Sunday, 7 February 2016

Refined sugar free courgette brownies

 “Never promise to make pie and fail to deliver on that promise.”
― Kate Lebo,
A Commonplace Book of Pie

How can the secret ingredient of a chocolate brownie possibly be courgette? I hear you ask.
I asked the same thing before I rustled up these bad boys. Recipe is here  and they tasted so delicious!

If you make them let me know what you think. I quartered the recipe so I didn't have too much temptation in the house. I cut mine into 7 pieces and worked them out to less than 80 cals per piece.


Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Home Decorations

 “Our home tells a story about us, so we may as well take the opportunity to make it a stylish one.”
― Deborah Needleman,
The Perfectly Imperfect Home: How to Decorate and Live Well

I had a bit of spare time at the weekend and so decided to do something fun with some of my Polaroid pics. I have them scattered all over my fridge but it's getting a bit overcrowded and I felt like a change.
After a wander round Tiger I came away with some brightly coloured clips and some lush velvet ribbon. I collected up my pics and I was off.

I have 2 Polaroid cameras, a 300 and a 600 which use different film, so I decided to do one of each as I went along.

 I then hung it on my floating shelves, spot the SATC fan over here! I absolutely love the finished look. Photos are my favourite thing and I have a photo wall on the other side of the room which I'm always adding to. So I'm always surrounded by those I love.

What do you think?


Saturday, 30 January 2016

Almond blondies with sugar free frosting

“Bake with love..”
― Manuela Kjeilen 

In a fit of hunger last weekend I took to the kitchen and started baking. I had a huge craving for sugar but didn't want to give in, so took to The Unrefined Kitchen in search of a sugar hit. I added sugar free chocolate chunks to keep the recipe refined sugar free.

Now the images on their website are far more glam than what I ended up with, but they tasted delicious and that's what matters. I froze half the batch so that I didn't devour it all in one go as despite being sugar and gluten free it's definitely not a calorie free cake. Who knew there were so many calories in almond flour!?

The recipe said to cook for up to 20 mins, my cake seemed too soggy still so I did an extra 8 mins but it ended up looking rather burnt.  The almond flour cakes are very dense, but this had a great moist texture and feels like a sugary treat.

When i defrosted the second batch a few days later, I had an epiphany and topped it with sugar free choc orange frosting I'd made from this recipe and it was like a taste of heaven. Quite a treat for a Thursday breakfast but it felt so good.
So it's true, you can have a refined sugar free treat and enjoy it!


Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Shopping - the LBD

 “Women usually love what they buy, yet hate two-thirds of what is in their closets.”
― Mignon McLaughlin

You know when you dash out on your lunch break to look for suitable workwear and then fall in love with a party dress you can't imagine living without? Yeh... that happened to me this week.  Working in Central London does make the lunch hour quite a challenge and November had me shopping up a storm.  However, with this weight loss comes the need for new clothes and so I went to Oasis, my normal work staple for a few new bits. Sadly nothing spoke to me at all, I'm not sure I'm feeling very inspired by the Spring fashions, but that's another story. 

Deflated and on my way back to the office, I popped into Warehouse and immediately fell in love with an embellished, T shirt, navy and black dress that I simply had to have.  Luckily for me this gorgeous £130 dress was reduced to ..... £24! Absolute bargain and simply too good not to buy!  Pretty sure I'll spend the rest of my life sewing the beads back on, but what's a little needlework if I get to wear this baby out and about?

I have 2 work events to go to in the next month, so I managed to justify it even though pay day feels a million miles away. I must admit my wardrobe is mainly full of party clothes and I hardly ever go out, so not sure I've got the balance quite right - but you never know when you'll need a snazzy outfit so it's best to be on the safe side, right??
Unfortunately I've also fallen for a shearling jacket from Reiss which I cannot justify, no matter how hard I try. It's the most gorgeous black, leather thing I've ever laid eyes on and despite having a £300 reduction in price, I can't quite bring myself to indulge that far.  It's still available online if you feel like being generous to yourself!
What's on your wish list this month?


Sunday, 24 January 2016

Healthy Meals

A fit, healthy body—that is the best fashion statement”
― Jess C. Scott

I am happily widening the range of foods I eat, as I've explained before, veg was a rarity pre-August and I can practically feel my body sighing with happiness when I eat spinach now.
In case you're not as obsessed with Instagram as I am and need some inspiration when you're craving a take away, I thought I'd put together a little post on some healthy options you can whip up pretty quickly. Two of my new favourite things are Heck chicken sausages and FROZEN AVOCADO HALVES. I mean, my life is changed, no more rock hard disappointments just fresh, peeled, de-stoned avos ready for my salads. Try it, you'll thank me!
Cauliflower cheese grill, chicken sausages and veg
Scrambled eggs, avo, Linda Mccartney veggie sausages

Pizza Express Pollo salad with no dough sticks!
Veggie sausages with courgetti in tomato sauce
Cauliflower rice, chicken sausages and courgetti
Banana pancakes with yogurt and sugar free choc make a great brunch
Fish pie with califlower mash and veg
Breakfast delights - avo, scramble and wholemeal toast
Soybean pasta, quorn mince and avo and cottage cheese topping

Fish pie, cauli mash and carrots
Eating out is probably the hardest challenge. Depending on whether you're calorie counting, doing low carb or low sugar as your priority will change what you order. I was amazed to find that a Leggara pizza had less calories that the pollo salad I was about to choose at Pizza Express the other day. I have been concentrating mainly on low carb, but thought that actually a 'healthy choice' pizza was the better choice as it felt like a treat but was mainly still salad!
Padana Leggera

Chicken breast and grilled veg
Halloumi tortilla and salad
Hopefully you're feeling completely inspired now to rustle up something clean and lean, I've just tucked into a lovely chicken salad post workout and feeling totally smug.  If you're reading this chomping on a twix.. I envy you!


Friday, 22 January 2016

A Life Update

Learn how to be happy with what you have while you pursue all that you want
Jim Rohn

Eat, Pray, Love is on TV.  I love this film, I've watched it countless times before, it's so inspiring and thought provoking.  Unfortunately this evening all it's inspired me to do is eat the Fudge bar that's been in my cupboard since Christmas, but let's not dwell on that. Last year it inspired me to learn Italian so perhaps it's losing it's power....

Today has been peaceful and chilled. I ran 5k. I baked a sugar free cake. I've painted my nails, the candles are flickering away, I'm still wearing my Christmas PJs, I am not dreading going to work tomorrow and I'm excited for a dinner date with my sis this week.  All of these things are good and it's lovely to feel positive, even on a Sunday night.  Of course I wish I was flying off tomorrow to Jamaica on holiday and of course I wish I'd won £33 mill on the Lotto last week, but here in the real world, things aren't so bad.  It makes a nice change.

I also paid the deposit for my next tattoo which I'm equal parts excited and terrified about.  My last tattoo a couple of years ago on my foot was so painful that I've procrastinated for ages about booking this one, but I think my New Year's get up and go is still with me and I've bitten the bullet and booked. Scary stuff.
Getting my tatt in Vegas
 However, if I had a gripe I'd say I feel like I need a few things to look forward to.  January can be a bit of a hard month - I'm not drinking until Feb which has it's own challenges. I'm not a heavy drinker by any means, but when I officially give it up I suddenly crave all the cocktails. But I will resist. It's certainly easier than giving up chocolate which I'm clearly failing at.
I have a mini break in Feb coming up, but I think a few girly nights out or some Sunday group lunches need booking in to keep me smiling through these freezing Winter weeks.
Cinema trip and catch up
Hanging with my bestie
What about you? 
What keeps your spirits up?


Tuesday, 19 January 2016

A wander round Brighton..

I know that Brighton is famously a mixture of the seedy and the elegant, but in the summer of 2001 seediness swamped elegance hands down.
Julie Burchill

I had a work event in Brighton last week and made my plans fit so I could have a little wander around the Lanes before I had to knuckle down.  It was freezing cold but nice and sunny so I wrapped up warm and had a stroll.

 I think the Lanes in Brighton are so charming and cute and because it was a week day afternoon it wasn't very busy so I had my pick of the shops.  I was half looking for a new silver ring, but nothing took my eye although a few diamond rings tried to catch my attention.
I had a drool at this fudge, I probably spent a whole 5 minutes standing at the window before dragging myself away.
Then I had a little look around my old fave Choccywoccydoodah, but I resisted the chunky popping candy chocolate, just.  I didn't have time for a meal but there were so many veggie and vegas resaturants to choose from.  I was very tempted to a Shakeaway, a Ben's cookie and a cupcake from (such a sugar junkie) but I managed to stay focused and stuck to a tea.

Last stop was down to the beach.  The wind was whipping up plenty of surf so I stayed well clear, but it looked so lovely and made me feel all peaceful, which beats an afternoon in the office. 
I definitely think I could live in Brighton, if I didn't have to be in Central London every day.  I'll be back very soon for a dose of sea air, some seaside fish and chips and maybe a cream tea too!  Perhaps one day this will be my daily view.