09/07/2015

obsessions


1) I am totally and utterly obsessed with this song. I've listened to it on repeat for an entire day now and still can't get enough. If you haven't heard it already, listen! Listen now! Makes a nice upbeat change from the normally über moody Weeknd and I am into it.




2) This Flynn Skye dress is the stuff of dreams. I bought it on sale which was still a pretty hefty sum of money for me to spend on a dress, but I love it so much it was worth every penny. I saved it all squished up in my suitcase until we got to Santorini and then I couldn't take it off. The fabric is so soft and light and it's just so comfortable. Just make sure your boyfriend isn't standing on it when you try to move ok? You may end up flashing your boobs at everyone...

Currently lusting after this one and this one, oh and this one too....





3) I've had my spiralizer for a while now but it's only in the past week or so that I've become obsessed with the damn thing. It's probably a post-holiday 'i've over indulged!' thing. I've only spiralized courgettes and carrots so far, but I've got spiral shaped designs for that sweet potato lurking in my cupboard - I think baked in the oven with some olive oil they could turn into some variant of sweet potato curly fries? Maybe?! I'll see and report back.

Anyway, I like to chuck my carrots and courgettes in a pan with olive oil, garlic and oregano and slow fry them for 20 minutes or so until they go all deliciously soft. For courgettes on their own, I've been making a coriander and spinach pesto which is a recipe from Honestly Healthy, which is also really good with a (runny yoke essential) poached egg on top, but they're also really, really good with feta, lime, coriander and a shed load of garlic. I really love garlic... which brings me on to my other favourite herb:

*not my photo.... Google's photo


4) Basil! Ok it's possibly a bit weird to say you're obsessed with a herb, but basil is just so good. So fragrant and so summery, and there were so many basil plants in Greece that the smell was just wafting around the place and it makes me feel summery and lovely, ok? Anyway, I don't cook with it so much - although my mum's favourite snack is grilled goat's cheese on little baguette slices and topped with basil and honey, yum - but I bloody love it in drinks. Every time I see a cocktail with basil in it, I have to order it.

My favourite, super summery basil drink that I actually make at home too, is my basil-limoncello-white-wine-spritzer (a working title...). You need:

  • ice
  • white wine
  • basil leaves 
  • limoncello
  • lemonade
  • soda water
I'm setting this up as if it is a proper recipe with a serious method and stuff, but in reality I just combine all the ingredients together in a glass and muddle up the basil leaves in the bottom until I get something that tastes amazing. What I have found for sure is lemonade on its own is too sweet, and soda water on its own is not sweet enough, so a nice combination of the two works just perfectly. This drink is next on my basil cocktail making hit-list... 



5) Sleeping masks. Specifically the one above, although it's actually not as comfortable as my grubby flannel Ecotools one, which is unfortunately white and now covered in the remnants of mascara I was certain I had taken off... Anyway, in Edinburgh in the summer months, the sun rises at almost as early as 4am, and I happen to be seriously lacking in any kind of black out blind, so when the sun forces its way into my bedroom in the morning it is very often pre 5am at this time of year and I do not appreciate it one bit. Sleeping masks have become my summer essentials, if I want anything resembling a good night's sleep or a lie-in or a peaceful hangover. And I very much enjoy how much they make me feel like a diva... or Matilda's mum. (terrifying)


05/07/2015

interior inspiration

I've been in my little rented room in my flatshare for nearing two years now, and whilst I love my flat and flatmates around 80% of the time, I'm finding myself itching for a change of scene and a bit more space. Maybe that's why I have a burgeoning interest in all things interiors, and have growing obsessions with roll top baths and Farrow & Ball's 'Drawing Room Blue.'

Below are a few pictures from pinterest that have been amassing on my rapidly expanding 'decor' board... now I just need to find myself a suitably high ceilinged flat, with original wooden flooring, and humongous windows and fill it to the rafters with books! Too much to ask?


















^ bar cart is absolutely an essential. I'll fill it with pretty glasses, flowers and weird and wonderful liquors and have you all over for cocktails ASAP! 

13/05/2015

Health Kick

I've been on a bit of a health kick recently. 

I've been fairly healthy this whole year so far really, and before that I guess, but recently I've really been trying to crank it up a notch. 

It's probably helped by fact that my holiday is really not that far away (we go to Greece in less than 6 weeks!! aaah) and I would very much like to be prancing around the beach in a bikini without a jiggle in sight, but I'm also running a 10k at the end of May so it's becoming a bit more taxing to find excuses not to get out there and run!

I thought I would share some of the things that have helped me make my lifestyle a little healthier, along with some things I'm trying (and usually failing) to implement daily.

Find a healthy recipe book you love. 




This is probably not so important if you're a budding masterchef anyway, but I for one am not particularly kitchen competent. One of my resolutions this year was to cook more, and to cook more healthily, so I bought Natasha Corrett's Honestly Healthy and Honestly Healthy Cleanse. For a while I made things almost exclusively from this book, safe in the knowledge that the recipes would be good for me and not make me feel like a bloated, greasy slob afterwards (oh hey Dominos). Now, I feel like I have a better grip on what is healthy and what my body needs, and frankly, how to cook it! A lot of that is down to those two books, but I think any good, healthy recipe book would be great. I know my friends like Deliciously Ella, Hemsley & Hemsley and Madeleine Shaw.




Drink more water.

I bet you have never heard anyone say that before... Aside from all the benefits for your skin, hydration levels, digestive system and brain function, drinking water supposedly ups your metabolism too. I don't know how true that is, but nevertheless I am trying to drink more - and succeeding! I find it easiest to drink first thing in the morning, as having slept all night obviously I haven't drank anything in 8 hours or so and I find I'm pretty thirsty. I then set myself a target of drinking a couple of glasses before lunch time, and generally speaking, that's me drank 2 litres of water already! I do think I am feeling better for it, and definitely less tempted to snack at my desk.


Find an exercise regime you enjoy. 




I am a Kayla Itsines addict. If you haven't heard of her, you soon will as she seems to be taking over the world, but I urge you to go and check her website out and just download the guide ASAP! It is a 12 week programme, consisting of three circuit style work outs per week - each focussing on a particular area - that last only 30 minutes. The work outs are bloody tough, and get progressively so the further into the programme you get, but they get results. One of my favourite things about it though is the online community around it, as cheesy as that is. Put #bbg on one of your instagram photos and you get a flurry of supportive likes from other #bbg girls. It's nice and encouraging and I like it! That said, I am most pleased with the fact that I can now do proper push ups (!) and I think the intensity of the leg work outs has upped my running pace, which brings me on to....




Run! 

I know I have harped on about running before,  but it really is that good. I got out of the way of it for a while, as I turned to the treadmill during winter and that made running feel more like a chore than a joy. Now that it's spring and the mornings and nights are getting lighter, I've been thoroughly enjoying getting back into pavement pounding and battling the elements. Although running is clearly cardio exercise, I don't run for any particular weight loss reason, rather for my sanity and my brain. Given that running is pretty much the only time when my brain isn't being bombarded with information or my own thoughts (it's pretty much the only way I can enter a kind of meditative state) I find it hugely relaxing, and the endorphins are a brilliant side effect. Plus, it's nice to get outdoors.

Exercise in the morning.




I've taken to running in the morning lately, and I do one of my Kayla work outs in the morning too and I really prefer it, on days where I can drag my sorry ass out of bed that is. Firstly, it's 'fasted cardio,' i.e. you are exercising in a fasted state, assuming you didn't eat breakfast beforehand, which supposedly burns up to 20% more body fat, because your body has to turn to your fat stores for fuel rather than that macaroni cheese you just scoffed. Secondly, it really sets you up well for the day. You go into work with a sense of accomplishment at having ticked your exercise box for the day already, and you've got all those happy endorphins buzzing around. Plus, it frees your evenings up entirely for doing much more interesting things, or just lazing around. I'm aiming to do at least three early morning work outs per week, although we will see how that goes!

Use MyFitnessPal

MyFitnessPal is a little app that calculates your calorie requirement based on your height, weight and activity level and how much weight you want to lose per week. You then input the food that you've eaten and the exercise you've done and it tracks your calorie intake and output, calculating how much you will weigh in five weeks' time if you continue like that. I do have reservations about it, as I don't think obsessive calorie counting is particularly healthy, nor do I think you should only eat 1200 calories if you're doing multiple gruelling work outs per week. BUT I have been using it to track my macros - protein, fats and carbs - not so that I hit any particular target necessarily, but to check that I don't overeat in the fats department. I know fats are good and necessary, but not the fats that come from the chocolate cake that's been in the office kitchen.... ahem. Anyway, I no longer use it as religiously as I previously did, but use it as a little tool to make sure my diet stays fairly balanced and to stop me from overeating massively, which is very possible. I like food.

Find support




I'm very lucky in the fact that all of my friends are healthy individuals, but recently we've been bonding even more over fitness and healthy recipes. There's quite a large group of us now who are following the Kayla Itsines work outs, so we created a little whatsapp group, basically so we could all bitch and moan about how tough the work outs are. But it has blossomed into a little conversation where we share recipes and smoothie makers and favourite books and general life stuff. It's nice having the knowledge that there are other people doing, or trying to do, the same things you are trying to do. It's also good for motivation. If I know one of my friends didn't skip a work out this week it makes it very hard to find rationale for skipping my own! Plus, with us all in different parts of the country, it's lovely to have a common thread between us. Maybe that sounds lame, but it's true.

Of course, when we have our next reunion I can assure you all Kayla related exercise and healthy eating will likely fall to the wayside in favour of prosecco, G&Ts and chips 'n' dip. But hey, everything in moderation right? 


08/05/2015

Three Books #1

I used to read a lot. I have childhood memories of being so engrossed in a novel, that I'd read all day, only stopping when I realised it had grown dark and my eyes were straining to read the text. University pretty much put an end to that book worm behaviour, as so much of my time was spent reading what I had to read for my course that when I had spare time, I chose to spend it vegetating in front of some vapid reality TV show (Keeping up with the Kardashians and Biggest Loser were my particular favourites).

Now that I am sufficiently distanced from University to no longer associate reading with exams, presentations, essays or general academic pressure, I've been making a conscious effort to read more. I thought I would share a few of my recent favourites.


Angela Carter - The Magic Toyshop 



This was the first Angela Carter I've read, and I'm itching to discover more of her work now. This was utterly disturbing, compelling and transportative and I recently spent an evening in a pub trying to persuade my friend to introduce it to her book club. It's the kind of novel where you're not entirely sure what is real and what isn't, or indeed if any of it is. The whole text felt to me a little like a dream sequence, or perhaps a nightmare, and it was one I didn't really want to wake up from.

Emma Jane Unsworth - Animals
I spent much of my time reading this book photographing sections of prose and sending them on to my friends, as I've never read more accurate descriptions of what it feels like to be a young British woman. To me, it's about friendship and relationships and how, ultimately, the person you have to care about most is yourself, but it's all seen through the blur of the wine and pill fuelled night and the anxious hangover haze thereafter. As soon as I finished it I shoved it in a jiffy bag and sent it off to Sarah, who loved it as much as I did. 

Head For the Edge, Keep Walking - Kate Tough





I struggled with this book initially. Although the prose is beautiful, I found it bleak and found myself wanting to shake the main character into action and get her to buck up her ideas. Ultimately, however, I stayed up until 3am one night to finish it. Whilst I'm yet far from my thirties, the pressures described in this novel that women face with regards to relationships and reproduction are incredibly relatable. The madness of internet dating, the desire to find a fulfilling career, the difficulties in friendships when your paths suddenly dramatically diverge; it's all in here, and it's wonderfully, wittily written and pretty darn funny too. 


What are you reading at the moment? Do you have any recommendations for me?