Friday, 27 January 2017

Life Lately; A Little Life Update

I just wanted to make a little post so that my readers are aware of what's been going on with me lately, and why I might not be quite as active as I usually am.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

A Review of Ginger & Mint Juice Bar and Health Food Cafe

I have wanted a juice bar nearby for a really long time. Every time I see a new store opening that looks about the right size, I desperately hoped it would end up being a juice bar. I know they're normally really over priced, and I know that I own my own damn juicer, but yet I still had a need that would just not be filled!

Enter Ginger & Mint, a store that I have very quickly become a regular at. They have an absolutely massive juice menu, and I wouldn't consider them to be overpriced although of course it IS still cheaper to buy your own fruit and make your own drinks. The variety of juices is really good though - plenty of healthy green options although I have not yet touched them as I am much more a fan of the fruity juices and smoothies, particularly anything with berries in and those with a burst of kiwi.

They also have milkshakes, although I haven't tried those yet. There is one with peanut butter in that I'm really eyeing up, but it hasn't quite the right time to go for that one yet!

The food there is also pretty great - although so far I've only tried the wraps. I am slowly making my way through the wraps, particularly anything that has avocado in it. They use really high quality ingredients and a good combination of flavours that make them honestly the best wraps I've ever had. They have hot food there too that look good, although I haven't tried them yet because I keep craving all the avocado goodness.

There's plenty of items you can buy too - Most of it IS pretty expensive as you'd expect although some products such as pasta sauce is actually a really good price.

Take a look at the website to see if there's one near you!

Monday, 23 January 2017

A Mini Trip to Berlin - Part Two; Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp

Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp; Arbeit Macht Frei
When we first decided to go to Berlin, the original idea was so that Chris could go to a whole variety of different Christmas markets. Unfortunately for him, they don't actually hold my attention for all that long, and as we were both interested in the historical side of things we decided to take a trip to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, just a short train journey away from the city centre.

Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp; Educational information
 Until we started planning our trip, Sachsenhausen wasn't a camp that I had heard of before. I was therefore surprised to hear about what an important camp it had been to the Nazis, and indeed, what an absolutely massive complex it was.

  It was the first time either of us had visited a concentration camp, and we weren't really sure what to expect. We used the services of a guide whilst there, who told us interesting stories about events that had occurred throughout and about some of the famous people who had stayed there.

Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp entrance

Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp

Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp barbed wire fence
 The wires that kept the prisoners inside - although really, the chances of anyone actually getting to those fences was unlikely, due to the fact that the moment you stepped onto the darker patch you would be shot by someone within a guard tower.

Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp cabin
 Some of the structures contained original pieces from the camps, allowing you an insight into how it would have been to live there. These were the parts that were particularly interesting to me, as seeing something in person is always much more poignant than seeing it in photos. Additionally, some of the structures acted as museums which seemed very well laid out and interesting - we unfortunately did not have enough time to fully look through everything, but if you had planned more of a day here then they definitely seemed worth a read.

Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp bathroom
 The toilets that would have been used by the prisoners.

Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp bed

Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp wall and guard tower

 I do not think I can mention enough how absolutely freezing this place was. It was awful. I was wearing thermals, multiple layers, the hood from my jumper, a wooly hat and the hood from my coat over the top of that and I was still frozen solid - towards the end it was really pushing it for us and as interested as we were we wanted to just go and sit in a boiling hot bath until we felt human again! Despite how unpleasant it was, we concluded that we wouldn't really want to visit the camp under any other circumstances - I had heard from people who had visited Auschwitz on pleasant days that they felt uncomfortable with the experience as it didn't feel to them like a place with such an awful history should still have sunny days, blooming flowers and singing birds. It also made the experience much more real for us - if we were that cold with so many layers on and the ability to eat as much food as we wanted, how horrendous must it have been for the prisoners?

Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp torture poles
 Three posts that had been used for torture purposes. It was described to us how a prisoner would have their hands handcuffed behind their back and then be hung from these posts, which is just such a horrible image that I still cringe thinking about it.

Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp guard tower

Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp
 In all cases, these pebbled blocks represent where a building once stood.

Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp

Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp kitchen building

Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp kitchen
 The inside of what would once have been the kitchen.

Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp kitchen

Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp

Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp

Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp victims

Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp Station Z
 Of course, the most infamous area of the camp - Station Z, a small gas chamber and an execution room. The idea when entering this area was that the prisoners would have absolutely no idea what was going to happen to them, and that they would be under the impression that they were in the station in order to have a medical examination. Prisoners would enter part of the area and strip, before going into a doctor's room where they would be examined with notes made if they had any gold teeth or fillings. They would then enter a different room and stand against a measuring rod as if to have their height recorded - however, the room next to this one contained an SS officer who would take this opportunity to shoot the prisoner in the neck through a hole in the wall.

Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp execution room

Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp memorial
 A memorial to those that died in the camp.

Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp medical room
The final area we looked at was a medical ward - more famously known for it's human experimentation. This is one of the rooms that I really regretted not being able to spend more time in. It was our last stop so we were in a bit of a rush, but this is actually the part that I'd be the most interested in. Experiments undertaken on the prisoners included castrations, sterilisations, and injecting the prisoner with various infections and chemicals.

Overall, we both found the trip extremely interesting. And, though it sounds terrible to say it, we both considered the tour to be the highlight of our trip as we learned so much there. If you're in Berlin and would like to take a visit there I really do recommend it, especially if you go with a guide - entrance is free, and it's just a short train journey away from the city centre.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Some of my Favourite Instagrammers - Part 3

 First up we've got Johanna of @beautelicieuse who posts these amazing, beautiful photos. She posts such a variety of photos that it's actually better if you just go and take a look yourself as I can't even begin to describe them all to you!

 Next up is Marie of @papaya_sunshine and her beautiful food photography. She posts wonderful photos of a whole variety of yummy and wholesome looking foods - including lots of chocolate and delicious looking thick smoothies!

 I've mentioned before that I follow a slightly absurd amount of hedgehogs on instagram. I think when I've mentioned it in the past people have assumed that I'm joking, but no, I really do follow a silly amount of hedgehogs. To the extent that my feed is primarily pictures of hedgehogs and flat lays with some random other things dotted about! However, my favourite hedgehog is @Mr.Pokee who is just the most adorable thing!

 Next up is Catherine, of who is a bit different to most of the instagrams I follow these days as her feed is super girly! I find her pictures to be so pretty and I love looking at all the goodies she posts about. Expect lots of sweet treats and pastel pinks and lots and lots of pretty things!

My final inclusion for you today is Ray Ray, of @rymondtn, who posts the cutest looking food and milkshakes. I ADORE these little lollies and want to eat basically everything I see on here - although most of it is too cute, so I'm not sure if I could bring myself to!

So that was a few more of my favourites - and I've got many still left to show you! If you'd like to see the rest of those I've posted so far, take a look at this page where they will all be linked from. And of course, you can always go and follow me too :-)

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

An Accessorize & Primark Mini Haul!

I don't know WHAT has happened within my sock drawer lately, but all of  a sudden all of my socks seem to have plotted together and decided that they're all just going to self combust. Really. I went from having about 40 pairs of weird and wonderful socks, then in the space of about two weeks the majority of them suddenly had holes in them, completely out of nowhere.

Luckily, Accessorize happened to have a sale on at about the same time all this madness was going on, and so I popped down to top up my sock collection!

Following this, I headed on over to Primark.

I think most of you guys know this, but I work shifts. This brings many many problems with it, but it DOES mean that I get to go shopping when it's not too busy. And in particular, this is good for Primark - I've tried to go in there a few times over the last few weeks but with everyone on holiday it's been an absolute nightmare and I just can't deal with how ridiculously crowded it gets in there!

I'm really glad I finally managed a trip though, as their new range has some really nice pieces. In particular they've got loads of active wear which I think is really pretty - the only reason I didn't get any was because I couldn't find a single top and bottom combo where both pieces were in my size :-( But I think I'll check back when they've been out a little longer as the pieces were really nice. They also have lots of Disney wear including a couple of really nice Minnie Mouse prints - they're not quite my style as they're all absolutely massive which doesn't suit my shape at all, but I'm hoping if I check back in a few weeks they'll have brought in a few more things as the collection definitely looks to have potential.

 The first thing that I bought was this bag which I believe was £12. I've just had a clear out of some of my older bags that are falling apart slightly or that I just haven't used in forever, so this has been a nice replacement. It's a really pretty bag that has been getting a lot of compliments from my colleagues already, and as well as that it's nice and big and you can really fit a lot inside of it. The only thing I've found to be annoying about this bag is that the fabric it is made out of is quite a loud one - meaning quite often I get an item inside at an odd angle and then have to hear it BOOM BOOM BOOMing against the bag until I get annoyed and reshuffle everything!

 I also got these pretty floral sandals. Obviously the complete wrong time of year to buy them, especially as it's not like I'm planning on going on holiday anytime soon, but they were really pretty and I couldn't resist - I just hope I remember I've got them when it does come to the right time to wear them!

 Next up I got this bright vest top. It's a simple fit with a really vibrant pattern to it - but it's a lot more flattering than I expected it to be. Again, this is going to be more of a holiday top, but I can see myself getting a lot of wear out of this one.

 Next up was this blouse, which I am in love with. I don't have to wear smart clothing very often, but when I do I like to pick prints like this. Yes, I tend to stand out and look a bit ridiculous wearing it in a sea of white and peach, but I feel much more comfortable wearing something with a print to it - plain colours just aren't me, and if I have to wear something smart then I'm going to make sure I still feel confident in it! If you're the same as me but aren't too sure on this print then have no fear, they had quite a few vibrant tops like this one.

And lastly, though I was unsuccessful with the gym wear as a whole, I did come across this three pack of socks which is absolutely perfect. For some reason my smaller socks keep vanishing so I needed some new pairs anyway, but I'm glad I came across these ones as I really like the design and the colours. Another good factor with these ones is that they're a bit padded as well, making them more comfortable to run, cycle or just plain walk in!

What are your favourite pieces? Have you checked out Primark's new styles yet?
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