Make It So: Favourites This Week

This week I discovered some old treasures, including this sailing medal that my great grandfather was awarded from a sailing club that still exists today – we drive past it all the time! My family’s history is very much tied up with shipping thanks to our location on the coast, and it’s nice to get these reminders every now and then!

I got a long-awaited delivery in the form of MAC’s collaboration with Star Trek! I picked up two beautiful eyeshadows (the gleaming, olive Bird of Prey and the glittering peachy To Boldly Go), as well as Highly Illogical, a shimmering golden highlighter. I absolutely love all of them, and I’m pretty proud of the fact I managed to snap up items that I didn’t already have loads of duplicates of… Seriously, I don’t need any more browns, golds or nudes…

I’ve still been keeping on with Louise Parker’s Lean for Life – which, would you believe it, also includes a fit fry up, pictured above? Carbs are at a low for this plan, but you can still have a nice piece of wholemeal toast in the mornings! Seriously tasty!

In order to store all of my pesky bags of nuts and seeds, I invested in some Luminarc jam pots, which double nicely as storage jars! No more scattered bags and spilled seeds everywhere for me. You can find these pretty easily on eBay and Amazon – I definitely recommend them for gorgeous, handy storage!

As summer starts to draw to a close, I’ve been enjoying some fresh salads while I’m still in the mood. I enjoyed Louise Parker’s watermelon and feta one, but not sure I’d bother with the pinenuts next time…

The food on the plan is so indulgent you’ll not feel like you’re on a diet. Your wallet might notice the difference though – pistachios, prosciutto, nectarines, pomegranate – this is definitely not budget bites. But if you’re spending the money on a takeaway already, you might as well put it to good use buying super high quality ingredients instead, right…?

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Cranbourne Tales: Favourites This Week

This week, we stuck a pin on a map and ended up going for a walk near Cranbourne – I’d never heard of the area before, but it’s well worth a visit! We found a walk online and gave up halfway through – it was hot, overgrown, full of insects and flies, and seriously boring, traipsing along hedgerow-lined tractor paths with no view of anything except the hills ahead. But the village and the garden centre on the outskirts were gorgeous!

We even found a garden where they were giving away produce, including this beautiful beef tomato and some fresh peas. Yes, thank you!

I have a bit of a thing about gorgeous front doors (funny, because mine is actually pretty unimpressive), so whenever I go anywhere I have to take a snap at some of the pretty ones I see!

Anyway, I’d definitely recommend a little trip to Cranbourne, if only for the little garden centre or the pretty pubs and restaurants located there!

I’ve also been continuing with Louise Parker’s Lean for Life – which led me to a stunning realisation… Microwave poached eggs are actually the easiest way to make them! I used this recipe, which is as follows: crack one egg into a mug half full of water, then microwave it on high for one minute. Then, you just empty the water out and drain the egg on a paper towel, before transferring to your plate. Crazy simple!

There have been no end of salads here since the kitchen was pretty much out of order – I was dying to try this pommy Cobb salad from the recipe book and it was gorgeous. Good job the weather suits cold food!

And that tomato got put to good use too, on an antipasti platter! A simple selection of cured meat, artichoke hearts, mozzarella, olives and spinach makes a great dinner or lunch – another hit from Louise Parker’s book!

When it comes to keeping up my step count, I must confess, I don’t just go walking in the woods and through fields – I’m partial to a bit of shopping (how did you guess?!) and a trek around Gunwharf Quays was a lovely way to get to my step count in the evening. And I couldn’t resist snapping these gorgeous salt and pepper shakers, below – what a beautiful rainbow!

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Favourites This Week: The Back To Reality Edition

I’m determined to catch up to myself, but for a few weeks, you’re going to have to bear with me while I go over my backlog of favourites of the week posts!

After my lovely holiday I landed right back in the thick of things – a deadline, a new eating plan, and kitchen walls that were streaming water everywhere thanks to a leak that had sprung up from upstairs. Thankfully that seems to be sorted now, but for almost two weeks, I couldn’t cook anything in my kitchen! Luckily, I’d just started Louise Parker’s Lean For Life, and so I was ready to dive into a world of delicious salads…

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Lean for Life has a few basic ideas central to the plan. First of all, don’t call it a diet. (Sorry!). Secondly, exercise should consist of at least 10,000 steps a day plus at least 20 minutes of strength and toning / body weight exercises a day, six days a week. Thirdly, that you should ditch low quality carbs (potatoes, white rice, etc) and ramp up your intake of protein. There are a few other aspects to it, of course, but those are the main ideas I’ve taken away so far!

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I’ve been surviving on the odd meal made on my outdoor gas stove (which was originally bought to make okonomiyaki!), like the delicious frittata above (finished with a blow torch!), and many rotisserie chickens (CostCo do the best tasting and best value for money version, unsurprisingly!).

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The Best Bistro Salad is one of my favourites – peas, gem lettuce, chicken, and baked prosciutto, amongst other things…

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I’m also a huge fan of the Super Cherry Bircher, which includes a sour cherry concentrate, yogurt and oatbran. Lots of breakfast recipes consist of a basic base of oatbran and yogurt, which you mix together overnight, usually with some stevia and vanilla paste to sweeten. It’s a great idea, especially if you’re not keen on the texture of oats or granola.

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It’s also been a great excuse to eat some of the fruit I adore but never usually buy – figs and cherries! And, I’ve purchased a new set of storage containers just for all the nuts I’ve had to buy too!

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I also experimented with making my own gravlax, thanks to The Guardian’s recipe. It turned out really well, but I’m all gravlax’d out now… I don’t think I can eat any more for a long while… (I made A LOT.)

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I also went blackberry picking with my family, to get some fruit to eat and freeze. Unless I freeze it right away, I usually end up leaving the blackberries in the fridge to go bad – an absolutely terrible habit I need to break right away! I also really want to make some kind of blackberry liqueur for Christmas, but I need to find the motivation from somewhere… Did you know that blackberry season only lasts until the end of September in the UK? Supposedly, as soon as the clock strikes midnight and we get to October, the devil rushes out to wee on the berries and make them sour. The more you know!

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I’ve also fallen in love with Superlife’s Mrs Green Mix – what a lifesaver! I adore Natural Blender because the recipes come with superfood supplements, and I wondered if there was a hassle-free way of replicating this for my own recipes. Superlife have blended together a variety of incredible supplements just for women, to make sure that every smoothie or juice you add it to is as packed full of goodness as possible. They sent me a couple of sachets to try, and I’m so impressed. The taste isn’t completely undetectable, but the crazy long list in this blend makes it well worth adding in. (I’d say it lends a deeper, earthy taste which is actually pretty pleasant if you add the right fruits and vegetables.) Pick up the blend from their site here, for £12.61 (and check out the rest of the range, and the discount options if you buy in bulk!).

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Finally, to compensate for all the fries and takeaways I’ve been skipping, I’ve also treating myself to some beautiful flowers from Bloom & Wild (the Harper is pictured above) and Bloomon, which is a really exciting and cool company. Check out their range here, and with my referral link you can get a free vase! Each delivery they provide a new and exciting arrangement of flowers in small, medium or large sizes, and the first one I received was super cool!

Channelling Louise Parker’s beautiful lifestyle certainly has its perks… pretty flowers, beautiful plates of healthy food, and a good start to my weight loss. Hurrah!

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10,000 Reasons You Should Download Pokémon Go

Okay, so I’m officially behind the times here in posting about Pokemon Go, but sometimes you have a great idea for a post, and you just don’t get around to posting it at the exact, right moment…

But if you’ve not downloaded Pokemon Go quite yet, I’d definitely urge you to download it and have a go! If you don’t know what it’s all about, it’s basically a map-based game that sees you walking around the real world, collecting Pokemon, and visiting PokeStops to grab items, or PokeGyms to challenge other players.

Really, though, for me, it’s been a fantastic opportunity to spend the summer out and about, exploring new areas in my local vicinity, and rediscovering places I already know and love all over again.

Having recently started the Louise Parker Lean for Life plan (don’t call it a diet – she’ll come and beat you up), I was eager to find a way to fit in my required 10,000 steps a day somehow. 10,000 steps a day is a definite challenge for me. I work from home and I live in a fairly small place (no stairs!), so building up steps without going out and doing it purposefully is nearly impossible.

Luckily, having Pokemon Go as an excuse has genuinely helped me to check out a load of nearby places, racking up tens of thousands of steps every week in the pursuit of virtual monsters. I’ve visited beaches, abbeys, city centres, wharfs, parks and graveyards, and along the way, over the past couple of months, I’ve walked 460km – around 7-8km a day!

Truth be told, the Pokemon Go craze has started to wane, even for me – but using it as an excuse to start a healthy habit has been a fantastic way to trick my brain into getting on my trainers every day and heading out the door.

You can see from the chart below just how sedentary I’ve been for the last few months. My daily average walking distance is now 4 miles for the past month, compared to a dismal 1-2 miles previously.

Getting outside, enjoying nature, enjoying healthy activity – this is definitely exactly what I’ve been needing. Without going into too many details, I have to confess I’ve been feeling incredibly low and self-destructive for most of the year following a death in the family – something which I haven’t been quick to share on the blog. Weight-gain has been an embarrassing side-effect of my struggles, but I’ve reached a point now where I’m taking a long, hard look at my life, and making sure I make my health and my happiness a priority.

I don’t expect you thought you’d be going quite so deep in a blog post about Pokemon Go, did you…?

You can follow me for more updates on my journey on the blog, interspersed with plenty of fun, food and fashion, of course!