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.

19
Apr
2016

Clarins Sunkissed Summer Collection 2016

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You can always rely on Clarins to produce a gorgeous summer makeup collection and the star of the show has got to be their huge bronzing compact.  This year’s offering is no exception with yet another beautiful bronzer on offer with various shades designed to be blended together for a really natural radiant glow.

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The full collection includes:

Radiant Plus Golden Glow Booster

A subtle self tan that can be mixed with your daily moisturiser for a natural golden glow.

Poudre Soleil & Blush (Limited Edition)

A combination of matte shades in copper-beige and teracotta and also a gold and peach with a more radiant finish. You can swirl all shades together for a lovely glow to the skin that doesn’t look shimmery or glittery.

Fix’ Makeup (Limited Edition)

This spray contains Aloe Vera and white tea extract and is grapefruit and rose scented.

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Waterproof Eyeshadow

  • 01 Golden Peach
  • 02 Golden Sand
  • 03 Silver Taupe
  • 04 Copper Brown

Truly Waterproof Mascara

  • 01 Intense Black

Double Fix Waterproof Mascara

Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil

  • 01 Honey
  • 02 Raspberry (Limited Edtion)
  • 03 Red Berry

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I think my favourite items from the collection are definitely the bronzer blush, the Lip oil and the Fix Makeup because all of them just scream summer! The makeup setting spray is so refreshing and smells lovely – it’s the perfect way to finish off your makeup to avoid that powdery look to the skin. It’s also great to refresh your makeup throughout the day if you’re stuck indoors or in a stuffy office. The waterproof eyeshadows are nice but I feel like you could get cheaper versions of these on the highstreet that work just as well.

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clarins6You can view the full collection here.

*PR samples

2
Apr
2016

Where I Find Inspiration For My Workouts

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I’m often asked where I get my inspiration for y home workouts and it comes from various different sources.  I often bookmark pages on my laptop of interesting or challenging workouts and I find that writing out a plan for yourself in advance really helps to optimise the time you have. Life with a toddler is hectic so I only get a small window of time to workout (generally in the afternoons when he’s napping).  I like to know exactly what I’ll be doing in advance so I can focus on which exercises to do first. I generally do dynamic stretching then a HIIT session to begin then move onto resistance band/bodyband moves to warm everything up, stretch and tone my muscles. I then complete another session of HIIT and move onto the more heavy-duty exercises that require more strength. By this time my body is fully warmed up so it avoids injuries (although as I sit writing this I have a pulled muscle in my neck ironically not caused by exercise but by getting up from the weights bench too quickly!).

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I thought it might help to write a blog post listing where I get most of my inspiration from because I find that the more I vary my workouts, the harder I have to work and I generally look forward to it more because I’m trying something new. The workout videos I post to my Instagram seem to be very popular with you guys so I will continue to post those!

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Websites

Bodybuilding.com Contrary to popular belief this website is NOT just for bodybuilders. It’s a vast educational tool for anyone looking to ensure they’re working every muscle group effectively and doing it using the correct form. It contains tons of information on diet, supplements and has hundreds of training plans for each body part.  I like to watch their videos to make sure I’m doing the movement correctly as well as discovering new ways to perform traditional exercises. It has a macro calculator and also has lots of really interesting and informative articles about health and fitness in general.  I read a lot about fitness because knowledge is power!

BodyRocktv – This was a new discovery for me in the past couple of weeks but they have the most awesome workouts that are really challenging. The HIIT will leave you feeling physically sick but you can tell it’s working your body so hard.  They incorporate so many new and interesting moves and I’m all a bout mixing up my workouts and trying new ways of doing things. It stops you from getting bored and also continually challenges your body, forcing more progress.

WomensHealth – There’s a good selection of workout plans on the website that give you a good variety of moves that can be easily incorporated into your sessions. They give you tips and advice on how to perform them correctly and sometimes you can pick up exercises you didn’t even know existed! Either that or just ones you’d forgotten about.

FitnessMagazine – This well known fitness magazine also has a database of exercise videos to work every muscle group in the body so you can pick and mix with any of the other sites I’ve mentioned. I tend to combine moves from all of the sites and mix it up every time I do it. Each morning I take half an hour to sit and write down what I’m going to do – that way you can make the most of the time you have rather than messing around while you’re supposed to be working out.

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Instagram

Workout Routine – I find this profile really helpful for my home workouts because they display moves that work various parts of your body at once. Most of the moves are used with equipment that you’d generally have in your gym kit at home such as bodybands, resistance bands, an aerobic step or a kettle bell.  This profile seems to be completely dedicated to workout routines so there’s no rubbish to sift through to get to the good stuff!

AlexaJeanFitness – I get quite a few ideas from this profile in terms of bodyweight exercises and once again, they’re easily replicated at home.  A lot of the workouts concentrate arounds legs and bum and I’m all about that!

AnnaVictoria – This lovely lady has what I personally think is the ideal body – toned, fit and healthy with feminine curves. She posts a lot of positivity and I love her workout videos which constantly give me ideas for my own at home sessions.

HIITMax – I’m not a fan of long drawn out cardio which is why I love HIIT or tabata. It gets it all out of the way in a short effective blast and this profile is a great tool to find new all over body exercises to burn fat fast.

If you have any favourite websites or instagram accounts that inspire your workouts then let me know in the comment box below! I love discovering new places to find workout plans!

27
Mar
2016

Guilt Free Easter Chocolate Fix

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Following on from my interview with Angelique Panagos, the nutritionist from ITV’s ‘Sugar Free Farm’ I wanted to share these fantastic guilt free chocolate recipes devised by the lady herself. Around Easter we are all swamped with images of chocolate eggs, cakes, hot cross buns and big roast dinners. Instagram is awash with decadently decorated eggs and confectionery. However this year I found myself underwhelmed by it all and I just don’t crave that binge like I used to. Because of the way I eat now, nothing is forbidden so that takes away the need to eat something ‘naughty’. I eat a couple of squares of dark chocolate every single day so I never get that urge to stuff my face with it.

  

Chocolate shouldn’t be viewed as the enemy though as there are lots of healthy recipes that you can incorporate it into – it’s just about portion control and using the highest quality 70% or higher dark chocolate. Angelique has developed these delicious recipes to satisfy a sweet tooth and allow you to join in with the chocolate fun without feeling like you’ve derailed your whole eating ethos. 

Hazelnut Nut-Ella

Makes: 1 Jar

Ingredients:

1 cup hazelnuts

5 tablespoons raw cacao powder

4 tablespoons rice malt syrup or pure maple syrup

1 tablespoon vanilla powder

1 tablespoon melted coconut oil

1/2 cup coconut milk

1/4 cup water if required

Method:

Bake the hazelnuts at 180oC for about 10 minutes, turning if needed. Take them out of the oven and allow them to cool then rub most of the skin off them. Grind the nuts in a food processor until smooth. Add the reminding ingredients and process until well mixed into a spread consistency. Add the extra water if needed. Store in the fridge.

Raw Caramel Chocolates

   

Ingredients:

Chocolate:

1 cup cacao butter chopped

2 tablespoons raw cacao powder

2 tablespoons rice malt syrup or coconut nectar

1 tablespoon lacuma powder

2 tablespoons Coconut milk

Pinch sea salt

Caramel filling:

1 cup pitted dates

2 tablespoons almond butter

2 tablespoons rice malt syrup or coconut nectar

1 teaspoon  honey

1 teaspoon coconut oil

5 tablespoons cacao butter

Method:

Soak the dates in hot water for 15 mins. Prepare a Bain Marie using a medium sized bowl (place the bowl into a shallow bowl or saucepan of hot water to surround the inner bowl with a gentle heat). Start preparing your filling by melting the cacao butter. In the Bain Marie, stirring gently to aid the melting process. Add the melted cacao butter and all of the other ingredients for the filling into a blender  and blend until smooth.

Place the filling in a bowl and pop in the freezer while you prepare the chocolate. Prepare a new Bain Marie and melt the cup of diced cacao butter for the chocolate. Stir gently to aid the melting. Add the melted cacao butter and all of the other ingredients and blend until you have a smooth but runny chocolate liquid. 

In a silicone mould of your choice pour enough chocolate into each mould to create a base. This base should be 1/3 of the thickness of the finished chocolate and of the mould it is being set in. Set the remaining chocolate mixture aside. Place the mould in the freezer for 5-10 mins. Spoon a small ball of caramel filling into each mould and press down lightly with a cold spoon.

Pour the remaining chocolate over the top of each mould. Do this with a spoon or piping bag. Set in the freezer for 30-40 mins.

24
Mar
2016

Healthy Eats: Banana and Choc Chip Baked Oatmeal

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I’m constantly trying to come up with new breakfast ideas because I get bored of eating the same things every day. I think this is key to sticking to a healthy and nutritious diet – variety. I often have protein pancakes, porridge, omelettes, granola and fruit or something like smoked salmon, sweet potato cakes and veg. However after seeing a few baked oatmeal recipes floating around on Instagram – I fancied whipping up my own version. It’s a great recipe to make up if you’re food prepping for the week as you can separate it into servings and just heat it up when you need it, although it can also be eaten cold. The oats are a fantastic energy giver and brilliant for pre or post workout.  You could add dried fruit, peanut butter, anything you like really! Just tailor it to your preference and you have yourself a filling, healthy and nutritious breakfast.


For 5 servings (I keep mine in the fridge and warm it up in the microwave)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups rolled oats

1 egg (beaten)

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 very ripe mashed banana

1/2 cup of chopped walnuts, almonds or any other nut you like

1 tablespoon dark Choc chips

1 tablespoon toasted almonds

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

   

Directions:

  • Mix together the melted coconut oil, maple syrup and eggs.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and thoroughly mix together. 
  • Add the Choc Chips and toasted almonds to the top and bake at 175oC for 25 minutes in a greased deep baking tray or pie dish.
  • Serve warm – it’s delicious served with yoghurt, fruit or one of the waldens syrups.