Sunday, 25 January 2015

HEALTH AND FITNESS: SWEET POTATO THREE WAYS

Hi lovelies! Another recipe post for you all today, as I've been loving doing healthy recipes and experimenting a little more with food, rather than going with easy options all the time! I'm afraid we're all just going to have to bare with me on this, as I'm not an expert cook, I've not done recipe posts before and there will be absolutely no precise measurements in these recipes whatsoever. That's kind of what I like about them, they're super simple, fairly fuss free and super healthy. Many of you will know that health and fitness is very important to me, however what you may not know, is that I don't love cooking, I've never been too adventurous with cooking and generally have just taken the easy option, but for the new year, I decided that was going to change and as I said, I'm going to start experimenting in the kitchen! So, in this post I wanted to share three recipes using one of my all time favourite ingredients, sweet potato!
Sweet Potato Tuna Cakes

This recipe is so much easier than I thought. I absolutely love fishcakes, but it's shocking how many nasties can be in some of the frozen supermarket versions. So, I decided to give my own a try. To make four of these, I peeled, chopped and boiled two small sweet potatoes. I then mashed it with a potato masher, then added a tin of tuna and one slice of brown bread made into breadcrumbs (using a blender), just to help the cakes stick together a bit better and then added finely chopped kale and mixed that in with a wooden spoon. I then shaped them with my hands and grilled them for roughly 15-20 minutes until they were crispy on the outside and that was it!

I served these with courgetti, made with a julienne peeler then boiled for 3 minutes in veg stock and kale tossed in sweet chilli sauce, then baked for 5 minutes until crispy. This was super yummy and filling too. The tuna in these could be substituted for any type of cooked fish and are also really nice served inside a granary roll too.

Sweet Potato Fries and Stir Fried Chicken

Another very easy recipe, this healthy alternative to oven fries, or fast food is super tasty and surprisingly easy to do. For the fries, I chopped one large sweet potato into the shape of fries, then boiled them until they were slightly soft, then popped them on a wire rack, on top of a baking tray (this ensures both sides of the fries will get crispy without the need for turning halfway through, anyone else rubbish at remembering this?!), I lightly brushed the boiled fries with oil and sprinkled them with paprika before baking them in the oven for around 20-30 minutes on about 200 degrees. It's worth keeping an eye on these while they cook, as the cooking time isn't always consistent.

For the stir fried chicken, I simply cut up two chicken breasts (this meal was for two!) into small chunks, then pan fried it in a little oil with garlic, paprika and hot chilli powder. I then tossed some peas and green beans into the pan, so they'd pick up a little flavour from the chicken, then served! This combo is super yummy and depending on how many veggies you throw in, you can easily get two or three (or more!) of your five a day in this type of meal.

Sweet Potato Bean Burger

If you're a veggie, or simply don't want to eat meat or fish every day, this recipe will be perfect for you! To make four good sized burgers, I chopped, boiled and mashed two medium sweet potatoes, then stirred in one strained can of mixed beans. I also stirred in one slice of bread made into breadcrumbs and some finely chopped kale, though these are optional. The breadcrumbs do help stop the burgers falling apart though, as any liquid from the beans can make them a little unstable!! You can use any type of beans for these, I personally like the cans of mixed beans from the supermarket, as they're cooked and ready to use. You'll want to mash the beans in as it makes for a better texture to the burgers.

To cook, I shaped these then grilled them for about 25 minutes. The cooking time can be longer or shorter depending on how thick you make the burgers. I served this on a granary roll and again, with crispy kale, baked in the oven, however you could substitute for a side salad or a big pile of veggies for a super filling meal.

So, that's it! Sweet Potato three, super simple, healthy ways.

What do you think? Will you be trying any of these recipes?

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Thursday, 22 January 2015

APPLEYARD LONDON - THE PERFECT VALENTINES BOUQUET






Hi lovelies! Love it or hate it, the V word is well and truly on it's way, there are chocolate hearts everywhere, super sickly verses on greetings cards and fluffy teddies everywhere you look. Personally, I really like Valentines day, and even if I didn't have a boyfriend, I'd still probably celebrate, as I think a holiday to celebrate love is a lovely thing! 

So, a few weeks back, I was contacted by Appleyard London, asking if I'd like to receive one of their gorgeous Valentines Bouquets and I thought since Valentines day is creeping up, now would be the perfect time to share these lovelies photos with you, which sadly are all that's left of this beautiful bouquet (sob). I must say, the first thing that I want to point out, is that I have no edited these photos at all, just to show how truly gorgeous and vibrant these flowers really are. I received the True Romance Bouquet and (no pun intended) I fell in love. Calla Lillies are my favourite flowers ever so this was perfect. 

For a start, I was seriously impressed by how these flowers were packaged, they were so protected and arrived in pristine condition. Not only were these some of the most gorgeous flowers I've ever seen, but they also lasted such a long time, They were super full and there were so many flowers packed into the bunch and they lasted almost two whole weeks, which is just incredible! Overall, if you fancy giving flowers this Valentines day and want to do something special, then I'd seriously recommend Appleyard.

This is definitely the perfect gift for a special someone this Valentines day, so girls, get hinting!!

What do you think? Will you be sending flowers this Valentines day?

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Tuesday, 20 January 2015

HEALTH AND FITNESS: SIMPLE, HEALTHY PIZZA

Hi lovelies! If you follow me on instagram I've been doing a lot more cooking than usual lately, to be honest, I've never been the best cook, I've never really enjoyed cooking, but I do like to be healthy and as health and fitness is something that's always been important to me, I decided that 2015 was the year I got properly into cooking. It's not that I've eaten badly in the past, it's just that I'd go for the easy healthy option, rather than homemade. Though I do think the supermarket do some great options now, I wanted to make some meals where I knew for sure exactly what was going in them. So, to kickstart my healthy recipes posts, I thought I'd start with this one, as it was very popular on instagram and on my facebook and come on, who doesn't love pizza? This tortilla pizza is fab because (depending on what topping you use) it's less than 500cal for the whole thing and tastes amazing! Perfect for those with pizza cravings who are trying to diet, or when it's not a cheat day. So without rambling on any more, let's get into it! Here is my easy, quick tortilla pizza recipe!


You will need:
1 Wholemeal Tortilla Wrap
1 Handful of Light Grated Cheese. (I used Kerry Low Low)
Tomato Puree
Toppings (all optional and can be altered to taste!)
1/2 Chicken Breast (a whole breast will generously top two pizzas)
Spices
1 Handful of Kale
A few Jalapenos

Steps:
- Lay your tortilla wrap on a non stick (or very lightly oiled) baking sheet or pizza tray. A pizza tray is best, as it has little wholes in it and allows the entire wrap to get crispy. However, when cooked on a regular baking sheet, your pizza will be slighty more floppy in the middle, which is also very nice!
- Spread your sauce, a typical one is tomato puree, but you can use a homemade tomato sauce, bbq sauce, pesto, whatever you prefer!
- Sprinkle over as much cheese as you like, go lightly if you're watching calories though.
- Load up with toppings! I used chicken, pan fried in garlic, chilli powder and paprika for flavour, baby kale and a few chopped jalapeƱos.
- Bake in the oven at 180 degrees (Gas Mark 4), for around 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the edges have gone slightly crispy. Keep an eye on this while cooking, as it can get over cooked very quickly!
- Enjoy!

Tips:
- Spread your sauce quite thinly, not only to cut calories, but the tortilla isn't very thick and you don't want to make it soggy!
- Thoroughly cook any meat toppings first, as the pizza doesn't need too long to cook, therefore ingredients like chicken and beef won't have time to cook in the oven.
- Load up with ingredients like kale, spinach, peppers etc to sneak in one or two of your five a day.
- Leave the pizza to stand for a minute or so outside of the oven, this gives a second for the tortilla to  cool, which helps the middle to crisp up slightly.

So, that's it, easy as that for a cheap, simple and actually healthy pizza!
Will you be trying this recipe? Let me know if you'd like me to do some more recipe posts, as I love to share these ideas with you.

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Sunday, 18 January 2015

BENEFIT THE PORESESSIONAL AGENT ZERO SHINE REVIEW*





Hi lovelies! I'm really excited about this review today, as this is a product that I've found really interesting. Yes, another Benefit product, I know, I'm a stuck record at times, but I just love them! Recently, I was sent a lovely surprise parcel from Benefit which contained my old favourite PoreFessional primer, so I was pleased with that, as I love to be stocked up on my favourite products, but it also contained the PoreFessional Agent Zero Shine Powder, which was something I'd not tried before and honestly wasn't too sure about. While I do love Benefit products, I did think that this could have been a bit of a gimmicky product, what with the built in brush and I'm not too great with loose powders, but none the less, I threw it in my bag and decided it'd be good for touch ups at work if nothing else.

After rushing around at work and noticing my skin was a little shiny last week, I remembered I had this in my bag and decide to give it a go. Following the instructions, I tipped a tiny amount of the powder into the lid and used the little built in brush to sweep it over any shiny areas (aka nose and chin!). First off, I was surprised at how good the little brush was, I'll be honest, I did a little eye roll when I first saw it. As much as I love Benefit products, I do not love the brushes that come with their powders, blushes and bronzers generally, but this one is actually fab. It's like a teeny tiny kabuki brush and it's super soft and picks up just the right amount of product. It's the perfect size for little touch ups, as if you only want to touch up little areas like I do, it fits them perfectly without getting powder all over the rest of your makeup. As gimmicky as the all in one powder and brush concept is, I think Benefit have pulled it off. I find it really useful to have this in my bag as it saves me carrying an unnecessary full sized powder brush around with me. 

As for the actual product inside, this powder seriously pleasantly surprised me. It's super lightweight and completely colourless once on the skin, so this isn't for those who want a lot of coverage from their powder. I personally use the Hello Flawless powder in the morning for a little extra colour, then use this throughout the day for touch ups. For mattifying, controlling shine and keeping makeup in place though, this is incredible! Like the primer, it makes the skin appear smoother and makes pores much less noticeable, it also dramatically reduces shine with just one quick sweep of the brush!

Overall, I'd totally recommend this particularly if you struggle with shine throughout the day.

What do you think? Is this something you'd like to try? What's your favourite powder right now?

*this product was gifted to me by Benefit, however this is not a sponsored post and all opinions are my own.

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Friday, 16 January 2015

URBANZ NEON-IN HEADPHONES REVIEW*




Hi lovelies! As you all may know, I absolutely love fitness, working out, running etc. and while I do that, I absolutely have to listen to music. Headphones are of course, very important for this, as when you go to the gym or out running you don't want to be that girl blaring out her music, I personally have a mini gym at home, but my treadmill is so loud, even if I play music out loud I can never hear it, so, headphones it is!

I don't really do big headphones, so the little earbud types are my favourites. The only trouble with these is, they're prone to tangling and breaking, or falling out of my ears and they can just be a bit of a pain. Not any more though! A while ago, I was sent some Urbanz earphones and of course, when I was offered the opportunity to give them a go, I though, yeah sure, another pair of headphones is always great, as they break all the time! Not these though! Finally, something different. 

See, most headphones have those typical little rubber wire covers that tangle as soon as you put them down, no matter how careful you are (HOW do they do this?!), but these Urbanz Neon-in earbuds are different, they have a sort of shoelace type covering on the wire (possibly a stupid description, but not sure how else to put it!), which not only makes them incredibly durable, but also means they are totally tangle free at all times - hallelujah! They also hang nicely when you have your iPod or phone in your front pocket too, which a lot of my gym gear has - does anyone else find their regular headphones bend and go off in weird directions? VERY annoying! These stay nice and neat though and can be wrapped around your iPod or whatever when you're done and you don't have to worry about messing up the wires. 

Obviously, the most important thing is sound quality and for that, these are incredible, the thing I love about these is that the actual earbuds themselves are really nicely shaped and feel comfortable in your ears. They're specially shaped so that they don't fall out and I am pleased to report than I have used these many a time while running and have never had them fall out once, which is perfect. This means they completely block out background noise and for me, that really helps me get into the zone when doing a workout! To be honest, I prefer these over a couple of more expensive pairs of headphones that I have and I think for just £14.99, these are a bargain, as not only is that pretty inexpensive for a good pair of headphones, but you won't need to replace them again and again due to broken, tangled wires. 

You can check out the neon-in headphones here.

What do you think? Will you be checking out Urbanz headphones?

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