How to break the cycle of fear in habit formation

Recently we covered self care ideation and how there are practical and realistic ways to love yourself beyond the keywords and SEO. Today we will talk about aversion, procrastination and habit forming when it causes some fear response or avoidance behaviour. Being able to form new habits and behaviours is complex and difficult as it requires a lot of internal rewiring. So, we will start from the beginning of the process. We’ll talk about why this happens to begin with, what causes it and strategies to change it.

Why we do what we do?

There is no correct answer to this, as depending on the severity and context of the issue it can be one of many things. However, it all breaks down to one key thing – it is something that ultimately serves you. I’m reluctant to use the word benefits, as no one has depression or anxiety because it benefits them. In saying that, your brain is smart, and it tries to adapt to the environment and the chemicals it produces to function, even in states when it is not optimal.

But this isn’t an article about the chemical compositions of major and minor mental illnesses. It’s about habit formation, but it’s important to understand how these mental states can really affect your ability to form new habits for yourself, even if they are beneficial to you.

For instance, in my personal life I’m having a hard time keeping up with personal hygiene and other fundamental things to keep my body healthy. But my mind is so overwhelmed just existing right now that it’s just not prompting me to do things beneficial for my health. So, not showering – taking medication that involves touching myself or anything that requires an incision into my body. Even though I know – logically and emotionally that I need to take these medicines to be well.

It’s causing for me an adverse reaction. Even thinking about doing these things cause me a certain amount of physical anxiety and emotional strain. Thus, me not doing these things or thinking about them causes me to get that bit of a dopamine hit for not doing them as a reward. As far as my chemical body is concerned, it’s gotten me out of danger and therefore my body should be rewarded for running away from the reaction.

So it is now associating not taking my medicine and that running away from discomfort with a sympathetic chemical reaction.

This can work against us, chemicals in are body are impossible to reason with. They are the things that keep our body together and informs our bodies on what to do. If I continue this pattern of not taking my meds or fighting the urge to take my meds with success, it will only be harder to implement taking my meds because it’s chemically associating itself.

For me, avoidance is how these things manifest in me. For others, this can turn into something much harder to combat, which is fear or phobia. Have you ever wanted to do something so much that you ended up becoming just pure afraid of doing it or having any association with it? It doesn’t have to be anything to do with self care. It could be a fear of heights or spiders, which it is in my instance.

But what happens when you get to a stage where you are so anxious and upset around the thoughts of being in contact with things like water that you become hydrophobic? So, this makes drinking water, taking baths or showers far more complex. Fear increases the stress hormone cortisol in your system. If you have previously seen times like brushing your teeth or taking baths as something that was a relaxing activity but is now not sending those reassuring chemicals associated with calmness and relaxation and have been replaced with a stress response. This can be a challenging thing to overcome.

There are a few things you can do to change your associations around things that had been a source of relaxation and now cause you stress or anxiety.

Key among them is to be exposed to the thing you fear.

Exposure therapy in controlled situations is a well-researched tactic to combat some specific phobias. This does not mean that I’m telling you to jump into a pool to cure your hydrophobia! What you need is slow and controlled exposure in a way that you can incorporate it into your life without its existence being seen to your body and your mind as a threat.

A plan for treating hydrophobia and being able to work up to incorporate water-related activities into your life is by working on it step by step and this is something that needs to be done over months, not weeks or days. The risk of doing exposure therapy too quickly is that you end up building up that fear response instead of disarming it, which is what you want to do.

The goal is to reincorporate these instances into your life again like they have always been there are as little of a threat to you as a cushion you have on your sofa. Trust is a muscle. We build it up. It is understood or implicity given. For example, when you go to sit down on a chair you trust that the chair will support your weight and that you will not fall over because you’ve sat on chairs before and know what to expect. The same is what we’re trying to develop with building in a new habit or breaking free of something that doesn’t serve us.

In our instance with hydrophobia. For the first two weeks, all I’d want someone to do is to have a glass of water beside the fridge or bathroom. (Yes, even if you’re not cripplingly afraid of water) I’d want you to place it in a place where you go by it regularly in your day to day and you don’t have to interact with it. It can just be placed there without you really considering it and go about your days as normal.

That’s it. This is around changing the relationship of how we view something that threatens us. If we can prove to ourselves through non threatening exposure that things will not hurt us, that is the reassurance we’re giving to our mind and our bodies.

After a while, you’re not even going to notice it’s there. It will blend into the background, much like a piece of art on your wall. It’s just going to be there, and it’s all gravy.

When that happens, I want you to put another glass in another common place like your bathroom. You don’t have to interact with it; you don’t have to do anything with it. Just have it there and repeat the exercise till you feel you don’t even really notice its presence anymore.

How does this help me take a bath? You may be wondering. But much like all of this is manifesting for you didn’t just happen overnight similarly neither will the cure. You will build up your trust with a system is in place to help support you, and this should be a plan that you should curate as appropriate to your needs with the support of your personal support network.

This process has no timeline – it will take as long as it takes. But these are the foundations for changing your associations emotionally, physically and chemically to a phobia or habit that you are trying to change. Remember something key, emotion = motion.

If we can catch each other when we’re in a loop of emotions or frustration, we can change it by changing our state.

Tony Robbins goes into this a lot and this is because it physiologically changes what is happening in your body when you are feeling a set of emotions or doing something in a pattern.

An example I can give you is today. When I was writing up this article, I was just out of surgery and got diagnosed with another set of nasty stuff. It’s something I’m hoping to cover in another article, but I was ruminating a lot about Mark. There was a part of me that in some fairy tale imagined him being there when I woke up and that things would be ok. Then I started falling down the emotional rabbit hole of “what if he doesn’t come home” “I’m in so much pain and discomfort and I have no one here.” and I just was spiralling but at one stage I could catch myself and I stood up and at the top of my lungs I screamed NEXXXXXXT!!!!

And I felt better.

I could control and choose my state.

You can too. It doesn’t matter how able-bodied you are, whether or not you can stand. This is about changing your state, to change the chemicals in your brain from you keeping from patterning it out the way you normally do.

Mel Robbins (unrelated to Tony) deems this as pulling the emergency brake.

None of these responses are your fault, your body and brain do so much on autopilot that it has this in place for you because it’s trying to protect you from something. Or is making things as easy as possible for your daily brain to cope with it. But what is important to know is that through the right strategies and mechanisms you can control your life and make the changes you wish to see.

Should You Care? – Skincare!

I think it’s time to do something new! So, this will be a review/first impressions of my 20798_xlargetime using the Garnier Micellar Water. Now, I think anyone who’s anyone will have heard lots of this product by now! It is, of course, the Garnier Micellar Water. One of

The reasons why I was a little reluctant to try it was because what I’ve seen from other reviewers and Youtube Beauty peeps is that it’s a Makeup Remover. As you’ll all know, I’m not a makeup girl. Ain’t going to find any makeup tutorials on this blog I’m afraid!

In saying that though, I was running low on facial cleansers. So, it was time to think of a new cleanser to try out. No better time to go to my local Boots to try out something new. That’s where this Micellar water comes in! Right now, the 700ml bottle was only €7 in my local Boots.

So if you’re interested at all in checking it out for yourself you can find the Product Information here and the Boots link here. 

My Skin

You know the way you go to your local makeup store or high street shop, and you get asked the immortal question: “What’s your skin type?” Yes? Well, I don’t have one. My skin does whatever it damn well wants. If you have been following this blog for any length of time, you will know of my period and hormonal woes. That has played a role in my skins behaviour, so I am never without pimples. So I would define my skin as acne prone. Even though it is never overly oily or dry, I have noticed more recently that my skin needs to be exfoliated more and more. So, I’d suppose that would mean my skin is a little dry lately? But that could change by tomorrow!

First Thoughts

The application is seamless, its a cotton ball dipped in the product and rubbed it on my face. Right now, it does seem to be cleaning my face as when you wipe you’re facing you can see a bit of the dirt and the grime from your face. However, I have noticed that you can feel that it’s a little sticky afterwards, but it does pass after a while!

I’m doing a mini YouTube series on my experience of it you can find out about it here! So be sure to keep up on how I’m getting on with it there. If you have any questions or if there is anything you’d like me to test let me know in the comments below!

 

Couch to 5k – Week 2 Day 2.

My journey from couch to 5k.

Just finished week 2 day 1 of #C25K® on #Android with @c25kfree! #everymomentcounts #run #running #health #fitness #workout

Today was a good run. I wasn’t feeling it going out today, but I’m glad I went. I finally got my time under 10 minutes today. It wasn’t a solid run, but I didn’t think I could do the full 5 90 second jogs completely. Though I do feel like I’m making decent progress. Tomorrow is another walking day with Mark, so hopefully, I’ll be able to keep up a decent walking pace when it happens!

Couch to 5k – Week 2 day 1

My journey from couch to 5k.

Just finished week 2 day 1 of #C25K® on #Android with @c25kfree! #everymomentcounts #run #running #health #fitness #workout

Ok, today was super tough, I got cramps in my side and in my knee. So I  had to walk a little bit through some of the 90sec bursts. I did manage to beat my time overall again today, so I’m happy enough.

I think that may have had to do with the fact that I didn’t eat before I went out today, but I’ll be sure to keep an eye on it moving forward. I’m not certain if I need to do more stretches, but I do feel like I’m warning up solidly before going out for the run. Though it may just be one of those things.

An Easter Sunday Run

What I cooked for Easter Sunday and a running update.

Kit:

Shoes: Brooks Adrenaline GET 17.

Fitness Tracker: Fitbit Charge 2 HR

Top: F&F Active (To be replaced)

Bra: Reebok High Impact Z63962

Trousers: New Balance Impact Carpri DAF

Today was more of a walk than a run today, I didn’t manage to break any records or anything today. My pace was overall slower today as I’m taking a break from the couch to 5k and just did a 30 minute brisk walk today keeping a steady 5.6km/h.

When we came home, myself and Splintor cooked up a really nice dinner. We had some thin beef strips, we roasted some carrots, parsnips and potatoes then we sauteed off some mushrooms in some butter and olive oil.

Everything took 40mins to cook in total and I’ll give the instructions down below.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Carrot
  • 1 Parsnip
  • 4 small potatoes  (about the same size)
  • 150g of thin beef steaks
  • 50g of button mushrooms
  • Olive Oil
  • Teaspoon of butter
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Rosemary & Thyme

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180° while you’re getting everything prepared.
  2. Put a tablespoon of olive oil into a baking tin and pop it in the oven to let the dish & oil warm up while you’re preparing the potatoes
  3. With the skin on take the potatoes & generously coat them in olive oil, salt & pepper.
  4. With oven gloves remove your dish from the oven and place your potatoes in the tray and pop them back in the oven leave them for 40 minutes.
  5. Prep your carrots and parsnips by cutting them into equal sizes and covering them with olive oil popping them onto a oven tray for 20 minutes. (Drissling a little honey over them for the last 5 minutes is a nice touch)
  6. Bring your steaks up to room temperature and then coat them generously with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place them on a preheated skillet for 3 minutes total and let to rest for 3 minutes.
  7. Sauteé some mushrooms by cooking them in a pan with equal parts butter and olive oil for 5 minutes until a desired colour.

Day 3 week 1

My journey from couch to to 5k

Kit:

Shoes: Brooks Adrenaline GET 17.

Fitness Tracker: Fitbit Charge 2 HR

Top: F&F Active (To be replaced)

Bra: Reebok High Impact Z63962

Trousers: New Balance Impact Carpri DAF
Just finished week 1 day 3 of #C25K® on #Android with c25kfree! #everymomentcounts #run #running… https://t.co/gHP8kTh2H2
Ok, today was not easy. I feel like today while it was an improvement is also making me think I’m going a little too fast for just starting out. I’m not really too sure about the pace that I’m setting I think I might need to slow down a little bit in order to be more consistent overall.

I’m happy enough with the progress I made today, but I’m even happier with the purchase that I made today (which I tried on my run) which was a set of New Balance Running trousers. They have a pocket towards the back right side that is just big enough for your phone and your keys which is really useful. It’s also very well balanced. I don’t know what it is about it but I didn’t feel my phone on my run today. It really allowed me to focus on other things.

I will say this though, I really wish my Fitbit was able to change my music while I was running so I didn’t have to try and reach for it. After a while I didn’t bother but it is a little bit of an inconvenience. It’s something I’ll need to look into as I go on this journey.

But right now I’m gonna go enjoy the new episode of Attack on Titan and enjoy my dinner!

Beginners Guide To Battery Packs

This is a quick beginner guide as to what to look out for when you’re purchasing your first battery pack.

Technology. It’s great. You have an entirely digital world at your fingertips. From getting some much-needed work done at home or at the office to capturing those special moments when you’re out and about. If there is one thing we need to help us to stay on the pulse of things around us is power! This is a quick beginner guide as to what to look out for when you’re purchasing your first battery pack.

anker
Anker PowerCore+ mini 3350mAh

Battery Cases

So let’s start with our smartphones. By far these tiny glowing screens are one of the most used things in our modern lives, and the most complained about the problem with smartphones is battery life. Mophie aims to solve this issue with their charging cases, and these are some of the leading ranges of built-in battery packs. They cover a broad variety of devices from the latest iPhones to Samsung’s and HTCs. These cases are a perfect solution for those of us who need a little-added juice!

Battery Packs

Battery packs come in all shapes and sizes, but their purpose is the same. To keep you connected at a time when you need it most! Most battery packs won’t only charge your phone when you’re in a pinch. With the new opportunities that USB Type C introduces (A blog on this will be written soon so keep an eye out!), it’s time to actually start thinking about how these pockets full of power can be used to help you!

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There are two things you really need to know regarding battery packs which are what size do you need your battery pack to be and what are you charging?

MaH (MiliAmp Per Hour)

Most lipstick style chargers or smaller thinner chargers are only designed with a small battery pack in mind. Smaller chargers tend to be lighter and hold less charge than their bigger counterparts which can often weigh up to a pound! So always be sure to check to see if the battery pack you want is a proper weight for you to be carrying around with you. Always try and get a battery pack that has the charge capacity and form factor that suits your style best.

The Power of Charge

The second thing you need to keep in mind is Amperage or A, you’ll see this on most of the spec sheets you’ll see on your chargers or your technology. As a general rule of thumb (this certainly doesn’t apply to everything but its a good start) 1Amp is ideal for phones and portable games consoles. 2.1 amp is perfect for larger tablets, laptops and things that would have bigger batteries. Typically, think of 2.1 amp for things that would have the biggest

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Pearl: Compact Mirror + USB Battery Pack 3000mAh

battery. Not all chargers would have this as an option, so it is always best to check your options before you purchase any battery packs, so that it suits whatever your charging.  
So what do you think? Are there any battery packs that you swear by? Are there any tips and tricks that you’d recommend to others? Tell us about them in the comments below. Be sure to give this video a thumbs up if you liked what you saw, hit that subscribe button and share this blog on your favourite social media. Keep an eye out for the video version of this blog on our Should You Care – Youtube channel

Tech Bags for Women

As someone who carries a lot of tech with them, I am invariably torn by wanting a really nice bag vs something that I know will protect my kit. So standard issue black, executive laptop bags that will basically only hold that and nothing else. Doesn’t really cut it for me. But neither, does my trusty Coach Tote that I’ve had for years prior to this!

Update 1/2/17: Got an update from Pad & Quill about the process around creating leather totes.

The Problem as it stands

As someone who carries a lot of tech with them, I am invariably torn by wanting a really nice bag vs. something that I know will protect my kit. So standard issue black, executive laptop bags that will basically only hold that and nothing else. Doesn’t really cut it for me. But neither, does my trusty Coach Tote that I’ve had for years before this! Even with my MacBook Pro having a hard shell on it, it says nothing for the sake of my Vita, 3DS, Books, Lunch that has to go in on top of it!

That is what lead to me asking the question “Are there any tech bags out there for women?” and also led me to a followup question of “Why should people care about this?”. So, should you care about it? Absolutely! Everyone needs to protect their technology, and most people want to do it in a way that is not only convenient but fashion conscious. Letting people know that there are more options out there than just regular tote bags the more people options people can have for finding a bag that suits them!

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Michael Kors Studio Mercer Leather Tote

So let’s look at a quick use case, shall we? A lot of the bags that I see my friends and colleagues carry are Michael Kors. They have some breathtaking bags ranging from the $160 – $260+, and they’re awesome don’t get me wrong. But, I feel if you’re putting your laptop, purse, phone, etc. You’re going to, in most cases, be putting a lot of valuable stuff in your bag. So it makes sense that you’d want to protect them. Some of these bags aren’t designed with protective laptop spaces inside. So they aren’t ideal. But I can see the appeal of them, they’re super cute they’re known for being durable and reliable, and it has brand power.

The Solution

So I decided to ask around the mobile tech community for alternatives to this. Where you can get beautiful, functional, bags that will tick all those boxes? Of course, everyone has their own favourites that sometimes cost an awful lot less! Don’t worry, though, some of these bags aren’t just specifically for women, anyone can wear these bags. It’s all down to your personal style!

Juan Carlos Bagnell recommended STM and Booq. So we’ll start with Booq.

Booq

Booq aims to create high-quality products that can be worn by men and women alike, with

backpacks-daypack-clay-canvas-1_2048x2048
Booq – Daypack

No gender stereotyping. All bags are made from a ballistic nylon material and feature numerous compartments to ensure they are versatile for both men and women, for work and leisure. When I was talking to the lovely people of Booq, the rep who I was talking with recommended the Daypack as being one of her top picks. Just for the sheer versatility of the backpack. Booq takes pride in these bags being ethically sourced and environmentally conscious. So, this is always a big bonus for consumers who have that as a requirement!

STM

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STM – Deluxe Laptop Sleeve

STM’s Grace line was the brainchild of STM’s co-
Founder Andia Jacobs. The Grace
A collection
of women’s laptop bags and sleeves are a reflection of Adina’s design ethos of simple, elegant, and fun, now focused directly on a female customer. With a focus on slimmer and simpler products, you won’t find an extensive range nor should you expect to fit a mountain of gear in these sleeves. At the time of writing, there was one deluxe laptop sleeve, laptop sleeve and a clutch. However, the elegant design and form factor should be a must-see for anyone who likes to carry light.

Waterfield Design / Peralta

balani-backpack-taffeta-blue-front_grande
Peralta – Balani Backpack

Serenity Caldwell of imore recommends Padandquill and SF/Peralta. San Francisco’s
WaterField Designs, a veteran of locally-crafted bags and cases announces a new women’s handbag line—PERALTA. PERALTA’s debut bag, the Balani Backpack is designed to be multipurpose with a focus on a professional women’s’ everyday working life. As one of the only traditional backpacks on this list, it’s really worth a look if you’re interested in a classic twist on a traditional design.

Pad & Quill

When talking to the super people of Pad & Quill, they described their mission as a pure

7-brown-laptop-purse-and-tote
Pad & Quill – Laptop Tote

one. They want to make good art. Each of their bags bears the signature of the artisan who created it, and they have a warranty on their bags for 25 years. Leather bags like these tend to be more gender neutral, making it wearable for anyone. However, for those who don’t like backpack styles, they do have a tote version of their leather bag which has enough room in it to fit your tech with room to spare.

The leather totes are 100% full-grain leather! They are constructed with UV-resistant nylon stitching and solid nickel hardware, so the bags can easily stand the test of time. Instead of cutting a bunch of different pieces of leather and stitching them together, they use unique pieces. Less stitching means less chance of the bag falling apart after only a few years.
While they are not certified cruelty free, the leather we use does come from cattle who’ve lived cruelty-free lives. The leather producer/tannery purchase animals that are raised in beautiful pastureland. In our bags, you may notice slight scarring/marks. The cattle’s entire body gets used, from the hide to the meat, so that nothing to waste.
They also are committed to strong ethical practices in everything we do. The companies they partner with to produce and create our bags are as well. So for those who are a little bit concerned about where the leather comes from, this should help to alleviate some fears!

Timbuk2

Florence Ion recommends Timbuk2. Which, is a bag that I ended up getting from this list. They do a dedicated women’s line, which is some of the biggest that I’ve seen in my searching
the following for women’s bags. They have everything from messenger bags, backpacks, totes, duffle bags. So it’s really worth a look to see what fits your style. I got the Custom Prospect Laptop Messenger Bag, which I got in all

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Black with a blue trim and I adore it. My record so far for getting stuff in the bag is the following: my MacBook Pro, iPad Pro, Playstation Vita, Nintendo 3DS, 5 Hardback books, an umbrella, 2 ready meals, 2 ciabattas and some ham and cheese. This is along with all
of the random crap in the front pocket and the internal pocket which keeps things like medicines and other essentials. That’s an insane amount of stuff! And Yes. It was damn heavy. But never once on the 30-minute trek home from my local shopping centre was it ever actually uncomfortable. As heavy as the contents were the straps never once cut into me nor did I have to shuffle around any of the contents for better weight distribution. So needless to say, I can safely recommend going and looking at these collections of bags.

William J. Mills Inc & Brenthaven

However this I couldn’t possibly complete this segment without Michael Fisher aka

napthol_red_duck_duffel

MrMobile thoughts on the best tech bags. In his hometown, there’s a sailmaker called William J. Mills Inc., and they make his favourite companion bags of all time: the Classic Duffel. He’s had it for years, and he swears by it. However, for his present daily driver, he’s currently using the Brenthaven Collins Vertical Messenger Bag for the Surface Pro 4. You can find his thoughts on the bag in his Winter Wearables video so I won’t ruin any surprises for you! Both the duffle bags and the messenger bags all have a classic style about them, so could be a perfect fit for anyone.

Rounding Out

So what do you think? Are there any bags here that would make you ditch your daily driver? Do you have any recommendations for bags that didn’t make a list? Tell me about them in the comments below. All of the links to each of the bags and people I’ve mentioned today will be in the text above so be sure to check them out. Be sure to Like, Share and Subscribe if you liked this blog and be sure to check out the video version of this blog by checking out the Should You Care? Tech channel.

Brown Thomas: Restaurant Treat

Sorry for the lack of posts on this particular section; as I haven’t been eating a lot of food/skipping meals due to my sleep schedule. I find myself super lethargic during the day, and I’m not too sure what’s causing it.

Anyway Splinter and I decided that after a trip to the dentist we should treat ourselves (I also had to resist the urge to buy an ice cream making kit. There would be no such thing as moderation if I brought it home.)
Now while I don’t usually go for salads, and it was an expensive salad at that (€15) I was genuinely surprised how filling it was. Even now, several hours later I’m still full from my salad & don’t think I’ll be making dinner tonight!
It’s completely changed the way I’ve looked at salad & I’m a die hard fan of the phrase “if it’s not meat it’s not a meal.”

 

That’s what I had taken directly from the menu itself. I’ll place a link down below for anyone who wants to check out the menu for themselves.
Upon taking my first bite I had my reservations, it tasted extremely vinegary.
Once you started combining the textures & flavours of the bacon with the lettuce and pine nuts or the exceptionally well-cooked chicken (still remaining moist well after it was cooled) with the croutons and tomatoes. It became a harmonious melody of flavours and combinations that was always refreshing every time you took a bite and was brave with the taste changes.
The one complaint I’d have about it is that my palate may have been a little too confused. When I got to midway through my salad and had run out of a drink. I didn’t know what I should drink to complement the salad. I only didn’t know, which was unusual for me. I think it had to do with the flavour combinations that I was putting together where just one pairing may not have worked 100% of the time. But that’s a small enough gripe for something that was so substantial. Everything about the food was superb. 
 
For those who are interested Splinter had the steak and eggs with soda bread.
 

 

Now eggs are one of the things I cannot eat. I just don’t like the taste or smell of them, which arguably would make me a poor food critic but how and ever. I just think we all have things we don’t like.

I can happily inform you that the soda bread which I tried was incredible. Whoever does the baking in The Restaurant should be incredibly proud of themselves, it’s how proper soda bread should taste. Had all the pop flavour but yet was still rustic but soft. To me the personification of perfection.
Splinter also reports that the steak was “excellent” and the egg was “Epic, beautiful and funny as soon as I cut into it.
And I’m afraid that’s all the food critique you’ll ever get out of Splinter.
For those of you who frequent Dublin City regularly, and want a good meal for two without a massive price tag but doesn’t skip on quality: then we’d highly recommend The Restaurant. The atmosphere is very pleasant, the staff are warm, and the pricing is overall for the quality of the food you’re getting very reasonable. Including drinks, the food (including a side of fries for Splinter) it came to €46.