Saturday, 1 March 2014

THANK YOU

It's heart-warming




Hi Ladies (and any gents)

You’ve probably noticed I’ve been somewhat absent from the blogosphere lately, and I want to take this opportunity to apologise to my lovely, loyal readers for essentially disappearing without an explanation.

It’s interesting, I've always questioned whether ‘bloggers’ have a duty or obligation to inform or explain to their readers the reason for their sudden lack of blog posts. I never arrived at an answer, but now, having personally experienced the phenomena I refer to as ‘blogger bother’ (where blogging becomes more of a bother than a fun hobby and consequently you lose the inclination to even bother to put finger to keyboard),  I realise that it’s perhaps only right that a blogger at least advises their readers that they will be taking a blogging break. I’ll be honest, I underestimated the amount of concern my absence would initiate and just expected you would carry on your merry way with your own blogs. So, firstly, thank you for your concern (you know who you are) and second of all , please do not be concerned; I am absolutely well - as you can see from the above recent selfie in the Mango fitting room – and not sick in any shape or form, I’m just being a bit indolent with blogging and attending to some other things that life is throwing my way at present.

I will be back at some point and I guess, meanwhile, the best place to catch me is over on Instagram.


Thank you so much for your understanding my little sweet peas x

Sunday, 9 February 2014

FRUIT JUICES AND SMOOTHIES

Are you sweet enough?


It's not uncommon to see celebrities and fashion bloggers carrying their designer piece, be it a Chanel Boy or a Celine tote, in one hand and a so-called super-food smoothie concoction in the other. Fresh juices and smoothies have been recognised as the healthy, ‘fashionable’ beverage to drink, next to a Starbucks coffee, and I’m sure you haven’t failed to notice the increase in the number of retail establishments that are popping up and selling juices and smoothies which claim to re-energise you and fight off disease, and the number of juicer products and blenders being marketed and sold; the juice industry has long enjoyed a healthy image, however there has been some recent debate in the field of nutrition about how healthy these smoothies and fruit juices actually are.

You're all probably aware of the controversies surrounding the use of sugar, and in particular, high-fructose corn syrup, in sodas/fizzy drinks and other foods and its link with the paired epidemics of obesity and diabetes, but there is a new controversy about fruit juices and smoothies with some claiming that they are as bad for you as Coca-Cola.

The current UK government recommendation is that one 150ml glass of unsweetened fruit juice can count as one of your 5-A-Day of fruit and vegetables (note, juice counts as a maximum of one portion a day, even if you have more than one glass) and a smoothie containing all of the edible pulped fruit/vegetable may count as two of your 5-A-Day depending on how it is made, however Dr Susan Jebb, a key figure in the nutrition field, suggests that this recommendation should be changed and the public should be encouraged to stop drinking juice. She warns that the sugars in fruit juice, albeit natural sugars rather than added sugars, are absorbed very quickly and that by the time it gets to your stomach your body cannot tell the difference between ‘healthy’ fruit juice and ‘unhealthy’ Coca-Cola and thus fruit juices and smoothies have the same effect on the body as fizzy drinks/sodas. Of course this has implications for the NutriBullet smoothie-maker gadget I have just bought!

I have always had a glass of fruit juice with breakfast and I am not about to change that or start demonising juices and smoothies just yet. The problem with these drinks is that during the blending/juicing process, the healthy fibre component is broken down in to simple sugars but unlike Coca-Cola and other sodas, fruit juices and smoothies retain a lot of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C. So am I going to stop using my Nutri Bullet? The answer is no! Instead, my focus for myself and my clients is to continue recommending what I have always suggested if you want to drink juices/smoothies:

1. Control the portion size – fruit juices and smoothies have always been considered as healthy and consequently people often think this is a licence to drink as much as they like. As I’ve said before, healthy food and drink still have calories and therefore can still be fattening if consumed in large quantities. I’d recommend no more than 150mls a day.

2. Reduce the frequency -  following on from my point above, you should avoid using fruit juices and smoothies as your main drink with and in between meals. Instead, if you are going to drink juices and smoothies, limit it to one portion a day (perhaps with breakfast as the vitamin C will help you absorb the iron from your breakfast cereals or toast) and the rest of the day drink water.

3. If you are going to drink a glass of fruit juice/smoothie, try and drink it with a meal so your blood sugars do not spike too quickly. I tend to have mine with breakfast and then drink water for the rest of the day

4. Don’t see juices/smoothies as an alternative to eating the whole fruit/vegetable; you must aim to eat at least 4 or 5 portions of the intact whole fruit/vegetable so that you consume the all-important fibre component, which research shows can reduce disease risk, and you are likely to consume less calories -  imagine how many oranges you would have to squeeze to get a small glass of juice.

So here’s my latest NutriBullet smoothie; would I go back to shop-bought juices and smoothies? Not if I can help it!







The brown sludge caused by the omega-3 fat boosting chia seeds tastes much better than it looks - trust me!

Later x

Saturday, 1 February 2014

OFF TO THE RACES?

No, it's the Year of the Horse




Yesterday, the 31st January, marked the start of the Chinese Lunar Year, the Year of the Horse – the wood horse, taking over the year of the snake - the water snake. The horse is not my Chinese zodiac sign, but I  find it interesting to read the astrologers yearly life predictions and find out what each animal in the 12-year cycle that makes up the Chinese zodiac signifies. I used to be quite interested in horoscopes and astrology when I was very much younger, always interpreting the astrologers views about what we Virgos had in store for the coming months and years. There is still a small part of me that believes there is a relationship between astronomical phenomena and events in the human world, but I stopped reading my horoscopes when I realised that my horoscope forecast differed, and quite considerably, according to what newspaper or magazine I bought!

So the year of the Horse, according to one astrologer is:

“a time of fast victories, unexpected adventure, and surprising romance. It is an excellent year for travel, and the more far away and off the beaten path the better. Energy is high and production is rewarded. Decisive action, not procrastination, brings victory. But you have to act fast in a Horse year. If you are not 100% secure about a decision, then don’t do it."

Of course there are lots of other predictions about the year ahead, depending on what print you read, but I particularly liked this one because I felt it was relevant to everything I strive for, except the surprising romances; I’m quite happy being single and flirty in 2014! Do you read horoscopes or follow astrology?

So on to the outfit: whenever I wear this jacket, some bright spark asks if I’m going horse riding. I’ll admit, it does look a little like an equestrian riding jacket, especially when I wear it with knee-high boots, but I love it nonetheless, and I think it makes me look a little more like a ‘lady’ in their 30’s.







Blazer H&M
Leather-look jeans Oasis
Bag Kate Spade
Pumps Louboutin

Later x

Saturday, 25 January 2014

INSATIABLE

The bag edit


The charm that comes with the Sophie Hulme mini tote

I’m sorry to drone on about bags again, but beyond all the more important issues and serious things that I'm confronted with in life, I have a penchant for bags – they’re the root of many of my euphoric moments and therefore I like to idolise them, buy them and post about them.

The Sophie Hulme bag, my latest purchase, filled me with glee when the sales assistant clocked it through the till and gave me my little accompanying charm, and for a good couple of weeks I was satisfied: I didn't look or lust after any other bag because I was content with my upgraded bag collection. No doubt I would have continued to be content had I not signed up to Instagram. You see, the problem is (with me) that no sooner I see another stylish ‘being’ donning an enviable handbag I am left coveting yet another tote, shopper or clutch. You’d think I’d be satisfied with the bags I have and as much as I love my collection, I still want more -  I’m insatiable -  darn you Instagram!  

My bag edit - hopefully soon to grace my wardrobe:



As if you didn't know:

L -  R (top)

Adidas Airliner

Cambridge Satchel Company Clutch

Celine Luggage Tote


L-R (bottom)

Chanel Boy

Saint Laurent Y Satchel

Mulberry Willow



What bag are you currently lusting after?

Later x

Saturday, 18 January 2014

TOO OLD FOR BOOHOO.COM

Whatever!


I will readily admit that I’m not growing old gracefully, maybe I am mentally, but physically and emotionally I’m definitely not. I had a tough time adjusting to life in my third decade, so much so that I went to Orlando for my 30th birthday -  a place that I associate with youth revival. The majority of the time I do, fortunately, forget that I’m not in my twenties anymore, but every now and again something will rear its ugly head and remind me:

-Tick boxes; you know those forms you fill in where you have to tick the age category you fall in to. A lot of them have a 25-34 box which I fall into nicely and tick exultantly because I can still be grouped with the twenty-somethings,  however there are some that make you tick a 30-39 box, at which point I question myself whether I should lie!

-Asda (Walmart); I often get asked for ID when I buy some alcohol. To be fair, the age limit is 25 rather than 18, but as I resort to getting my driver’s licence out to prove to the lovely checkout lady that I am frigging over 25, it’s just another gentle reminder that despite not looking my age, I am getting older.

-Funding;  as many of you know I run my own little nutrition consultancy. The government are doing so much for small businesses these days, but according to some of the best funding providers I’m too old to receive funding! The Prince's Trust is a popular option for a lot of young folk who are trying to develop their small businesses, but the support is only available to those aged 18-30.

-Boohoo.com; just the other day I read an article about Boohoo.com’s success (sales surged by 132% to 67.2 million in its last financial year and they’re planning a 500 million float in 2014), some of which I, no doubt, contributed to. I was contently perusing the article until I reached the sentence, ‘the family backed firm is an entirely online retailer targeting the under-25’s’. Whoever said “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” were living in cloud-cuckoo-land!

So on to today’s outfit. The rebellion in me is ignoring a couple of the fashion tenets associated with how women should dress in their thirties: I’m wearing all black (as usual), a mini biker skirt, over the knee boots, but do I care……….nope, I say WHATEVER!



Top H&M
Skirt  H&M
Boots  Zara
Bag  Sophie Hulme

Later x




Friday, 10 January 2014

SHOPPING ALONE

Often means eating alone


Aaah....... I think it’s all blown over now, the festive period I mean; I do love it all, but once the decorations make their way back to the loft, there is this blissful feeling of relief, and I don’t even have a husband, children or a Christmas dinner to contend with. Of course, I love the sales that come before, during and after as well, but I do hate the hustle and bustle of scavenging for a parking space or rummaging through screwn discounted goods that have fallen off the clothes rail, so I prefer to let things calm down before I go traipsing through the stores for my sales treats; I’m willing to risk missing out on a good bargain just to avoid the chaos.

Now, call me Billy No Mates, a recluse or a loaner but I must confess that I’m not all that keen on going shopping with other people.  I can be quite impatient, so if I have to stand around gawping at what my friends are admiring or trying on, I tend to get somewhat irritable and truth be told, I’m conscious that I can be very irritating to shop with too because I’m quite indecisive and I spend a lot of time idolizing pieces that I can’t afford or don’t need. I just like my own space (in terms of nobody accompanying me personally) when I’m perusing the shops, especially if it’s for something in particular. So this week, with pretty much everybody back at work, including my friends, I had a little snoop around the Bullring -  our main shopping centre.

With shopping alone, comes eating alone. My shopping sprees (window-shopping or otherwise) usually last about four hours so by that time, being the foodie that I am, I like to treat myself to a meal. I don’t prefer to dine alone in a restaurant, but I certainly don’t have a problem with it; I probably do it at least three times a month. My favourite cuisines are Italian and Thai. My last meal out, alone, was Italian and I treated myself to one of my all-time favourite dishes, Penne Carbonara - I’m not very adventurous I know. Carbonara is probably one of the most calorific dishes on the Italian menu thanks to its rich, creamy sauce, but boy it tastes good, especially if you go to a top-notch Italian. Anyway sitting there, by myself, deep in thought, I started to think about how I could make one of my favourite dishes a little less calorific and here was my attempt: swop some of the full fat creamy ingredients for low fat fromage frais, although be warned it can curdle if you leave it too long. The instructions serve 4.



I used tagliatelle pasta and cooked it al dente, just how I like it, whilst I prepared the carbonara sauce.
I decided to substitute the pancetta for smoked salmon (I've eaten more than enough red meat over Christmas) and lightly fried the salmon in a tablespoon of olive oil. 


Mix together 70g of parmesan cheese (I used  Grana Padano for its sweet and nutty flavour; use a low fat parmesan if available), 5 tablespoons of fat free fromage frais and 3 egg yolks and a sprinkle of black pepper (although I don’t like pepper). Add this mixture to the pan.





Stir in the cooked, drained pasta and top with some chopped parsley or basil. Voila!       


What’s your favourite type of restaurant/cuisine and what’s your favourite dish?  Do you mind eating alone in a restaurant?

(I bet you thought this was going to be a post on what I bought in the sales didn't you!)

Later x

Friday, 3 January 2014

NEW YEAR STYLE RESOLUTION?

No more bags.......... I'm serious........!


Sophie Hulme Mini Tote


First of all, may I take this opportunity to say ‘Happy New Year’ to all my lovely and loyal readers. I hope you enjoyed (and can remember) your night of welcoming in 2014!

Now, I know I've written a post about justifying my expenditure on bags (here), and you were very kind in convincing me that I deserved the Anya Hindmarch bag, but I just can’t justify this Sophie Hulme purchase, I really can’t, as much as I love it and as much as you try to convince me otherwise! In fact, I’m not completely blameless here because I've seen this bag on more than one occasion in Selfridges and on one or two other blogs, and I have just settled with admiring and not buying, however, Peet, over at Forpeetssake, introduced me to a blog a couple of weeks ago where I spotted the bag again in the hands of Micah Gianelli – a super-sassy fashion blogger whom I now have a girl-crush on may I add. Well, envying Micah donning the larger version of this bag with such effortless chic, coupled with an irresistible sale at Fortnum and Mason in London, resulted in the versatile Sophie Hulme mini tote gracing my bag closet!

Instagram

“It's just a little bag, but we feel naked in public without it.” 
“I'll be a bag lady! A Fendi bag lady, but a bag lady!
Carrie Bradshaw -  Sex and the City

I wrapped the bag as a Christmas present, attaching a gift tag inscribed with the words ‘To me, you deserve it, from me’ - has anyone else ever done that or, dare I say it, is that just me? When I opened it in front of my dad, I informed him it was from Topshop so that I didn't receive all the usual verbal abuse questioning why I needed another over-priced bag. He accepted where I said it was from, which unsettled me slightly as it begged the age-old question: why pay so much for a bag that looks like it’s from Topshop or Zara. Of course, you are just paying for the brand name (Sophie Hulme is a British, twenty-something fashion designer from London), I know that as much as the next shopping addict/fashion victim, but if you think too deeply about this concept, it would most certainly take the pleasure and excitement out of shopping, right?  

My friends and family always ask me whether  I prefer shoes or bags; I've always struggled with this question and found the difficulty of answering it nearly on par with that unthinkable scenario question my peers used to ask me at school: if your mum and dad were hanging off a cliff, who would you save? Well I've finally made my decision, not about which parent I’d save, about whether the preference is bags or shoes; it's definitely bags that I get the most buzz from, in addition, I can wear a chic bag all day without feeling uncomfortable, unlike these Louboutins!!

What do you prefer – bags or shoes, and do you have a style-related new year's resolution?





PERSONAL STYLE - CASUAL ANDROGYNY
Leather Blazer Reiss (old)
Boyfriend Jeans River Island
Shirt Primark
Beanie Topshop
Heels Christian Louboutin
Bag Sophie Hulme

Later x