Eat – Exercise – Pin – Read – Listen – Watch #2

I’m back and I’m bad. (At keeping the regular posts. I’m very sorry!) First thing’s first, I’ve moved over to the world of WordPress, so the theme is looking a little rudimental right now, bear with 😉 Bye for now Blogspot!

Thinking about what I wanted post, whilst taking (an extended) study break, I was flicking through my archive and found the first post of this series back in May. It’s now a new season, new food in my belly, new televisual goodness on the tv, and so I thought that I’d come back with round 2..

Eat – Coincidentally, I just bought a packet of leeks this morning – the same ingredient which I raved about in my first post, which was an additional ingredient to my homemade sweetcorn soup! Since getting back from the gorge-fest of Christmas, I’ve been back to eating really well, so plenty of fresh tomatoes, broccoli and greens have been going down a treat.

This month I’ve had several meals with buckwheat semolina from Lidl as my “carbohydrate,” which come in handy 100g boil-in-a-bag pouches. The first time I cooked with it I consumed the whole thing and was left bursting at the seams, but split in half and with a good helping of veg, your belly is kept satisfied. I also bought a bag of dates today as a *treat* and what I would do for a blob of peanut butter dolloped on top of those…

Exercise – Aaah exercise. My old friend. This time last year I was working out 4-5 times a week, this year it’s been slackened to about half that. I’d like it to blame it on early starts for the library and not wanting to wash my hair everyday, but of course that ole foe laziness plays a part too 😉 The workouts I have been doing however include the faithful FitnessBlender duo, and Joe Wicks’ TheBodyCoachTV. As well as still wanting to lose body fat in general, I’m really interested in core strength this time round, and can already see sliiight definition. When the lighting’s right… ..Before breakfast…

Pin – I’ve been really enjoying Pinning recently! As ever, there are plenty of foodie posts going up, a mix of the ultra healthy to don’t-feed-me-for-a-month heavenly creations. I keep stumbling across great websites, bloggers and Instagrammers who have created brilliant, simple recipes. I’m desperate to try this Unami Fennel Beef Ragu and this highly rated Butter Chicken recipe. 

I’m also pretty happy with how my Interiors Board is going. Lots of bright, airy spaces filled with foliage, wooden features and blue hues – are you an avid Pinner too?

Read – As mentioned in the first post, I don’t really read fiction/for-pleasure at uni, however, some nights I close the laptop early, and read just a few pages at a time of a free eBook I got ages ago on my Kindle. It’s the first in the Farseer trilogy; ‘Assassin’s Apprentice,’ something I probably wouldn’t read if I had picked it up in paper-form. I’m still in the early stages where Fitz is just a young boy, but am really enjoying it! The imagery is brilliant at whisking me away to a bustling coastal settlement that just makes me yearn for the sea and its scents, sights and sounds so badly.

Listen – I’m not a podcasts or audiobook kinda gal, but the songs that I keep hitting repeat on are Jasmine Thompson’s Like I’m Gonna Lose You, and Brandy’s Right Here (Departed). Both pretty emotional in different ways, but lovely listens that make even me sing ’em out loud and proud. – Sorry flatmates!

Watch – One word: Dickensian. Are you hooked too? I can’t really keep up with when the 30mins episodes are aired, but yesterday I consumed 3 episodes back-to-back. It’s a clever concept of intertwining characters from various Dickens’ stories such as The Old Curiosity Shop, A Christmas Carol and Oliver Twist, who all cross paths with Inspector Bucket’s investigation of who killed Jacob Marley (Scrooge’s partner.) You don’t have to be familiar with the plots of the books, and it isn’t overwhelming in terms of the amount of characters and subplots. Catch it on iPlayer now!

My beloved Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast is back in full swing too over on Channel 4, and in keeping with food, the hilarious The Great Sport Relief Bake Off. Television’s never been better. 

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So what has you glued to the screen? What song is constantly on loop in your head, and what are you making for your dinner tonight?!

TTFN, P x

 

Healthy* Festive Food Delights 2

Happy first day of Advent!
Ok, so you skimmed over my last post and want to go all out cholesterol-conscious this year instead. I get it, the health and fitness industry is booming, and we’re reminded everyday how sugar, meat, dairy, gluten are gradually ruining our bodies and the environment. To keep trim and ever so slightly smug over the Christmas period then, feel free to indulge in these healthy recipes that don’t scrimp on flavour and flamboyance:

Christmas Mains + Starters:

Herbed Wild Rice and Quinoa Stuffing – KitchenTreaty.Com

Vegan/Vegetarian Dinner Alternatives:

Root + Nut Traybake – Realfood.Tesco.com
Mushroom, Chestnut and Cranberry Tart – JamieOliver.com

Christmas Pudding:

  • GF, Vegetarian Christmas Pudding The perfect way to still enjoy the traditional Christmas tradition, catered to your dietary needs!
  • Lighter Christmas Pudding Not vegan, but a healthier alternative that doesn’t compromise on flavour or spectacle.
  • GF Apple Christmas Cake A lighter offering than the aforementioned Christmas puds, this should go down a dream.
  • Winter Pudding Bombe This is pictured below. Just look at it! The heavy stodge of its traditional sibling has been replaced by ice-cream, and that sounds just fine to me.
Winter Pudding Bombe – JamieOliver.com

[Vegan/Vegetarian/GF] Pudding Alternatives:

Chocolate Chip Cookie-Dough Blizzard – OhSheGlows.com

Will you be going for the healthier alternatives this year? Maybe it’ll mean you can devour a whole selection box for breakfast guilt free.. Or maybe not.

TTFN, P x

Festive Food Delights 1

I haven’t forgotten about you oh little blog! The pace and pressure of fourth year is well and truly under way, but I’ll always have time to squeeze in a post. 
If mentioning the C-word [Christmas] was frowned upon in previous weeks, I feel I can freely shout it from the rooftops now, as advent begins next Tuesday! My Christmas playlist is currently playing, I’ve just had a nosy at Paperchase’s divine decorations collection, and the temperature outside is plummeting, pronto.

All in all then, I feel my first festive themed post is due; a neat round-up of the recipes I’m wishing I was making, and dreaming I was eating. This week’s recipes have gone all out, rum-lit blazing, and are stupendously gluttonous. Put away the spiraliser til at least January 2nd, pop the chia seeds in the pantry, and treat yourself to some of these delights I’ve handily collated for you:

Breakfast


Maple Pecan Cinnamon Rolls – Bakingdom.com

Christmas Dinner

Stuffing

Christmas Pudding

  • Classic Christmas Pudding Only in the last two or three years have I truly enjoyed Christmas pudding. If you use a great recipe and good quality fruits, the dry mouth and overwhelming richness will be a thing of the past.
  • Celebrity Chefs’ Recipes Check out Eliza Acton’s and Nigel Slater’s for the 5/5 rated recipes.
pssst. Next week’s post includes healthier + vegetarian alternative pudding recipes

Classic Christmas Pudding – BBCGoodFood.com

Alternative Desserts


Mincemeat 


Soups

Leftovers


..And if in doubt, shovel everything into a large bap and have pop the dishes in the sink for soaking.

Roast Chicken With Maple Syrup, Figs and Farro – Telegraph.co.uk

Round-Up Lists:

Keep your eyes peeled for posts on healthy alternatives and beverages guaranteed to warm the cockles of your heart..

TTFN, P x

Fitness Update #2 Inspiring Instagrams

I’ve only just got a brand new phone which finally allows me to use a fully-functioning Instagram account. I’m yet to actually post anything, as it is a sort of terrifying prospect being so late to the party, but I’ve had an account where I can follow people and see what is posted daily for some time now. And it’s been great. Amongst the makeup madness and enticing interiors shots, there are a lot fitness fiends’ hot-bods, and endless bird’s eye view photographs of deliciously nutritious dishes of food on my Home feed.  
Like I said in my previous #1 post, when you witness good things, you want to go on and create your own good things. Beginning with people themselves, I find a mixture of trainers and generally beautifully-bodied people help provide motivation for reaching the level of fitness I aspire to have. I will probably never have highly ripped abs, or indeed a year-round golden glow, but the posts provide escapism and a positive influence for those lazy days we all have..

The Fitness Fiends 

Body By SimoneThe latest account I decided to follow. Formerly a dancer; Simone is a fitness instructor who holds exercise classes based in dance, but also provides programmes for you to purchase yourself. I am yet to buy any workout plan, or invest in a personal trainer, but her Instagram is jam-packed with short clips of high intense dance-workouts which you can easily. and freely, take inspiration from. I’m weirdly feeling like I need to belt “Sistaaaas, are doing it for themselves.” So there we go, I just did.

FGC’s Instagram has such a wide variety of images, largely consisting of meals and snacks created, and the Fit Girls working out, with a good all-round mixture of everything you need to feel properly motivated. Their blog however, is where the juicy goodness is really at. With recipes, fitness routines and articles on global Fit Girls, it is a brilliant resource that I highly recommend you to read!

Who hasn’t heard of Kayla Itsines these days? The Australian bronzed babe is motivating and transforming hundreds, probably thousands of women daily, each with their own story to tell about the journey they’re on. She usually posts “before and after” shots of those who have undertaken the Bikini Body challenge, as well as “motivational” quotes, what she’s been eating that day, and her set of cracking abs. Not… Jealous…. At. All.

Progress shots of someone who  is on the BBG programme. Source
Consisting largely of success stories like Kayla’s, Joe often posts his “Lean In 15” meals in photographic or short video form, as well as quick clips of himself working out. He’s incredibly encouraging towards his trainees, and has a great sense of humour, the latter no doubt being a life saver for those moments where you’re wanting to pack it all in. I also discussed the workouts he posts online for free in this post.

The Foodie Fiends

Not actually a professional chef, Steph is a dancer who has an incredibly active and hectic lifestyle, having just back-up danced on Britain’s Got Talent. She’s great to follow if you’re looking for lunch ideas when on the go or for lunchbox inspiration at work.

Pauline’s photographs are truly works of art. Each tinted in what I assume is a VSCO filter, the colours are beautiful, and consist largely of round bowls of breakfasts, salads, and the odd sweet-treat of pancakes or waffles. Check it out even for just the aesthetic pleasure alone.

LTHC’s Berry smoothie bowl topped with rhubarb crumble, pecans, puffed quinoa, blueberries and bee pollen

 Source

Jen’s shots are highly saturated, with every photo a snapshot of the rainbow. She often posts healthy versions of the “naughty” treats we all love – caramel slices, cupcakes, ice-cream, burgers.. you get the gist. 

Probably the queen of the breakfast/smoothie bowl. The images are a delight, drenched in colour with a careful detail in her decoration, Meghan describes herself as a “Vegan Wellness warrior, health blogger and plant-based foodie.” She also lives in the UK, so I have no excuse for not being able to source the ingredients she uses in her magnificent creations!

Evelyn is an inspiring woman who has used the knowledge of nutrition and how food can empower and restore to help her recover from an eating disorder. A tender topic, it is something Evelyn openly posts about, whilst also encouraging other girls who may be experiencing similar issues to help take care of themselves nutritionally. Like the previous accounts mentioned, her vegan and gluten-free dishes are also painted in every colour imaginable. The posts range from chocolate peanut bars to nachos, doughnuts to lasagne. De-lic-ious. 

Fructose friendly, raw vegan cheesecake Source


About to head off to university, Siobhan is a veteran in the glorified breakfast smoothie bowls and is well clued up in all things “free-from” and health. We both share a love of bananas, dates and oats which immediately got me hooked. Siobhan is always finding new simply ways of recreating gluten or animal-based foods for the vegans, vegetarians or Coeliacs out there.

The Fabulous Famouses

Just look at her! Rosie doesn’t really post many photos of her bod or what she’s been eating, but I know she follows the Body By Simone fitness programme and I unashamedly use her glorious physique as something to examine and motivate myself with. Not fancying a workout today? Oh, RHW’s just posted a pic of her latest red carpet event and magazine shoot. To the workout mat you sprint.

I love Karlie. She seems completely down to earth and is very into fitness and maintaining her athletic physique. Like Rosie, she isn’t a full time health or fitness coach, and has too busy a schedule to be posting every meal in perfect composition, but you can expect to find a good amount of workout photos and videos peppered amongst her usual lifestyle photos.


Karlie workin’ it. Source


So which Instagram accounts do you follow who help to provide that kick up the bum in the morning? What’s your favourite meal to make post-workout?

TTFN P, x

A Week In Photos ~ Easter

So I came home from uni last Wednesday night, and I go back to uni tomorrow morning. Since then I’ve put on a nice extra layer of body “wadding” from eating triple the daily amount I usually do, made some lovely memories with family and friends, and soaked up some glorious, completely unexpected sunshine. 
I take several photographs of things each day. I don’t even really bother to get the composition right, I miss out the corners of objects,they’re often blurry and certainly not taken at the most aesthetically pleasing angles. But I am totally fine with that, because I’m desperate to live in, and enjoy the moment, so I’ll whack out my phone, snap once or twice a shot of my meal, or the view from the top of the hill we just walked up, and then I’ll put it down, and devour the food, and take in my surroundings. Appreciating, but on a kind of fast motion scale.
I take the photographs because I want to go back and savour the moment, now a memory, the next week, the next year, the next day, and remember how delicious that strange food concoction was, a visual recipe for me to go back and recreate again someday.
Here are (some) of the pictures I’ve taken, each with an anecdote about why what was captured was special to me:

Waking up to somewhat greener surroundings on my first morning back.
Mum and I headed out for a gorrrgeous walk later that morning, exploring a hidden away hamlet and house-nosying. The blue sky gave me happiness like no other.
Left-Right: Finally got my mitts thanks to mum on Essence’s hazy, tropical ombré blush. Cheap as chips and a work of art. 
Sunbathing in my room a little later in the week when the sun properly came out to play. I opened my huge window wide and tried to sunbathe. 
Because a hot chocolate with marshmallows should not be confined to the seasonal restraints society has placed on it. 
A snap of another walk with ma and pa. Daffodils everywherrre. So lovely.
HAPPY EASTER! 
The photo below the egg and coffee was captured at my friend Emma’s house where we, and our other pal Amy ate enough crisps and chocolate to stock our bellies up for a year. Along with wine and other bevvies, it’s safe to say I made up for the sugar I cut  out  of my diet when I’m back at uni.
Taken on daffodils-walk. The first day it became properly take-your-outer-layer-off warm. This lil hang-glider was having a whale of a time.
Ahh, finally some proper food shots I hear you say! 
Top left-right: Steak & red wine pie, mash, veg. 
Last lunch of the holiday! Lettuce, cucumber, tomato, olives, grapes, apples, strawb yoghurt and probably a few other bits and bobs nestled in there. 
This lamb wholemeal wrap fandango was incredible! Lamb, lettuce, sweetcorn, tomato, cucumber, peas, sweetcorn, mint sauce, sweet-chilli sauce, and something else I can’t remember.. The rice was amazing, cooked and mixed with gravy – I KNOW, what an invention.
Easter Sunday’s lunch bowl of banana, strawb yoghurt and broken up easter egg. 
The final walk of the holiday with mum. She’d been up here recently, but I hadn’t ever walked around where we did. Over the holiday I developed the worst cold imaginable, (thank you family 😉 ), but getting out in the fresh air does you the world of good! A lovely afternoon spotting lambs, rabbits and pheasants. And more house-nosying.

A lil montage of revision shots. Left to right: A slice of my brother’s leftover pizza after breakfast/before lunch. I honestly eat everything and anything, espesh when it’s free, and something that I never eat in my usual uni diet (cheese, white carbohydrates.)

Left – right: FINALLY met the latest addition to our family; a 1927 Singer sewing machine. Dad got it to sew patches on, and mend his biker gear. I’m obviously also going to be having the time of my life with  it in summer.
First lunch out in the garden. Ginger beer, banana, Emmental on oatcakes and the usual salad.
Below: Last supper before heading off. I assembled this absolute bayeauuuty of a lasagne, again something I never had at uni. Glorious, whilst reminiscing with family about past-neighbours memories.
The shot from my wonderfully, unbelievably quiet train carriage heading back! My half was completely empty up until a couple stops before Glasgow, and amazingly, my whole table enclave was empty! Nothing worse than being squished up around a table trying to work. Especially the TransPennine ones. Oh TransPennine..
How did you spend your Easter? Did you get a day off, a week, or currently on Spring Break/Easter holidays? I’m currently on my “holidays” in the ever-dreaded-but-also-quite-enjoyable revision period! First exam is Wednesday 29th April. The memories of Easter and the memories I’m going to make as soon as I walk out of that last exam hall, will be what keeps me going! Oh and food.
Always food.

TTFN P x

An Ode To The Carrot Cake

Ohhh carrot cake. Creamy, chunky, crumbly, captivating creation. A perfect blend of spices, fruit (vegetable) ‘n’ nut, and when the amount of buttercream (NOT marshmallow frosting) is just right, oh you are a thing of such beauty.

Are you my most favourite type of cake? I do love cake. But possibly, probably… I adore the variations of chocolate cake and Victoria sponges but the buttercream just gets to me. And I’m pretty sure my body is 90% cinnamon due to hasty porridge toppings in the mornings.

Growing up, my mum always used one recipe, and one only. Good ole Delia Smith from the pages of a well used and well loved, super thick recipe book. Carried out correctly, the cake will blow your mind.

When it comes to the public domain and coffee-shops/cafés/shop-bought offerings, who tips the top?

John Lewis, without a doubt. To be honest if Delia’s was plated up next to JL’s I honestly don’t know who would win.

The thing about the John Lewis coffee-shop’s cake is that it really does look, feel, smell and taste properly homemade and handmade. There are copious amounts of icing – on top and sandwiched (the two is an absolute must), and the nut to sultana to sponge ratio is just divine. As a membership card owner every so often I’m entitled to a FREE cake and hot drink, and there is a chance that nothing else can rival the kind of happiness this gives me. Each time I visit I choose the carrot cake. Except once I tried the chocolate, and although it was good it wasn’t phenom. I’m sorry I ever left you CC.
This is what it looks like:

My first experience. Forever in my heart. With a latte on de side
My most recent experience with an artery-clogging hot chocolate. (But worth it)


As for Delia; since the book’s publication she has continued to amend the recipe to create the most majestic it can become. Her most recent adaptation and something that “has reached its all-time peak – this one has been unanimously voted the best ever,” can be found here: 

Print version here.

And these lil beauties are mine and mum’s attempts:

Mum’s offerings last Easter of Carrot Cake AND Vicky Sponge. What a treat.
 A lil somethin’ I made for the cook who works in the community centre I volunteered at in the summer. (Thank goodness) she loved it!
I could swim in buttercream.

So how about you? Do you think you have any recipes that could possibly rival Delia’s? I don’t eat out all that much, so haven’t tried every single carrot cake in the major coffee-shops, so maybe you could nudge me in the direction of somewhere in the market that just whips JL’s tush? 

TTFN P x
I now need a slab of carrot cake pronto. Hm, maybe make that the whole thing.

Food Replacements

Several months ago I decided that I needed to reinvent my daily diet. I’ve always grown up in a family of healthy eaters, and it’s been great, but I realised that although I eat well, I could eat even well-er. erm. Disclaimer: this isn’t going to be a blog post on a vegan/vegetarian/raw-food-only/extreme-health detoxed foodie, but someone who has realised that by making simple replacements in her diet, a difference to her body and health can be made.


Here’s what I’ve done:

Breakfast Cereal < Porridge/Oatmeal
I have grown up eating cereal every morning for my breakfast. We were never the kind of family that had toast or muffins or a full English or eggs or pancakes, just a variety of cereals. Although they weren’t necessarily “unhealthy,” i.e. it’s usually a squadron of boxes of bran flakes, weetabix, muesli, and perhaps some kind of corn cereal standing in line on the worktop, after reading a few of the nutrition labels and ingredients, I realised things like fruity/nutty/seedy cereal actually had a scary amount of sugar in them. Although cereal will always be a love of mine, the day I decided to have porridge for breakfast, and the day after, and the week after, and the month after I knew this was a very good decision! Mashed banana into the porridge before it’s fully cooked is incredible, as is a dash of vanilla extract and sprinkles of cinnamon and ginger.

Bread < Oatcakes 
Cut out all bread. I love bread. I always have, especially when it’s freshly baked, or bursting with seeds, or dripping in butter with a heavy slather of strawberry jam. But ridding it from my diet has made such a difference to my bloating and has helped me to shed weight. Even the brown and “healthy” looking loaves can have a scary amount of salt in, as we chow down blissfully oblivious, along with the naughty white flour breads. Instead, my lunches now consist of one or two large carrots and a couple of oatcakes, Nairn’s are usually at a good price and the “rough” ones are real good, and real filling.

White Pasta + White Rice < Brown Pasta + Brown Rice
I was delighted to discovered that brown pasta tasted no different to white, however there is a distinction between brown and white rice, in texture and flavour. Brown rice takes longer to cook, and admittedly it took various adjustments and experiments with water amount and cooking duration, but when you do properly achieve the perfect boil so the grains are all pale and fluffy, it’s fantastic and I have had absolutely no bloating. Score.

Snacking
Unsalted nuts, seeds, and fresh fruits and chopped up veg is the way forward. Nuts are ridiculously filling in such small quantities and are perfect with my post-uni cup of tea or sprinkled on top of porridge if I have a particularly empty stomach that morning.

Disclaimer: I am by NO means any kind of health nutrition expert, these are just basic dietary improvements pretty much anyone can benefit from : )

TTFN P x