Wednesday, 21 February 2018

2 No Lettuce Salad Lunches




Let's just take a moment to look at my new insanely cute lunch box. If this doesn't scream 'adult' in the fridge at work, I don't know what does.

In an attempt to switch up my lunch away from boring sandwiches, I've taken to the internet to find some healthy alternatives that pack in some fruit and veg (which I was seriously lacking). And the best part is, they don't require any watery iceberg lettuce or dark leaves, which I find too strong, making them actually enjoyable to eat and will fill you up.

Chickpea & Feta

This first one was a result of a Pinterest search after looking for a use for a tin of chickpeas I picked up and didn't know what to do with them.

I usually have a third or half a tin per serving, and mix with cucumber cubes, plum tomatoes and feta (lots!). I then added some Caesar dressing and some salt and pepper and left it in the fridge overnight to let it soak in some juices as it definitely tastes better after being left overnight. Sometimes I will add avacado if I have one or I have been also taking a flatbread so that it keeps me fuller.



Tuna & Greek Yogurt

This one is a little more creamy and filling than the last. To a tin of tuna, I'll add cucumber, plum tomatoes and - my housemates find this quite controversial - chopped apple and raisins. I then add a few spoonfuls of low fat greek yoghurt, which I bought in this massive tub from Lidl, just enough to make it stick together.

I have been having this in wraps, but I have also taken it to work by itself. The apples and raisins give it a sweetness which I love, and the greek yogurt is a great alternative for mayo, which I would usually have with tuna.



I have been rotating the two since January, and I feel so damn good knowing that I have got quite a few of my five a day out of the way. Yes, it requires a little more effort than chucking a piece of ham on some bread and cutting it in half, but I look forward to lunch times now - aka the best part of the working day other than home time. The key is definitely taking 10 minutes to make them the night before, making your mornings a dream.







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Saturday, 17 February 2018

Meals For One: Spaghetti Carbonara


I am actually pretty happy with how things are going, food wise that is, this year. I love making things from scratch whenever I can find the time and knowing exactly what is going into the food I am eating. Of course, this definitely does not happen all the time, but trying little things like making my own bolognase sauce rather than grabbing a jar from the cupboard or making my own sweet potato fries is making my food times a little more enjoyable.

This recipe is perfect if, like me, you've run out of food and only have a few things in the fridge. Instead of having to come in from work and then go back out again to the shops, I whipped this up with only a few ingredients.

1 beaten egg
Salt & Pepper
2/3 tbsp Double Cream / milk (optional)
Grated Parmesan
Bacon (optional)
1 Clove of Garlic - crushed

Okay, so not everyone may have Parmesan, but I had some left over from my latest risotto (check out the recipe here). I also don't use fresh garlic, but use Lidl's equivalent of Lazy Garlic which my dad encouraged me to always have in my cupboard. It is so useful and you don't have to faff around with a garlic crusher. It is also very quick to make, perfect for a midweek dinner.

1. Mix the beaten egg and double cream together with a bit of salt and pepper. Add as much Parmesan as you feel, and mix.
2. Put your pasta on to cook.
3. Meanwhile, fry the bacon and once cooked, chop into smaller pieces. Add garlic to the frying pan, as well as the chopped bacon back in and fry until the garlic has cooked - a few minutes will do the trick.
4. Add the drained pasta to the frying pan and stir into the garlic and that the bacon is distributed evenly. If you manage it, grab a tbsp of the pasta water and add to the frying pan.
5. Take off the hob and pour the egg mixture and stir.
6. Keep stirring until the egg turns into a somewhat silky sauce. Top with parmesan and you're ready. 

The Parmesan combined with the egg mixture can make it look lumpy or that the egg has scrambled. It is completely fine and I don't really mind, as long as the egg doesn't fry completely, you're good to go, but I'm not very fussy, just more amazed that I managed to make a pasta dish with only a few ingredients that tastes pretty good.

I've also made this with mushrooms instead of bacon (which I only had because my house mate was going to throw it away!) and can also be used with just an egg instead of double cream or milk. And there definitely isn't enough for anyone else! 
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Saturday, 10 February 2018

F.R.I.E.N.D.S Gave Me Unrealistic Expectations Of Adult Life


So no one told you life was gonna be this way.

I am starting to feel pretty lonely. I've always been a homebody, when I am very rarely out, I desperately want to make my excuses to get back home. But then when I'm home I want to be around people again.

This isn't always the case. I love being by myself, doing things for me, and not having to deal with other people, but sometimes, I wish I had my support network with me. In my post about the life lessons my friends taught me, it made me realise how much I value, cherish and love my friends. But living miles away from them is pretty tough.

And that's where Friends comes into all of this. Watching it as a 13/14 year old who definitely didn't understand a lot of the jokes, I couldn't wait for adult life. Living out your twenties with a group of friends who hung around in coffee shops, had dinner together, who went out on new dates every week and gossiping about it afterwards was what I always wanted.

I'm at a point now where I have come to terms with life definitely not being like that. And sometimes, actually most of the time, I'm okay with it, but sometimes I'm not.

Whilst I have great and lovely housemates, we rarely spend a weekend together. We value each other's alone time, and many of them have partners or work colleagues they see. I don't have those other people outside the house to hang out with. That's the problem with moving somewhere new, or even moving home after university.

And how do you even make friends as an adult anyway? I tried going into the staff room at work today in the hope to meet some new people. It was a total fail. There wasn't many people coming in or out, and if they did, we sat, in silence on our phones. I'm desperately looking for an activity to get involved with, hopefully things will get easier when it stops being so dark after work.

Yes, my life's a joke, I'm broke, and my love life's DOA, but I'm finding adult life to be a little lonely.

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Sunday, 4 February 2018

What I Read In January


In my 18 things for 2018, I said that I wanted to read 20 books. It doesn't sound like a lot, but for someone who hasn't read books for pleasure for quite a while, it seemed like a mammoth task. However, 1 month in, I am on book 4, and absolutely loving having a little bit of time each day (well I try) to get lost in a book.

The first book I read, actually on the train journey back from a New Years Eve with my university pals, was The Note by Zoe Folbigg. This was the perfect book to start with, it was light, cheesy, romantic and easy to read. Unfortunately, there was no 'train guy' on my way home, but hey, one can only wish. I also loved that it was based loosely on Zoe's own experience giving her 'train man' a note with her e-mail address. Spoiler alert, Zoe ended up marrying the guy and they now have two children. Cute.


I only got into reading some of the classic books last year when a production of Pride And Prejudice came to the theatre I was working in. And let's say I have been hooked ever since. I received a beautiful copy of North And South by Elizabeth Gaskell was a secret santa present and having watched the adaptation on Netflix on a period drama binge, this was the perfect read. It look a little longer and a lot more concentration than the last one, but I made it through and fell in love with Margaret Hale and John Thornton all over again.

How To Stop Time by Matt Haig was a supermarket purchase one Sunday morning. I had read Reasons To Stay Alive, which I think is a beautiful book, so was intrigued at Haig's fiction work. This was quite a nice, light and easy read, but nevertheless it was a lovely read. It tells the story of Tom, a man who has lived for centuries and ages incredibly slowly. With slight Age Of Adeline vibes, I loved how it interwove Tom's modern day life into events that happened in earlier time periods.

Next on my list to read is Emma, by Jane Austen, Jane Eyre and Big Little Lies. I'm loving carving out time to read and get lost in another world for a little while.

Any book recommendations for me?

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Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Life Lessons From My Friends



 I may no longer live with or near some of my best friends, but I like to think that we are still as close as ever. If anything, it makes me love them even more.

Most of my closest friends I met at University, all from different circles, but each have taught me and encouraged me to do things differently and become a better person. I am so grateful to have met each and every one of the them and so glad I have a solid support group, even though we still don't see each other every day.

1. A Problem Shared Is A Problem Halved
Never underestimate the power of sharing your problems. A true friend will listen, and make sure they help. I can't tell the amount of times that we would often have a little cry about life, and know that it is totally okay. They have made me a more caring person with dealing with other people's problems too. Friendship is a two way street.

2. Build Each other Up, Not Down
There is nothing more uplifting than a simple compliment from one of your pals. From 'your skin looks great', to a group chat dedicated to someone's night out outfit. Even though we are in different parts of the country, we still give each other so much encouragement and I know that if I'm feeling low, they will always pick me up.

3. Be Creative
My friends are amazingly creative. Two of my friends are amazing at photography, another is a great cook and is always making something out of the box. Another is an amazing singer songwriter and draws brilliantly. They inspire me to do something different and creative. 

4. A Small Token Goes A  Long Way
From making someone a cup of tea, sharing a portion of your dinner, or receiving a letter out of the blue, you realise it's the little things that really put a smile on your face. 


5. There Really Is Nothing Better Than Sticking On Relaxing Music And Drinking Tea
My friends made me realise something can be so simple as to putting on relaxing music can make you feel relaxed. My favourite evenings used to be us sitting in a room with some candles, doing each others nails or studying. Even doing the same activities by myself make me think of those times and I feel instantly relaxed.








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Sunday, 28 January 2018

Hamilton Review


I am still shook. 

Having bought tickets a year ago last January, and having the date moved as the show started previews later than expected, I finally got to see Hamilton last Thursday afternoon, and my goodness, was it worth the wait.

I went with my best friend from uni who was obsessed with Hamilton and we used to try and nail the Schuyler Sisters harmonies, as well as my favourite work friend from my previous job. It was the most perfect day, seeing old friends and watching a show that we all loved.

What got me the most about going to see Hamilton was the buzz and excitement from the audience even before the show. Knowing that everyone in the auditorium was there because they had bought tickets a year in advance and was a genuine fan felt incredible.

How amazing must that be for the cast members, knowing that everyone there is behind you 100%. 

We clapped when the first few notes were played and we cheered when the line "Immigrants, we get the job done" was said. It was like seeing a show with hundreds of your Hamilton obsessed best friends, all seeing the soundtrack that you've listened to come to life for the first time. Without too many spoilers, you could hear the sniffles and watch almost all members of the audience wipe their eyes during "It's Quiet Uptown" and "Who Lives Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story". It really was something magical.

Jamael Westman as Alexander Hamilton, a recent RADA graduate, had big shoes to fill, following in the footsteps of Hamilton creator Lin Manuel Miranda, absolutely killed it, rapping seamlessly and filling the whole stage. Michael Jibson as King George has the best job in the world, only being in the show for the few odd scenes, got a laugh and a cheer every time. The Schuyler Sisters, Rachel John (Angelica), Rachelle Ann Go (Eliza) and Christine Allado (Peggy, and also incredible as Maria Reynolds) were perfect, and a shout out to Jason Pennycooke as Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson.

What I also loved about Hamilton was the ensemble. No scene felt flat, as the choreography and the ensemble cast didn't look out of place with some incredible contemporary dance moves. The bows at the end were also something special. There was no playing around with the audience, ending with a big song and dance with each character getting a cheer. The cast simply stood at the front and bowed together as one. It was incredible moving and a special moment.

I'm sure if you're reading this, you don't need any encouragement to try and get tickets, but listen to the soundtrack if you haven't already. You'll be obsessed.
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Sunday, 21 January 2018

5 Little Changes For The Week Ahead


Last week, I hit a bit of a low point on my New Year's resolution. I wanted to try and eat a bit healthier, which I know is easier said than done, but Thursday night saw my dinner being two Linda McCartney Sausage Rolls and a bowl of chocolate cereal.

After getting over the initial shock of going back to work after the festive period, and now that we are already more than half way through January, it's time to change a few of my habits, and I'm pretty excited about it. I want to start thinking of every week as a new start, the time to make changes and try something different. Hopefully this will last, so not all my weeks feel like they are rolling into one.

1. Make Lunch The Night Before
It may only save me 10 minutes, but I would much rather have that extra 10 minutes in the morning! I've been scouring Pinterest for some interesting lunches that don't include sandwiches. So, I have planned for a week of salad / chicken wraps and chickpea and feta salads.. let's see how this goes. If anyone is interested in a meal plan / lunch ideas post, let me know. I love looking for food inspiration!

2. Get Out of the Office For Lunch
With the above in mind, I'm determined to actually take a lunch break every day and take those 35 minutes. I usually will open up my food at my desk, but feel guilty if I am not working, and no one else seems to take a proper lunch break. That's why, this week, I'm going to venture to the staff room. Who knows, it may be a good way to meet people too. 

3. Drink At Least Two Bottles Of Water 
I have a lovely water bottle (here), that keeps cold water really cold. It's perfect for the office, however, I forget to take it to meetings, or forget it is there during the day. So more water throughout the work day is definitely needed. 

4. Start Exercising After Work
I finally have enough room in my bedroom to roll out a yoga mat without hitting a piece of furniture . For the last few months, I have started to take my walk to and from work for granted, however, I feel it's time (especially as the evenings are starting to get lighter) to not rush home into my pyjamas, but go home, whip out the yoga mat and the Kettlebell that is sitting at my mums house, and actually do something. I've been researching some Youtube videos and I think I'm ready!


5. Read For Half An Hour Before Bed
One of my resolutions was to read 20 books this year. I'm already on book 3, but some nights I forget to read and just try to fall asleep after screen time. I want to definitely take half an hour out every day to put my laptop to one side and read. I'm currently on  How To Stop Time by Matt Haig, but I have a few classics (Jane Eyre & Emma) to read next. 





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