Monday, 28 December 2015

Spinach, flaxseeds and fruity protein smoothie

It's that time of the year... we're slowly working our way through the leftover Christmas nibbles (I reckon that tub of twiglets will still be knocking around in July though) and thinking about our January detox. 

Along with a detox, most of us will be hitting the gym and I know for me, that I'll be trying to fuel my body right... including with post workout protein snacks to aid recovery and repair! 

My latest snack is this spinach and blueberry one! 

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Jamie Oliver's breakfast/brunch popover

If like me you had been watching Jamie Oliver’s latest “superfood” cooking show, you would have seen a tasty breakfast treat called “popovers”. I made these for Sunday brunch for The Boy and me. With the surprising ingredient of cottage cheese (which is one of his favourites) I knew this would go down a treat.

I added ham, red onion and tomatoes in to mine (and would have added spring onion if I had any), but you can add whatever veggies, cheese and meats you might have going spare – a great way actually to use left overs up! 

Monday, 7 December 2015

Creamy spinach and coconut soup

It is the perfect time of year to be settling down for lunch with a big bowl of steaming soup. Lucky for me, my lovely friend Charlie bought me a huge cookbook of soups for my birthday - the New Covent Garden Food soup cook book in fact. Which is bursting with 365 recipes, one for every day so you'll never be short. 

This spinach and coconut one is creamy and simple to make and totally delicious, and falls on 24th March in the cook book in case you were wondering. 

True to form, I have amended it slightly!

Monday, 23 November 2015

Palmers cocoa butter formula gentle exfoliating scrub: review

I love the Palmer's cocoa body butter range, especially the one with the hint of tan in it! But I never knew that they did a facial scrub! I randomly stumbled across this when I was in Superdrug looking for everything but facial scrub! 

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Feeling overwhelmed??? Gain control with these easy, doable 6 steps

We’re coming to that time of year when things start to get a little stressful. I know it is the season for  crackling bonfires, Christmas parties and mulled wine (my favourite!) but it is also common for it to be one of the most stressful, and stats back this up. Christmas is said to be the 6th most stressful life event, with divorce, moving house and changing jobs in the running, but probably made worse by the fact it is an annual occurrence (unlike the others).

As we approach the end of the year, it becomes ridiculously busy both at work and at home.

picture from

It means ensuring the activities on our business plans are complete and we’re already thinking of next year’s projects, plus trying to organise the perfect Christmas for the family (catering for fussy eaters and impressing your mother-in-law) which is no mean feat.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Oh She Glows tex-mex casserole (one pot wonder)

For my birthday, my lovely aunties got me the blogger 'Oh She Glows' cookbook (aka blogger Angela Liddon). It is a vegan cookbook, focusing on real, wholefood ingredients. Sounds right up my street. 

tex mex casserole heaven!

My latest attempt at the recipe is her “crowd pleasing tex-mex casserole” which I must admit I have slightly amended and also de-veganed! Sorry. I added left over chicken and added a little helping of grated cheese on top! But it tastes just as great meat-free!

Friday, 6 November 2015

9 amazing uses of coconut oil you didn't know of!

It was not so long ago that the health world was warning people against oil and condemning saturated fats. However, in recent years coconut oil has been in the spotlight for all the right reasons, being branded as a “good” fat. All kinds of recipes have exploded onto the scene, from cakes to curries, including the oil as an ingredient.

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Saturday, 31 October 2015

Nivea BB cream: review

I have never been a fan of foundations, I find them far too heavy and thick and I only end up with "cakey-face" where I haven't blended them properly. So when BB creams burst on to the market a few years ago (thank you Korean beauty world) I was hooked. And have been ever since.

my new fav beauty buy

Sunday, 25 October 2015

A simple, delicious kale 'pate'

When kale hit the health world a few years ago, I feel in love with this green stuff. Ok, so it is a bit smelly (sorry to the peeps in my office) but it is tasty and nutritious, 

olive oil adds flavour and good fats 

I've fried it, baked it into "crisps", added it to stews and made salads from it. But then I started to run out of ideas. That is until I made it into a spread! A tasty, fragrant and versatile spread. 

creamy and tasty 

Here is how to make this kale spread...

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Detox for your hair in four easy steps - guest blogger Samples Queen

Guest blogger, Eli from Samples Queen

I’m crap at styling my hair but great at finding hair products that will do half the job for me. Dry, frizzy and bristle hair is normally what I had to work with but not anymore since I discovered few hair care products that completely changed my hair game.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Laura Mercier under eye concealer: review

I first discovered Laura Mercier beauty products and how much I loved them in the run up to my wedding a couple of years ago. I was on the look out for a tinted moisturiser that would give me a gorgeous glow on the big day and I stumbled on their illuminating shimmer tinted moisturiser (see the blog review here). 

coverage in a pot! 

Another one of their products I have to have is their "secret concealer" for the under eye area, for me it is shade 03, but they do 12 shades, so there is a shade for everyone.

Friday, 9 October 2015

"No clog allowed" super self-heating deep pore detox mask

I have used a lot of face masks in my time and this has to be one of the best I have used! It is in the mid range of pricing (about £11.50) and well worth it. 

On a damp face, rub in the facemask and you can feel it heating up - it feels lovely and it might be psychological but this makes it feel like it's really working! 

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Spiced and sweet pumpkin bread (with cream cheese vanilla frosting)

Not only was this recipe delicious, it was also pretty easy to make and isn’t actually as calorific as it sounds!

This is a great recipe as we approach the autumn months and need a little comfort food but one that isn’t going to completely ruin the diet. I have gone for a little indulgence here and added a rich cream cheese frosting but you could skip this and stick with the bread as the star of the show – I reckon toasting a slice, pared with a slither of butter or dollop of honey, would make for a great breakfast.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Fall make up beauty update - guest blogger Samples Queen

Guest blogger, Eli from Samples Queen

Fashion and beauty trends are great source of inspiration but when it comes to real life, well most of them are quite impractical. 

Flipping through fashion magazines I could not help myself but notice the overwhelming and prominent feature of burgundy and deep red colors. 

Tips on how to incorporate the new shades of color vary from adding something small like a burgundy lip, or going for things that are a bit more extreme like head to toe fashion look. 

Willing to try something new and “appear” more fashion forward I started my quest for something burgundy. On my recent trip to the drugstore I picked up a few season appropriate lipsticks and eye shadows that I thought will help me transition into the new fashion season.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Why working on happiness is like working at your job

When it comes to our work, we know that there are times when it’s going to be tough. As they say (and I truly believe) anything worth having doesn’t comes easy. We know there’ll be ups and downs, but most importantly we know that success comes through determination and working at it. It takes sweat. 

Well I believe that happiness is a lot like aiming towards success at work. It takes mindful effort!

Sometimes hard work, and a lot of mindfulness and conscious.

picture from

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

A delicious and healthy cumin and tahini dressing

This is a short and sweet blog post today but I had to share with you my new favourite dressing! On fish, chicken, vegetable dishes and salads, this dressing is going on everything!!! 

It's simple to make and you can make a batch to last you the week so you always have a tasty dressing at hand. I get it, salad doesn't always get the tastebuds going. I have done it myself - made a huge nutritious salad but not had the appetite for it as it was just so bland!!! 

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Eyelash extensions… are they worth it???

With two short European breaks coming up in the space of two weeks, I thought it was the perfect time to try eye lash extensions. False eye lashes are not new territory for me, I pretty much wear them every day. But never had proper extensions.

I like the idea of waking up on holiday having to make minimal fuss to my face before a days sightseeing or chilling in the sun, especially when I’m with the boy who’s quick getting ready time means I can feel his waiting presence with every minute longer I take faffing around with beauty contraptions he doesn’t understand are necessities.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Rome (part 2) - Eating out, where to stay and getting around

Italy is famous for a lot of things - football, the Roman Empire, looking like a boot - but one of their greatest feats has to be their food right?!

So of course, a good proportion of our time in Rome was spent eating! We did do the cultural things too, promise, so for things to see and do in Rome, see part one here

Eating out
Here are some of my suggestions where we were eating and drinking...

Vacanze Romane, Piazza Navona

We ate here on the first night, opting for the calamari (a holiday standard for me) and pizza. The food was good, the rose not over sweet and the atmosphere was bubbly, probably helped by the waiter who went around signing and dancing to the music being played by the buskers in the square. This was quite a pricey place thanks to its prime tourist spot.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

"Carrot cake" protein balls - raw, vegan and 100% natural

For those of you that follow me on instagram, you might have seen me post a few pictures of my favourite protein ball recipes. This one tastes like carrot cake and is one of my favourites so far!

my new favourite protein balls 

They require no baking and is a simple "bung in a food processor and mix together" recipes so score a "0" on the fuss scale. A tasty blend of protein, nuts, spices and of course, carrots, these protein balls are delicious, moist and fruity. 

naked, before they've been rolled in the coconut 

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Rome (part 1) - Things to see and do

When I got my promotion back in December, I told The Boy that I would treat him to a trip away. Fast forward 8 months and we’re taking a five day break in the magnificent capital of Italy – Rome. 

I have actually been to Rome twice before, but once when I was 18 months and the second on a school trip (as part of our classical civilizations GCSE). But seeing as the first time I was barely out of nappies and the second time I was an annoying teenager, I didn’t really have that many memories of Rome and its offerings.

Being somewhere The Boy has always wanted to go and a place hyped up by friends, this trip had a lot of live up too…. And it did. It’s a beautiful city; full of history and culture, bustling side streets, glorious food and random ancient roman ruins.

The must see
There is no shortage of things to see and marvel at in Rome. 

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Chia seed pots - a great on-the-go breakfast or pudding

We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so this is not a blog post lecturing about this. But even though we all know that, some of us don't manage it in the morning thanks to our on the go lifestyle. 

Trying to eat healthy on the go (especially breakfast) is always hard, but these chia seed pots are perfect!!! 

chia seed pots 

The great thing about these is that you can make them up the night before, pop them in the fridge and grab then and go in the morning. I even managed to eat one of these on a bus. No problem! Although I try my best to not eat at the desk, this is also perfect when you have too! 

A completely fuss-free but 100% healthy breakfast on the go...

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Clarins BB skin perfecting cream with SPF 25: review

The BB cream. 

It is has been around for a wee while now but I am still loving them. It is safe to say they are firm fixture in my make up bag.

If you are new to the BB cream, let me share with you the wonders of this 5 in 1 cream.

Unlike a foundation, the BB cream offers a gentle coverage to your skin but at the same times, acts like a moisturiser so if you have dry skin like me, when you are looking for a helping hand in achieving an even skin tine and a little glow, BB creams are perfect!!

great coverage, colour and texture 

This week I have been in Rome and with the sun shining (and therefore drying out my skin) this BB cream from Clarins was my savior - it is thick enough to cover my skin evenly covering any skin imperfections but light enough to not look cakey. I didn't even need bronzer as it is such a lovely colour. 

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Keeping a work journal - what are the benefits to your career and uses?

I know what it is like ladies. We live hectically with the mottos "work hard, play hard" and we want it all - we want to climb the career ladder but in stilettos and looking good doing it. 

One of my latest tools at work in my work journal. Sure, a "work journal or diary" might sound a bit new-age management or airy fairy, but read the article before you conclude this!

It was my dad that first nagged advised me to keep a work journal when I took those first tentative steps on the wobbly career ladder nearly 5 years ago. 

is advice, being passed on from a manager of his, was that we should all be keeping a work journal of some sort, that captures a lesson learnt each day in the office.

picture from

I must admit, I was skeptic and it is only in the last 6 months that I have finally taken his advice (sorry dad but better late than never right?) when I took a promotion as a manager. 

Reflecting on my decision to start one though, I am pleased I have been capturing my work activities, achievements and lessons learnt and I want to share with you today the benefits I have found of keeping a work journal.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

The "Wine Rooms" wine bar, restaurant and wine shop, Fulham, London

As I prepare to move out of Fulham, I am making the excuse to go back to some of my favourite haunts. I first blogged about Fulham Wine Rooms last October but had to rre-blog about it with an update from my latest trip to say goodbye!

The Boy first took me to the Wine Rooms in Fulham, a gorgeous little restaurant with a wine cellar feel, on Fulham Road, as it had been somewhere I had been wanting to go since I moved to the area in 2013! There is just something about watching patrons sitting there chilling with their wine and enviable food in this cosy setting – I needed to be a part of it!

seating on the pavement - how continental! 

If you go in the warmer months, you'll be treated to the French doors still opening on to the pavement - perfect for people watching and catching the last of the day's breeze. But when they do shut, you’re locked in to this cute, cosy and rustic place with a great ambiance and murmur.

enjoying my South African grape back in October

Staying true to its name, there are 48 options of wine available by the glass, and plenty more by the bottle, so you will not be short of choice! 

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Biggest excuses for not exercising and how to overcome them!

We are well into the summer now, and as I am reminded from my teacher friends, half of the summer holidays has vanished! 

This summer I have already been fortunate enough to go to Croatia (read last year's post on Dubrovnik here) and enjoy a girls' weekend to Berlin (check out my review soon), plus I am off to Rome, the South of France and Morocco soon! 

In our excitement about holiday time, we often decide that now is the time to get fit, and although the summer is nearly over, it is not too late!

photo from

Talking to friends, it seems that the biggest obstacle to exercising is time, even though we know the importance of it.

This got me thinking…
what are the usual exercise excuses and what answers can we comeback with?

Sunday, 9 August 2015

The Greek island of Santorini

Two years ago, I was in Santorini island, a gorgeous volcanic island off the coast of Greece. I was there on holiday as I was getting married there! We chose the island for its postcard scenery, sunny climates and relaxed atmosphere. Part of the magic of the wedding was because the island has some beautiful scenery.

As I approach my two year anniversary (where has time gone?!) I want to share with you some of the island's best it. 

classic Santorini buildings 

You will find this tiny island off Greece (I know – it sounds like it’s a place in Italy right?) and you can fly there directly with EasyJet and Thomas Cook (flights aren’t every day though so choose flights carefully). It’s a short 3 ½ hours flying and as the island is small, you’ll be from airport to hotel in no time. 

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

"Lean In" by Sherly Sandberg - book review

When her book first came out, I heard a lot of hype around Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In”. Just opening the front cover exposes all the accolades from the respected, famous and influential, such as Alicia Keys, Sir Richard Branson and Condoleezza Rice. 

I hadn’t managed to get round to reading it until I started it last month, but before I started, I must admit had reservations about it. 

I don’t know much about Sandberg as a person or as a writer(unfortunately I have never met her) so this was purely me basing my belief that hyped up excitements rarely live up to their expectations.

But I am pleased to say though, I am wrong! 
Oh so wrong. 

The hype was right (just for once of course, I am still right that the hype is rarely lived up to). This book is fantastic.

my already battered copy of "Lean In"

Thursday, 30 July 2015

NARS bronzer in 'laguna' and "casino": review

I LOVE bronzer and there is no way I would leave the house without it in my handbag - good job too as I got to work today and I forgot to put any on!!! 

Whatever the weather and season, just adding a hint of colour can really make a difference, giving you a healthy glow any celebrity that’s just come back from LA to be jealous of. My latest love ins are the ones from NARS in “laguna” and "casino".  

ok, I admit it, I am a bronzer junkie! 
love the gorgeous matte bronze colour

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Blueberry, orange and cream cheese muffins

For my friends BBQ the other week I decided to use it as an excuse for a spot of baking. Yea I know BBQs are usually all about the meat but it’s nice to have something sweet after the feast (although, I say that, I actually ate two muffins before I even got to the BBQ!)

Mary Berry eat your heart out! 

It’s been ages since I did any sweet baking and I am pleased to say that these muffins turned out better than expected! Especially as I accidentally used orange essence instead of vanilla essence, hence the recipe being “blueberry, orange and cream cheese” and not just blueberry and cream cheese!

love  when the muffin 'cracks' & the goodness oozes out

But the orange works! They complement the sweetness of the blueberries brilliantly but of course if orange ain’t your fav taste, then substitute it back for vanilla essence for a sweet but soft taste.

delicious cream cheese center 

These were the right texture of being dense but not soggy, sweet but not too sweet and a great muffin-texture.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

My handbag essentials when I am always on the road

I do a lot of travel, whether it is for work or just for pleasure. Don’t be jealous though – for work, it’s never abroad and mostly to unappetising places around England. Travel for my pleasure is more exiting though with recent trips to Croatia, Madrid, Okinawa (Japan), Miami and I am just packing for Berlin this week!

me at Gatwick airport for work 

The great thing about travel is you get to explore the world, even if it is just Manchester or little know towns in Surrey. But the downside has to be the constant on-the-go and living out of a suitcase. I hate that realisation when you go to use something, only to realise that you didn’t come to pack it (which is often in haste). I often have that feeling of “I have forgotten something” when I leave the house anyway.

Well for all you on-the-go types or travel fans, today I am sharing with you my must have items when I am on the go. Happy travels (even if it is to Barnsley for a meeting).

I have friends that are obsessed (no really) with this bacteria killing liquid. Whilst I am not as bad as that, I do carry a bottle of the stuff around. Mainly because I am a clumsy mess, not because I am a germ hater. No one should turn up to a meeting covered in sticky mess.

I always have a little make up bag with me

Oil blotters
I don’t know what it is, but there is something about travelling that makes my usually dry-as-a-dessert-skin, a little greasy. Grease is not good. It causes spots. And no one likes spots. I have started carrying around oil blotters for a quick dab when I need.

Dental kit
I am probably a little more obsessed than the average when it comes to my teeth but everyone should practice good oral hygiene! I like to carry a travel bottle of mouth wash with me and some floss. This is perfect for a quick freshen up as I often have to attend events and meetings late in the day and don’t get to come home in between meetings or end up getting home until quite late.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Quinoa and cauliflower "burgers"

With the warmer weather, I am trying to lighten up my dinners. Salads are the obvious summer dish but they aren’t always that filling. These veggie burgers made from quinoa and cauliflower, are light and perfect for warmer evenings but still filling and tasty.

light but filling

fresh herbs add flavour
The flavours in these burgers (burgers in inverted commas though, as these don’t stick together that great, they are mire like patties) comes from all the veggies and herbs in them. Simply bound together  with egg and flour, there are no hidden nasties, fats or additives in these!

Simple fresh ingredients:
150g or 1 cup of quinoa
1 cauliflower
1 clove of garic
1 bunch of spring onion
1 egg, beaten
1 handful of spinach
Handful of parsley
½ red onion
1 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp of gluten free flour

First off you need to cook the quinoa. Simply place in a saucepan with three cups of water. Bring to the boil for about 10-15 minutes, then drain and leave to cool

Friday, 17 July 2015

No bake, raw, almond butter flapjack bites

I'm a serial grazer - I snack all throughout the day. Like a sheep. 

Whilst snacking keeps you topped up and going until your next meal, it is important to snack right! That means no to sugary biscuits. Instead, say yes to homemade snacks. Like these....

No bake, raw, almond butter flapjack bites :-) 

Monday, 13 July 2015

48 hours in Madrid - eating my way round a city

With The Boy having been on deployment recently, we hadn’t seen each other for about 6 weeks so we decided that for his return home, we would treat ourselves to a quick getaway with a few days in sunny Madrid. 

Once you have factored in the flights and travel (plus the obligatory delay from Ryanair), we only had 48 hours in the capital city, but this was enough to fit our purpose – to chill, eat and drink! And eat some more...

Madrid city centre

Day one
Taking the metro into the city centre, we got off at La Latina and walked up towards Plaza de Mayor, checking out the surrounding areas. My lovely friend Frenchy told me La Latina was one of the places to go for chilling and soaking up atmosphere and she weren't wrong. 

Along the way, we stopped for a much needed frozen yoghurt at llaollao, in cute shaded alley-like street (called Toledo) leading up to the square. This was the first of three in the next 48 hours! 

If you're a sweetie fan like me than go opposite the froyo place for the longest strawberry laces you have ever seen. 

Madrid is filled with quaint spaces 
(froyo on the left)

Plaza de Mayor
After froyo, we walked up to the main square Plaza de Mayor in the city centre to relax, soak up the atmosphere and have my first sangria of the trip! I don’t know if the sangria was really that good or I was just in desperate need of the cool refreshing vino thanks to the delay of the Ryanair flight, but I was really appreciating the Spanish drink. 

La Plaza de Mayor

We nestled ourselves at Liana outside for so long that it soon became time for dinner, which of course had to be tapas. Chorizo, manchego cheese, prawns in garlic and potato croquettes and salad. If you’re eating there, do opt for the tasty little croquettes, but skip the prawns – they were ok but nothing special.

The Roof
We had read that The Roof was the bar to go to in Madrid, and always a fan of rooftop bars, I didn’t need asking twice. It took a bit of detective work getting there as we only knew it was in Plaza de Santa Ana. So heading there we looked around for a sign, but it’s the kind of place that doesn't do sings! Knowing it was 7 stories up, we decided it had to be on top of this ornate white. Bingo. Found. For an easier find, head for the large ornate white building that is a ME hotel. 

It costs $15 for entry but does include your drink (a few more euros for a cocktail) and offers a good view of Mardid in a chilled, sophisticated setting. 

View from The Roof

Enjoying a whisky sour