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Mid-week Inspiration

Wednesday, 29 July 2015


5 Versatile Nut-based Products

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

I've been eating a lot more plant-based foods recently, and together with drinking more water, in general I'm feeling great on it. Having less dairy, wheat and gluten does seem to agree with me. I'm still eating those things when we go out or as treats, but on a day-to-day basis I've been working on cleaning up my diet.

To ensure I get enough protein I've been eating more beans, hemp powder, chia seeds and nuts. Today I'd like to share with you the nut-based products I've found to be most useful as well as tasty.

Almond Milk
Use this in smoothies, tea, porridge. Anywhere you'd use regular milk in fact. I buy the unsweetened sort as I find the creaminess of it negates the need for any sugar.

Tahini is made from sesame seeds and works really well as a base for sauces, a salad dressing, in pestos and soups. I like to stir it neat into warm courgette spaghetti ~ so tasty!

Almond Butter
I can't get enough of this stuff! It's made from toasted blended almonds and that's it. Delicious for thickening smoothies and vegan hot chocolate. Yummy squeezed into the centre of a medjool date. I could eat it neat from the jar to be honest ~ and have been known to!

Pumpkin Seeds
These little seeds are great as a snack, on their own or mixed in with other nuts. Brilliant sprinkled on salads or stirred into porridge.

Cashew Nuts
I could live off cashews. The raw, unsalted ones are the best tasting and they're full of good fats. Perfect as a snack, on salads, in smoothies and the basis of dairy-free cheese ~ much more tasty than it sounds, I promise!

So as you can see, I'm nutty about nuts at the moment ~ have you got any other useful ideas for using them? I'd be interested to hear!


Weekend Picks

Friday, 24 July 2015

There's a new kid on the block or there will be soon! He's 8 weeks old and totally gorgeous. We're going to collect him in 3 weeks when his vaccinations are complete. We've felt so lost these last weeks without Jade and we wanted to fill the house again with the patter of tiny paws and the sound of purring! I know she would love him and be really pleased that we are giving a new home to such a sweet little kitten. We're still thinking of a name for him, so watch this space...

This weekend we're off to Pets at Home to buy a few bits & pieces in preparation for his arrival ~ can't wait!

Lovely links from this week...

: : Shoot
London is still awash with hipsters, so these photos of bearded guys are bang on trend!

: : Wander
While the weather's still good, check out this list of the best alfresco restaurants in London

: : Nourish
These 11 healthy habits to do every day are a great reminder for prioritising your wellbeing

: : Inspire
Some great tips for making time in this article

Have a great weekend everyone!


Ideas for a Veggie Barbecue

Thursday, 23 July 2015

This Friday marks 6 months in our new place! Six months, I can't believe it! It was the depths of winter and for the first few weeks we froze our socks off as we got used to the house and it slowly warmed up after being empty for a while.

We were very lucky and our move went really smoothly. I wrote some tips here on how to minimize the stress of moving house. The most important thing has to be to find a good removal company ~ the right people will help you get settled into your new place as soon as possible and with minimal disruption.

Half a year on and we're enjoying warm weather, getting out in the garden and waking up to sunshine. So it must be time to invite friends round and get the BBQ out, right?

It's easy for BBQ preparation to get out of control, finishing up with mountains of food which takes ages to cook. That's where my interest stops! I like to keep things simple and put together a few dishes which are easy to prepare and ready before you know it.

Last year we invested in this mini Weber BBQ. It's gas and runs on a mini cylinder. You can remove the legs to put it on a table or even take it off for a day with you in the car. It doesn't take long to heat up and cooks food nice and evenly. I bought some lava rocks which help to give the food an authentic BBQ taste without the hassle and billowing smoke of charcoal. The grill plate is removable and easy to clean after each use.

Being vegetarian, I always like to mix things up a bit for a BBQ, rather than just grilling up mountains of burgers and sausages. Veggie kebabs, corn on the cob and bananas filled with chocolate always go down well with everyone, meat-eaters included!

Here are a couple of my favourite BBQ recipes for a laid-back evening in the garden...

Veggie Kebabs

Cherry tomatoes
Button mushrooms
Yellow peppers
Halloumi or mozzarella cheese

1. Soak some bamboo skewers in water for half an hour to prevent them from catching fire on the grill
2. Chop up the courgettes, peppers and cheese into bit-sized pieces
3. Thread all the ingredients onto the skewers (see picture below for suggestion) and grill for 20 minutes or so, turning frequently to ensure an even cook

Mediterranean Couscous 

with Grilled Halloumi

Serves 4
Prepare everything apart from the halloumi in advance, then grill the cheese on the BBQ and add to the salad before serving

200g couscous
300ml boiling water
3 tbsp olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
40g shelled pistachios
3-4 spring onions, finely sliced
100g peas
Handful of fresh mint, roughly chopped
70g wild rocket
250g halloumi cheese, chopped into 2cm thick chunks

1. Put the couscous in a large bowl, add the boiling water & 1 tbsp of oil. Cover & set aside for 5 minutes until the water has been absorbed & the couscous is fluffy
2. Whisk together the remaining oil & the lemon juice to make a dressing
3. Combine the cooled couscous with the pistachios, spring onions, peas, mint & rocket
4. Grill the halloumi for 2-3 minutes on the BBQ until it turns golden, but is soft inside ~ it's best to do this on some foil to avoid it slipping through the grill plate!
5. Top the couscous mixture with the cheese & drizzle with the lemon dressing

Do you enjoy barbecuing in the summer months? I'd love to hear about any quick recipes you have ~ please share in the comments below.


Mid-week Inspiration

Wednesday, 22 July 2015


Art & Architecture Summer Bucket List

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Summer is well and truly underway here in Britain so it's time to make the most of it by getting out and about. We like to head out of the city every now and again to explore new places. We throw together a picnic and head out early on a Saturday morning to miss the traffic. Quite often we'll pick an area and have a look on the National Trust map to see what's of interest that we can visit using our membership. I've been building up a little list of things I'd like to do in and around London before the days grow cooler again...

Summer Bucket List
Art & Architecture

:: Turner Contemporary, Margate
A day out by the sea, with art and architecture ~ right up our street. I've heard that Margate is becoming more upmarket with plenty of vintage shops and nice places to eat. Winning!

:: Ravilious exhibition, Dulwich Picture Gallery
I've heard a lot of good things about this show and as the gallery's only a few minutes' drive from us it would be rude not to go and see what all the fuss is about.

:: Strawberry Hill House, Twickenham
This Gothic castle looks like fun and it has ten acres of landscaped gardens ~ enough to keep both of us happy for a day I reckon!

:: The Sculpture Park, Farnham
Ten acres of arboretum and wildlife water gardens, dotted with sculpture ~ bliss!

Have you got any weekend plans for the coming months? Any recommendations for days out in and around London? I'd love to hear your suggestions!


Weekend Picks

Friday, 17 July 2015

We're gradually getting used to the quietness of the house these days & I'm doing my best to focus on other things, like this lovely hanging basket! We're still enjoying lovely summer weather in London so I hope we'll be making a few day trips in the coming month to enjoy getting out & about a bit more.

Here are my best links from this past week...

: : Shoot
This list of creative ideas to jump start your photography is great if you're feeling a little stuck in a rut. I'm also loving this Instagram account which follows the life of the same tree through the seasons

: : Wander
With 2 long haul flights coming up later this year, I'm definitely committing these tips for beating jet lag to memory!

: : Nourish
I'm breakfasting on smoothies every day at the moment ~ they're so quick & delicious I can't think why I haven't got into them before now. This sweet protein boost smoothie is next on my hit list!

: : Nest
Create your own sanctuary with these 5 tips for turning a house into a home

: : Inspire
As part of getting myself back on track I've enrolled on this virtual summer camp ~ can't wait to get started!

Whatever you're up to this weekend, enjoy!