Friday 31 January 2014

Foodie Friday - What I Ate This Month - January 2014 Edition

January has been a month of contrasts when it comes to food. I started the month still in the throws of festive excess and ended it eating sensibly and making healthier choices. Whilst I'm a firm believer in everything in moderation I started the year with a cheesy calorie ridden dish of nachos.

I made homemade salsa, and several other dips including a garlic sauce made with crushed garlic, mayonnaise and natural yogurt, a pesto mayonnaise and a sweet chilli mayonnaise - nom! I also made a batch of my lovely spicy Mexican cornbread which was yummy with the dips.

Perhaps though my biggest new years indulgence was Nigella's Nutella Cheesecake - OMG I could sing songs about this stuff it is heaven in a mouthful.

Obviously I made it with a gluten free base and this I didn't sprinkle the hazelnuts on the top as I felt that it dominated the flavour last time, so instead I used a bit of edible glitter. If you love Nutella you need to make this. You can find the recipe on Nigella's website here xx

Whilst I haven't denied myself anything for the rest of the month I have been watching 100% what I've ate. If I've ate something naughty I've cut down for the rest of the day or I've built a bridge and got over it, so the rest of the things bar 1 that I'm going to show you are things that I've eaten to help on my new weight loss journey. I'm not a morning person by any means my medication makes me feel groggy in the morning and more often than not if I've had a bad night I don't get up till late. All this has a knock on effect with regards to breakfast but over the last month I've been really trying to rouse myself up and eat some breakfast. First up one of my favourite things ever yogurt.

I've been having either Easi Yo Greek or Natural, with warmed frozen berries, yummy and it tastes way more indulgent than it actually is. I've also been eating berries with porridge

For years porridge was a bit of a no, no for me - people with gluten and wheat intolerance's can't always tolerate oats in their diet but thankfully more and more supermarkets are selling safe oats. These are generally oats that can't have came into contact with any other cereals during manufacturing or growth. I've been loving a bowl of porridge or a sneaky bowl of Oat So Simple in the mornings. It's warming and it seems to keep me fuller for longer. As well as the berries I've also been serving it with chopped banana to make sure I get my 5 a day.

For my main meals I've just been eating pretty much what I ate before, only a little bit healthier. For example I've been controlling my portions better, and say having lots and lots of vegetables in or with my meals. I've made my veggie chilli a few times adding a bit of soya mince and limiting the amount of pasta or rice that I have with it. Soups have also been one of my major standbys this month and as well as having a few bowls of my filling but not so calorie friendly broccoli and Stilton soup I also made a lovely healthy chilli, butternut squash and sweet potato soup - you can find the recipe here x

Despite the cold weather I've also had a lot of things with salad, including this...

Yes it's a loaf shaped crust less quiche. I based mine on this Slimming World recipe. The cottage cheese really does make it feel more filling and more substantial. I filled mine with red onion, mushrooms and red pepper fried in a couple of sprays of Fry Light spray and topped with a tiny bit of grated mature cheddar.

That crust less quiche included one of my biggest staples over the last month - cottage cheese. I know it's a love / hate product, and it has a pretty bad reputation as being just a diet food but it's so good and so useful. As well as using it in quiches, you can also use it in pasta dishes, I mix it into scrambled eggs and you can obviously have it on the side of a salad or on a cracker. Yes there are probably lower calorie and fat versions on the market but this budget range one from Tesco fits the bill.

Snacks have been harder, and whilst I have had a few chocolate treats I've being trying to find lower calorie and fat options - the most obvious option is fruit - I love juicing but to be honest I've been trying to up my water intake so I haven't really wanted to drink anything else so I've been raiding the fruit bowl.

My biggest love through January has been that festive favourite the Clementine. I've eaten at least one a day since Christmas. I love them the majority of them aren't quite as acidic as oranges and they're much easier to eat.

Something that I've always loved has also found a place in my heart this month - Pom Bears - this yummy gluten free potato snack is geared towards children I guess but they are really good when your watching your weight and come in at less than 100 calories a packet. The Pom Bear Zoos Really Cheesy are a relatively new edition and remind me a bit of Quavers only in animal shapes :)

So that was pretty much it bar a late, late edition - in last months food round up I mentioned a lovely gluten free cake called a Jap Cake that I'd had whilst visiting Boundary Mills with my family - it was yummy and I've dreamt about it ever since. I looked everywhere near me though and I couldn't find one. One of my besties though Dawn came up trumps yesterday and brought me this one that she picked up in an independent bakery in Durham.

It wasn't the same as the last one I had in that this one seemed to contain coconut rather than nuts but it was still amazing! A sweet, dry but sticky coconut macaroon, macaron, meringue hybrid with icing and butter cream  - so good - I can definitely see a trip to Durham City on the horizon! I was good though and only ate half of it sharing it with Mummy Lou. Go me how good am I getting :) I hope you've ate some yummy things in January and if you have leave me a comment and let me know. Trying to lose weight has really made me think differently about food and what am I actually eating which can only be a good thing, and I'm already excited to play, experiment and try new things in February. I'll be doing a post on Monday talking about my
weight loss progress so far and next weeks Foodie Friday post will be a recipe so stick around xx

Wednesday 29 January 2014

Once Upon A Time There Was A Girl Who Loved Nail Polish...*

....And the light was her sworn enemy! Give me sunlight or even daylight would do! Again I've had the best of intentions this week but the light has been so bad, that it's been almost impossible to take photographs - I needs me a daylight lamp! Again though I've had a look through my computer and I've found some nail pictures that I haven't showed you yet.

At the end of September I went on holiday Cyprus - It's hard to believe it was so long ago! Well while I was away I wore the boohoo maxi dress that you can see above. I always try to match my nails to my outfits when I'm on holiday and with bd Barbara Daly Make Up Nail Polish in Once Upon A Time I found the perfect match.

The pictures aren't the best thanks to the blazing Mediterranean sun but this fierce fuchsia pink as an almost exact match for the tropical flowers on the dress. This is one of the 7ml bd polishes which are ideal for travel. The handle is quite short but the brush has a good width and it's nice and easy to apply this is two coats x

As I say the pictures aren't the best but this is super pretty, I'm not sure whether or not this shade is still in stock as the range seems to change all the time but it's always worth having a look. The 7 ml bd Barbara Daly Make Up Nail Polishes retail at around £3 with the 11 ml polishes retailing at around £5, which is pretty good value. Do you like colours like this in the sun ? leave me a comment and let me know x

*Press Sample

Monday 27 January 2014

A Review Of The Glo-Minerals Water Resistant Mascara*

Hey Guys x Today's post is one of those catch up posts that I promised. I received this product a couple of months ago, I had the best of intentions use it solidly for a few weeks and then review it for you - simples, but life never works out that way, does it? Several CFS flare ups, an eye infection and than a torrent of bad light all meant that this post was put on the back burner - I'm sorry :( Last week though I got myself into gear and for once the weather played along so here is my long awaited review of the Glo-Minerals Water Resistant Mascara.

I'm a huge fan of mineral make up but Glo-Minerals as a company were new to me. Founded in 2002 all of their products use pure pharmaceutical grade earth minerals combined with vitamins A, C and E and Green Tea. They produce a wide range of make up products and skin care products all of which are talc, paraben, dye, and perfume free.

A few months ago now I was given the chance to try a product from their extensive range. As you know I'm a bit of a mascara junkie so I was delighted to received the Glo-Minerals Water Resistant Mascara in Black to try out.

The Glo-Minerals Water Resistant Mascara contains extracts of Bamboo and D-Panthenol to prevent moisture loss and help to maintain healthy lashes.

This water-resistant mascara promises to add length and volume to the lashes, without smudging or clumping.

The mascara comes packaged in a plain black, chunky tube. The spoolie is just a basic bristle one nothing overtly different or unusual - If it ain't broke don't fix it!

Texture wise it's quite a thick mascara but at the same time it feels and looks quite wet. It applies to the lashes quite easily, and as long as you give it a few moment to dry you don't get any smudges or transfer. When it's wet though it does have a tendency to produce those familiar little dots so give it about a minute to be on the safe side.

How about some befores and afters




I think this mascara does pretty much what it promises finish wise. The pictures aren't the best but this is just one coat and already you can see the difference in the length and fullness of the lashes. I have to be honest and say that this mascara  despite it's claims does clump a little bit. I haven't combed my lashes here but I would definitely recommend combing it through once the lashes have dried for a polished look. As I say this is just one coat but you could build it up even more by layering it up allowing it to dry between each coat and combing through.

This mascara is water resistant not waterproof so you can't got swimming in it or wear it in the shower but it holds up pretty well to everyday life surviving a bit of sweating, some boiling pasta water and a little bit of horizontal rain without budging too much. For a water resistant mascara it's also pretty easy to remove, I just held a cotton pad covered in eye make remover over it for about 30 seconds to break it down, and then it probably only took one more pad to remove it all.

Like all mascaras that claim to be water resistant or waterproof it does feel a little drying and stiff on the lashes but when you remove it the mascara your lashes don't feel dry or uncomfortable in the slightest.

Overall I think that this is a pretty decent mascara that does pretty much what it promises, I did find it a tiny bit clumpy but I can deal with it. I'm not sure I would repurchase more down to the price than anything else but I'll definitely use it up and enjoy the results. 

Glo-Minerals Water Resistant Mascara comes in the one shade and retails at around  £16.00 and is available from the Glo-Minerals website and various other retailers.


Wednesday 22 January 2014

Embracing The Monochrome Trend With Batiste

They may not be a fashion brand but you can always count on beauty brand Batiste to be right on trend with their packaging and their fragrances. Over the last few years they've followed fashion trends with dry shampoo cans featuring lace, animal print, and Cath Kidston and Meadham Kirchhoff inspired cherry blossoms, and their latest introductions are no different.

One trend that keeps popping up every season is monochrome. Okay you don't automatically think black and white when it comes to spring and summer, but think about it - the majority of us probably wear black and white at least once a week. It's a classic combination that just works and always looks perfect whether you wear a black suit with a white blouse, a pair of this seasons gingham check pants or even a pair of black trousers and a plain white t-shirt -The shops, magazines and catwalks are full of it.

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

Yet again Batiste are where it's at when it comes to fashion with their new release Batiste Monochrome.

Photographed artfully (lol) against my lovely zebra print scarf and some lovely black and white striped everton mints , the can is decorated in a retro, almost op art black and white design.

Okay I know it's not all about the packaging, so what about the product inside, well like every other Batiste variant it does the business. It's a fab for freshening the hair and for adding volume whatever the time of year. In fact due to the electrics blowing in the bathroom over Christmas I probably used this more that I would in the summer - have you tried washing your hair in the dark? - not easy x 

Apart from the cans what differentiates all the different varieties of Batiste is the smell. I have to be honest and say that this one isn't one of my favourites. Monochrome has a very heady, almost spicy fragrance which include floral notes of iris, lilac, orange blossom  and hyacinth, alongside heady and warming notes of pepper and musk.  

Batiste Monochrome Dry Shampoo is a Boots exclusive and retails at £2.99 for 200ml.

If you like something a bit warmer and dare I say a bit sexier than maybe Batiste Monochrome is the fragrance for you, if your like me though and you prefer a softer floral then maybe something else will suit you better for example Batiste Floral, another newish introduction which I will be reviewing next week x If you have any questions please leave me a comment xx

(Batiste Monochrome Dry Shampoo 200ml And The Yummy Everton Mints Were Provided By PR For Review / Promotional Purposes)

Sunday 19 January 2014

Zesty Nails Courtesy Of bd Barbara Daly Make Up

I've had another one of those weeks where nothing seems to go to plan - the lighting has been absolutely horrid and I've had a major CFS / Fibro flare up so needless to say I've haven't made even the tiniest dent in my personal or blogging to do lists. So instead I've had a little root through my computer and I've found some pictures of a manicure that I wore a couple of month ago now.

Barbara Daly Make Up bd Nail Polish in Zest is one of those colours that you will either love or hate. Personally I'm a fan of these almost neon yellow / greens and this one is no different. It's a little bit more yellow than the others in my collection but it's one of those colours that will get you noticed no matter what.

These pictures really do justice to the brightness and vibrancy of this colour believe me it's bright! Application was no problem - this took just two coats. Like the majority of bright almost neon colours it dries down to an almost satin finish which I love but if that's not for you it can be easily remedied with some glossy top coat. Are you a fan of this type of colour? leave me a comment and let me know xx 

Friday 17 January 2014

Foodie Friday - Healthy Chilli, Butternut Squash And Sweet Potato Soup

If you follow me on Instagram (click here if you don't x ) you'll know that I lost 4lbs this week. I'm really chuffed that my first week back in weight loss mode has lead to such a positive result and it makes me even more determined to carry on.

The only trouble with trying to lose weight at this time of year is that believe it or not, it's cold outside! It's been freezing this week in the UK and to be honest the last thing you want to eat when it's cold is a healthy and cold! salad, so I've been looking towards other healthy options. As you may have already gathered from this blog I'm a huge soup fan but I'm partial to a bit of cream, cheese, butter and olive oil so they aren't always as healthy as they could be. Everything in moderation though, life shouldn't be about denial but if your trying to be good like me here is a lovely warming and low fat soup recipe.

Healthy Chilli, Butternut Squash And Sweet Potato Soup

1 Litre Vegetable Stock
2 Cloves Garlic 
1 Butternut Squash
400g Sweet Potato
1 Large Onion
2 Fresh / Dried Red Chilli's
Salt And Pepper To Taste

1.Make up 1 litre of vegetable stock - I used 2 Knorr stock pots x Add it to a large pan and then add about another 2 litres of boiling water depending on the size of your pan. Then add a couple of roughly chopped cloves over garlic to the pan

2. Roughly chop your chilli's, mine are dried red Thai chilli's. I like it spicy so I leave the seeds in. You could also use chilli flakes, pickled jalapenos, or chilli paste and use as little or as much as you like.

Add your chilli to your pan.

3.Then peel, de-seed, and roughly chop your butternut squash and add it to the pan. The flesh of mine weighed about 800g just for reference.

4. Then peel and roughly chop your sweet potatoes, I used 4 small ones here x and add them to the pan

5.Then peel and roughly chop an onion and add that to the pan x

6. Then bring the heat up to a simmer and cook for at least 30-45 minutes or so until the vegetables have softened.

7. Then blend till smooth, I'm using my trusty blender here x

8. Then return it to the pan to reheat, and season with salt and pepper to taste x - Just look at that colour  all natural too!

9. Voila, warming, tasty soup that tastes even more indulgent than it is x

This really easy recipe makes at least 4 large bowlfuls, and it keeps well for a couple of days in the fridge. I haven't tried freezing it but I imagine that would be okay too. Each bowlful roughly works out at 200 calories with around 1.9g of fat. It's really, really filling and you don't miss any of the usual fatty ingredients. The sweet potato gives it a really thick and almost creamy texture, and the chilli gives is a lovely kick at the end.

Like most of my recipes the ingredients can be interchanged as to what you have, what you like and how much you want to make. You could also add different types of root veg, or peppers to make it even more substantial. You could also vary the seasoning, I love chilli, but if you don't add less or if you like it super spicy add more, and you could also replace the chilli with nutmeg or cinnamon -spices that work really well with both sweet potatoes and squash. Oh and just a quick time time saver for you - I'm a firm believer in the Thinking Slimmer theory that every movement is exercise so I have no problem in hacking up a butternut squash and peeling a few potatoes, but if you don't have the time or the energy you can buy ready peeled and chopped packets of both butternut squash and sweet potato in most major supermarkets.

I hope you like my recipe and if you have any healthy winter, vegetarians, recipes I'd love to hear them xx 

Monday 13 January 2014

Changing Your Nail Polish - Festive Edition

For my first nail post of 2014 I thought I'd take a little look back at some of the nail polishes and nail looks that I wore over the festive period.

This polish has to be one of the most beautiful colours and finishes that I have in my collection. I am a huge fan of holographic nail polishes and this beautiful green - Dragon by a england is by far one of the best.

A beautiful bright, deep green is absolutely full of smooth holographic sparkle, that twinkles and dazzles in the light. I've done my best here but no picture will ever do this colour or finish justice.

Amazing isn't it! I love everything about this polish and I've decided that in 2014 I will definitely add some more a-england polishes to my collection

As festive as it is on its own, I decided to pimp it up a bit and add a few Santa and stocking nail stickers which I bought ages ago from Viva La Nails. Nail stickers are probably one of the easiest forms of nail art simply peel of the sticker from the sheet, position them on the nail and then pop some top coat on to seal it - simples.

You can't get anymore Christmassy than bright red nails - I'm not always the biggest lover of the red nail though so I went for something different - a darker more pearly red courtesy of Révérence de Bastien.

Whilst I'd heard of pedicurist Bastien Gonzalez I wasn't aware that he had his own products line until I received a couple of bits in some of 2013 Birchbox boxes. The imaginatively titled No. 13 is a beautifully deep slightly shimmery polish that is dermatologically tested and 3 free.

This is such a glamorous and classic colour that looks amazing at any time of year, but I couldn't resist a little fiddle and again I used some nail stickers on some accent nails, this time these cute little Christmas trees that I picked up in a recent Poundland haul.

On to Christmas Day itself I had all of these plans about the fancy nails that I was going to create to match my festive outfit

I was thinking a lovely deep navy covered in white snowflakes, but I never managed it, lack of time and wrist pains meant that I just ended up with plain navy blue nails.

I say plain navy blue but that isn't quite true Avon Nailwear Pro + Nail Enamel in Stunning Cobalt is actually shot through with lots of sparkle. It isn't as sparkly or obvious as I would have liked but  it still gives the nail a lovely finish..

The final festive nail look I want to show you is something that I wore at the weekend for New Years tea at my Godparents - Again I wanted to coordinate my nails with my outfit and in particular this top which is actually navy blue trimmed with silver sequins.

So again I started off with a basic navy blue polish - this one is aptly named, deep midnight blue, Play Til' Midnight by OPI.

I could have left it plain but to make it really match my top - I decided to add a sparkly, chunky, silver glitter tip using Barbara Daly bd nail polish in Spellbound*

So they were just some of the nail looks that I wore over the festive period x If you have any questions on any of the polishes or any of the nail stickers please leave me a comment x You may have noticed that my nails are a little bit longer than what they were, well in the next week or so I'm going to do a full review / rave of the system that I've been using  - Dr Lewinns Renunail. Just a hint - this stuff has worked where so many products have failed! so stay following to read my thoughts xx See you soon xx

(*bd Barbara Daly Make Up Nail Polish In Spellbound Was Provided For Review / Promotional Purposes)