JC Updates: 10 Happy Things #16

Oh hey, update time. Feel as though I haven’t done one of these in forever, because man have I been busy! What with a hugely intense period of time at work, along with wanting to hang out with Hannah all the time, heading off on holiday and then having events on at the weekend, blogging has turned into a late night activity! But with all that busy-ness, there have been a lot of happy moments – many of which involve food… my bad!

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1. I went to my first wedding! Well of memory anyway, I was a bridesmaid when I was about 5. We went to one of Paul’s friends weddings where he was best man and we had such an awesome time. It was a stunning location and the day went off without a hitch. We have another 3 weddings this year to look forward to as well – I need to get shopping!

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2. Prets Kale and Cauliflower Macaroni Cheese – cheesy, carby deliciousness which doesn’t make me feel too guilty.

3. I went to the dentist and it wasn’t a disaster! I’d been dreading going to the dentist, not because I thought there was anything wrong, it’s just not the most enjoyable of experiences. So I sucked it up and went downstairs (we live in the building above one!) to get a check up and all went okay! Now I don’t need to think about it for another year – ideal.

4. Flesh + Buns – we finally made it over to Flesh and Buns and it was delicious! We had salmon and beef buns, along with donuts for dessert. I really like the idea of building the buns ourselves and really enjoyed it. Plus it was awesome to be able to catch up with old friends!

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5. Paul did his Prudential 100 on Sunday and I’m so proud of him! If you don’t know what it is then it is a 100 mile cycle down out of London into Surrey. We went and celebrated when he got into The Mall on the finish line.

6. Linked to number 5, I finally got back on the bike this week – I’m aiming now the temperature is a bit lower than our heatwave in upping my fitness routine – so watch this space.

7. I’ve been helping host the new #travelbloggers twitter chat! It take place on Thursdays at 9pm GMT along with Alices Desk and Things Sarah Loves and so far it has been great. I love twitter chats, and being able to sit and yap about travel is ideal for me. If you feel like getting involved then join us on the hashtag on Saturday and you can follow the chat account here too.

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8. We went to Ben’s Canteen for brunch on Sunday which was really good. I do enjoy their food even if it is a bit pricey. They have opened a branch just down the road from us too which is very handy for lazy Sunday mornings.

9. Hannah is still here! It’s still so awesome having my bestie around to come and hang out as she is only staying round the corner. I’m going to be so sad when she leaves!!

10. I’ve been really enjoying Ancas posts about her trip to London – it’s always good to get a bit of tourist inspiration! I’ve also been loving Jess’ mid year favourites – some much needed beauty inspiration!

What’s made you happy this week?

JC xx

JC Explores: Travel Contrasts – Travelling Solo

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I’m joining in with my first ever link up this week – the travel link up. It’s hosted by the lovely Runaway Kiwi, Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes and Adventures of a London Kiwi, three amazing New Zealand bloggers in London. This month, the theme was ‘travel contrasts’, and after having a ponder I really wanted to talk about the contrast between travelling solo versus travelling with friends and family. I find this distinction completely changes the experience you have.

I’ve travelled solo a few times, mainly within the same country but when I first moved to London, I decided that it was time for a trip abroad – alone! I booked in a trip to Austria and Hungary and headed off on my first solo trip. I want to run through the pros and cons which contrast the two.

Travelling Solo

Pros

I think the best bit of solo travel is the freedom. There is nothing which really replicates that feeling of getting off in a country where you don’t know anyone or anything and there is no one around to help. It definitely gives that jolt to the system which reminds you that it’s what you want to do which matters. It also puts you in a situation where you really need to depend on yourself – if you want to grow your independence then solo travel is really effective.

Second, is the ability to do whatever you want to do. I really wanted to go on holiday, but at the time I didn’t really know anyone in the UK. Instead of deciding not to go, I figured I would just go by myself – a choice which I think more people need to make. Then once you get there, you can decide exactly when you want to get up, what you want to see and where you will go!

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It can be a bit of a pain sometimes when you’re with a large group, all with competing interests and needs – it does need compromise. Whereas, when travelling solo, the only decision maker is you! It means your holiday will be completely tailored to what you want to do.

Finally, although this didn’t happen too much on my solo trips, I think that solo travel can lead to meeting a whole lot of travel buddies. If you stay in a hostel then you’re pretty likely to bump into someone in the same boat as you who is also looking for a travel companion.

Cons

The cons of solo travel, equate to the the pros of travelling with friends and family! Firstly, when travelling with others, you always have someone to go with you. Although I’m more than happy to wander around tourist sights alone, when it comes to meals it is a different story. I’m good with breakfast and lunch but dinner was a struggle – I find it hard to go out to a sit down meal alone in an English speaking country, nevermind one where I don’t understand a word. This does mean I may have ended up getting room service a bit more than I should have. But really, who doesn’t love room service?

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Solo travel photo problems!

Being with other travel pals does have a lot of benefits, someone to take photos of you, share the costs and most importantly share experiences. I think trips with others can be such bonding experiences and it does reassure you when you are in a foreign land that you do have someone there looking out for you which you don’t always get when you are travelling solo.

Overall, I do really enjoy solo travel, but being with others really does make a trip. That said if you’ve never been on a solo trip then I wholly recommend it – it is such a good experience for learning more about yourself.

What’s your opinion on solo travel vs. travelling with friends and family?

JC xx

JC Chats: What to Watch, Read + Listen To – July 2015

JC Chats

I’m starting a new little series here on Jasmin Charlotte. I have previously enjoyed writing about books, and my many Netflix recommendations so I thought a monthly spot to yap on about them would be ideal! So here I’m going to talk about my latest TV obsessions, any good books in my 40 books challenge and anything which I’ve been listening to, including podcasts!

Watch

Prison Break

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I missed Prison Break when it was on the TV, but when wondering what to watch on Netflix, decided it was time to start watching it and I have been hooked! It follows a man wrongly imprisoned, his brother also gets placed in the same prison with the aim to break him out before he gets sentenced to death.

It is a pretty typical American crime show, full of action and suspense at the end of each episode but it is addictive and the ideal show to pop on in the background whilst having a day of blogging!

Dragons Den

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Paul and I do have quite an addiction to the start up community. It’s so interesting to hear and read about their journies. Dragons Den helps with this addiction, seeing small start ups pitch to a panel of dragon investors. Not only is it interesting to see what products they are creating, but also see how they pitch and what works well – it helps with your own presentation skills! The new series is on at 8pm, Sundays on BBC2.

Read

Marian Keyes

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I just finished Marian Keyes latest novel, The Woman Who Stole My Life. It follows the story of Stella and her journey in writing a novel based on when she had a life threatening paralysis disorder. It runs through 2 storylines, Stella in the present, trying to write her 2nd book, and Stella throughout when she had an illness and was in hospital. It is a classic Marian Keyes, lots of entertaining sub characters, big Irish families, and ultimately a happy ending. I don’t like to call these chick lit, but they are a good option if you want something lighter that is still a really good read. I just picked up Rachels Holiday to reread as well, as I remember enjoying it a few years ago!

Listen

Mumford + Sons – Wilder Minds

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I do love me some Mumford and Sons, and it has taken me way too long to get their new album! It is a different sound to their previous albums, much more ‘rock’ based rather than the country twang which they used to have. But I still enjoy it, meaningful lyrics and beats which catch you. I’ve been listening to this on my walks to work recently and I’ve been enjoying Believe and Snake Eyes.

The Pitch

The Pitch is a new favourite podcast and it links it with Dragons Den. Each week a new start up pitches on the podcast and different investor each week decide whether to invest. They then follow the companies to see what happens next! There have only been a couple of episodes so far but both I have really enjoyed. It fills the hole which was left from this season of Start Up finishing! If you need a new business podcast to listen to, then this is a good one!

What have you been watching, reading or listening to in July?

JC xx

JC Explores: Cahoots – London 40s Themed Tube Bar!

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A quirky bar? Check. Waiters in character themed of the 40s? Check. Tube paraphenalia everywhere? Check. A secret entrance where you need to ask for ‘The Captain’? Check. Cahoots has everything I’ve ever needed in a bar! We all know now of my Underground obsession (remember the Aldwych abandoned tube station?), so I thought it was high time I got myself booked into Cahoots – an underground bar in an abandoned air raid shelter, styled to be a 40s tube station.

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Now as this is an underground bar, you will forgive me for the slightly average pictures – low light and iphones don’t really match. But hopefully you will get a good feel for the bar! I booked Cahoots online a couple of weeks prior, as it is a popular place it was pretty much impossible to get a Friday or Saturday night, so as my Uncle was in town, I decided on a Sunday afternoon.

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The experience begins from before you even step foot inside. A lone sign in Kingly Court claiming ‘To The Trains’ let us know that we were in the right place. A doorman looks out and as the email recommends, I ask to see ‘The Captain’ and we are led inside. I loved from the beginning that everyone was in theme and in character – all with fabulous accents and really acting as though we had entered the 40s.

We wandered down the steps and into the bar – all decked out with awesome London underground and 40s paraphernalia. We were sat around an old travel case, and given old newspapers. It soon turned out the newspapers were the extensive cocktail menu full to bursting with a huge range of rum, vodka, gin and whisky cocktails. We all took our time in deciding, I eventually settled on the Vera Lynn, a gin, elderflower and mint concoction. It appeared quickly in an awesome head shaped glass, adorned with dried flowers. And it was delish! Full of elderflower but with an enjoyable gin kick at the end – ideal.

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We decided that it was definitely time for some food. Cahoots offers ‘rations’ in the style of the 40s. We got a selection of root vegetable crisps, pork crackling, roasted broad beans and crumpets! Although these were meant to be a snack they actually ended up being pretty filling, and are quite well priced at £3 each.

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We all had another round of cocktails, this time I picked a vodka based pomegranate concoction which was also really good. Though Hannah went for a ‘spicy ruppee’, gin with a chilli heat which tasted amazing! Definitely one to try next time I go back.

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The cocktails are a bit pricey, on average, between £9-£12 so our bill came to around £30 each. We paid with a nifty app called Cake where you can split the tab between apps or select and pay for the items. It worked pretty well and we ended up getting £10 off each for the bill!

I really enjoyed Cahoots and I will definitely be back as Paul wasn’t able to come with us this time. Plus it was awesome to start ticking some items off my London Summer Bucket List!

Have you been to Cahoots? Any other good bar recommendations in London?

JC xx