25
May
2016

Las Iguanas: Celebrating 25 Years

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To celebrate 25 years of bringing fresh Latin food to the UK, Las Iguanas in Union Square Shopping Centre, Aberdeen invited me to try a selection of brand new Latin American dishes. I’ve been to the restaurant a few times before and have always enjoyed the food – especially that tapas starter they do! I could eat that all day, every day! I’m not usually a fan of chain restaurants as they often come across as being quite soul-less and lack atmosphere.  However Las Iguanas is an exception to the rule in my opinion.
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I’ve always liked the colourful, fun vibe of the restaurant and I’ve always found it to have a good atmosphere with friendly staff.I did stop going for a while last year because I didn’t agree with their tipping policy which was widely publicised in the national media but now that they have changed their pay structure to a more fair system for the staff, I am happy to return as a customer.  I could never knowingly eat somewhere knowing that the staff aren’t getting a fair deal for being on their feet all day and night. I know this was widely discussed on Twitter at the time so I just wanted to point out that it’s been rectified.
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The award winning new menu has been designed with fresh & vibrant new starters, mains, desserts & cocktails. The tapas menu has been extended to include ‘Dadinhos’ (pictured below)- which is a popular Brazilian bar snack of crispy smoked cheese cubes served with a sticky chilli jam.
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I had this for my starter and absolutely loved it! The cubes taste like they have a mixture of potato, cheese and spices and coupled with the west chilli jam, it’s just heavenly! I could have eaten double the amount because they were so tasty! Hubby had the sticky Havana Club & Jerk BBQ Glazed Pork Ribs and despite not even being a fan of ribs normally, he said they were delicious! I think the key is always getting the right ratio of meat and fat because fatty ribs are never a good idea. I’m not a fan of raw fish in any form but there is an option of Ceviche (pictured below) – a classic Peruvian fish dish that is super healthy & great for fans of seafood.
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I started off my meal with the Miami Vice cocktail (pictured below) which is a combination of a Pina Colada and a daiquiri.  I highly recommend this cocktail because it was seriously lush! There are a couple of new cocktails on the new menu to try – the Passionfruit Batida or the King Colada but the regular classics like the brazilian Ultimate Caipirinha are still there to be enjoyed. Watch your intake of these delicious cocktails though if you’re planning on the cinema after the meal…I was a tad tipsy before going in to see the new X-Men movie in the cinema! Getting up and down those cinema stairs in the dark is no joke when you’ve been sipping on the cocktails! ha ha.
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You can take advantage of the current all day deal where selected cocktails are priced at just £3.90 each and the Brahma bottled Brazilian beer at £2.50.
It was tough deciding what to have for my main because there were so many tempting options.  I love a good chilli con carne and their new version (pictured below is served with a choice of spiced butters to stir into your dish. If you fancy a lighter option there’s Seabass presented in a light lime & achiote marinate on a bed of roast potato mash & chargrilled asparagus.

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I ended up going with the Picanha (pictured below) which is rump cap sliced steak. I had mine with sweet potato fries and chipotle dip. The steak was so tender and juicy and had a lovely chargrilled flavour which I love. I was slightly disappointed with the sweet potato fries as they weren’t as nice as usual (a bit overcooked and overly crunchy for my liking) however hubby’s curly fries were so moreish!

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You can order the Havana Club and jerk BBQ glazed pork ribs as a main (pictured below) if you’re a big rib fan or there’s a great selection of mexican classics like fajitas, enchiladas or you can go for a tasty Brazilian dish like XinXim which is chicken and crayfish in a lime and peanut sauce with spring onion rice and plantain.

unnamed-2I was pretty full after the start and main but I always reserve that special little bit of room in my stomach for dessert.  I feel a little put out if I can’t have dessert with a meal because lets face it…it’s usually the best part!

A new addition to the menu is a vegan friendly, boozy Mojito Jelly but since I’d had enough cocktails at this point, I decided to go with a tried and tested favourite – the Dulce De Leche Macadamia Cheesecake (pictured below). This creamy, indulgent cheesecake never fails to please me and the crunchy macadamia’s on top with the caramel sauce is just divine. I ended up not being able to finish the whole thing as it appears my eyes are bigger than my stomach!

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I always enjoy my experience at Las Iguanas and find it’s really convenient to pop into if you’re heading to the cinema afterwards. It’s also a great place to grab cocktails and tapas with your friends.  The staff are always super friendly and I like the relaxed vibe and latin-inspired music. If you try anything, make it that smokey cheese cube starter and cheesecake dessert!
To book a meal at Las Iguanas or check out their full food and drink menus click here,
*I received this complimentary meal at Las Iguanas in return for a review and as always I give my honest opinion on anything I feature.
18
May
2016

Edinburgh Girl Gains Event

What an amazing weekend I had in Edinburgh hanging out with my good friend Karlie and attending the Girl Gains event at Greenshoots.  The event was entitled The Self Love Club and it was an afternoon dedicated to learning about self love, motivation, balance, empowerment, body confidence and so many other important issues that face all of us in our daily lives.  This event was about taking care of yourself physically, mentally and emotionally and looking to others for support.  It’s a movement that encourages women to help empower each other with a support network of like-minded, positive people. This was an incredibly positive and powerful event and I came away with so much to think about.

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Girl Gains was founded by Zanna, Tally and Vic who are all personal trainers and friends who decided to start a movement to empower women. Their goal is to make “a positive change in world clouded with negativity”. In their words #girlgains is “a movement which aims to unite women and inspire them to become fitter, healthier and happier“. I am totally on board with this message and was really grateful to be a part of one of their events and meet so many like-minded women on their own personal journey to self acceptance and love. They do all types of different events from meet ups, talks, food events, fitness events etc so if you spot one happening near you, grab a ticket because you won’t be disappointed!

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There were talks from Clean Eating Alice and Abby from Curvy Living about their own journeys growing up and facing different struggles with their body image.  They both gave their top tips to developing your self love and leading a balanced, healthy lifestyle both inside and out. It was really great to hear that everyone goes through these difficult times and you don’t have to feel alone in feeling that way. Both of these women are just as lovely as they seem to be on their social media and it was a real pleasure to meet them, as well as Girl Gains ambassador, Nadia Isobel who organised the whole event like a total pro! Please check out all of their websites and social media as they are all total gems!

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I think everyone who attended this event came away feeling revitalised and recharged.  The positivity in the room was so powerful and everyone was on a high afterwards.  We enjoyed some really tasty food from Greenshoots afterwards and had a chance to chat amongst ourselves. I feel like I made some really great connections with lovely women.  I really think it’s so important to get involved with events such as this because I think we’re all guilty of being too hard on ourselves, especially when we feel we’re not eating as well as we good or working out as much as we would like.  The whole message this event promotes is to be more gentle with yourself, teaching you that you’re enough as you are.  You don’t need to lose that extra half a stone to be good enough.  It’s all about learning to live with balance and not compare yourself to other people or focusing on how you think you SHOULD look.

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So many of us battle with ourselves and spend a lot of time being unhappy with how we look but the sooner we realise that self acceptance is key, the sooner we can live a happier live, experience more positive things and get on the path to a healthy body image and mindset.

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My experience of the fitness community on instagram has always been so positive and I’m so grateful to have had the chance to meet even more inspirational women with amazing stories to tell. I think we can all learn from each other and I love the fact that there’s a real emphasis on women supporting each other and lifting each other up rather than being critical or competitive. We are all so unique and it’s important we remember that we all have something different to bring to the table.

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I haven’t vlogged in about a year and a half but I’ve decided to try and get back into it when I feel like I have things I want to share with you all.  It might only be one video a week and I’m not the biggest fan of the editing and uploading process as it’s super slow but I’ll try my best! I just wanted to share some snippets of the weekend – most of it is just myself and Karlie being silly but I hope you enjoy it and remember to subscribe, like and comment if you get a chance!

11
May
2016

Aveeno Inside & Oat Challenge: The Results

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I’ve come to the end of my Aveeno Inside & Oat Challenge and although I haven’t been very well this week with the head cold from hell, I tried as much as possible to stick to the eating plan for at least two out of three main meals a day.  I do enjoy meat though and as I use it as a protein source, I found it quite hard to cut it out completely. So there’s no danger of me becoming a veggie anytime soon! I found it very easy to stick to the skincare plan as I religiously take care of my skin anyway.

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Aveeno Body Wash

This was my very first time trying this product and I have no idea why I didn’t try it sooner. Often when I use conventional body washes, the fragrance and various other ingredients can irritate my skin.  I generally use a shower oil but the one I love is pretty expensive! This body wash worked so well for my skin and I’ve definitely seen an improvement in my Psoriasis this week since using it every morning and evening after my workouts. It creates a really good lather and has little to no scent so it won’t interfere with any perfume you put on afterwards.

Aveeno Daily Moisturising Lotion

I often skip doing a full body moisturisation session after my morning shower because generally I forget or I’m in too much of a rush. I tend to just apply it before bedtime instead. However this week I made the effort every day to apply this lotion all over. It’s quite a light lotion and you really don’t need a lot of it. It soaked in quite quickly too which means you don’t have to hang around before you get dressed.  There’s nothing worse than your clothes sticking to your skin, especially with the warm weather we’ve been having this week! It left my skin feeling really soft, smooth and healthy.

Aveeno Moisturisng Creamy Oil

I really don’t think I have to harp on any more about how much I love this product. I’ve used it daily for about 2 years now and I really couldn’t be without it. It’s the best night time moisturiser I’ve ever tried and it leaves your skin feeling like silk.

Aveeno Hand Cream

They say you can tell someone’s age from their hands so it’s a good idea to look after them! I’ve been applying this hand cream every morning and evening or after using any cleaning products and it’s totally changed the skin on my hands. I tend to get dryness between my fingers but my hands are in fantastic condition now. There’s also no oily film left on your hands which is a personal bug bear of mine, especially when I’m on a laptop or device for work all day.

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you will know that I would never recommend products unless I really believed in them.  These Aveeno products are really lovely and I would highly recommend them for anyone looking to improve the condition of their dry skin.

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I really enjoyed trying out some of the healthy recipes devised by Natasha at Honestly Healthy. They left me feeling energised and gave me a sense of well being.  I loved the butternut squash frittata and the creamy cashew porridge.  Porridge really is a fantastic way to start your day because the complex carbs slowly release energy into your body to keep you full and fuel you efficiently. My skin has really been glowing this week and has been so clear of blemishes – I’m putting that down to the increased vegetables and fruits I’ve incorporated into my diet.  As you all know, I regularly work out so the fitness side of things was pretty routine for me anyway. You can find snippets of my workouts on my instagram where I incorporate high intensity interval training, plyometrics, resistance training and weight training. A healthy lifestyle is just as much about what you put into your body and apply to your skin as it is about being active. Oats will always be an integral part of my diet because they have so many health benefits. I will continue to use Aveeno products because as a Psoriasis sufferer, they are the best products I’ve found to keep my skin balanced and healthy.

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Disclaimer – These samples were sent to me to try as part of the Aveeno Inside & Oat 7 Day Challenge. This is a sponsored post but as always I will give my honest opinion with regards to anything I review on Liparazzi.

3
May
2016

Aveeno Inside & Oat Challenge

As my regular readers will know, I’ve spoken many times in the past about my love for the Aveeno Moisturising Creamy Oil and it’s fantastic benefits for your skin if you also suffer from psoriasis. I find it really helps to keep dry skin at bay and I always buy it in bulk to make sure I have a daily supply.  It’s definitely on my list of must have beauty products.

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When Aveeno approached me to take part in their Inside & Oat challenge I was delighted because I’m already a fan of the brand and I’m passionate about living a healthy and balanced lifestyle.  The challenge is all about highlighting the benefits of both topical application of the oat based products and also incorporating oats into your diet.  Our skin is the largest organ in our body so it’s important we look after it from the inside out.  After all, the more you look after your skin, the less time you have to spend on makeup because it begins to appear more even, smooth, hydrated and radiant.

We all know that oats are a superfood and have all kinds of benefits for our skin and body as a whole.  All Aveeno body moisturiser products contain finely milled oatmeal to soothe and hydrate dry skin. The Inside & Oat challenge involves a week of using the following Aveeno products, together with a healthy living guide including some tasty recipes and generally being active:

Aveeno Daily Moisturising Lotion
Aveeno Body Wash
Aveeno Moisturising Creamy Oil
Aveeno Hand Cream

I will be using these products every day for the next 7 days and will be reporting back on how effective they have been.

Ive been given a shopping list to stock up for all the nutritious recipes I’ll be trialling this week for both exercise days and rest days. This includes things like Creamy Cashew Porridge, Butternut Squash Curry and Chickpea Oat Burgers all developed by alkaline chef and Honestly Healthy founder, Natasha Corrett’s Green & Lean 90 Day Plan. I love trying new healthy recipes so this is right up my street! All of the recipes in this challenge are plant based, free from gluten, wheat, refined sugar and cow’s dairy.

I am not vegetarian or vegan but I do think it’s beneficial to give your body a break from meat and dairy so I am up for the challenge! The meals on workout days offer a good mix of carbs, protein and healthy fats, whilst the rest day meals offer a higher rate of protein and healthy fats.  I will be following my usual workout routine and you can follow what I do and see pictures of the healthy meals I’ll be making on my instagram where I regularly post videos showing both high intensity interval training and weight training.

*Sponsored Post

27
Apr
2016

Review of Hungry Healthy Happy

Firstly, I’d like to apologise for the lack of posts on my blog of late. There’s a lot going on with the house renovation, work and being a mum in general. Today is the first day in a while I’ve been able to sit down and really focus on writing a blog post. I always try to keep my Instagram updated daily as I know it’s a much more instant and quick-fire medium that allows you to keep up to date. It’s an extension of my blog really and I treat it as such.

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have no doubt seen me banging on about this book numerous time because I’ve baked the banana bread and chocolate chip cookies more times than I can remember. They’ve become really staples for the as the banana bread is the perfect post workout snack teamed with a slather of crunchy peanut butter. Heaven right there!

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The book is the brainchild of award winning food and fitness blogger, Dannii Martin. “Her personal journey with weight loss began when she found herself overweight and suffering with health problems as a direct result. Dannii decided to reclaim her health and change the way she related to food. Her new-found love of cooking and increased awareness of what she was putting into her body, combined with a routine of regular exercise, soon began to impact on her body and within three years Dannii had lost 98 lbs and reached her goal weight. Realising that weight loss is only half of the battle, Dannii has since been maintaining a healthy lifestyle by developing nutritious versions of her favourite meals and sharing them on her blog, Hungry Healthy Happy. Dannii’s down-to-earth approach and delicious, easy-to-follow recipes are now providing inspiration to a growing audience of over 150,000 followers and she is consistently listed amongst the UK’s most influential bloggers.”

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The first section of the book is all about the principles of eating well, understanding what your body needs and also the principles of exercise. It’s not about dieting or depriving yourself and feeling miserable.  It’s about giving your body foods that are going to make you feel good, keep you full and give you the energy you need for your workouts.  I love the revolution that is happening in the health and fitness world and it’s slowly filtering into mainstream media and consciousness.  There doesn’t have to be any more silly diet pills, or waist trainers or juice diets.  It’s time to start really taking care of our bodies.

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Much like the Lean in 15 book by Joe Wicks, this book approaches nutrition in a common sense manner, teaching the importance of carbs and fats in a world where they have almost been outlawed.  By cooking your meals from scratch, you know exactly what’s going into your food so there can be no hidden salts, sugars or fats.  As well as common sense, this book gives you realistic recipes that don’t have complicated ingredients or take forever to cook. It’s the perfect guide for anyone with a busy lifestyle and offers tips along the way on how to organise your food prep and cook things in batches.

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I love the breakfast ideas as you can definitely become stuck in a rut so the courgette fritters and poached eggs or healthy breakfast ‘mcmuffin’ are fantastic for anyone looking for some variety (the homemade ketchup is actually stunning and leaves me disappointed when I try the processed ketchups!). Every recipe comes with a breakdown of the calories and macro split (protein, carbs and fat) so it’s great for anyone trying to stick to a daily calorie or macro goal. A lot of the breakfast are things that can be made the night before and then warmed up in the morning so no excuses for even the busiest of commuters!

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The baked goods recipes are probably the most used in my household. I’ve tried every recipe in this section and enjoyed each and every one. The blueberry crumb bars are so tasty and the chocolate chip cookies don’t even taste like something healthy! I love baking a couple of the recipes every week so that I always have something healthy to grab with a cup of tea. This really helps you to stay on track. I’ve even given them to visitors who claim not to like “boring health food” and they were none the wiser…they loved them!

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If you’re a fan of mac and cheese then you have to try the version with cauliflower – it’s a game changer! It’s proof that you can still cook up comforting foods that are satisfying and prevent you from craving anything stodgy. I sometimes cook up some turkey bacon and mix that through. The chicken tikka masala is also incredibly tasty and much better than anything you’d get from a takeaway.

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If you love the Lean In 15 book then you’ll love this one too. I really can’t rave about this recipe book enough. You need it in your life. Simple as.

To read more about Dannii, visit her blog at Hungry Healthy Happy.