Friday, 24 April 2015

FIVE FOR FRIDAY #22


It's been a while since I last blogged. You know what it's like, things get busy, priorities shift a little...but I am really missing it.

Weeks disappear, Friday's show their faces, weekends fly by and it's ready to start a new week again. That said, April has almost passed by and, quite frankly, I can't keep up!

This week has been brilliant as it's my birthday week - yes, a whole week (#birthweek) - so as you can imagine, I've been up to allsorts.

Sherwood Forest Log Cabins - At the weekend 10 friends and I hired to log cabins in Sherwood Forest. I'm very lucky to have grown up around a 15 minute drive from Sherwood Forest but, until this weekend, have probably always taken it for granted. The weather is absolutely beautiful so we did a few outdoorsy bits, Go Ape, afternoon tea...it really was lovely.

Sheffield and Spa Days - On the Monday my Parents and I headed over to the place that has my heart - Sheffield - for a spa day, breakfast at Marmaduke's and a bit of shopping. Again, beautiful weather, so it made walking around really enjoyable. And the spa day, well, the massage - fabulous!

A Trip to York - I've apparently been to York as a child but have no memory of it so decided it would be a nice way to spend my birthday. Betty's for afternoon tea, Bill's for a delicious burger, a wander down the Shambles, getting a bit giddy (and purchasing) in Mulberry. It was everything I'd hoped..although, a little too touristy.

Birthday Presents - I had some lovely bits for my birthday this year and feel very spoilt. AND...I'M GOING TO SEE CATFISH AND THE BOTTLEMEN. Couldn't be more excited after the tickets were sold out by the time I had chance to try and get them.

Feeling Grateful - I have felt so lucky this week - for my family, my friends, where I grew up...I've had a real mind shift on a lot of things.

HAPPY WEEKEND! I hope you have a good'un

xo

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

MADE: Scallops on Chorizo with Pea Puree

 
Scallops were something I really wasn't keen on when I was younger. I think it must have been the texture. Come to think of it, there were a lot of seafood-y things I really wasn't a fan on.

I definitely think fish/seafood is something a lot of people come to love with age. I remember a few years back in a seafood restaurant up in Sheffield trying to stomach Oysters and I really couldn't do it. Fast forward to a delicious meal at The PuLi in Shanghai and I'm sharing multiple plates of oysters, thoroughly enjoying them.

Scallops aren't the cheapest of things, but they are so, so worth it. 3-4 for one person is fine. My local Tesco has a great fish counter and although you pay around £2 per scallop, it's justifiable as a treat.

70% of my diet seems to consist of chorizo at the moment, so it would have been a crime not to whip up this combination. And the pea puree? It goes perfectly. And the best news is that all of this is so simple.

A note about the chorizo - get it from a deli counter. Again, your local supermarket will have better chorizo than whatever you can get out of the fridge (unless it's in Spain, then well, you win...)
I got 2kg of Chorizo for around £3 and it tastes so much more authentic than any of the ready to cook stuff you can bang in the oven.

 
For one person (obviously double, triple etc. depending on how many you're cooking for. OBVIOUS.):
3-4 scallops
3-4 slices of chorizo
A knob of butter
1/4 lemon
black pepper
sea salt
1 tbsp olive oil

For the pea puree (which will guarantee leftovers):
200g frozen peas
2 shallots, finely diced
1 tbsp olive oil
100 ml almond milk (or normal milk if you're not intolerant like moi)
1/2 tsp sea salt

 
1. To make the pea puree, add the finely diced shallots and a little bit of oil to heated frying pan. Sweat on a low heat to soften - not colour. Add the peas, salt and milk. Allow to simmer for 5-8 minutes.

2. Drain the milk in a jug and blitz the remaining ingredients for a minute or two until smooth. You can add a little of the milk to make the consistency thicker - I used my Nutribullet for this and it was absolutely perfect.

3. Make sure you cool the puree quickly (I put mine in the fridge while I prepared the rest) so it keeps it's colour.

4. Heat a frying pan on a low heat with a tiny bit of oil and cook your sliced chorizo - you will only need a tiny bit of oil as the sausage gives off plenty of oil.

5. While the chorizo heats, grab another frying pan for your scallops. Use the rest of the olive oil, lemon and butter to cook the scallops in. Scallops will only need a couple of minutes on each side.

6. When the scallops have cooked to your liking, dish everything up.

Serve with a slice of lemon and sprinkle some black pepper over the top for extra flavour.
 

Do you have scallops at home? What are your favourite things to dish them up with? I love them with some black pudding and lemon as well.

xo

Friday, 10 April 2015

FIVE FOR FRIDAY #21


I feel like I'm being a very bad blogger at the moment. I'm really not posting as often as I'd like to but there are several other things that need to attention a little more unfortunately. I am missing it though, so once a few things are sorted I should be able to manage three or four posts each week again.

This week has been a bit of an odd one really. I've only actually been at work one day because my company give both Easter Monday and the Tuesday off as holiday as well as Good Friday. WINNER! I also have today off to go to Brighton to meet some very lovely bloggers!

I'll keep it short and sweet as I need to hop on my train very shortly...

Here's this week's FFF:

A Tapas Cooking Class with Omar of Tapas Revolution - The absolutely lovely Taylah announced me as her competition winner for this fab cooking class. It was so much fun being taught about different ingredients that are popular in Spain as well as making a couple of really authentic dishes. I can't wait to get cracking with some more Spanish cuisine in the kitchen!

Easter Break - I was in desperate need of the Bank Holiday weekend. Since I started my new role everything has felt really hectic and I just needed a few days of friends, family and, most importantly, food. I spent last Friday evening with friends having a delicious Thai meal and playing Cards Against Humanity. Saturday and Sunday morning were spent with my Parents back in Nottingham, Sunday afternoon and Monday were spent in Sheffield catching up with everyone, enjoying the sun and having a few drinks (perfect!). Tuesday was a catch up day - emails, life, everything...before heading back to work. The break did me A LOT of good.

WEATHER - I'm not the only one who has been enjoying this warm weather and beautiful sunshine! It makes me so much happier and the days feel so much easier.

BRIGHTON!!! - I am heading down to Brighton very soon to meet a few bloggers for some tapas, organised by the lovely Rosie. I've met a few of them before but some are new faces. EXCITING!

Planning a move - I'm hopefully going to be moving soon and I can't wait. My house at the moment is great and perfect for a short term home but I'm looking forward to getting a place that I can make more my own.

I hope you're going to be enjoying the glorious weather whatever you get up to this weekend!

xo

Saturday, 4 April 2015

LET'S TALK: 24 Things I've Learned in Almost-24 Years

 
With my 24th birthday fast approaching (SCARY!) I figured I've learned a hell of a lot. I've not necessarily learned from mistakes straight away BUT I suppose mistakes aren't mistakes, they're just experiences. And I read an interesting quote - the past is where we make the mistakes, the future is where we apply the lessons. I always get a bit reminiscent around birthdays because, well, I'm getting old aren't I?!

Here are a few things I've learned over the years...

1. Friends don't last forever - sometimes you just have to let go.

2. Somebody will always be prettier, thinner, more talented at something - this doesn't mean you're not worth anything.

3. Boys are stupid 80% of the time. I spent so long thinking I needed something, reality is, all I need for reassurance is my own confidence. I saw 'the avocado theory' the other day and it makes perfect sense - they spend most of their twenties underripe then all of a sudden they're overripe, ready for marriage, kids and commitment when all you wanted was guacamole!

4. You will never realise how important your eyebrows are until you get into your 20's. Strong eyebrow game is everything.

5. Diets don't work. AT. ALL. Healthy eating, regular exercise, plenty of sleep and keep hydrated.

6. Don't skip meals. Breakfast is important, really important. And to be honest, your body needs fuel throughout the day. Skipping meals won't make you skinny, it'll just make you tired and probably a bit ill.

7. Money isn't everything but it seriously helps.

8. Sometimes you just have to say yes. Or you miss out. And life's about making the most of opportunities and experiencing new things.

9. If you don't want to do something, don't do it. Now, I don't mean apply this to EVERYTHING. But like, if you don't want to go on a night out because you really don't want to drink/be hungover - just don't do it. Life is too short to do things that you don't want to do.

10. See the world. It's a big place. And it's so beautiful. It really opens your mind to what else is out there.

11. Not everybody is nice. Just because you're nice, it doesn't mean everybody else is.

12. Sometimes it's okay to just lay in bed feeling sorry for yourself, binge watching a show on Netflix and eating a family sized bar of chocolate - sometimes, you just need this. And a good cry. A good cry is okay too.

13. It's okay to admit you made a mistake. By acknowledging it, that's half the battle. But trying to learn from it can be a challenge.

14. It's not okay to keep cancelling on people. They will eventually give up on asking you to do things.

15. People can repeatedly tell you something/someone isn't a good idea but until you realise that in your own mind, you seriously won't listen.

16. Weight doesn't matter. It's about how you feel about yourself. A tall person will always be heavier than a small person. Your weight doesn't define you.

17. Shaving your legs will become less important. Sleep is important. Way more important.

18. Look after your skin. Take your make up off, moisturise. You'll thank your younger self in the future.

19. No matter how much your parents might frustrate you, they're only looking after your best interests - because they care, not because they want to stop you having all the fun. LISTEN TO THEM.

20. Your gut instinct is usually right. Trust it.

21. You will waste money, repeatedly, on things you don't need. Just embrace it. But don't max out multiple cards.

22. Hangovers get worse as you get older. Down multiple pints of water before bed and prepare with bedside table paracetamol for the following morning.

23. Things don't just come to you - you have to work for them. It won't necessarily happen overnight, but it will be so worth it when it does.

24. Be kind to others, but more importantly, be kind to yourself. You aren't always going to do things right first time, you will screw up occasionally, there'll be days you do actually look like crap BUT there will be so many more times you do achieve things, you get things right and you look absolutely radiant...do not put yourself down.

xo

Friday, 3 April 2015

FIVE FOR FRIDAY #20


I've been a bit stressed this week. Things have felt like they're piling up around me and I've felt a bit PMS-y so it's not been all that fun. HOWEVER, IT'S EASTER - HAPPY EASTER! And I'm lucky enough to not only have today off but also Monday AND Tuesday. So, I'm a bit skint this month but have plans for Sheffield, home, possibly a day in Camden, dog walking AND baking over the Easter break.

This salad - I'm obsessed with it. I made it in bulk this week and devoured it every day for lunch.

My bargain candles from Clinton's - I had run out of my Yankee Candle faves (Black Coconut and Black Cherry) and the Clinton Card local to my work actually sells them...upon venturing in, I noticed these bad boys. HALF PRICE. Up to 50 hours burning, they smell absolutely amazing and I know they're not as nice as Yankee but hey, they're a very good compromise - three for £18 which is cheaper than the cost of a large Yankee, plus up to 150 burning hours there!

Lighter mornings and evenings - YESSSSSS! It makes such a difference

Spring flowers - daffs in my windowsill, tulips everywhere. HEAVENLY!

Lazy weekend - last weekend was wonderful. I went for tapas and drinks with the girls on Friday and a spontaneous night out. Saturday I kinda went for more tapas and had a film night. Sunday was spent lazing, alllll day. It felt great. A bit of food, a few drinks and great company plus my bed, Netflix and afternoon sunshine. What more could I want?

Wine, Thai and Cards Against Humanity - the plan for this evening and one that sounds great for a Friday night for the Bank Holiday Weekend. I love CAH too much! (and wine and Thai...obvs)

HAPPY EASTER EVERYBODY! Hope you've got something lovely planned.

xo

Thursday, 2 April 2015

MADE: Kale and Sweet Potato Salad Bowl

I've been overspending massively lately - like really, really bad. SO I'm trying to cut costs a little by bulk making meals - for both lunch and dinner.

Over recent months I have become obsessed with kale, tahini, lemon dressings and anything relatively 'fresh' tasting and light. I've also become really into salads again. Salads have the stigma attached to them of being boring, just lettuce or not very appetising. Well, let me tell all those salad haters - you haven't had one of my salads.

I never make a boring salad, not blowing my own trumpet here, but I don't. Yes sometimes they are heavy on the lettuce and tomatoes with some cucumber thrown in there but add a bit of feta, or hummus...some sundried tomatoes, some quinoa - you can make a salad into a tasty lunch or dinner treat.

Carrying on with my theme of kale-lovin' is this beauty of a recipe I've got for you here. It's PERFECT for lunch with the warmer weather coming up or even for a lighter evening meal.



[Originally inspired by I Will Not Eat Oysters]

All you need to make 4 large bowls:

2-3 sweet potatoes, cubed
Olive oil, to drizzle over

For the tahini dressing:
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup tahini paste
1/2 lemon - the juice
3-4 tbsp. warm water
A handful of chopped parsley

For the lemon dressing:
1 1/2 lemons - the juice
1/3 cup olive oil
A sprinkle of chilli flakes

The potatoes, tahini and lemon dressing all need sea salt and black cracked pepper to season.

The rest:
1/2-3/4 of a bag or curly kale
1/2 block Greek feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
10-12 sundried tomatoes, optional
1 tin of chickpeas, drained
1 cup of quinoa

1. First things first, preheat your oven 180 (fan assisted) and line a small baking tray with foil. Boil your cubed sweet potatoes for 20-30 minutes before draining and popping onto your baking tray, drizzling with oil and season with salt and pepper. These need to be baked in the oven for 15-20 minutes once it's heated.

2. While the potatoes are cooking, prepare  your dressings - grab a bowl and mix the crushed garlic, tahini, lemon and chopped parsley. Add the water a tablespoon at a time. The consistency should be slightly runny - think 'drizzle'. Season with salt and pepper.

3. In a separate small bowl, mix together the lemon juice, olive oil and seasoning. Add a sprinkle of chilli flakes. Mix the chickpeas in the lemon dressing and set aside.

4. Cook your quinoa in double the amount of water (2 cups) on a low heat in a saucepan. Stir every so often - you may need to keep adding a little water every now and then. I usually cook quinoa for around 15 minutes.

5. In a large bowl, pop the kale in and tip over the chickpeas and lemon dressing. mix together so the kale is coated.

6. Grab your serving plates/bowls and layer - kale and chickpeas first, a little quinoa, sprinkle with sweet potatoes, crumbled feta, sundried tomatoes and sunflower seeds. Finish off by drizzling your tahini dressing over - you can also serve this on the side. If you're taking to work/uni/school, do the same construction but in tuppaware/a sandwich box.

You could also do this with spinach but it would be quite wilted by the time you get to lunchtime if you're making it ahead. The joy of kale is that it does not completely soak up the dressing, resulting in soggy kale!


It really is a perfect lunch. I've eaten it three times this week and am eagerly anticipating tomorrows helping already!

xo

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

MONTHLY GOALS: April

 
I swear I say it every month but seriously, March has flown. Like really, really flown. It got to March 31st and I wasn't entirely sure if my iPhone calendar was having me on. How have 31 days come and gone already?

I loveeee Spring. It's by far my favourite season. The daffs and the tulips are out, the sun's shining, the days are lighter, it gets a bit warmer. OFFT!

This month has been another extremely busy one - which is blatantly obvious from my lack of consistency with blogging. I'm finding it really difficult to prioritise my time at the moment now that work is more demanding. Any free time I have is spent at the gym, asleep or with my friends because, well, they're the things I need to keep me sane when work gets a little overwhelming. You see, this month is the first month of my new role as I've been promoted. It's incredibly exciting and sometimes I have to pinch myself - I'm 23 and I've got this opportunity. Mind. Blown.

I've actually had to look in my diary to tell you what I've been up to this month because, to be honest, all I feel like I've done is go to China. China was for a week mid-end of the month so it feels like that has been my March. Apart from China, I had a lovely trip to Sheffield to Peddler and to visit my friends, I went to London for the London Shoe Show in Kensington and also a cool little exhibition in Shoreditch called #MadeByYou - a Converse exhibition filled with polaroids, telling the stories of individual pairs of Converse. Two of my weekends were taken up with airports/travel and I managed to squeeze in a visit to my best friend in Manchester. I've also been eating A LOT of tapas. I love tapas; I really should have been Spanish.

So there you go, March in a nutshell. It's been an adventure really, one that resulted in me having the last weekend not doing a great deal (although, our night out on Friday kind of saw that that happened...)

April is a VERY busy one. And, my favourite month. Why? BECAUSE IT'S MY BIRTHDAY. On the 21st I will be 24, which kind of strikes the fear of God in me. I know it's not old by any means but I can remember turning 21, which feels like last year. How have these years passed? It really is true that time goes by much faster as you get older and it makes me realise I really need to cherish those important and special moments.

So, this month - over Easter I will be heading up to Sheffield to catch up with Emily, Ollie and Matt as well as spending a couple of days with my family. The following weekend I'll be heading down to Brighton for a blogger meet up with the lovely Emily, Mike, Sophie and many others, all arranged by the beautiful Rosie. I'll also be catching up with my friend Harriet who I met whilst travelling. The following weekend will be my birthday weekend, spent in a log cabin in Sherwood Forest with a group of friends, then during the week of my birthday will be a trip to York with my parents. That scarily brings us to the final weekend of April, which I imagine will be spent in London. I have quite a bit of time off during the weeks, which will be spent dog walking (when back home), doing Yoga and, next week, the tapas cooking class I won in the competition hosted by Taylah. I CANNOT WAIT.

source


See, April is FUN!!! But March, March has taught me a lot. About myself, the things I want, to be confident, to believe in myself. And that I can bloody do whatever I put my mind to.

I kinda forgot about my goals this month because you know, life. BUT I managed to complete 3/5 - I read TWO books, I exercised at least 3 times per week and I completely went with the flow. I embraced experiences, took risks, made spontaneous decisions. And I had a lot of fun, A LOT of fun.

The trip planning and list making - kinda failed. I am, however, planning Morocco for August and I'm not sure when Amsterdam will happen but hopefully it'll be before Christmas. I had look at going over the May Bank Holiday but I think it's too close to it now.

WELL, this is way more rambled than I'd intended but I suppose the whole lifestyle/catch up posts are what I'm going for at the moment. I have still being eating out a lot and cooking regularly but I can't seem to find it in me to sit down and type up all of these recipe posts at the moment. Plus, I miss baking. So, so much. I need to get some done over Easter fo' sho'.

SO, APRIL GOALS, let's get the ball rolling...

Start a new class at the gym - my gym is a nightmare to try and book classes at. People are SO on the ball and book a week before so if I think 'oh, I fancy a spin class this week'. NOPE, not happening. So I want to start a new class - either spin or body pump.

Spring Clean - The time has come. I need a clear out. A BIG ONE. I need to be cut throat. I maybe even need to face the dreaded eBay selling. I keep spending a lot of money and need to curb it, or at least get rid of a load of stuff to actually justify my spending.

Figure out my summer - I'm desperate to go away. Morocco, I want it so badd! I also want to go to a festival but need to decide when I can go. SS16 is coming up so I'll be doing a trip a month June-August then potentially two in September. Typically Glasto falls during my June trip and a million festivals fall during my August/September trips.

Try and switch off from technology a little - I find it so difficult to do this - I work in Events and Marketing so a big chunk of my job is blogging, social media, current events and also doing the whole blogger thing can be as technology heavy. I always try to switch off by 10-10.30pm but I think I need to try and do this and then read before bed.

Give meditation a good go - My friend and I have signed up for a Meditation course and I'm really excited about it. I want to persevere as I think it will really help me stay balanced with my moods, stresses and just give me that sense of calm I sometimes feel I need.

Have you any goals for this month? Or any cool plans?

xo