learning to live a happy, healthy life

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Friday, 29 June 2018

5 Things I'm Doing To Keep My Skin Clear & Glowing

One of my biggest worries when I decided to come off the pill was the effect it might have on my skin. At around 15-16 years old (before I starting talking the pill) I used to get these horrendously painful spots all around  my jawline and chin, they were those under the skin type spots that you just couldn't do anything about and I became so self conscious. I'd always had very clear skin up until this point so suddenly having spots appearing and them being so painful wasn't much fun! I used to spend hours (literally) in front of the mirror trying to cover them up before even leaving my bedroom and I'd always have my hand in front of my face whenever I could to hide away from anyone who might be looking.

Today I have very clear skin and very rarely get any spots (touch wood). I think this change is due to cutting out dairy, eating a more whole foods diet but also taking hormonal birth control which no doubt had an effect. Now I've come off the pill I was concerned these spots might come back, which of course I really don't want! So I'm taking some steps in order to hopefully keep my skin looking clear, fresh and glowing.

Anti-Oxidant Foods
The food we eat absolutely has a direct impact on our skin and my diet is always the first thing I look at if I feel like my skin isn't looking it's healthiest. Getting those greens in is of course important but putting your focus on foods high in anti-oxidants is really going to give your skin the biggest oomph! Antioxidant rich foods can help to counteract the damage caused by pollution, stress or a poor diet and give your skin that little bit of love it could well be lacking. Foods such as blueberries, red peppers, sweet potatoes, broccoli, pomegranate and tomatoes are all amazing sources of these anti-oxidants.

Healthy Fats
Healthy fats are something I've been very conscious of making sure I get enough of during this time coming off the pill. Not only are they vital for female reproductive health but they're super important for healthy hair, nails and skin too! Your skin cells are surrounded by layers of fat that make up the cell walls, this layer incorporates fats you get from your diet and is absolutely essential for glowing, plum and healthy looking skin. Examples of these healthy foods would be nuts & seeds, oily fish, olive oil, avocados, etc.

Water is what our body needs the most to survive and it's also so important for healthy skin. Without adequate water intake daily our skin starts to look duller, pores will be more visible and wrinkles may begin to show. Getting enough water can also reduce the chances of breakouts as the concentration of oil in our skin is decreased. I like to add fresh lemon to my water for a hit of vitamin C which is not only an anti-oxidant so will help to promote radiant, blemish-free skin but the vitamin is also needed for the body to produce collagen which strengthens the skin.

Avoiding Sugar
I try to avoid refined sugar as much as I can and have started to keep even natural sugars to a minimum. Sugar is inflammatory to the body which causes collegian and elastin to break down in the skin! It can also be a cause of acne or rosacea. Foods high in sugar also tend to contain many artificial ingredients which won't be doing your skin any good at all. The worst culprits are things like packaged snacks, fizzy drinks, sweets, ice cream and white carbohydrates.

Invest In Skincare
High quality skincare is really important if you want glowing, healthy skin. Our skin absorbs up to 70% of what we put on it (that's a lot!), so want to make sure it's not absorbing nasty ingredients. I used to think high quality skincare meant a high price tag, but that's not the case! Coconut oil just by itself can be a wonderful moisturiser and I'm telling you, you won't find a better makeup remover than massaging coconut oil into your skin and wiping away with a damp flannel. I like to stick to more organic skincare with little to no alcohol, no parabens and free from fragrance.


Tuesday, 19 June 2018

10 Minute Tomato, Basil & Garlic Pasta

We all lead such busy, hectic lives full of long to-do lists, endless chores and work that needs to be done. It can be so easy to think we just don't have the time to cook healthy, nourishing meals and simply grab a ready-meal from the corner shop or stick some chips in the oven instead of cooking wholesome meals for ourselves but in reality eating healthily can actually be quicker, cheaper and of course more delicious than any of those seemingly convenient options.

Most of the meals I cook take no more than half an hour from start to finish. Don't get me wrong, I love to spend a long time cooking a meal as I really do enjoy the process and find it to be a form of relaxation, however my busy life doesn't always mean I have the chance to spend an hour + cooking away. One of my favourite and quickest recipes is this tomato, basil & garlic pasta that takes only 10 minutes to make from scratch! I wanted to share the recipe with you in a bid to prove how quick, easy, cheap and incredible healthy meals can be.

This recipe really couldn't be simpler! It even surprised me how quick it was to make a pasta sauce that's so full of flavour completely from scratch. The ingredients are all things you can pick up in your local food shop and they're all very cheap too! It's a simple sauce but it's bursting with rich, gorgeously fresh flavours and you can even adapt it to match your tastebuds - for example if you like spicy foods add some chilli flakes or if you like extra herbs add some thyme.

I love to eat this dish with spaghetti as my pasta choice but it would also be delicious with any other pasta type or even stirred into quinoa! It's a wonderful dish as it is but again, feel free to add to it as you wish with a veggie burger, some grilled fish or sausages perhaps.


Friday, 8 June 2018

Coming Off Hormonal Birth Control?

I've been taking hormonal birth control pills for 7 years now, excluding a short break a couple of years ago for a few months. I was first put on them after my diagnosis if PCOS to control my nasty symptoms and to get me feeling better again. I've had a bit of a strange time on the pill and now it's time to wave goodbye to the artificial hormones for good (hopefully)!
I really wanted to share my journey with coming off the pill because I know it's something a lot of women question for a long time and something women are perhaps scared about. I hope this little series gives you a bit of an insight into my experiences! Lets start at the beginning....

Why did I first take the pill and what reaction did I have?
I was first put on the pill by my GP when I was 16 years old, so I've been taking it for pretty much all my adult life so far. I originally starting taking the pill to manage my PCOS symptoms and I have to say, it did work. Before the pill I had pretty awful skin, my periods weren't regular and the pain I had every month was indescribable. This all changed on the pill - my skin cleared up, my period came every month without fail and the pain wasn't so intense.
I didn't have the easiest time when I first starting popping the pill though. I tried two varieties of the combined pill that made me feel so sick I couldn't sleep at night and I'd spend hours with my head over the sink trying not to throw up! Eventually I found one that did seem to suit my body a bit better and even though I still suffered with the sickness to begin with it died down. I stayed on this pill (called Yasmin) up until I was 21 years old when I decided to have a little break.


Monday, 21 May 2018

Currently Loving - Buckwheat!

When I first went gluten free I ate buckwheat all the time, it's naturally free from gluten and it's easy to digest so it made a great occupnment to lunches and dinners, or even made into a porridge for a delicious and filling breakfast. Recently I've rediscovered my love for buckwheat with it's slightly nutty taste, ability to really fill me up and it's wealth of nutrients that leave me feeling energised and happy!

Last week was Coeliac Awareness Week (yeah, bit late I know) so I wanted to share a little more about the grain (that's actually technically a seed) because it really was a staple in my diet after I was diagnosed.

As mentioned above buckwheat is actually a seed. It's naturally gluten free, high in fibre, high in protein and a lot easier on the digestive system than lots of grains out there. Buckwheat comes in a variety of forms such as groats, flour or even buckwheat flakes (like porridge!) and it really is worthy of its superfood title.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Easy Miso Marinated Aubergine & Quinoa

Marinating aubergine in delicious miso and baking it in the oven is so quick and so simple but creates the most gorgeous accompaniment to a dinner, main element to a tasty lunch with a big salad OR an incredible summer BBQ side dish. In this recipe I'm sharing with you today I've paired the sticky miso aubergine with a chilli & miso quinoa, mushroom & pak choi dish - the perfect pairing if you ask me!

To make this recipe even more quick & easy I used Itsu's Miso-Easy sachet which is a vegan, gluten free miso paste. I love to have these in my cupboard to add to stir-fries, soups, to make salad dressings and to drizzle over aubergine like I've done for this recipe.

The Miso'Easy is perfect to use on it's own or I like to mix it with a little lime juice and a touch of tamari to add a little more flavour. When baked in the oven the aubergine absorbs all the authentic japanese flavours so well, it becomes to tender and so flavoursome - trust me, it's game-changing!
The quinoa is also pretty fab, and I used the miso'easy sachet in chilli flavour for this which adds a delicious kick and pairs well with the mushrooms and pak choi for a true Japanese feel dish.


Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Stress, Sleep & Success - My Top Tips

A good night's sleep is undoubtedly one of the most important factors in leading a happy, healthy life. A bad night's sleep can cause you to feel irritable, you could lack concentration, feel uninspired and unmotivated, increase feelings of anxiety and inhibit success in your life. Personally I find how many hours sleep I get every night and the quality of that sleep to have a huge impact on my life, both personally and professionally. Without a solid 8-9 hours good quality sleep I become not only very fatigued but my mental health suffers too - my anxiety levels will rise, I'll become stressed much more easily and I can start to feel very down. This is a vicious cycle that's hard to break because when I feel like this I'll then have even more trouble sleeping, and the pattern carries on!

We all have a personal relationship with stress and how it affects us, but I think we can all agree sleep plays a huge role in reducing stress and increasing success in your everyday life. That's why I'm working with Tempur this month (Mental Health Awareness Month) to help you improve your quality of sleep and as a result hopefully lead a less stressful, happier, healthier life! We all know how passionate I am about opening up the conversations surrounding mental health and how much I want to help those who suffer with mental health problems, so I couldn't be more proud to be working with Tempur on this campaign. Especially as the brand are doing something phenomenally generous by donating £10 to The Mental Health Foundation for every Tempur mattress sold throughout May...so really what better time to get an amazing new mattress?

Tempur offer the most amazing range of products such as mattresses, pillows and beds all made from NASA's unique (and scientifically created) memory foam to help you get a better quality of sleep every night. Ensuring every night's sleep is a peaceful one will no doubt help improve your quality of sleep once you're awake...in every aspect! I personally find when I have a long string of deep, incredible sleep filled night's with no disruption or discomfort I get more done in the day, I feel more positive, I'm instantly more productive, my creativity flourishes and I have mountains of energy to do all the things I want to.

Having a supportive mattress and comfortable pillows is of course key in getting a high quality night's sleep, but there are also certain tricks I find that help my sleep quality improve significantly and therefore decrease my stress levels throughout the day!

Read A Book
We all have busy lives which means our brains are just in overdrive all the time, so when it comes to bedtime you can't just expect your brain to quieten itself down suddenly as soon as your head hits the pillow. You need to calm it down with a little help! My favourite way to do this is by reading a good book - I try and stick to an easy read before bed, something that's not too complicated and definitely not a thriller. I find I get sucked into the little world within the book and therefore forget about all the worries, deadlines and stress in my life.

Herbal Tea
The action of making yourself a soothing herbal tea (I like peppermint) before bedtime is such a gentle, kind and calming motion and can really help you wind down before getting some z's. I like to do this and then grab my book to read a chapter or two!

Less Screen Time
It's so tempting to sit scrolling through Facebook or Instagram as you settle into bed, you may even think it relaxes you. But studies have shown the light from these screens really stimulates your brain and can massively reduce your sleep quality meaning you won't feel so fresh in the morning! Try switching off at least 1 hour before hitting the hay and notice the difference.

Complete Darkness
I really notice the difference in my sleep quality when I sleep in a dark room compared to a light one. Sleeping in a dark room helps tell the brain it's time to relax and get some shut eye, when it's light the brain has a harder job figuring out what's going on!

So, who's ready to get some amazing night's sleep and start conquering life in the best way possible?! Try my top tips this week, and get your hands on a new comfy pillow and maybe even a mattress from Tempur now to help in your effort to lead a happier, healthier, less stressed, more successful life!


Saturday, 5 May 2018

Raspberry & Coconut Sandwich Cookies

I was feeling creative in the kitchen a couple of days ago when this idea for coconut & raspberry jam sandwich cookies came into my head, so of course I got stuck right into making them! They were a complete experiment made up on the spot but they turned out amazingly well, and luckily I had written down all the ingredients/measurements so I can share the recipe with you!

These raw raspberry & coconut sandwich cookies are just divine - and pretty easy to make too! The combination of raspberry and coconut is truly one of the most delicious pairings, so sweet but light and refreshing at the same time. I love that they're raw cookies, meaning there's no baking involved (i.e no risk of burning anything!) and would definitely make a perfect summer sweet treat.

The cookies contain a wealth of healthy fats, which I most certainly feel like I need at the moment as my PCOS symptoms have flared up a little due to stress and tiredness. Healthy fats are also vital for healthy skin, shiny hair, strong bones, better brain function and I find they boost my mood too.


Thursday, 19 April 2018

Easy Vegan Potato Salad

Spring has most certainly sprung this week! The warmer weather is making an appearance, the sun is shining, the birds are singing and I'm finally ditching the winter coats for light jackets. The change in the weather and the turn of the seasons always makes me so excited for new food, new produce and seasonal dishes. Spring/summer food is my absolute favourite, because whilst I love winter warmers such as curries and stews you just can't beat pasta salads, BBQ food, fresh summer berries and all the other vibrant, zesty, delicious foods the season has to offer.

One of the best summer foods (in my option) is a fresh potato salad. It's just a classic, isn't it? I remember it eating it as child on picnics or with a family BBQ, I always loved it but didn't eat it for such a long time when I transitioned to a plant based diet because most potato salads you buy in the shop contain dairy. I've made a few vegan friendly potato salads over the last year or so but this recipe I'm sharing with you today is my tastiest, easier and cheapest yet!

The simple dressing (or mayo alternative) is made using tahini, lemon juice and olive oil - so all things you can easily find in your local supermarket, all natural and all super tasty. When combined it makes this delightfully fresh taste and creamy consistency that's perfect for potato salad. The spring onions, parsley and chives add the most wonderful flavours that all scream 'summer'!

I love to pair this potato salad with plenty of baby leaf salad, on the vine potatoes and either falafels or a veggie burger. It'd be a great BBQ dish and one to make on a light, warm evening to enjoy in the garden....maybe with a drop of white wine!


Friday, 13 April 2018

SIX Review | Brighton Restaurant

My boyfriend and I spent a couple of days in Brighton last week to celebrate our 2 year anniversary. Brighton is only about 20 minutes away from us but it's somewhere we both really love going to and we never tire of the interesting shops, cool market stalls, winding lanes, beautiful buildings and of course amazing eateries.

On the first night we were there we went for a meal at vegetarian restaurant Terre a Terre which was sublime, I literally couldn't fault it! Then for lunch on the day after we visited SIX - a restaurant on Western Road we'd visited once before and absolutely loved. It didn't disappoint the next time round and I really wanted to share the experience with you!

SIX is like no restaurant I've been in before. The decor is classy, ambient and relaxed with luxurious and quite romantic feel. The menu is full of all different dishes from their incredible breakfast bowls to burgers (including a super tasty vegan burger I had on my last trip), pasta dishes, buddha bowls, pancakes and the most insane drinks you could imagine - nutella lattes, natural smoothies, refreshing juices, brunch cocktails and a wide range of tea and coffee. The menu is full of dishes everyone can enjoy with plenty of vegan and vegetarian options as well as meat and fish too. Almost all their fresh fruit and veg is grown organically and delivered fresh each morning which makes such a difference to the quality of their food and shows how much care they put into each dish.

We were welcomed into the restaurant and shown to our table by the window looking out onto Western Road which I loved (I'm such a people watcher!) and were given our menus. We were also brought over a jug of fresh water infused with fruit & mint - a nice touch! I do have to say, it did take the waitress a fair amount of time to come and take our drinks order which is a real bugbear of mine but when she did I ordered a 'Youthful' juice made up of carrot, apple, orange and ginger. I thought I'd try something a little different to what I'd normally have and I'm glad I did, the juice was fresh, thirst-quenching and delightfully zingy with a natural sweetness from the apple and orange.

It took me a while to decide what I wanted to eat as there's just so much amazing choice on the SIX menu, but eventually I opted for the Vegan Breakfast which is described as - A natural treat of Portobello Mushroom, hash brown, sautéed purple potato, vine cherry tomatoes, avocado, beetroot hummus, falafels and sourdough toast (with complimentary baked beans on request). I of course got the beans and I also asked for a poached egg...kind of defeating the point of a 'vegan breakfast' but I thought it would go deliciously with everything else!
My boyfriend order from the main menu and he got the Organic Hot Buddha Bowl, a dish of organic steamed black venere rice topped with organic vegetables and you could choose a sauce between spicy red chilli pepper sauce or light spicy coconut & chilli-garlic sauce - he went for the red chilli pepper. There was also a variety of topping options - crispy marinated tofu, marinated organic chicken or wild seabass fillet - he went for the crispy marinated tofu! We also ordered a side of french fries, because why not?!

It took a little while for our food to come which was a little annoying as the restaurant was very quiet, but knowing everything is cooked fresh from scratch I did expect to wait a little longer. I also never mind waiting a little longer for freshly made meals!
When our meals did come they didn't disappoint and were 100% worth wait. Both our meals looked so ascetically pleasing (definitely Instagram worthy) with so much vibrant colour and the most delicious smells coming from each plate. I couldn't wait to get stuck into my Vegan Breakfast (...with an egg) - and obviously the first thing I did was try and get that yolk porn shot, unfortunately it was a bit of a fail as the egg yolk was cooked solid but it tasted great nonetheless. The gluten free bread was super impressive, I mean you really couldn't tell it was gluten free at all! The purple sweet potato was dreamy, the beetroot hummus was so flavoursome and the falafels were to die for. All the flavours complimented each other so well and the dish was so filling. When I was half way through my meal I noticed the hash brown was missing...I'm not too sure whether this is because it was gluten free or whether they'd just forgotten it but in a way I was quite pleased, I think that extra addition would have been a little too much!

My boyfriend buddha bowl looked so fresh and vibrant with the fresh pack choi, broccoli and radishes. The black rice was cooked to perfection (I tried a bit) and the tofu was cooked really well, nicely crispy with tons of flavour. The one bit of constructive criticism my boyfriend did have was that there was too much rice, he'd have preferred a little less rice and more veggies but apart from that the meal was faultless.  We both also devoured the fries....we were in chip heaven!

After our mains we had a look at the dessert menu for a little something sweet and decided to order this incredible vegan gelato sundae type thing which was unreal. There was creamy vegan chocolate and strawberry gelato served in a glass with fresh berries, figs and a raspberry coulis..yum yum!

 The meal cost a little more than your average lunch out but personally I'd prefer to pay that bit more for a good meal full of nourishing goodness, amazing portion sizes, a good range of dishes on the menu plus a delightful atmosphere and room to sit in. I think the value for money is fab and no doubt I'll be making my third visit sometime in the near future!


Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Black Bean, Avocado & Lime Wraps + BFree Sandwich Spa

After being diagnosed coeliac a few years ago I've obviously followed a completely gluten free diet since then, which all in all I've found okay but it doesn't come without it's challenges. Thankfully within that time new brands have started appearing and more gluten free offerings have become very readily available! One of my absolute favourite brands for gluten free goodies is BFree Foods, they just do the best free-from tortilla wraps, pitta breads, loaves of bread and now even pizza bases too. Their products have been staples in my food cupboard for a long time now so I'm excited to be collaborating with them on this blog post to show you a quick, delicious and super yummy Black Bean, Avocado & Lime wrap recipe and also to tell you about their recent exciting project - The Sandwich Spa, a one of a kind salon come deli where sandwiches and wraps come with a side order of a beauty treatment to combat specific wellness issues!

I was lucky enough to be invited down to The Sandwich Spa earlier this month where I got to experience the unique concept first hand. I was really intrigued to hear about the spa packages and just how a beauty treatment could complement a wellness-enhancing wrap or sandwich!
I arrived at The Sandwich Spa on Pall Mall in London at about 12:30 - timed perfectly so I could enjoy a gluten free lunch, and was instantly impressed with the gorgeous location. The sandwich spa was done up beautifully inside with fresh flowers, neutral decor and a fresh, relaxing feel - just what you want from a spa, right?

Monday, 26 March 2018

Mini Egg Peanut Butter Chocolate Mousse

Easter Sunday is this week, which just seems crazy to me...I swear it was Christmas only a few days ago? I love Easter because it feels like the arrival of Spring with the daffodils in full bloom and the pastel colours everywhere, I love that it means spending time with family and of course I adore the food. To me, Easter food should always be indulgent - it should satisfy your taste buds completely, taste heavenly delicious and of course on Easter Day chocolate should always be consumed, it's mandatory.

This new recipe for Mini Egg Peanut Butter Chocolate Mousse pots ticks all those boxes, all whilst actually being a slighter healthier version with no refined sugar, no dairy and no gluten either. All the ingredients in these creamy mousses are plant based but the taste isn't compromised because of these, they're sweet, rich and unbelievably more-ish. The mini eggs on top, made from ground almonds and dyed with natural food colourants, add a bit of Easter decor and taste yummy too!

The mousse is made from all ingredients you can find in your local supermarket such as dark chocolate, almond milk, dates and peanut butter (top tip - use crunch for an extra something special). You simply blend everything together, add to pots and set in the fridge for a few hours to create the mousse texture! Then you can top with the cute mini eggs, which you can make any colour you desire. I made a purple, a bright orange and a green - I used berry powder, turmeric powder and greens powder to dye the marzipan eggs but you could also use beetroot, spirulina, coffee, saffron, etc.

These mousse pots are a great recipe to make with kids or to serve up on Easter Day! They'll keep in the fridge for 3 days too, so don't worry if there's any left over....although I highly doubt there will be.

Friday, 23 March 2018

Homemade Almond Milk Recipe

Almond milk has been a staple item in my fridge for such a long time, way before I went totally dairy free and ages before it was 'cool' and trendy! I just really love the taste, the texture and how it makes me feel plus it makes the perfect bowls of porridge and cups of coffee ever.

I've always bought ready made almond milk from the supermarkets, it's perhaps a little pricey but it's convenient and making my own never even crossed my mind. I didn't even know it was possible to make your own almond milk at home until recently, I thought it would require fancy equipment and a lot of time...how wrong was I! It turns out making your own nut milk is so really easy, requires very little equipment (anything you have to buy is super cheap) AND as you'd expect the homemade stuff tastes a lot fresher, more natural and so much more delicious.

I used Indigo Herbs almonds in this recipe as they're 100% organic (the best for making nut milk) and Indigo Herbs are a brand I know I can trust. All their products are premium quality with nothing weird added, ever. Their almonds made the most yummy tasting milk that was subtly sweet, pure and fresh. You can buy almonds (as well as all sorts of other goodies) from Indigo Herbs here - https://www.indigo-herbs.co.uk/shop/buy/almonds-whole

The nut milk bag I used was this one - https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lovetree-Products-Professional-Cheesecloth-Replacement/dp/B00KY3DZNM/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?ie=UTF8&qid=1521824952&sr=8-1-spons&keywords=nut+milk+bag&psc=1

Being around 50% lower in calories than your standard cows milk and completely cholesterol free this almond milk is a worthy addition to any fridge!


Monday, 19 March 2018

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

One of mine and my boyfriends favourite meals is gnocchi. We love it with a red pesto or a delicious green pesto and loads of veggies or it's great with a veggie burger, some quorn chicken pieces stirred in or a fillet of salmon. We always buy ready made gnocchi (this brand) but the other day I decided to get create and make my own vegan, gluten free sweet potato gnocchi! Honestly I expected it to go very wrong and be a total disaster, but it was a success! Thankfully I wrote down the full recipe so I can share it with you.

The great thing about this recipe is that although it sounds very fancy and impressive when you say you've made your own gnocchi (a great dinner to make when you have friends over!) it's actually an incredibly easy, quick and cheap recipe. You can jazz it up with any spices or herbs that you like and it should keep in the fridge for a few days too!


Thursday, 8 March 2018

Berry Coconut Chocolate Bombs

I recently had my parents over to my new house for a meal, which of course meant I had a lot of fun in the kitchen putting together a delicious dinner for them. I made a masala curry followed by lemon sorbet with fresh raspberries & honey toasted almonds, as well as Berry Coconut Chocolate Bombs for an extra something sweet with a post-dinner coffee. They went down so well I just had to share the recipe on the blog!

These Berry Coconut Chocolate Bombs are like little balls of heaven. They're almost like bounty style truffles with an added bit of sweetness (and pretty pink colour) from the berry powder. Not only did they make a yummy after dinner treat but would also make a delightful homemade gift for this Mothers Day.

The middle of these chocolate bombs is a mouth-watering combination of desiccated coconut, coconut milk, maple syrup and some berry powder (which you could always leave out if you don't have any!) which when blended together make something so tasty, especially encased in a dark chocolate shell! Biting into these chocolate bombs is something quite magical, seeing that gorgeous pink colour through the centre makes the sweet treat exciting and real food for the eyes, not only the stomach. They're vegan, gluten free and refined sugar free but so moreish, indulgent and rich with every bit of flavour and texture you want in a sweet treat.


Monday, 5 March 2018

Creamy Leek & Spinach Pasta (Vegan)

I've always loved a creamy pasta dish with the mouth-wateringly smooth texture and comforting flavours. Following a dairy free diet you might think I can no longer enjoy such delights, but that's where you'd be wrong! Recipes such as this Creamy Leek & Spinach Pasta satisfy that creamy pasta craving whilst only containing plant based ingredients, yes that's right, this dish is vegan friendly!

The creamy sauce is made using soaked cashews, butternut squash and nutritional yeast (as well as a few other little ingredients) which when combined together make this magically creamy and rich cheese like sauce which honestly I could eat by the spoonful! I adore the addition of leeks and spinach too, I just find they work so well with the creaminess of the sauce and add a welcome freshness to this fairly rich recipe. When stirred into cooked pasta it becomes major comfort food but each mouthful is full of so much nutritional goodness that'll leave you feeling on top of the world.


Saturday, 17 February 2018

Hummus Spiced Tofu (Inc. Recipe Video)

Hummus and tofu are two of my favourite things ever, but I've never tried combining the two....until recently! This recipe for hummus spiced tofu using Zest & Zing's Hummus Spice product is one of my most simple but most delicious recipes to date.

Tofu has this wonderful ability to be able to absorb flavours so well, so by marinating cubes of delicious tofu in a mixture of lemon juice, olive oil and the heavenly Hummus Spice blend really worked amazingly. Once baked in the oven the pieces of tofu turn beautifully crispy and the smell will be enough to make your tummy rumble!

The hummus spice from Zest & Zing is made up of garlic, sea salt, lemon, cayenne pepper, parsley and olive oil and really does recreate that famous hummus taste we all love! It works so well in this recipe but is also a dream cooked with vegetables like aubergine or courgette and can be sprinkled on pitta bread or crackers for a boost of flavour!

Try this tofu recipe as a high-protein, savoury, plant-based snack, a yummy edition to a salad or serve as a tapas dish with things like salsa, olives, pitta bread and cherry tomatoes.

Recipe video -


Sunday, 11 February 2018

Valentine's Day Dark Chocolate With Rose

Chocolate is most certainly one of the most popular Valentines Day gifts, but have you ever thought of making your own chocolates to give a loved one? This brings so much more thought and meaning to the classic edible gift and you can even customise the chocolates with flavours you know the recipient will love!

Making your own chocolates is much easier than you might think too! Especially with a handy pack like the Indigo Herbs Chocolate Making Kit which comes with all the ingredients you need to make your own chocolate treats. I had a go with the set myself to create these cute and super delicious heart chocolates complete with edible rose petals for an added Valentines touch....did you know they're an aphrodisiac?

I used rose petals but why not try adding maca powder for a natural caramel-like taste, chopped hazelnuts for that nutella vibe we all love or a sprinkling of sea salt for salted chocolate goodness!


Friday, 9 February 2018

Raspberry & Amaretto Pancakes

Pancake Tuesday is just a few days away, so it's most certainly time to start thinking about what pancakes you're going to make on the day! I've got the most delicious recipe that'll make pancake day something truly special - say hello to these incredible Raspberry & Amaretto pancakes complete with homemade raspberry chia jam!

The pancakes are entirely gluten, dairy, egg and refined sugar free but they're packed with a load of flavour, have a wonderfully fluffy texture and are light yet super satisfying. The amaretto taste comes from Amaretto flavoured coffee from We Are Littles which has been my favourite coffee for a little while now, so adding to a pancake recipe seemed like a fab idea and I was so right! The amaretto flavour is picked up even more by the flaked almonds on top and is complimented by the fresh raspberry jam so well. Heaven!

TOP TIP - enjoy with a hot mug of Amaretto flavoured coffee to pick up that delicious taste more! And enjoy any leftover jam spread on a piece of toast, dolloped on porridge or smothered on rice cakes.


Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Nutty Cinnamon & Vanilla Overnight Oats

Overnight oats are one of my favourite breakfasts, especially when I know I've got a busy week coming up as they're so easy to throw together the night before for a grab-and-go breakfast.

This recipe for Nutty Vanilla & Cinnamon Overnight Oats recipe is the most deliciously creamy, naturally sweet, satisfying, amazing breakfast that'll be a great way to start any day. I've added spices from a new spice brand I've discovered called Zest & Zing - they make the most incredible spices sold in the cutest little jars with a spoon included with each! I used the Zest & Zing vanilla powder & cinnamon powder in this recipe which works so well with oats as the grains have this magical ability to soak up flavours wonderfully.


Monday, 5 February 2018

Valentines Raspberry Jam Filled Biscuits

Valentine's Day is just around the corner, so of course I had to create a little recipe for the day! These Raspberry Jam Filled Biscuits -think healthy jammy dodgers- are the perfect treat to make for a your other half this valentines day. Or if you don't have a significant other why not make these biscuits for your parents, for your best friend or for any little ones in your family - they're all bound to love them!

The gluten free cookies are deliciously sweet from the pure maple syrup with a vanilla flavour dreams are made off, which is of course paired perfectly with the tangy raspberry chia jam filling! Chia jam is actually one of my favourite things, it's just so quick and easy to make and tastes incredible, so pairing it with one of my other favourite things (vanilla cookies) just seemed like the best idea ever....and it really was. I'm incredibly pleased with how this recipe turned out and know it's going to be a firm favourite for years to come!


Thursday, 25 January 2018

Almond & Pecan Caramel Squares

A new sweet treat is in town, and they're going down a storm! Say hello to these gooey, indulgent, creamy, nutty Almond & Pecan Caramel Squares complete with oaty base, all natural salted almond caramel middle layer and a topping of crunchy pecans and flaked almonds. Each bite of one of these squares just melts in your mouth in the most heavenly way, and let me warn you now....it's almost impossible to stop at just one square!

I always find myself craving something sweet in the day, especially after my evening meal, but instead of reaching for the over-processed, refined sugar filled shop bought snacks I always like to have something homemade at hand. I know exactly what's gone into the recipe as well being assured all the ingredients are vegan friendly and gluten free!

These Almond & Pecan Caramel Squares are my new favourite - they're super sweet without being sickly, they've got that incredible caramel taste combined with the crunchy nuts which is just a match made in heaven and they're a dream with a steaming cup of tea.


Monday, 22 January 2018

Plant-Based Tesco Bolognese - AD

January is a popular month for vegan eating, but some people can find converting to a more plant-based diet quite difficult and perhaps a little daunting. It can be confusing knowing where to shop, what ingredients to pick up and coming up with fun, interesting and delicious new meal ideas may seem like a mammoth task. Luckily, Tesco are making that transition a whole lot easier with their wide range of vegan friendly ingredients and vast range of 'free-from' goodies. Not only are the aisles of their supermarkets brimming with plant-based ingredients but their website also hosts a whole range of vegan recipes to give you inspiration for months worth of meals!

I'm working with Tesco to show you one of their delicious vegan recipes, this Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese - recipe here! Not only is it completely vegan but this wonderful recipe can also be easily adapted to fit other dietary requirements. For example, as I can't eat gluten I swapped the normal spaghetti for Tesco's gluten free spaghetti and soy sauce for tamari (also found at Tesco).

This meal is brimming with plant-based ingredients such as carrots, aubergine, tomatoes, protein-packed lentils, oregano and even vegan red wine (I used an amazing merlot)! The recipe really impressed me, because although it may seem like a slightly fancier bolognese recipe when you read through the ingredients the recipe is extremely easy to follow, doesn't require much preparation and tastes absolutely out of this world. The flavours are truly something special - who knew adding soy sauce and balsamic vinegar to a bolognese would be such a game changer? To give this vegan bolognese a little something extra I sprinkled Tesco's 'Free-From' Italian Style Hard Cheese' on top which was really yummy - I'd highly recommend trying out the Tesco own brand dairy free cheese. I made this meal for my whole family who absolutely loved it - included my meat-eating dad and my ultra fussy sister!

So, whether you're plant-based or not, recipes such as this true winter warmer are perfect for keeping you feeling satisfying, warm and full of energy this year.

Get the full bolognese recipe on the Tesco website here!


Monday, 15 January 2018

Spiced Potato Cakes

These spiced potato cakes make the most delicious and filling dinner and they're super easy and inexpensive to make! They require very few ingredients yet taste so yummy and full of flavour. I love to serve them with lots of green veggies and tomato salsa!

These potato cakes not only make a wonderful meal, they're also fab for food-prep. Why not keep any leftovers in the fridge and eat the next day for your lunch? They'd be incredible with a dollop of hummus, a big leafy salad and some sweetcorn.

Not only are they yummy but they're full of 'good for you' ingredients too, such as potatoes - which may not get as much hype as sweet potatoes but the humble potato is actually a good source of vitamin B6, potassium,  vitamin C and all important fibre! There's also heart-healthy olive oil in there, garlic to fight any lingering colds and plenty of anti-oxident filled spices.


Friday, 12 January 2018

Blueberry Oat Cookies

These sweet but healthy Blueberry Oat Cookies are my new favourite treat with a cup of tea in the afternoon. They're that gorgeous soft, chewy texture we all love in a cookie with juicy blueberries embedded inside. They're sweetened naturally with banana and honey (or maple syrup if you're vegan) and are flour-less too! These are probably one of the best cookie recipes I've made so far and I can already tell I'm going to be baking them regularly for years.

These cookies are so loaded with goodness they could even be made as a breakfast cookie, which is great if you're someone who's always on the go or doesn't always have time to make something to eat in the morning. The cookies contain oats which are a slow-releasing carbohydrate, meaning energy will be released gradually to stop that slump and keep you feeling fuller for longer. There's also coconut oil, cashew butter and flaxseed in the cookies which are all forms of healthy fates - a total essential to keep you feeling your happiest and healthiest, did you know vitamins such as vitamin D and A (both vital for our mental and physical health) are fat soluble? This means your body can't absorb these vitamins without healthy fats!  As well as this the cookies contain juicy blueberries for anti-oxident goodness and a sweet, juicy taste without refined sugars.


Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Favourite 7 Of 2017

2017 was a year I tried a lot of new foodie products, some I loved and some I wasn't so keen on. I thought I'd share with you my top 7 from the past year and perhaps you can try them too!

So, without any delay and in no particular order...

Pip & Nut
Pip & Nut is without a doubt my favourite brand of nut butter and I've particular enjoyed their products throughout 2017. Their Coconut Almond Butter is a dream and their Crunchy Maple Peanut Butter is drool-worthy. I love the nut butters drizzled on porridge, added to smoothies, spread on toast, slathered on rice cakes or simple a spoonful straight in the tooth....shh, don't tell anyone!

2017 was the year I fell in love with Popcorn. Who knew such a simple product could bring me so much pleasure? My favourite brand of Popcorn has got to be Propercorn. It just has the best taste and texture with the simplest of ingredients. My favourite is undoubtedly Peanut Butter & Almond!


Monday, 8 January 2018

Rocket & Radish Rice Salad

My new favourite salad is this delicious and nutritious rocket & radish rice salad. It's so full of delicious, fresh flavours as well as a variety of textures and colours. It's wonderfully satisfying, easy to make and is a great meal-prep recipe as will last a few days in the fridge!

I find healthy lunch options the most difficult to come up with and easily get bored of standard salads, but this rice salad is different. The rice makes this a substantial and hearty dish, the peas, radish and rocket add a wealth of abundance and the dressing - a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, chilli flakes and herbs is simple yet scrumptious and pairs perfectly with all the salad ingredients.

As it's only the rice and peas that need cooking this salad is also extremely easy to make - I like to prepare it either in the morning or the night before so I've got lunch sorted for the next few days! Just keep in the fridge and dish up when you're hungry!

Friday, 5 January 2018

Free-From Pesto Pizza (with Sacla' Free From Tomato Pesto)

I feel like January is a month where we're all trying to making healthy choices, yet we still want those comforting meals to get us through the dark, cold Winter days. Pizza is the biggest comfort meal to me and one I could never tire of! Generally pizza isn't the healthiest of food choices, but that's about the change with this incredible Free-From Pesto Pizza recipe!

The base for this pizza is made using chickpea flour combined with a little buckwheat flour for a naturally gluten free alternative, it's also light yet wonderfully filling as well as being high protein and suitable for vegans. To give this pizza an extra little bit of something special I used Sacla' Free From Tomato Pesto as the base topping which adds such a wealth of flavour and richness to this recipe.

The Sacla' Free From Tomato Pesto is free from both gluten and dairy, as well as containing no refined sugars but with no comprise on taste! Instead of cheese tofu is used to give that same great taste and texture, as well as added plant-based protein and calcium. Of course this pesto is wonderfully more-ish stirred into pasta, and I also like cooking lots of veggies in it (try it!) but spreading it onto this pizza base is a total game changer! The juiciness, rich basil and pine nut flavour work so well on pizza and make a change to the standard tomato base. Sacla' Free-From Pesto (also available in the Basil flavour) are a real staple for my cupboard. They can be found in most supermarket free-from aisles or you can purchase them online here.

The chickpea flour pizza base itself couldn't be simpler to make either! I know a lot of free from pizza base recipes require loads of ingredients, tons of preparation and hundreds of steps but this quick recipe shouldn't take any longer than 15 minutes to make! It's a winner.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Sweet & Sticky Miso Aubergine

I love anything miso flavoured at the moment - I've really been trying to incorporate it into my diet for it's gut health benefits...plus it tastes delicious. This Sweet & Sticky Miso Aubergine is one of my favourite ways to add miso to a recipe, and it makes the best side to so many dishes. Try pairing it with a veggie stir fry, a quinoa salad, some brown rice and broccoli or a tofu salad!

Miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning which is made by fermenting soy beans and salt, resulting in a thick past often used in soups and sauces. Miso has a strong flavour, similar to tamari or soy sauce and is really delicious in Japanese style dishes like stir fries. As it's fermented, Miso also provides the gut with beneficial bacteria that helps us to stay healthy and happy!

Monday, 1 January 2018

8 Dreams & Goals For 2018

Happy 2018! A new year brings so much excitement and anticipation, hopes and dreams, goals and wishes. At the beginning of the year I like to reflect on the year that's just passed and also think about what I'd like the new year to bring. This year I thought I'd share my 10 dreams & goals for 2018 with you all.

1. Grow my business. Nourishing Amelia turned into a fully fledged business in 2017 which is something I'm so proud of and something that still seems so surreal. I feel totally privileged to now be my own boss! This year I'd like to expand my business, the ways in which I'm going to be doing this will remain a secret for now but I have a whole load of ideas!

2. Make my new house a home. One of the most exciting this that's happening this year is the fact me and my boyfriend are moving into our first home together! We're moving into our new build 2 bed in February and I cannot wait to really make it our own. Let me know if you'd like to me document that!

Live Happy, Live Healthy


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