Sunday 26 July 2015

Chorizo & Sweet Potato Hash

This is the perfect hangover cure ideal for Sunday brunch - it worked a treat today I can tell you!

It's so quick and easy to make, and tastes amazing: the flavour of the chorizo mixed with the yolk and crunchy sweet potato works really well.

I used:

  • 150g sweet potato
  • 1 small red onion
  • 20g chorizo 
  • 1 egg
  • Smoked paprika 
  • Salt & pepper & chilli flakes to sprinkle 

In hindsight, 20g of chorizo wasn't enough, so I'd definitely use either 30 or 40g next time.

Wash the sweet potato and then grate it. Chop your red onion and along with the sweet potato put in a pan and start to cook on a high heat (cook in coconut oil, obvs). Once the red onion and the sweet potato has browned, add in your chorizo, paprika, salt & pepper, turning your hash to stop it sticking.

After 5 minutes, make a 'nest' in the hash and drop an egg in the middle, and cook until all the clear has turned white.

Sprinkle your chilli flakes on top, and devour!


Monday 20 July 2015

My Protein do clothes..!

A few weeks ago, My Protein got in touch and wanted to send me some goodies - which I (naturally) welcomed with excited arms. I was expecting to find just food stuffs on the website and gym accessories - so imagine my surprise upon finding their clothes category!

Cue, my willing, lovely boyfriend taking a few snaps of me in my new gear this weekend...

How cool are the leggings?!

They're now top of the gym attire list. I love the bright pattern - I have about 6 pairs of black leggings so these are a welcome addition. They also passed the squat jump test (see expert demo below), and did not come down when I was running in them, winner.

I'd been meaning on getting a workout top with a bold statement on it, and I think this one covers my attitude to fitness pretty well - it's a really light material too so perfect for the summer.

I chose the foam roller as it's something I know I need to do more of, and now I've got one at home I'm hoping it will spur me on to do ten minutes or so before bed.

I won't lie, stretching and cooling down are regularly skipped during my workouts due to time, tiredness, whatever, but I know how important it is for not only helping with soreness, but also releasing toxins, aiding recovery and preventing against injury. I'm determined to improve on this! Does anyone else struggle with it?

True to My Protein form, I also chose some protein (it would have been rude not to). Although I'm not vegan, my usual protein of choice is pea protein; I am conscious of the amount of animal protein I consume, and wanted a way to reduce this daily without affecting my 'optimum' macros. I'm also wary of the unnatural nastiness that can be added to some whey protein, but I was intrigued to try one of their more simple flavours, as I've never not had a vegan protein!

I opted for the vanilla whey with stevia. It's sweet! Definitely a shake with a taste that feels like a treat; in fact, the closest thing it reminds me of is those vanilla mini milk ice lollies? It took me back to being young. I think it's perfect for a post-workout sweet fix in the evenings (I crave them a LOT), and also for when having eggs for breakfast pre-gym is just too much at 6am.

Are there any other flavours you like and would recommend?

Let me know if you've ordered clothes from them too, I think it's going to be a new payday splurge site for me!


Saturday 18 July 2015

June Favourites

I've never done a 'favourites' style post before but there's been a few products and things I've wanted to discuss with you for a while and thought this was quite a good way to round everything up.

Jamie Oliver's Hot Chilli Pepper

This is soo good. Amazing on poached eggs, but is great for livening up any dish. It's just black peppercorns, smoked chillies, paprika and sea salt.


I've got a Julienne peeler, and whilst it's good, it's not amazing. With a kitchen somewhat lacking in storage space, I decided against the Hemsley + Hemsley spiralizer and went for this one instead. It's compact and easy to wash, and is really sturdy too. You use it like a pencil sharpner - one side does lovely thick, long noodles and the other makes ribboned veg. It came with a free e-book containing lots of recipes, which I thought was a really nice touch!

Puressentiel Muscle & Joints Roller

I was sent this roller by the guys at Puressential, and it's such a nice little ritual to apply to your skin after a particularly hard workout, or the day after once good old DOMS has set in!

It's 100% natural and contains 14 essential oils including... Eucalyptus, Wintergreen, Juniper, Marjoram, peppermint, nutmeg, rosemary and pine.

It's the nicest feeling pressing down and rolling on to your skin after a long day - even if you haven't been working out, it's like a mini massage!

It's particularly nice on your neck, thighs, back and feet.

Eat Pretty, Jolene Hart

Ok, so this isn't technically a June fave as I've had it since just after Christmas but it's been one of those books on my bedside table that I'll flick through once a week for a little pick me up or slice of nutrition advice.

The book is written by Jolene Hart, a health coach who has a really refreshing, motivating approach to eating well. She's a massive fan of seasonal eating, and the book is divided up into the four seasons. Each section includes nutritional info on foods typically available in that particular season, as well as recipes, inspirational advice and 'beauty intentions' for the months ahead.

And finally...

Innocent are doing Coconut water!!

It's 100% coconut water, and it's on offer at the moment in most places because they're trying to promote it - stock up, kids.


Following a Low FODMAP Diet on holiday

If you suffer from IBS or have been advised to follow a low FODMAP diet, you'll know better than anyone how hard it is to eat out due to how restrictive it is, and how much effort it can be cooking meals that fall in line with the plan - which can make going on holiday whilst following this seem almost impossible.

I was on holiday with my best friends in St Tropez a few weeks ago, and one of them (bless her) was in the final week of this diet plan.

As we were self-catered, I (gladly) took charge of orchestrating a food plan for the week, which was largely led by the FODMAP diet but we moderated it for the rest of us (as much as I love the girl, there is no keeping me away from pastries, baguettes and wine in France..)

The list of foods you can't eat is pretty extensive, but the idea is you eliminate everything that could potentially trigger an episode, and once the six weeks is up you slowly re-introduce trigger foods back in to your diet, keeping a food diary as you go.

I thought it might be helpful to offer my top tips on travelling on a low FODMAP diet, as it was tough, but definitely do-able:

1) Go self-catered

By far the easiest (and probably most sensible) decision if you're going to book a holiday when doing this food plan, is to book somewhere with self-catering facilities. You'll have far more control of what's on your plate.

We had a lush veranda attached to our little beach hut that backed on to a vineyard, and we ate all our meals on it - not a bad spot to eat your breakfast! Plus I think there's just something so special about eating outside, especially at night with twinkly candles and a sunset (can you tell how much I want to be back there...)

2) Double up 

As a group of five, we always had 2 pans on the go for cooking, so for example we made a tastay chicken and avocado stirfry; one pan had the chicken / veg / spices including garlic and onion (you can't eat these on the low FODMAP!), and another pan didn't include onion & garlic. Same with avocado (you can't eat this either). One big salad bowl had it in, the other didn't.

For the sake of washing up an extra pan every time, it's so worth it, and much nicer and more inclusive to be eating the same thing as everyone else rather than something totally different.

3) Check labels 

Yes, it sounds obvious but (especially) when you're abroad, those darn labels can be hard to decipher! Cue us all racking our brains for hints of GCSE French to come flooding back. I was really impressed at the huge selection of free-from foods there were in most of the French supermarkets, but we really did have to check all labels, as a lot of foods included in these aisles were just organic, so be careful on this one!

4) Be nice to waiters!

Eating out was tricky, I won't lie. We ate out a handful of times, and luckily one of us is essentially fluent in French which helped massively as we were able to modify dishes and ask for no sauces, food swaps and so on. Most waiters were really accommodating, and happy to help.

In no way did it taint or consume the holiday. I would say prepare as much as you can and beware the following: the main 'issues' were not being able to drink as much as the rest of us, not being able to devour a pan au chocolat every morning, and having to scrutinise the menu in a restaurant.


Sunday 5 July 2015

Relaxing @ The Victorian Warehouse Hotel

A couple of Sunday's ago on World Yoga Day, I was invited for an afternoon of relaxation by Ocean Finance at the (v quirky) Victorian Warehouse hotel.

The thinking behind the event was to completely unwind from everyday stresses, including finance worries, daily pressures from work and just generally feeling freed from our fast paced lives.

It was such a fantastic afternoon, and back massages (and gorgeous Thai food) aside, it certainly made me stop and think about how often I stress. Not just about work or money, but about pretty much everything and anything - and how I don't really do anything constructive about it.

Focusing on de-stressing is something we rarely do as humans; and I don't know about you but I let things build up and add little things together, so it was lovely to actively focus on breaking all that down - if you're thinking this all sounds a little bit indulgent, don't! It was great to have 'me' time and be somewhere that encouraged just being 'present' in the moment without stressing about anything.

After introductory drinks and a bit of a mingle (who doesn't love a mingle), we settled into the spa and got to choose a treatment - I opted for a neck and back massage as that area of my body always seems soo tense no matter what I do.

Needless to say it was d-vine and sorted me out a treat, she absolutely went to town on all these weird, tough knots, and told me afterwards she could have spent another hour knuckling them down. A sign I need to book massages more often..?! I'm fine with that.

So happy about Reflexology

I also had a reflexology treatment. I'd never had it before but let me tell you this, when I could tell the session was coming to an end I could have cried, it was that soothing.

Part deux of the event was an invigorating Hatha yoga class, focusing on aligning breath with a multitude of poses - I hadn't done any yoga in a few weeks and so doing downward facing dogs and child's pose felt all the more relieving; I've made a conscious vow to myself not to leave it that long as it feels so good!

We then had a workshop on relaxation from Rachel Watson, a lifestyle coach. She offered us key advice on dealing with stress and also useful tips to help you relax, which I'm going to post on here soon, as they rung true and have stuck with me, so watch this space.

To round everything off, we enjoyed a tofu Thai curry and left with an amazing goody bag;

(..and that's with a looot of things already having been devoured..)

The venue was really cool (if not a little bizarre - as a former Warehouse Project venue it was odd being there sober!), and the spa inside the hotel is great: our yoga class was run by Nikki Hambrook from Manchester Yoga & Holistic Central, and their class schedule can be found here.
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