Sunday, November 22, 2015
an interview with Justice Williams MBE
35 years young
Harborne, Birmingham and St Kitts in the Eastern Caribbean
I met Justice Williams at a blogger conference in 2014 where she delivered an excellent, inspirational presentation titled, ‘Passion, Purpose, Profit: How Something You Love Can Make You An Entrepreneur’; since then I have followed her journey and continued to be inspired by her, which is why I kindly asked her to be the next feature in my ‘Diet & Style Profile’ blog series.
After experiencing some turbulent times during her late teens, Justice has dedicated her life to helping disadvantaged youngsters, but she has her fingers in other pies too: she is the founder of the West Midlands Women of the Year Awards, and Editor in Chief of the lifestyle magazine, City & Style Birmingham. Justice is also the recipient of many awards including Cosmopolitan Magazine’s Most Inspiring Woman of the Year award (2009), Red Magazine’s Women to Watch award (2010) and, probably the honour she is most proud of, was awarded an MBE at the age of 29 for services to young people – the youngest, black woman in Britain to receive an MBE.
Just Google her name and you can find out more about Justice's inspiring work and accolades, and you can continue reading this post to find out more about her Diet & Style, because she’s into all that too!
How can people network with you (social media channels)?
35 years young
Which part of the world do you call home?
Harborne, Birmingham and St Kitts in the Eastern Caribbean
Can you tell us a little bit about your occupation and the various work you do?
I’m a mutli-award winning entrepreneur who is passionate about helping people and social enterprise. I am the founder of City&Style Magazine and West Midlands Women of the Year Awards. I run a boutique travel company specialising in luxury and corporate travel and I am a start-up engineer who helps individuals start commercial or social enterprises through workshops, events, masterclasses and I provide high calibre coaching to entrepreneurs. I sit on various judging panels and speak in schools across the country. My work involves being in the media and being an ambassador for various initiatives and campaigns for local to global brands and organisations.
What are your hobbies/interests?
I love to travel, read and I am student of the university of life so I love to learn. I am a bit of a geek with a love for architecture and design whether it be buildings, interior or publishing. I like to work out as it is a great stress reliever and I love to spa and get pampered to unwind. Food is part of the core of my existence (well if we do not eat we die I guess lol) but it literally plays a pivotal role in my social life. I love to eat, to cook, to experiment and to share the joy with others. I prefer intimate crowds to large groups of people, so simply being able to sit down in peace and quiet is beautiful.
There is no change without change
Hagan Daaz Strawberry cheesecake Ice cream
A glass of red Languedoc
HEALTH & NUTRITION
What is a typical day’s diet for you?
Mornings I am getting better at! Hardly used to eat breakfast but now I do! I am self-employed and work from home so a trip to The Plough Harborne for breakfast is usually on the cards at least once a week. I do not eat pork so I order a vegetarian breakfast which is amazing. If I have an early start it will be a dairy free protein shake mixed with frozen fruit and superfoods, or pancakes. I love eggs so I have an omelette at least once a week and scrambled eggs with smoke salmon and sourdough toast.
What ‘healthy’ food staples would we find in your fridge or kitchen cupboard?
I like to cook from scratch so things such as Quinoa, lentils, beans, lots of fruit and vegetables. I love onions, mushrooms, spinach, sweet potatoes, garlic, beetroot and sprouts. Udo’s Choice Ultimate Oil Blend, Coconut oil, dairy free margarine, almond milk and coconut water.
What are your food vices?
Cake, cake and more cake! I love a good piece of meat too! Leg of lamb or a good steak.
Can you describe your physical activity regime?
I am an ambassador for theclubandspa Birmingham so I really have no excuse when I have access to a 5-star gym. I try and get to the gym twice a week and the BF is a personal trainer and nutritionist so I also get a 5-star focused workout once a week. Outside of that I love to walk every day and I live a few minutes walk from Barefoot Birmingham where I do Pilates once a week. I have just started a squat challenge as I have lost 2.5 stone in the past 12 months but still want a nice firm booty!
What is your favourite recipe/meal and where do you get your recipe ideas from?
I get inspiration from everywhere especially Instagram or places I have visited and then try things out at home, whether it was something I ate abroad or a new restaurant that’s opened. I have a lot of cookbooks but if I’m honest the only thing I have made out of them is cake! I love fish and my favourite meal is roast salmon stuffed with sun blushed tomatoes, mozzarella and pesto with baked sweet potato or chicken breast stuffed with garlic, spinach and feta with roasted seasonal vegetables.
Where is your favourite place to eat?
Lunch or dinner – San Carlo Fumo
Can you offer any healthy lifestyle advice or tips?
Sounds obvious but drink a lot of water. I prefer infused water by putting it in the fridge the night before we cucumber, mint and strawberries and also herbal and fruit teas.Get rest, especially as we are always so busy, I make sure that I have at least an hour before I go to sleep where I do nothing. No emails, no work just relaxing and switching off. Make sure your diet is colourful to make sure you’re getting the right balance of nutrients.
Is there anyone you follow for health and wellness inspiration?
Jen Selter who is the ultimate booty queen, you can be slim and still have a bum – who would have thought! I also follow mankofit before she had hardly any followers now she has millions and various Instagram fitness and food profiles.
FASHION & STYLE
How would you describe your personal style?
Me. I wear what I like, I like block colours, tailored jackets and classy pieces. I like to buy one offs or from boutiques where you find some interesting things.
Do you have a wardrobe staple?
Black skinny jeans, effortless and suitable for day or evening wear.
Where do you like to shop?
I love the boutique Lola’s Closet on Harborne High Street, the BF loves to buy me quality brands from Selfridges such as All Saints and designer shoes. I love me some Primark so I saunter over the the Primark concession in Selfridges which has some amazing stuff. I love to mix and match. Day to day I shop in Zara, River Island, H&M and I love Ebay. Sometimes I know what I want and I am not fussed about the brand as long as its quality, this is when I shop online and that includes places like Missguided and Asos.
What has been one of your biggest fashion splurges?
Gosh it has been awhile but I always get invited to an awards or red carpet event a good few times a year so it’s usually an evening dress but I refuse to spend over £200. Maybe one day I will spend £500 on a pair of shoes…or maybe not. I always think of something more practical to spend the money on!
What piece of clothing or accessory are you saving up for?
When I turn 40 which isn't too far off (eek!) I am treating myself to a Rolex
Can you offer any style tips?
Be you! I am probably never on trend but I couldn't really care less. Find your own unique style and wear what works for you. Embrace colour and be willing to try something new. I was never into pencil skirts until the bf said he loves them, tried one on and now have bought 6 this year already. I dress for me but I like to know what he likes. I love pencil skirts now but probably would not even thought to wear one because I still have a bit of my tomboyish teenage traits.
Is there a current fashion trend that you are donning or would like to don?
Loving the grey and monochrome look this autumn
Who or what inspires you in terms of fashion and style?
I think Olivier Rousteing has done an amazing job at Balmain, I just love that brand. I get inspiration from blogs, social media and magazines. I also love fashion shows as well but prefer upcoming designers and graduates.
Thank you so much Justice x
Sunday, November 15, 2015
In my spare time
After a long working week, a pretty dismal weekend weather forecast and the horrifyingly heartbreaking news about Paris, I was determined to spend my entire Saturday sofa-bound in front of the fire and TV, however, it wasn't long until I started to get a little restless and was itching for something to do.
I ended up occupying my day by immersing myself into some NutriShion work, making some nutty truffle balls, carrying out a few domestic duties and I even took advantage of my disposable time to do a little fashion DIY. You may recall (my hat stand) I like to dabble in a bit of DIY when I get the chance, and whilst recently skimming through the blogosphere, I happened on this idea of updating a pair of existing shoes; all I needed was a pair of heels, some matching tassels and 5 minutes of my time; I passed the loop of the tassel around the strap and pulled the main part of the tassel through the loop and excitedly tried them on……voila - new (and, might I add, on trend) party shoes for the festive season!
Are you in to DIY?
Sunday, November 08, 2015
Fitness inspiration to get me going through winter
It can be easy to get into winter hibernation mode when it comes to exercise; colder temperatures, regular precipitation, gloomy grey skies and a roaring flame from the fire in your cozy living room can make the disciplined training schedule of road/park running or going to the gym a little more arduous. At this time of year, some of us may need a tad more encouragement, motivation and inspiration to get going with our physical activity regime, and it's possible to get some of this from social media.
Whilst there is a quite a bit of debate about the role social media plays in inspiring better living – some critics suggesting that it promotes a new form of fascism alongside self-loathing and addictive behaviours, rather than a healthy lifestyle – I personally take the images of health devotees posting pictures of ‘clean’ food, sculpted abs and captions with health-related rhetoric with a pinch of salt and just appreciate them for what they are: pretty photos that convey a very small snapshot of peoples’ lives. Nonetheless, some of the posts I see on the various social media platforms I find quite motivational, inspirational and useful in terms of my own personal fitness goals, and today I've decided to share a few of my personal favourite ‘fitspo’ (short for fitspiration) accounts that I enjoy following for different reasons, and which sometimes give me a gentle, visual nudge to get sweaty and ‘strong’, especially at this time of year!
Brittne Babe - This girl has transformed my home and garden workouts (don't underestimate working out at home!) by incorporating many of her suggestions into my exercise routines. Her tips, which she shares via video posts on her Instagram, on how to get a bootylicious booty and abs of steel are great for people who do not like or have the time to get to a gym.
Zanna Van Dijk – She brings a sense of humour and humility to the fitness world, particularly through her Snapchat. As a personal trainer, she gives us a glimpse into her world when she is working out inside London’s popular Lomax gym, and she occasionally offers ideas on how to challenge yourself to get fitter.
Girl Gains - founded by Zanna Van Dijk and her two best fitness buddies, I love what this account stands for. Girl Gains is described as, "a movement which aims to unite women and inspire them to become fitter, healthier and happier and I really think they are doing this" - their posts reflect this.
So Sascha - I like the mix of high street fashion and fitness that Sascha brings to her audience. One day you can see her road running in the latest stylish active-wear, and another day you’ll see her looking sassy and fit in heels and a biker jacket.
Shona Vertue – I’m not into yoga, but this lady’s account is filled with images that have made me consider getting into it. Alas, I’m not that impressionable and therefore I follow her chiefly for entertainment: her witty captions; tropical backdrops (when she’s not in London); and remarkable body poses.
Share with me some of your favourites!
Wearing Forever 21 leggings and top.
Sunday, November 01, 2015
The official launch
NHF stock a range of vegan, raw, gluten free, dairy free and sugar free foods and specialist products, and this weekend saw them welcome visitors in abundance to celebrate the official launch of their store. Now, most of you will know that I am not vegan nor a raw food activist, and I do not follow a gluten free, wheat free or dairy free diet, so please do not deduce that this blog post is about me advocating this type of eating; I’m just a curious foodie who enjoys consuming a variety of healthy food (including some of these more specialist food options) and likes to actively support Birmingham-based businesses, especially those that are food/health-related.
At the launch, the public were treated to lots of tasters, vegan Indian tapas by the company Bombay Tapas, a glimpse of new products and a tour around their newly extended and renovated store, and I had the opportunity to meet one of the co-owners, Susan Waldron, to congratulate her on the success of her new venture in the wellness industry.
As I walked around the store, I snapped away at some of the products on offer, specifically those I’m sure I’ll be purchasing in weeks to come. If you do have a specialist diet, or if you are just a curious healthy foodie like me, this is definitely a great little place to do your weekly shop, and the staff are super friendly and equally as passionate about what they do, which is so refreshing.
Natural Healthy Foods is at 54-57 Allison Street, Digbeth, B5 5ST www.naturalhealthyfoods.co.uk
Sunday, October 25, 2015
A plant-based seasonal gem of a meal
The forthcoming weekend will see some of us participating in Halloween celebrations,‘some of us’ will not include me, and I say that proudly rather than with regret. I haven’t revelled in the festivities of Halloween since I was a child, and now I only really observe the true spirit of it when I’m greeted at my door by children disguised as witches and other ghoulish characters, and whom I always feel obliged to give a treat to because I can’t take the risk of being tricked - there’s some very wayward children out there these days.
Halloween, coinciding with the midst of autumn, is also a time when avid foodies take full advantage of farmer’s markets to make their seasonal culinary delights, however, if I see another pumpkin soup it will be too soon; I’m not a fan of soup at the best of times! I was always going to do a recipe post this week, but I debated whether I should conform and make the cliché pumpkin-based dish. Having talked myself out of it, I happened on a hearty, somewhat healthy pumpkin recipe which I thought I would try: it looked creamy (I typically love a Carbonara sauce); it gave me an opportunity to use my spiralizer again; it suggested I could sprinkle feta cheese on it; and it resembled proper comfort food, which is exactly what I need now the nights are drawing in and the temperatures are dropping. It’s a nutrient dense, plant-based gem of a meal if I do say so myself: Pumpkin & Lentil Courgetti.
I adapted the dish by adding some lentils to boost the protein and fibre content, substituted the cream for low fat natural yoghurt to reduce the fat and calorie content, and I used the seasoning I already stocked in my cupboard rather than what the recipe suggested.
What I used:
A generous slice of a whole pumpkin
500ml of vegetable stock (or to taste)
Herbs of choice including salt and pepper (I’m not keen on garlic but most chefs would suggest this I guess)
½ tin of lentils
What I did:
-Slice your pumpkin into smaller slices and place in a baking tray with your herbs of choice (I used bay leaves, thyme and rosemary), add a dash of salt & pepper and a drizzle of olive oil to cover all the slices. Put them in a pre-heated oven (gas mark 6) and roast until soft, which will be approximately 45 minutes
-Whilst they’re baking, prepare your other ingredients: spriralize the courgette (I tend to use my spiralizer for this) and sauté your lentils and onions in a pan
-When the pumpkins are roasted, you will need to puree them with some vegetable stock and two tablespoons of natural yoghurt; I also added a teaspoon of turmeric for colour and an additional nutritional kick. I just pureed it in my standard blender that I use to make smoothies to do this
-Add your spiralized courgette to the pan of lentils and onions and fry for a further 1-2 minutes. In my opinion you don’t want the courgette to be too soft, you want it to have a little al-dente bite just as you would with pasta in a sauce.
-Add the pureed pumpkin mixture to the pan of courgetti and lentils and heat through gently until piping hot.
-Serve with a generous amount of feta cheese and enjoy straight away. Well obviously take a picture for social media first!