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FITNESS | Tracking my fitness

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After running the London Marathon earlier in the year, I have felt like I have struggled to track my fitness goals as I no longer have that 26 mile running goal.  I obviously know that there are plenty of fitness trackers out there, but what is the best one and why?

Finding inspiration to stay on top of a fitness routine can be much easier with a tracking device. Something constantly counting your steps and daily activities. But with so many options available, it is often difficult to determine which ones are worth the investment. Complicated, feature-loaded fitness trackers are clearly not the best option for everyone. And the more technical a device is, the more it’s going to cost you. And let’s be honest, not everyone needs to track their position by satellite, either.

So here are the three basic types of fitness trackers to look for: Continue reading

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IBIZA | Blue Marlin, Cafe Mambo + Playa d’Bossa

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OOHHH WE’RE GOING TO IBIZAAA, OHHH WE GOING TO HAVE A PARTY.

Earlier in the month, we headed over to Ibiza for a week to enjoy the sunshine, parties, beaches and nice dinner.

Watch my new Vlog which I have just put on my YouTube channel, make sure you subscribe to my channel!!

Enjoy! xo

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GLASTONBURY | THE BEST FESTIVAL IN THE WORLD

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SUNSHINE | MUSIC | DANCING

I went to one of the biggest and best festivals in the world over the weekend, despite the typical English weather we enjoyed the festival in what has been the best weather in over 10 years – sunshine, spots of rain and a few clouds.

For those of you who haven’t heard or been to the festival themselves, here is a short video about our time over the weekend.

London | Benihana Kings Road, Teppanyaki Restaurant Review

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For all of you who may of already had the pleasure of going to a Teppanyaki restaurant, you will know how awesome they are.

However, for those of you who are unsure about what a Teppanyaki restaurant is, the definition is as follows:

A Japanese restaurant which serves meat, fish and vegetables on a hot steele plate in the middle of the table.  The name Teppanyaki apparently derives from the Japanese language where Teppan, is an iron plate, and Yaki, means to be grilled…. makes sense.

Depending on what restaurant you go to, normally, it is served by a chef who will do all sorts of cooking tricks, such as; juggling all sorts of kitchen utensils, some awesome food flipping skills, setting food to fire and if you are lucky you can try the food flipping into your mouth and just try to catch it in your mouth (beware though it is usually boiling hot!).

These restaurants are great fun and perfect for meeting up with friends + family and even going on a date (just watch out not really a budget option for a date).

Benihana…. I am sure that you would of heard of this international chain of Teppanyaki restaurants, who are based in LA, China, Australia and of course London.  They have had featured in the very famous movie Wolf of Wall Street, and I am sure many many more, and are worth a visit if you have the time to go one night.

There are now three awesome Benihana restaurants in London and are located in Chelsea, Soho and The City.  Definitely worth visiting with your friends for an entertaining Friday night out, I would definitely advise booking at least a week in advance to make sure that you get a table.

Watch the video below to check out some Teppanyaki cooking!

B E N I H A N A!!!!

Make sure you follow my blog for more reviews coming soon 🙂

Happy Friday!!

XO

Travel | London To Sydney for a week

So I can hear what you are saying…. London to Sydney for a week, are you Crazy??

Maybe a little crazy.

However, Sam and I headed back over to the sunny and wonderful Sydney for a week to celebrate his brothers 30th Birthday. Lucky Brother!

It was definitely extremely tiring, and we suffered a little from jet lag, however, it was definitely worth the 25 hours each way on the plane to head out for some winter sun.

Here are a few pictures from our trip.

Don’t forget to follow my blog for new posts coming soon 🙂

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An Honest Album Review | Ed Sheeran ‘Divide’

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So I’m not sure whether you’ve heard of a young man who goes by the name of Ed Sheeran. In case you weren’t aware he released an album a couple of weeks ago – Divide, ringing any bells? You might have heard of him if you listen to the Official Charts – in fact, you would have heard 16 of his tracks if you had tuned into the Top 40 last Friday. Sarcasm aside, after a year out, Ed Sheeran has absolutely nailed his comeback. Divide sold more than 500,000 copies in its first week which is more than any other artist has done since Adele’s 25 which was released in November 2015. The boy is smashing it.

Now, let me start by stating – I do not hate this album. I think it’s a fantastic pop album and if this was the first time I had heard of Sheeran, I would be all over it. But for me, this albums fallen flat slightly. I’ve been a firm follower of Sheeran since I heard Songs I Wrote With Amy in 2010. At this point there was a lack of male pop artists and when this guy appeared with a guitar in hand, uttering lyrics that we could all relate to alongside fantastic chord progressions I was so excited. Sheeran started a trend, and now because we have been introduced to many similar sounding artists who have upped the ante, I feel like Divide is lost in a sea of acoustic singer songwriters who use their music as an extended love letter to their partners. This is not a bad thing, however, I just didn’t get the same feeling as I did whilst listening to his previous albums. When was released, I would have it on repeat for days, and every single song had a different quirk within it that differentiated it from all the others. I wouldn’t say that was the case with Divide.

I’ll start with the tracks I love. ‘Shape of You’ was the ‘holy crap Ed’s back!’ track we needed to kick start 2017. It’s one of those songs that as soon as I heard it I couldn’t wait to be on a dance floor boogying along to it, wine in hand, at high volume. Originally written for Rihanna, this song got me pumped for the album, I thought Ed was going to completely change the game. Another track I love is ‘Bibia Be Ye Ye.’ When I first heard this track, it reminded me of when  Vampire Weekend emerged back in 2008, it felt very nostalgic. ‘Barcelona’ as well is a fantastic song that reminds us that Summer isn’t far away. It’s another track that reminds me of why I like Ed Sheeran so much. I must also mention ‘New Man’ – it’s almost like the ‘Don’t’ (X) of Divide, where Ed just explicitly says what everyone’s thinking about a certain ‘type’ of person we all know.

Now moving on to some of the tracks I thought could have been left behind. ‘Castle on the Hill’ sounds like a U2 track, yes everyone will sing along but will you get that buzz when it comes on the radio? Probably not. It’s almost as if Ed released ‘Shape of You’ and ‘Castle on the Hill’ at the same time to try and cover both Radio 1 and Radio 2 demographics. It’s just a bit bland. ‘How Would You Feel (Paean)’ was added to the album presumably due the success of ‘Thinking Out Loud’, it’s got a very similar formula in which he pours his heart out putting him on this pedestal. Then what happens is you’ll find that a lot of his younger followers will want an Ed Sheeran as their partners, someone that says exactly what they want to hear. Other tracks I feel could be left behind are ‘What Do I Know?’ and ‘Supermarket Flowers.’

As you can see there’s a definite distinction between the songs from Divide I loved and the songs I thought were a bit meh. I really think Ed could have taken this album in a new and exciting direction, but instead he played it safe, with tracks replicating his previous successes. Again, as I said, I don’t hate this album I just don’t love this album. It deserves to be a success because you can tell a lot of hard work has gone into it, but in my opinion Ed has slightly missed the mark with this one.

TTFN

x

Marathon Training Update 2017 – 40 days to go

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London Marathon Training

Good morning guys, hope that we are starting to get into the swing of the slightly warmer weather that has hit London, and enjoying that it is actually light when you have to leave for work in the morning.

I am certainly enjoying it and it is all in good timing for the serious marathon training to begin….

40 days to go until the London Marathon…. dun dun dun

So for all you runners that will be joining me on the painful 26.2 mile run on Sunday, 23rd April, it is that time to take training seriously, forget about drinking with your friends and hit the roads for some long runs.

To be completely honest, I have only started pushing the 15k mark and going onto half marathon distances…. but I think I will be alright?? Tell me it is going to be OK….

Alongside giving up drinking, here are a few tips for healthy food that long distance runners should be eating to help those muscles and recovery periods:

1. Wild Salmon – a great source of omega 3

2. Bananas, of course – high energy foods

3. Skim Milk – full of fast-acting carbohydrates which is most ideal post exercise ‘food’ for muscle recovery (I tend to have oat milk instead,  which is also good!)

4. Oatmeal (porridge) – this is an ideal meal to have as a breakfast or a couple of hours before a run, it is full off carbs and will keep you going for a long time!!

5. Drink lots of Green Tea – apparently this is the chosen drink for runners as it is full of antioxidants

Anyway if you are running the London Marathon, please comment on this blog and let me know how you are getting on, and please help me raise money for my Charity Mind, who are raising money for Mental Health diseases, link below:

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/EvangelineBarnes

Let me know if you have any questions about the above.

Happy running!!

xo

Make sure you follow my blog for running posts coming soon.

Album Review | Rag’n’Bone Man ‘Human’

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Hello again!

So it’s been just over a week since the Brit Awards 2017, and I must say I was slightly disappointed with the lack of ‘pizzazz’ this year. The ‘most anticipated’ performance of the night was a dreadful collaboration between Coldplay and Chainsmokers at which point I think everyone sort of went ‘eh?’ The whole show just a bit…boring (which is why I think the awards season Gods were looking down and thinking ‘let’s shake this up a bit’…cue The Oscars and ENVELOPEGATE)

Anyway, besides a bit of a bland Brit Awards, one man who fared very well picking up both Critics’ Choice and Breakthrough Artist was Rory Graham aka Rag’n’Bone Man. The much anticipated album Human was released at the start of February. Now, this album is definitely carried by the vocals, Graham’s rugged bluesy tones are what’s excited critics across the UK and’Die Easy’ – an a capella track proves this. The track doesn’t seem out of place on the album and it wasn’t really until I picked up my laptop to write this piece that I realised that I couldn’t pin point any of the instrumentals on the album – and that is not a bad thing! It just reinforces how fantastic Graham’s vocals are.

When I first heard title track ‘Human’ I was so excited by the moodiness that it exudes. The way the lyrics are delivered are full of angst – the bridge to chorus reflects the calm before the storm. Lyrics “don’t put your blame on me” are almost murmured before launching into the powerful chorus fuelled by exasperation.

As soon as I listened to this album I was reminded of James Bay and Jack Garratt – two artists that won the Brits Critcs’ Choice award in 2015 and 2016. When I heard Graham’s track ‘Arrow’, I immediately paired it with Bay’s ‘Craving.’ So obviously solo males led by vocals are whats ticking the boxes at the minute.

To sum up, this album is great, it’s inspired by so many genres, blues, hip hop, garage – Grahams’ vocals are powerful yet not strained. He’s effortlessly cool and this is reflected in every track on the album.

TTFN x

Album Review | Aquilo ‘Silhouettes’

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Hello all and a very warm welcome to the first album review of the year! As Evie has already mentioned, we’ll be keeping tabs on all things that the UK music scene has to offer, ranging from album/EP reviews to gig/festival round ups.

So without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to an album created by pop soul duo Aquilo – the pairing of Lake District born Tom Higham and Ben Fletcher. Their debut album Silhouettes was released at the end of January and is the ultimate ‘grab a blanket and a cuppa on a Sunday morning’ album. Although quite melancholic, this album holds it’s own all the way through, each track differing from the one before meaning I’m less likely to skip through it…the signs of a great album! The vocals are what really carries this album,  they are so soothing and gorgeous paired with the piano and string crescendos layered throughout. The title track (and opening track) of the album ‘Silhouette’ is utterly beautiful and provokes so much emotion (even to the point that I had to fight back a tear when listening to this for the first time on my journey home from work.) With lyrics so personal and talks of love/relationships/loss it’s very easy for people to relate to this album. Aquilo are incredible at story telling and they also have the fantastic skill of being able to ‘set the tone’ within the first couple of bars of a track.

Although many tracks from Silhouettes are mellow and piano driven, tracks such as ‘Never Hurt Again’ and ‘Always Done What You Say’ introduce a more upbeat sound without straying from the albums overall tone. Overall, this album is incredibly diverse, Aquilo clearly have a great knowledge of music and aren’t afraid to stray away from traditional pop. This album is so comforting, especially on these cold wintery days. If you like artists such as Oh Wonder, London Grammar or Amber Run then Aquilo will be sure to satisfy your ears this month.

Aquilo’s album Silhouettes is out now.

Thanks for reading the first album review on the blog, 2017 is looking to be a fantastic year for music so keep your eyes (and ears!) peeled.

TTFN x