A post to my old self

I was rummaging through my drafts and came across a post titled ‘22 things I learnt being 22′. I only got to writing 11 things but found it so interesting looking back at my mindset 4 years ago. I am now 26 years old and have a far broader outlook on life. I thought I would go through each of the things I learnt at that age to see if anythings changed or developed since :) So here goes…

Turning 23 last month, my 22nd year on this earth you could say, has resembled a wild roller coaster ride. I’ve most definitely experienced and learnt something from nearly every single aspect of life. Here are 22 things I’ve learnt in the past year which I feel have somewhat changed my outlook on situations I’ll probably be presented within the future.

1. Don’t be fooled by empty words. People can promise you things over and over and there’s always that hope that this time will be different. If their actions don’t back them up, don’t give chances, give them a one way ticket out of your life. Luckily I’ve become much better at distancing myself from people who suck the energy and soul out of you. I call these ‘soul sucking dementors’ (HarryPotter4life). Anyone who doesn’t lift your spirits or make your environment a happy place to be in, stick up that magic middle finger of yours and tell them to jog on!

2. Exercise really does help your mood & well being. I’ve never felt so at peace after sweating buckets and my god, that was not me two years ago. I still can’t believe there was a time where I despised exercise. Now it’s my sanctuary. I’ve had health problems and anxiety for most of my life and have found that since exercising these symptoms have reduced by 70%. There was a time where I was so ridden with symptoms that it was a struggle to get out of bed every single morning and every day would be spent walking around like a zombie. Exercise won’t cure all your problems but it will definitely give you the confidence, calmness and strength to get up and keep going. 

3. I will forever be grateful for the person who invented nachos. I am still incredibly grateful for nachos and hold those cheesy, crunchy goddesses so close to my heart but 4 years on, I am grateful for SO MUCH MORE. In the past I’ve really struggled with my negative mindset and could never see the positives in most situations. I used to think bad stuff happened to me all the time and just couldn’t see why all these things kept happening to me and what I did to deserve them? I can now see that it was the way I looked at each situation. I’m not saying I don’t have bad days and times where I just want to scream at someone for cutting in the line or sneezing snot rockets all over my back. Each morning I now wake up and start the day with a warm cup of lemon water (Keep calm and lemon water) and write 10 things I’m grateful for. It is amazing how much your day can transform when you are grateful for being there and doing what you’re doing. I am grateful for the most simple things like being alive. Just being alive on this earth is enough for me. 

4. Always be grateful for your own, your friends and your families health. It is so much more important than most things you have, if not the most important alongside the people you love. I wrote this a couple years before my dad passed away. I think when he was first diagnosed with cancer was when I started to become more grateful for my health. I no longer wanted to spend my nights drinking bottles and bottles of sauvignon blanc and vodka soda’s, gorging out on junk and what I thought was the only yummy food  on offer. When he passed, my grief and confusion for my loss turned into symptoms of not only emotional pain but was more so turned into physical pain. My body took a huge knock to the system and still hasn’t 100% recovered. My weight slowly dropped off due to my love of exercise and watching what I ate to being the smallest I’ve ever been. I lost all my curves and resembled a bobble headed toy. Food wise I was healthly but mentally, I felt this constant pressure to be in control of every single thing I ate. I became OBSESSED with counting calories and stopped enjoying food. When I moved to London shortly after my dad’s death, I began to heal emotionally (well you never really heal from losing someone) and stopped caring about what I was eating and just wanted to enjoy life. 12 kilos heavier, I am not where I want to be weight wise but I have learnt the most important lesson of all when it comes to your health. BALANCE. I am trying to focus on nourishing my body with whole foods and eating meals which energise me the majority of the time but if I want a pizza, I want to get that pizza and enjoy every moment of it. 

5. Choose a life/job/career you enjoy even if it pays little…master the job you love and money will find its way in. I’m not exactly in the place I want to be in job wise right now but my time will come and any experience is always great experience. I am still not on the career path I have always wanted but to be honest, I still don’t know what I want to do. At times It can be daunting considering at this age I always thought I would be on a secure career path. I have had a variety of jobs from model booking, social media marketing and my current job working with special needs children. I have picked up skills from each job and even though I may not be where I want to be financially, I have never ever been happier and don’t dread waking up to go to work.

6.Never a failure, always a lesson. Still true. I don’t think I would be the person I am today without all the fails I’ve made. 

7. Always keep your standards high. You only live once so why settle for anything less.  Especially when it comes to how others treat you. When it comes to how others treat you, I really think that it is dependent on who you surround yourself with. I no longer care if someone may be treating me badly because if they’re worth having around, they won’t treat you that way. Growing up in Hong Kong, like most places, you made your friends where you lived and you made your friends at school. Then comes university, then comes living in another country and then comes moving back home. I naively expected to return home and for things to be like they always were but what I’ve learnt in the last 8 months is that people change and some people leave. It is okay to not like the people you were once friends with anymore. It is okay to distance yourself from people because they never have anything positive to say. It is okay if you’re not interested in hitting the clubs anymore and you’ve turned into an old woman overnight. It is okay to not let others treat you badly and its 200% okay to walk away. 

8. If someone cares about you, they won’t ever make you doubt it. I think I wrote this when I was either dating someone or had just broken up with them?! (which would explain the randomness) Whether it’s a friend or a partner, you will know if someone cares about you. I have felt like Jeremy Kyle the amount of times I’ve listened to friends harp on about their love interests and justifying all their shitty actions. Erm, your ‘boyfriend’ hasn’t called you for 6 days? DUMP HIM. Your ‘boyfriend’ has been emailing his ex girlfriend? DUMP HIM. Your ‘boyfriend’ is always talking about how good looking other girls are? DUMP HIM. For goodness sake people, DUMP THEIR ASSES. 4 years ago, I knew I was in a relationship that wasn’t right. I knew he didn’t care about me as much as I had liked him yet I still made the excuses. It’s only now that I am in a long term relationship with the love of my life who treats me with respect and shows me he cares and loves me every single day that I fully believe in the statement above. 

9. Weird people are fun and I’m happy I am one. Still weird. Still like ‘weird’ things. But now I don’t look at them as being weird things, they are just things you enjoy. Yes I was once so fascinated by watching a fly up close clean all the water off it’s body, I made my boyfriend watch for about 5 minutes until the little winged cutie was done. Yes I still have the imagination of a 5 year old. Yes I still find pulling the ugliest face possible one of the funniest things ever. I am fascinated by what society would call ‘weird people’. I like watching documentaries about men who are in relationships with blow up sex dolls and polyamory relationships and people with phobia’s of carrots. Weird is interesting. Weird is good. 

10. You’re not always going to be liked and many people will prejudge you without getting to know you, I honestly couldn’t give a flying fudge. I have to say that this statement was probably a massive lie at the time. I think I always wanted to be liked by others but I’ve also always wanted to not care what others think of me. I don’t so much mind individuals not liking me but if I’m honest, what annoys me most is when people who haven’t really spent much time with you don’t like you. If you get to know me and still don’t like me, fair enough. It doesn’t matter! I won’t loose any sleep over it!

11. Give as much as you can to others in need. If you’ve got a roof over your head, a bed, a fridge full of food and clothes on your back, you are richer than 75% of the world. I interact daily with people who care more about buying designer clothes than the world around them. It does anger me at times but I’ve come to realise that you can’t change people or change their views. I wouldn’t appreciate a christian shoving his bible in my face nor would I make people watch animal slaughter house videos on repeat in the hopes they eat less meat. But what I can say is that if you are reading this post on your computer or mobile, you are one lucky being. If you gave up your morning coffee for a week, you could feed a family of four for weeks. Doesn’t seem like that much hey? Help is needed at all times, all across the world. 

Funny how things change eh?

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Engagments, Disney and Tacos.

SO! It was my best friends birthday yesterday and she got engaged!

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I’ve never had to keep a secret so big, for so long in my life and am thankful that I no longer have to! I have been in the know for a while and it was absolute agony to not be able to tell anyone something so exciting. They are perfect for one another, I am so incredibly happy for them and can’t wait for the wedding of the century in Spain next summer. 

As well as this SURPRISE engagement, her new fiancé organised a weekend of surprises for the birthday girl. Friday night we went to The Udderbelly Festival to see Russell Howard and it was absolutely brilliant!

 

However, there are always a group of utterly annoying men with their lame heckles and egotistical manners right? (It’s 2016…who still uses the ‘your mum’ comeback? 100 points to gryffindor you originality monsters! ) It was a shame that I had paid to see Russell Howard and instead had to listen to their pathetic attempts at humour for half the show. Despite this, it was fantastic! You know its going to be a good show when the support act has you in tears in the first 5 minutes.

Saturday morning we got up early (not by choice…but by our stage 5 clinger puppy, Jeff) and headed to Disneyland. The first mistake I made was doubting Hong Kong Observatory (when will I learn?!) AS IT WAS FREEZING. Despite the temperature dropping to 2 degrees, we put aside our expat need to always be warm and made the most of it. Luckily for us, due to the weather, the park was rather empty which meant FAST QUEUES :D

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I ended up filming parts of the day out which I’ve uploaded to my new youtube channel if you’d like to check out the link! DISNEYLAND HONG KONG .

Any Youtubers out there? I’m hoping to start vlogging soon but have no idea where to start?! My main mission is to document my explorations of Hong Kong as well as find the best vegetarian eats this city has to offer. I guess learning through trial and error will have to do!

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We went to dinner at one of my top 5 favourite restaurants in Hong Kong. I just can’t get enough of BRICKHOUSE! Located in a grafitti’ed alleyway in Lan Kwai Fong, it offers some of the best take on mexican food i’ve ever had.

We started with the usual guacamole and salsa dips, served with their stone ground chips. This is probably one of the only places in Hong Kong that gives you healthy portion of guac without an extra charge.

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and the DIABLA. The best cocktail i’ve ever had. Includes vodka, jalapeño, raspberries, pomegrante and lemon. Spicy but sweet…AHHHMAZING!

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We then ordered the Mexican-style street corn which is sweet corn dipped in a chilli, mayo, lime and cheese rub.

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and lastly, the FISH TACOS. Spicy Nemo – fish, cabbage, avocado and chipotle aioli

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Apparently they now do MEATLESS MONDAYS and offer 4 course menu for $430 Per 2 Persons. Will need to check that out asap.

On Sunday we ended the birthday weekend with The Watermark at Pier 7 for their Seafood brunch. I was feeling a little under the weather so didn’t really take any photos. It was a nice day and great company but it terms of the food, I think there are far better brunches in HK. I can’t say there was one dish that left me feeling content and I don’t think I’d visit it again. The staff looked rather miserable and almost annoyed when we kept ordering drinks from their FREEFLOW package.

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A couple days ago, I came across some Massaman curry paste and coconut milk and fancied making a vegetarian curry. I unexpectedly made a delicious meal out of food I needed to use up and will definitely try this recipe out again.

I started by pan frying some onions and garlic in olive oil and sprinkled some cumin seeds for taste. I then chucked in some potatoes, peas and lentils, added half a cup of hot water and left to boil for 5 minutes. I then added the massaman paste and 1 cup of coconut milk and let it simmer for 25 minutes. With the thai curry paste and indian curry spices it actually worked really well and paired with a roti – divine!

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CATCH UPS.

Excuse the random post!

It has become quite a bad habit of mine to neglect my blog whenever life gets in the way, which is proving to be a lot more often than not. I feel like I’ve been extremely busy the past few months which have put my little creative hobbies on the back burner. With 2016 here, I only hope to stick with my resolution to continue documenting my life on my blog and instagram (readers or no readers!) so years down the line, I can reminisce on all the good times.

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Over the christmas holidays, I felt that I had done nought but eat my body weight in chocolate and lounge around the house with family. I suppose that’s the way christmas should be but it has made it so much harder to get back into exercising and attempting to eat well. My first sessions back at BodyPump and Grit Strength were soul destroying and I could feel the strength I had worked hard to build up, leave my body in such a short amount of time. Despite this, I really did have a great christmas and was so happy to have my sis back in town! She is currently living in London and I do not get to see her half as much as I’d like to.

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It was the first christmas in Hong Kong without my dad and our traditions did not seem right without him. However, there was one little thing that managed to take my mind off of missing my father and that was JEFF! We originally fostered Jeff (unfortunately he was named jeff before we fostered him and due to his cheeky personality, Jeff has just stuck) and after a week, we fell in love and the household just wouldn’t be the same without him!  He is loud and naughty, so unlike our other timid dog so the balance just feels right. Even though I adopted a puppy the day after the holidays started which I quickly realised was not the best decision I’ve ever made, the holidays are meant for total and utter relaxation, not sleepless nights and waking up to 20 conveniently placed dog shits.

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Jeff the shit machine.

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The time I did have off from my new fur baby, I spent catching up with friends and hiking my favourite trails on the island I live. I’ve done this route dozens of times but it really never gets old.

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As the christmas holidays are long gone, I feel like things have yet to slow down. I swear that half the people I know were born in Jan! Which only means one thing, brunches, brunches and rem, brunches. It was one of my friends birthdays last weekend which she hosted at Cafe Deco Pizzeria in Sheung Wan. It was my first time there and I was pleasantly surprised at both the food and the space.

It was $228 – Antipasti buffet + pancakes and $418 – Antipasti buffet + pancakes + 1 main + free flow alcohol for 4 hours. The Antipasti buffet was amazing with a wide variety of cold cuts, cheese, bread and other starters. I unfortunately didn’t take too many pics as I was too busy getting pissed on champagne! delish

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The next day I roped my boyfriend into volunteering with me at the Discovery Bay Plaza. I’ve been volunteering with PALS for a couple months now and all the dogs are absolutely gorgeous!

Meet my favourite, Buzz. He is around 10 months old and looking for his forever home! How could you say no to that brown nose and bear like coat?

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This is Toppa. A 3 month old pup looking for a family to call his own :)

For dinner we went to test out the new restaurant located in the North Plaza of Discovery Bay, MOOFISH which specialises in meat and fish (hence the name) I fell in love with a few dishes as well as the decor, such a chilled out space. We started out with the eggplant, pesto mozzarella balls, followed by the Tsing Tsao beer battered Fish and Chips and ended with what I could only described as heaven on earth. Pretzel and Hazelnut milkshake. mmmm

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Salmon burgers with avo, crumbed feta and caramelised onions//Sweet potato//Brussel Sprouts

Since Santorini, I’ve really grown to love Brussel Sprouts. I can’t say that I had ever tried them before this trip but these were summing’else. Drizzle the sprouts with olive oil and lemon juice and oven bake for 30 mins and grill for 10. When the edges are crispy, take them out and drizzle more lemon juice.

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Half Term!

This time of year in Hong Kong has got to be my most favourite! The sun is shining, the temperature is dropping and all the best holidays are slowly approaching. And better yet, It’s HALF TERM BABY!

We had originally booked to fly to the Philippines for 8 days but due to the typhoon heading in that direction and my extreme fear of turbulence (ergh), we decided to reschedule to a later date. Even though I am experiencing severe FOMO and wish I could be diving with sea turtles and devouring as much filipino mango as possible, 10 glorious (polluted) days of exploring the city and outlying islands doesn’t sound half bad.

Yesterday we started off the weekend as normal with an early morning session of Grit Strength. I absolutely love the feeling I get once finished but in between all the burpees, clean and presses and spirit breaking plyo push ups, I feel my soul slowly crushing along with my dwindling consciousness. Following the dramatics and post workout adrenaline, we hit JASPAS for some breakie. It was my first time ordering the breakfast bruchetta and WOW.

Sourdough bread topped with diced red onion, garlic, tomato, avo, bacon and eggs cooked to your preference. 

After breakfast, a few friends and I decided to take the dogs on a little hike in Discovery Bay as it was such a nice day out.

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As a child I use to despise any form of physical activity outside of swimming and ballet and my parents would have to literally bribe me with food to go on weekend hikes with them. It’s funny to think that now as I’m the happiest version of myself when I’m up in the mountains with my dogs and friends.

With it being the month of Octoberfest, we decided to try the german establishment, The Berliner, in Discovery Bay, for lunch. I’m not a big meat eater so was rather hesitant at first. Thankfully my boyfriend likes to order a variety of things which allows me to pick at his (I’m sure much to his annoyance).

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Bretzels & Happy Schnappy – Barcadi rum, apple schnapps, raspberry puree, apple juice, lime and mint leaves. We thought the cocktail was a must order due to the glass boot but the novelty soon wore off due to the incredibly sweet and a little too sickly mixture.

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Pork Belly Sliders with onion marmalade and onion dressing. The boys thought this was the only dish worth ordering, they couldn’t get enough!

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I opted for the grilled chicken sausages with creamed leek and crispy roast potatoes. The best word to describe this dish would be SOGGY. There was nothing grilled ,crispy or flavoursome about it. I know menu photographs never normally live up to the presented meal but CMON! The boys decided on The Berliner Sausage with onions and roasted potato which they too described as purely average. I don’t think we will be back there in the future.

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Saturday night a friend had a spare couple of tickets to watch Marcus Brigstocke with The Punchline Comedy Club. It was my second comedy club experience and I thoroughly enjoyed it even though I spent half the time avoiding eye contact with the bloke in the hopes I wouldn’t be picked on.

Sunday morning was spent awaiting the snoring hungover boyfriend to awaken from his deep slumber and cooking up a few healthy fall inspired snacks.

Roasted Chickpeas are incredibly easy to make and packed with good sources of protein and fibre. You can make these with literally any spices or seasonings. I opted for a cinnamon and coconut sugar topping.

Instructions:

  • Drain two cans of chickpeas and scatter on an oven try with olive oil. 
  • Add 3 tbsp of cinnamon and mix 
  • Set oven to 180°C. Cook for 30 mins whilst occasionally turning chickpeas. Grill for 10
  • Sprinkle 3 tbsp of Coconut sugar or honey if you prefer. 

I’m looking forward to a few more hikes, more tested recipes, dinners with friends before the week is over!

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My Top 10 favourite treats! Part 1

With the many Food intolerances I have unfortunately been blessed with, I have always found it hard to find baked treats and tasty dishes which will leave my tummy happy as well as not edging myself towards diabetes. I came across Deliciously Ella on Instagram a couple of years ago and instantly related to her due to her medical past and beliefs. Ella Woodward created ‘Deliciously Ella’ when she was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease entitled Postural Tachycardia Syndrome. The disease broke down her nervous system and simple tasks such as walking up the stairs would bring her to the point of blacking out. Ella changed her diet drastically and managed to overcome her issues with natural and holistic approaches. Her recipe books boast some of the most simple, yet delicious recipes, catering to people with intolerances and allergies and I just bloody love them! They have inspired me to be a lot more daring in the kitchen and become more aware of what I am feeding my body.

So, here are my top 10 favourite recipes which include some of Deliciously Ella’s as well as my own! All these recipes are Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Soy Free and Low Glycemic. 

  1. Sweet Potato Brownies. 

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Yes you read correctly. Sweet Potato Brownies with a cashew nut filling. Made from Sweet potato, Medjool dates, ground almonds, brown rice flour, raw cacao powder and 100% pure maple syrup. Don’t judge until you try! Your life will change!

Ingredients (makes 10 brownies)

– 2 medium to large sweet potatoes (600g)

– 2/3 of a cup of ground almonds (80g)

– 1/2 a cup of buckwheat or brown rice flour (100g)

– 14 medjool dates

– 4 tablespoons of raw cacao

– 3 tablespoons of pure maple syrup

– a pinch of salt

Start by pre-heating the oven to 180C, then peel the sweet potatoes. Cut them into chunks and place into a steamer for about  twenty minutes, until they become really soft.

Once they are perfectly soft and beginning to fall apart remove them and add them to a food processor with the pitted dates – this will form one of the sweetest, creamiest, most delicious mixes ever!

Put the remaining ingredients into a bowl, before mixing in the sweet potato date combination. Stir well.

Place into a lined baking dish and cook for about twenty minutes, until you can pierce the brownie cake with a fork bringing it out dry. Remove the tray and allow it to cool for about ten minutes – this is really important as it needs this time to stick together! Remove the brownies from the tray, leaving it another few minutes before cutting them into squares – then dig in and enjoy!

2. Oozey Bluezy Blueberry squares.

The Perfect healthier alternative for when you’re craving sugar. Ingredients include brown rice flour, ground cinnamon, almond milk, ground almonds, fresh blueberries and 100% pure maple syrup.

Ingredients:

– 2 cups of blueberries

– 4 over-ripe bananas

– 1 cup of brown rice flour

– 1 cup of ground almonds

– 1/2 a cup of water

– 4 tablespoons of date syrup

– 4 tablespoons of pure maple syrup

– 2 teaspoons of cinnamon

Start by pre-heating the oven to 180C.

Then place the almonds, flour  in a food processor and blend for a few minutes until a smooth flour forms. Once this has happened, slice the banana into the mix and pour in the water, cinnamon and maple syrup and blend again until smooth. Then use a spatula to scrape all the mixture out of the processor and transfer into a large mixing bowl. Next, stir in the blueberries.

Once the mixture is stirred well transfer the mix into muffin trays, lining them with olive oil if they are not non-stick, and bake for 30-40 minutes – until you can stick a fork until the muffin and pull it out clean. To them out of the oven and allow them to cool!

3. Cacao Puffed Quinoa Krispies. 

Ingredients: 

– 1 and a ½ cups of popped/puffed quinoa (60g)

– 1/3 of a cup of raw cacao powder 
(80g)

– 6 tablespoons of pure maple syrup

– 5 tablespoons of coconut oil

– 2 tablespoons almond butter (or an other nut butter – I didn’t have any in so I left it without. Still tasted pretty good!)

– small/bite-sized cupcake cases

Place the coconut oil, cacao powder, maple syrup and almond butter into a saucepan and gently heat it for a few minutes until it’s totally smooth and melted. While this melts pour the quinoa pops into a mixing bowl.

Once the mix has melted pour it over the quinoa pops and stir it all together, until all the quinoa pops have been covered in chocolate.

Scoop the mix into small cupcake holders and place them in the freezer for twenty minutes or fridge for an hour.

4. Chocolate Chia Seed Cookies

These bad boys consisted of blended almonds, cashews, chia seeds, brown rice flour, medjool dates and a little agave nectar.

Ingredients:

– 1 cup of blended almonds

– 1cup of blended cashews

– 1 cup of brown rice flour

– half a cup of agave nectar

– 3 tablespoons of chia seeds

– 6 medjool dates

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Blend the medjool dates with the cashews and almonds. Add all the ingredients to a bowl and mix well.

Roll the cookie dough into approximately 12 golf ball sized balls and place on the cookie sheet. Flatten with a fork and bake for 10 minutes or until the edges are just starting to crisp.

Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool.

5. Double layered Almond Cake

Ingredients:

For the cake 

– 3 large ripe bananas (340g)

– 1 1/2 mugs almond milk (450ml)

– 6 tablespoons of raw cacao powder

– 2/3 mug agave nectar (200ml)

– 6 tablespoons of coconut sugar

– 3 mugs of brown rice flour

– 1 mug of almonds

– coconut oil (for greasing)

For the icing:

– 2 ripe bananas

– 6 tablespoons coconut sugar

– 6 tablespoons of almond butter

–  2 tablespoons of coconut oil

Preheat the oven to 180C

Place the ripe bananas, almond milk, raw cacao, maple syrup and coconut sugar in a blender and blend until smooth.

Pour the mix into a large mixing bowl and then stir in the rice flour.

Add the almonds to a food processor and whiz for 30 seconds or so until they’re totally crushed, but not completely smooth – like a chunky flour. Stir the crushed almonds into a mixing bowl with everything else.

Grease two 20-25cm cake tins with the coconut oil before evenly distributing the mix between the two.

Place the cakes in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, until the cakes are totally cooked and you can stick a knife into the middle of them and bring it out clean.

Remove the cakes from the oven and allow them to cool for 10-15 mins before icing them.

While the cakes cook, place all of the icing ingredients into a blender with 1/2 mug (150ml) water and blend until smooth, then pour the mix into a bowl and leave it to thicken in the fridge while the cakes cool. Once the cakes are cool, ice them separately all over , then leave them to stand for 5-10 minutes for the icing to set a little. Place one cake on top of the other and pour any extra icing on top.

And there we have, a number of GF, DF, Low Glycemic, Egg Free recipes! If you’re looking for some other healthy and tasty recipes, check out deliciouslyella.com and order her amazing cookbook!

Enjoy! K X

A Sai Kung weekend

Thankfully my boyfriend’s family resides in Sai Kung, which gave us a good reason to have a weekend escape from our Lantau normality. I absolutely love the Sai Kung area as I feel it has so much to offer from some of the best seafood in Hong Kong to the most beautiful beaches. The weather was perfect for a little bit of relaxation and few outdoor activities.

We arrived in Sai Kung early Saturday and decided to have lunch at Classified. We had heard nothing but good things about this chain so our expectations were set rather high.

Chilli fries with Chipotle mayo. 

Crispy Fried Chicken Club with chipotle mayonnaise. This sandwich had the potential to be fantastic but we can confidently say, we have never had chicken as disgusting as this. You should never feel like you’re chewing through cartilage.  It was such a disappointment considering I normally eat strictly Pescetarian and felt like having something different. I certainly won’t be going back there!

After leaving most of our order, we spent the afternoon swimming and playing pool at .COM.

 

.COM is a new establishment which has taken over AQUA +, located in Sai Kung Town. They offer Happy Hour every afternoon of the week and their bar snacks aren’t half bad!

The best nachos ever from .COM

My boyfriend has been yarping on about Seafood since we touched down in Hong Kong 4 months ago so we had to end the day with a trip to Sai Kung Pier.

 

Steamed Fish X Garlic and Chilli Shrimp X Yeung Chow fried rice

Today we woke up to another glorious day and made our way to Tai Long Wan. Despite living in Hong Kong for the majority of 25 years, I am ashamed to say after two previous attempts (due to being led in the wrong direction and protests blocking the entrance) , we had yet to witness the beauty that is Tai Long Wan! Instead of hiking for 3 hours from in 35 degree heat like our first attempt, we caught a taxi to Sai Wan Pagoda and walked 45 mins to Sai Wan Beach.

The walk wasn’t the slightest bit strenuous and the views were beautiful. Reaching the beach was the ultimate highlight of the weekend despite it being more crowded than usual. The water was crystal clear and the sand, powdery white. What more could you ask for really!

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If you’re looking to visit Sai Wan or any of the other Tai Long Wan beaches, I would also recommend catching a 30 minute long-boat which also boasts the coast of Sai Kung and some amazing rock formations. The ferry ride costs between $130-150 per trip and tickets are purchased at the surrounding restaurants.

Thanks Sai Kung for such a wonderful weekend!

Day 1 of healthy eating

Thanks to the lovely weather we we’re graced with this weekend, we unfortunately had to cancel our stay-cation in Sai Kung. Even though my boyfriend grew up in Sai Kung and his family reside there, both him and I have yet to go to Tai Long Wan. Tai Long Wan boasts probably the nicest beach in Hong Kong. This clean, untouched beach has crystal clear water and is only accessible if you hike over or drive by boat. Thankfully, today was much nicer so we took one of our dogs up the mountain here in Discovery Bay for a quick hours walk. I absolutely love hiking and can’t wait to get back into it when the weather cools down and all the creepy crawlies go into hibernation!

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On friday, we had the day off so we decided to go to Soho for lunch. I took my boyfriend to Enoteca, which was one of my favourites back in the day and I couldn’t wait to try all the dishes my friends and I use to devour on a saturday night. The dips here are absolutely delicious and accompany the tapas really well. As I’m newly pescetarian (in the hopes of one day transitioning to vegetarian for environmental and ethical reasons), we steered away from the meat section and ordered an array of tasty yet greasy tapas.

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Rosemary sea salt tossed potato wedges with balsamic dip

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Wild mushroom & parmesan risotto balls

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Herbed fish goujons with chilli-lemon aioli  

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Pan-fried chilli garlic shrimp. Probably the best shrimp I have ever had! The coriander, chilli, garlic, lemon juice flavouring was a serious party in your mouth!

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Lastly, the Creamy brie & roasted garlic with toasted focaccia

And to finish it all off, we headed to Holly Brown for gelato and then a little afternoon Shisha to relive our teenage years. Whilst enjoying this piece of heaven, the guilt started to kick in which led us to promising one another that we would finally start this healthy eating programme our friends have introduced us to.

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People often say, start as you mean to go on. Full of enthusiasm, our weekly shop completed and our food plan in order, we completed day 1 without any problems! Even though it requires A LOT of prep work, it feels great to be cutting out the crap as well as eradicating all of my intolerance foods. I hope to record and blog everything I eat and the changes or frustrations I encounter on the way. However, I must admit, I am already counting down the days until our cheat meal on sunday!

Day 1

Breakfast: 3 egg whites, 1 egg yolk omelette with chia seeds, onion and tomato.

Mid morning (post hike): banana, blueberry and pineapple fruit blend

Lunch: Salmon, half a sweet potato and a cup of broccoli

Mid afternoon (post TRX): Half a cookie’s & cream Quest Bar

Dinner: Atlantic cod with homemade tomato sauce and pak choi

Snack: 2 Oat cookies (mashed banana, GF oats, Agave nectar and brown rice flour)

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This weekend, I purchased my Elle Fit Active E guide bundle (Get Bendy, Get Splits and Get Inverted) I have followed @Elle_fit on Instagram for a while now and have been wanting to try out her guides to accompany my Hit training and weight sessions. I have really tight hip flexors so I can’t wait to get my stretch on and edge myself closer to being able to do the splits.

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Tomorrow is my last day before I start work, studying and early morning get ups. Here’s to a positive, energetic and healthy week ahead.

K.

A long weekend of indulgence

You’re never too short of an amazing view around Hong Kong, especially when the weather has been as beautiful as it has been this summer. This weekend was full of indulgent foods and drink, sun and outdoor activities…just the way it should be.

We had originally planned to try out brunch at Boqueria this weekend but due to a few hung-over beings, we decided not to venture out too far and head down to our local tapas joint in Discovery Bay instead.

As we missed out on the champagne brunch, we thought it would only be fair to order a few watermelon Sangria’s with vodka infused watermelon chunks and mint to accompany lunch. Now these beauties are DELICIOUS yet incredibly strong so I wouldn’t advise ordering one if you’re looking to be somewhat switched on for the remainder of the day! We started off with the chilli and garlic prawns which were cooked to perfection.

Followed by Patatas Bravas, roasted asparagus with garlic and rosemary, chorizo and black truffle and aioli fries.

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I’m not one for the beef cheek and pork belly but the boys all raved on about the tenderness and flavour of these two dishes.

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After a few too many sangria jugs, we decided to go check out what all the fuss was about down on the beach and thank the gods that we did. I don’t care what age you are, a giant, steep inflatable water slide is ALWAYS a good idea! Despite having to queue for 40 minutes, it completely made my weekend!


On Sunday, we did our usual hike from Discovery Bay to Mui Wo with the dogs and set off early to beat the midday heat. Once we arrived at Mui wo, we cabbed it to Pui O to spend the day at the beach.

 

I had never been to Pui O before and had heard great things about it so you can imagine my little amount of disappointment when we turned up and the beach was as packed as a Justin Bieber concert. I don’t know what I was expecting but sewage coloured and smelling water certainly wasn’t it! It must’ve been an off day so we decided to make the most of it by renting out paddle boards and kayaks. It was my first time paddle boarding and even though I was lacking hard-core in the core strength department, it was actually a lot of fun face planting the water. After a while I got the hang of it and can confidently say it won’t be my last time on those waters.

After returning the boards, the crowds started to disintegrate so we went for lunch at Mavericks. This Hawaiian styled restaurant/bar was right up my street! Bob Marley playing through the speakers, seats made out of old skateboards, the whole vibe just reeking of summer. With the food also hitting the spot, this place will be our new beach hangout.

We started with an olive, crouton and manchego cheese nibble and my boyfriend and I split a BLT and pulled pork sandwich. Afterwards, he was still a little peckish and ordered a cookie and ice-cream desert. To our surprise, out came a bloody tower!





With a belly full of grease and regret, a simple thank you Hong Kong for being a grade A stunner this weekend!

K x

Aerial Yoga, Bounce and weekend hiking

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After a much relished week of trying out new things, I found some time in between work and my morning exercise classes to try out some activities I’ve been wanting to doI’m the type of person who is always up for trying new things and loves anything that takes my mind away from the usual routine of life and work.

I’m currently nannying over the summer before starting my new job in August and thought it would be fun to take the kids to Bounce in Kowloon Bay which I have heard great things about. Bounce is a massive indoor trampoline park boasting 100 interconnected trampolines and includes dodgeball parks, basketball hoops and slides which are all based around the trampoline. When I first walked in, I admittedly felt 5 again and had to quickly tone down the excitement and remind myself that I was there for not only my enjoyment but the kids as well. We were given our wristbands and spent the next hour bouncing around like madmen and singing along to the blasting music. The staff were incredibly helpful and friendly and I have to say, unlike their rival park ‘Ryze’ located in North Point, they boast a very low injury statistic.

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My mum and I also decided to try out an Aerial Yoga class at 9 Dragons. We both love to practice Yoga and with my mum being a qualified yoga teacher alliance, she is always intrigued to try out a different style of Yoga. 9 Dragons is located in Tung Chung and is where my boyfriend and I took our Crossfit OnRamp Fundamentals Course. They also happen hold a number of classes, including Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, AntiGravity Yoga and Boot camp.

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We both went in with no expectations and ended up having a really good time! Despite the class starting 15-20 minutes late as it took a long while to set up the silk for each person, the instructor was lovely and made all the beginners feel at ease. The toughest part of the session was putting total trust in your body and the aerial silk and eliminating the fear of falling. It was so much fun attempting all the poses (especially the upside down ones!) and I felt a zen-like bliss after the hanging Shavasana. I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to try out a new class or looking to fit in that hour of relaxation in the day. However, just keep in mind that they charge $250 per drop in class so if you become hooked, it may turn into a rather expensive hobby!

Last weekend, a friend and I decided to stay unfaithful to the usual sunday hangover and got a group of friends together for a sunday hike. We didn’t want to travel too far but also wanted to get a little bit of exercise in so we opted for the Discovery Bay to Mui Wo hike. It’s around an hour and 15 minutes and consists of a few steep hills, a lengthy amount of stairs down and HUNDREDS of tree spiders. We literally had to keep our eyes glued on what was in front of us at all times because my god, I wouldn’t wish walking into one of those things webs on my worst enemy!

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After reaching Silvermine Bay, we decided to stop off at The China Beach Club for some lunch. My family and I have been going to The China Beach Club for around 20 years and I was dying for my boyfriend to experience it. This quaint, old Hong Kong beach townhouse serves some of the best food I’ve had in Hong Kong. It reminds me of summers with my family and it’s a place I will never stop visiting. These pictures really don’t do the food justice, you’ll just have to trust me when I say, the Chilli Cheese Garlic Bread will change your life. 

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A friend of ours decided to pick us all up in his speedboat (yes I do realise I sound like a total expat brat) and take us back to Discovery Bay and relax near the beach. It was one of my dogs first time on a speedboat and she was just so mesmerised by watching water. What a cutie!IMG_20150729_135839

I was also able to try out a few new recipes which cater to my food intolerances (Gluten and Dairy free)!

CHIA SEED CHOCOLATE COOKIES by Deliciously Ella. 

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– 1 cup of almonds

– 1 cup of hazelnuts

– 1 cup of quinoa or buckwheat flour. I used Brown rice (Gluten Free)

– 1/3 of a cup of pure maple syrup or Agave Nectar

– 1/4 of a cup of medjool dates

– 1/4 of a cup of water

– 3 heaped tablespoons of raw cacao powder

– 3 tablespoons of chia seeds

– 2 tablespoons of coconut oil

Throw together ingredients. Blend. Roll. Bake. :)

GLUTEN AND DAIRY FREE PANCAKES

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– 1 cup of GF flour (I used brown rice flour)

– 1 cup of almond milk

– 1 egg

– 2 tsp of Chia Seeds

– Topping: lemon juice and coconut sugar (low glycemic option)

Mix together. Whisk. Pan Fry. 

K x

Home is where the warmth is..

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After a year and a half in London, my boyfriend and I have packed up and returned to the 852! Hong Kong to me is not only my birthplace, my home, my happy place. I had a great time in London and was so grateful to be able to meet some amazing new people as well as catch up with my high school expat brat mates. I got to chance to live in Bayswater, Clapham and Camden and travel around Spain, Greece and Belgium as well as the UK.

I’m a big believer in the idea that your environment shapes everything in your life. That includes people, work, temperature and even scenery. As time went on, I started to get the itch to be back in my natural habitat, humidity, pollution and all. I’ve always known I was an extremely seasonal person and that my wellbeing is dependent on it but after constant chronic fatigue, lack of motivation, a weight gain of a stone and a half (damn you UK street food and dominos!) and a handful of health issues, I couldn’t get back quick enough.

After a very turbulent journey back to HK, we were greeted with a lovely 6 day storm which allowed us to get over probably the worst jet lag we’ve had to date. Its now been 7 weeks since we’ve landed and moved back home and I’m really enjoying seeing old places and faces. I joined my old gym, The HIT room, and have thrown myself into Body Pump, Grit strength and Plyo, hiking and even a little cross fit.

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I feel myself getting fitter as each day goes by but I have always struggled keeping my nutrition in check. I have found it very hard to completely cut out all of my intolerances and enjoy the food i’m consuming but with each week that goes by, I have made small changes which have kept me on the right track. I have also chosen to limit the alcohol I consume as lets be honest, It turns me into the worst possible version of myself (with no filter!) as well as leaves me with 3 day hangovers and palpitations resulting in bad food choices and extreme laziness. Its been tough during social events to not want to keep up with others and i have slipped up a few times..which is sometimes easier trying to explain to young adults that you don’t actually enjoy binge drinking.

It’s been great to be able to have the time to cook meals and try out some new recipes.

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Last month, My mother and I went to a 3 hour seminar at I-Detox where we were taught how to make healthier breakfast alternatives. At only $199 for the session, I came back having learnt (and tested!) a variety of options. Almond Milk (unsweetened and cacao mint), Nut Cheese, Overnight oats and GF breakfast muffins to name a few. I’ve attempted most of the recipes and have found that Cashew Nut Cheese has got to be my favourite! With it being so easy to make and 100% Dairy and Lactose free, I would happily substitute this cheese for any creamy cheese.

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I started out with soaking a cup of Cashew nuts over night to allow them to soak in the water (which will allow a more creamier taste.) After around 10 hours soaking, I drained the water and added my cashews to the blender. I then went on to add 2 probiotics capsules and oregano and cajun seasoning. With half a cup of water added, I blended the mixture until smooth. Using a nut milk bag or a old (unopened!) pair of tights. I placed the mixture in and squeezed out all the excess residue. I let the mixture set for around 10 hours until it represented a firm ball shape. For a less time consuming recipe, blend the soaked cashews and eat as a more hummus type texture.

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Another one of my favourite healthier alternatives I have recently become OBSESSED with, is French Toast! As I can’t say I ever had French Toast as I child, I feel that I have been trying to catch up on missed time. Try this recipe whenever you’re feeling like a treat.

1.Crack open 2 egg whites and 1 egg yolk and whisk
2. Add 2 tsp of Chia seeds and whisk until mixed
3. Heat 2 tsp of Coconut Oil in a frying pan (instead of butter or oil)
4. Dip your slices of Rye Bread into the eggy, chia seed mixture and place in the frying pan to cook.
5. When slightly browning, take out of pan and use 1 tsp of Agave Nectar to cover (instead of honey or maple syrup)
Add Blueberries or strawberries for extra sweetness.

GF & DF Spicy, Saucy, Soft Shell Fish Tacos!

I can’t fathom the fact that it was near 30 degrees in London for multiple days in March and now in the middle of May, the sun is shining, the wind is blowing and I’m still in a jumper! I’m really going to miss the clean fresh air here in the UK but I am certainly looking forward to going back to the heat (smog?) of Hong Kong. As I have yet to embody that summer excitement as the warm months draw nearer, I thought it would be a great time to make my SPICY, SAUCY, SOFT SHELL FISH TACOS (not to mention they are also gluten-free, wheat free, dairy free, egg free, soy free AND full of flavour!

After binging on all the gyros, feta and wine during my trip to Santorini, I have found it hard to get back into the rhythm of watching what I eat and I have definitely started to feel the effects. The headaches are back, the lack of energy has peered its ugly face, I am constantly fatigued at all hours of the day and not to mention the fact that my stomach and face is so bloated I could easily be mistaken for an 8 month pregnant lady. At no fault but my own, it’s time to cut the excuses and give my body back the love it gives to me! I opted for some Tilapia fillets as my local Waitrose didn’t have the largest selection. Sole, red snapper, grouper, halibut or cod also work well. Whatever tickles your fancy. I seasoned the Tilapia with cumin, chilli, paprika, coriander, parsley and a splash of lime juice and placed in the oven for 15 minutes at 200°C.

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Whilst the Tilapia is baking, I prepared my toppings. I wanted to create a balance between spice, sweetness and a buttery flavour. (Avocado makes a great butter alternative and It is loaded with healthy fats, fibre and various important nutrients) IMG_8799

Toppings: I diced some cherry tomatoes, cut some cabbage and watermelon, grilled some red onion and picked some coriander.

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Sauce: I blended 2 avocados with fresh lime juice, almond milk and jalapeños for the spicy creamy sauce.

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For the taco shells I used soft corn tortillas by Cool Chile Co. They are 100% gluten free and contain nixtamalised ground maize, water and sea salt. I absolutely love them and they don’t leave you feeling groggy after.

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Taco: Heat a dry pan until medium hot. Warm each side of the tortilla until toasty but still soft. Lastly, add your toppings and enjoy!

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K

Camden Lock Street Food

Camden Lock has got to be one of, if not, my favourite place to eat in London. If you can withstand the mass amount of people and tourists pushing each other around, the street dealers and the drunks, you cannot be disappointed. The food is incredible with an array of cuisines and tastes and nothing quite beats the quirky vibes attracting an alternative crowd. I think everyone can agree that there is literally never a dull moment whilst walking through Camden.

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I dragged my hungover self to Camden Lock Street Market in the hopes of bringing myself back down to earth with some of my favourite artery clogging dishes. Please keep in mind that there is so much more variety at the lock, it was my alcohol infused body making the not so daring choices!

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Firstly we hit The Mac Factory, whom specialise in gourmet Mac and Cheese. They have a number of flavours which include:

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NostalgicA classic blend of mature cheddar, parmesan and mozzarella

La Med BabeNo nut basil pesto, confit tomato, bocconcini    

Super Mario – Sautéed Portobello mushrooms, truffle oil, oven roast garlic  

Posh Spice – Spicy chorizo, harissa, lyonaisse onion  

The Big Smoke – Home smoked chicken, fire roasted peppers, apple wood smoked cheddar

Blue Jacob – Bbq glazed, slow cooked short rib of beef, danish blue cheese, spring onion

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we opted to share the The Big Smoke which was oozing with cheese and had the optimal amount of flavour and crunch.

As if we hadn’t already gone way over the weekly dairy consumption recommendation, we made our way over to the TOASTITS for the best toastie (grilled cheese for you Americanos) my taste buds have had the pleasure of experiencing. They offer gluten free bread which is always a plus.

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We went our usual cheddar avocado and parmesan mash with Prosciutto and chilli flakes toastie. The cheese was melted to perfection with each of the flavours not too overbearing for the other.

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To end the day, we ventured over to my personal favourite find, COOKIES AND SCREAM. Every product is dairy, egg, wheat and gluten free. All bakes are low fat, boasts low cholesterol and are made with unrefined sugars. This place is extremely popular and with everything freshly baked that morning, you’ll have to make sure you get there before everything runs out!

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We shared The Affogato shake which comes with a fresh shot of espresso. It completely hit the spot and didn’t leave us with the sugar shakes.

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Other favourites from our previous visits include Churros, Churrasco & Wild Game BBQ and Oliver’s Fish & Chips –

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I’m already looking forward to my next hungover venture!

Santorini Part 2

We had one more day to spend with our friends from the states before they flew back to the UK the following day so we decided to rent Quad bikes and go all Dora The Explorer on this island. I felt like we just had to show them Santo Winery which Phil and I had visited for 5 minutes a few days before. It’s located on the hill of Fira and just had the best view, so much so, that we saw about 3 weddings going on whilst we were sat there. After getting over the initial awe of the views, we decided to do a little wine tasting before heading over to Perissa Beach. After my time in Greece, I’ve definitely taken more of an interest in wine and ventured out of my Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot comfort zones. A dry white is the way forward for my little taste buds!

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It was a 20 minute ride to Perissa Beach which involved driving through some real local villages which is always great to see. Perissa Beach is distanced away from all the hustle and bustle but was still pretty touristy..and not in a good way. The actual beach is unexpectedly beautiful with volcanic black sand and pebbles and views of mountain churches, however, the bars and restaurants above just brought the Kitsch factor up by 500%. To make matters worse, the service and food were just awful. I’ve never had tougher calamari in my life, it was like chewing through an iron bar! I can’t say I would recommend staying anywhere near Perissa Beach, especially during high season.

We headed back to Fira and hit Theoni’s restaurant for one last portion of the feta cheese fries and seafood.

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The next day we decided to stay around Fira and check out some local hotspots. Our hotel recommended a restaurant called Chefs Garden and as many do with recommendations from locals, you take with a pinch of salt, due to the fact that it can just be a case of mass promotion. We decided to try it out on a Sunday afternoon and were a bit hesitant as there was no one else in the place. We were absolutely blown away! I would definitely recommend trying the sausage with mustard and honey, the grilled sea bass with oven roasted brussels sprouts (so meaty!) and the tomato and crushed feta seafood saganaki. Service was fantastic and as the lovely Greeks do, we were presented with a rich chocolate orange soufflé and ice-cream with our bill.

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We followed dinner with cocktails at a bar which was highly recommended on TripAdvisor called Palia Kameni. The bar was split into 4 levels and had couches all facing the sunset. It was such a lovely location to watch the sunset and what made it even better was the unlimited Prosecco for 20 Euros. As soon as we had put one glass down, a refill would magically appear in front of our eyes in seconds. Perfection.

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On our last full day, we decided to make one last trip to Oia to catch the sunset. We had read that you could hike from Fira to Oia in around 3 hours and that the views were spectacular. I absolutely love hiking and haven’t been able to do any since I left Hong Kong for London so I was extremely excited! We left Fira with massive bottles of water and no expectations of what was ahead of us. Thankfully the hike wasn’t that physically demanding at all which allowed us to take our surroundings in and finish within just over 2 hours. I think overall, this was probably one of my most favourite experiences during my time in Santorini, coming after first settings eyes on Oia. Santorini really does have an energy about it that you just can’t explain, must be something to do with it being Volcanic lands.

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We had a quick snack at Ammoudi’s Fish Tavern  (Baked Feta in a crisp leaf, covered in honey and sesame seeds. YUM) and then relucatantly said our farewells to Oia and caught the 20 minute bus back to Fira wedged between a pervert and an old woman. Like I said in my pervious post, I wouldn’t recommend using the bus service unless you don’t mind not being able to move an inch or breath without inhaling someones sweaty armpit.

Santorini exceeded all my pre consumptions and I am so thankful that I was able to visit this island with my boyfriend and meet all the people I did. I will be seeing you in the not so distant future Santorini! 

Santorini Part 1

I booked flights to Santorini as a Christmas present for my boyfriend and I back in December. We had chosen to go at the end of April to beat the swarm of tourists as well as treat ourselves to one last European adventure before we head back to Asia. I chose Santorini as it has been number 1 on my bucket list since I can remember (I have to admit The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants was a huge influence!) Stupidly enough, neither of us really checked the temperature before hand and were shocked to find out even though it was sunny it was still quite cold. Thankfully after a couple days of nearly freezing to death in our summer array, the weather warmed up to about 20-23 degrees.

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We set our alarm for 3am and made our way to Gatwick airport bright eyed and bushy tailed with no expectations, plans or recommendations for the 8 days ahead (Just the way it should be) The flight took 3 hours and boasted great views of Belgium, The French Alps, Spain, Croatia and the ever so beautiful Grecian lands. We were met by the friendly Chris of Evgenia Villas (http://www.evgeniavillas.com) located in Fira. Fira is the capital of the island and is only 10 minutes away from the airport. It caters to both the culture seekers and party goers so we definitely picked the right place!

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On our first day we were both completely knackered so we sampled our first Gyros (What dreams are made of) and had a couple drinks & Shisha at Two Brothers Bar. I would highly recommend this bar to anyone visiting Santorini. It’s probably the most popular bar in Fira and the staff are lovely and definitely do not hold back on the spirits when making your drink.

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The following day we rented Quad bikes and drove up the coast to Oia. We drove through a number of towns, saw a number of beaches and quite a few of the 300 churches located on the island. (Quad biking is definitely the way to go as it’s allows you to hop on and off whenever you please and not become victim to the hellish bus service company who push as many people onto it as they physically can.)

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I had heard that Oia was thee place to see and MY GOD it exceeded my expectations on every level. It really is as picturesque and serene as it is in pictures and has such an amazing energy to it. I found myself getting frustrated at the fact that my pictures could just not measure up to what I was seeing in front of my eyes. Hundreds of people flock to Oia to capture the sunset each and every night, even thousands during high season. I’ll tell you what though, It could’ve been bloody Chinese New Year in Hong Kong with the amount of Mainlanders walking about screeching! The majority of restaurants even had separate Chinese menus – Crazy!

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We had been recommended a Restaurant by the hotel at Ammoudi Bay which was just below Oia. It was a little fishing village on the waters edge with the view of the volcano and the most amazing backdrop of Oia. (For those who aren’t aware – Santorini is a volcanic island and was originally shaped like a full moon but due to the The Minoan volcanic eruption of Thera in the mid-second millennium BCE and it now stands in the shape of a half moon.) We sipped on our new favorite dry white wine, Sigalas, before heading back to Fira. I was also conveniently bitten by the restaurant cat and spent the next couple days in absolute fear that I had contracted rabies or some other animal related disease. People who know me well know that I am the biggest worry wart so after questioning a number of people like a mad woman and even a pet shop owner (cringe) I was given the all clear to enjoy the rest of my holiday and not annoy my poor boyfriend with ‘what if’ questions.

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It was the third day of our trip and we still had the morning to take the Quad Bike out before having to reluctantly return it, so we headed to Pygros just south of Fira for a little morning coffee at Franco’s Cafe. It was such a quiet and quaint town with some beautiful churches (excuse my constant use of beautiful and stunning. Visit Santorini and you will understand there is no other way to explain it.) Back at the hotel we met a few groups of people but in particular really hit it off with two American guys, Hunter and James, whom were both on an exchange semester in the UK. From then we ended up spending the majority of our holiday with them. We invited them out for dinner and drinks that night and ended up at a new restaurant which James had found on Trip Advisor, Theoni’s. The food was unbelievable and very well priced . We ordered chips in a creamy feta sauce, grilled sea bream, shrimp, tzatziki..ah I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. We then hit Two Brothers Bar for more drinks and more dancing.

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A Foodies WORST Nightmare

All my life I have suffered with severe fatigue, bloatedness, lack of energy, headaches, joint pains, dizziness…you name it, I experience it on a daily basis. I can’t actually remember the last time I woke up feeling refreshed with at least one or more of the symptoms above. After trying to live a healthier life, exercising regularly and educating myself on nutrition, I had hoped to see improvements. Frustratingly enough, after completing an intolerance test, my worst nightmare has peered it’s evil little head.  I’m going to have to be one of those Gluten Free, Dairy free assholes. 

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My report came back and I have a long list of Intolerance’s Ranging above 90%. Wheat, dairy, egg whites, soy, flaxseed, lentils, rye,  lettuce (who on earth is intolerant to five different types of LETTUCE?) green beans, sheep & cows milk. This concludes that I will no longer get to indulge in the food of gods…. cheese. Bread. No pizza, no chocolate, no eggs, no bakery items, only a small number of sauces, only a small number of meats as wheat flour or soy is literally in everything! #$%!^&!!! 

After cutting out all the above and spending countless minutes reading the ingredients of every single food item I laid my hands on, I started to feel great. I was sleeping well (apart from the occasional disturbances from my snorlax boyfriend), bursting with energy and wasn’t really experiencing any symptoms, bar anger and frustration. However, by day 5, my body was experiencing withdrawal symptoms and turning me into a complete and utter psycho. I felt angry at the world for no particular reason and I felt like I was truly craving processed crap like my life depended on it. Since then, I have had a large number of weak moments which have resulted in painful symptoms for the next 2-3 days.

After attempting to eliminating my intolerances for the second time, I have purchased Deliciously Ella’s book for some inspiration. Her book is filled with gorgeous looking recipes, full of colour, with a number of alternatives to your favourite junk food items. I would highly recommend this book to everyone and anyone interested in nutrition and clean eating. Although you’ll need a good trip (and pricey one at that) to your nearest WholeFoods or local organic shop, her recipes are all pretty simple! Check them out here, http://deliciouslyella.com 

Below I attempted her Sweet Potato Brownies –

Ingredients - sweet potato, medjool dates, ground almonds, spelt flour, raw cacao powder, organic 100% pure maple syrup.
Ingredients – sweet potato, medjool dates, ground almonds, brown rice flour, raw cacao powder, organic 100% pure maple syrup.

and an inspired version of her blueberry muffins…..

Ingredients: Brown rice flour, ground cinnamon, almond milk, ground almonds, fresh blueberries and 100% organic maple syrup
Ingredients: Brown rice flour, ground cinnamon, almond milk, ground almonds, fresh blueberries and 100% organic maple syrup

and for all you pancake lovers, who actually can consume egg (weehh) and you’re craving a full english on a sunday morning, try this healthier breakfast alternative my boyfriend & I created –

Quinoa flakes, 2 egg whites, almond milk and chia seeds, topped with blueberries. Nom dot com! (Ignore the bacon, naaat so healthy!)
Quinoa flakes, 2 egg whites, almond milk and chia seeds, topped with blueberries. Nom dot com! (Ignore the bacon, naaat so healthy!)

The road to giving up meat.

I’ve wanted to be vegetarian since as long as I can remember. There has been this little bothersome voice in my head reminding me of the hypocrisy I’ve been living everyday. How can I love animals so much when I spend every single day supporting their deaths by eating their flesh?  I’ve managed to find every excuse in the book for not turning vegetarian, from worrying about my protein intake (laughable when you see these two former meat loving bodybuilders turn Vegetarian – Youtube Link) to giving up my worlds biggest bacon lover title. After stumbling upon a number of slaughterhouses videos on Facebook and reading this one poem that stuck out to me like a sore thumb, I finally thought enough is enough, I can no longer justify hiding my eyes from all the lives I’ve taken for food consumption. I am not deserving or worthy of killing an innocent animal so why have I thought so for so long?

Before you start rolling your eyes at yet another animal loving, hippy living, meat bashing rant, realise that this is not one. I have spent 25 years eating meat and I will admit, Meat is delicious. Steak is delicious. Bacon is delicious. Fried chicken is delicious. I am a strong believer that everyone should have a choice…. but I’ve made mine and my choice should not affect anyone else around me. Throughout school, we are taught that everyone is different and to celebrate our differences. So why is when someone gives up meat, it is seen as a negative socially? Just a little plant-based food ;) for thought.

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It’s been around 3 months since I’ve cut out poultry and my current diet is 85% vegetarian, 15% pescetarian. I have noticed slight changes in my energy levels and health but I’m not going to lie,  I have also had a couple slip ups in that time! Once I’ve educated myself more on having a healthy plant based lifestyle choice, I will eliminate seafood. It has been a challenge at times and change won’t happen overnight, but any step towards veganism or vegetarianism to me, is a step in the right direction.

Now enough of the self evaluations! Here are some of my favourite HEALTHY pescetarian/vegetarian meals: (Not included, pictures of my nacho and pizza binges! oh fuck it, here’s a pic below)

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FOREVER DREAMING OF NACHOS AND JALAPENO POPPERS

Homemade Veggie Lasagna: 

Made with brown rice pasta sheets (Gf) and Eggplant as layers.

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Salmon on a mixed chilli bean salad with avocado, feta, jalapeños and spring onion. 

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Pulled Salmon (seasoned with Manuka honey and chilli powder) with Sweet Potato Wedges

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Salmon and Sweet potato cakes

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Gluten Free Fish Tacos

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Tomato Chickpea Curry

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Quorn Shepards Pie

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A salmon burger w/ avo, feta and caramelised onions and lemon roasted brussel sprouts and sweet potato.

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Omelette 1: 3 egg chia seed omellete with crumbed feta, spinach, onion and pesto

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A Chickpeas, capsicum, spinach, cucumber, red onion, halloumi and crispy noodles with an apple cider vinegar dressing salad

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Omelette 2: chia seeds, 3 eggs (2 whole, 1 egg white) midget trees, tomato, red onion, olives, goats milk feta and a dash of cayenne pepper

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Quinoa, cayenne peppered salmon, brocolli and goats milk feta mashup salad

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Chilli cauliflower rice with cashews, raisins and chickpeas.

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If you want to know any of the recipes, shoot me a comment and i’ll direct the info your way :)

Belgium

For Christmas this year, my family & I wanted to break tradition of a Christmas and New Years in Hong Kong and indulge in our first legitimate wintery wonderland-esque holiday. Much to my delight, with my extreme fear of flying, we opted to take the Eurostar to Brussels for a 4 day mini-cation. With absolutely no preconceived idea of what Belgium had to offer (apart from chocolate and beer), it was great to have no expectations and the ability to explore.

We spent the first day in Brussels and checked into The Queen Anne Hotel, located conveniently within a 10 minute taxi between the North, South and Central stations. Everything about our stay at The Queen Anne was perfect. The staff were extremely helpful and friendly, the beds were unbelievable comfortable and location was a god send. I would highly recommend for anyone visiting Brussels who doesn’t have a large budget. The only downfall admittedly was having a satanic child staying across from us who was more than happy to scream it’s lungs for no apparent reason for about half an hour each morning.

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Our first day was spent walking around the centre, visiting the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula, the Christmas Market (Grote Markt) and my most favourite of all, The Grand Place. The light show was magnificent! so so magical. It’s just one of the things where no explanation will do it justice.

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On the second day, we caught an hours train to Antwerp, where my uncle resides. We spent the day tasting a variety of Belgian beer (Cherry Liefmans for the win!) and Glühwein (in our attempt to dodge the rain), wandering the christmas market to see the Silvius Brabo statue and finishing off the day with a lovely 5 course dinner at Jeanty’s.

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On Christmas Day, we hopped one another train to Bruges. Bruges was filled with cobbled streets, chocolatiers and little beer factories. Such an enchanted little city.

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We travelled back to Brussels for Boxing Day which we spent relaxing and wandering around before our train back to London. My experience of Belgium was one I had not expected and I’ve genuinely fallen in love with it’s town and cities (There are restaurants dedicated to varieties of chips. HEAVEN on earth).

Thanks mother dearest for a great christmas holiday. K

The Move.

It’s been just over a week since Phil & I made the move from Bayswater to Clapham and so far I am loving it! With the common literally on our doorstep, I have settled in rather quickly (nature galllllll). Bayswater was the perfect place to live in for the first part of my London adventure and being within walking distance of Notting Hill and Hyde Park was a god send but all good things must come to an end!

During this week, I have managed to experience my first bavarian beer house, produce a selection of cold pressed juicer from my new braun juicer (I am obsessed), turn 25 years young (lacking grace of course..who doesn’t cry on their birthdays?) and was treated to a spa day in Shepherds Bush by the lovely boyfriend and a celebratory dinner with Hong Kong friends at the famous Bodeans. For someone who has attempted Pescetarianism for the last few weeks (and rather enjoying it!), I just knew my birthday would end up being an exception.  Their menu includes brisket, pulled pork, hot dogs, ribs and much more. We opted for Nachos as a starter and then shared The Bodeans Platter (A selection of Spare Ribs and Baby Back Ribs, Burnt Ends, Pulled Pork and Chicken Thighs, served with Fries and Coleslaw) and my god, everything was so succulent and flavoursome. I would highly recommend this establishment to any Londoners who have yet to experience this level of meat heaven.

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To carry on the festivities, one of my oldest HK friends treated me to a painting pottery morning at SammyDuder located in Battersea. I have always been the type to enjoy anything creative and jumped at the chance to get my hands dirty post night out, sans hangover (luckily). The shop was a full of pastel colours and bunting..pretty much a little girls dream. The pottery ranged from teapots to plates to christmas ornaments. They had it all.

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I opted to paint a small plate (£10) and a Christmas ornament (£4).  A studio fee of £5 covers the processing costs and then they glaze and fire the piece, ready for you to pick up 10 days later.  It was such a fun and a surprinsingly therapeutic experience and I hope to drag friends there in the next couple of weeks to make a start of Xmas gifts.

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For more info, check out: http://www.sammyduder.com

K

Berkshire.

This weekend, Phil & I went to visit his mum before she returns to Hong Kong for the winter season. I always love leaving the hustle and bustle of London and venturing into the calm depths of Berkshire. This weekend was a fairly relaxed one full of that autumn feeling. Exactly what I needed.

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As I’m 5 days into Pescetarianism, I have been craving chicken and steak like you wouldn’t believe! I knew it was going to be hard when it came finding alternate vegetarian/pescetarian recipes but trying to ensure I have enough protein in my diet. I couldn’t help but pop into Holland & Barrett to grab some Chia Seeds which I love adding to my morning egg white omelettes and smoothies. I also decided to try adding a morning shot of Aloe Vera to my routine as my best friend swears by it! She’s seen improvements in her hair, skin and digestion in just over a week.

Over the weekend, we opted for simple salmon & white fish dishes, spinach and potato. I was bugged down with headaches and the been hit by the bus hangover type feeling which I hope was due to the shift in diet. As I start day 5, I woke up feeling full of energy and not hating life (Mondays are NEVER easy). I’m hoping my energy levels only get better.

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After returning from Berkshire, We spent the night watching mind numbing TV whilst indulging in Dominos (extra cheese, always extra cheese), drinking my fav merlot and searching for places to stay in Brussels over Christmas. Perfecto.

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K

Tips for Model Newbies

Venturing into the modelling world

Ever since the sunday nights spent watching America’s Next Top Model with my mum and sister circa 2006, I have always had a strong interest in the modelling and editorial world. Unfortunately, I wasn’t exactly blessed with the looks, height and figure one would require so I’ve taken the alternative route and have experienced an internship at a corrupt agency in HK and am now working as a booker for a wonderful agency in London. Summing up my time spent in this industry so far, I’ve come across my fair share of naturals, wanna be’s and developers and from my experience, here are things I’ve picked up along the way.

When in doubt, don’t fake it out. When it comes to castings, inner confidence is key. You don’t need to be extra loud or quirky to gain our attention. Be yourself and let your personality shine through. Whether you spend your weekends bird watching or dancing awkwardly to hipster tunes down Shoreditch.

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 Don’t lie about your height. We spend a lot of our time measuring and analysing bodies. We will know your dress size and height before you get the chance to even introduce yourself.

Always be on time, whether it be for a job or a casting which you should regard as a job interview. Impressions are everything in this industry and there will always be a model out there just as attractive as you and more willing to to take their job seriously. Yes you may have a perfectly semetrical face or hair like Robert Pattinson but time is money people. If you live in London, where tubes are being delayed left, right and centre, make sure to always contact the client, making them politely aware of the delay. And definitley don’t lie about why you’re late if your memories lacking.

Wear clothes and undergarments which are comfortable and plain. Don’t draw the attention away from yourself by sporting your feathery, neon, bird cage dress. For women, I would suggest a black or white spaghetti top and leggings making it easier to be measured in. And ladies, try to lay of the fake tan and heavy make up. Ever heard the saying, Less is more?

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Master your angles. Top models of today have spent countless hours in front of their bedroom mirrors, pulling faces even Cara Delevingne would be proud of. Photographers love a model who can move in front of the camera so leave any embarrassment at the door and study your face and body until it comes naturally . If the mirror isn’t working for you, try out a dance class or take numerous daily selfies (the only time this is acceptable!) For some inspiration check out Coco Rocha’s 50 poses in 30 seconds – 

Try to keep a healthy lifestyle. Think of your face and body as your skill, your product and expertise. No make up artist wants to spend an hour longer than usual attempting to minimise your bags from last nights Jeager bombs. Drink at least 2 Litres of water a day, keep active & healthy and get sufficient sleep (especially the night before a job)

and lastly, let go, relax and have fun. Inexperienced models tend to get very nervous (which is totally justified!) and start to tense up, normally with the mouth tensing up first, resulting in awkward faces. A way to fix this is attempt to make horse sounds with a closed mouth or having a good laugh. Don’t be afraid to try something new and take a risk. From the photographers point of view, you can never look too ridiculous. It’s better to have a few awkward posed frames then 100’s of the same look.

K