Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Comfort Foods Made Healthier

A while ago I stopped eating meat and cutting down on dairy in favor of lots of healthy fruits and vegetables along with nuts, seeds, grains and pulses. And while I'm not always being super healthy and like to have the odd Dominoes Pizza or indulge in sweet and doughy baked goods with my coffee there is honestly no better feeling than making a healthy dish that tastes incredible and is just as satisfying as the greasier, fattening, unhealthy version. Whats more is that these are so simple and easy to make and require very little preparation or ingredients and are also perfect for people with specific dietary requirements (vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free)...

Sweet Potato Fries 

You will need...

2 large sweet potatoes
Olive oil or Coconut oil
Paprika, cayenne pepper or any other spices and flavor you may want to add
Salt and pepper
Drizzle of honey and/or lime juice (optional)


This is literally the easiest thing on the planet. Once I have chopped my sweet potatoes into small shapes I basically mix all of the ingredients together and drizzle over my chips. I put them into the oven for around 30 minutes and that is honestly all you have to do. I honestly love these as an alternative to traditional chips and they are so filling as a snack. Dip into spicy hummus (you can try my recipe here) for extra indulgence with none of the guilt seeing as these are so much more nutritious than traditional french fries.These are also great because they can be made with just any old spices you find lying around. They are amazing with rosemary as an accompaniment to a Sunday roast!

Sugar Free Baked Beans

What you will need...

2 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tin of haricot beans (drained)
1 tablespoon tomato puree
2 tablespoons honey or pure maple syrup
Salt and pepper to taste (optional)


I start by frying my garlic in a tiny bit of oil until it is transparent and golden all over. I then add the honey and the chopped tomatoes and leave to simmer for around 15 minutes. After this I add the haricot beans and the tomato puree and cook for a further ten minutes after which a little salt and pepper can be added and voila! home made baked beans! This recipe is especially useful for vegetarians and vegans who want to find something filling and tasty but without all of the empty calories from sugar. These taste a little sweeter than supermarket tinned baked beans but I honestly love them so much either with a good old veggie fry up or as a filling on a baked potato!

Kale and Cashew Pesto

What you will need...

2 mugs of freshly prepared kale
Half mug of cashew nuts
2 tablespoons of olive oil (although this is dependent on what you want the consistency to be like)
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
Handful of freshly chopped coriander
Half mug of Parmesan cheese of which you can use the low fat or vegan version


I start by roasting the cashews on a baking tray for up to 15 minutes to bring the flavour out (although this is optional) before putting them into the blender to form a fine powder. Once this is done I normally add the kale and lemon juice followed by the rest of the ingredients. Once the ingredients are thoroughly mixed I add a small amount of water at a time to really get the smooth consistency before removing from the blender and storing in a jar! This is honestly so good on everything from pasta to toast to using as a dip for vegetables. I'm such a huge pesto fan but I really like to know whats going into mines. And seriously who doesn't love cashews though?!

Do you guys have any recipes on how to make your favourite foods healthier? I would love to know? 


Saturday, 3 October 2015

Low Maintenance Beauty

As a beauty blogger and self confessed cosmetic-loving, lipstick-collecting maniac the concept of 'low maintenance beauty' kind of almost goes against who I am as a person. I love a good powerful eye brow and a plum lip, I take 20 minutes every morning just to blend out my foundation and I don't care who knows it! But somehow coming to Lisbon has made me care much less about make up and more about taking care of my skin. Today I'm here to tell you what I've been using...

First up is the Nivea Daily Essentials Light Moisturising Day Cream which I picked up in the Boots at the airport just before I boarded my flight. This stuff is honestly incredible for the small price you pay. It's light on the skin, but still contains a good SPF of 15 and I can say honestly that my face hasn't been burnt at all since I've arrived here despite near enough three weeks of constant sunshine. I also think this really smoothes out the texture of my skin and makes it look so radiant and fresh. This is always on offer in the likes of Boots and Superdrug too so I'd recommend you picking one up for less than a fiver.

Next I have been obsessed with this Vitamin C Face Spritz from The Body Shop. It smells orangey and fresh and really helps wake my skin up as well as being perfect to use as a refreshing mist when the temperatures outside are just too much for my skin to bear here in Portugal. This spray is targeted at dull skin and does an amazing job of rejuvenating any fatigue and adding a nice healthy glow. It also contains aloe vera to soothe making it perfect for skin which has been exposed to the sun a bit too much! I pretty much love anything from The Body Shop skincare ranges as they always contain such lovely, natural ingredients and are cruelty free!

Lastly are two essentials that have been in my bag pretty much every day since I got here and the first one is the Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Lip Protector with an SPF of 15. I adore this as the packaging is so expensive looking and it really does protect my lips from the sun and from becoming chapped and sore. As well as using this as a balm I sometimes also use it under lipstick to get a good even colour. This stuff is so perfect! I've also been loving the Halo Deodorant Wipes as things tend to get a bit sweaty in the heat here and its not always great having to carry around a huge can of deodorant, These wipes will leave you feeling super refreshed and they smell lovely too! So perfect for travelling.

What are your daily essentials for a low maintenance look?

Thursday, 1 October 2015

5 Things I've Learned Since Moving to Lisbon

As I currently sit and write this I have just surpassed the three week mark of living in Lisbon. Everything is so utterly and completely different from life in the UK and these past few weeks have been challenging. Settling in here has been physically and emotionally exhausting and at times also terrifying, but they have also been filled with some of the best days in my entire life. So, here I am today filling you all in on some of the things I've learned so far...

1. The concept of time in Portugal is virtually non-existent. So if you are also from the UK as I am you will know that we work long hard hours with hardly any time for leisurely activities in between where our so-called 'weekends' are actually filled with either more work or just catching up on sleep. Over here things are much slower paced and people are much more laid back with regards to work. There are no Monday morning traffic jams or angry commuters pouring onto the metro and if you fancy a cup of espresso (they call it a 'bica' here) then expect to be kept waiting a while. Don't expect anyone Portuguese to show up on time either. 

2. Scottish stereotypes are extremely ignorant and a little bit insulting. Since I arrived here in Lisbon I've lost count of the amount of times I've been asked if I drink whiskey and for people to be genuinely shocked that I don't like the stuff ("but I thought everyone in Scotland drank whiskey..."). I've also been asked numerous times about Braveheart and 'that sport you play in Scotland where you throw tree trunks' as well as the bagpipes and the Lochness monster. And if that wasn't bad enough the amount of people who have actually told me that I DON'T HAVE A SCOTTISH ACCENT. But you know I'm sort of getting used to it now. 

3. The supermarkets are always super crowded no matter when you go in. Yes every time I have been food shopping so far I have barely been able to work my way around the shop from the amount of people pouring in and out of the entrance and exit. The aisles are ridiculously narrow, and none of them even make sense!! I mean Gluten free bread beside the chopped tomatoes?! Condiments opposite the milk?! Also don't be surprised if the English name on something means something completely different for the Portuguese. Sometimes the 'milk' turns out to be cream and the 'tea' turns out to be coffee, but you get used to the element of surprise. 

4. No matter how brown you are you will never be as brown as the locals. Something I love about going on holiday is being white on arrival and coming home a good few shades darker and looking remarkably exotic beside all of my British friends. However, despite having now acquired the deep mahogany looking tan I dream of every summer I still feel pale next to the locals. And if you even so much as burn a tiny bit PEOPLE WILL JUDGE YOU like the time I put brazil nut oil on and got a burnt bum and they all laughed and looked confused because I don't even think they know what sunburn is. 

5. Unless you want to be judged then you don't 'dress up' for the club. Jeans and converse are perfectly acceptable clubbing attire while that little black dress and those platform shoes need to be left at home. I've learned that dressing up in clubs here makes you look a bit desperate and who wants to look like that really? It gets confusing though because shorts and flip flops are however NOT acceptable attire and some clubs won't even let you in as such attire is marked under 'inappropriate' on the club Facebook page. Makes sense right?

Overall, it's been a massive learning curve and I'm kind of excited to learn some more about this beautiful city and the people who live here. As much as it is scarily different from the UK there are some things that I much prefer here! 

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