Sunday, October 04, 2015
Not another flatlay.
Further to my previous post, where I alluded to the fact that my job requires some national travel (unfortunately no international travel, but I’m working on that), I thought I would discuss with you some of my favourite snacks to keep me going throughout the day. I don’t necessarily advocate that you have to snack as part of a healthy diet, however, when your day starts early and ends late with long periods between meals, or if I’m just a little more peckish than usual, I find it useful to have some healthy snacks to hand so that I’m not tempted to buy or having to resort to buying less healthy options. Here are some of my personal favourite snacks and of course there are others, but these tend to be my portable staple bites when I’m on the move:
FRUIT – fruit is particularly convenient and travels well; you don’t typically need any equipment or resources to prepare (providing you have washed the fruit beforehand) or store it, and and it will help you to reach your five-a-day. Among my personal favourites when travelling are bananas and grapes, which I find really take the edge off my appetite.
APPLE AND ALMOND NUT BUTTER – I really enjoy the combination of apple and almond butter for its taste, texture and health appeal – almond butter is low in sugar, contains healthy fats and is source of protein and fibre. Nut butters do not require refrigeration so before I leave in the morning, I will transfer a couple of tablespoons into a little a container, slice up an apple and then when I get peckish during the day I just dunk my apples into the butter - yum!! The extra protein you get from the butter may help to keep you a bit fuller too.
NUTS – I find nuts to be slightly moreish and they are quite calorie dense, so I always share out my portion for the day rather than taking the whole packet, which I’d easily devour. Again, a really nutritious and satisfying snack that is convenient when on the move, and sometimes I’ll have them with dried fruit such as raisins.
RYVITA WITH SPREAD – How easy would it be to buy a packet of crisps or biscuits whilst out and about? Well my alternative is wholegrain crispbreads. I’ll wrap a few up in foil and take a small amount of spread with me in a container; I find hummus keeps better than dairy products, which require refrigeration so that’s usually my choice of spread (see my homemade hummus). Don’t forget the plastic knife; you can get them from most cafes/coffee shops…………ooops *covers mouth*.
WATER – okay maybe not a snack per se but keeping hydrated throughout the day reduces my appetite in between meals and ensures I’m not mistaking hunger for thirst, so I always aim to have a bottle of water with me when I’m travelling from place to place.
What are some of your favourite snacks?
What are some of your favourite snacks?
Sunday, September 27, 2015
A jewel in the crown
I’m sorry to wax lyrical about Birmingham again folks, but something quite magical happened in the city this week, okay magical is possibly the wrong word in your mind, however, I experienced a remarkable and breath-taking development that conjured up unimaginable feelings of excitement and pride: Birmingham’s £150m Grand Central shopping complex finally opened its doors to the public after 5 years being built. My giddiness certainly isn’t about having more opportunity to engage in retail therapy, we already have enough department stores and outlets for that, it’s more to do with my feeling that Birmingham is finally getting the recognition and reputation it deserves as the UK’s ‘second city’, which is inevitably going to benefit the town’s businesses and its customers.
Grand Central is hugely impressive with its glass atrium roof, and sits just above the newly renovated New Street rail station, a station that used to be very dreary and really let the city down; given I spend part of my week passing through the station for work, I’m delighted that I now have an iconic and imposing structure to relax in whilst I wait for my train. As you can imagine there are food courts galore and on my little tour around the complex I found two places that I’ll definitely be frequenting when I want to grab some healthy fast food: Leon and Joe & the Juice, both of which I had never heard of before. Leon produced a delicious chicken, lemon and olive tagine, whilst Joe & the Juice made me a scrumptious banana and avocado milkshake.
Sunday, September 20, 2015
They said share your photos.
We’re bombarded with information about food; when you scroll down your social media feed, open your preferred magazine, sit down in front of the television or computer, or listen to the radio, we are inundated with messages, intelligence, reports, news, images and advice about edibles - sorry (not sorry) I'm guilty of contributing to this - and I do wonder how much of an influence it all has on people's eating habits, especially the unhealthy ones and in the context of the UK's obesity epidemic.
Despite being a self-proclaimed foodie, I do draw my limits at what I subject myself to when it comes to food: I don’t watch cookery programmes (sorry Great British Bake Off) and I don’t buy food and drink magazines but, putting aside eating out and cooking at home, I do love a good old foodie fair/festival. I've probably mentioned before that I’m not a street-food fan so when I attend these foodie fairs, I’m typically going for recipe/meal ideas and to network, rather than devour all that it is on offer at each stall.
Last week, I attended the Birmingham Independent Food Fair, an annual event that I go to each year (you may recall the previous write-up), which hosts a selection of independent chefs, restaurants, bars, producers and street-food traders. I taste-tested, chatted and laughed my way round the exhibition, purchasing a few spices to stock the kitchen cupboard and enjoying an attentively made pancake and freshly blended fruit smoothie along the way. They said 'share your photos', so that's what I'm doing.
Sunday, September 13, 2015
A lot more!
Consider this! You wake up, fling on your activewear, grab your hydration bottle and work out so hard that you can’t wait to get in the shower to wash away the sweat from your skin; you then sit down ready for a hard day’s work with your laptop or computer in tow and rarely move from that position until the clock turns 5pm. You feel smug that you managed to fit in the recommended amount of exercise that morning, only to be told you are still considered sedentary……yes sedentary! Last week was National Fitness Day, and therefore I took the opportunity to remind my clients that even if you go to the gym or do some other form of exercise for 30-45 minutes a day, but sit down the rest of the time, you are still described as having a sedentary lifestyle.
Research has shown that remaining seated for too long may put you at increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular problems, regardless of how much traditional exercise you do - even I was shocked when I first realised this. In addition to the 150 minutes of exercise we should be doing each week, we should aim to reduce the time we spend sitting down throughout the day. Recommendations suggest breaking up long periods of sitting time with short bouts of activity, even for just 1-2 minutes, and trying to take an active break from sitting every 30 minutes. I know this can be more difficult with certain jobs, but it’s imperative you look for opportunities during the working day to try to move more.
On that note, I’m off to stretch my legs! I may invest in one of these for the office.
Sunday, September 06, 2015
Fashion week season is here.
Unfortunately, Birmingham gets a little lost in the world fashion scene; we have a few events here and there, but you’re highly unlikely to catch Karlie Kloss, Cara Delevingne and Kendall Jenner strutting their stuff on the runway, nonetheless, I try to support Birmingham’s evolving fashion culture where I can. You may recall I've been working as Birmingham International FashionWeek’s blogger ambassador over on their website in the lead up to Birmingham International Fashion Week, which took place over 2 days this weekend – 4th & 5th September – at the prestigious Burlington Hotel. I attended their first show on Friday and thought I would share just a few of the highlights from the night.
On arrival we were treated to a glass of Prosecco and handed our heaving goody bag before heading to the fashion lounge and showroom where I took the opportunity to have a good old catch up with Ruth from SheWoreChic (we both turned up in knee-high boots) and network with other fashion enthusiasts. The presenter and host for the evening was celebrity stylist and model, Lewis Duncan-Weedon, who introduced collections from the various international fashion designers - which included Arabel Manners, Segrid Allen, Mary Hunter, MALIHA and Green Embassy - and the speaker sessions by fashion brand strategist, Fabian Hirose, and blogger/vlogger, Becky Sheeran, from TalkBeckyTalk; both gave very thought-provoking and inspirational talks about different aspects of the fashion industry. We were also treated to a Make Up London Academy master-class about contouring – I now ‘think’ I know how to get those coveted cheek bones and jaw line we ladies love!
Sunday, August 30, 2015
Who cares that's it approaching the end of summer!
You mop up the last bit of gravy from your Sunday dinner and thoughts move to the next course as you sip on your Prosecco, well that’s how it goes where I was brought up. It’s always been a household tradition to have dessert after Sunday dinner and me being a dessert lover has maintained this tradition since childhood; most of the time it’s home-made, other times I have to credit the supermarket.
Last weekend I realised I hadn't bought a pudding and was left stuck for ideas on what to rustle up……..okay I was just too lazy to think of or make anything. It was when I was sitting down, skimming through the Sunday paper’s magazine that I noticed a recipe for a quick and effortless ice cream using simply frozen bananas; this quickly prompted me to walk my way to the kitchen. It was a recipe I had successfully tried once last year and for some reason - despite the delicious taste, ease appeal and the fact I always have a freezer full of bananas for my smoothies - I never really thought to make again.
Whilst savouring each mouthful of my slightly amended version of the recipe and nodding with appreciation at what I had concocted, I confirmed to myself, ‘this is for the blog!’, so here it is: home-made ice cream without the lashings of cream and sugar and that does not require a fiddly, space consuming ice cream maker - you will however need a good food processor that blends ice! If you love sweet, creamy puddings, I challenge you to not lick your lips and kick yourself for not making more after tasting this.
WHAT I USED
3 frozen bananas to serve two (best to slice them into 1 inch rounds before freezing for at least 8 hours)
2 tablespoons of milk
I teaspoon of coconut oil
1 teaspoon of almond butter
A sprig of mint (optional garnish, although I eat it)
A handful of crushed pecans
WHAT I DID
-Add the sliced frozen bananas, milk, coconut oil and almond butter to the food processor and blend until smooth
-Spoon the mixture into your favourite dessert bowls and sprinkle on the crushed pecans and garnish with mint
If you’re planning to photograph it, you’ll have to be quick before it melts, like mine did!