The August Round-Up

I feel as though I’ve blinked and August has gone. In fact, that kind of applies to the rest of 2016 as well. Where has this year gone? Really? So, what did I get up to in August?

Firstly, I spent a lot of time watching Netflix (thank god for Netflix!) because my Sky box decided to break and it took two weeks for an engineer to come out to fix it. Just in time for the football season to start, I might add. What wonderful timing….!

Line of Duty was the first thing we watched and boy are we now addicted to the story line. WHY didn’t I watch it before?! We also have been enjoying Impractical Jokers. Love those two shows!

The August Round-Up

Slimming World wise I’ve been really enjoying overnight oats with raspberries or strawberries chopped up. I particularly like raspberries, I end up with pink overnight oats. They are honestly the best breakfast and I often eat them at my desk when I get to work rather than having them at home. They keep me fuller for longer. 

My boyfriend and I also sat down to sort out our New York planning, we spent a couple of hours looking at the map and highlighting where we want to go and as you can imagine there were a lot of places. I honestly can’t believe I’m going to New York in two weeks. TWO WEEKS!

This also means that I’m nearly 30 which to me is crazy. I’m so excited to be spending my 30th birthday in the place I’ve always wanted to go. I also chose the handbag I’ll be buying over there for my birthday. I can’t wait to explore a city I’ve never been to in a country I’ve never been to and enjoy myself fully making memories I’ll never forget.

The August Round-Up

I also went on a trip to London with one of my best friends, we had such a nice girly weekend and had fun being tourists which isn’t something I do often. We’ve started planning our trip for next year already – there’s talk of going to a show and having afternoon tea as well. 

The August Round-Up

Now, we’re at the end of August *gulp* and I’m spending the bank holiday weekend in Scotland visiting my parents. I try and go to see them before I go away for my birthday but this weekend is even more special as it’s my Dad’s birthday so it will be nice to spend it with him. 

For the next week or so my blog posts may be a little sporadic so bear with me and normal service will resume shortly. Yes, I am aware that I sound like some kind of train announcement.

A Girly Touristy Weekend In London

This weekend was one I have been looking forward to for a long time now. One of my best friends and I were talking for a good few months about having a weekend in London. She hadn’t been in a long time and I’d never really done much in the way of touristy stuff when I’ve been down. So, in May we booked our train tickets and decided to stay overnight and this weekend we headed down. We booked the Hilton at London Bridge which is really easy to get to from the London Bridge tube in a fantastic location with a couple of minutes walk to Tower Bridge.

A Girly Touristy Weekend In London  We decided quite early on that we were going to be a bit touristy in this trip so we booked to go on the London Eye which neither of us have ever been on before. I was hoping it would be a nice day so we would get some lovely views and luckily it was.

A Girly Touristy Weekend In LondonA Girly Touristy Weekend In London A Girly Touristy Weekend In London A Girly Touristy Weekend In London A Girly Touristy Weekend In LondonI was amazed at how smooth the London Eye was to go on, I’m not sure what I was expecting really but you could barely feel it move, even when you were at the top. The views were fantastic and my friend and I were sight spotting from the top.

When we got off we decided to have a walk across the bridge to see Big Ben and Westminster. By this point it was really warm so we decided to make the most of the day.

A Girly Touristy Weekend In London   We spent a lot of time walking and went to Buckingham Palace to see if the Queen was in, as you do. We also went to Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square and then headed back to the hotel because by that point our feet were getting a little tired and we wanted to be back in time to go for dinner.

A Girly Touristy Weekend In LondonA Girly Touristy Weekend In London

We had booked a table at Browns in Covent Garden which was lovely. I’d never been there before, we were sat in a booth and had some lovely food (none of which I took photos of as we were chatting away and I was really hungry). We also had cocktails of course!

A Girly Touristy Weekend In London

On Sunday we spent the morning getting ready, checking out of the hotel and having breakfast. We headed to Covent Garden not really knowing that most of the shops didn’t open until 12pm – rookie error. We did make the most of the day again and did quite a lot of walking across Waterloo Bridge and around Covent Garden as well. I love Covent Garden for a little bit of shopping and luckily I managed to go into Kate Spade to pick the bag I want to get in New York – so excited! We had such a lovely girly weekend and we’ve already started talking and planning what we will do next year. It was nice to be a bit of a tourist in London for the day and if you haven’t been on the London Eye, I would definitely recommend it.

A Girly Touristy Weekend In London

The FitBit Zip Wireless Activity TrackerI’ve been bart of the FitBit crew (is that really a thing now?) for a number of years now before they were the ‘in’ thing to have. In July 2013 I bought my FitBit Zip because I wanted a way to track my exercise and I’ve never looked back since. Funnily enough, the FitBit I own is the one I never hear much about and no one seems to own, so I thought I’d share my thoughts with you all.

The FitBit Zip Wireless Activity Tracker

What I love most about the Zip is that it doesn’t look like a fitness tracker. It’s small, subtle and you can clip it to your bra or jeans so no one will know you’ve got it on. If you’re looking to track your sleep, cycling or running then this FitBit won’t be for you but what it does, it does well.

The FitBit Zip Wireless Activity Tracker

This FitBit tracks your daily steps, miles you’ve walked, calories burnt and the time you’ve been active for. Personally, this is all I need so it’s ideal for me and as if you’re like me and don’t want to wear a wristband or don’t like wearing anything on your wrist then this FitBit would be perfect for you.

It comes with a CR2025 battery and keeps track of the battery percentage and when it gets low you will receive an email to let you know you need to buy a new battery soon. The battery life on the trackers is fantastic and lasts a good few months before you need to replace them.

The FitBit Zip Wireless Activity Tracker

I use my FitBit on a daily basis and sync it with my phone at night so that I can see my daily steps. I also like to take part in weekly, weekend long and daily challenges with my friends. I think fitness trackers are really interesting, they are kind of an educational tool where you can improve your fitness. I like to try and achieve my daily goal of 10,000 steps. I think they are a fantastic motivational tool and would highly recommend buying the Zip, it’s inexpensive and does the job well.

If you’d like to be FitBit friends you can add me on my email: alison.thursby@ymail.com

The July Round-Up

I honestly feel like July went in a blink. I know, we say that after almost every month but July went in the blink of an eye and now we’re in August. So, what happened in July?

I spent the first week with my parents, we went to the Lake District for few days and then onto Scotland for a few days. Honestly, that week feels like it was lifetime ago now but it was a fantastic week which I came back feeling really relaxed from. I then came back to Coventry to what seemed like a two week heatwave.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those people who wishes every season away. I just don’t like being in work when it’s so warm in the UK with no air con and you feel like there’s no air. Luckily, I have been bringing out my dresses to keep me cooler in the warmer weather. I also finally started my bullet journal which I’m hoping to film mini videos for, so more on that soon. 

The July Round-Up

My boyfriend and I went with our friends to a live comedy night at the Showcase Cinema which is one of my favourite nights out. It was a fantastic night out for all of us and overall great value for money. The comedy was excellent and we also had some cheap drinks there as well. You can’t really go wrong, it was such a good night out. 

July ended with me leaving my old blog name behind and changing to my new domain which is where you are reading now. I was lucky enough to have Pipdig helping me move my domain which made it that much easier as I genuinely wouldn’t know where to start, just like I didn’t know where to start when I moved to WordPress. I have changed most of my social media and am in the process of changing the last few handles now. I am changing my layout slightly too, nothing major I just want a little refresh. 

In July I’ve been enjoying finding new recipes and watching recipe videos on Pinch of Nom. They also have a fantastic community on Facebook as well so I would highly recommend you request to join if you’re interested in Slimming World friendly recipes, tips and chit chat.

I’ve also been enjoying sorting my clothes out and having a good clear out using the Marie Kondo method. I’m not sure where this method has been all my life but it has helped.

My new favourite app is WhatsApp web/desktop which is where you download whatsapp for your computer and you can use it without being on your phone 24/7. It’s fabulous! 

TV wise I’ve started a new show thanks to my friend Amanda – The Catch. If you like White Collar or Blacklist, you will love this. I’d highly recommend.

August is going to be a busy month for me, jam packed from start to finish with weekends away, planning for New York which is less than 6 weeks away *eep!* and seeing friends and family. I still don’t feel like I’m going to New York. I’ve been saying I am since I booked the week away in January but it doesn’t feel real. I suppose it won’t feel real until I’m actually there and looking at my surroundings. I’ve wanted to go there for a long time so I am very much looking forward to spending my 30th birthday there with my boyfriend.

How was your July?

A New Chapter

I can remember the day I decided to start a blog. I can also remember trying to come up with a cool name for my blog, and at the time RockandGlitter was it. I can’t remember how or why I decided to go with that name but it’s stuck with me ever since and I’ve rolled with it.

I think I’ve mentioned it before, but  during this year I have been changing the way I blog and make YouTube videos to allow everything to feel more like me.

I’m Alison, I’m nearly 30, I love Doctor Who, drinking Prosecco, I follow Slimming World and I like taking photos of anything and everything. That’s what I want my little space on the internet to be – just me, nothing fancy but something real and authentic. Somewhere I can be proud of.

So, this will be the last time you see me as RockandGlitter because next week I will become www.alisonthursby.co.uk – it’s my name, and I don’t think anything can be more me than my own name.

I hope to see you over there. Nothing will change over here really, just a name – all my previous content will be transferred. I have changed my social media and once everything’s changed I will post all my social media links. I will kind of miss RockandGlitter, it was my baby.

Here’s to nearly turning 30 and starting a new chapter.

A Few Days In The Lake District

A couple of weeks ago my boyfriend, parents and I (and Daisy, of course) went to the Lake District. We stayed for a few days and had such a lovely time before we headed up to Scotland so I thought I would share some of my photos with you all of our trip.

A Few Days In The Lake DistrictA Few Days In The Lake DistrictA Few Days In The Lake DistrictA Few Days In The Lake DistrictA Few Days In The Lake District

We were lucky enough to stay in a lovely cottage in Motherby which is roughly about 7 miles from junction 40 of  the M6. As you can see it had great views which we could look out on every evening from the living room. It also had lovely enclosed garden that Daisy enjoyed walking around and having a few sniffs. There was also a lovely pub nearby which we had a lovely meal at one evening.

A Few Days In The Lake District

This photo was from the first day we got there. We went to Glenridding which we’d been to on a previous visit and on the way back stopped by Ullswater and managed to capture this beautiful photo.

While we were visiting we were lucky enough to have some lovely weather which enabled us to go and visit some places we hadn’t seen in our last trip in 2014. Maryport was the first new place we went. It is a beautiful little town which was about 45 minutes away from our cottage (maybe longer if you take the wrong turning, oops!). It had a lovely harbour which we enjoyed a walk around even though it was a bit of a windy day when we went.

A Few Days In The Lake District

We also took a trip to Grasmere and went on a lovely walk around the village and by the lake itself. Unfortunately we didn’t get any gingerbread much to my Mum’s disappointment but maybe next time.

A Few Days In The Lake DistrictA Few Days In The Lake DistrictA Few Days In The Lake District

On our last full day we visited Caldbeck. Mum had read in the cottage guest book that there was a nice wool shop there so we thought we’d get a few hours there – turns out we got most of the day there. It was a really lovely village and we enjoyed a nice (sometimes steep) walk to see a waterfall.

A Few Days In The Lake District A Few Days In The Lake District A Few Days In The Lake District A Few Days In The Lake DistrictA Few Days In The Lake District

 We had such a nice few days in the Lake District and would definitely go back again.

June Round-Up

June felt like a very busy month and the theme of the month was celebrating birthdays. I spent the first weekend celebrating one of my best friends 30th birthday. A few of us went for a spa day at Bannatynes and I felt very relaxed by the end of my Swedish massage.

We also celebrated with a lovely BBQ at her house on her actual birthday – she couldn’t have had better weather, it was beautiful. I dug out one of my dresses I haven’t worn since 2014 which also resulted in me writing this post about noticing a difference in the mirror.

My boyfriend bought me the lovely Long Champ rucksack for achieving my two stone award at Slimming World which has came in handy ever since. I would never have thought at nearly turning 30 that I’d want a rucksack rather than a handbag. There was also a lot of strange, muggy weather in June so we took the fan out of the loft and used that overnight – bliss. I also ended the month by going on a shopping trip to Birmingham with one of my best friends, Kirsty and celebrated her birthday early. I love Birmingham – even more so with the new Grand Central. We managed to shop until we dropped and even catch a bit of football while we were out.

Other things I enjoyed in June:

Game of Thrones Season 6 – I think this was the best one yet, they really spoilt us. I loved it and can’t wait for Season 7.

Snapchat – Yes, I’m VERY late to this bandwagon but after one of my work colleagues explained it to me, I think I’ve finally got my head around it. My username is alisonthursby if you want to add me.

July seems to be flying by already, I think I’ll be in New York before I know it!

Slimming World Spicy Sausage Pasta Bake Slimming World Spicy Sausage Pasta Bake Slimming World Spicy Sausage Pasta Bake Slimming World Spicy Sausage Pasta Bake Slimming World Spicy Sausage Pasta Bake

On Slimming World it is so easy to make a delicious pasta bake that will keep you full for hours. I would say that I make a pasta bake a couple of times a week. I just love pasta that much! Who’s with me? They are great for making in bulk and even freezing if you wanted to. One of my favourites is my delicious tuna pasta bake.

Today I have a lovely pasta bake recipe for you all which is inspired by my lovely friend Hayley who always posts pictures of her yummy pasta bakes on Instagram. If you aren’t following her, you should be now. 

I’ll be honest and admit that for a long time I wasn’t keen on using syns for sausages as a lot of them are quite high in syn value. Then I heard about the Heck sausages which have been given a big thumbs up by everyone I know at Slimming World. I had been wanting to try them for a long time but my local Tesco only stocked a couple of them but I was finally able to buy them in Asda. I bought the Smoky Paprika Chicken and Zesty Chicken Chipolatas which are absolutely delicious. They are 0.5 syns for two and totally worth it as they add a lot of flavour to this delicious pasta bake.

INGREDIENTS
70g pasta per person
Sausages (I use Heck)
2 garlic cloves
1 red chilli
1 onion
1 stalk of celery
1 carrot
1 tsp Italian Herbs
Salt & Pepper
Passata
250ml Water
Chicken Oxo
Fresh Chopped Basil
Mixed Salad Peppers
Frylight
Tomato Puree
Mozzarella (I use half fat)
Basil

METHOD
Firstly, boil your pasta and cook your sausages and set aside.
Finely chop (or blend) your carrot, celery, onion and chilli.
In a pan fry your vegetables in frylight and add in some mixed salad peppers.
Once the vegetables are softened add in your Italian herbs, pinch of salt and black pepper, tbsp tomato purée, then add in a carton of passata, 250ml water and chicken oxo and some fresh chopped basil.
Let it simmer for around half an hour and once thickened to your liking add the pasta and chopped sausages and add to an oven proof dish, tear off your mozzarella and add on top.
Place in the oven on 200 for about 20 minutes or until golden.

prestige luxury flowers

I am the kind of person that will always love having a bunch of fresh flowers in my home – I remember once my best friend bought be a lovely white rose bouquet which I kept for ages because they are my favourite flower and it was so thoughtful of her. There’s also nothing nicer than walking into a room and seeing a lovely bunch of fresh flowers especially as they usually give off a lovely smell and brighten up the room.

Even though the majority of the flowers in my home are actually artificial wooden roses, I still think that there’s nothing better than receiving a lovely bunch of flowers which is why I will quite often choose to send some to my Mum as a gift.

Over the years I have used various companies to order flowers and gifts for my Mum and friends and have found that some are better than others. One of my favourite places to order from over the last year or so has been Prestige Flowers, so when they offered to send me one of the bouquets they offer I jumped at the chance because I have always been a paying customer and know that their customer service and delivery service has always been great in the couple of years I have been using them.

prestige luxury flowersprestige luxury flowers 

This time the service and flowers I received were no exception to my previous experiences and I was lucky enough to be sent the beautiful Grandeur Bouquet which is in the luxury flower range that they offer as a gift package. This lovely bouquet was sent to me using the next day flower delivery service that they offer which is great when you need to send a last minute gift which I have done in the past.

Onto the bouquet itself, the Grandeur Bouquet is absolutely stunning and not like one I have ever sent or received before. Within this bouquet is a fantastic arrangement of beautiful avalanche red roses (which also give off a fantastic small), sea holly and finished with some lovely  bright green foliage.

This bouquet also came with a lovely pink vase and some Finest Belgian chocolates so I would say that this is a great gift. As for how long the flowers last, I am happy to report that they are still going strong two weeks later. I am once again happy with the service and flowers received from Prestige Flowers and will continue to be a happy customer. 

Do you like giving flowers as a gift? If so, what are your favourite flowers?

This post was in collaboration with Prestige Flowers but all opinions are my own.

May Roundup I am a bit late in rounding up May, but you know what they say, better late than never, right? I spent the first bank holiday weekend in Scotland looking after my Mum and I booked a day of annual leave to extend my bank holiday. My Mum had an operation to remove one of her bunions and straighten her hammer toe so I went to help out, look after her and help around the house where I could. That weekend went by really quickly but it was nice to be able to go and help my Mum.

It was also Gaz’s 35th birthday in May and to celebrate we decided to have a day out in London which was a beautiful day, and then to extend the celebrations we also had a meal out in Turtle Bay which was delicious.

I also decided to buy some baskets from Tesco and make my bookcase look a little nicer as for a long time all you could see were the books Gaz has which are all about history and war. The end of April and the start of May were quite stressful and I found myself not loving my blog as much.

I took a step back and decided that I would like to change the way I blog and find myself again along with making videos as well. Sometimes you have to find your blogging mojo, right? I think I’ve got it back now. Thanks to a Twitter widget reminding me that some of my older blog posts were corrupt, I made the decision to change my blog a little I decided to do some much needed blog admin which I regretted after a week of having to go through over 300 posts and sort them out. I am thankful that exercise is finished now but it was worth it and left me feeling a lot better about my little space on the internet.

May Roundup Slimming World wise I got to my next goal of achieving my two stone award (more on that soon) and for getting that, Gaz bought me a Longchamp rucksack that I have wanted for ages. It’s quite a small rucksack but perfect for a day out. I also decided to change things up on the Slimming World front and change the fruit I’m eating to make sure they are all speed. It has definitely helped along the way. June has been great so far, although we’re almost half way through already.

How was your May?

L'Oreal Nude Magique Cushion FoundationI remember when I first saw the ‘tap tap’ advert for this foundation and I was curious because I’d never seen anything like it. I was kindly sent this to review from L’Oreal and to me, this base is a new revolution and is essentially liquid foundation pressed in a sponge. The idea is that you tap the foundation with the applicator sponge and tap it on to your face to build up coverage so that you can go from light to medium coverage, whatever your preference is really. As a side note, I have this foundation in the shade 01.

L'Oreal Nude Magique Cushion FoundationThe L’Oreal Cushion comes in a lovely compact perfect for taking on holiday with you. When you open the compact you can see where the sponge sits in straight away and then you open up the rest of the compact and that reveals the foundation along with a mirror.

L'Oreal Nude Magique Cushion Foundation L'Oreal Nude Magique Cushion FoundationAs you will be able to see from the photo below, the L’Oreal Cushion delivers a very natural looking coverage and is very skin like. After application I noticed that the tone of my skin is much more even. I am a big fan of the softly dewy finish my face has after applying this foundation and the best part is that you can easily build to the coverage you need so it would be suitable for all. Although you have a sponge which you can use for application I still tend to prefer taking my buffing brush and tapping it into the product and applying directly to my face.

L'Oreal Nude Magique Cushion FoundationOverall I was really impressed with this product, it’s perfect for your handbag or travel makeup. My only reservation is that there doesn’t seem to be a lot of product as it’s soaked up in the sponge. I can’t see that it will last as long as a regular bottle of foundation but only time will tell so I could be wrong.

All in all, I think it’s great and if you want light to medium coverage with a healthy glow finish, this is definitely one to try. The L’Oreal Nude Magique Cushion Foundation is available for £9.99 here.

This post contains a PR Sample or gifted item but all opinions are my own.

A Day In LondonIt’s been a couple of years since I’ve been to London, so when Gaz asked if we could go for a day out this year for his birthday I looked at the trains and jumped at the chance – hello £12 return!

We decided we’d make a day of it and thought that by booking a day out in May, we’d get good weather. So on Saturday we got up and were happy to see that the sun was shining and we jumped on a train at 7:48am and headed down to London. We arrived in Euston which has changed quite a bit since I was last there and then went straight to the underground and headed to Elephant & Castle so that we could go to the Imperial War Museum. I’d never been before but Gaz had when he was younger so he was really looking forward to it. It was really interesting to walk around and we spent quite a bit of time walking around looking at the galleries and exhibitions. They also had some planes and tanks on display which of course Gaz enjoyed looking at and reading about in more depth.

A Day In LondonOnce we had finished at the Imperial War Museum we decided to head to London Bridge and have a walk around as it was such a nice day. We were going to have a walk along the bridge to find somewhere for lunch but Gaz saw that the HMS Belfast was there and he asked if we could go on to have a look around, so we did. We had to pay £16 but it was well worth it, you could go all over the ship and take a look at all of the rooms which was fantastic – you could see the boiler room, the laundry, the butcher and potato store and so much more. We were able to go up to the decks, see the captain and admiral cabins and look out towards London Bridge for some great views – the photos really didn’t do it justice but it was well worth the money we spent visiting and I would definitely recommend going if you haven’t been already.

We then went for lunch at Cote Brasserie which wasn’t far away from the ship, and then headed to London Bridge itself which we walked over but couldn’t take too many photos as it was really busy with tourists walking over it with their selfie sticks. We then decided to take a walk on that side of the river and walk back over the bridge we originally walked over which was nice as it was such a lovely, sunny day.

Once we had our walk, we decided to head towards central London and went to the Covent Garden tube station where we walked up ALL OF THE STAIRS to get to the top. I must remember not go to that station, I always forget the ridiculous staircase. We spent our last couple of hours walking around Covent Garden, having a look in shops, having a drink in a cafe and enjoying the sunshine. Once we had finished it was time to head home and we arrived back to Coventry at 7:30pm so we’d been out for 12 hours in the end.

I had my FitBit on that day and as you can see, I did a lot of Body Magic.

A Day In London

We had a great day out and enjoyed a little bit of sight seeing we did and I’m looking forward to spending the weekend there later on this year with one of my best friends as we go away for a girls weekend.

Have you been to London? What do you like to do there?