Healthy eating and simply adopting a healthier lifestyle has never been a strong point of mine. I’ve always been determined to try and be that bit healthier but it all ends up a disaster in the end. After trying and giving up after so long, I thought it was about time that I seriously did this whole healthy lifestyle thing. Rather than going for the extreme, I have been taking small steps in trying to reduce my sugar intake and trying out healthier recipes. Although in order to make myself that more determined to succeed, I need a little inspiration. So I thought I would share my favourite people, blogs, books etc. that give me a little inspo!
If I can get the glow like Madeleine then I will be very happy indeed! Madeleine is a great source of inspiration as she has so many platforms sharing great advice, recipes and also yoga poses. Her blog and her books are the best sources as they offer so much great inspiration for cooking. Her website is super sleek and easy to navigate with great posts of advice and is always updated with some great recipes that I am always desperate to give a go (particularly the sweet treats!). For even more online access, she has a great YouTube channel all about healthy living as well as her Instagram and Snapchat accounts which always provide a good chunk of inspo! Lastly, I have to mention her books. She has two cookbooks out at the minute, I currently own the second Ready, Steady Glow which is really good and packed with some delicious looking recipes. I have only tried out a couple from the book but I am desperate to give more ago especially her Oat Vegan pancakes, yum!
I am sure many of you will be aware of Ella from Deliciously Ella as her books are ever so popular and she is a blogger favourite! Again she has a couple of books out and I have her Ella, Every Day book which I have been loving. The quinoa and turmeric curry (pictured above) is incredible and I am so excited to work through the book, with one of her risotto recipes next on the list! Again like Madeleine, she is available on so many platforms. Her website is great and filled with some amazing recipes, I particularly love her energy ball recipes. It is definitely worth checking out before picking up the books! She also has a skincare collab right now with Neals Yard which looks awesome as well as having her own energy balls available in Whole Foods. Definitely one to be inspired by!
The Green Life
After scouring the web/instagram for healthy recipes, I came across this blog which is packed with a wonderful selection of mostly vegan recipes. The photography is so beautiful and there is a great selection of really simple yet different recipes. Basically everything she features looks incredible particularly her ice lollies! I have made quite a few of her recipes and they have been ones I have stuck to for ages, particularly her drink recipes like this strawberry shake which is delicious!
Also other instagram accounts to check out for swoon-worthy food inspo: @izyhossack, @vegfoodvideos, @simplyquinoa and @rachlmansfield
Where do you find lifestyle inspiration?
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I’ve been on a bit of a food mission lately by trying to cut down on my sugar addiction and just learn to eat more healthily. I’ve became glued to blogs and books in order to find the best ways to eat without consuming too many nasties! Snacking is one of my main problem areas when it comes to food as I just love to snack so I’ve been loving trying to find new healthier alternatives to snack on during the day. A lot of the recipes that I’ve used have many common ingredients and I’ve really learnt about the importance of particular ingredients and how much they can do for me. Therefore, I thought I would share my top 5 ingredients that I just need to have in my kitchen!
Plant Based Milk
I always try to avoid consuming too much dairy as it can be bad for my skin. I tend to stick to a little yoghurt in the morning but try to steer away from too much milk! Instead, I’ve been opting for a plant-based milk, in my case Almond Milk. Opting for a plant based milk also supplies you with a whole lot of goodness for your body too so you won’t be lacking in calcium! I also opt for an unsweetened milk so I am not consuming anything with added sugar.
Nuts are such a great cupboard staple, they are super versatile and can be used for snacking, main meals or dessert options. There are many different types of nuts with so many different nutritional values. I like to keep a mix and particularly favour almonds and cashews.
Cutting down on sugar can be a difficult step for a sweet tooth! However there is healthier sweetener options! Maple Syrup and Honey are both great options to add a little sweetness to a dish. There is a little stigma around the likes of Maple Syrup and how healthy it is however like honey it does have its nutritional values and is packed with antioxidants. Obviously though it is all about eating in moderation however I never feel like I need to add loads anyway!
I have never been the biggest fan of dried fruits so dates were never of interest however they make a great addition to so many sweet treat recipes. Medjool dates can be pretty pricey but they do last really long so I do like to buy in bulk, Amazon is always a charm! Again they are super nutritious and the Medjool kind are super gooey so add a beautiful creaminess and sweet taste to many recipes. I particularly rely on these for making a batch of energy balls!
Last but not least, Cacao is what every sweet treat lover needs. Cacao powder is essentially raw cocoa. It contains the great cocoa taste (although much stronger so you need a good bit less than normal cocoa powder!) yet isn’t as processed as cocoa is. Again it is super nutritious with antioxidants and is a great energy booster. It works perfectly in many snacks and baked treats to get that chocolate-y taste yet in a healthy way! Again it is pricey although I like to buy it in bulk and you only use a little as I said the taste is pretty strong!
What healthy ingredients do you rely on?
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With the horrible Winter weather, there seems nothing more appealing than staying in and indulging in something sweet. As I am sure you all know, I love doing a bit of baking in my free time and this time I was all about brownies. Who doesn’t love a good brownie!? I also happen to be a huge white chocolate fan and basically find a way to put it into anything so today’s recipe features brownies with white chocolate chunks, yummy!
450g caster sugar
110g plain flour
55g cocoa powder
40g chocolate (milk/dark or mix) chopped
100g-150g white chocolate (broken into chunks)
Firstly, pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 5/190C.
Melt the butter and sugar together in a pan over heat.
Remove from heat and add in milk/dark chocolate (usually dark with brownies but just suggested milk as I prefer it!), eggs, flour and cocoa powder and mix. Then add in chocolate chunks, distributing them evenly in the mixture.
Then place into a tin and bake for 30-40 mins until the top has hardened but still soft inside.
Remove from oven and allow to cool before cutting into squares.
Are you a fan of brownies?
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If there is one thing I love to do at Christmas time, it is baking. When I have a little free time on my hands, I love to try out a new recipe and especially something Christmas inspired at this time of year to get that festive feeling! This time around I thought I would bake something easy and went with cookies/biscuits that I could decorate all pretty and Christmas-y. So if you are looking for something easy to bake over the festive period, then this is a nice simple one I thought I would share with you all. All credit for this recipe comes from here. It’s been a while since I last did a foodie post so enjoy!
100g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
275g plain flour
Icing sugar and sprinkles for decoration
Firstly, pre-heat the oven to 190C/Gas mark 5.
Cream the sugar and butter together.
Mix in the egg and vanilla extract, a little at a time until all is combined.
Then, stir in the flour until it forms into a dough texture.
Roll out the dough on a floured surface and use cutters to cut the cookies out.
Place on a baking tray and cook for approx 10 mins until light golden brown.
Allow to cool whilst preparing icing using icing sugar and water.
Finally, add your own decoration using sprinkles, icing etc.
What do you like to bake at Christmas?
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We all know what Wednesdays mean, right? Of course I am talking about the excitement of another installment of Great British Bake Off! So in the spirit of all things GBBO I thought I would share a little typical British baking recipe. You can’t get more British than a good scone with jam and cream along side a cuppa, right? Apologies to those from across the waters who have no idea what I am talking about! Anyway wherever you are from I encourage you to try this fab recipe and release your inner british-ness…?
225g self-raising flour
25g caster sugar
Firstly, pre-heat your oven to 220C/Gas mark 7.
Then, mix the flour and butter.
Then, add in the sugar and milk until a soft dough is formed.
On a floured surface, knead the dough and roll out to around a 2cm thickness.
Using a cutter, cut out scones until the dough is used up.
Then place on a lined baking tray.
Brush a little bit of milk over the tops of the scones.
Then bake for 15 minutes until risen and a golden colour.
Are you a fan of scones?
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Everyone loves cupcakes, right!? I for one certainly do and today I thought I would share a simple cupcake recipe with you all. This is a super easy recipe that I rely on all the time (recipe book source) when it comes to baking these cute sweet treats. I then added some sweet tasting vanilla frosting on top with a sprinkle of even more sweetness. Its a quick and simple to follow recipe that everyone needs to know, so without a further a do…
150g caster sugar
150g self-raising flour
2.5ml (half teaspoon) vanilla extract
First things first, you need to preheat the oven to Gas mark 4/180C/350F. Then fill a baking tray with paper cupcake cases. Then to begin all you do is simply add in all the ingredients together in one bowl and whisk until smooth and of a dropping consistency. Then divide the mixture between the cases (the number the recipe will make depends on the size of cases) and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
Then after allowing the cakes to cool, you can make the vanilla frosting. I never really stick to an exact recipe when making butter-cream frosting but I suggest following a recipe like this and then you can simply adjust how much you need. Then I used a piping bag to pipe the icing on and then sprinkled over some sprinkles or edible cake decorations and thats it. Was that super simple or was that super simple!?
Are you a fan of Vanilla Cupcakes?
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So its been a while since I last did a baking post, with uni taking over pretty much my whole life I haven’t really had time to stick in head in a recipe book lately. I was lucky enough to have a day off this week and thought I would do a little baking. When it comes to baking, I try to experiment a little and try new things. I used to always stick to cupcakes, cupcakes and more cupcakes but it is quite exciting baking something a little different. Now I am no stranger to meringues, I do enjoy whipping up a good Pavlova but I have never made smaller individual ones so now was my time. Mini meringues sandwiched together with cream, whats not to love!?
3 egg whites
180g caster sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
Food colouring (optional)
150ml cream (approx)
Pre-heat oven to Gas Mark 1/ . Firstly, beat the egg whites in a bowl until stiff (you can try the put the bowl over your head trick, the egg whites should be stuck to the bowl and not fall out!). Then stir in a spoonful of sugar *sings Mary Poppins*, one at a time until all the sugar is mixed in and the mixture appears glossy. Also add the vanilla extract.
Then if desired you can add food colouring if you wish to colour your meringues. Then deposit the mixture into a piping bag and pipe small swirls onto baking paper ready for the oven. Place in the oven for 1 hour 30 minutes – 2 hours until the meringues are crispy on the outside but soft in the inside.
When they are ready, allow to cool. Then whip up some cream and spread on the flat side of a meringue and sandwich with another. Fini!
Are you a fan of meringues?
So for Christmas I received a baking calender for 2015 featuring a different recipe for each month and the recipe featured in January was Lemon Drizzle Muffins. I am a huge fan of anything with lemon in it especially cake so I was looking forward to giving this recipe a try. These are quite different to anything I’ve made before, being muffins rather than cupcakes they are more heavier and they had a slight different taste with the use of brown sugar. Nevertheless I can see myself reaching for this recipe again.
350g self-raising flour
1/2 level tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
75g brown sugar
Grated rind of 1 lemon
75g melted butter
300ml semi skimmed milk
75g icing sugar
2tsp lemon juice
First of all pre-heat the oven to 200C/Gas Mark 6.
In a bowl add the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and lemon rind. Mix
Then add the butter, eggs and milk and stir until combined.
Then divide the cake mixture between 12 paper muffin cases and place in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and risen.
Then to make the lemon icing, combine the icing sugar and lemon juice and drizzle over the muffins.
To finish you can also add some decoration on top like lemon sprinkles.
There is no denying we all love a bargain, a freebie and just a bit of love from our favourite retailers after spending countless amounts of times browsing their shelves, menus etc and of course parting with our “well earned” cash on their products. As the retail industry is bigger than ever and consumers now have more rights, its the retailers responsibility to deliver the best service and give a little back to their customers. There is no better way to do this than a good loyalty card. I have gathered quite a selection of loyalty cards, some good and some not so great…
Costa Coffee Club – Now this is one of my most used loyalty cards… despite hating coffee. For every £1 spent you get 5 points with each point worth a penny. Costa also occasionally do double points events so the card is always worth while. When I said I hate coffee, I do love Costa’s hot chocolate and most of all their Red Berry Fruit Cooler *heart-eyed emoji* and I have used my loyalty card quite a few times to pay for my drinks so if you enjoy a drink or snack from Costa once in a while its worth picking up a card!
Boots Advantage Card – Now this is the one. If you are from the UK I would be a tad surprised if you didn’t own this card already. For every £1 spent you get 4 points with each point worth a penny. Boots always have a variety of offers on with 100/200 point events or even 500 point offers on purchases which can be put towards treating yourself to a new product such as a Chanel lipstick. However only downside is that you need to have enough points to cover the cost of an item if you were to use your points to pay as they do not accept paying part of the cost with points. Nevertheless its a very worthy card to have and who wouldn’t want a Chanel lipstick payed for with points. After all points make prizes!
Nandos Card – One for the chicken lovers *slowly raises hand*. For every £7 spent in Nandos you receive a chilli… a virtual chilli that is! If you get 3 chillies you can get a 1/4 chicken or appeteaser. 6 chilies equal to a 1/2 chicken or a wrap, burger or pitta and if you collect 10 chillies you can get a WHOLE chicken or single combo meal. Come on who doesn’t love chicken!
Superdrug Beauty Card – Now is where things get a little less exciting. Well I will start with the benefits, a card with a mirror how handy! Anyway for every 100 points earned is £1 to spend in store. The good thing is unlike Boots you can pay partly by cash and partly with points. Now there is nothing bad about this card in fact it is great like the boots card if you shop in Superdrug. However for me its pretty useless because I now only shop in boots because they sell more brands and I can get everything in the one place aswell as having points in the one store is more beneficial than between two.
Paperchase Treat Me – Now this is quite an unusual card. There is no points, just perks. You scan this with each purchase and you get closer to a new perk. I haven’t used it too often but I did manage to get a 15% off in my first usage so not too bad. I believe this card is only a trial so it may not be available in all stores. Other perks are said to include money off on birthdays and free coffee.
Space NK N.dulge card – Now in terms of premium beauty this is your top dog. This is my most recent loyalty card and it could be becoming one of my faves. Its very simple 1 point for every £1 spent and when you reach 100 points (£100) you get a £5 incentive. With Nars and Hourglass filling the counters it can be fairly easy to blow £100 in the space of a year so this card is pretty useful for making you feel that bit better about buying that pricey Hourglass blush palette.
What is your favourite loyalty card?