I’m 25

I’m 25

I’ve been 25 for a few days now
and I have a few things to say about it

No one ever told you how it would be in your twenties. One minute you feel you have all your shit together, you’re on the right path and the next time you wake up everything’s gone wrong?

I’m not sure why, but for as long as I can remember 25 was the age where I saw myself on the right path. I always thought no worries, you’ll know what you want when you’re 25… so what happens when you don’t?

I think my issue is that I don’t really know anyone much older than me, to tell me that everyone over 18 is in the same boat. That no one fully has everything figured out, and some people in their thirties are feeling the exact same way as me, and that’s fine too.

I decided this year that I would pursue a freelance career dream, as I knew if I left it any longer that it might not be possible. But months down the line, I want to buy a house and it’s the first time I’ve slightly doubted my decision. How do I get a mortgage? How can I guarantee that I can pay it? Who would want to sell to someone whose monthly finances rollercoaster so much, I feel sick?

At 25, I was supposed to know what was going on in my life. Where am I going to settle down? Where will I do my regular food shops? What phone will I decide on so I no longer have to keep getting £50+ contracts cos I’m so indecisive?

At 25, I should have known what I wanted to do with my life. I’ve started the dream by going freelance, but what people don’t tell you is how long you need to be on books before you can even THINK about buying a house. That’s been a bit of a bummer.

At 25, I was supposed to be body confident. Loving the skin I’m in, or at least actually done something about it. I’ve spent my whole life hating my body, internally (cheers IBS) and externally. I was supposed to be wearing denim hot pants at a festival drinking prosecco, because at 25 I’m fancy like that.

But I’m 25, and I haven’t achieved any of these things. Is that ok?

I think I’m finally accepting that it is.

I’m 25, and I recently got offered an incredible part-time job, to elevate some of the pressures i’ve had making sure my bills get paid. I will have time to focus on the things I actually went freelance for, and I can’t wait.

I’m 25, and I drank 6 cocktails on a Wednesday by 8pm because I’m an adult, and I don’t have anyone telling me I can’t. Sure, I felt sick when I got home, gave myself braids and made the saddest excuse of a dinner. But I’m a grown-ass woman now, I can do that.

I’m 25, and I’m sure that this year will be my best year yet. Working with more clients, being more creative, finding the perfect shampoo and conditioner combo for my hair, committing to the gym (maybe), being more free and happy, resulting in me giving less of a shit about the little things.

Here’s to being 25, and all it may bring.

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so my tyre exploded…

I’ve been driving for just over 6 years now, so a pretty long time! I’ve been pretty lucky when it comes to my cars, never failed MOTs, never broken down, never had a car die on me unexpectedly (except my beautiful mini cooper that was rear-ended by a 4×4 on the M1, miss you baby girl) xoxox

This was all until last week.

As many of you know, I started 2018 being freelance, but because of where I live I definitely needed to pick up a part-time job so I’m not out on the streets with the sketchpads. I work at a company called Ohh Deer, I’m sure you stationary lovers have heard of it! It’s based in Loughborough, so I have been needing to rely on my car a lot more, as I used to walk to my old job (BLISS)

So on my way to work, I was toodling along listening to Fleetwood Mac, singing along with my mum on speaker phone (true story, I call her every morning on my way to work) when I heard a bang. It wasn’t incredibly loud, but enough to notice but not think much of.

All of a sudden the side of my car felt really wobbly, I knew something was wrong but I wasn’t really sure what it was. I’d never had tyre trouble before. I pulled over on the side of the road to see that my tyre was shredded – not really what you want at 8am on a Thursday. So I called my mechanic (dad) and he came to the rescue, he bought this little tin of foam called Holts Puncture Repair Kit which I recommend everyone keep in their car – inexpensive and a lifesaver! In this situation the miracle foam didn’t work, so Dad and I had to change my tyre on the side of the road and I took it to the Mr Tyre for a new one. He told me that the tyre was incredibly worn, even though my car had only had it’s MOT in October and had passed!

£66 down + a days pay lost = not a happy tiff

I was incredibly lucky to have not been on the motorway, counting my blessings that it exploded before!

So, that being said, here’s a few things I’d suggest for ultimate car safety:

  • Get your tyres/brakes inspected

It’s incredibly important, and it’s free! I always use Mr Tyre in Leicester, very quick and reliable. I honestly wouldn’t go anywhere else. I now know that having an MOT doesn’t mean your car is covered for the next year, and a lot of the time you can only just pass! This might be common knowledge to everyone else though, oops.

  • Treat yourself to a can of foam

Definitely not luxurious – but necessary. I wouldn’t be without mine now! If you’re stuck this cheap little companion will help you get your car to the closest garage (unless it was completely shredded like mine). My dad swears by them, and he’s driven his van for 2 years before taking it to the garage with this little miracle can… though I definitely wouldn’t suggest it.

  • Learn how to change your tyre

I have never felt so useless that when I realised I do not know how to change a tyre. I was pretty much setting myself up for failure! I would definitely recommend doing some research, watching a video, or even looking at your spare tyre kit because you never know when you’re going to need it.

 

So there you go, not the most exciting post in the world but definitely necessary! I hope you don’t find yourself in the same situation as me, sat on the site of the road looking like a kumquat whilst everyone was driving by.

 

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las iguanas – nottingham

I was kindly invited by Las Iguanas in Nottingham to check out their interior makeover and try their new menu, I’d been to Las Iguanas before in Leicester, but I was never blown away by the food or the service. I was hoping that Nottingham’s branch would be different, and maybe change my opinion.

As soon as we walked into the restaurant there was an incredible jazzy, fresh vibe, and who doesn’t love a bit of jazz on a Wednesday night?

It was such a clean, cool setting. I can’t wait for the Leicester branch to up their game!

STARTERS 

Bread board

“Sliced ciabatta, jalapeño cornbread & pão de queijo with dunking chipotle butter, olive oil & balsamic”

I am ALL about bread, even if my digestive system isn’t. I loved everything about this starter, the smoky dip, the corn bread, and I’m a sucker for balsamic and oil. The dough balls had a little surprising of cheese which left me wanting more, this starter was the perfect size to share between two people.

“These dough balls are as good, no, better than Pizza Express” – Nat Ling, 2018

Tortilla chips & dips

“Spice-dusted corn chips with roasted tomato salsa, habanero & pepper salsa & green tomatillo & jalapeño salsa”

I was pretty underwhelmed by the tortilla chips I hate to say, mainly because they lacked cheese which to me makes the nachos. After checking over the menu for this review, I realised I accidentally ordered the vegan ones!

I imagine they will taste much better topped with the dairy dream. The dips were lovely, the green one was full of chillis and super spicy, so if you’re into the heat this is for you!

 

 

 

 

 

 


MAIN COURSE

I’m not going to lie – when my plate hit the table I wasn’t overly impressed. Don’t get me wrong, the presentation was top notch but thinking about cauliflower and sweetcorn, I don’t think rich and tasty. Boy, was I wrong. Adding smoked cheese to any vegetable is a good way to go, but I enjoyed this so much that I saved some to take home, just to I could experience the first bite again! This was recommended by the host, and I’m going to find it pretty hard to not order it every single time I go!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


COCKTAILS MASTERCLASS

Caipirinha

We were also kindly given the opportunity to make our own Caipirinha, I can’t believe how easy they are to make!

All you need is Magnifica Cachaça, lime, sugar and a lot of ice! I was unlucky enough to be driving to this event, but I can’t wait to make some at home for my next girls night, insanely delicious and so cheap to make too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Huge thanks again to Las Iguanas for having us, I cant wait to go back and order the quinotto again!

I was invited by Las Iguanas to review their new menu in return for a honest review. Images and words are all my own.
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Black Iron – Winstanley House

Black Iron – Winstanley House

Something that definitely helps me to get through my 9-5 lifestyle during the winter months is having a dinner reservation, trust me, there’s nothing better.

Surely everyone I know must feel the same satisfaction I do knowing you’re going to get a top notch dinner, with no cooking preparation or cleaning after! IT’S HEAVEN!

I’d never been to Winstanley House, and after arriving I was so disappointed that I hadn’t gone sooner. I never imaged that in Braustone, Leicester this beautiful manor would be tucked away ready to feed me some incredible treats 😍

As soon as we got there, we were led to a bar area whilst our table as being prepared. I never thought the decor of a building would be make me feel so incredibly underdressed, and I had actually made an effort! The decor was exquisite. I felt like I was in a film, or like a celebrity, a successful business woman all rolled into one. I sat down with my grapefruit gin and ginger beer wondering what could possibly make me feel any happier, and then we were called to our table!

Starter: Beetroot salad with honey & hazelnut

This was incredibly refreshing, so flavoursome which I really didn’t expect. The walnuts complimented the beetroot perfectly, giving it a rich at satisfying flavour, I felt if I’d had any more it might have ruined my main! Beautifully balanced!

Main: Courgette flan with cauliflower purée, ash baked sweet potato & roasted vegetables

Ahhh I loved this so much, when I first saw the dish I did think “omg I need twice this much” because I’m a little piggy, but the flavours were incredible. The courgette flan was actually rather hearty, and paired with the potatoes and roast vegetables I was in heaven. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a meal so slow, I wanted to savour every bite.

Dessert: Tea & Cake victoria sponge cake, strawberries & earl grey ice cream

Considering I’m a savoury over sweet type of person, this dessert was my favourite part of the meal. The early grey ice-cream was so interesting, I wish you could buy it from the shop! (if you can and I’m unaware someone please tell me). I always find tea flavoured things quite underwhelming, but there was no denying that this tasted like earl grey, and it wasn’t sickly which was my first fear. I would 100% go back just to have this again.

Overall, I really enjoyed this meal, it was nice going to quality over quantity for a change, as I tend to be the girl that likes a huge portion for under a fiver! I’d definitely recommend Black Iron for an anniversary meal, birthday celebration or a treat yourself day.

Considering the location, presentation and quality of the food Black Iron’s pricing is incredibly fair. All this for the small price of £22, and you get to feel super fancy just being there for free!

 

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Chutney Ivy – Leicester

Chutney Ivy – Leicester

The Cultural Quarter of Leicester is one of the best areas of the city. It’s got bars like Manhattan 34 and The Exchange, entertainment from the wonderful Curve theatre and a number of gems in between.

So I was more than keen to visit the quarter’s local restaurant Chutney Ivy to take its new menu for a spin, and thought I would bring my lovely boyfriend as company. I was especially excited as Chutney Ivy bagged the prize of “Best Restaurant of 2017” at the Curry Awards – given Leicester’s renowned Asian heritage, this can’t have been an easy feat – so I was itching to sample the reasons why!

Chutney Ivy offers Indian cuisine that respects its heritage but isn’t afraid to innovate – Shaf the co-owner’s enthusiastic insight into the kitchen’s culture attested to this. The restaurant isn’t afraid to take on the features of a swanky bar either, so don’t hesitate to go even if it’s just for a cocktail! Interested? Read on…

Berry Mojito – Chutney Ivy

Starter

Indian Tapas Platter

“A combination of Siek Kebab Stacks (kebab with sun-dried tomato on a nan square), Aloo Tokki, Paneer stacks and Fish Pakora.”

This platter is a perfect companion to after-work cocktails with a gal pal or significant other, but be warned, it will leave you wanting more. The catfish pakora stood out as the showcase portion: its sweet, rich seasoning was so delicately paired with a light batter that made the texture so irresistible. The Akoo Tokki is worth a mention too – the crisp of the potatoes was heavenly and gave a great earthy balance to the dish. Nat and I agreed that this platter was a well-thought-out way of exciting the palette and prepping the appetite – it was light, flavoursome and moreish in a way that really set up for the mains.

Dim Bhajee Salad

“Boiled eggs, sautéed in caramelised onions, roasted jeera and turmeric. Served on a bed of greens.”

This is something I want to attempt at home as a snack salad that has some character to it. I would never have thought the combination of boiled eggs, jeera and turmeric would be so powerful! This dish complemented the platter well, providing a crisp alternative to the hotter flavours.


Mains

Because I’m a little fusspot that lends herself to the pescatarian style of living, I wasn’t able to try the new mains. Fortunately though my human vacuum of a boyfriend is, in his words ‘a conscious meat-eater’, or in my words ‘a part-time, zero-hour contract vegetarian’, so he permitted himself to eat what I could not.

Muragh Jaal Qurma

“Roasted chicken from the Tandoor gently cooked in sweet spices of cinnamon, Bay leaves, green cardamom, milk, yoghurt and a hint of green chilli. Garnished with caramelised onions and fresh coriander.”

Now it’s very rare that I ever wish that I had meat on my plate, but this was genuinely a struggle. This is a Bangladeshi Korma, which Shaf was keen to differentiate from the slightly saccharine, cream-centric Korma we’re used to in the UK. This dish is made with milk and yoghurt rather than cream, making the dish a lot less sweet, and while it takes longer to cook, the flavours were richer for it. Nat described it as more complex than kormas he’d had in the past, with a welcome heat that gladly superseded the general theme of sweetness he was used to. That isn’t to say this wasn’t mellow and accessible to those with a more sensitive tongue though – these flavours are indiscriminately pleasing. The aroma alone wowed me.

Capsico Keema Mattor

“Juicy bell peppers chargrilled in the Tandoor; stuffed with spiced minced lamb, paneer and peas.”

Another chef-favourite that challenged Nat’s capacity after the Korma, the pairing of paneer with tandoor spice was a harmony that explained Shaf’s enthusiasm for the dish.

There was “a lot of interesting tastes at play in this dish,” with Nat describing it as a “introspective lesson in flavour,” (yeah he’s that guy) that required quite a few mouthfuls to really get to the bottom of.

Sea Bass Bangla Massala

“Whole sea bass fillets gently infused with a blend of caramelised onions, tomatoes, fresh garlic, turmeric and lemon juice. Garnished with spring onions and fresh coriander. The favourite dish of the Bengal.”

I, hand on heart, think this might be one of the best fish dishes I have ever had.

Shaf explained he uses sea bass as it’s a dark fish, and one that is most similar to the Bangladeshi fish that is traditionally used. The fish was beautiful, it melts in your mouth and the sauce made a lasting impression. The lemon juice played a huge part in this dish, teaming up with the spring onions and coriander to deliver one of the most refreshing curry dishes I’ve had the pleasure of trying. Needless to say I didn’t leave one bit.

Dessert

Kalajam 

“sweet milk dumpling, marinated in ghoor.”

After the feast we’d just had, this dessert was welcomingly humble, but not at the expense of character. I’m a big fan of the very similar gulab jamun thanks to my colleagues, as they often bring Indian sweets into work. I was told I needed to try them warm with vanilla ice-cream so this felt like a sign! Kalajam has sugar added into the batter, and after frying the sugar it caramelises, giving it the name kala jam or “black jam”. This did not disappoint and lived up to my work pal’s recommendation. I’m normally an apple crumble kind of girl, but this sweet little beauty is always going to be top of my dessert list given the option!

 

I had a lovely time exploring this new menu, and I will definitely be back! If you want fearless food in a relaxed open space (the whole front of the restaurant can be opened up!), visit Chutney Ivy.

 

To book in and try Chutney Ivy’s new menu, call 0116 251 1889 or head to their website.

 

I was kindly invited by Chutney Ivy to sample their new menu. The views are my own, as are the images unless stated otherwise.

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