ALS Ice Bucket Challenge!

Hey All!

Here’s my ALS Ice Bucket Challenge!

I think it’s an awesome campaign for a terrible disease that needs support and recognition. Please donate if you can, even if you don’t do the challenge! http://www.alsa.org

And yes it wastes a little water, but please take a look at your water use habits before being negative about the campaign. We all spend a little too long in the shower each morning and let our kids have water fights every summer – at least a greater good is coming out of this.

Enjoy! x

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Weight Loss Tips For The Couch Potato

If you’re anything like me, then you want to have J-Lo’s body without a huge change in lifestyle. Although I know that’s never going to happen without all the hard work I’ve been managing to shed some weight without living on rabbit food and running machines.

I’ve put on 7lbs in 3 months due to exam stress and a lack of routine over the Summer so I decided it was time to do something before I run out of clothes that fit! These are a few things that have helped me:

Diet

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In my opinion your diet plays the biggest part in any weight loss because no matter how hard you exercise, if you’re putting too much crap in your body you’re not going to be able to burn it all off.

So I’ve been trying to manage my normal diet a little better:

Portion control – I’m eating the right AMOUNT of food. Just by eating a smaller volume of the bad food I’ve seen a big difference in my weight. So good news; I can still eat that Mac and Cheese.. just maybe one scoop instead of two ;). Here’s a general guide by BUPA.

Moderation – I don’t like to deprive myself of anything because I’m more likely to over indulge if I’ve been suppressing a craving. So instead of never having anything unhealthy I allow myself one treat a day and I eat it slowly. When I do treat myself I’ll have half of whatever I’d used have, for example half a KitKat instead of the whole thing.

Snacking – I’ve been snacking more often. If I refuse myself a snack I’m so hungry by meal time that I eat far too much. So when I do snack I’ll usually have a handful of fruit and nuts because the fat content in the nuts really satisfies my hunger pangs. Speaking of fat content, try and have full fat rather than 0% fat natural yoghurt if you’re having it as a snack (how controversial!) – the 0% fat one really isn’t going to satisfy you. 

Exercise

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I literally despise exercise, everyone says ‘Don’t you just feel invigorated after a good workout?’

No. No I don’t. I feel sweaty and breathless. Good workouts don’t exist.

But I know I won’t tone up unless I put in a bit of work. So I do 20 minutes a day 5 days a week (I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t have enough energy to at least do 20 mins) and an hour for 1 day of the week. 

20 min routine – 1 mile jog (takes around 8 – 10 mins), then 1 set of 30 crunches, 30 leg lifts, 30 second side plank on both sides.

1 hour routine – 2.4 mile jog (takes around 17 – 20 mins), then 3 sets of 30 crunches, 30 leg lifts, 30 Russian twists, 30 squats.

I do struggle to keep up with conventional exercise because, lets face it, it’s bloody miserable. So I’m going to start roller blading on a couple of the days, it’s great for both cardio and toning and it’s fun!

I’ve been doing this little routine for 3 weeks and I’ve managed to lose 3lbs so far – I hope these tips are helpful for some of you too!

Let me know you’re little tips and tricks for healthier lifestyles and weight loss in the comments.

Please go and check out Carolyn’s Simple Life – I’d like to thank her for nominating me for the Leibster Award 🙂

x

St Paul’s Cathedral, Summer Dresses and Gale Force Winds

AND I’M BACK!

While I was away I thought I’d be a tourist for the day in my home town. I grabbed my Dad and we took a lovely little trip to London’s famous St Paul’s Cathedral.

I literally drive past St Paul’s every day and I’ve worked within 10 minutes walk of it for the past 3 years but I never thought to go inside. All I can say is that I’m an idiot because it’s brilliant!

On arrival you scale the steps that have been captured in more photos than you can imagine and the spot for every school child who has ever visited to scoff their sandwiches.

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We were given an audio tour set which was included in the price of the ticket (it was an iPhone with recordings loaded onto it so it was super easy to use!). The tour lead us through every inch of the cathedral, telling us all of the little secrets and fun facts along the way.

Unfortunately you can’t take pictures inside but I promise you it’s absolutely gorgeous. The walls and ceilings are covered in vibrant glass mosaics and the structure of the domes and pillars are breath taking. It cost the equivalent of £500 million in today’s money back when it was built – imagine what it would’ve cost to build now!

We reached the whispering gallery after climbing 150 steps; they say if you and a friend stand on opposite sides and whisper into the wall you can hear each other!

Once you’re up there, there’s the option to continue on to the upper domes – this is a further 300+ steps and as we were feeling adventurous we thought we’d give it a go.

It was so worth it! The views over London were phenomenal. Breathless and a little dizzy, I had to walk with my dress tucked between my legs because of the wind – but it really didn’t matter once I saw this skyline…

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I’m not usually a fan of all of the big tourist attractions in London, but this one blew my mind. If you’re ever here be sure to stop by – it’s only £15 for an adult, you get your audio tour included and you can stay as long as you like. You can’t really go wrong!

Amsterdam In A Video!

I’m back from Amsterdam!

I took endless photos which I’ll write about soon (I’m thinking of a ‘what to do in Amsterdam’ guide instead of a recap of my holiday?).

But in the meantime, here’s a few of the highlights of my trip in video form!

Taste Of London 2014 – What Were You Eating?

Food, music, alcohol and a warm evening in the park – doesn’t that sound like the perfect pass time?

Then the Taste of London Festival would have been absolute utopia for you!

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As some of you already know, I was lucky enough to attend the festival a couple of weeks ago. I shared the evening with my other half, Jeff, at Regents Park and (of course) I took lots of photos to fill you all in!

If you don’t know what ToL is, it’s an annual food festival where most of the top restaurants in London get to showcase their food for a fraction of what you would pay at their restaurants; it’s a way of promoting their businesses and attracting new clientele.

Sake No Hanna

Our first foody stop was Sake No Hanna, a modern Japanese restaurant that’s based in Mayfair. We had the Corn-fed chicken Kuwayaki with 7 spice sauce, unfortunately it sounded far more spectacular than it was.

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Although it tasted nice and the chicken was succulent, it was literally a bowl of diced chicken thighs. I understand that the stands are just giving tasters of their dishes but I wanted to get a feel for what a complete dish would be, like I did and like you will see, from the other stalls. Unfortunately we weren’t hugely impressed and won’t be paying them a visit at the restaurant.

Jeff Rating: 3/5

Bleeding Heart

Next we visited Bleeding Heart, a collection of authentic French restaurants tucked away in Central London. I attended the event as a guest of the suppliers Urban Merchants  who supply these brilliant bites of France in the centre of London.

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Urban Merchants are a company that supply the finest ingredients such as Foie Gras, truffles and more not only to restaurants such as Bleeding Heart but also to your front door. They’re a great company that are making fine ingredients accessible – check them out for birthday or Christmas gifts for your foody friends!  Attila from UM sent Jeff and myself to Julien, the restaurants head chef, who treated us to lobster risotto provençale served with parmesan tuile as well as braised beef cheeks bourguignon.

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I have never tasted dishes as delicate and well balanced as these. It’s a well known fact that French cuisine is all about classic flavours and technique paired with quality ingredients and boy does Bleeding Heart live by that mantra. Eating the risotto was like eating silk, it was wonderfully creamy and the lobster was sweet and plump while the braised beef cheeks were melt in the mouth soft and packed a punch with it’s rich reduction and smooth mashed potato. This is the best French food I’ve ever eaten (and I’ve been to France!). Jeff and myself have already planned a visit to one of their restaurants near Farringdon.

Jeff Rating – Risotto: 4/5 (for someone who hates shellfish that’s mind blowing! I gave it a 5)

Jeff Rating – Beef: 5/5

Lindt

After this we found ourselves at the Lindt tent where we met a chocolatier hand crafting almond and white chocolate truffles. You know we had some, you would too, and of course they were absolutely mind blowing – I mean it’s Lindt!

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So we spent some money buying gifts for our friends and colleagues because everyone likes some Swiss chocolate once in a while!

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Mortimers Orchard

We worked up a thirst with all this eating so we stopped at Mortimers Orchard cider bar for a drink.

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I’m not big on cider but this cider was so sweet it almost tasted like apple juice, which can be quite dangerous so bare that in mind whilst drinking. We drank our refreshing pints while sitting in their ridiculously comfortable outdoor chairs, listening to all of the latest hits on their inappropriately loud sound system (we loved it.).

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Meat Liquor 

We finished our evening with 2 classic burgers from Meat Liquor, a burger bar with various London branches.

IMG_0486We’d heard great things about this place but were sadly disappointed. We weren’t sure if was simply the speed and quantity they were having to churn out on the day but our burgers were pretty average. Despite the ingredients being undeniably good quality,the taste was bland and not hugely appetising. We are tempted to give the actual restaurant a go seeming as SO many people have told us it’s amazing, so we might give it a second chance.

Jeff Rating: 2/5

Overall I had a spectacular evening, we spent 3 hours walking around eating both full dishes and free samples. I got talking to all sorts of cool people with interesting products and innovative ideas. I’d recommend the event to absolutely anyone, even if you’re not a foody like myself we all enjoy food and evenings in the park so give it a go! I promise you won’t regret it.

I’d like to give a huge thank you to Attila from Urban Merchants for having me and giving me the chance to have such a great experience there.

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Gay Pride? What About Straight Pride!?

Hey All!

Here’s a quick video I did discussing the Pride festivals – I have so much more to say on it but the video got far to long and rambley; so I hope I’ve done the subject the best possible justice in 5 minutes haha.

Please let me know what you think and share it with your friends!

 

Taste Of London Food Festival – Who’s Going!?

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Really quick one!

I’m going to the Taste of London Food Festival in Regent’s Park tomorrow and was wondering if any of my foody followers were going?

If you are let me know, leave a comment or tweet me or whatever interwebby communication takes your fancy. We could meet up and stuff our faces together or even do a collab post!

Hope to see some of you there ❤

Twitter:@maddisonhucks

Facebook: PurelyMad

Email: mhucks@hotmail.co.uk

P.S. Excuse my cyclopsness in the pic – I’m just about to go to bed and no one wants to see my nekid face, trust me.

Event Review: Breakin’ KCL Presents ‘The Elements Festival’ @BreakinKCL @themouseoutfit

I’m sure some of you remember me mentioning a hiphop festival called the elements being organised by Breakin’ KCL, a society I’m a part of at uni. Well here’s a great review of the whole thing that you might want to take a peak at if you didn’t manage to get down there yourself!

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IMG_1350 That’s right, lego mats.

Sup pups, had a nice weekend? Basked in the glorious weather and took off all your clothes because for at least 45 minutes the sun peaked its big yellow face out from behind the clouds? Well, I guess if you’re not currently jamming on the little rock that is the UK you won’t quite understand the urgency with which the British people are ready to get naked if we see the slightest sign of sun. If it’s not raining it’s BBQ time! Hey I’m not knocking it, I wore only the shortest shorts all weekend. QUZHbOdTKOVQMAYSWeIB_THE ELEMENTS POSTER Anyway. Now I’ve set the scene, imagine all of this was going on whilst myself and our resident beat boxer Matt went down to The Elements Festival in South London. Organised by the Breakin’ KCL crew and most notably Ms Kate Mulligan (if I get any of this wrong feel free to…

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Teenage Mental Health – Internet: Helpful or Harmful?

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As the years have gone by and the internet has advanced we’ve seen amazing, ground breaking things happen as a result: The Arab Spring, millions raised for charities like Cancer Research UK and the Teenage Cancer Trust, lost children found through the efforts of thousands of strangers sharing photos..

But with all of this good, comes some bad.

The bad that I’m referring to is the effect the web can have on young people. Having such a huge, easily accessible and easily exploited resource left at our fingertips can have dangerous results which are often dismissed as trivial teenage problems.

I’m talking about mental health. Being switched on 24/7 and easily reached at the click of a button means there’s little escape from the gossip,stresses and even torment that a lot of young people experience on a daily basis. There’s a need in the culture of young people, myself included, to know everything. Everything that’s being said, being done or being seen. This feeling of having to be connected is not necessarily the cause of, but I argue is adding to, the growing mental health issues among young people.

You can use the classic “solution”: ‘Just switch off your phone then’ or ‘Don’t read your twitter if it’s such a big deal’ – but that really doesn’t solve the problem. The internet has now become another area of society, it’s so entrenched in our culture that by not having social media profiles you’re effectively excluded from a social sphere. To do this by choice is completely fine, but to do this because you have no choice through fear of what people will say to or about you is no more acceptable than being scared to go to school because of the bullies in the classroom.

We need to be educated in how to use the internet safely, appropriately and moderately and those who are using it as a tool for targeting other need to be dealt with accordingly. It’s ridiculous to tell the victims (who have done nothing wrong!) ‘don’t use it if you don’t like it‘, segregating them further from their peers and seriously expecting all of their problems to melt away as a result.

Anxiety and mental health is a topic very close to my heart and my reality.  Myself and the young people I teach have been working on an event highlighting the topic for a very long time.

We’re screening a film called InRealLife at the Barbican Centre about the effect of the internet/technology on young people and their mental health.  I can honestly and unbiasedly say that this event is going to be extremely interesting, opening the long avoided gates of discussion on mental health in young people.

There’s a Q&A afterwards with the director Beeban Kidron (also directed Bridget Jones Diaries) a YouTuber and a Neuroscientist. The panel is diverse in opinions as the film takes a seemingly negative approach to the effects of the internet, whereas Ali Jardine (YouTuber) is pro internet and Kate Mills (neuroscientist) will be giving us a purely factual and physical account of the effects of the internet on the teenage brain.

My students will be co-chairing the Q&A so it’d be amazing if some of you come down and have your say on the topic – I’d love to hear what you all think!

You can read more and buy tickets here:
http://www.barbican.org.uk/film/event-detail.asp?ID=16477

If you leave a comment, please be respectful of myself and each other x

Top Things To Do In London

Hello internet friends!

How are you? How has your week been going?

The other day I suddenly realised that Summer had arrived and a lot of us will soon be jetting off around the world, exciting much!?

I’m guessing some you will be coming to London too! So to help you out and give you a few ideas of where to visit I’ve put together a little video of the Top Things To Do In London.

Let me know what you think and if you have (or will be) visiting any of the places I show you!