An Amtrak Adventure

We have always wanted to explore the U.S. via Amtrak, as we love the idea of visiting the country via train or bus. We have heard and read lots of good reviews about Amtrak, especially that it’s known for being very reliable and offering a comfy mode of transport. We have planned our route below so you can use it for inspiration. We have visited some of the cities before, but we’d jump at the chance of going again!

San Francisco

We would start our trip in San Fran, as it’s a city that everyone falls in love with immediately. We definitely recommend hiring bikes and cycling over the famous Golden Gate Bridge. We would suggest taking the longer scenic route and then taking the boat back to the city after a long day of exploring.

You can’t write a post without mentioning food, especially when visiting America. You have to visit In-N-Out Burger, which is a burger joint that’s only in six states. You also have to try the bread bowls filled with chili con carne or seafood chowder, as they are specialities in San Fran.

“The Princess Diaries” is one of our favourite movies filmed in San Fran. Of course, we would take a ride on the tram and hop off and visit the amusement arcade to reenact that famous seen with the Queen of Genovia.

Los Angeles

We would definitely take a trip to the famous Barry’s Bootcamp and end the workout with a delicious shake in the summer sunshine. When in LA, you must visit the Hollywood sign. Take a walk to the Observatory Griffith to get that Instagram shot.

We would also visit the Walk of Fame, where there are over 2,500 brass stars on 18 city blocks. We would take a long walk and try to spot our favourite celebrities and public figures.

San Diego

We would of course love to visit Belmont Park and take a ride on the Giant Dipper. It was constructed in 1925, but it’s still the centrepiece of Belmont Park. We love amusement parks, and Belmont Park looks like so much fun.

We would also love to try a fish taco in San Diego. We would go to Oscar’s, as we’ve heard this spot sells the best fish tacos in town. We’ve been told we may have to stand in line, but it would definitely be worth the wait.

Las Vegas 

You can’t visit Vegas without stopping by a famous pool party. We love the Wynn and the Encore. They’re so much fun, and the atmosphere is incredible at both.

We would also spend an evening dancing the night away at Drais, which is a rooftop pool and nightclub that overlooks the Strip. You should also watch the incredible water display at the Fountains of Bellagio. It takes place seven days a week, and you can find the timetable here.

To take a break from a busy Las Vegas schedule, we would take a day trip to the Grand Canyon for the breathtaking views. If you have cash to splash, then you should definitely opt for a helicopter ride for an experience you’ll never forget.

Albuquerque 

We have always wanted to visit Albuquerque, New Mexico, so we would set aside a few extra days to visit and properly explore this city. During our trip, we would stay at one of these hotels close to the Amtrak station.

We would kick our trip off with a tour of the Old Town, as we have heard it’s a reflection of the city’s Native American and Spanish heritage. We would also love to visit the ABQ BioPark, Paseo del Bosque, Petroglyph National Monument, and Sandia Peak Tramway.

New York

After spending a few days in Albuquerque, we would fly to New York. We would end our trip here because you can’t go all the way to America without visiting the Big Apple. You can read all about what we would get up to in Brooklyn here.

Now, where are our passports? We need to make this dream a reality pronto!

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Whats in our hand luggage

For some people they will only travel with hand luggage – putting baggage in the hold is just so expensive anyway! When we go on short holidays we will ALWAYS travel with hand luggage, whats the point in paying the extra when you can usually fit everything into a small wheelie suitcase anyway. Additionally it means that you have your luggage with you all the time so as soon as you get off the plane there is none of that faffing about waiting for the carousel, plus the little panic when your suitcase still hasn’t appeared isn’t fun at all.

However for those longer holidays where you have check bags we thought we would share our hand luggage essentials so your holiday can run as smooth as ever.

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1) Spare underwear/clothes – this is number 1 because its SO essential you do this. If by that very unfortunate event your suitcase ends up halfway across the world in China you need to have some spare clothes and of course spare swimwear. We always pack a spare bikini and underwear in the event this might (and we hope never) happen.

2) Phone – this is most probs a given as we know everyone these days are glued to their phones, however it has to be on our list anyway. These days you can download the airline app and have your boarding pass on your phone, we LOVE this and it saves that stress of printing or losing your paper ticket. Paper is so old school now anyway 😉

3) Portable charger and cable – this is vital for your hand luggage to keep your devices fully charged. The cable is important because some airports have charging points and some planes also have charging sockets, so you will never have to worry about your phone running out of battery.

4) Magazine/books – you have to have something to read to occupy your time and in case of a delay too! We always treat ourselves to a magazine for holiday, because we rarely buy them otherwise. Plus once you have the magazines you can also read them by the pool. If you don’t want to carry so many books we recommend downloading kindle app to your phone or tablet, or even purchase a kindle.

5) Headphones – we use our headphones to listen to music on the flight or at the airport. However we often download programmes to watch on the flight onto our tablet, so will use headphones to catch up on our favourite TV show.

6) Moisturiser/lip balm/toothpaste & toothbrush – planes can make you feel so dry due to the air con so we always carry moisturiser and lip balm with us to keep our hands and lips moisturised. Brushing your teeth can make you feel ten times better about yourself and if you are travelling long haul then we would definitely recommend this one.

7) Socks – planes can be so so cold due to the air con, therefore we will always bring a pair of socks in our hand luggage – there is nothing worse than feeling cold on the plane. However if you are on a long haul flight they will provide you with socks!

8) Eye Mask – if you are on a night flight or a long flight then an eye mask will be your best friend! Eye masks are so small and easy to fit in your hand luggage, and may make that long plane journey not feel so long!

9) Local guide book – you may as well kill some time by flicking through the guidebook and getting ahead of the game with planning your trip.

10) Pen & paper – We always make sure we carry a pen and some paper with us. We always find we spend the plane journey planning the holiday and writing down the things we want to do and places we want to see, this often involves flicking through a guide book (see point 9!). Sometimes we draft out a mini itinerary too to make sure we fit everything in.

11) Anti-bacterial hand gel – this is a necessity as you never know what you are going to touch or if there will be any tissues to dry your hands. In addition aeroplane toilets are not exactly the nicest! We love ones that smell nice and fruity!

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Happy travels! 

Brunch Review Red Roaster

Red Roaster is based in Brighton and we actually came across it after watching Zoella (well duh!). Zoe and Alfie regularly talk about the Red Roaster in their vlogs and we have also seen some photos feature one their Instagram and we can totally see why they rave about it so much!

A short walk from the station but very close to the seafront, you can eat inside or outside. There is seating our the front and in the small garden out the back too.
Lets start with the interior design, this place is incredible. The marble tables are a bloggers dream as they are so Instagramable, you can sit at tables or on high stalls over looking over the kitchen. There are lots of plants everywhere so it kinda feels like a greenhouse! There is also a cool slogan on the wall 🙂

Now lets talk about the toilets (sorry!), they are so pretty with white and black tiles covering the walls. We love to check out the toilets wherever we go as we really believe it says a lot about a cafe or restaurant. It’s safe to say these did not disappoint especially as they had Cowshed soap and hand cream on offer! When a place has nice toilet’s with long mirrors (perfect for a boomerang!) you know you will be making a return.

Anyway, now for the main event, we both ordered iced coffees to drink, opting for the iced coffee with maple syrup for Rachel and iced cinnamon latte for Annie.

For main, we of course went for the same thing as per usual. We chose waffles topped with semi-dried tomatoes, smoked salmon, calamari and cream cheese. We got three waffles each and it was incredible!

There were so many cool things on the menu to choose from and the menu was very alternative with unique twists on traditional brunch dishes. We would definitely return here on our bi-yearly trip to Brighton. It appears their menu is seasonal, so on our next trip there will be new different dishes to choose!

Just PB protein shake

We love a protein shake after working out, during the weeks we usually mix our protein with water and chug it whilst running out of the gym and making our way to work. When we actually get the chance to make a delicious protein shake we jump at the chance because let’s be honest it tastes WAY better.

Annie loves nut butter so always opts for a shake that has NB in it! So we thought it was about time we created our own PB protein shake (we will be sharing more recipes soon). This protein shake is SO simple to make and is always Annie’s go to shake at the weekend.

PB

Ingredients
1 banana
1 scoop white chocolate protein
1tsp peanut butter
Ice cubes we usually use about 4
50ml Almond milk

Method
Wack everything into a blender we use a Nutri Bullett and blend for a minute
Pour into a glass with a straw
Optional you can pop a strawberries on the side and enjoy!
See we said it was the quickest recipe ever!

Barry’s Bootcamp London Review

This is the room where everything becomes possible. Where you push through the “I can’t’s” and “If Only’s.” Where you run faster, lift more, lean out, quiet down. This is what transformation looks like. Where you become the best version of yourself. – Barry’s Bootcamp

Barrys

We had wanted to try Barry’s Bootcamp for a really long time and we finally got round to purchasing a class.  We booked ourselves into the 11:00am full body class one Saturday and we were super excited to to try the workout that has been the talk of London town for a while.

We had read on the website that we needed to turn up to the class 15 minutes before the class so being super keen beans we somehow managed to turn up 40 minutes before hand (we blame google maps it always says it takes longer than it does!). When we arrived we were checked in and each given towel- luxury.

After checking out the post workout shake menu we headed straight to the changing rooms and we were already impressed. When people say it is the small things in life that make you happy they are certainly right, the changing rooms were equipped with GHD straighteners, hair dryers, hair spray, deodorant, tampons- you name it they had it.

As it was our first time the instructor took us into the room beforehand, the lights were dimmed and there were bright red lights lighting up the room. The instructor Briefed us on how to use the treadmills before inviting the rest of the class to join.

When booking into a class on Barry’s you have to decide whether or not you want to start on the treadmill or on the floor, we opted for the treadmill. The class was a mixture between interval and strength training. We sprinted until our legs nearly fell off and lifted weights heavier than we would usually opt for, we pushed our bodies and it felt blooming fantastic.

When people say Barrys Bootcamp is hard they certainly were not lying! It was the sweatiest we have ever been and probably the hardest workout we have ever been to but we loved it and we cannot wait to go back again!

After the class we jumped in the shower, which by the way were amazing the shampoo smelt incredible. Once we were dressed and refreshed and the last ones out of the changing rooms we headed to the refuel bar to order a shake. We stupidly didn’t order them before our class so we had to wait about 20 minutes as they were busy making lots of shakes ready for the next class so top tip pre-order your shake guys. The shakes were reasonably priced costing us £5.00 each and trust us when we say they were a decent size as well.

Barry’s costs £20 per class but you can also purchase packages and the more classes you buy at once the cheaper each class becomes. We definitely think it is worth the money but it isn’t something we would choose to go to every week as it would become incredibly expensive, we will be returning though!

We Vlogged the day we went to Barry’s so if you want to see more you can catch up on our vlog here.

Homemade Gluten Free/Dairy Free Pizza

So one Friday evening we really fancied pizza so decided to try and make a gluten free one. We researched lots of recipes and combined a couple to come up with a rye & buckwheat pizza and thought we must share with you all!
This pizza base is gluten free and dairy free.

It feels weird making this because you don’t need to let is rise and the texture is kinda funny and the way you make it is very odd. But trust us you are doing it right, and it tastes amazing!

Pizza

Ingredients:
70g rye flour
130g buckwhat flour
1 egg
170ml almond milk
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 tbsp mixed herbs
seasoning, salt & pepper
seasoning, salt & pepper
olive oil

Method:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and then get your baking trays ready by lighting oiling them
Put all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix
Make a well in the centre and then break in the egg and beat into the dry ingredients
Add the maple syrup and then gradually add the milk
Mix until combined, it will look sticky and gloopy
Put spoonfuls of the mixture on baking trays and spread out to create pizzas, a spatula or palette knife will help you to spread the dough out
Bake the dough for 10 minutes, it will be cooked but not crispy
Cover with tomato sauce and decorate with toppings of your choice, go wild!
Cook for 10 minutes, until the topping is all cooked and cheese is melted

ENJOY!!

5 Ways to get a better night sleep 

Sleeping plays a vital role in your health and well being, ensuring you get enough sleep can help your physical and mental health. Sleep deprivation can result in poor thinking, reacting, learning and working all of which are skills we need to use on a daily basis.

Having a busy schedule can sometimes result in not getting enough good quality sleep. We have started to incorporate the below into our lives to ensure we are getting the best quality sleep we possibly can.

sleep

Cut the caffeine- Each person’s tolerance to caffeine is different, but it is a known fact caffeine gets your body geared up for activity and leaves you feeling energised. We tend to stop drinking caffeine after lunch time unless we are really struggling to stay awake. Drinking caffeine too late in the day will more than likely disrupt your night’s sleep. If you are used to drinking caffeine in the evening why not try swapping it for a decaf coffee or a herbal tea.

Put down the Technology- This one can be really tough especially if you are so used to getting into bed and catching up on social media etc. Checking your phone or watching TV is probably part of your night time routine but studies have shown that the light emitted from electoral devices can disturb our sleep. Try and put your phone down 30 minutes before going to sleep and make sure you don’t sleep with your phone too close to you.

Stick to a routine- Try to give yourself a ‘bed time’, we all set alarms to wake up in the morning so why don’t we give ourselves a time to go to bed. Our bodies love routine and sticking to a similar routine each night should help you wind down. We love getting into bed early but we do find it a lot easier in the winter months, we try and get a minimum of 8 hours of sleep a night.

Avoid drinking too much before bed- There is nothing cosier than sitting in front of the fire on a cold autumnal evening, sipping on a hot beverage. Although it may be lush at the time you may not thank yourself when you are woken for the toilet on several occasions. We would suggest having your hot evening drink a little bit earlier to reduce the risk of this happening.

Limit napping- Daytime naps might be tempting (if you have the time) but they can make it harder for you to go to sleep at night. We would suggest limiting your naps to 15 minutes and setting an alarm so you don’t sleep any longer.

Brunch Review Grind

There are 9 Grinds in London and we stumbled across this small chain on Instagram.
Originally opened in Shoreditch in 2011 there are now plenty to choose from. There are 6 cafes/bars and 3 restaurants. Th restaurants all serve a weekend brunch menu
We decided to visit the one in Holborn after a session at Barry’s boot camp.

The brunch was simple and delicious and the portion sizes were very very generous.
Annie opted for the sourdough toast with smoked salmon and scrambled egg and Rachel went for sourdough toast with smashed avocado and smoked salmon. We were both pleasantly surprised with how much salmon we got. Quite often places are very stingy when it comes to smoked salmon but here they certainly weren’t!

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The atmosphere was nice with lovely music playing and we opted to sit in the corner on comfy seats.

We would defiantly recommend the simple brunch from Grind. As we weren’t thirsty we didn’t sample the coffee (yes shock there!) but we shall be returning for sure!

Locations:
Shoreditch
Soho
Holborn
London Bridge
Covent Garden
Royal Exchange
Whir Chanel
Clerkenwell