Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Guilt free raw dairy free fudge | Freeform snacks


I need the fridge and cupboards stocked with healthy snacks and treats as I'm totally and utterly a 'little and often' person. I'm not supposed to have three huge meals a day because of my Colitis so, I tend to just have one proper meal and lots of little things. Having bliss balls or healthy fudge there ready when you want something sweet is perfect, and this recipe is a personal favourite and wanted to share it with you all to enjoy.


To make raw, vegan, refined sugar free fudge you will need:


Coconut Oil - 1 cup 

Vanilla Extract - 1 TBS
Peanut Butter - 1 cup
Cacao Powder - 1 TBS
Maple Syrup - 1 TBS 



It's literally as easy as putting in all of the ingredients into a bowl and mixing them all together. A bit of a tip, either melt your coconut water a bit or keep it at room temperature over night the day before you want to make it. 

The fact making these are so easy, means theres no excuse at all to reach for naughty fudge or chocolate bars. Of course you can experiment with various different ingredients and the measurements above are to my taste so, just give it a go and go with the flow. 


When your delicious fudge mixture is all combined you need to line a tray or lunchbox with some cling film. This way it's so much easier to get it out once set. I like to pop the trays and lunch boxes in the freezer for 24 hours. I promise it's good enough to wait for. 


Being frozen it basically melts in your mouth and I just prefer them straight out of the freezer. Let me know if you keep them in the fridge once cut up and whether or not they melt or not as I've not tried it yet. 




Please let me know if you make this fudge! I can't stop making it and have a whole draw full of it, yummy snacks for a long time coming. 

Remember to let me know if you have any recipe requests for me to do or create. 

xoxo



Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A beautiful Sunday in Whitstable | Collaboration


Whats a sunny Sunday without a walk by the sea? Living so close to the sea is something I really take for granted and I'm trying to make a conscious effort to go there more. As soon as the sun showed its face, I knew it was a day to be comfortable (however I underestimated the heat wearing jeans). 

Popping into my fav juice cafe and sitting on a bench and watching the time drift by was perfect, and hit the spot and made for one of the best ways I've ever spent a Sunday. 


So, lets get down to business........ Accessories can really make an outfit. When you think about it, I'm wearing such a basic outfit and without the way its been accessorised, it wouldn't look put together or thought about at all. When Jewellery Box asked me if I'd like to collaborate and choose some pieces to style and I was so excited as I'd recently been stalking the website. You've probably seen all over social media, hoop earrings have made a huge comeback and had to get me some. You know, to keep up with the kids and all. 



The second piece I picked out was this super cute arrow necklace. I'm not sure what made me pick this out of everything other than the fact it's super cute! I love stacking thing delicate necklaces, so I can't wait to stack and add this to my others. 


Rings are my thing, and I can't ever wear enough. I used to have a ring from Jewellery Box but lost it a while ago so knew I had to get another. These are the nicest!! Love a standard band to stack with other rings and fits my thumb as well as other fingers which is always handy. All items I chose from Jewellery Box are sterling silver and some of the best value for money when it comes to well made beautiful silver pieces. 



I feel that this gorge mushroom Angel MarcB Bag is the PERFECT Sunday bag. I chucked my camera, a bottle of water, purse and sunglasses in and having so many pockets and compartments meant it was accommodating for so much. The overall quality of the bag is insane! It's super soft and feels like leather, even when it's not. I chose the mushroom colour as I thought it was a lovely colour for all year round and is great to not be restricted in terms of being a seasonal bag. 


If your looking for a large bag as you carry a hell of a lot of things around with you, like me, then this is your guy! Great value for money, looks so bloody good and top notch quality. I remember buying my first MarcB Bag from Topshop Oxford Street which was so many years ago and lasted years until the used it to death, so knew this new star would be a great piece to see me through for a while. 


Outfits like this are my absolute go to, especially for Sundays. Simple clothing choices and accessorising it up!! 

Make sure to check out Jewellery Box and MarcB Bags new in section as they're smashing it right now!

xoxo


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

My IBD story - Colitis and me



Two years ago I was at rock bottom. I was signed off work, unable to eat, couldn't stop sleeping, constantly felt sick and would need to rush to the loo after everything I attempted to eat. This was only the beginning of my life turning upside down and really testing my strength. Since sharing a few posts and food pictures, I've had lots of interest in me sharing more information on my health and lifestyle. What better way to start than to share my journey with you up until now. 

Until January of this year I was a secondary school teacher. Constantly on the go with not enough time in the day to even nip to the loo, let alone have a proper lunch break. I loved my job so much and never doubted my love for it. Summer holidays 2015 hit and I had two holidays booked to Berlin and Spain but, I had felt a little under the weather with my glands deciding to swell up and become very firm. Before going away I decided to visit the doctor to get checked over before jetting off, and at that appointment was issued with some antibiotics. My holidays weren't affected whatsoever and I had a great summer. Throughout that summer I had worked a hell of a lot, more so than I ever had done before in my career. (This is an important piece of information and will touch back on this later on).

August was over and the first day of September term was upon me which I was excited for but still, my glands were up and I started to feel run down (even before the term had started!). As fellow teachers know, you generally have a CPD day to kick start the term and this wasn't a good one for the school I was working in at the time. Our GCSE grades had dropped as a school and we immediately felt the pressure and stress hit, and I knew that this next academic year was going to be a hard one. I was at work for three whole days before I had to get my boyfriend to physically push me out of bed on the Thursday morning and we knew something wasn't right. I felt completely and utterly exhausted. 

I was sent home having only what I can explain as an anxiety attack as my stress levels shot up incredibly quickly and my body felt like it was going into shut down. The next 4 months included straight-through 20 hour sleeps, a hell of a lot of doctor and hospital appointments, viles and viles of blood, endoscopy and not being able to keep anything down (All of the above didn't start at the same time). These happened one after the other and in the December my specialist said he felt I was suffering with severe acid re-flux, and some sort of virus attacking my digestive system. He mentioned possible ME however wasn't 100% sure.

Various symptoms started to show themselves, such as swollen and incredibly painful joints, ulcers that at points would really distort my speech; I had that many in my mouth at once and the continued glamorous symptom of severe bloating (looking 6 months pregnant). Over the next 8 months myself and my specialist started to see some patterns and so I was sent for a colonoscopy, numerous x-rays and an MRI scan. 

Microscopic Colitis. . . . . . it seems crazy that something they call microscopic can affect my body in such drastic ways. I was also diagnosed with arthritis as a symptom of my Colitis and started an intense food journey as I'd lost 3 stone in weight and got down to the lowest I'd been for as long as I can remember. I felt incredibly sad and not confident whatsoever. I didn't feel or look like myself and didn't eat out for months as I feared I would fall ill and would need to go to the toilet, and there wouldn't be one. I experienced anxiety like nothing I'd experienced before and my love of food, clothes and doing my makeup had left me as I just wasn't me.

I'd like to fast forward to now and by-pass a lot of horrible times I had to go through, and fill you in on my life now and how I'm finally feeling myself again. 

I now have to live on a gluten free, dairy free and processed meat free diet (please remember this was all tried and tested with medical attention). As well as these main groups of foods I need to avoid as they either make me ill, start a flare or have some sort of affect on me, there's quite a few things I also have to avoid when possible. Garlic, onion, artificial sugar, apples and more, are on my list (an actual list) of foods that can trigger a symptom. Some of you may have heard of the FODMAP diet. This was something I was told to start exploring by my specialist and after experimenting, it's safe to say that I couldn't be happier with how I feel (most of the time). I'm also medicated as well as managing my disease with my diet and lifestyle, which means I can have the occasional thing I shouldn't and have relevant tablets to help. I don't like doing this but sometimes when eating out, you never know. 

Now time has moved on, I understand my body. I understand what can trigger a symptom or cause a flare so I am able to prepare myself and be more knowledgable. I know that if I don't sleep enough or over-exercise, my knees and hands will swell and I'll be in pain and have to neck some steroids. The list honestly goes on. 

So, if you're reading this paragraph I firstly want to just say a huge thank you! I know this is probably the LONGEST blog post ever. Secondly, my reasons behind sharing this huge part of my life with you is because I'd like to start doing 'What I Eat in a Day' videos and more cooking and baking content on here to include my own recipes and ones I've tried. You guys are amazing, and I know you will support me in this extra little part of my blog and YouTube channel (go subscribe if you haven't already), but if sharing this helps 1, 10 or even 100 people I'll be so so happy. I was lucky and had a very close friend who also has Colitis so could relate and understand with her. But if I didn't have her, I'd have felt even more lost than I did. 

Thank you so much for reading! Obviously this is an extremely shortened version of two years and I'm very open to questions if you have any. Let me know if you'd like any particular meals for me to share with you. I know pudding is a big one and can be quite tough for someone who has such a restrictive diet like mine. Let me know!

Much love as always
xoxo

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Body Shop Vegan Brushes | Beauty


Make up brushes can either help to apply products flawlessly, or can, muck up your look causing streaks and so on. I feel that a base applied with poor quality brushes, leaving streak and brush marks is up there with cakey base as two of my pet hates. And when you get an eyeshadow brush that just doesn't grab the shadow and help to apply smoothly or help to blend, it's just so disappointing and creates way too much work for my liking. So, what were these beauties like? 


These brushes from The Body shop are firstly 100% vegan and cruelty free, and the quality of them is spot on. Nice to hold and all do their job well, whilst looking very stylish and a bonus is that they look just as beaut in pictures. The bristles haven't shed during use or when I've washed them which is what you want, and it lets you know they're well made and will last well through continuous use. 


I've already got my favourites out of the bunch and that have replaced my, what used to be my go to brushes. The N93E (The Buffing Brush) is amazing for stippling and pushing in your base of choice. I'm not a fan of using this brush for buffing into the skin as I find the finish isn't as good as pushing the product in. Because its quite a dense brush and a small surface area, it helps to get a flawless finish by pressing into the skin. It does take a bit longer to apply your base as the brush is smaller than normal, but, so worth it as the finish is lovely. 


Other ultimate favs for me are the N91W and the N93E (Both shadow brushes). The flat shader has been great to press in shadow under the bottom eyelash line to help create an under smoke. Something I've never really been a fan of before, but haven't stopped since I started using this one and can't believe what it adds to an eye look.

The crease brush allows you to pack, blend and everything in between. Such a multi-use item that it's perfect for travelling, but, I just can't stop reaching for it. The bristles are soft and help to blend the edges beautifully and seamlessly, helping to make your eyeshadow look pro.


In all honesty, I was unsure of what these would be like before they arrived. For some reason I thought they'd be poor quality and wouldn't be near that of Spectrum (who also product vegan brushes). But, I will swallow my thoughts as these have really impressed me in particular being the three I've outlined. The other two brushes aren't ones that I've used much of, but I'm keeping at them and everyone and their mum seem to use highlighter except for me! 


xoxo



Monday, February 27, 2017

Freefrom Pancakes for Pancake Day !



Pancakes on Pancake Day is something that brings so many memories of being young and trying to eat as many as I could, and would layer with anything and everything. These days, my pancakes have to be very different to back then and am limited in terms of toppings (thank you IBD). But this doesn't mean I can't make incredibly tasty ones! 



Mrs Crimbles is a great company that specialise in FreeFrom food and have brought out these packets of batter and pastry mix which is a huge help to the freeform community, and give us some convenience in terms of having 'normal' food. Being gluten free is one thing, but I'm also vegan so am always making things from scratch to ensure they are edible and go along with my dietary requirements, so having these are great to have in the cupboard. 


The pancake batter mix is completely gluten free and asks for you to just add add and milk. In my case, I decided to mash us two bananas to act as the binder (instead of the egg) and used oat milk as it's quite creamy and has a nice natural sweet taste. I followed the recipe exactly and just substituted ingredients to make it vegan friendly.


I'm not going to go into too much detail about exactly how I made them, we all know how to make pancakes. But, for reference, I used 3 tablespoons of batter per pancake which made for these perfect American style fluffy pancakes. I topped them with some vegan chocolate chips, agave nectar, flaked almonds and chia seeds.



I love knowing what toppings everyone has on Pancake Day. It's so personal and there's just so many to choose from. I'm partial to strawberries and vegan squirty cream ........ watch out my social media platforms for some live Pancake Day action!

xoxo