Thursday, 19 October 2017

Szczecin, Poland Vlog & Photo Diary

I've always loved travelling and exploring new places. A few months ago we decided to book a cheap trip away to Szczecin, Poland for a few days not really knowing much about what was there to see or do. Even though I normally like to plan everything out before booking it, I have no regrets about picking cheap flights to a random place and just going with it. The town turned out to be a really nice place to visit, with a picturesque river and some interesting architecture. Getting to learn more about the war by exploring the tunnels used to take shelter many years ago was an eye-opener into what people went through. I tried to capture some of what I saw, both in the photos below and the vlog at the bottom of the post. Laura has some other photos of our trip which you can see in her post.


Monday, 16 October 2017

MYNT Smart Item Tracker & Remote Review

Losing items is something I'm rather good at, particularly putting down the essentials such as my phone, wallet and keys. Bluetooth trackers are becoming a lifesaver for these situations and mean you may never lose anything important again. MYNT have created a smart item tracker (£18.99)* that can be attached to literally anything you want, whether this is your wallet, keychain, laptop, remote, child's clothing or even to use it as a pet tag. This tracker has a very sleek and elegant design and looks a lot more expensive than it actually is. It's only 1/8th inch thick, 2 inches in length and 1 inch wide. 

Even with its small size, it's still packed full of features that can make your life a whole lot easier. Separation phone alert will give your phone a real-time notification when it leaves a preset area so you can be alerted before you get a chance to lose your item. This function is a step up from just being able to see where your item is after you've already lost it. Separation location allows you to see where your item is and lets you follow directions using the map to be reunited with your possessions. 

The distance indicator will make it quicker to find your stuff and prevent you stressing about getting it back. Being able to track your items from your phone is great, but what happens when you lose your phone? The MYNT tracker is a bi-directional anti-loss device that can be used to locate your phone. Long pressing the button on the MYNT will make your phone ring to help you get it back, probably from the back of the sofa or at the bottom of your bag. Alternatively, whichever item you've tagged will allow you to ring the tracker from your phone and can quite easily manage multiple devices all in the smartphone app.

Additional options on the MYNT tracker let you use it as a camera remote, music remote or even as a presentation clicker. Some extras that are supplied are the tracker loop, a keyring, a spare battery and a couple of adhesive pads for when you want to attach it to solid items. I've loved using this tracker and playing around with all its great features. My favourite function at the minute is the separation phone alert as it prevents me leaving the house without my valuables. I can definitely see myself investing in more of these in the future to tag up multiple items so I can keep track of all the important things I own. 

*Post contains a PR Sample.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Hofmeister Beer Review & Giveaway

Hofmeister has recently relaunched their beer after it disappeared a number of years ago. Back in the 80's it was a 3.2% ABV pale lager that was produced by Scottish Courage. It was well known due to its famous Bavarian 'George The Bear' and the slogan 'For great lager, follow the bear'. This lager was available until 2003 when it was axed by Heineken who owned the brand back then. After 13 years, Hofmeister returned last year having been turned into a 5% ABV Helles lager, that is slow-brewed by a fourth generation family-owned brewery on the edge of Ebersberger Forest in Bavaria, Germany.

The new lager is owned and run by drinks industry veterans Spencer Chambers and Richard Longhurst and has taken a lot of painstaking work to bring it back from the dead. It's brewed and crafted according to the 1516 Reinheitsgebot Beer Purity Law, with Hofmeister believing that their Bavarian Helles is the best lager that you can get your paws on. Made using natural mineral water and locally grown barley and hops, this lager is 'subtly hoppy and a gently carbonated Helles. If you fancy picking up some of your own, you can get it here

I've tried a number of different beers over the past few years including a variety of German beers. At 5%, this beer is on the weaker side for German beers, however, that doesn't mean it's a bad thing. I found Hofmeister to be a really easy drinking beer that wasn't too overpowering. It's got a slightly sweet taste to it and combined with the slight carbonation makes it a pleasantly refreshing drink. Hofmeister would be a perfect beverage to enjoy with a meal, and it worked particularly well with the BBQ that I had mine with.


If you fancy getting your hands on some of your very own Hofmeister, then check out my competition on Twitter below to enter and be in with a chance of winning. The prize will include a 12 pack of Hofmeister Helles Beer, Two Hofmeister Beer Glasses, a Hofmeister Bar Blade and a pack of Hofmeister branded beer mats. Please see T&Cs below.

Terms and Conditions

UK entries only. Must be over 18 to enter and be willing to prove your age. Ends 17th September at 10pm. Prize items listed above in competition section. No cash alternative. Winner will be notified on Twitter. Hofmeister will be sending the prize out to the winner. To enter, must be following both @amsblog & @hofmeister_beer and retweet the tweet above.

This post contains PR samples.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Popsockets | Are They Worth It?

I've seen a lot of people talking about Popsockets and I first thought they would be a bit of a gimmick. I mean, why would you need something stuck to the back of your phone to help you hold it? Even though my phone, an iPhone 6S, isn't huge I do tend to rest it on my little finger when holding which can result in it feeling a little sore after a while so much so that I have a slight curvature to my finger which seems to be known as 'smartphone pinky'. Popsockets are designed to be a grip/stand or to be used as an earphone management system. After reading about them a little more I decided to give it a go and order one to test it out which even prompted Laura to want one too, hence the pink sparkly one above. I also ordered a mount for the Popsocket which I'll talk more about below.

The Popsocket simply sticks to the back of your phone or phone case and is so simple to put on. Simply pull the back and it 'pops' out to one of two heights as you can see above. I use it fully pulled out and have actually found it much easier to hold my phone, partly due to the fact that you can get a solid grip without worrying about dropping it. This comes in particularly useful when laying in bed and not dropping my phone onto my face, which I'm sure many of you will have done at some point. Priced at £9.99 for the ones I got, I thought it was decent value for money as they should be something I get a lot of use from.

Depending on the design on the back, the prices do vary slightly. You can choose from a number of pre-created styles or you can create your own uploading an image. Repositioning of the Popsocket it easy enough, you just need to peel it off and then apply in the desired position. If it loses its adhesiveness then a quick rinse in water will get it sticky again. Using these as a stand could come in useful, particularly if you watch a lot of videos on your phone or even tablet. Those with a larger device could use a couple of them to make holding or standing it easier. I haven't bought any yet to use with my iPad but have been considering it.

As I mentioned above I also bought a mount for the Popsocket which is designed to allow your phone to be mounted anywhere you want. The main use for me will be in the car so I can securely have the phone on the dashboard which will come in handy when using my phone as a Sat Nav. You could also stick it to the wall or window if you needed your phone for displaying something while still having your hands free. I got this for £6.99 on offer but even at the full price of £9.99, it's still good value if you compare it to car phone holders. Overall, I would recommend trying out a Popsocket, especially for those who are constantly on their phones. For the price, I think you are getting a very handy accessory that may change the way you use your phone. If you tend to use your phone as a Sat Nav, then I'd also go for the mount as the perfect way to mount your phone in the car.


Monday, 28 August 2017

Cranes Cider Review

Cider has become my favoured drink as it's easy drinking and packed full of flavour. Having a cool fruity drink is perfect for the summer months so I was excited when Cranes asked if I'd like to test out some of their ciders. Cranes Cranberry Cider are brewed by founders and twin brothers Ben and Dan. After finishing university, they reunited and formed the brand Cranes. Eight months later with a lot of hard work, their recipe was finally finished and ready for production. The brand name came from the twins dad doing a little research to find out that Cranberries used to be called 'Crane-berries'.

Creating the cider comes from brewing the finest cranberries with apples to make the refreshing naturally light cider that comes in three different flavours: Cranberry & Lime, Blueberry & Apple, and Raspberry & Pomegranate. Cranes Ciders have 30% fewer calories compared to brand leaders, which is made possible by utilising the sweetness of the fruit without being full of sugar. If you fancy picking up your own ciders, you can head over to the Cranes website where you can get a 12 pack of 500ml bottles for £27.60. 

Seen as we've had some lovely weather over the bank holiday, it only seemed right to head out in the sun and set up a BBQ. Having the Cranes Ciders cooling in the fridge meant that they were the perfect accompaniment to the rounds of burgers and chicken. I found them to be a lighter taste than other ciders I've had before which meant they were super refreshing and worked really at the BBQ. Each of the ciders are variations of cranberry cider and all have their own attributes, with some being slightly sweeter than the others. If you enjoy fruity ciders, then I would definitely recommend giving some of the Cranes Ciders a try!

*This post contains PR Samples.


Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Getting Into Uni Through Clearing | Northumbria University

It's that time of year when many people are waiting for their exam results and will be keen to find out where they're heading off to university. I can't believe it's five years since I was in that position, it seems to have absolutely flown by. I had the pleasure of attending Northumbria Uni, in Newcastle, studying Geography BSc (Hons) for three years until I graduated back in 2015. Even though it's been a couple of years since I finished, I still feel like I've only just left. Different universities will often have a dedicated clearing web page, such as the Northumbria University Clearing Page and a clearing app that you can use to keep up to date in the run up to, and on results day. To download Northumbria's clearing app, just search 'Clearing Guide 2017' in the App Store. Personally, I found that being at uni was one of the best life experiences I could have as it put me in a more independent position where I had to 'fend for myself'' as it were. Having time to reflect on my time there has been good, as when I look back now I realise I managed to grow as a person and gained so many useful skills that I now use in my graduate role. 

Northumbria University is based in the heart of Newcastle which I found to be great for going into the city centre. My course had a mix of lectures, seminars, tutorials and practical based sessions. I found the content really interesting and the different assignments actually helped me to learn key knowledge and skills. There were a number of field trips as part of this course ranging from a weekend in Berwick Upon Tweed, in Northumberland, to a week in Tenerife. I found the uni gym super handy as it was located next to all of the other buildings so I could go in-between lectures. It's worth checking out as they have loads of equipment and a range of membership options to suit different needs and budgets. For accommodation, I opted for Glenamara House which was a 7-room flat with two communal bathrooms, sinks in each room, and a communal kitchen. This was a good middle ground between price and location and was perfect for the first year with new flatmates. Like all the uni's accommodation, it's within walking distance of the campus and they guarantee all new students accommodation, including those going through Clearing. 

Newcastle is known for having great nightlife as there are so many venues and events, you should never be short of choice for a night out. If you fancy exploring the city at other times of day it's worth heading down to the quayside as it has some nice views and looks particularly photogenic at night as you can see above. If you think you could see yourself at Northumbria University, this info below should help you understand the everything about clearing. 

Eligibility for Clearing Process

You don't hold any offers, either firm or insurance, from your initial UCAS applications.
You applied after 30th June.
You do not have a confirmed place from your firm or insurance course. 
Have declined all of your choices or been declined by default.
Have not withdrawn your application. 
Have paid the full application fee of £23. 

If you have only made a single choice on your original application, you can pay £11 to apply to other uni's through clearing. A Clearing Number will automatically be given to you by UCAS if you are eligible, just use your UCAS Track account. 

Getting Yourself Accommodation

If you are worried about getting a place to live when going through clearing then don't worry, Northumbria Uni will guarantee you accommodation for all first-year students. They have over 5000 bedrooms in a mix of residence types including both budget friendly and en suite options which are all nice and close to the campus. The uni works with referral partners to make sure every student that comes through clearing will have a somewhere to live arranged for them. 

Applying Through Clearing

The only way to apply to Northumbria through clearing is to call their Clearing Helpline on: 0800 085 1085. A few things to know before you ring up:

You must call up yourself, unfortunately, it can't be your friends or family ringing on your behalf. 
Have your UCAS personal ID number and Clearing number to hand.
Know the UCAS code and title for the course you want to apply for. 
Have your qualification details ready, including your GCSE's and others.
Be prepared to talk to the admissions tutor about why you are choosing your course. 
Have a pen and paper by your side to write down any important details. 
Have some questions that you may want to ask to help you make the decision. 

I hope that this post has made it a bit easier to understand the process around clearing and made you think about checking out the options for Northumbria Uni. I've done a few other posts in my Uni Series which could be useful for those of you either thinking about or already in uni. Good luck to those of you getting your results on Thursday!

*This is a sponsored post

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Globenfeld Seal Grey Chronograph Watch Review

The Globenfeld Seal Grey Chronograph Watch is priced at £149.00 and has an understated modern design which will be a great addition to any outfit. The first thing I noticed when I opened the box was the width of the face which, at 46mm, is on the larger size. It's great for someone like me who has a large wrist and prefers a bigger watch. Weighing in at 77 grams, it's got a solid feel to it without being too cumbersome. I love the combination of jet black and grey face with the tachymetre outer ring in black and silver. A date window integrated into the face makes for easy viewing, while the white hands stand out nicely which is finished off with the distinctive red second hand. A stopwatch with 3 dials gives you an option to accurately capture timings. All of this is protected by the scratch resistant glass that should withstand prolonged use.

Being contained in this neat watch box makes it perfect if you were giving it as a gift or even for those who like to keep their watches stored safely when not in use. It has two magnetic closures that open up to reveal the watch in its padded presentation box. The crowns and textured bezel are a good size and easy to operate and match the solid build of the watch. 

The leather strap is 22mm in width and sits nicely on your wrist to ensure it's comfortable, while still giving the watch the finishing touch of class. I think my favourite part about the rear of the watch is their logo on the silver plate which gives it a completely unique look. White stitching along the inside of the strap works well with the tan colour. 

This watch could be worn in different situations, whether you want it for sports use to make use of the timing function, a more formal option for the smarter looks or even to complement a casual outfit, the Globenfeld Chronograph would be great for any of these. I can definitely see myself wearing it at work with a shirt and tie as I think it will be a nice addition to my outfit. I'd say the watch is fairly well priced for its features and looks and could be suitable for anyone looking for their first watch or one to add to their collection.

*Post contains PR sample.

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