If we were having coffee

what would I tell you?

Well firstly, I wouldn’t have coffee, I’d have a hot chocolate with four sugars and watch as your face turned to worry at the amount of sugar I was having in just one drink. (I have a serious sugar problem)

I would tell you about my brother, Alistair, I would tell you about the age difference of 17 years and how that changed me as a person before university even had a chance. I would tell you how much I love him and how he seriously is my little best friend no matter what, that watching him grow up and become such an amazing person is making me a better person too. How becoming a big sister so late on hasn’t in anyway stopped us from having a super tight connection and how I miss him an insane amount when I’m away at university.

I would tell you that I am incredibly proud to come from a single parent family with a hugely loving and supportive mother and that my main aim in life will always be to give her a comfortable life where she doesn’t need to work if she doesn’t want to. She is my rock and my best friend, she has helped me through so much and when I need someone to talk to she’s always there. I will always be a mamas girl and I will always need her in my life.

I would tell you that at 7 I had my life all planned out and honestly, nothing is going to plan at all. I planned to get into university- fair enough I got that done- I planned to save most my money and live off of the bare minimum- oh lord that has not happened- and I planned to go out with my huge group of female friends and have fancy lunches- I honestly have about eight female friends and I am always super busy so never see them (which they are all super understanding about). So yeah, nothing is going to plan.

I would tell you that this year will be my new start, I have started a new job, I will go into my final year of university, I move into a new flat, and I’m single. It’s my year for a fresh start and a focus on me and becoming the person I want to be. I’m excited for change in my life, having all these new opportunities welcoming me to a better person I know I can be. To make more time for my friends, family and myself will be the aim of this year and to genuinely enjoy myself in my final year of university despite all the stress I will undoubtedly face.

I would tell you that I am genuinely in a really good place right now, I am enjoying my work, I am- to some extent- enjoying university and that I am ready for whatever life has to throw at me. I’ve got an insanely supportive network of friends and family who at any sign of distress rally around me and never let me give up. I am extremely thankful to all of the people I have in my life for making me the woman I am today and never allowing me to forget that.

I would tell you I am a feminist, and no mansplainer is going to stop me from that. I have always had strong women around me and always looked up to strong women, all the women I know have strong feminist beliefs and for good reason- they need them. I am super proud of everything the women I know- and the women I don’t know- have accomplished and I genuinely believe it is far better to build other women up than to try to break them down. Since going to university it has become part of who I am more than ever and I am a very proud feminist, not just to help women where I live but to help them in other countries and cultures also. I always try to teach myself more about other cultures and any way in which I can become not only a better feminist but a better person through education I will take openly.

(Thought I’d add one of my favourite jokes in here)

Where do mansplainers get all of their water from?– A well, actually.

(That is literally as far as my comedic genius can reach- you are very welcome)

I would tell you that I laugh at my own jokes a hell of a lot more than anyone else does, but at least I make myself happy?

I would tell you that I love all things creative, whether its art in an art gallery, a song with beautiful lyrics or makeup on someone, I love to enjoy creativity. I love learning about art and music and new ways of creativity and I always find myself marvelling at the sheer talent and hard work within each and every thing a creative person does. Sadly I am not very creative but I adore putting makeup on myself or anyone who will allow me to. This passion for creativity possibly stems from not having much myself but I am so impressed with anyone who does.

I would tell you I’m allergic to coconut and its the most heartbreaking thing ever because I bloody love bounty bars. I remember at school me and my gran used to make these little chocolate covered coconut balls with like caramel and stuff in them and we would sell them at the school fetes and make so much money- we used to always sell out. But my gran would always make like 20 extra little coconut balls so that when we came home I would eat them all to myself and maybe let my mum and gran have some too. Also being allergic to coconut means that whenever anyone is like ‘ooohh if you want your hair shiny you should use coconut oil’ ‘if you want soft skin use coconut oil’ ‘you know its healthier to cook with coconut oil’ I get to reply with ‘well I wish I could but it would probably make me really ill, but thanks for the advice.’ I’ve totally missed out on the coconut craze and its pretty upsetting if I’m honest.

I would tell you that I am a huge movie geek and that I love the cult classics alongside anything Disney, anything gory and anything that is a psychological thriller. My favourite thing to do is go to the cinema and go and see an amazing film with a little tango ice blast to enjoy.

I would tell you that I am a huge Manchester City fan and that football is literally such a huge part of me, that I am a lover of sports in general with formula 1 and football and rugby all playing a huge role in who I am and how I grew up. I have also got extremely strong moral and political views which I will not change or budge with and are integral to my life and how I see myself, I am extremely opinionated but I do not see that as a bad thing or something to be ashamed of.

I would probably also ask a lot about you, what do you like, what do you dislike, do you have hobbies, whats your family like, do you enjoy your job and what are your aspirations for the future. Spending time with someone you are truly interested in talking to is extremely important for me as it creates a better dialogue for learning from one another, I can hand on heart say that most of the people I have encountered and all of my friends currently teach me something any time I am with them. Whether that be strength, compassion or something I needed to change about myself I am thoroughly inspired by the people around me.

Thank you to Lucie  for tagging me in this and forcing me to get back to blogging again, you are an amazing friend, mentor and a huge inspiration of mine, you are just a phenomenal person to know. Thank you also to Emily for being such an honest and open person, you have both taught me so much since I’ve known you. Thank you to Katie who has a hot as hell blog and is such a fashionista, I love your creativity and your drive as a person. Thank you to Jade who is my future flatmate for putting up with me and being such an amazing friend, I tag you in this to do it next.

Thank you to my current flatmates and close friends, Lisa and William for putting up with me for two years and dealing with my antics, thank you to my mum and my family for making me who I am today, I can only look to you for guidance and love and I am so lucky to have you in my life.

What would you tell me if you were having coffee? Let me get to know you too.

(Late) Back to School Giveaway

The best part of going to university is the stationary shop and being closer to a Nando’s for me. I imagine this is similar for most students across the United Kingdom as it is such a therapeutic experience to get rid of all your old jotters that are filled with (now unnecessary) notes from your previous year at university.

Another thing I love is choosing my diary for the next year too, I love big, bright diaries that pop in your bag and are easy to find. I have decided to pick 5 items that I think are extremely necessary for the next year at university to giveaway; a big bright pink and blue 18 month planner, three jotters with cute messages, a weekly planner set to help plan your life around your university schedule, a set of sticky notes with ‘whatever’ for the annoying flatmates you might have and a set of coloured pens to brighten up your study notes.

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I am also giving away a £30 Nando’s card to another winner to help you enjoy a meal or two on me, which always helps with the money spent too! I love Nando’s and get the same thing every single time but I do find it so addictive and I love that it is still healthy too so you don’t get the guilty feeling after. As a current third year I know how difficult it can be to stay healthy-ish when away from home because it is so much effort to make food for just yourself so it is handy that you can order Nando’s from the app and go pick it up, even better when its free!

If you click here you can head over to the giveaway with plenty of opportunity to enter with this competition. The terms and conditions are as follows;

Entrants must be 16 or over and from the United Kingdom
There is no entry fee and no purchase necessary to enter this competition.
No responsibility can be accepted for entries not received for whatever reason.
Closing date for entry will be 21/10/2016. After this date the no further entries to the competition will be permitted.
Winners will be chosen: at random by myself
The winner will be notified by email within 28 days of the closing date. If the winner cannot be contacted or do not claim the prize within 14 days of notification, we reserve the right to withdraw the prize from the winner and pick a replacement winner.
By entering this competition, an entrant is indicating his/her agreement to be bound by these terms and conditions.
Entry into the competition will be deemed as acceptance of these terms and conditions.
This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Twitter or any other Social Network or company.

If there are anymore questions feel free to contact me at sophiamiddleton@live.com

Good luck to everyone!

The Edinburgh Fringe… Done Wrong

Sitting in a luggage rack in first class is not as glamorous as people might have you believe. Getting odd looks from each person getting on the train became almost a badge of uncomfortable honour. However, I was off to see Lucie (from Tetris and Cheesecakes) so from the moment I had woken up I knew my day wouldn’t be a dull one.

Getting to Edinburgh I somehow always get a little lost at the train station, so luckily Lucie agreed to meet me right outside my train gates. Finding her is always easy with how bright her hair is, this time blue, last time pink. My day went from odd to odder the moment I found Lucie.

Walking out of the train station and into Edinburgh it was obvious the fringe was in full swing with packed streets and flyers being thrust my way from every angle. As someone who isn’t really a fan of big crowds we both decided that lunch was the next job of the day. Walking backstreets to avoid the hustle and bustle was an absolute must, however my guide was somewhat useless with directions and almost was ran over a fair few times.

Heading through the backstreets, I spotted Space N.K and begged Lucie to go in which she happily obliged and watching Lucie walk around, known by the manager on a personal level, and pick up and buy each and every pink lipstick she could find and some amazing coloured eyeliner. I found myself falling in love with a beautiful gold eyeshadow from NARS’ new line this summer and a Laura Mercier Pink Highlight/Illuminator. I had decided to leave both however Lucie (being the best person ever) bought me the eyeshadow as part of her bundle and talked me into the highlight-which I will do a makeup look and review on soon.

Finally we made it to Badger & Co. and I must say I was extremely pleased with our lunch, getting the worlds cutest cocktails, and some gorgeous food I was content with my fringe experience- having not actually seen anything yet.

We chose to head over to udderbelly to find something worth seeing, however nothing in udderbelly intrigued us enough, we soon found a free event close-by however almost got lost thanks to Lucie again headed to Quiz In My Pants. This was a comedy panel show with different comedians each night and a cute as a button host.

All of a sudden the host tells us that they were looking for audience participation and everyone sighs however a young man called Tom was picked and myself and Lucie took a sigh of relief. With each comedian having their own obvious style and being given a space of time to show this was enjoyable, Dan Simpson a poet comedian, Katharine Ferns with her quick witted Canadian comedy and Robin Boot a musical comedian who brought some hilarious pun comedy and dirty jokes. It was a friendly and enjoyable atmosphere with audience participation making it that bit more fun and with the audience winning in the end it kept my competitive side happy too.

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The day was warm, fun and enjoyable, having only seen one fringe event I felt a little annoyed at myself however I was incredibly happy with the one I did see. I would honestly recommend anyone to go see it as it is free and I’m sure it is different every night with the constant changes to the line-up.

I enjoyed my day in Edinburgh so much, however, see the fringe in the best possible way, I did not. I tried my best but catching up with friends and having a slow and fun day out on a day off, I didn’t put pressure on myself to see everything, however I will hopefully catch more of it next year and make a few days of it.

Have you ever been to the fringe? Do you plan to go to the fringe in the future?

Flamingosaurus Rex Grand Opening

I feel bad that this has taken so long to write up but a few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be invited to an amazing grand opening at Flamingosaurus Rex. The beautiful and talented Lucie from Tetris and Cheesecakes created this wonderful store full of art and amazing one off clothing pieces. It is a haven for art lovers and fashionistas alike and the people who work in the shop are honestly the nicest and sweetest people you’ll ever meet.

Going to this event I was so nervous as this was my first opening event I had ever been to with other bloggers and businesses/creators. I was scared I would not fit in or that I would feel unprofessional as I am relatively new to the blogging world.

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Everyone was so nice and sweet to me, with adorable free miniature cupcakes and Prosecco available whenever it was definitely a fun and tasty night. With live music and DJ-ing it was a night of the arts coming together and meeting as one. Meeting one half of the clothing brand that I had modelled for earlier this month was amazing, being told I looked exactly how she had imagined and that she liked the way the pictures came out was so nice to hear, she was honestly a sweetheart and meeting the creator made me want to buy the clothes so much more! Next time I have money I will be back in Edinburgh to clear the walls of the beautiful art on the store walls.

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I had an amazing night and I would genuinely advise everyone to go to this gorgeous shop, if not to buy the art, then just to appreciate it and meet some friendly and kind people. Thank you to Lucie again for inviting me and I will be up as soon as I possibly can to buy all her stock.

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Beefeater Stirling Review

I have never been to the Beefeater in Stirling before, in fact I’ve never been in a Beefeater in my life, but recently I was given the opportunity to go to the one in Stirling and have a try of its new menu. They have revamped the menu and added starters such as duck wings and a salt beef board to the starters, everyones favourites of surf and turf and added more burger and steak options to their mains and added more pudding options to delight everyones sweet tooth.

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I was really worried to begin with that because I’m not a massive meat eater that I wouldn’t find anything there that I liked, and I can be really picky at times, but the options on the menu were amazing and I ended up having a really lovely dinner. Another thing that worried me a little was that as my boyfriend has Coeliac Disease he can’t have gluten, and I had noticed that on the menu there wasn’t any dietary information other than what was Vegan or Vegetarian. This is something I am noticing more as a partner to someone who has dietary requirements, there often isn’t much help on the menu and therefore you have to ask. They were extremely accommodating at the Beefeater Stirling and I was truly impressed with the amount on offer that was gluten free, however I wished I could’ve seen on the menu instead of having to ask the waitress.

Despite that small problem, we had a wonderful date night and all the staff were so nice to us throughout our time there. The food portions were really big and we were both so shocked by the size for how cheap the dishes were. We also found the drinks were really good prices as some restaurants can put their prices up because theres nowhere else to get your drinks from, but we both chose to have a drink as we got a taxi there. I got Rekordelig Wild Berries and Jordan got a Magners. DSCF1263

To start we got 8 crispy chicken wings with BBQ sauce, both Jordan and I were so glad that the batter on the chicken was gluten free and we were both pretty much addicted to these, we even thought about ordering more but chose to opt for a main course instead. The batter was actually really nice and light, little to no grease was on them as well however the waitress did offer little lemon pocket wipes incase we made a mess. They were really warm when they got to the table and they went so well with the BBQ sauce, there was an option of piri piri sauce as well. DSCF1268

For mains I got the Smothered Chicken and Jordan went for the 10oz Steak medium/rare, I have never had steak before however I am not a fan of beef or anything too meaty (I know it sounds so stupid) but I did try some of Jordan’s steak but my mind was not changed. My Smothered Chicken was chicken with bacon on top and BBQ sauce and melted cheese which was to die for, it is something I order (or something similar) usually and it is a favourite of mine and this did not disappoint. It was cooked to perfection with a side of chunky or skinny chips and coleslaw and salad. DSCF1270

Jordan’s steak was actually much bigger than I expected too, it came with a side of chips of your choice and mushroom and tomato which Jordan must’ve enjoyed because he left a clean plate at the end of it. He said it was cooked perfectly and that it was a really nice meal and great quality for money. DSCF1272

As it was our first date night in ages since Jordan works away we decided to go for a pudding as we felt we deserved it. This was the one area which kind of upset us on the gluten free front with pretty much nothing being gluten free or having gluten free options, Jordan went for the Rocky Road sundae but had to not have the brownie bites or wafer in it which upset me a little as we were almost getting half the actual pudding. I went for the melt in the middle chocolate cake and ended up eating it before remembering I should’ve taken a picture for the blog (oops) but it was gorgeous with a rich oozing centre of molten chocolate. DSCF1279

All in all it was a good night and we ended up going for drinks after however I do wish they had more dietary information on the menu and had more options for those who are gluten free, but that might just be because it affects me more now. Thank you to everyone at the Beefeater Stirling we had a great time and will no doubt be back to have more meals now I know how nice it is there.

They were nice enough to offer my followers and readers 25% off your next visit with my code: 588113001 this code is only valid for a short time so get down to the Beefeater Stirling soon.

My guilty pleasures

I have so many guilty pleasures its quite worrying, when trying to think of a main one I just couldn’t so I cut it down to the main ones and categorised them. I have TV and film, clothes, makeup and food as my main categories. I would have put music in but that would have just been my entire playlist on my iPhone.

TV and film 

I adore masterchef and celebrity masterchef and masterchef the professionals and masterchef from different countries, I have always watched it with my mum ever since I can remember. I hope this is something the whole of Britain does, because me and my flatmates religiously watch it together- but that could be us being weird. I love that I can sit with my chicken nuggets and sit and slate a meal that I would happily pay top money for in a restaurant. Its so fun to choose a favourite and usually once a series is over I promise myself that I will start to eat better and healthier by cooking from scratch, but I’m too lazy.

My film guilty pleasure has got to be Fight Club or Pulp Fiction, on our first date I made Jordan watch Pulp Fiction and forced him to listen to me recite Samuel L. Jackson’s ‘say what again’ speech- I’m guessing thats why I’m his girlfriend now, he seemed extremely impressed. Fight Club has always been one of my favourites-much to my mums dismay- and I love the plot, the way its shot and amazing characters, not to mention the star studded cast.

Clothes 

Just ask anyone in my life they will tell you that my (pretty obvious) guilty pleasure clothing wise is my ‘just do it’ Nike leggings-which I am wearing while writing this! These are both comfy and cute which is like my go-to look ‘comfy chic’ I don’t honestly know why but I feel like they make me look slimmer and I feel so confident in them. They are just my favourite things to wear, but I think my friends and family are sick of them.

Makeup

This is something everyone no doubt already knows as well but Heroine by Mac, a bright purple lipstick, is something that I love wearing at any possible opportunity. It doesn’t go with anything at all really but it does really give a hardcore edge to my otherwise pretty boring look. I enjoy using it so much and think that it is so pretty but I haven’t worn it in ages and that upsets me quite a lot.

Food

Raspberry sorbet is the most delicious and refreshing thing to eat ever, it is so sweet and I love raspberry anything so it is a winner for me. The Sainsbury’s raspberry sorbet is the best by far although Aldi is a close second. It is pretty expensive but it is so good, it is so amazing because it is so summery and with it being bright pink it makes me feel all girly and cute.

These are my guilty pleasures, which I love and am a little bit addicted to. What would you say your guilty pleasures be?

Nando’s new menu

As a lover of good food, it is no wonder I am a big fan of Nando’s. With their current popularity hitting the right notes with all ages, but this company does not plan on being the same old thing every time you walk through the door. With menu changes twice a year to fit the seasons and their ever growing fan base they are making real positive movements with their approach to food.

With just six days until their new menu is available in stores across the UK, Nando’s Stirling were kind enough to invite myself and Katie from littlekaatie.com to go down and try their new menu and get some feedback. The feedback was all good.

The Fino platter is amazing for all of those who care about their health but still enjoy eating out in restaurants. With The Peak Gym just around the corner it is perfect for just after a work out session with a whole chicken with your choice of spice on it, and five amazingly healthy sides. The chicken was- as always- gorgeous but the sides really stole the show, with sweet potato wedges, sweetcorn with a spicy butter, coleslaw, roasted vegetables in a tomato sauce and super beans in an avocado and butter milk dressing all this for £23.95.

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I am a huge fan of sweet potato and the crisp outsides with fluffy and tasty insides was the perfect accompaniment to the hot chicken, the spicy butter on the corn on the cob was such a great twist on a loved classic. I love coleslaw and this is the healthiest tasting coleslaw I’ve ever had, it was very salad like with the veg only slightly dressed. The roasted vegetable in tomato sauce was so rich and sweet with onions and peppers and tomato all roasted together to make a roasted salad. The super beans with avocado and butter milk dressing are super healthy with great protein and fibre in them with the added taste of avocado which has become a huge favourite with those in their 20’s.

To go with this amazing meal was a gorgeous summer spritzer’s, that cost only £9.95 for a pitcher, which we got to sample rosé wine with sprite, mint, lemon and frozen raspberries- which act as ice cubes- and white wine with sprite, mint, lemon and frozen lime. I honestly loved the rosé spritzer and it totally went well with the summery menu change too. I wish they sold these in bottles so I could sit and drink this in the sun in my garden.

Once you have eaten your way through a whole chicken and gotten a little tipsy on the wine spritzer the new puddings are waiting to fill that little gap you have left and sober you up a bit. There are two new brownies being launched, chocolate and chilli and salted caramel, both very individual in taste, the chocolate and chilli one gives a gooey chocolate-y taste with a chilli kick after a few bites, whereas the salted caramel has a rich gooey taste with a sweet topping of salted caramel sauce was my favourite out of the two. Each brownie costs only £2.45 which I will definitely be getting at least two each time!

They are also bringing out their first ice cream which is honestly to die for, if you don’t like chicken, I beg you to go to Nando’s just for their vanilla ice cream. It is so smooth and rich with a delicious vanilla taste that puts any other vanilla ice cream I’ve had to shame. They have also bought out a new coconut gelato however due to me being allergic to it I couldn’t try it despite being desperate to- near death doesn’t look too good on me really.

A huge thank you to Nando’s Stirling again for having us and letting us try their delicious new menu, which I’m sure will be a huge hit as it is such good value for money. This new menu will be in stores across the UK on the 17th of May, so get your friends and get down to Nando’s to try the new menu as soon as you can.