Rebecca at NASA

People who know me wouldn’t believe me when I say that I have an interest in space. I have visited the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida and have a done a lot of reading up on shuttle launches etc. So when I saw that the BBC had a new programme about people going through the astronaut selection programme I really was excited and watched in interest. As I was watching, I thought I wish I could have a go. Then I thought actually I could make my own so here is my no budget version of the BBC’s astronaut programme.

BBC Astronauts Do you have what it takes image of the contestants in blue uniform

Firstly a little bit about me, I am terrible at maths (I had to retake my GCSE!) I do have a degree in Geography (2:1) and I work in Marketing. So in this case I would already not be accepted onto the astronaut programme.

Hovering an helicopter

Since I have no budget (and I don’t think anyone would let me lose near one) I found an online game! I did quite well to be fair winching all the animals and people.

Reciting all the numbers

For this I decided to ask my partner to call out long string numbers that I didn’t know beforehand and stand up and down on a step on the stairs.

I did terrible I got the four digit number (I thought I’d better have a test try) but after five I failed miserably. I am not surprised really since numbers are not my strong point.

Staying enclosed in a small space for 20 minutes

For this I decided to shut myself in my downstairs cupboard amongst the skis and shoes. I came out at 16 minutes and 55 seconds and was really chuffed with that. I didn’t count in my head or anything like that I just thought about the latest book I had just finished and what I was having for tea and things like that. I didn’t feel claustrophobic.

Putting a syringe in my arm and drawing blood

I did draw the line at drawing my own blood! So I found this awesome game online where it was like operation, so I decided to play it. I played the heart surgery game and it was quite cute.

Saying one thing I regret

This was something I found hard and didn’t want to film it. I guess my biggest regret (which is nothing really in the grand scheme of things) was not picking the right A-Levels.

The Beep Test

One challenge I did at school! I measured out my garden and it was 10m long. I thought I may have a good chance at this as I am fairly fit. However I was awful, I only managed to get to level… 2.2!

I hope you enjoyed reading my blog on the first episode of the Astronauts: Do you have what it takes programme. I am looking forward to the second one. What did you think of the programme?

 

Podcasts I listen too

A little while ago I wrote about four podcasts that I listen too. Today I am back with four more cracking podcasts I also listen too.

Radiolab

When I was reading my previous blog post, I was surprised I didn’t include this the first time round. Radiolab, produced by WNYC studios and presented by Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich. It is show that pulls together science, story telling, history and music in one compelling podcast. I originally found this podcast googling interesting podcast’s to listen too and some of the stories that are told are truly fascinating. Shows in the series that are worth listening too include Null and Void, Heneritta Lacks, Seneca, Nebraska and The Girl Who Doesn’t Exist.

Page 94, the Private Eye Podcast

I am a sucker for satire and Page 94 the Private Eye Podcast fills the gap nicely. Private Eye is a British political satirical magazine (think Have I Got News For You) and focuses on current British topics. It is not every week unfortunately but the back episodes are well worth a listen.

Radiolab presents More Perfect

Another WNYC production (I am not being sponsored by them, promise!) this show is about the Supreme Court in America and how this group makes the decisions that affect people’s lives. It is fascinating to learn about the American justice system and how they come to these decisions. Episodes worth a listen include Adoptive Person V Baby Girl, The Political Thicket and Object Anyway.

BBC Radio 5live – Flintoff, Savage and the Ping Pong Guy

I quite like Freddie Flintoff and watch League of their Own and Lord of the Fries and my partner recommended this. This podcast presented by Matthew Syed an ex English number 1 table tennis player talks about current issues in sport but with a psychological edge. I have listened to this and I enjoyed the honesty that Robbie Savage and Freddie talk about. Their mental health podcast in particular being honest about matches their team mates were playing and they weren’t and they wanted that team to lose because if they won they wouldn’t be part of this. Is so raw because I do not think anyone would admit to that.

Do you have any podcast’s that you would recommend?

 

Do vloggers and bloggers really influence what we buy

All of these products above was purchased through recommendations by vloggers on YouTube

Unless you have been living under a rock in the last five years then you will know that blogging and vlogging is big business. It is not just the earnings from YouTube and sponsored advertisements but bloggers and vloggers releasing their own lines is now big, from Zoella and her books and beauty products to Hannah Witton’s book tour. Today I am exploring whether bloggers and vloggers really influence what you buy.

I have been watching vloggers for years since about 2011. Back in the day I loved Zoella, Fleur de Force and The Anna Edit (when she was Vivanna does makeup!). But as I grew older I discovered Lucy Moon, Emtalks and Hannah Witton and then I moved onto other things. These days I don’t watch YouTube but I still read blogs quite regularly and I follow a lot of bloggers on Twitter and Instagram mainly.

I personally felt that in the earlier days my make up choices did start to become influenced by Youtube. I brought the Urban Decay Naked Palettes and primer potion because of them. Physicians Formula Happy Booster blusher I just fell in love with the packaging after seeing it in a Tanya Burr video and couldn’t wait to buy them in the states (event though when I got them I was just disappointed). I wanted Nars and MAC but couldn’t justify the money buying them. If I wanted some new make-up I wouldn’t purchase a product until I had YouTubed it to death.

Recently with vloggers and bloggers releasing lines I certainly felt invested in them in someway. I brought Hannah Witton’s book and even went to her book tour at the Glee Club in Birmingham, I brought Emma Gannon’s and Dana Fox’s books. The only reason why I didn’t buy Zoella’s beauty range was because I didn’t like the scent! It seems like I am not the only person who feels invested in buying products with Zoella’s beauty product at Superdrug shifted 70,000 units in its first month alone and her book broke the record for highest first week sales for a debut author.

Think with Google reported that 68% of YouTube users watch YouTube to help make a purchase decision and information seeking is one on the top three reasons why people go on YouTube. So to sum up young people with high disposable incomes with access to the internet creates the perfect recipe for high end purchases to be made.

Additionally, the culture has changed as well. I remember back in 2012 browsing Guru Gossip and finding that people really despised those bloggers and vloggers that accepted payment to plug products. Today this is the point that wannabe bloggers and vloggers inspire to get to.

These days I still look to twitter and Instagram for inspiration for clothes, make up and interior design and don’t see myself stopping anytime soon. Have you ever brought products because a blogger/ vlogger has recommended them?

 

A few months ago I went to Warsaw in Poland which I really enjoyed. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to go back and visit Krakow instead for a few days.

What I ate

Pierogi

As soon as we got to our airbnb we were starving and it was getting late. So first thing  was a trip to the old square to see what restaurants were around. We went to Restauracja Haelka that specialised in Polish cuisine, I had pierogi (which is a traditional polish dish) that are essentially dumplings filled with either meat, cheese, potatoes (I had cheese and potatoes in mine). It was gorgeous.

I also went to this restaurant called Mamma Mia Wloska Restauracja which specialises in Italian cuisine. My tour guide for Auschwitz recommended the place for its stone cooked pizza and since I love pizza we thought to give it a go. I had the Spinaci a Capra which is mozzarella cheese, goats cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach and garlic.  I wish I had taken a photograph of it but the mobile phone had gone dead!

U Babci Maliny

U Babci Maliny was a treat. Situated inside what is a University (it really is hidden away) the decoration was really kitsch. It was like walking into Grandma’s house with walls with photographs of the owner posing with lots of celebrity boxers! It sold cheap polish food, certainly a place you thought was for the locals!

What I saw

Auschwitz-Birkenau

I have always wanted to visit Auschwitz as I have an interest in the Second World War and have been to hundreds of museums and read lots of books and watched lots of documentaries. As I was walking around it is very humbling. The room where all of the hair was that had been cut and the piles of shoes were two chilling exhibits.

Museum of Poland under Communist Regime

Museum of Poland under Communist Regime

I am interested in communist history, therefore when I googled and found this museum located in the Nowa Huta district, I knew I had to visit. The district itself is interesting as it was built after World War Two specifically for the threat of a nuclear attack. Hence wide gaps between buildings with trees to slow down the effect of a nuclear fall out (as if that would work). It meant that lots of buildings were built with nuclear bunkers including the Museum which is situated inside an old cinema. The displays are in English as well as polish and were really interesting with lots of exhibits from family members giving their momentos and the stories that came with them.

Wieliczka Salt Mines

Originally I wasn’t planning on going to the salt mines but it came with the Auschwitz tickets. Wieliczka is a national monument and famous for being one of the oldest salt mines producing table salt continuously until 2007 and has many statues and  four chapels which were carved by the salt miners inside. To go down the mine you had to walk down these very steep wooden stairs which if you were to fall would be a bit scary. The main chapel called St Kinga’s with the chandelier looked incredible.

St Mary's Church, Krakow

Old Market Square

Krakow has an old town square which has been given UNESCO World Heritage Status. St Mary’s Basilica Church is situated just of the square and is stunning. There are plenty of things to do in the square and you can take a horse and cart around the square if you want to.

So that is what I got up to in Krakow, have you been to Krakow? Let me know your thoughts.

 

 

Hey everyone,

After a two week break (I have been on my jollies!) I am finally back with a new post.

A few weeks ago USN* very kindly contacted me and sent me through loads of their new products to try out. being a fitness fanatic myself of course I couldn’t wait to try them out. I knew USN as a brand through cycling as Emily Kay one of GB’s cyclists used to be on their cycling team years back. I also like USN’s ethos of #challengeyourself and it is especially fitting for me as although I regularly exercise I haven’t focused on my diet too much but since I am trying to tone up it has come at the perfect time.

As I have only had about two weeks testing ( I have been away for two weeks) today is going to focus on the taste of the products and how I have found them so far. At the end of the month I will focus on the if I have noticed any changes in the way I perform as I get ready for the Cannock Chase 10k and will have a long stretch of training with no holidays!

Tub of USN BCAA Power Punch

USN Core Series BCAA+ Power Punch

Admittedly, this was the product I was dreading trying the most. I am not keen on blue raspberry myself and it took a good week after I was trying everything else to face up to it. I even brought some Vimto to dilute the taste if needed! The taste is surprisingly good, it reminds me of those bubblegum lollies I used to eat when I was a kid. Although I will finish the product through testing I prefer BCAA in a tablet form so I can drink less fluid.

USN B4 Burn

B4 Burn Thermogenic Pre-Workout

I love, love, LOVE this product, I was sent the pink lemonade flavour and it tastes so good! I use it just before workouts to help increase my energy through workouts. It says to drink it half an hour before, but I found it to be too strong and felt sick half way through the circuit session. Therefore now I drink it up to an hour before.

USN Whey Protein

USN Essentials Dynamic Whey

I use whey so was most confident with this product. I usually use the Hi5 Whey as I like the taste (although I did love the USN Pro Recover Chocolate flavour however it seems as if they have discontinued it) so I was interested in seeing if it beat Hi5. Unfortunately as first I was gutted, it was a choir to get down my throat and was dreading having another 20 servings to get through me. However I seemed to have got used to the taste so it isn’t as bad now.

All of the above products came with a scoop in the tub/ packet which is super handy.

USN Creatine

USN Creatine Micronized Powder

I had never come across Creatine before so after a Google I found out that it helps in increasing the intensity of the workout which will help increase muscle mass. As I am also cutting out carbohydrates this means I am losing energy. Creatine helps with offsetting this.  Win – Win! It is tasteless, which is great as I am going to add it with water and drink it throughout the day at work.

USN Metal Pink Shaker

USN Stainless Steal Shaker

I already had a shaker that I brought myself from USN however this one is just lush. The metal means it is less likely to break than the plastic shakers. It was a welcome relief when I was exercising in the hot weather to pour cold water in the metal with the shaker helping keep my hands cool.

USN Plastic Shaker

USN Plastic Pink Shaker

A smaller version of my plastic blue shaker, there is not much I can say about it myself other than it is a tough durable shaker.

Have you tried USN products? What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!

  • I was very kindly sent these products by USN to review. All opinions are my own.