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5/14/2014

The Healthy Ginger: Getting My Gym On.


I'd asked for a gym membership  for my birthday this year. As I'm getting further in to my twenties, I'm finding that my metabolism isn't as fast as it used to be, and I'm starting to put on weight at a steadier rate. I'm in no way overweight, but whereas I used to feel active, for the past few years I have just been bone idle. And because I am such a big foodie lover, if I carried on this path, I'd end up a recluse, living with on hundred cats, dogs and small rodents and surrounded by Chocomel cartons and pesto jars. 

I had to make a change.

The whole gym thing started off quite well. I decided to go at weekends. My working schedule means that during the week I don't know what my days will entail from one day to the next and I didn't want to make a promise to myself that I couldn't keep. 

I think I made it to the gym about three times before things went down hill. I lost my interest. I'd find other jobs that needed doing. I'd make plans. Anything to avoid the "g" word. I was working out. But it was at home. When I felt like it. I was hardly benefiting from a healthy lifestyle.

And then one day I woke up and realised what an idiot I was being. I wasn't only letting my parents down, who had bought me my years membership. I was letting me down. Things had to change. 

Part of it was my old trainers. I think I must've had them for about eight years (they were even quite possibly hand-me-downs from MG.) They were velcro, old, and had absolutely no flexibility whatsoever. Which, when one of your feet doesn't have an arch, isn't the best thing. 


Boyfriend very kindly treated me to a new pair of trainers - Reebok Sublite -and I love them. They are bright, bold, have great grip, and above all, are extremely flexible. Just looking at them makes me smile inside. 

But still, the motivation was lacking. Actually getting up at the weekends and going to the gym was a chore. I didn't know what to do. I was in a big fat old rut of unhappiness and deflation....I needed a wingman

Boyfriend, being a hero, was there to save the day. 

We are now gym-buddies. We have our own separate goals, but now, I know I have somebody there to kick my butt in to gear if I'm being a couch potato. We have made a joint commitment to go to the gym together at least three times a week. 

And what's more. To make sure I push myself, I have signed up for the Roy Castle Dream Walk, the Race for Life, and Run or Dye this year. There are so many wonderful people out there, bravely battling illness, or working to help find a cure, that the least I can do is get off my arse and do something to support them, their amazing work, and show my appreciation for some amazing causes. 

And, in a few weeks, Boyfriend and I are climbing Snowdon

I have no excuse now. I have to start training like a beast. 

I started off slowly, working on lowering my walking time for 2km on the treadmill. I went from walking to 4.1 km/h to 4.6 km/h to 5.1 kn/h. Each time I have been to the gym I have set myself a goal, and pushed to complete it. So far I have knocked 4 minutes off my 2km time. So now it's on to tackling 3km.....I'm not going to lie. I'm scared. 

Boyfriend is always there to keep me motivated. We plan goals together. It's a way for me to let out my competitive side. I go in to competition with my previous PBs. I find its the best way to keep my pumped and make me push myself. And so far it's working really well. Last week I went to the gym four times. Yes, I even surprised myself with that one! 


We have also invested in an immersion blender so that we can make post-gym smoothies. It's a great way to replenish my system after a really sweaty workout, and make sure that I get nutrients, fibre, and all the goodness fruit brings! Plus, smoothies are super-tasty. Bonus.

For anybody wanting to get back in to the gym, I'd say 
Take your time. 
Set attainable goals, 
(and if, like me, you need it,) 
Get yourself a wingman/wingwoman

Boyfriend and I may not workout together, but there's something about knowing that he is in the gym that makes me want to work harder and push myself. He's always in my peripheral, so he'd know if I was slacking....I have no place to hide when he's there with me. Which is what I need. 


Remember if you are starting the gym to keep hydrated, stay safe, and work to your own abilities. You know you better than anyone else. 

If you want to sponsor me for the Roy Castle Dream Walk, here is my sponsorship page. Every penny raised go towards the work of a wonderful charity. 

5/11/2014

Ginger's Jollies: Center Parcs 2014



It has been nearly a whole month since Boyfriend and I set off on our first holiday together. I can hardly believe it. Even though we were only away for seven days, it felt like we were gone for about a month because we did so much travelling.

The first park of our holiday we spent at the Het Heijderbos Center Parc in The Netherlands with my parents. I don't really get to see them that much so it was lovely to get to spend time with them. And because Boyfriend gets on so well with both Mama and Papa Ginger it meant that we could all do things together. 

It was such a wonderful week that it felt like it lasted forever. We had visitors, went out for the day to local towns, hopped over the border to Germany to go shopping, ate lots of amazing food and indulged in a few cheeky tipples. It was exactly what we needed to completely relax and escape from the hustle and bustle of the everyday chaos (sometimes) of our lives.

(And of course I took my video camera along to capture the holiday.)


Have you ever been to one of the European Center Parcs? What did you think? 


For more information about Center Parcs, visit: 


5/07/2014

Moose Coffee Liverpool | Just Add Ginger

Moose Coffee Liverpool

It is absolutely no secret whatsoever that Boyfriend & I are gigantic foodies. We love cooking, we love eating amazing food, we love going to restaurants. It is a complete passion that we share that I don't think is ever going to stop. 

So when, on our Liverpool staycation this past weekend, Boyfriend declared that he had found the perfect place to take me to breakfast, you can imagine my delight.

Moose Coffee is in a part of Liverpool City Centre that I don't normally go to. The business district. It's an area of beautiful buildings, swanky bars, banks, fancy restaurants...So when Boyfriend mentioned the name to me, I was immediately thinking "exclusive."

We arrived at Moose Coffee just before 11am on Sunday morning. A queue was waiting for us. A gathering of groups of people all animatedly chatting and perusing breakfast menus. Whereas for some people the thought of a queue for somewhere may fill them with dread, it filled me with joy. This place had to be good. Catching a glimpse inside, I could see that it was full to the brim inside. Again, this sent the foodie part of my brain in to overdrive.

Moose Coffee Liverpool


After a short 10 minute wait, it was our turn! Our table was upstairs, overlooking the main area of Moose Coffee. Pictures of Moose decorated the walls, chandeliers hung from the ceiling, and the atmosphere was buzzing. Reaching for a menu, I instantly died and went to foodie heaven.

Moose Coffee (which I shall now refer to as just Moose,) specialises in American & Canadian breakfasts and brunches. (How many of you guessed that?)  I haven't heard of anywhere else like it in the city. A whole cafe dedicated to all things breakfast? That serves breakfast all day? Whoever came up with this idea, is a genius. I love breakfast. And when I saw the menu at Moose, I was not disappointed.

In fact I was in turmoil. The menu was massive. And everything sounded delicious. Just having a glance I could see why Boyfriend wanted to bring me here. The menu had so many different takes on Eggs Benedict (my absolute favourite breakfast of ALL TIME.) I was actually gob-smacked. Every single dish sounded delicious. How on earth was I going to pick something?

I don't know how I did it. But after about ten minutes of "Ooo-ing" and "Aah-ing" over the breakfast choices, I narrowed it down to two options. After consulting Boyfriend for his opinion, I decided to go for Eggs Benedict served with pulled pork. I know. How phenomenal does that sound?

Boyfriend had a little more trouble making up his mind. But with a recommendation from our lovely waitress, went for American-style pancakes filled with bacon and sausage and topped off with two fried eggs.

Moose Coffee Liverpool
My Eggs Benedict w. pulled pork

Moose Coffee Liverpool
Boyfriend's pancakes

When our breakfasts came out, I think our happiness levels went through the ceiling. The food looked amazing, smelt divine, and the portion size was amazing. The breakfasts retail for under £10 and you definitely get your moneys worth. 

This wasn't a breakfast. The was a break-feast.

I didn't wait. I dived straight in to my pulled pork. Oh sweet mother of all delicious food. It was incredible. Second to none the best pulled pork I have ever had. The poached eggs were cooked to perfection too and yellow yolk rippled out when I put my knife to them. The hollandaise sauce was creamy but not overly-rich and the bagel added a very welcome crunch to the dish. It was just amazing. 

Boyfriend was just as engrossed in his pancakes as I was in my eggs. And it was no wonder. His pancakes were soft and fluffy and jam packed full of flavour. They came with powdered sugar and maple syrup which complemented the bacon and sausage to perfection. The fried eggs were also cooked beautiful, with a lovely oozy yolk. 

There was nothing to fault in either of our breakfasts. The portion sizes were fantastic....The food was cooked beautifully....The flavour combinations just worked. 

We loved it so much at Moose that we went back on Monday as well. 

This time, I went for the Eggs Benedict with potato hash. This was my second option from Sunday so it was only fair to give it a try. Although the pulled pork was still calling my name. The cheeky minx. 

Boyfriend also went for his second option. A cooked breakfast with potato hash, sausage, toast, tomato and steak to boot.

Moose Coffee Liverpool
My Eggs Benedict w. potato hash
Moose Coffee Liverpool
Boyfriend's Cooked Breakfast
The waitress was the same one who served us on Sunday. We immediately declared that we had no shame in returning. If we could come back to Moose everyday for breakfast, I think we would. 

Because the breakfasts were just as yummy as on Sunday. 

My poached eggs were amazingly cooked again, and the potato hash, with its onion and mustard-y goodness added a little punch of favour that boosted the eggs and hollandaise sauce up a notch. As much as I enjoyed my breakfast though, I think I've found my dish in the pulled pork. It just combines all the flavours that I love, and makes my insides beam with joy. 

Boyfriend really enjoyed his breakfast too. Everything tasted fantastic. I was particularly impressed with the steak and sausage. Both brought fantastic flavour. 

After breakfast, we decided to go all out and order an Oreo milkshake to share. 

Moose Coffee Liverpool

At first I was a bit unsure. A biscuit milkshake? But the fact that Boyfriend and I devoured the milkshake in under 2 minutes says it all really...

Y-uuuuuuuuuummmm-yyyy! 

The curly straws positioned like antlers was a really cute touch too. (I don't know if this was intentional or not. But still. Bonus points!) 

If you are looking for a new place to try for breakfast in Liverpool, or are visiting and looking for somewhere to try. For goodness sake get down to Moose Coffee. If this is the kind of food you like then I promise you won't regret it. Yes, there will 99.9% be a bit of a wait unless you get there for opening time, but it is worth it. We had to wait on both days but it was only for a maximum of 15 minutes. For larger parties it may be longer, but you can always pop off and do some shopping whilst you wait. 

Only - in the words of Boyfriend - 

If you're heading to Moose and see us trailing behind you. Stop. And let us get ahead of you. 

For more information about Moose Coffee, or to find your nearest one, head to: 


5/04/2014

Ginger's Jollies: de Efteling



When Boyfriend & I were away at the end of April in The Netherlands, we took a trip back to one of my most favourite places in the world. A beautiful, picturesque theme park in The Netherlands called Efteling
I have been going to Efteling with my parents since I was a teeny-tiny toddling baby, and it's a place that - whenever I go back - I am filled with that childhood excitement and wonder.


One of the things I love so much about it is that it is completely untouched. All of the rides are completely unique to the park, the music is just beautiful, and all of the food and retail outlets have the complete "Efteling stamp." There are no franchises to be found here. Efteling is in its own magical bubble. When you're there, you are away from reality and can just completely relax.

The theme park is really family-oriented. A bit like the way Chessington World of Adventures is in England (minus the zoo.) There are faster rides for the more adventurous theme park go-er, but the majority of rides are inclusive of children and families. Many of the rides also have the means to accommodate those visitors who have additional mobility needs, which gets a huge thumbs up from me.

And even if you aren't keen on theme parks, but want to join in on a day out with your friends and family, Efteling's attention to detail is just phenomenal. The park is filled with beautiful bright-coloured flowers..... animatronics....pretty squares.....talking bins! A big section of the park is Fairytale Land, where there are things to look at, scenes to watch, and music to listen to. So even if you don't want to go on any rides and prefer to keep your feet firmly on the ground, there are still things to look at and enjoy.


A newer addition to Efteling's list of attractions, is the water/light show Aquanura which takes place just after the park is closed. It is the "largest fountain spectacle in Europe" where water is used to choreograph a dance to the music used throughout the park and on the rides. I've seen the show in the dark and in daylight and it is absolutely wonderful.

Efteling is open for a Winter season, as well as throughout the Spring & Summer and heading on in to Autumn. I have visited the park twice in the Winter and it is even more magical (if that is at all possible!) There has been a huge ice rink, winter decorations, and a plethora of huts outside as you walk around the park selling hot snacks, drinks, as well as my beloved Chocomel. 

I cannot recommend a visit to Efteling enough. I would go back to the park every year if I could, and I prefer it heaps more over Disneyland. Efteling has a more magical feel for me. Maybe because it's one-of-a-kind. Maybe because the style and attention to detail suits me more. Whatever the reason, it's a part of me, and it has a place in my heart that will never, ever die. 


Have you ever been to Efteling? 


Fir more information about Efteling, visit: