lifestyle

Reality Check

First there was Blind Date, followed by The X Factor then Keeping up With the Kardashians and The Only Way is Essex to name just a few.  Reality television programmes constantly fill our screens with ‘real life’ drama and the truth is, we can’t get enough of it. Whether we are watching the latest cat fight in The Sugar Hut or following Kim Kardashian around as she lives out her lavish lifestyle in Hollywood, we get to spend hours with our favourite reality stars from the comfort of our own homes. But since when have those over the top sob stories and staged situations kept us glued to our TV screens?

If you ask a lot of people whether they like to watch reality TV they will probably tell you that it is all ‘a load of rubbish’ but for many, like me, it’s a guilty pleasure. When you’ve had a long hard day, you can sit back and relax with a cup of tea and immerse yourself in the lives of others, who more often than not, lead a much more exciting and glamorous lifestyle. Cast your mind back to the time Kim Kardashian ended her 72 day marriage or the time that Gemma Collins told Arg he wouldn’t be getting any of her ‘candy’; these situations don’t happen in the daily lives of your average person, which is why they keep us gripped. However, we are all aware that these programmes can be slightly scripted, as we are kindly reminded at the beginning of TOWIE that some scenes have been set up purely for our ‘entertainment’.  Whilst this may blur the lines between fact and fiction it doesn’t stop us becoming glued to the drama of the reality stars lives.

Now not only do we pay an extra £10 to go to clubs where we get the chance to ‘meet’, or have a quick picture with the reality “stars”, we have even introduced their catchphrases into our everyday language; ‘mortal’, ’tashing on’ and ‘worldies’ are just some of the phrases Geordie Shore have made popular.

One of the biggest reality TV programmes is of course, The X Factor. Each Christmas, we watch everyday people like ourselves fight to win and become the Christmas number one and get that all important record deal with Simon Cowell.  As the trademark theme tune is pumped through our TV speakers, we all sit there with our takeaways and act as the fifth judge alongside Cheryl Fernandez- Versini and Simon Cowell. The X Factor final reached a phenomenal 9.1 million viewers this year to see Ben Haenow take the crown.

Despite our love for these shows, there are definitely some worrying statistics around their popularity. Figures show that more than double the amount of people watch reality TV shows such as Strictly Come Dancing and The Apprentice than vote in the general election. These figures are alarming as they show the amount of interest that people have in these shows, over something so genuinely real and important like the running of our country.

But it seems that these figures are not going to be changing anytime soon, with ITV even creating a new channel purely to air reality programmes. The answer to the all-important question is difficult to answer, why is reality television so popular? Is it because we are all bored of our own lives that we want to immerse ourselves in someone else’s?  Or is it because we love to act as a fly on the wall and watch everyone else make mistakes? Whatever the answer may be, reality television isn’t going anywhere any time soon and one thing is for sure, whether I like to admit it or not, I’ll be tuning in to the next episode of TOWIE to see who has been hooking up with whom this week.

What are your thoughts on reality television?

Advertisements

The Ultimate Hangover Guide

Unfortunately, at some point in our lives (especially if you’re currently a student), we will all be privy to a rather chronic hangover. Sickness, a painful headache, tiredness, dizziness and generally feeling like the ground should swallow you up are just several of the typical ‘hangover’ symptoms but don’t panic – I have put together a list of the top 5 hangover cures so you’ll be feeling fresh as ever before you know it!

The best way to avoid a hangover in the first place would be to avoid mixing your drinks – we all know this doesn’t end well. Why not drink water in between drinks to re hydrate yourself? Not only does this avoid the banging headache you usually wake up with, but keeps your skin hydrated throughout the night.

Alcohol is a ‘diuretic’ meaning it removes fluids from the body and therefore leaves you and your skin feeling dehydrated, so my top tip to get you well on your way to recovery is to drink lots of water in the morning!

Moisturise:
We’ve all had that moment when we look in the mirror after a night out and nearly scream when we see how dull and tired our skin looks! It sucks, right? Luckily Garnier Moisture Match is to our rescue! It is designed to improve a dull complexion, of all skin types, so simply apply a small amount to your face and neck and watch a miracle happen in front of your eyes.

Garnier Moisture Match

Garnier Moisture Match

Exercise:
It might sound crazy, and yes, you probably can’t think of anything worse than to go for a run after a night out but the fresh air works a treat! Even if you aren’t sprinting, a brisk walk around the park will help you sweat out your hangover and you will build up a healthy appetite ready for my next tip.

A Good Burger:
Nothing can get rid of a hangover more than a good burger. That shaking feeling you usually get around midday will be sorted right out. Plus – who needs an excuse to eat a burger?

Face mask:
My favourite face mask is Elemis Herbal Lavender Repair Mask but this is pretty pricey so any face mask will do! All you have to do is leave this on your skin for 10 – 15 minutes and the soothing lavender oil will deep cleanse and re balance your skin so you are as good as new – no one will ever know you went out the night before!

Elemis Herbal Lavender Repair Mask

Elemis Herbal Lavender Repair Mask

Bronzer:
Nothing can help dull and pale skin like a bit of bronzer. This will immediately freshen you up and give you a healthy glow. My favourite bronzer is Hoola by Benefit but all bronzers will do the job!

Hoola bronzer by Benefit

Hoola bronzer by Benefit

If you want to skip a hangover altogether you can always drink non-alcoholic cocktails – these are great as you can sit with a yummy drink and not stress about the effects of drinking (or the calories). My favourite recipe is by Wayne Collins, it’s a healthy alternative to a Mojito:

Mint Lemonade
Ingredients:

  • large handful fresh mint, leaves picked
  • 6 lemons, juice and zest of 3
  • 3 tbsp sugar cane syrup
  • sparkling mineral water, to top up

Method:

  • Place the mint leaves into a tea towel and bruise with a rolling pin.
  • Add the mint to a pitcher, with the lemon juice and zest and sugar cane syrup.
  • Top up with sparkling water. Mix the cocktail well and add more sugar cane syrup, to taste.
  • Chill in the fridge.

So there you have it – your ultimate guide to beat the hangover!

Lemon Drizzle Traybake

Since my Jammy Coconut Traybake was a massive hit, I decided to bake another family favourite this weekend. This delicious recipe from Mary Berry’s Baking Bible (which I highly recommend you buy) makes a whopping 30 slices so is perfect to bring into work or uni to share with your friends!

Lemon Drizzle Traybake

Lemon Drizzle Traybake

To make this zesty treat you will need:

  • 225g softened butter
  • 225g caster-sugar
  • 275g self-raising flour
  • 2 level teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • finely grated rind of 2 lemons

For the crunchy topping:

  • 175g granulated sugar
  • juice of 2 lemons

The method:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees and grease a 30 x 23 cm tin, then line with baking parchment.
  • Mix all the ingredients into a large bowl and beat until well blended. Turn the mixture into the tin and level the top with the back of a spatula.
  • Bake for about 35 minutes then leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes. Turn out the cake and peel off the parchment paper to finish cooling on a wire rack.
  • To make the crunchy topping, mix the granulated sugar and the lemon juice in a small bowl to give a runny consistency. Spoon the mixture evenly over the traybake while it is still a little warm.

Serve and enjoy!

Do You Have ‘Fat Fresher Syndrome’?

Before you answer that, let me tell you a few facts…

According to a study conducted by Slimming World an average a fresher gains two stone in their first year of Uni and 59 % of students blame stress for this weight gain. Another one of the main culprits is (unsurprisingly) alcohol (56%) and post-partying grub (59%) – so yes, that Subway you demolished in the early hours of the morning does count, even if you don’t remember it.

The results are shocking, aren’t they?

I happen to be a fresher and with the summer season fast approaching I’m starting to panic. If you are anything like me, in January you planned to look something like Kendall Jenner by March and at this moment in time that is definitely not the case. So I’m now on a quest to get a my dream bikini body by the summer.

29553_4543063707042_2136406117_n

I have found that staying healthy at Uni is not always possible, and the convenience of the corner shop up the road is too tempting to buy copious amounts of chocolate and crisps. Before I left for University in September, I told myself I wouldn’t be one of those people who come back home for the holidays twice the size they were before they left. However, when you are caught up in a whirlwind of leaving home, making new friends and spending the majority of your time clubbing this nightmare does become a reality.

Like a lot of freshers, I struggle to find a balance between being healthy and still having fun (e.g. drinking lots of alcohol followed by chips, carbs and more carbs the next day) but I want change my ways slightly so I don’t return home a ‘fat fresher’. But where do I even start?

I aim to make a few changes, the first one is to actually get out of bed at a normal time. I always find getting out of bed early sets me up for the day as I am able to fit in a nutritious breakfast so I don’t reach for the biscuits mid morning instead. When it comes to going out, opting for a lower calorie alcoholic drink such as vodka and diet coke over wine will help save calories and I also hope to fit in at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. Despite not being able to afford a gym membership, a quick workout video from YouTube or a walk into town and back will do the job!

I will keep you posted on my progress and let you know how being a ‘healthier’ fresher is working for me. Until then, do let me know if you have tips of your own! I will also be posting cheap and healthy recipes so keep an eye out for them.