Deliciously Ella: pea and spinach pesto pasta.

20.5.15

I have been experimenting in the kitchen a lot recently and one dish which has made a recurring appearance is the pea and spinach pesto pasta by Deliciously Ella (recipe here!)

It's so easy to make and that's coming from someone who used to be fairly hopeless at making meals. I halve the recipe and make two servings which means I get the leftovers the next day. I found brown rice pasta in my local Waitrose and it has replaced white or wholemeal pasta for me. I like the taste and texture and it's wheat free so it's a no brainer! The pesto can be whipped up in seconds and is delicious - really thick and creamy.

It's not something I make too regularly as pine nuts are quite expensive for a teeny tiny bag, but it's definitely a firm favourite. It feels like comfort food but it's all vegan and healthy. Winner!

I have a lot more foodie posts coming up so keep your eyes peeled for those! Now I'm well and truly starving and craving pasta at 9pm.... oops!
 

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Life lately (skydiving, scoffing and an extra stone...)

17.5.15


It has been a couple of months since my last "life lately" post (click here to have a read) so I thought it was about time I updated you on what I have been up to. A lot can happen in 2 months. There have been ups and downs, highs and lows, weight loss and weight gain (oops). I'm hoping the next 2 months are a bit more settled but with another house move looming I'm not sure it will be. Keeps things more exciting though I suppose!

Skydive

A month ago I did a skydive for a charity called Rain Rescue and it was an absolutely incredible experience. When I went up in the plane I thought I was going to throw up, I can't put into words how nervous and scared I felt, but the jump itself was amazing. After screaming for a few seconds on the freefall I took some deep breaths and the falling actually became quite peaceful. I was able to have a good look around and enjoy it! My instructor really looked after me and we have since become friends so I hope to go back again soon to do another.
 
 
Dating
 
I have entered the world of dating and boy is it hard work. I'm sure it wasn't like this last time I was single?! I have met all sorts of weird and wonderful people (mostly just weird) and all I have established so far is what I don't want and that I am probably not going to find Mr Right until I'm happy in my own skin, which is going to take a little more time. Luckily I have a lovely housemate who looks after me when things go t*ts up.
 
 
Amber the cat
 
My parents recently adopted a cat called Amber who is the most beautiful thing. Can you believe she was in a rescue centre? Madness! She is very sweet and likes being cuddled, which is a good thing really because the first time I met her I couldn't stop cuddling her. She is so fluffy! That face
 
 
Experimenting in the kitchen
 
I have acquired a stone in weight over the past few months and it might have something to do with all the endless scoffing of my kitchen experiments. I have been obsessed with trying Deliciously Ella recipes and have been even more obsessed with eating them. I am going to do blog posts about the things I have made so far, which have all been delicious. But I think a break from anything food related is on the agenda until I can fit back into all my clothes again!
 
 
Working out how to be okay on my own

I have been trying to have lots of "me" time to get to grips with my own company. My housemate has been away quite a bit recently and I easily slip into feeling lonely but I am slowly getting there. I dug out my adult colouring book and my felt tip pens yesterday and it is amazing how relaxing it is colouring in flowers! Haha! It helps me to focus and clear my mind for a little while.
 
I am also going to be better at blogging. Promise!
 
 
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Jameson's Cafe & Tea Rooms - Sheffield.

15.4.15

Last Saturday my friend and I visited Jameson's Café & Tea Rooms in Sheffield, somewhere I heard about a while ago and had been dying to visit. The words "afternoon tea" and "cake tapas" are music to my ears so I was really excited to visit for some tasty treats.
 
We planned to get the standard afternoon tea but my friend had the "Now Then" app which meant we could get the slightly fancier "splendid" afternoon tea for the same price as the standard one - result! This meant better sandwich fillings, lemon curd with our scones and jam/cream, a "posh pop" soft drink and some chocolates.

The selection of cakes was huge! I tend to panic when given lots of choice so I opted for the raspberry and white chocolate cake and my friend went for the Malteser cake, but I definitely missed a trick and wish I had tried the Pimms cake. Alcohol + cake = two of my favourite things!

We were incredibly full by the end. Top buttons were undone and everything. We both agreed we would go back for the cake tapas or another afternoon tea. I would quite like to get the option that comes with Prosecco next time. Why the hell not! :)

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5 good things.

12.4.15

1. Douwe Egberts vanilla coffee. I used to be a tea drinker and had a coffee once in a blue moon but just before Christmas I wasn't sleeping properly and I turned to coffee to power me through my working days. Now I am addicted! The last thing I needed was to find these amazing pots of coffee (£3 for the teeniest jar) but when I saw the advert I knew I had to try it. It is seriously so good. I don't think I can go back to regular coffee now! I plan to pick up the other 3 flavours asap!
 

2. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. I finished off the series recentky and it has become a firm favourite. I am really looking forward to more episodes. Someone on IMDB describes it as "a delightful and heartwarming light dramedy" which I think sums it up perfectly.
 
3. Discovering the Spotify app. I am embarrassingly behind the times but I downloaded it recently and have discovered so much great music. It's great for the gym too as I was getting so fed up of listening to the same songs over and over. Now I have ready made playlists for literally any kind of occasion. Winner!
 

4. I have raised over £580 for my skydive, all of which will go to Rain Rescue. I really hope to reach £650 in the next week. I would be over the moon! 

5. Getting back into cross stitching by stitching this little house keyring for my parents. I just need to find an awesome pattern to kick start my love for it again. I have lots of time on my hands now and I could do with something to keep my mind and hands busy.


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Banana, Cinnamon and Almond crumble.

5.4.15

Yesterday I had a bash at making one of Deliciously Ella's crumbles (recipe here!) because I had all of the ingredients to hand, bar the nuts which I popped out to get, and because I was craving dessert in a big way. I LOVE crumble so I wasn't sure how a healthy version would turn out but I was really impressed.
 
It was really easy to make the crumble topping and the base is just chopped bananas with cinnamon sprinkled over the top. The recipe stated 5 bananas but I stopped after 4 because it looked enough, but I definitely should have added that last one to give a better base/topping ratio. It took a little longer to cook than the 20 minutes stated and the topping didn't go as brown as I wanted but I was really impressed with my first attempt.
 
 
I had a taste straight away (because I'm impatient) then another taste after it had cooled and it was definitely better the second time. It held together better and all the flavours came through. I loved the taste of the coconut oil coming through.
 
It's hard to believe there's nothing naughty in it!
 
 
It's a perfect "normal" crumble substitute and I would definitely make it again because it's so easy. I had some with cream and some with custard because I couldn't figure out a healthy topping and you can't have crumble on its own. There's some sort of law against that kind of thing :)
 
Happy Easter everyone! x
 
 
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The art of getting by.

3.4.15

Somebody recently left a comment on my blog saying I looked happy in a photo and it really stuck with me. It's funny isn't it, how we can project an image to show things in a certain way. That photo is probably one of the only times I have smiled in the past week. I'm far from happy, in fact I'm very, very sad. Quite a lot of the time. (If you're new around here this post explains why. I promise I'm not always so dreary!)
 
Breaking up is hard and the world can seem pretty shitty, especially when 4 months later you're not even sure it was the right thing to do. I hate change, and for the past few months everything has been changing, so I've never been further out of my comfort zone. I'm sure there are lots of you out there going through something similar so promise me you'll get in touch and we can go through it together? My ears are always open for some quality advice and a push in the right direction.
 
Here is my attempt at advice which I hope, if you need it, is useful.
 

- Spend time with people who make you happy. I don't have a big group of friends but it's quality over quantity right? Jonathan and I spent over 4 years together and in that time his friends (and their girlfriends) became my friends too, which is sadly not the case anymore. Starting over again is tough and not having a big friendship circle means I often feel lonely but it makes me more appreciative of the fun times I have with my true friends.

- Make sure you have things to look forward to. I just booked a flight to visit my sister on the Isle of Man for the end of May which gives me a little countdown and something to focus on. Sometimes I look to the future and it seems a bit bleak so it's nice to have a long weekend away on the horizon.
 
- Remind yourself of all the good. This year I'm going to be an auntie which is rather exciting. I'm doing well with my HR course and got amazing feedback on my first module. Lily and Lola are in good health and keep me company - they give great cuddles! I have a wonderful housemate who cheers me up when I'm down and buys me orange chocolate when I'm upset. My parents are only an hour and a half away or on the end of the phone if I need a chat. I have fully functioning limbs and my own teeth and a good head of hair. See - things aren't always as bad as you think!

- Try to enjoy your own company. I am the worst at doing this because right now I don't really like myself that much but I am getting better at being on my own (well, with two fluffy shadows in tow). Things that help: long hot soaks in a bubble bath, reading a book, climbing into bed with fresh sheets and listening to relaxing music, popping Netflix on and binge watching a series, walking to the park with your camera and trying to spot a good photo, writing blog posts, cooking/baking new recipes, and working out.

- Remember that Lily and Lola need walkies and fresh air just as much as me, so although it seems nice to stay indoors in dirty jogging bottoms and a hoodie, watching Netflix and eating cheesecake, that probably isn't going to make me feel as good as interacting with the real world. Although there are some days where Netflix and cheesecake are perfectly acceptable activities and there's no need to feel bad for it.

- Distraction is good, as long as you don't use it as a mask to delay the feelings you need to feel in order to get over the breakup.
 
- Push yourself, when it feels right to do so. I have done lots of scary things over the past few months and, even though I always tried to back out at the last minute, I would always be proud of myself afterwards for doing them.
 
- Don't go looking for new love. You won't be ready, trust me on that one!
 
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Cake on a cake, sleepy Pugs and family time.

1.4.15

Last weekend I went to stay with my folks for the whole weekend in Leeds and it was JUST what I needed. A bit of lazy time, a catch up with my mum and lots of comfort eating!
 
We went for lunch in Headingley on the Saturday and had a nosy round the shops. It has changed so much since I was last there. I had heard of Love Rouge Bakery beforehand so I knew I would have to stop by to pick up a couple of cupcakes (one battenburg, one lemon. Mine (the battenburg) was delicious!) I also had lots of fun trying on some vintage delights in the Sue Ryder charity shop. If I lived locally I imagine I would be in there rather a lot.
 
My parents have got 3 dogs so it's always nice to take them out along the canal with Lily and Lola in tow. Lily and Lola ADORE my mum and it's cute, if a little bit annoying, that they do everything possible to walk alongside my mum even when I'm holding their leads. I do feel a bit offended but it's nice to have a break from having two shadows following me round for a couple of days.
 
A visit to see my parents wouldn't be complete without a roast dinner with all the trimmings and lots and lots of cups of tea.

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The Salon, Ecclesall Road, Sheffield.

29.3.15

When The Salon opened round the corner from where I work I was rather ecstatic, as were the girls that I work with. With its rustic, shabby-chic décor, extremely friendly therapists and range of treatments on offer (they were one of the only places I could find that did microdermabrasion facials) they were a breath of fresh air amongst the other not-so-lovely salons to choose from in the city centre.

We were sad to hear when The Salon announced their plans to move. No more lunchbreak gel nails or after work facials BUT they haven't moved far, and now that I'm living in Sheffield the new location is really handy for weekend or evening visits.

Last week they had a launch party at their new location (at the top of Ecclesall Road near the Banner Cross pub and a host of other lovely independent businesses) and I popped along with a couple of friends from work.

We were greeted with prosecco, brownies and cupcakes (never a bad thing!) and a really warm welcome from Julie and Emily who run the salon. We had a nosy round the treatment rooms which are absolutely stunning! Think wooden floors, beautiful fireplaces, dark walls, ornate mirrors, and a very warm and relaxing atmosphere. We also marvelled at the "nail shed" which is the cosy corner you visit to get your nails painted. They do nail art too! If you're partial to pretty nails have a nosy at the photo section on their Facebook page where they post photos of their handiwork.



After booking ourselves in for treatments, eating our bodyweight in brownies and having a good chin wag in the lovely waiting area we left to go and get a bite to eat.

I can't recommend The Salon enough! I promise you won't be disappointed - it's so different to anywhere else and you really do get a great experience from the moment you walk through the door. Tell them Victoria from Lily loves Lola sent you if you go! :)


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