Thursday, 21 December 2017

Gift Guide for the Healthy Conscious

This post is inspired by my younger sister, who for the last few years insists of Birthday or Christmas presents being representative of her conscious self.  She loves the gym and eating well - shes basically the person who encouraged me to be more aware of what we feed our bodies:

"Treat your Body Like A Temple"

I really enjoy being the person that provides that comfort and happiness for her :) plus I just LOVE watching people open their presents from me, it's the best feeling! This consists of products that I would personally love to receive or I know will be welcomed with open arms. SO I bring you my gift guide for those who are the Health and Fitness Bunnies!

              Food Glorious Food

Giving chocolates/biscuits is really such a simple and welcomed gift but not for someone who lives by 'a moment on the lips forever on the hip's' mantra. If you really want to encourage a chocolatey treat then dark chocolate is your go to. As long as it's 70% cocoa which has fewer sugars and calories then you're on the right track. I love Green and Blacks Range of luxury chocolate with an array of flavours and they're organic an added bonus! For the not so chocolatey lover you could buy things that are mandatory in their pantry. Things like spices or seeds/nuts which can get quite expenny are definitely a lovely gesture. Or a big tub of nut butter goes down wonders in my household! I would highly suggest raiding Holland and Barrett if you're really stuck although I find that Aldi or Lidl do amazing healthy foods for half the price!

A little light reading 

Still sort of on the food category, people LOVE a good cookbook.  They make such a lovely gift, they're a real keepsake and besides there must be hundreds of healthy cook books out nowadays (obviously find out which ones they haven't got would be ideal). This is the sort of gift you can get for anyone be it your parents, grandparents, partners, sibling, friends! People love to cook and new recipes is a fun way to give a little inspiration. You never know, the receiver may have to cook for you one day, a little push might be handy in return for a delicious meal. I always find Amazon do amazing deals on cookbooks as do Tesco and The Works. Some of our faves at home - Clean Eating Alice, The Body Coach, Deliciously Ella,

Good things come to those who sweat

A request for Gym clothes is a must for my sister especially from brands where she probably wouldn't buy from herself.. A pair of leggings or even a sports bra goes a long way because an avid gym user will need to regularly throw out old gym clothes. You can really go to town on this one! Brands like Sweaty Betty or Gym Shark to name a few make some amazing clothes for men and women. They aren't the cheapest but on the receiving end they make a really thoughtful present. I would personally be over the moon with something from either of those brands as would my Lil Sis..

You could always go down the accessories route - a yoga mat or some dumbbells will go down well, especially for those home workouts!

Some me time 

Clean eating and regular workouts aren't the only ways to keep your heart healthy. Some relaxing down time goes a long way and a gift to encourage that would be perfect. Try some candles or reed diffusers for an aromatic scent to help relax. Or else a bath bomb - Lush do specific products that help relax and soothe sore muscles. Why not add to their beauty regime and give some skin care products? Neal's Yard are organic and have natural ingredients and have products targeted to different skin types - even if they aren't into the gym this is essential for everyone!

Hope this post is helpful! Christmas is just around the corner so get a move on! Enjoy yourself, eat lots, spend time with loved ones and be merry!

Hope you enjoyed this post 

If you do read this, I LOVE YOU





Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Healthy Vanilla & Chocolate Cheesecake

For all of you cheesecake loves out there this recipe is a must. What is it about cheesecake that makes my mouth fill with saliva just thinking about it?

I am always on the hunt for new recipes to try across the whole and recently I've got my baking hat on and can't stop thinking of new sweet treats to make. I find this a lot more fun because let's face it, everyone loves a dessert be it brownies, cakes, ice cream, we can't resist the temptation. My sweet tooth always get the better of me eventually so now I just let it.

Whenever I go to my Dad's house for dinner he traditionally buys our favourite Millionaires Cheesecake from Morrison's. It's cheap and delicious, what's not to like. But since I've become the next Mary Berry (lol I wish) in our household I wanted to whip up a dessert we could all enjoy and homemade desserts really are the bees knees aren't they?

I absolutely love to make healthy desserts because then there isn't any guilt and you are fuelling your body with better things that don't burn out your energy. I hate that feeling of eating a lot of junk food and then feeling like you have't slept in 2 days.  So if you are looking for a healthier alternative to a cheesecake then this, my friend is it!

 I've done the best I can with what ingredients I could get whilst still maintaining that yummy cheesecake texture. It's not full of sugar and it's not full of really expensive ingredients and it's really easy to make!

Healthy Vanilla & Chocolate Cheesecake

Easy to make with little ingredients and not full of sugar! Equipment: Electric whisk (or some good elbow grease with a spoon), food processor, 20cm springform cake tin.

  • 6 for base, 7 for chocolate layer Dates
  • 4 tbsp base, 5 tbsp choc Coconut Oil
  • 2 tbsp base, 1 tbsp chocolate layer Cocoa Powder
  • 1/2 tbsp (base) Honey
  • 150g (base) Porridge oats
  • 300g (chocolate layer) Dark Chocolate (melted)
  • 250g No Fat Quark Cheese
  • 250g Double Cream (whipping)
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla Essence
  • About 5 tbsp (personal taste) Granulated Sweetner
  • Melted Chocolate & Strawberries for Decoration
Preheat the oven to 180 Fan/200C/400F.In the food processor blend the oats into flour.Add the dates, coconut oil, cocoa powder and honey and blend until you have a sticky consistency. As long as it holds together this is fine, if not play around with dates and honey. Press your mixture into a greased cake tin leaving no gapsBake for 15 minutes. Once this has baked leave to cool then put in the fridge for about half hour.Chocolate Layer - whilst the base is cooling down melt the dark chocolate.Once the chocolate is melted, pour into the food processor and combine with dates, coconut oil and cocoa powder. Blend until smooth. Then pour over the base and leave to set in the fridge. This took about 30 minutes. Cheesecake layer - in a big bowl whisk all of the double cream until it looks fluffy.Add in the quark cheese and vanilla and whisk together. Start adding in the sugar until you like the taste. I feel with the refined sugar you have to add more than you would icing sugar. Once you have whisked together smooth over the chocolate layer and put in the fridge to set a bit - 15 minutes. Put the strawberries on top and use a spoon to flick or dribble the melted chocolate on. And there you have it, a delicious cheesecake with fewer calories. Enjoy!

Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 8 people (although depends how hungry you are!)

Hope you enjoyed this post 

If you do read this, I LOVE YOU





Monday, 25 September 2017

The Travel Bug

Hello Everyone! 

I won't beat around the bush, this post quite simply is about hopping on a plane and letting it take me to some of the most exotic places. 

Since January I had this sudden urge to go travelling. One of my friends left to go to Australia without a return ticket and I had this desirable surge of energy to get up and follow her. Travelling had always been a small part of my future. I had never managed to plan where it would fit into my life and when exactly I would do it. I put that mainly to the fact that I kept changing my mind about my career and in doing so studied three different courses in the desired career choice (I change my mind like a pair of socks some would say) This left me working part time for the past 6 years and I was never able to afford a holiday to Spain let alone a trip that lasted more than a month.

It wasn't until I finally got my first job in the city that I was saving money and I realised that if I saved enough, these travelling plans may actually come true.

So 8 months ago I had a chat with myself and decided that yes, I was in fact going to go travelling and nothing could stop me now, not that I had made this decision. 

Why travelling some of you may ask? Why not just do loads of holidays to different places? Well that was once my plan, but then I saw my sister jet off to Thailand a few years back and she had the time of her life. I hear so many amazing stories about what you see when you go to these beautiful countries. I want to be able to see what they've seen. Don't get me wrong, I love England/Essex, it will always be my home. But there is so much more to life on this big planet and I am really in need of a change of scenery.

I have only been working in the city for over a year and already I can't stand London. I hate the trains, the way people forget manners, and I hate that I have forgotten how much fun it was to travel into London to see the sights. I have forgotten the beauty of our iconic buildings and streets. I feel as though i need to leave for a while in order to come back and really appreciate it. I've also discovered - and this may shock you - that even after studying all of those college courses, I STILL DON'T KNOW WHAT I WANT TO DO!! How can this be?! Well I think this society has driven into me that I don't ever want to work in the city. I want to see the world and not have to worry. Of course that isn't realistic and I know that, but if I could keep blogging for the rest of my life then I SO would. So for now, I am hoping that having a break from these responsibilities may help me decide what the future holds for me.

I am also hoping that I may fall in love with one of these amazing countries and maybe move there for a bit (why not?!) I need to gain my independence. I need to understand more about who I am and what I want in life. Travelling is the way forward. Appreciating the little things in life that we really take for granted. Of course I am terrified. I'm going to miss my family and friends, not forgetting
my bed (lol priorities) and not having an income will be hard to handle for a while but so worth it.

The Itinerary  is as follows - Straight to Thailand, from there Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, Maybe head to Malaysia and The Philippines (depending on my budget) then to New Zealand, Fiji and then finally Australia. I plan on working in Aus just so I can save more money and travel around 'cause lets face it, it's blimming huge!!

I've been saving my arse for this ever since and I honestly cannot wait to board that plane to Bangkok. My first ever solo travel will be a story I can tell, something I can remember for the rest of my life. And let's be honest, this life we have is short (excuse the cliche) and we may as well make the most of it!

I plan on writing many a blog post when I am back, all about my adventures, so stay tuned.

I hope this inspires many of you to do the same. 
If it's something you have thought about, I say DO IT! 



Friday, 8 September 2017

Living With Tinnitus

Inspired by Baby Driver 

When this film came out recently I was instantly inspired to write something. Something that is quite personal, not in an uncomfortable sort of way, but definitely something that I've been wanting to write about for ages. So when Ansel himself stepped onto our screens with  a much beloved pair of earphones, my heart was racing. I knew the exact feeling.

Tinnitus isn't a word we hear very often. Well I certainly hadn't. I even pronounced it wrong when I first read it. This was 2 years ago now but I'll remember that day for a very long time. For those of you who don't know what Tinnitus is it is a condition whereby the person experiences a constant sound in their ears, one or both of them. This can be a ringing sound, a whooshing, a lot of people can experience different sounds which is why there is no current cure. To measure every different sound would take time and there probably isn't a lot of funding for this particular area. Which of course I do understand, although I would love to know the reason why I have it, it mostly occurs in older people and ironically my Nan has it!

I don't know the exact reason I developed this condition and nor could the Doctor tell me its exact longing to become somewhat of an annoyance. 

But I remember having been out for my friends birthday on the Saturday 22nd August, at the club Kanaloa to be precise - which BTW I would definitely recommend going it's so much fun!! I was very aware of the music being very loud even for a nightclub. Anyway, on  the Tuesday from then I could not sleep to save my life. There was this constant beating in my ear, my heart beat to be exact. I have had this before I know probably everyone has had this because of the way we lay on our sides. But mine literally wouldn't stop. And it hasn't stopped since. I did that really stupid thing and Googled my diagnosis (we are all victims of this!) and Tinnitus was the first explanation. Every night I would dread going to bed of fear of this annoying sound because of course there isn't much noise at night every sound is distinctive. I eventually made an appointment at the doctors who suggested I get my ears syringed. This didn't work. I was then referred to an ENT specialist and after many hearing tests it was clear I had Pulsatile Tinnitus.

I had the most AMAZING Doctor who helped to explain how to deal with this. What she told me was this - although this is an actual condition and there is a sound that each person hears, it is also a psychological thing. The more we think about the sounds the louder they will appear and therefore harder to block out. She told me the best way to forget about the sound is to think of it as something you don't like to hear or cringe at hearing. For example when we hear noises like nails on a chalkboard or cutlery scraping on the plate, those noises our brains have automatically been triggered to forget. This is what we have to do. This has helped me so much and maybe it's because I have gotten used to it I just don't think about it.

One thing I had to do for myself was find a way to sleep. No matter how much you can try and forget about a noise at night the world is silent. I found the most life-changing app. Someone suggested listening to White noise at night out loud, but I found through earphones was much more useful. However White noise didn't block out the beating I was hearing, so instead every night I listen to light Rain sounds. It has a timer so you can decide when you want the sounds to stop or if you just need them to help you fall asleep and then stop. I have it on all night, it just soothes me and a lot of the times I'll wake up and the earphones have fallen out anyway. My love for good earphones has also changed drastically as you can imagine! (btw this app I have on my iPhone, I'm not sure if it Is available on other smart phones FYI)

I still get really wary about not sleeping at home. If I'm ever staying round a friends or when I'm on holiday my priority is making sure there is a plug socket near my bed. I've never been so grateful for electricity in my life! And there was me thinking do we really need it when the earth has been here surviving for millions of years without it? BUT nope! Christina now needs to plug her phone in at night in case her battery dies and she can't listen to her rain sounds anymore!  

|Picture from Pexels|

Basically I wanted this to be about two things that I have learnt through this.

1. Just because you can't see a condition doesn't mean it doesn't exist. And with this one I know a lot of people will think it's easy to deal with. Trust me, unless YOU have it, you can't understand the frustration. Also I do realise that there are worse things in the world, I just wanted to share this.

2.  I learnt how to find peace and happiness in spite of it. This goes for anything to be honest, but I found how to wind down after a long day and how to not let this affect anything I do in my life with work or socialising. You can still enjoy everything!!

For anyone who has just discovered that they have Tinnitus or are struggling to deal with it, I hope this post reaches you and inspires you <3<3<3



Wednesday, 26 April 2017

A Helping Hand to Healthy Eating

I am just going to jump straight into this!

The past year/s I have really struggled with my weight - losing it, putting it on you name it. I couldn't afford to go to the gym and I had no motivation to do any other kind of exercise; nothing anyone said would encourage me to go for a run or do some squats.

It was only the fact that I had my best friend's wedding to go to that I tried really hard to slim down.The only thing that could possibly tempt me was knowing this - 80% of losing weight is down to your diet. Isn’t that amazing!! I am absolutely not saying that this is a good idea to get out of going to the gym because it isn't. Keeping fit is really good for you but it's necessary in other ways i.e. building strength and toning can make a huge change to your physical appearance. I recommend doing this once you've grasped what you put inside your body. Like my little sister likes to remind me - 'You can't out train a bad diet' 

But what you put inside your body has to in some way be good for it. I used this as a way to treat my body like a temple. Don't get me wrong I can let things get in the way of healthy eating - my social life, how some foods are more convenient and I am not great nor do I enjoy cooking!!. This combined has definitely helped me to have better control and less temptation over things that I love but are really bad for you. Two of my favourite things that will knock me over the edge are pizza and biscuits. I LOVE them. If I could survive on them forever and it not have an effect on my body then I would. But I've noticed what that does to my body and how it changes. I used to eat terribly, I l LIVED ON MICROWAVEABLE MEALS! I never had hardly an fruit or veg and I most certainly didn't drink enough water.

So a few tips below for anyone who is struggling like me. Honestly this changed my life around. Plus a few pics of just some of the healthy dishes I have made that are so delicious. 

1. Find what works for you. Many people give out different advice - Eat little and often, or only have 3 meals a day there's no need to be snacking . I'm still finding out which of these works. When I am at work in the office all I can think about is the next time I will be eating. If I'm up and about doing things it's not too bad, but as soon as my bum hits that chair my stomach feels empty and I am constantly hungry. At the weekend I find I do only need 3 meals and that's all. So the moral, work out what you need, it really helps to understand what your body is asking for - and don't get confused between hunger and dehydration. Aim to drink 3 litres a day at the least, honestly its the best thing for you.

2. Get rid of the rubbish. And no I don't mean putting the bins out. Anything that you think is potentially bad (and try to be open minded this can be a lot of things that you may have in your cupboards) you need to get rid of. This will ensure that there isn't any temptation for you because this can be mentally challenging. There's only so many times you can say to yourself "It's only one snickers bar, I'll be good tomorrow" that won't work if you still have 10 snickers bars in the kitchen. Even if it means telling your mum not to buy anything sweets or crisp, my mum is the worst for that! I'll get home from work and I've spotted a couple of yum-yums on the side - How underrated they are as well ahaha!. This is really important in case you are having bad day and try me guys, it will happen because we are human!

3. BUT ALSO don't deprive yourself of your favourite foods. When I used to go to Slimming World they sort of encourage a cheat day. It is allowed, your not going to be on your guard about food all of the time it's just not realistic. Unless you are being really good then woohooo you go glen coco!!! The thing as well that I have learnt is that when I don't treat myself occasionally I have ended up overindulging which has been more dangerous than having a little taste of one thing as opposed to having Ben and Jerry's plus those caramel nibbles and the rest of your easter egg. We've all been there! I would ABSOLUTELY recommend creating healthier versions of anything you love. Try healthy pizzas, use cacao powder to make your fave brownies, the list is endless and easily achievable.

4. TRY NEW FOODS. I used to be so fussy, I wouldn't try anything new that looked or smelled differently.  (I know that sounds weird but I like to smell food sometimes lololol) Then something hit me that I needed to start eating more protein so I tried to eat chicken which was a big dea!!. Meat was never in my diet but I knew I had to give it something. Not only this, but eggs have become  an absolute necessity for meals. They are so good for you! So much goodness and if you're looking to lose a bit of weight or change your diet then add these to it. Think how many ways you can have your eggs?! My last discovery was pulses and seeds. My sister helped me with ways in which to use them in meals and it helped so much because I didn't know where to sprinkle them! My morning porridge is the first place - chia seeds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds are delicious along with some honey and blueberries. Perfect start for the day! And in terms of lunch and dinner, fill up with lentils, butter beans or chickpeas, cannellini beans and black-eyed peas (not the group  haha) they are so filling and lovely in a salad or on a baked sweet potato. If you 're a vegetarian this is a great way to get all of your key nutrients.

5. CHANGES WILL BE SLOW. Please do not expect this to happen overnight, this will get your hopes up and you'll be disappointed. This is a huge change to your body, all for the better good but it will take time. Some people will lose the pounds quickly and others will feel like they aren't getting anywhere, it's just the way your body is made. Mine of example, is the latter of the two. I have lost weight but blimey is it taking its sweet time to come off. No matter how much exercise or healthy eating I do, I cannot shake off the huge tyre around my torso. It's very frustrating but I am trying to be positive that in time this will get flatter ad the results will be amazing!

Guys don't think of anything I have said as a diet. This is just a healthier lifestyle that I promise will be the best you can do for your body. I am still learning and changing too, but I am enjoying this positive journey and I hope you can too!!



Monday, 17 April 2017

Homemade Afternoon Tea

Hope everyone had an amazing long weekend celebrating Easter, with an egg hunt or two! I for one had a lovely time spent with family and friends, filled with laughter and wine and I have consumed huge amounts of chocolate that I'm sure I am slowly paying for. But whilst everyone still has a sweet tooth I thought I would share with you what I got up to on Good Friday. I am about to bombard you all with many photos of cute cakes, better get your apron on after this!

Me and my girlfriends decided to have a very cute afternoon tea hosted by the most organised of our friends who went above and beyond to make it look vintage and adorable. We thought we would do something a little bit different than just going for a meal or chilling with a film. But it was the best idea I have heard of in ages as I absolutely LOOVEE afternoon tea and I mean what isn't there to love about it? For me it's probably the fact that I can consume about a hundred cups of tea and that would be completely normal for a 23 year old. Or that I can eat many a sugary snack with plenty of jam which would be totally acceptable; diets start on Monday's right?

If you want to do this at home, it's such a simple way to save money. My friends and I all made something each, one made a lemon drizzle, I made scones, one made the sandwiches, and that way you've probably only spent a fiver, you're laughing really. My mum lent me her teacups and saucers, which gave me a huge smile, I actually love drinking tea from a cup and saucer I just think it tastes so delicious. Either that or I am an excellent tea-maker!♕We used our own cake tiers as well so that came in handy and even had these super cute paper plates which were very Cath Kidston-esque, the whole theme came together rather nicely. Top it off with a flowery bunting and you're good to go!
 One of my friends brought some jam tarts and I haven't had one of those since I was at school at a kids' party. Oh the nostalgia really was kicking in! Plus we even had bubbles which really tops off the whole event.

Safe to say afterwards I needed someone to roll me home, a good sign that I loved and ate everything in sight! You don't have to spend a fortune to have a good time with your best friends, and we love doing this sort of thing. Some may call us boring old farts, but we have the best times together no matter what we do. Plus, we've already planned the next one!


Thursday, 19 January 2017

Copenhagen at Christmas

I didn't manage to have a summer holiday this year which I was really gutted about so I was really desperate to get away as soon as I could and was super excited when my friend invited me along on her trip to Copenhagen. I had never even considered going here anytime soon, I have many other destinations that are top of my list but nevertheless I was really looking forward to it.

I'm going to talk about the main things you'll want to know if you haven't been before , just so you know A) if you are wanting to still go after reading this and B) if its what you expected or you can learn something new.

So my friends and I went from Tuesday afternoon (we landed CPH time at 3.00pm) and we left Friday morning. I would highly recommend going for two nights and getting there early one morning and spending both days seeing everything. This may sound quite tiring which it could be but there ism't loads to see and it will save you paying for an extra night when I assure you won't need it.
We stayed at the Hotel Kong Arthur which translated is quite simply King Arthur. Not the cheapest of hotels but its really close to the main town centre about a 10-15 minute walk. It's also good to know that this kind of trip is a walking one. There is a metro which we used twice to get to and from the airport. I love walking around Cities, I think you can really get to know and see it better and it's nice to get some good steps in!

FUN FACT: Because of the ice age, Denmark has very flat land which is why all of the Danes ride their bikes everywhere and they quite honestly do. I never realised how much they rely on their bikes in their lifestyles. They have specific bike lanes which I warn you do not walk in these its actually really dangerous (I may have had to find this out the hard way with a lot of annoyed riders) and they have allocated bike holders on the metro. Maybe us Brits could take a few tips, wouldn't be a bad way to get in some exercise!

Copenhagen isn't like London. I didn't find that it was filled with many main attractions hence why I only advised this as a two day trip. Anyhow, the sights we went to were:

The Rosenborg Castle - Filled with portraits, tapestries and the famous crown jewels, this was really interesting to see and the King's Gardens in which the Castle sits on are lovely.

Carlsberg Museum - I'm not actually a lover of beer but I actually really enjoyed learning about bow they have been making beer for years and ho9w much this has changed with technology. Plus you get two free drinks! The only way to get here is via a shuttle bus which has allocated time slots - worth knowing!

Nyhavn Canal - I really loved it here. It was full of colourful old fashioned houses which reminded of Balamory! And it had cute and cosy restaurants were you can sit and look at all of the boats. Because we went in December at the end of the canal was a fantastic Christmas Market.

Tivoli Gardens - Words cannot describe how excited I was to go here. I had heard such amazing things about it, it was one of the main reasons I went. For those of you who haven't heard of the Tivoli Gardens it is the oldest operating amusement park in the world. The park has many outstanding buildings designed like theatres and band stands and there are many carousels dotted around. At night the park is illuminated with millions of lights and around the lake the willow trees are dangling in lights as well. It is said that Hans Christian Anderson and Walt Disney visited many times for inspiration as the park itself is just so pretty. Because it was Christmas time the park had the most spectacular decorations. There were Christmas trees everywhere and candy canes and snowmen it was honestly the most magical place I have ever been. It does have some amazing rides as well so if you're looking for that thrill you'll definitely get it there. Also if you are planning on going to the Tivoli and I suggest you do, just buy the unlimited ride ticket, it works out cheaper than paying for an entry ticket and then individual tickets for the rides.

There are of course other little sights to see which aren't actually in walking distance and I would recommend paying for the 'Hop on Hop off' bus tour. You can use your ticket for 2 days and it takes you around Copenhagen where you can get on or off at any if the sights. Plus you get to hear really interesting facts that you may not have found out elsewhere.
PUB RECOMMENDATION - If you are like my friends and I you will no doubt be looking for a nice beverage to have after all of that walking! We found the Dubliner. A dark yet cosy Irish pub, with live music, and all of the Glögg the Danes drinks (basically mulled wine). Definitely worth a visit.

If you do go to Copenhagen, enjoy!!


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