Wolfy’s Couscous… A Review!!

As someone who works 9am-5pm five days a week, with an hour round-commute, I like to spend my evenings and weekends relaxing. I try to do all of my essential chores in as little time, with as little effort as I can, so I can chill out and enjoy my free time. So one of the dreaded tasks for me is food prep. Whilst an essential part of my routine to keep my diet on track, it can be time consuming and not the most exciting of tasks.

However, there are those weekends where I’m simply too busy. Last weekend, I went away for a girly weekend and didn’t get back until late Sunday night – by then supermarkets were closed and realistically I didn’t want to be spending my Sunday evening slaving away in the kitchen. In situations like this, I want to pick something up out of the fridge or the cupboard, that’s quick, easy, tasty and still healthy and nutritious – and that’s where Wolfy’s Couscous come in. The team at Wolfy’s kindly sent me these Couscous pots to try – and boy are they a game changer.  These are perfect for those days when I haven’t been so on top of my food prep, or if I’m out and about and don’t want to sacrifice my clean eating.

The first thing to comment on is the packaging – it’s extremely colourful and vibrant, so straight away it stands out from the boring tinned stuff gathering dust in your cupboard, and makes for a far more attractive lunch option. Second of all, the packaging states that these are vegan and free from anything artificial  – I’m working really hard to try and be more conscious of what I’m putting in my body, so straight away, this makes me feel all warm inside knowing that I’m sticking to my clean living plan.

Here’s what I thought of each of the flavours, and also what I paired each pot with:

Garlic and Herb Couscous with Sundried Tomato and Chipotle Relish

The addition of the Sundried Tomato and Chipotle Relish really made this pot – I find that Couscous can be quite dry on its own, so this added so much more moisture to the dish, as well as a complementary combination of flavours. I absolutely adore spicy food, so the additional kick this relish gave to the meal, really was right up my street. I was slightly dubious about this keeping me full – I tend to stick to three meals a day with no snacking, so I was slightly worried I wouldn’t last until dinner – however, it really did do the trick, and kept my stomach from growling, and my energy in tip-top condition right through ‘til dinner time!!!

Root Veg Couscous with Sweet Onion Relish

I paired this pot with a delicious sweet and crunchy side salad, which worked so nicely with the Couscous – I also don’t really like onion so I swopped out this relish with some spicy tomato salsa I had in the fridge – it tasted just as yummy, and the combination of tastes worked so well together. I love having lots of veggies incorporated in my meals, and this enabled me to do this whilst having lunch on-the-go. By adding in some extra goodness, this also showed me that these pots are so versatile and you can mix it up a little!!

Curry Couscous with Mango Chutney Relish 

Curry isn’t something I personally associate with lunch – for me this is more of an evening meal, so I decided to try this pot with my dinner – so I cooked up some spicy chicken and veg, and instead of adding rice like I normally would, I added this couscous pot instead. The mango chutney relish was SO good – I absolutely love the stuff anyway, so this certainly did not disappoint!!! There were so many flavours in this pot which went so nicely with my chicken (which I’d also added some dry spices to!) so this is definitely something I would have again.

Overall – I absolutely loved these. I love to include lots of flavour and different herbs and spices in my meals, and I was so pleased with how much flavour these really exuded. Whilst I added some extra side dishes to these on some days, they were also perfectly tasty on their own, and definitely enough to fill you up until your next meal – I must say, my favourite actually had to be the Garlic and Herb Couscous pot with the sundried tomato and chipotle relish – there were so many flavours in this, it was just simply delicious!!

I was also impressed with how simple and easy the pots were to prepare – chuck in a measured amount of boiling water, place the lid back on, and by the time I’ve walked back to my desk at work, it’s ready to eat!!!

For someone who is trying to limit my intake of processed and artificial flavours and foods, as well as being conscious of my personal contribution to the environment, these are the perfect no-guilt lunch pot which left me feeling comfortably full, healthy and slightly smug. These are perfect for when I’m out and on the go and need to grab something which doesn’t sacrifice my clean lifestyle, and is extremely tasty at the same time. They’re also a fantastic addition to my weeknight dinners, so I’ll most definitely be heading down to my local Waitrose and incorporating these into my weekly shop!

Fitness, Health, Lifestyle

Dry January… A Review!

It feels like an absolute lifetime ago that I posted about ‘Beating those January blues’ – doesn’t January feel like it goes on forever?! Another reason it may have dragged so much and the reason why I have created this blog post, are those dreaded two words… Dry January.

Dry January isn’t something I have ever successfully done before – over the past two years I’ve declared to friends and family that ‘this is the year I will complete Dry January’ and each time I have failed by Day 2. However, this year was different – I was absolutely determined that I was going to successfully go an entire month without a drop of alcohol, for several reasons. First of all – I wanted to prove that I could actually go a month without alcohol. This may sound slightly concerning, but I honestly think it has been about five years since I went a week without drinking, let alone an entire month – so if anything, I just wanted to prove I wasn’t reliant on it. Second of all – the classic ‘January Detox’. The amount of food I consumed over Christmas was enough to feed a small army, did nothing for my waistline, and I was left feeling slightly puffy, tired, de-energised and de-motivated when New Year rolled round the corner. So I decided that in order to get back onto the healthy eating bandwagon, nourishing my body and going to the gym regularly, the only thing to do was to stop drinking. Having never done it before, and having so many people sneer and say ‘oh it’s soooo easy’ or those people with haunted eyes telling me to NEVER do it, I thought I would document how my Dry January went week-by-week, what I found motivated me, made me crave a sneaky glass, and made me determined to stay strong, etc etc.

Week One

January 1st – 7th

Ok. So first of all, on the 1st January, we had the pleasure of picking up our gorgeous new puppy. Meet Gus:

Sorry, I couldn’t not post a picture of him considering I take about 20 a day, and he now has his own Instagram account (aka_gusthegreat for anyone interested in giving this sweetpea a follow!). This actually helped me through the first week. I was so consumed with worry over whether or not he was sleeping okay downstairs on his own, the fact I needed to be alert in case he cried in the night – the mere thought of drinking sent my mind into overdrive – what if something awful happened to him and I needed to take him to the vets and I’d been drinking so couldn’t?! This really did get me through that first week, so finding something that totally takes your mind of it really helps.

Week Two

Jan 8th – 11th

Gus is settling in nicely and whilst I’m still worried something might happen to him, I’m slightly calmer than I was last week. One of my New Year’s Resolutions was also to get back into a solid gym routine, as I knew that’s when I feel my best, I eat right and generally my mental and physical health is better. Marcus and I also agreed we needed to get Gus into a set routine so whatever we decided in terms of timings, we absolutely had to commit to. So I made the brave decision of a 5:40am wake up to get Gus up and outside for his morning bathroom ritual, then I would have time to head off to the gym and get an early morning workout in before going to work. I’m actually quite looking forward to this – hopefully it’ll help me lose the extra pounds gained over Christmas and make me feel more positive and better generally.

January 12th

Okay. Now I’m starting to struggle slightly. It’s Friday, and after a long week back at work I’ve seriously got that Friday feeling. Damn, I could kill for a nice glass of red wine right now by the fire whilst watching a movie. MUST. STRUGGLE. ON.

January 13th

It’s Saturday – I managed to pull through on Friday night so feeling slightly smug with myself. I’ve also lost 2.5 pounds this week, so I can already see the results. This is actually making me motivated to carry on. I can do this!!

January 14th

OK so it’s 4pm on Sunday and right now I’m wrapped up in a blanket in front of the fire, with my pooch and I am GAGGING for a glass of red. Plus, I’m feeling really bluey about going to work tomorrow – and to make it worse, it’s officially been declared as ‘Blue Monday’ tomorrow. Must focus on something else… HEY let’s write a new blog post about Beating those January blues. That will take my mind off it and motivate me to keep going!!

Week Three

January 15th-18th

Now that I’ve successfully established a solid gym routine during the week and I’m seeing positive results, this is really keeping me on track. I’m getting a better night’s sleep, I’m feeling much more alert, I’m actually looking forward to prepping my meals and being healthy – so this is going quite well!!

January 19th

Out for dinner with the family. Now this will be a real test – we are going to our favourite restaurant in our local town and every time we come here, the wine is flowing and all is very merry. We are the first there, so to avoid temptation when others order, Marcus and I both order a pint of Diet Coke each. Man, this is hard.

January 20th

Feeling rather smug again today. I managed to avoid the wine last night, so up and feeling fresh today. Let’s hit the gym!!

January 21st

We’ve gone to look around a wedding venue this morning. As soon as we walk in, we are offered a glass of champagne. I think this is the closest I have come to having a drink – I manage to resist, as I know I’ll regret it – at least if I’m going to do it, do it properly with a bottle of wine on the sofa at home!!! Now we’re having to make wedding decisions and feeling a tad stressed… man I could use a glass of wine right now!!! Must avoid – how do I deter? New Netflix series, that will get me through.

Week Four

January 22nd – 25th

I’ve established that during the week I am fine – I’m killing it, absolutely smashing it. Feeling like a new woman. Maybe I can become a motivational speaker about the benefits of not drinking?

January 26th

Oh God. Scrap that last post. Again, I’ve got that Friday feeling, plus it’s sunny outside… I’m dreaming of beer gardens and sweet fruity cider, I could so easily kick back with a G&T right now! Must avoid.. continue with the Netflix series.

January 27th 

So today is Gus’ first walk!!! This will be a great distraction. He’s now had all of his vaccinations, so we are taking him on a big walk on the common where we live – look how excited he is!!

We want to get him used to public places so we can take him out socialising – best place – obviously a pub!!! But at the same time… big mistake. There we are, faced with Sunday lunchtime drinkers, having a whale of a time downing their Pinot Grigio whilst tucking into their roast dinner. After what felt like two hours sat there avoiding eye contact with the gin bottle, we exit the pub and head home (in reality, what felt like 2 hours was only 30 minutes).

January 28th

OK so I’ve made it this far – the weekends are really difficult but this is the last weekend I have to endure that yearning for wine. To try to keep that motivation up, I message a friend who’s also been doing Dry January – she’s spurred me on as she’s doing the same thing, so feeling much better and ready to tackle the final few days!!!

Week Five – the final three days

I’m operating on a countdown clock now. It’s Wednesday 31st, I’m chilling on the sofa with Gus and watching informative documentaries (just kidding, it’s Geordie Shore obviously)… I’ve made it!

So… as you can see, there were a lot of trials and tribulations throughout Dry January – I’ve had several ups and downs, and my ‘struggle areas’ have mostly related to the weekend. I absolutely love kicking back on a Friday evening, in a jolly mood as the weekend is here with a glass of wine in hand, so this has been the biggest obstacle for me and my weakest point of the entire month. However, Dry January has taught me two things. A – I’m not reliant on alcohol (that’s a relief!) , and B – I have truly seen the benefits of Dry January. I’ve lost weight, established a weekly gym routine, got myself back on the healthy eating bandwagon and generally feeling more refreshed. Whilst it hasn’t turned me T-Total, it has made me realise that everything in moderation is okay and I feel like I’ve truly taken care of my body this month. It’s also spurred me on to setting myself some kind of challenge for every month throughout 2018… so what next?!

I’d love to hear your experiences of Dry January, what you struggled with and the coping mechanisms you used to help you through!

Beauty, Fashion, Fitness, Health, Lifestyle

Beating those January blues

2018 is finally upon us, and the gloomy shadow of January is here. New Years Resolutions have been made (some broken already!) and the glorious memories of yummy food and mulled wine are fading away, as we all trudge back to work, and the reality that Christmas is over sets in.

So as the taste of that glorious Christmas food becomes but a distant memory, and the January blues set in, it’s fair to say everyone is feeling a bit down.

So considering today is officially known as ‘Blue Monday’, I thought I’d write a post around how to beat those January blues, and make your January just as exciting as any other month!!

Dry January

For the first time EVER, I have committed myself to Dry January. I’ve tried to do this for the last 3-4 years, and every time, I have failed. However this year, I was absolutely determined to have an alcohol-free month, and having not gone longer than a week without some sort of alcoholic beverage over the last several years, this is quite a challenge for me (don’t judge, I love a glass of red, okay).

So even more so, during the first week of January I was feeling more bluey than normal. But I decided I wasn’t going to let this get me down, and in fact I was going to use this time to really take care of myself, my health and body, and also set myself up for the year ahead. So here are a few tips and ideas for making your January that little bit brighter.

A little pamper can’t hurt…

As the mornings are getting colder and the evenings are getting darker, and whatever was left in our bank accounts has dwindled away (because let’s face it, Christmas wipes us all out and it is a LONG way til payday) all I want to do is snuggle under a blanket and stay indoors. So what better than to create your own at-home spa?! I absolutely adore the spa and pampering myself, so this for me is a great idea to have some real ‘me time’ and indulge in some luxurious products.

So throw in some bath bombs and a purifying face mask, and I’m on my own indulgent journey to relaxation. I love taking the time to unwind in a nice hot bubble bath with my favourite book or relaxing music playing, whilst my Origins purifying face mask soaks in. My lovely fiancé also bought me these gorgeous and fragrant bath bombs for Christmas, so what better excuse to use them?!

Next on the pamper list – hands and nails! This may sound silly but since becoming engaged and spending endless hours staring at my ring, I’ve wanted to make sure my hands are looking their best at all times. So indulging in this glorious Champneys hand and nail spa, followed by a manicure using my new Ted Baker nail varnish (another Christmas quirk) will make sure they are looking their best. Finishing this off with a Clarins hand and nail cream, means they feel as great as they look!!!

Comfortable loungewear

As mentioned earlier, the gloomy darkness of January makes me want to snuggle under a blanket, so again to make me feel my best whilst doing this – some great and comfortable loungewear!!! I received these glorious cotton Victoria’s Secret pyjamas for Christmas, which are perfect for snuggling up in. Paired with my Emu Australia slippers, makes for the perfect evening snuggle on the sofa.

Try something new

Whether that’s a new fitness class at your local gym to sweat out those toxins, or trying out the new art class which has just opened in town, trying something new is always a great way to get something fun and social into the diary. Pair up with a friend, and this makes it even more enjoyable!!

Get organised

Now this, I absolutely love – I love having a big clear out and organising everything, as it makes me feel like I’m detoxing my surroundings as well as my body!!! So whether that’s listing all those unwanted clothes on eBay that you never got round to doing, or making the journey to your local recycling centre to get rid of all the junk and rubbish you’ve been hoarding, along with rifling through new cookbooks to get some meal plan inspiration – all of these are great ways to get you feeling refreshed and like you’re winning at life.

These are my top tips for beating those January blues – I’d love to hear how you motivate yourself during this dark and cold month, and any tips you may have!

Fitness, Health, Lifestyle

‘Let’s start on Monday’.. an excuse to give up, or are we setting unrealistic goals which cause us to fall off track?

We’ve all done it. A sneaky glass of wine mid-week, what I like to call ‘easy oven food’ which does nothing for the waistline, late nights binge-watching Netflix; however joyful these events might seem, over prolonged periods, aren’t necessarily good for our health. I, for one, fully own up to my guilty pleasure of chucking a pizza in the oven, pouring myself a glass of red and settling in for approximately three hours of the Walking Dead on a Tuesday night, with the full knowledge that the spin class I had so much hope for at 6:30am the next morning, was a hopeless feat. Now don’t get me wrong – I’m 100% fully supportive of taking time for myself and relaxing, and now and again you really do need that Netflix binge (after all, what’s more important than witnessing the glorious reunion of Darryl and Carol?) but for prolonged periods, this way of living is not sustainable, nor healthy for us mentally or physically. All good intentions go out of the window, that spin class is abandoned, and the tuna salad with a healthy amount of avocado and spinach is swapped for a burrito at lunchtime as you ease off the foggy head. So what are the biggest downfalls of these good intentions, which cause us to fall off the wagon?

I don’t know about you, but the mantra I seem to live by when planning a healthy kick-start is ‘Let’s start on Monday’. Now I totally get it – Monday is the first day of the week, so it seems like the perfect day to start anything – just like New Year’s Day when we kick-start our resolutions, the 1st December when we open the first door of our advent calendar and the countdown truly begins (unless you’re me, and start straight after Halloween). We’ve all had a relaxing weekend, managed to catch up on stolen sleep and caught up with friends and family, had a chance to do the food shop and prep for the week ahead. All of a sudden, that spin class, which in reality we know makes us want to vom 30 seconds in, seems completely achievable. So it’s safe to say – weekends are pretty great. So however much we try to avoid that daunting feeling as the dark cloud of Monday looms over us, when the 5:30am alarm goes off on Monday morning, the last thing I feel is excitement for the day ahead. The last thing I want to do is chow down on that tuna and avocado salad ,with the fresh memories of Saturday night’s takeaway. So are we setting ourselves up for a fall, by starting on a Monday; or are the goals we are setting ourselves just simply unrealistic?

first amende

In my opinion, we all put far too much pressure on the goals we set ourselves, and sometimes these goals are just simply unrealistic. Now it’s totally normal to have a weak moment, and make a beeline for that KitKat you’ve been thinking about all morning. But for most of us, we seem to see this as failing altogether, thinking ‘what’s the point in carrying on?’ and by Wednesday, all has failed and we go full circle back to ‘let’s start again on Monday’. We use this as an excuse to put off our goals for the rest of week, as the reality is – sometimes, they are simply unachievable.

And how do I know this? Because I am the perfect example of someone who has lived by this mantra, and I have come to the realisation recently that sometimes you need to change up your routine, review and reset your goals. I’ve been through quite a big lifestyle change this year –my boyfriend and I have bought a house, we have both changed jobs quite recently, so our routine was completely overhauled as we adjusted to a new way of living. I used to live five minutes away from work, with the gym next door, so it was completely easy and convenient for me to roll out of bed at 6:45, whizz up a green smoothie , pick up my gym bag and make the five minute car journey in, knowing I’d get an hour workout, be able to get ready for work and then make the 30 second stroll into the office. That would set me up for the day, wake me up and get me feeling motivated. Now I live around 30 minutes away from my place of work, my gym is in my hometown, so this routine just simply doesn’t work for me here. If I wanted to follow the same sort of pattern, I would need to wake up at 5:30am, get to the gym for 6, fit in my hour workout, head home, get ready for work and then make the 30 minute car journey in – not an impossible stretch by any means, but much more of a struggle and not as easy as it previously was – especially on these cold winter mornings!!

So when I do wake up on a Monday morning with good intentions, and look outside and see my windscreen needs de-icing, I have two choices – make the dreaded journey outside and begin scraping, or roll back into bed and get an extra hour and a half of sleep. I think you all know what my preferred option is! This change in lifestyle for me has meant I need to review my goals, set new routines which suit my new lifestyle, and this makes it easier for me to accomplish my goals. In reality, I know that on a cold and frosty morning, I’m never going to be leaving the sanctuary of my bed. So it makes sense for me to hit the gym after work when I’m already up and out the door, and have no excuses to make. It’s all about setting a routine that for you is realistic – yes I would prefer to go to the gym in the mornings, however for me right now, especially in these winter months, I know the most realistic routine for me to stick to is to go straight after work.

second image

This doesn’t only apply when it comes to the gym – it also follows the same pattern for food prep. I know that at the weekend, I can make the time to cook up a big stir fry dish or something similar, and freeze it for my lunches for the week ahead. This leaves me with minimal effort during the week, and enables me to easily stick to my clean eating plan. I also know that at the weekend, I enjoy spending a couple of hours in the kitchen, rustling up delicious meals from scratch, however there is no point in me attempting to do this on a Tuesday evening, as it simply isn’t going to happen – I’m going to get in from the gym and want to make something that takes me no more than 30 minutes. So utilising cookbooks such as Madeleine Shaw’s ‘Ready Steady Glow’, which promotes quick, easy and healthy weeknight meals, is far more realistic and likely for me to stick to.


So when you are setting your goals for the week ahead, or even in the medium-long term, make sure they are realistic – everyone’s goals are different, and everyone’s motivations are different. Whether that’s a new food plan, a new workout regime, or simply taking some time for ourselves. Make sure it is sustainable, a routine that you enjoy following, so we don’t have to keep ‘starting again’ on Monday.

Health, Lifestyle

‘Feed Me Vegan’ by Lucy Watson. The Review!

So after the long-awaited delivery, last Thursday, Lucy Watson’s ‘Feed Me Vegan’ cookbook finally arrived through the post. I’ve been really looking forward to receiving this book, for a multitude of reasons. First of all – I love Lucy Watson. Alongside her great sense of style and serious eyebrow game, I admire how strong-minded she is, and how she fights for what she believes in and voices it. Second of all, after recently watching the Netflix documentary ‘What the Health’, it really exposed a lot around the meat and dairy industry, and not only how cruel it is to animals in the processes it follows, but also how bad it can actually be for our health. So I wanted to try to tone down the amount of meat and dairy in my diet. This isn’t something I have found particularly difficult – I love veggie food anyway, and I will often be the one who picks the veggie option when out for dinner. When I saw that Lucy was releasing this cookbook, instantly I knew I had to buy it, as this would instil me with an entirely new armoury of recipes to try, which were meat and dairy free for me to enjoy.

One of the first things I loved about this book, was the introduction. It gives great insight into Lucy’s childhood, her relationship with animals, and why she made the choice to go Vegan. There is nothing ‘preachy’ about her writing; it’s simply an explanation as to why she has made the choices she has, and has some encouraging words for what she hopes to achieve with her book. Again, she’s not telling everyone ‘you must go vegan’ it’s simply there to be an eye-opener into what’s going on in the meat and dairy industry, and if this book can help us make healthier choices, then it’s done the job.


One of the biggest factors for me when cooking, is time. I have what you would call a typical working week – a 9-5pm job, I don’t usually get home until around 5:45, and by the time I get in the door, the last thing I want to do is slave over the cooker for hours on end with more ingredients than you can count. I also don’t want to be spending over and above my weekly food budget. Within her book, Lucy has an entire section called ‘Feed Me Quickly’. And this section is perfect, for just that. Minimal ingredients, minimal time, and you’re still sticking to a healthy and clean diet. The majority of ingredients, as you can imagine are fresh vegetables, herbs and spices, and a few dairy/meat replacements. I have placed some of my favourite recipes so far down below, so you can see what I’ve been cooking, the time it has taken me, and of course, how it tasted!!

Miso-Glazed Aubergine

This one is perfect for those of you who get in from work, really can’t be bothered and just want to throw something in the oven (I often have those nights myself!!). The ingredients are very minimal, and the time it took me in total from scouring the cupboards for my ingredients, through to sitting down and eating, was around 35 minutes. That’s pretty good going, if you ask me!!

Aubergine Ingredients

First of all, I cut the aubergine in half, scoured it and popped it in the oven for 25 minutes. Whilst this was cooking, I mixed together the white miso, the mirin and the caster sugar, and left this on side. At this point, I curled up on the sofa for 20 minutes and watched the first half of an episode of Homeland – ideal!!

Aubergine in pan and miso

When the aubergine was ready, which was true to the time in the recipe, I took this out of the oven, brushed over my miso/mirin/sugar mixture, and popped this under the grill on a high heat for 5 minutes. Whilst this was caramelising and crisping up, I chopped my spring onions.


As you can see, the result was pretty great. And to my surprise – extremely tasty!! The glaze gives it a lovely sweet taste, and mixed with the salt, sesame seeds and spring onion, hits your taste buds with rich and natural flavours. A new favourite of mine for the ‘lazy work night’ kind of meal!

Pad Thai

This book is also filled with plenty of other recipes, and one which I made from the ‘Feed Me Feasts’ section, was Pad Thai. I absolutely adore Thai food, so I was really hoping this would live up to expectations. Again – the ingredients weren’t complex in the slightest, I could see the health benefits of everything going into my food and the nutrients they held, which made me very excited to try this one.

Pad Thai ingredients

One ingredient which I was extremely apprehensive over, was tofu. I’ve never tried it before, and it wasn’t something I could ever see myself liking. It doesn’t really have a scent to it, and the texture of it, I discovered was quite rubbery; so I was extremely worried that this was going to turn out to be a complete disaster. When the recipe asked for the tofu to be crumbled, which I found was surprisingly easy (basically just squashing it between your fingers!!) it looks like scrambled egg, which made me feel even more concerned about how this would turn out. However – I was pleasantly surprised. When sautéed with the onions, garlic, ginger and turmeric, it turned golden and crispy, and mixed with all of the ingredients, absorbed all of the flavours and tasted absolutely delicious.

Stir fry veg in pan


In terms of time, as this wasn’t in the ‘Feed Me Quickly’ section, I prepared myself to be spending at least over an hour prepping and cooking this, through to sitting down to eat. However again – a pleasant surprise. Once I’d prepped all my ingredients, which took around 15/20 minutes, then through to cooking time, I managed all of this within 45 minutes! Which is perfectly achievable for a weeknight meal.


And voila! This was the finished product on my plate. The addition of the peanuts gave that delicious nutty taste to complement the soy and the vegetables, and to my delight, I’d made enough for a second serving for my lunch the following day. The only thing I would probably do differently is not be so over-zealous with the lime – it made the dish slightly too sweet for me, so next time, I will definitely be holding back on that… and maybe adding more peanuts as a treat!

And finally…  Feed Me Sweet Treats!!

I have a real sweet tooth, and I often find myself reaching for the chocolate on an evening, so I want to be able to still treat myself, but in a slightly healthier way. As well as this, my boyfriend has a particular fondness for jam – so I decided to make these delicious jam biscuits, as at least that meant I wouldn’t scoff them all by myself!!

As per all of the other recipes I’ve tried so far, the ingredients were fairly minimal and easy to find at the supermarket.

Jam biscuits ingredients

In terms of time, this one did take longer than the others, however this was mainly due to the fact that once you’ve made the dough, you need to leave it to set in the fridge for two hours. Other than that, it took me all of 10-15 minutes to make the dough. Now I didn’t have a whisk, which the instructions do say you’ll need, however I found I managed to make the dough just as well using a spoon and my hands to mix!!


Once the dough was ready, I kneaded this and cut my circles out with a cookie cutter, as instructed. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a cookie cutter small enough to cut out the hearts… so as you can see, these are a tad misshapen! I popped these in the oven for around 7-8 minutes, and then left these to cool on the side before adding the jam.

Biscuit halves

And voila!! My delicious jam biscuits!! They tasted absolutely yummy, and they were definitely favoured by my boyfriend as well. I will definitely be making these much more often.


As you can see, I’ve had lots of fun this week experimenting with these recipes. And I must say – this book has exceeded my expectations. Whenever I have made Vegan meals in the past, I have always felt that something on my plate was missing, and I wasn’t getting the nutrients or enjoyment out of the food like I should. This book has given me some great and tasty recipes where I feel completely fulfilled with what I’m eating, and again it has given me some great quick and simple recipes to enjoy during the week without sacrificing taste. I haven’t even noticed this week that I have been eating Vegan meals – which is definitely a positive sign!! If you haven’t already done so, I would certainly recommend purchasing this book, and if you already have, I’d love to hear your thoughts and which recipes you would recommend!





Bank Holiday Baking…. Madeleine Shaw Banana Loaf!

So after a glorious bank holiday weekend, where copious amounts of chocolate eggs have been eaten (it’s Easter, so it’s allowed right?!) I felt like I needed to get back on track with my healthy eating. One thing I do struggle with the most when eating healthy, is resisting sweet treats, especially when I’ve been consuming chocolate this weekend like it’s going out of fashion (no shame here). So in order to keep the sugar cravings at bay, I have once again, turned to the Queen of Clean Eating, Madeleine Shaw!! Her clean treats are so yummy and an absolute favourite of mine is the Banana & Cinnamon Loaf, which you’ll find in her book Get the Glow. It’s so easy to make, the ingredients are easy to pick up in your local supermarket, and it’s downright delicious.

Book Image


As I have said, the ingredients are straightforward, and easy enough to pick up in your local supermarket. You might notice I have been a little naughty and snuck in a bar of Lindt 70% Cocoa Dark Chocolate – I see this as ‘phasing out’ the chocolate rather than going cold turkey straight away!!  The most expensive item was the coconut sugar, which I paid about £6 for – however you only use half the bag, so you can get two banana loafs out of it which I do think is good value for money, considering the health benefits of it.


The Making of the Banana Loaf….

…It’s pretty simple. Chuck it all in a mixing bowl, grab your electric mixer and whiz away!! It took me about 3-5 minutes to get to the lovey cream consistency you can see in the photos below. I then broke up my bar of Lindt chocolate, popped that into the mixture and gave it one final whizz around the bowl.

Ingredients Mix

Once done, I popped it into a baking tin, baked it in the oven for 50 minutes and voila! You have yourself a delicious banana loaf. Now the recipe does say 50 minutes in the oven, however I like mine a little crunchy on top, so I baked it for 60 mins… I would say I may have overdone it slightly, so I’ll remember that for next time.


For more of Madeleine’s delicious recipes, I’d definitely recommend picking up her cookbooks as they are my go-to books when I’m in the kitchen and want to cook up something healthy and delicious.

I’d love to hear from you some of your favourite recipes, so please do let me know!!

Health, Lifestyle

2016.. A Review

So what can I say about the year 2016… well, I would say that it hasn’t gone quite as swimmingly as I’d have hoped.. as I’m sure most of you’ll agree, and from what I’ve seen from some of the fantastically thought out meme’s that have been circling the internet, 2016 hasn’t exactly been the best year all round. We’ve lost many well-known influencers of our time, and after many political surprises, it has been an odd year, and myself, like most people are quite glad to see the back of it. However, even though there have been some peaks and troughs this year, I still thought as an end to the year, and to begin 2017, it would be quite nice to do a review of what has gone well, what maybe hasn’t gone quite so well, and what I’ve learnt along the way.

First of all, I thought I would look at the New Year’s Resolutions that I set for myself at the beginning of this year, and see how well I managed to keep them…

Eat clean and experiment with my cooking so I can enjoy healthy and delicious meals

I’ve been really good this year with experimenting with my cooking – not necessarily trying out wild and outrageous foods that I would never normally eat, but more so that I’ve been creating meals from scratch, with some exciting new recipes. One big influencer of this for me, has been Madeleine Shaw. She has such a positive outlook on food, and how it not only affects your physical body, but also how your diet can affect you mentally. I really struggle with anxiety, and one thing that has helped me with keeping this under control is focusing on eating well and keeping my body nourished. I’m sure you’ll have seen in some of my previous blog posts as well as my Instagram feed, the different recipes I have been trying out and experimenting with.

Now I won’t lie, I haven’t been completely on the band wagon with eating clean and healthy all the time. I have definitely drank far too much alcohol this year. Usually, I will eat clean during the week, and on the weekend is my allotted time to have a few well-deserved drinks and a few naughty snacks. However, this year I have found myself on several occasions having a mid-week tipple, which has inevitably led to bad food choices, such as morning bacon rolls to make my day at work more bearable, as well as heavy carbs such as pizza and pasta etc. Now don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing I’m treating myself because I do think that you need a break, and when you really feel like you need the garlic bread, you should damn well have that garlic bread! But for me, I know that I feel at my best when I’ve been sticking to a clean diet, and this keeps me on track. I have also noticed that my biggest anxiety flare ups have been when I’ve had a heavy weekend in terms of alcohol and bad food. The bad food choices have also led to weight gain, bad skin and generally feeling a bit down in the dumps, so I know that in order for me to feel good again, feel positive and in control, I need to get my diet back on track.


Catch up with friends at least once a month

Now this one, I have done much better than I thought I would!! I have made the time to catch up with friends, and whether that’s just going for a coffee on my lunch break with a friend I haven’t seen in a while, right through to spending a weekend away with my old uni friends, I’m really pleased with how well I’ve done here. This one was really important to me, especially as the majority of my really close friends lives quite far away, so I wanted to ensure I made a conscious effort to see this through, and I’m proud to say I have and I definitely feel better for it.

Get more sleep

Now I may have slightly over committed here…!! As someone who loves sleep, I definitely think I have taken this one to a whole new level!! During the week, I used to stay up until gone 11pm, and wake up in the morning feeling groggy and lacking energy. This year, I do think I have been much more sensible, and am generally in bed by 10pm at the very latest. Other than this, my weekends are absolutely my favourite time to get some well-earned sleep in – I allow myself at least one day on a weekend where I lie in for as long as I possibly can – as well as a few mid-afternoon naps sneaking in there!

Don’t take things too seriously (I’m a serial worrier)

Now this one, I haven’t completed to its full potential. Unfortunately, due to the fact I am quite a sensitive person, an over thinker and a serial worrier, I knew this one was going to be tough, as this is pretty much ingrained in me – however, I think this is more of a long term resolution that will take time to achieve, and I need to put certain measures in place in order for me to do this, such as making more time for myself and practising mindfulness. So I don’t necessarily see this one as a failure – but more of a working progress for me to actively build upon.

What else have I achieved this year? 

Other than looking at my resolutions and how well (or not so well) I did at keeping them, I thought it would also be nice to actually look at some of the key things that I have accomplished this year that weren’t necessarily in my resolutions.

Finished my CIM Professional Diploma in Marketing

This has been an absolutely gruelling two years. Whilst my friends were out partying, and colleagues were heading down to the pub for some after work drinks, I was cooped up in an office tuning into some webinars and burying my head in a text book. Whilst everyone was chilling out on the weekend doing fun things and relaxing, I was heading into the office to hammer out my latest assignment. Whilst the world was sleeping in on a Sunday, I was up at dawn with my laptop, with only caffeine to get me through. I sacrificed the majority of my free time for this, and I’m so glad that after all my hard work, I achieved this, with merit, at the end of it. It sent my anxiety through the roof, and at times I thought about packing it all in as I simply didn’t feel it was worth it, but I’m so glad I stuck it out and now have a great qualification to help further my development for the long term.

My sister got married

This was one of the most wonderful days to date, as I watched my sister marry my now brother-in-law. It was the first time in for as long as I can remember that my whole family spent the entire day together, and it was such a lovely occasion.


We bought at house!!

After a year of searching, going from house to house on the weekends and evenings, me and my boyfriend have finally found our own house that will be completely all ours. I feel like this is jinxing it slightly as it hasn’t completely gone through yet, but I’m far too excited not to tell you all about it. As someone who is a lover of interiors, home-ware, and real ‘project homes’, as is my boyfriend, we both really wanted a house that we could completely strip back to the bare structure and rebuild so it was our perfect home, exactly how we want it. For so long it didn’t seem this would be able to happen, as all of the houses we saw were either far too expensive, or the wrong location, wrong size etc. We’d just about given up on finding this, until one evening we just decided to go and see a house, that we didn’t even think we’d like. We both absolutely fell in love with it, and we have finally got that dream home (almost!!). So I cannot wait to get the keys and focus on building this up, so you can look forward to some blog posts and pictures on this as it progresses next year!

Travelled to new places 

Another way my anxiety affects me is when I travel. It has caused me to not enjoy my holidays sometimes. It’s incredibly frustrating because I do really love the idea of exploring new places, and I don’t want to miss out, so I’ve been trying to overcome this by travelling to as many places as possible in the hope I will get used to it!! This year has been a good year of doing this, through several mini breaks I’ve managed to fit in with friends, family and my boyfriend. These included a romantic trip to Paris, which I blogged about earlier this year, a couple of great holidays to Portugal which has become my new favourite relaxing holiday destination, as well as a long weekend in Dublin and some lovely day trips to the likes of big cities such as Birmingham and London. I want to continue to do this next year, and one of the first things I have booked is Glastonbury, which I am SO excited for!! Now don’t get me wrong – it has still been quite tough for me visiting these places, and not every moment has been wonderful as my anxiety seems to catch me out of the blue at the worst of times, but it is something I am working on, and I’m so proud of myself for pushing through these moments, and coming out the other side feeling just a little better every time.


Looking ahead…

As I said at the beginning of this year, I don’t want to set myself up for a fall, or encroach silly resolutions onto myself that I know I won’t be able to keep. I’d rather set some general resolutions, which aren’t so strict and that I can look at them in a positive way and be excited about, rather than be filled with dread at the thought that I’m going to have to give something up. So here are the general goals/resolutions I have set myself for this year:

Blog at least once a month

Blogging is something that I have found I really really enjoy doing. I love creating my own content, on areas that interest me, using my own photos and completely finding my own platform and outlet to be creative. I haven’t been great this year at keeping up regularly with my blog, and I really need to ensure that this year I MAKE the time to sit down, plan my blogs and find time to write them too. Too many times, I’ve been in bed about to go to sleep and have a sudden idea, and so I don’t forget it, quickly sit up for 20 minutes and write a rough draft, or I’m out and about and think of an idea, but then I busy myself with something else and completely forget it. I really need to put some time aside to develop these ideas, and ensure I keep up with my blog as much as I can.

Budget better

Now this year I managed to completely clear my overdraft from my university days, which I was so so happy about. It completely lifted a weight off my shoulders, as I knew that I was debt free in terms of my general day to day bank account. However, I made the rash mistake of applying for a credit card – my reasoning behind it was for any unplanned emergencies where I needed to pay for something, or if I was booking a holiday that I could pay off over a couple of months. This seemed relatively sensible at the time, however I’ve ended up using it for everything, so I’m pretty much in the same position I was in at the beginning of the year!! So in 2017, I plan to budget much more effectively in order to pay this off, and get that worry off my shoulders.

Make more time for myself

This is something I really need to do more of. I need to look after myself a lot more than I am currently doing, and set aside time to completely relax and chill out – whether that’s taking a relaxing bath to reflect on the day, attending a yoga class to relax myself and bring about positive energy, getting myself lost in a book – this is about taking my own time to be calm, self-reflect and ensure that I am feeling as relaxed and positive as I can be, and wind down in the best way possible. Again, this is something that should help to keep my anxiety under control, and I know from experience this has worked previously, so I am really looking forward to spending more time looking after me.

Start and end the day with a positive thought (write it down!)

I started this at the beginning of this year, and actually this really did help. Even if it was just 2 minutes of sitting there and reflecting on my day, thinking about what I was grateful for, really made me feel much better. It helped clear my mind about everything bad that may have happened that day as it helped to focus my mind on the good, so I really want to ensure that I practice this again. It really does only take 2 minutes to do, so I have no excuse not to stick to it!!!


So there you have it – my year in review, and what I hope to achieve for 2017. I’d love to know your thoughts, and any resolutions you might have also.