Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Devon Delights #3: Exeter HubBox Burger Heaven

Last year I started a little series here on my blog called 'Devon Delights' I haven't written a Devon restaurant post in quite a while as I have actually been frequenting my favourite restaurant The Beggars Roost so often (it's amazing, our fave date night spot!) that I haven't had any new places to review. But as me and my boyfriend headed to Exeter last week, I thought it was about time I shared another fab foodie find.
Catch up with my previous Devon delights posts here.
*Warning, this a very burger orientated photo heavy post. 
Just look at that burger, seriously.... *heart eyed emoji right there*

Myself and my boyfriend made the hour and a half drive to Exeter last week, for a day of shopping and all the food. After catching the park and ride into Exeter city centre, we went for a wonder around and I picked up some Hotel Chocolat goodies as we don't have a store near to us (seriously that billionaire's shortbread is the stuff of dreams) and spent far too much money in Primark, they have such amazing pieces in at the moment, if you would like to see a haul post, let me know in the comments below. After a couple of hours of shopping both our tummies were rumbling, so we headed to HubBox for a spot of lunch. I had already done my research on TripAdvisor beforehand as we both wanted a big, juicy burger and HubBox sounded like the perfect place.
We weren't wrong, upon entering the restaurant we were memorised by the amazing d├ęcor, the walls were covered in graffiti art - it looked so cool, whoever decorated the interior is very talented. The kitchen is actually built into an old shipping container, giving the restaurant a classic American feel.
We were then greeted by the sweetest waitress who gave us the warmest welcome, and promptly sat us in a lovely little booth to peruse the menu.
We both went for the burger, me the classic and the boyfriend opted for the classic with cheddar cheese, I ordered a side salad and the boyfriend the hand cut fries. They had a daily special of homemade lemonade, I usually stick to water but I couldn't resist proper homemade lemonade, it was delicious, very tart but fresh and light on the palate. 
We had a lovely chat with the waitress who offered such wonderful service, and after waiting for only around fifteen minutes our meals arrived, I could spot the juicy burgers glistening a mile away. I had mentioned to the waitress previously when ordering my side salad that I would steal some of Ian's fries, and the lovely chef had already split the portions for us, our plates piled high with fresh, crispy fries. Such a nice touch, and amazing value at £2.00 a portion.
The burgers were so decadent and full of flavour, you could taste that the meat was of the highest standard, and I love that the meat was sourced locally in the West Country. 
We both thoroughly enjoyed our meals, and left feeling full but very satisfied. The prices are extremely reasonable too, with our meals and drinks only coming to £22.00.
We will definitely be returning to HubBox next time we are in the area, as it was a lovely meal and the staff were so friendly and welcoming. 

We had such a wonderful day in Exeter, burgers, chocolate and shopping - you can't go wrong!

I hope you enjoyed this 'Devon Delights' post, Have you ever visited HubBox? Are you a burger lover like me?
I'd love to know, leave me a lovely comment below.

Let's be friends!


Love Laurenx

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Lifestyle: Five Ways To Spend Your Saturday

There's nothing better than having the weekend off, you can meet up with friends, go out for cocktails, brunch or attend a fun event in your local area. Working in the hospitality industry I am never able to have every weekend off as we have guests coming to stay all week long. So when my 'every other weekend off' free weekend rolls around I always make sure to relish every moment, and have some fun with my lovely boyfriend, friends and some solo time too. So with that in mind I thought I would share with you my top five ways to spend a Saturday.
It's a date
Me and the boyfriend always plan a date night every month, we usually go out for a lovely meal and spend some much needed quality time together, just us. I always look forward to our dates as we both put our phones away, enjoy a delicious meal and chat about anything and everything, it's lovely.
We also love going bowling or to the cinema to watch the latest film. It's nice to get out of the house for the evening, and spend some time with your loved one - be it meeting a friend for coffee, cake and a natter, popping down the pub for a few drinks and a game of pool, or ordering in a pizza and playing board games. 
It's nice to spend some time offline, every now and then.

Day trip
I love a good day out, be it exploring a new town/city/area, visiting the zoo (and seeing the adorable penguins, my fave!), spending all day at a theme park, wondering around a museum or seeing the pretty fish at the aquarium.
A day trip is always fun, you can bring along your favourite people, grab some snacks for the road trip or even pack a picnic and stop for a bite in a pretty park.
I would love to visit Cadbury world for the day, as it's a chocoholics dream!

Farmer's market
Confession time: I am bit obsessed with visiting farmer's markets. I love the atmosphere, the wide variety of stalls and booths, not to mention the delicious food and free samples. (who doesn't love free!) From cheeses, freshly baked bread and sweet treats (gimme all the doughnuts, churros and cake, cheers) to locally brewed beer/cider/ale, juices and ice cream. You name it, they have it! I love supporting local brands and businesses as they can be overlooked sometimes. I find that every time you visit the markets you always find something brand new to try!

Shop til' you drop
Trying on clothes, putting together new looks, treating yourself after a hard week's work and hoarding the Boots make up counters sounds like the best way to spend a Saturday, if I say so myself... 

Country air
I love being outdoors. I find the countryside so peaceful and serene - it's such a beautiful, unspoilt place. I love grabbing my camera and sometimes my lovely boyfriend, and heading off into the woods or up in the hills for a long walk. It's a great chance to get some headspace and escape the hustle and bustle of life - plus you can snap some pretty pictures too. 
I hope you enjoyed this 'Five Ways To Spend A Saturday' post, Are you lucky enough to have the weekends off? What are your favourite ways to spend a Saturday?

I'd love to know, leave me a lovely comment below. 

Let's be friends!

Love Laurenx

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Health: Morning Workout Motivation

I recently ran a poll on twitter asking you lovely lot what posts you would like to see more of on Keep Calm It's Only A Blog, well the results are in and the majority wanted more health and fitness posts. So today I thought I would share with you some of my tips to get motivated for your morning workout, how to stay organised and smash your goals.

Grab and go!
I always make time in the evenings to prepare everything I need for the next day, I find it makes my mornings run much smoother, and prevents the dreaded morning panic running around looking for your sports bra.
Here are a few tips I personally do every day, for a stress free morning:
Leave your workout clothes, shoes and socks by the bed so they are ready to go for your morning workout
Fill up a water bottle and pop it in the fridge

Prepare your breakfast
 For example: If I am planning on making banana pancakes for breakfast, I will make sure that I have a banana, coconut oil, frying pan, spatula, blender, plate and cutlery out on the kitchen counter ready and waiting.

Set your alarms
Try to get up as soon as your alarm goes off so you aren't tempted to roll over and hit the snooze button. I usually set one or two alarms as sometimes the first one doesn't stir me from my deep sleep.

Plan your workout
I always plan what workout I am going to be doing the following day, that way you can lay out/pack whatever equipment you may need, such as a yoga mat or weights and you know exactly what you want to do and how long for.
It's a good idea to plan your workouts for the whole week, so you know which days you want to work out, how many times per week, what workouts you want to do and which days will be your 'chill out days'.
I usually workout around five times per week, it varies depending on what else I have planned that week. Here is an example of my general fitness routine, if you would like a more in-depth post about what workouts I do and how often, leave me a comment in the box below.
Monday: Morning workout
Tuesday: Morning workout
Wednesday: Morning Workout 
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Evening Workout
Saturday: Morning Workout
Sunday: Rest

Drink up
The first thing I do every morning is drink one litre of water, I find that it wakes me up, hydrates me and fires up my metabolism. So grab your preprepared water bottle and drink up.

Sweat it out
I never used to be a morning workout kinda gal, I found that I would always hit the snooze button and tell myself I would workout in the evening instead, which often did happen but sometimes I was just too tired/lazy/busy at the end of the day to squeeze it in. So I have come to embrace the morning workout - don't get me wrong sometimes it's still a struggle dragging myself out of my warm, cosy bed to sweat it out but it's always worth it afterwards! I've found that getting active first thing in the morning really sets my mood for the day, I feel brighter, energised and ready to conquer whatever the day has to throw at me.

Treat yourself
A great way to motivate yourself to workout is to bribe yourself, be that with a tasty post-workout breakfast.(French toast and Banana pancakes are my favourites!) watching a few episodes of your go to TV show, picking up the latest issue of your favourite magazine, buying a brand new fitness top, or even a takeaway coffee from your favourite cafe (be mindful of the sugar laden options, you don't want to undo all your hard work with one cappuccino)
Having a 'treat' to look forward to afterwards is a great incentive to get up and smash your morning workout.

Don't beat yourself up!
If you skip a planned workout don't worry, we are all human and don't always reach our intended goals every day. Have a think about the reason why you skipped your workout - did you hit the snooze button because you had a restless nights sleep? Perhaps you had one too many indulgences the evening before? Listen to your body, maybe it's telling you to have a rest day and recover - tomorrow is a brand new day and a fresh start to smash it!

I hope you enjoyed this 'Morning workout motivation' post, Are you a morning workout kinda gal? What are some of your favourite workouts? Do you have any tips on staying motivated?

I'd love to know, leave me a lovely comment below. 

Let's be friends!

Love Laurenx

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Health: New Year, New You?

New year, new you.... sound familiar? This motto does the internet rounds at the start of every new year. After the over indulgence of Christmas and all those festive parties most people come January, will be making declarations that they will be going on some new-found health kick/detox/diet plan to get in to shape for 2016. Not to say that trying to be healthier is a bad thing, but you don't need to go on a 'diet' to feel healthier and fitter - diets often don't work as they usually involve restricting your calories, cutting out food groups or eating very minimal amounts to shed pounds fast, which can be difficult to stick to, and as soon as you resume eating 'normally' you may end up gaining back the weight that you lost. The best way (in my opinion of course) to lose weight is to eat a healthy, balanced diet full of foods that are going to nourish and fuel your body, and get active by incorporating some exercise into your routine.
With all that in mind, I thought I would share with you some of my favourite delicious, healthy snacks that will satisfy your cravings, and stop you reaching for the dairy milk.
Popcorn
I love me some popcorn. It's the perfect snack to satisfy any cravings, salty or sweet.
My favourites have to be the crispy bacon and maple syrup flavour (HEAVEN) and the classic sweet n salty, the perfect mix of sweet and savoury flavours.
Check out Metcalfes Skinny, Portlebay Popcorn and Propercorn, for the tastiest treats.

The Snack Organisation Rice Crackers*
A new snack discovery for me, I was kindly sent a few packets of The Snack Organisation's rice crackers to try out (Read: scoff) and share my thoughts.
I love the crunch and bold flavours of the rice crackers, the teriyaki has to be my favourite - it has a delicious smoky flavour and packs a nice spicy punch.
The perfect snack to munch on while binging on Netflix boxsets.
There are only around 100 calories per 25g serving, they are baked not fried, and you can find them in your local Tesco for £1.00.

Snack bars
I have tried dozens of different snack bars but I always find myself going back to Nakd.
I love that they have such a wide variety of different flavours and combinations to suit everyone.
Give cocoa crunch, cocoa orange, apple pie and banana crunch a whirl - you can thank me later!
The Primal Pantry is another goodun, I love their Brazil nut and cherry bar - it's super sweet but has a lovely nutty crunch.

Dark chocolate
My one true vice. I could munch my way through copious amounts of the stuff, the darker the better!
If you're not a huge fan of dark chocolate, try easing yourself in with the flavoured variety.
Lindt are my go to brand - their 85% dark and orange intense flavours are so delicious.
The great thing about dark chocolate is that because it is so rich and has a bitter taste, you only need a small amount to stave off those chocolate cravings.

I hope you enjoyed this 'New Year, New You' post. What are your healthy resolutions for 2016? What is your favourite healthy snack? Will you be picking up a pack of rice crackers?

I'd love to know, leave me a lovely comment below. 

Let's be friends!

Love Laurenx

*The Snack Organisation kindly sent me some rice crackers to try out, and share my thoughts. As always all opinions and thoughts are my own.