Friday, 24 July 2015

FIVE FOR FRIDAY #35

 
This week's been quite nice. Busy at work of course as August is when all the shows kick off BUT it's been quite chilled other than that. I've been getting back into the gym and spending most days having some kind of ache or pain (drama queen!) but it'll be worth it when I'm happier with how I look. Aside from that I've just been getting my life organised before I go to Germany next week (followed by the other 4 trips I have in August).

This weeks Five for Friday:

Spring clean - I've finally been able to get my room in order this week. Coming and going a lot means just throwing things everywhere, not putting things away and generally having a messy room. A clean room is a clean mind...?

This quote - I know it sounds cheesy but sometimes a good quote you can relate to really motivates you. I saw this one and it really made me feel positive about where I'm at, where I'm heading and what I'm doing at the moment.

This salad - I made a delicious buckwheat and green lentil salad this week with roasted vegetables, kidney beans, sweetcorn and lemon. I cooked the lentils and buckwheat in half an organic vegetable stock cube (I normally just cook them in water) and it really added to the flavour of the dish. I'll post the recipe on here soon!

Tramlines excitement - This weekend is Tramlines in Sheffield and it's the first time I've been able to get to Sheffield for a while. Basement Jaxx, Slaves and hundreds of other things are going on and it's always a fun weekend.

Working from home - I'm lucky enough to be able to work from home sometimes which is ideal as I can drive back to Nottingham to see my family and work from my parents office. I weirdly get more done working from my parents house than from my house too.

I hope you've got some exciting weekend plans!

xo

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

MADE: Spanish Meatballs with Courgetti


I think meatballs are one of my treat dishes. I'm not a huge meat eater anyway but sometimes there's nothing more satisfying than devouring a bowl of meatballs. These are slightly less indulgent when teamed with courgetti. My motto - everything is that little bit healthier with courgetti!

I made these back in April when I added the Olive It! tapas cooking class with Omar Allibhoy. Which reminds me, did you try out the Olive and Manchego Coarse Pate?

Although the cooking class wasn't what I expected - I thought it would be a tapas class made up of a few recipes for small dishes - it was great, and I made the pate and these meatballs fairly often. Wait until you see the dessert!

Monday, 20 July 2015

YEARLY GOALS UPDATE: Half A Year (and a bit) On...


As we are now over half way through the year I figured it was time for an update on my yearly goals. I don't believe in New Years Resolutions. I think they're easily breakable - ie. stop smoking, eat 1200 calories only a day, go to the gym three times a week minimum - whereas goals, as I choose to have, are more targeted and a mix of doing things and self nurturing.

Here's a look back at the Yearly Goals I set and how I'm doing...

Learn to be self-positive and give myself a break - I've become a little better at this but there's still loads of room for improvement. I think it's hard to be 100% self-positive all the time. I mean, we're only human. We all have our doubts, our insecurities, moments when we just think 'god, I could do a bit better'. But it's important that those times don't outweigh the times we think 'I've totally got this'. And, thankfully, I'm having more 'I've totally got this' moments than 'I could do better' ones.

Write good moments down - I started doing this but it only lasted a couple of months. I'm going to try and keep them in my phone. I really do need to start doing this though. I bought one of those 5 year diaries where you write a line a day and keep it going for 5 years to see the difference in the same day a year ago. I should really use it to write a good thing each day.

Manage my money - Laughable. I managed until around March then it's dramatically gone downhill. I think I need to face facts that I'm a frivolous spender and I'll always be living beyond my means. I like nice things, I like going for food, I like holidays...ain't nothing round with that!

Keep up with my new habit of 'me time' - This one can be a bit hit or miss really. Sometimes it's possible, sometimes it isn't. Fortunately, I've had a few free weekends lately that have allowed me to head up North to my parents and have some alone time. I think having time alone is SO important. You have to be able to be content on your own before you can feel totally at ease with yourself, I think.

Keep up with my 'YES' Woman attitude - 100% still achieving this. This year my job has spiralled into countless trips away, new responsibilities and my life is full on new experiences that you won't hear me saying no to.

Eliminate the negatives - Mostly. And I really believe this comes with age. When you're younger, sometimes you just feel like you have to please EVERYBODY...sometimes that means you're not pleasing yourself. By doing this, life sometimes can feel full of negatives. I suppose I've distanced myself from this that make me feel negative now more than ever.

Keep doing things for myself - Similarly to my last two goals, I think I'm achieving this too. It was never meant in a selfish way - I'd just spent so long putting everybody else first that enough was enough. I need to keep doing things that make me happy.

See more of the people that are worth making the effort for - I am still not great at being constant with people and I'm probably even worse now I'm travelling all the time. But I try...I get home when I can, I get to Sheffield when I can...I'm trying!

TRAVEL - when I can, where I can - Well, you know the answer to this one...I'm doing it beyond my wildest dreams - some of the best places in the world, all expenses paid and I LOVE what I'm doing.

So that's it...Are you managing to keep up with your goals this year?

xo

Friday, 17 July 2015

FIVE FOR FRIDAY #34

 
This week has been a lot of fun. It's getting into my 'busy period' at work now so my life is a tad chaotic but I love it. I'm going to get stuck into my Five For Friday straight away...

Visiting the Church's Factory - My job has some serious perks. Not only do I travel at least 10 times a year but I lucky enough to get to know some of the best footwear manufacturers in the world. This week I had the pleasure of going over the Church's to have a factory tour, meet the team and really get to grips on the process of their shoe making. It is absolutely fascinating and I feel so privileged to be able to get an insight into how some of (possibly THE) best shoes globally are made. The best bit? ALL made in Britain in their Northamptonshire factory - which, in itself, is pretty incredible for such a beautiful and prestigious brand. ALL THE EXCITEMENT.

Date Night - As I'm away so much (LOVE to plug that, don't I?!) and so is my boyfriend, we are trying to fit in date nights. This week we went to local Japanese restaurant Ginza. I'd had a craving for Sashimi and he'd never tried Japanese food before so it seemed like a real fit. The food was good (I'm going to review it, just incase anybody unfortunately finds themselves in Northampton one day) but there could have been a couple of improvements. HOWEVER, it was so nice to get out and have a coupley night together.

Discovering new places to eat and drink - The food was served so fast at Ginza that we'd finished within an hour so my love of G&T's led us to The Old House just down the road. I'd never been in before but always drive by on the way to the gym and think how cool it looks (trust me, hard to find cool and exciting in Northants!) so we ventured in. The place is done on with hanging light bulbs, bare brick, leather sofas and a minimalist, rustic feel. I love finding I can't wait to go and try the food - Venison burgers HELLO!?

Breakfasting - As well as eating Japanese, finding new haunts to wine and dine at, Cherilyn and I went out for breakfast at the weekend. As I'm sure you're aware (I bang on about it fairly often) breakfast is my absolute favourite. Breakfast, brunch, breakfast for dinner - LOVE. We went to a local place and both had delicious meals.

Working out - I've said a lot recently that I want to get fit and toned and generally be able to stop moaning that I hate my body. I'm ACTUALLY doing something about it now. My boyfriend has been educating me 'on weights' at the gym and I've been finding myself feeling much more enthusiastic about working out again. I feel like I'm in the right headspace to really make a difference to my body and it's such a good feeling.

I hope you've all had a fabulous week and are able to enjoy an equally fabulous weekend.

Until next time...

xo

Saturday, 11 July 2015

LIFE LATELY: A July Update and My Forgotten Goals...

I know I'm like a broken record but doesn't time pass by quickly? We're already almost two weeks into July and I think we may have seen the only two days of proper summer weather.

Life lately has mostly consisted of work. I'm a workaholic (unintentionally). My job, as you'll probably know by now, involves a lot of travel and time away from home. Yes, from my Instagram it may look like the perfect job, going to all these exotic places and I can't lie to you, I love my job and I'm very lucky that I get to go to all of these beautiful places. But it's not all plane rides, wining and dining and sunshine. There's a lot of hard work that goes on behind the scenes but it's 100% worth it when I get to do the travel. Life wasn't meant to be lived in one place, the world is far too big and beautiful.

Apart from work, I escaped home for a couple of days last week. It was reeeeeally needed. I hadn't been home for a couple of months to see my family and my heart was kinda aching. I really miss home most of the time. My parents and grandma are wonderful and I enjoy any time I get to spend with them so I don't like that I can't get back often enough anymore.

Mum and I went on a long dog walk with Bracken. The weather was glorious and we went super early to avoid Bracken melting in the heat. We met some beautiful doggies on the way - Molly the cockerpoo (Cocker Spaniel Poodle cross, for non-doggy people) and a few others. Dog walks are one of my favourite things. I love the countryside where I grew up. I've always been right near Sherwood Forest and there are some beautiful walks.


I've been cooking a little bit more too. I've been having massive confidence blips lately with my appearance, my weight and just myself in general. I am by no means fat but I really feel like there's huge (no pun intended) room for improvement. I eat well (80% of the time) and exercise regularly so I'm not entirely sure how I can combat the problem but still...it's made me change my diet. I've been trying out the 5:2 diet, fasting 2 days each week (500 calories only on those days) and eating normally the rest of the week - still super healthily and kicking out the bad stuff as much as possible. On my non-fasting days I've been making some delicious meals like this prawn and pea risotto, snacking on olive pate, eating tuna steaks and kale, experimenting with different pizza bases, dishing up my favourite summer salads, making my favourite tarts, oh...and eating THE NICEST BREAKFAST EVER. On my 5:2 days I've been eating fruit salads and either veg curries or some form of veggie based dish. 5:2 isn't all bad and it's disciplining me to stop snacking so much, even if it's snacking on healthy stuff!


This coming weekend I'm having a quiet one. I've spent ALL THE MONEY this month on a new fridge freezer, clothes I don't need and...that's about it really. Mostly clothes.

I've also just realised I haven't even done a Monthly Goals since the beginning of June, oops. Things slip my mind far too easily. Minus the gym and yoga, I did complete the rest. To be honest, my goals are probably the same (/similar) this month anyway - gym, healthy eating, find time for yoga, hydrate and plenty of sleep. I need to recuperate where possible as next month is my insanely busy one - Copenhagen, Budapest for a holiday, Vegas for work, Milan for work and a long weekend. Working days in between I have a couple of London visits too...in total 15 days in the UK, 16 days away.

Ain't no rest for the wicked...keep up with my chaos on Instagram.

xo

Friday, 10 July 2015

FIVE FOR FRIDAY #33


The laziest of Sundays - films, KFC (shhhh!!), a good breakfast, time spent in the garden. A sunday well spent brings a week of content!

You've got mail - I get really overexcited by postal deliveries, mostly because they'll contain clothes or homeware. Post is a different kettle of fish; getting a letter is super exciting because, who sends letters unless they're the bank asking for money or student loans reiterating that you'll never pay off your £24,066.48 debt. Thanks for keeping that 48p on there guys.

Faux ginger - That's right, I finally went orange. I mentioned it aaaages ago on Instagram but have finally bitten the bullet and gone ginge! I'm not sure how long I'll stay ginger but I like it for now (I predict two months tops!)

Slightly cooler weather - Don't get me wrong, I LOVEEEEE the summer. I love sunshine, warm weather, no need for coats/tights/many clothes but I cannot sleep at night. I've been a zombie since the hot weather began so I'm happy it's slightly cooler now. We English can't cope with a little bit of heat without a moan.


Staying in Kensington - I stayed at the most beautiful air b&b in Kensington this week. With the tube strike and a meeting in the area, I didn't want to risk being late or messing around with buses/taxis. It was very reasonably priced for the area and had the most amazing roof terrace. So pretty! I definitely recommend air b&b to anybody having a night away!

xo

Thursday, 9 July 2015

MADE: Baked Rhubarb Cheesecake

 
Cheesecake is possibly my favourite dessert other than Eton Mess. It melts in the mouth, is full of flavour and, topping dependent, really compliments the sweetness of the cheese.
 
This time of year my parents vegetable garden is practically overgrown with rhubarb so I thought I'd try something different - a sweet cheesecake with rhubarb. I decided the clash of sweet with sour would work really well. I didn't even add any sugar to the rhubarb!
 
Totally biased but I would advise you try this. It's not the most visually appealing cheesecake that has graced the internet but the taste makes up for that. Plus, my basic cheesecake recipe looks much prettier with the berries.
 
Fancy trying it?...

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

MADE: Prawn and Pea Risotto


Risotto is one of those dishes I have once in a blue moon but whenever I do I absolutely love it. It's filling without being really heavy and you can change up the ingredients but use the same base recipe every time.

Many risotto recipes involve white wine but I find that it isn't 100% necessary and sometimes the flavour really changes the dish. So my base risotto recipe never involves wine.

I hadn't even planned for a risotto this week but had a bag of defrosted prawns to use up and my boyfriend decided a risotto was necessary. I'm grateful he suggested it really because this dish is one of the only ones I've made recently that I've thoroughly enjoyed.

A great dish for summer - fancy it? Keep reading...

Monday, 6 July 2015

MADE: Olive, Manchego and Pistachio Coarse Pate


Back in February I went to a Tapas Cookery Class with Omar Allibhoy as part of the book launch for Olive It! This competition was something I had won through Taylah's twitter competition, which I cannot thank her enough for. It was such good fun and, as I love tapas anyway, a great learning experience.

We made a three different dishes and I want to talk you through them, as post at a time.

First off, the starter - Olive, Manchego Cheese and Pistachio Pate - a coarse one, more like a tapenade than anything. The flavours are incredible and work so, so well together. 

All you need for a bowl full (probably wills serve 3-4 people)
100g pitted olives - a mix of black and green if possible
30g manchego cheese
30g pistachios - kernals
50g extra virgin olive oil
1/2 Lemon, juice only
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
 
All you need to do to create your pate...

1. Blend all of your ingredients in a food processor. You don't need to blend it to a smooth paste - this is a coarse pate!

2. And that's it! You can serve it with whatever you like. At the cookery class we had it with tuna fish, which initially I thought wouldn't work but it was a great combination of flavours. You could use this on a sea-bass filled or even as the crust for lamb. I had mine at lunch time with some crackers, a perfect light snack. 


Stay tuned for the next course from Omar's Olive It! cookery class.

xo

Friday, 3 July 2015

FIVE FOR FRIDAY #32

 
Another week gone and we've seen some lovely, scorching weather! It's obviously not the best when you're stuck in the office (WITH NO AIR CON) but I love no jacket, bare leg and sunglasses weather. AND Wimbledon's started, which makes me very happy. I'm a secret tennis lover.

This week I've mostly been recuperating. I had my week in Italy that I told you about and from last Thursday until Sunday I spent 4 days in Shoreditch working at Best of Britannia. Safe to say, I'm shattered at the moment, team that with some hot weather and it means 9pm bedtimes and a want for naps during the day. That said, it's nice to work these events and meet new, interesting people but I'm certainly ready for a weekend. And this weekend (well, yesterday until tomorrow) I'm going back to Nottingham to see my family and I'm so excited. It's absolutely ages since I've been home and I really miss it.

This week's Five For Friday...

Dinner in the garden - I absolutely love eating al fresco. It's so lovely to be outdoors with a good meal. There's something nice about being away from the TV, leaving your phone inside and just having some nice music on in the background.

Cheesy chick-flicks - this weekend my housemate and I have really been embracing old cheesy chick-flicks. I have always loved Clueless but watching it again gave me a whole new level of appreciation for it. We also watched Chalet Girl, a film I'd never seen which is surprising because of my love for Ed Westwick. But seriously, amazing film. I was far too into it - laughed the whole way through, swooned over Ed. *all the love hearts and kissy faces*

Amy Winehouse - after becoming an emotional wreck watching new film/documentary Amy I've been listening to her music on and off all week. Since the day the world found out she was no longer with us, it's always been a subject that can fast reduce me to tears. I absolutely adore her music and even though she lost her way, I adored her as a person too. I saw her Frank tour and also the Back to Black tour 3 times and I am so, so thankful I did. What a memory!

Berry water - now, this isn't an original thing, berry water has been a thing for absolutely ages but well, we ran out of ice cubes. It was 30+ degrees and my water just was not cold enough. AT ALL. So I delved into our freezer and used my smoothie berries as ice cubes. THANK THE LORD. It made everything better.

Summer meals - I love the summertime because it leaves me only wanting salads, courgetti and mostly cold foods. This in itself is an amazing way for me to stay on the healthy path. This week we've had chilled salmon fishcakes and salad, aubergine and tomato courgetti and I've eaten copious amounts of salad. YUMMY! If you're not a lettuce and basic salad kinda girl/guy, these, this and this may float your boat. Oh, and this is one of my favourite summer dinners - light but satisfying!

Have a wonderful weekend!

xo

Thursday, 2 July 2015

ATE: Breakfast at Dishoom, Shoreditch

 
Now, now, NOW - EVERYBODY had told me about breakfast at Dishoom. Ages ago, like last year. Had I been, no? Why? I have no idea. Breakfast is possibly my all time favourite thing (other than gin and sausage dogs).

I was staying in Shoreditch for four days for Best of Britannia so thought, why not meander down to Dishoom while I was in the area.

Dishoom was thought up based on the old Irani cafes of Bombay many, if not all, have now closed. Why not have a Bombay-style café in London? Exactly.

I've still not even been for an evening meal, only cocktails in the winter. A friend of a friend is manager for all Dishoom's and designs the cocktail menus, so I know the drinks are good. I have promised myself I'll go for an evening meal but 2 hour+ queues strike me with fear. Feeling ridiculously hungry, waiting in line, people going in before me...it's all a bit too much.

ANYWAY, BREAKFAST...

I was incredibly excited by everything that was being served around me.

Breakfasts with spicy beans, naans, beautiful teapots filled with fresh mint tea...allsorts.


I opted for the classic Bacon and Egg naan, a fresh orange juice AND a pot of fresh mint tea. I like two drinks with my breakfast, it's become a habit.

I love the atmosphere. So simplistic but FULL of character. I definitely think they have it almost spot on with décor, I'd quite like my house to look like the outdoor area of Dishoom in Shoreditch.

My food came, I was mind blown. Something so incredibly simple was SO amazing.

The menu eloquently gives the low-down on the Bacon Naan
"The Ginger Pig’s smoked streaky bacon is dry-cured for five days with rock salt and Demerara sugar then cold-smoked over oak chips. A Dishoom signature dish, and deserving of all its accolades"

STOP IT. Throw in a saffron-yellow, runny yolked egg and you've on the same page.

The homemade tomato involved and addition of coriander really give it that all round authentic.

It really was heavenly.

I also need to talk about the drinks. Many may say orange juice is orange but this was so perfectly sweet and fresh. And the mint tea was simply hot water and fresh mint but it tasted wonderful, so much more refreshing than a minty teabag most restaurants use (I've now started using the fresh mint from my garden for tea instead of my Pukka teabags!)

Every single meal that was being plated up and delivered to the surrounding tables looked so well presented, full of colour and you could smell the authentic spices and flavours from the food.

I already can't wait to go again. I'm in London next week and I'm already trying to think how I can fit in a breakfast visit. Although, there are three - Kings Cross, Covent Garden and Shoreditch - so maybe it's possible...

xo