Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Recipe : Date Balls

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My diet had gone out the window over our holiday last week. Not really by choice, but eating healthy while you're away can be very difficult. It's not like we've been away for a week or two, but I need to make an effort to get back into the routine of going to the gym often. 

I don't tend to snack often, but when I do, I'd like it to be fairly healthy. Something I love snacking on is Nakd bars, although they can be expensive. At just around 100 calories per bar, they're full of natural ingredients. I found the recipe on The Glue Gun Girl's blog

They're very easy to make and extremely yummy too!
Next time, I think I'll add some more cocoa powder just to make it a little bit more chocolatey.

Have you tried making these yet?


Monday, 19 August 2013

Reypenaer Experience

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As I mentioned in my last blog post about our Amsterdam trip, we went to Rypenaer Cheese Tasting Room! This was something I'd been looking forward to, but wasn't quite sure what to expect.
We were almost the last people to arrive as we'd been spending too much time drinking our pint at the pub across the road. If you have the chance, go there. It's really nice and we managed to make friends with a very nice black cat!

We were all given a form with columns for name, colour, smell, taste, consistency, age and overall impression of each cheese. My boyfriend wasn't too keen on this, but I loved the feeling of being a geeky school student again! 
We were given white wine, red wine and port to go alongside the cheese. 
We marked each cheese between 7-10, but to be honest, they were all absolutely delicious. They're all different in so many ways, and as a cheese lover, it's hard to pick a favourite out of the 6 we tasted. 

I really enjoyed the experience and if you ever go to Amsterdam, I'd highly recommend a visit. I'd definitely go back there! It's well worth it when you receive your Cheese Tasting Expert certificate at the end. You also receive a 15% discount at the shop - we ended up buying the 'guillotin' cheese cutter board. This will come in very handy during our much loved cheese and wine evenings.
We did actually learn a lot from the experience, and discovered what type of wine to drink with which cheese.... Yum! 

Have you ever been to Rypenaer?


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Sunday, 18 August 2013

Hello Amsterdam

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Hello!! In case you didn't know, I've been away to Amsterdam for a few days last week... But now I'm back home and it's back to work tomorrow. 

Before visiting Amsterdam, I was a little nervous - I wasn't sure whether I was going to like the place or not since I only knew two things about the place, and they're not particularly positive in my opinion. We arrived very early Tuesday morning and were very pleased to be given a room 5 hours earlier than the check in time. We stayed at the Double Tree by Hilton which was very lovely. The Sky Lounge absolutely won us over when we booked it, but it's also located near the train station which is handy when you're travelling to and from the airport.

A much needed rest was in order as we slept for the next hour or so! We already had plans for the afternoon, a cheese tasting session at Reypenaer. I'll probably be writing another post about our experience soon, but I highly recommend it. The entire tasting session lasts about an hour, and if you succeed, you'll receive a cheese tasting expert certificate - which we did!

Many glasses of wine later, we decided to head off to Pluk de Nacht which is an open air film festival. I'd heard of it during my 'Amsterdam Research' last week, and I'm really glad I found out about it. We arrived a bit too early for our liking as the film doesn't start until it gets dark! They show a short film to begin with before moving on to the feature film. We only managed to keep our eyes open through the short film before heading back to the hotel! 

We mostly explored the city by foot, although biking is extremely popular over there. Their bikes are gorgeous, I kept on dreaming of owning one. If you fancy it, there are many places you can hire bikes from all over the city. It was a little too crazy for our liking, plus we weren't too familiar with the roads or cycle routes either. 

All in all, I've had a fantastic week. Amsterdam is definitely somewhere I'd like to visit again. Two nights just weren't enough for us!

Anyway, I hope you've all had a very lovely weekend.


Sunday, 11 August 2013

Smoothie of the Week

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Still carefully deciding what I eat, smoothies are a great way of making sure you get a good dose of fruit and veg! I prepare my smoothies in advance, pack them up in freezer bags and take them out whenever I need them. 

This one is a current favourite, made with...

Orange Juice

It's inspired by Simple Green Smoothies (If you haven't already been exposed to Simple Green Smoothies, following them on Instagram is a must - Gorgeous photographs of smoothie inspiration!) 
How many of each fruit you put in the smoothie is up to you depending on taste. If you like your smoothie a little thinner, add more orange juice!
My mason jar lid and straw came from The Mason Bar Company the other day as well. It'll be so handy to take my morning smoothies with me to work - something I'm really looking forward to. I'm very pleased to say that my diet combined with 3 - 4 gym sessions a week are going great. My strict diet has started two weeks ago, and the gym sessions for just over a month now. I've already lost a few pounds just by doing so, and feeling great as a result. 
On Tuesday I'll be off to Amsterdam and I'm really hoping the healthy eating won't be slacking over my break away! I know how hard it can be to keep it up when you're away...

I'll be posting my smoothie of the week on here regularly, why not give this one a go?


Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Homemade Chilli Hummus

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Lately, I've been trying to incorporate healthier snacks in my diet. I recently downloaded the Nikki Sharps 5 day detox to mix it up with my regular diet. I've also started taking My Fitness Pal more seriously by taking note of calorie intake and exercises. And after having joined the gym a month ago, I already feel much better.

After I bought my hand blender over the weekend, making smoothies, sauces and dips are much easier! I can now make some hummus to take with me to work with carrot sticks, all you need is a variety of herbs and a few ingredients! The Tahini can be bought at local health food stores, I got mine at Holland and Barrett. The chilli flakes used were the Very Lazy red chillies in white wine vinegar - Perfect to add more flavour to your hummus! 

The Ingredients

200g Canned chickpeas
Half a lemon (squeezed)
3 Garlic cloves
1 tsp Ground cumin
100ml Tahini
2 tbsp Olive oil
1 tsp Paprika
Pinch of salt
1 tsp Very Lazy Chilli flakes

There you have it, a very simple hummus recipe. Perfect as a snack with chopped up vegetables!


Saturday, 3 August 2013

My Homemade Pesto

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Today, I bought myself a hand blender! I make it sound like such an achievement!
Anyway, I've been looking at lots of recipes lately such as homemade hummus and pesto, but I knew my old blender was no good for doing things like that.
This one can make almost anything, fresh smoothies or milkshakes, sauces  - the lot! I was really pleased with the results when I made pesto at lunchtime. I think I'll try some hummus later on, it'll be great to take to work with some carrot sticks.

Anyway, I really love pesto, but sometimes I find the basil really over powering. Making your own lets you decide exactly how you want it. I like mine with extra garlic and enough parmesan to keep me happy!

Here's the recipe...

50g Pine nuts
Large bunch of basil
50g Parmesan
150ml Olive oil
3 Garlic cloves

And there you have it, a very simple pesto recipe! Enjoy...


Thursday, 1 August 2013

Space Like This

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I've been away from my blog for a little while.
Sometimes just because I'm not feeling inspired to write anything, and other times, life has been getting in the way in general.
Monday morning, my dad was rushed to hospital after he collapsed at home. It's been rather difficult as we've lost mum, even though both my brother and I are very much old enough to look after ourselves! This week has been unexpected, and all over the place...

Anyway, last Sunday, I had been taking photographs for Space Like This, a very lovely shop in Menai Bridge. Today, I looked through the photos once more and I'm really happy with them.
Here are just some of my favourites I took.

I promise I'll be a better blogger from now on and try to post regularly! 
Just as long as I don't experience any more 'life' hiccups! 


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