed my posts for a little while may remember that I’ve had a bit of a blonde dip dye in the past (see pic below) but this time I wanted more. I wanted more blonde, lighter blonde and a choppier style to make it look textured and cool. 
InspoThese are some of the reference pics I collected to get a feel for what I wanted that I shared with my gal Chelsea (who works her talents at cook: hair in Anlaby). 

As I had a lot of dark colour on my hair already I knew it was going to take a few attempts to get to a point that I was completely happy with the colour. However, I also knew Chels would make it look good at every stage so I wasn’t worried!

Start point Dark brown (my natural shade) with just passed shoulder length hair.

To really kick start the lightening process I had bleach applied through the lengths which stayed on for a good couple of hours, using foils so that the look would be more naturally woven in to the brown rather than two separate blocks of colour. In the meantime my roots were touched up with my natural brown to keep a glossy contrast (and possibly to hide a few cheeky silver strands).

 After treatment 1
The colour came out as very light brown-almost dark blonde colour that actually looked really lovely when a toner had been put over the top. This was the point that it could’ve looked too ‘warm’ and orangey if not done by someone who didn’t know what they were doing! Sadly, I speak from experience…

I looked after my ‘do with colour protect and purple shampoo in between my first and second treatment, but as the toner washed out (about 2/3 weeks after) it did become a little warmer towards the mid lengths.

This time Chelsea freshened my roots again and applied more bleach (using foils again to blend) which was left to develop for about an hour, before rinsing and applying a toner.

After treatment 2Voila, unmistakable blondie! The colour is beautifully blended and a gorgeous shade I’m super happy with, for now…hehe. For the style Chelsea took a bit more off the length to my shoulders (I have a short-ish neck so from the front it still looks pretty long) added in a bit more feathering round the front (to match my existing shorter fringe-y bits) and emphasised my choppy layer section.

I’ve spent a lot of time experimenting with hair products for bottle blondes during this process, so I’ll be doing a post on the ones that worked well for me soon. In the meantime thanks for stopping by, hope you like my new look!

Stay Stylish,

J 😘xx