22 May 2015

Quick and Easy Vegetable Pasta (GF+Vegan)

This pasta dish is one of the quickest and easiest things to make. It's perfect for those nights when I get in late and can't really be bothered to cook. Sometimes even, it's just something I fancy. Probably because pasta is a bit of a comfort food and this is a very wholesome meal which is also pretty healthy! Feel free to change the vegetables I have used for what you have on hand. It's great way of using things up - mushrooms are an especially nice addition to this recipe.

Serves 2

You will need:
130g Pasta (I used brown rice pasta, but use any of your choice)
1 tbsp of Olive Oil
½ Onion
½ Red Pepper
½ Courgette
1 Clove of Garlic
1 Can Chopped Tomatoes
1 tbsp Tomato Puree
A large pinch of Oregano
3 Chunks/Pieces of Frozen Spinach 

  1.  Start by heating the oil in a saucepan to a medium heat. Dice the onion and add to the pan. Then cut the red pepper and courgette into chunks and add them to the pan also. Cook for a few minutes, or until the onions have softened.
  2. Crush or finely chop the garlic and add to the pan, cooking for a further 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, tomato puree and oregano. Stir everything to mix well. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Halfway through the cooking time, cook you pasta according to the packet instructions and add the frozen spinach to the sauce. 
  4. Once the pasta has been drained, add to the sauce. Stir through to mix and serve immediately.

31 March 2015

Haul + Mini Review: REN, Maybelline and Sleek

Halfway through the month I realised I hadn't brought anything for myself since I last got paid and suddenly got the urge to go shopping. I didn't go too wild but was very happy with my purchases.

REN Clarimatte Clarifying Toner - I was on the hunt for a new exfoliating toner, due to my current one nearing its end, and found myself repurchasing this again. It's quite hard to find affordable exoliating toners but at only £13 this one seemed like a good choice. It has lactic, glycolic and salycilic acid. I enjoy using this and have noticed my skin looking a little brighter.

Sleek Face Contour Kit in Light - This item had been on my wish list for quite a long time and I am so glad I own it. I had heard it recommended many times and I can now see why. The contour powder is very pigmented but also blends very easily and is the perfect colour to create a shadow. However, I am a complete beginner with highlighter so I don't think I can comment on that aspect of this product yet.

Maybelline Color Tatoo Leather Effect in Creamy Beige - I had heard this mentioned a few times but it hadn't really stuck in my mind. I was just browsing and using the testers, as you do, when I discovered this. I loved the colour and the finish immediately so just had to get it. I really get why it is called leather effect. It has a sheen to it, an almost wet look when it catches the light. It lasts all day and can be used as a base for eyeshadow. I having been using this everyday since I brought it and would highly recommend it.

Maybelline Gel Eyeliner - Pretty sure it was buy one get one half price on the Maybelline stand which is partly why I got this. Also, I just really wanted to have a go using it again (I brought had used it a few years ago), especially since I now own a wing liner brush. I have used this a few times and the product is great, but really it comes down the brush and hand applying it as to whether it gives a good result. Most of the time I'm alright but I still need bit more practice to get the perfect wing liner.

Let me know if you would like a more in depth review of any of these products.

28 March 2015

itsu - Healthy Food on the High Street

On my recent trips into Brighton I had noticed this new food place that had opened called itsu and I was quite intrigued. Usually when looking for a place to eat when I'm out shopping I go for something cheap, which most of the time means unhealthy. Probably due to habit I gravitate towards McDonalds, but fast-food never makes me feel good. I had mentioned this place to my boyfriend and he told me I should go there and try it, it's not like we can't afford it. So yesterday that's exactly what I did!

As I stepped into the store, it was very inviting - I don't know why I thought it looked slightly intimidating, although that was probably just because it was somewhere new to me. There was an area to freely browse all their chilled options, which all looked very fresh and healthy. I felt there was quite an Asian influence in their food options due to lots of things like sweet chilli sauce, soy sauce, sushi etc. If you're a lover of that type of cuisine, like myself, I'm sure you would love this place. They also had hot food, snacks, desserts and drinks on the menu. There were vegetarian options within all their ranges. There slogan is "eat beautiful" and they are dedicated to creating lower fat and lower calorie but delicious food.

I was spoilt for choice, but I went for the chicken teriyaki salad. This consisted of a bed of sushi rice topped with leeks, peas, ginger, seasame seeds and teriyaki chicken. The teriyaki sauce was provided in a small pot embedded in the rice. It was absolutely delicious. So fresh, full of flavour and so satisfying!

I got mine to take away to keep things a little cheaper - they have to charge VAT if you eat in the store. I loved the way they packaged it for me; in a strong bag with a flat bottom to keep your food upright, a napkin and cutlery. Talking of which, the cutlery wasn't rubbish like most take away ones and they even offer chopsticks (if you can use them, I can't) - it's the little things that count!

I had a great first impression of itsu and will definitely be returning on my next trip into the city. It's great to see a quick and easy healthy food option on the high street - it's like healthy fast-food. itsu has most of its stores in London, but there are a few popping up elsewhere. If you've got one nearby I would highly recommend giving it a try!

Click here to find your nearest store - http://www.itsu.com/locations/shops/

27 March 2015

Banana, Pecan and Maple Porridge

This has been my go to indulgent but healthy breakfast recently. I often have this at the weekend when I fancy something a little sweeter than my usual choices. The flavours go really well together and overall have an almost caramel like taste. The maple syrup in this recipe is completely optional. It is a natural sweetener, but if you are not feeling so indulgent simply leave it out and it will still taste great. Please note that I like quite small portions for my meals and this recipe is exactly as I make it for myself; feel free to increase the quantities (keeping the oats and milk in proportion).

Serves 1

You will need:

160ml Almond Milk (or your milk of choice)
25g Rolled Oats
Half a Banana
 ½ tsp Cinnamon
A Small Handful of Pecan Nuts
Maple Syrup to taste


  1.  Start by slicing up the banana. (I like to cut the slices in half, usually using my spatula while the porridge is cooking in the pan.)
  2. Add the milk, oats, banana and cinnamon to a small saucepan. Over a medium heat, cook the porridge until it thickens stirring occasionally. This usually takes about 5 minutes.
  3. While the porridge is cooking, pre-heat a frying pan to a medium heat. Chop the pecan halves into about 2 or 3 pieces and add to the pan to toast for a couple of minutes. 
  4. Pour the porridge into a bowl, top with the pecan nuts, pour on the maple syrup and enjoy! (I usually go for 1 or 2 tsp of maple syrup.)
Optional: I sometimes add in a dessert spoonful of ground flaxseed while the porridge is cooking for extra nutrients!

6 February 2015

Amazing Guacamole!

Up until recently I thought guacamole was a safe choice when looking for a healthy snack food at the supermarket. Little did I know that most shop brought guacamole's contain double cream. Not only is double cream high in saturated fats, but when trying to cut dairy out of my diet it was one of the least suspected places to find it. Using the recipe out of Deliciously Ella's new book as a guide, also on her blog here, I made my own guacamole for the first time. I was amazed at how simple, easy and, most importantly, delicious it was! I didn't have any fresh coriander on hand, so feel free to add some if you do.

To serve 1

You will need:
1 Ripe Avocado
3 Small Tomatoes 
1 Lime
1 Small Clove of Garlic
½ A Small Jalapeno Pepper
A little Salt

1. Scoop out the flesh of the avocado into a bowl, removing the stone. Mash the avocado using a fork until only small chunks remain. Squeeze the juice from the lime into the bowl and mix in.
2. Remove the seeds from the tomatoes and cut into small pieces. Do the same with the jalapeno pepper and crush the garlic clove. Add these to the bowl, along with a pinch of salt and mix everything together. 

5 January 2015

My Goals for 2015

This year I really want to make more of an effort working towards the life I want to live. I have a very long list of changes I would like to make which focus on three main areas: diet, fitness and life. I came across the book 52 Small Changes: One Year to a Healthier, Happier You a couple of years ago, and I really like the concept of making a small change every week. The bigger goals like "eat healthier" become smaller, more manageable goals like "eat 4 to 6 serving of vegetables per day". This gives you a chance to really focus on achieving that one goal each week. Sounds like a good idea to me, so I'm going to try it out this year and incorporate as many of the changes that I want to make as I can. Really, how hard can it be?

As with anything like this, everyone is different. Everyone has different goals, interests and capabilities. Hence why I am not going to be following the plan laid out in this book to the T, but simply as a guide. A lot of the changes laid out in the book are things I agree with, however some of them I am not interested in so I will be replacing those with one of my personal goals.
I wanted to document the changes I make on here, firstly for accountability but also to keep check of progress and to share my experiences. At the end of each week I will share with you the change I focused on, what I did and whether I achieved it. For this week I thought it would be a good idea to give you an idea of my end goals for each area.

Over the last few years I have become increasingly more interested in living more healthily. I have read a lot on what is good for our bodies and what isn't, however very little of this information I have actually put into practice. I have been trying to go dairy free for over a year now but never fully committed to it. I am admittedly addicted to sugar so would like to cut that out. I am considering going gluten free. I would like to eat a lot more vegetables, eat three proper meals a day and snack healthily.

Currently I do not do any kind of exercise. This is very bad. I am unfit, I get out of breath easily and I have very little strength or stamina. I have never enjoyed sports, and P.E. was always the lesson I dreaded at school. However, now that I'm a bit older and a lot less active than I used to be, I really do recognise the benefits of it. I've got no specific goals for fitness, but soon as though I'm starting from the bottom any progress is good.

This category includes pretty much anything not covered by the previous two. Household, relationship, finance and self development goals included. I want to figure out what I enjoy and want to do with my life, get more organised, improve my money management and and stay in contact with friends and family to name a few.

1 January 2015

New Year's Eve Makeup

We may not be going out for New Year's Eve this year but the occasion is a pretty good excuse to get dressed up. When it comes to New Year's Eve, I think it's the night to go all out when applying makeup. There's no holding back with the glitter, the smokiness or the liquid liner. Although I still steer clear of the disco ball look!

The Eyes
Before starting my eye makeup I stuck a short piece of sellotape at an angle on the outer corner of each of my eyes to create a sharp finish. I applied the shade Foxy from my Naked Basics palette all over my lids and blended the shade Faint through the crease. Then I blended Darkhorse from the original Naked palette into the outer corner of my eyes, adding and blending more until I was happy with it. Next came the Barry M Dazzle Dust in Bronze which I packed on all over my eye lids, followed by a little of their Fine Glitter Dust in Silver on top. I used my Maybelline Master Precise Liquid to create a thin line above my lashes, extending in the outer corners. My Rimmel Scandel Eyes Kohl Kajal in Black was used to line my upper and lower water lines. I added a little of the shade Faint to the outer corners underneath my eye and Half Baked from the Naked palette on the inner corner. Finally, I used the Max Factor Clump Defy mascara.

The Base
I stuck to my favourites at the moment, starting with the Bourjour Healthy Mix Serum Gel foundation in 51 vanilla. Under my eyes and on any blemishes I used Maybelline's Fit Me concealer in 15 and dusted over a light layer of bareMinerals Original Foundation in Fair to finish off. I attempted a little contouring using Bourjour's Chocolate Bronzer in 52.

The Lips
I went for a nude lip using Rimmel's Moisture Renew lipstick in the shade Notting Hill Nude with bareMinerals Marvelous Moxie gloss in Dazzler on top (a limited edition shade which I recieved in a gift box).

Hopefully you will still find this of interest even though New Year's Eve has come and gone, but I wanted it to show the makeup that I actually wore for New Year's Eve.
Happy New Year! I hope 2015 is the best year yet for everyone.