Fitness update & HK’s best veggie/vegan restaurants (Vegan Char Sui??) :O

What a beautiful sunny week it’s been in Hong Kong!

I am now only 10 days away from completing the 8 week fitness challenge and I wanted to continue to write a short update on the second half as well as the lead up to the final fitness tests. I can’t believe how fast it’s flown by!

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Week 5 started off great. I was feeling healthy and active and continued to build strength and endurance, I was on cloud 9! It wasn’t until week 6 that I had suddenly felt like I had been hit with a tonne of bricks. My joints ached, my muscles were tight and I felt fatigued. I no longer had the energy I had built up over the last 5 weeks and even though I was eating the same foods and exercising the same amount, I just felt tired. Just as I started to feel panicky and frustrated, the fitness challenge nutritionist, Lisa Tarquini from Eat Move Glow , sent the email below and suddenly I realised I needed to take a couple days rest, fuel my body and reset.. which is exactly what I did :)

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As well as cutting down my exercise, this week was filled with friends and family birthdays and surprise engagement parties which meant quite a few naughty days. By the end of the week, I was bloated yet satisfied!

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After my glorious 2 days of rest and eating my heart out, I have started week 7 with determination and gratitude. I am pushing through the burn and loving every second of it. Today was the first 6am spin class where I didn’t feel out of breath and for me, that is a milestone!

 

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  • If you’re feeling hungry, It’s probably your body asking to be nourished. Don’t obsess over calories and do not go to bed hungry after a workout.
  • I have noticed in the past couple of weeks that slight glimpses of borderline obsession have peaked it’s ugly head. I have started to feel GUILTY that I’m only exercising for an hour a day…which after a chat with a colleague, I realised how ridiculous that is. Each day, for that hour, I am giving it my all, whether it’s spinning, attempting to increase my body pump weights, HIT training, Bootcamp or Strongman training, I am trying my best to push that little bit extra each session. So, why do I feel that unless I exercise 2 hours a day, I am unfit?
    I have taken part in an 8 week challenge to improve my fitness, raise money for Bali Kids and make a lifestyle change, not to obsess. I am now in a routine where I no longer dread exercise, it is just a part of my day which comes and goes. I was constantly comparing myself to my fitness level 2 years ago where I could do an hour of Grit Strength, an hour of cardio and an hour hike and feel absolutely fine. It is important to keep reminding myself that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Day by day I am getting fitter and stronger, whilst actually enjoying myself. That’s most important.
  • Take the time to relax and treat yourself. Take Epson salt baths, book massages, yoga classes..anything to make your body feel looked after.

 

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I set myself the below goals for the final week:-

– Fit in more yoga sessions as I LOVE this practice.

– Loose at least a kilo

-Do one of HK’s many beautiful hikes

– Stop snacking on pita chips and make some filling snacks like protein balls!

-Don’t look at Week 8 as the end of a challenge but the end of the beginning. I fully intend on keeping my routine change as my new lifestyle.

-Raise more donations for the Bali Kids cause. If you’re interested in supporting this amazing cause, please donate to HERE!

Now moving on to something just as important to me…. FOOD! Over the last couple of weeks, I have been on the hunt for vegan friendly restaurants around Hong Kong as there is only so much I can take of having to pester waiters every time I dine out. I had heard of these 2 restaurants online and not meaning to sound over the top in the slights but THEY HAVE CHANGED MY LIFE!!!

The first was newly opened HOME – Eat to Live. Not only does this place sport beautiful and cosy interior but, the menu had me more excited than the time Back Street Boys were rumoured to be touring Asia.

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I ordered a custom flatbread with olives, falafel, roasted red onion, spinach, classic alioli and roasted garlic hummus and a side of sweet potato fries. I am not sure what I was expecting a flatbread to look like, but a wrap was not it. No complaints here though, the food was delicious!!

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A meal deal came with your flatbread of choice, a side, a healthy version of lemonade, your choice of sauces and small bar of raw dairy free chocolate.

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The flatbread was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, flaky and grilled… oh my days, get me back there.

And now, for the best bit of the meal and one of the best dessert ever to grace my tongue, THE RAW HAZELNUT CHOCOLATE SLICE. Hand crafted by angels, constructed by kings and queens and sprinkled with fairy dust. This was heavenly. Nutty, chocolatey, rich in flavour and so addictive.

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Now for the restaurant that I decided to drag my boyfriend along to last night, which genuinely nearly wanted me to cry happy tears. The Loving Hut is one of 200 worldwide 100% vegan restaurants. Being Vegan and dining out at Chinese restaurants is pretty much a no-go so you can imagine my happiness when I found out this place did VEGAN CHAR SUI BAO (life changing). Funnily enough, I had been craving them earlier this week…must’ve been The Law of Attraction hey?

Although this place was far from fancy, it was warm and friendly and everything you need it to be.

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We ordered the char sui bao (bbq ‘pork’ dumplings) and the veggie dumplings to start. They were everything I had dreamed of and more.

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For the mains we ordered the Char Sui with vermicelli noodles and a noodle laksa. The mock meat char sui looked and tasted so similar! It was crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside with a tasty BBQ glaze. Next time I’m back, this will be the first thing I order. (Hello boyfriend, can we go this weekend, please?!)

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Lastly, we shared a Tiramisu. It didn’t exactly taste like tiramisu (needed some alcohol!) but was still enjoyable.

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The loving hut offers food ranging from vegan pizza and french fries to Ramen and fried rice. If you’re veggie or vegan, or just enjoy veggie foods, you MUST try this place out. I can guarantee you it will not disappoint.

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Have a great week and I hope your days are as happy as I am with my ‘pork’ bun :)

 

 

 

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Carnivore approved Black Bean and Chickpea Burgers! #Vegan

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For the first few weeks into my 30 day vegan challenge, I had this intense feeling of FOMO when it came to letting go of the usual dishes I have grown up with and burgers were one of them. At first, I found it rather hard having to give up my usual junk food treats such as pizza, burgers and desserts, but I soon realised that you can make a vegan alternative to nearly EVERY single dish.

So here’s my take on an easy, cheap, simple, healthier version of a burger:

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 INGREDIENTS

Vegan chickpea and black bean burgers (6 servings)
  • 1 tin (425 grams) chickpeas
  • 1 tin (425 grams) blackbeans
  • 1 cup of oats
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1/2 tbsp himalayan salt (or regular table salt if needed)
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

(If you don’t have any of the above seasonings, just add whatever seasonings you fancy!)

1. Blend 1 cup of oats in a blender until it reaches a flour consistency.

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2. Add your garlic, paprika, oregano, salt, pepper, cumin, chilli powder and olive oil and mix.
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3. Rinse your chickpeas and black beans.
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4. Mix beans with the oat flour and mash together. (Add a little water if the mixture is too dry or add a little flour if too wet)
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5. Roll into balls and flatten and then refrigerate for 20 minutes. When ready, cook in frying pan with a tbsp of olive oil until the surface is browning and crispy.
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And don’t forget the oven roasted rosemary chippies!
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6. Create your burger! I added half an avocado, red onion and ketchup to my burger bap.
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7. Enjoy your burger! Enjoy it even more because no animals were harmed for your tastebuds and your digestive system will thank you :)
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5 minutes that changed my life.

Happy Easter, friends!

If you’re sick of hearing about my transition to Vegan then I would simply close the tab pronto.

If you read my blog from time to time, you would have seen that I took part in 30 days of Vegan where I cut out all meat, dairy and any animal by-products. Whilst it is something I feel very strongly about and continue to document, I too can remember a point where I would constantly roll my eyes at certain vegan Facebook friends who never stopped posting about animal rights. I found them annoying and inappropriate, but after completing 30 days and involving myself within vegan communities, I found myself turning into that very person I use to find irritating.

I found these people irritating because it was easier than facing the facts, it was easier to not feel guilt over my pizza binges, my love of a good burger and be blindingly ignorant. Ignorance REALLY is bliss. To think thousands of animals have been slaughtered for my taste buds during my lifetime, died at my expense for what? For 10 minutes of satisfaction? Now, I am fully aware that my strong opinions will annoy individuals, I may even loose friendships over my choices, but at the end of the day, I feel that this route is for me and if I can open at least one persons eyes to this cruelty free, healthy, environmentally friendly way of life, I feel that my job on this earth is done.

So. I officially completed 30 days of Vegan last week and what did I do? I had a 4 day cheese BINGE. I dug a cheese filled hole full of pizza’s, mac and cheese’s, mozzarella panini’s and cooked and ate half a block of hulloumi for the sake of it. What made me do it? I have no idea. I congratulated myself and convinced myself that if I have a little bit of cheese here and there it won’t be that bad, at least an animal won’t die…right? I was then recommended to watch a 5 minute video and from there, my eyes were well and truly opened and my life forever changed. I can now confidently and happily call myself Vegan and will never consume dairy again.

If you’d like to know the truth behind the dairy industry, please click on the link below.

Now back to the weekend….I feel like I haven’t stopped moving and have had such a great, much needed weekend with family and friends.

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SATURDAY & SUNDAY – We woke up early and decided to stay at my boyfriends mum’s house in Sai Kung whilst she was away on holiday. We took the dogs to the beach where I had never seen them happier and then on to Classified for some lunch.

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I ordered the Pomegranate & Mango smoothie which included pomegranate kernels, mango, spinach, organic raw cacao and flax seed. It was delicious! Their menu had a variety of 12 different smoothie mixes which is great to see.

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I then ordered the dish that started off my cheese binge! Mac’n’Cheese.

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We spent the next two days relaxing in the sun, going for walks and watching our dogs run riot in the garden.

MONDAY: The following day, I woke up and devoured a oats bowl full of peanut butter, blueberries, oats, cinnamon and coconut shavings.

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Despite my extreme fatigue from consuming all that cheese, my boyfriend dragged me on a mini hike to Mui Wo with one of our friends. Of course we had to stop off at our favourite restaurant, The China Beach Club.

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TUESDAY: Today I caught up with a friend over some Mexican food. I was a little worried that I wouldn’t find any Vegan options, but how silly was I! Mexican is one of the easily adaptable cuisines when it’s a staple consist of corn tortillas, avocado, salsa, black beans, jalapeños and rice etc. This tortilla bowl salad was THE ONE!

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I also tried passionfruit for the first time and oh my days, why did no one ever tell me about the watermelon + passionfruit combo!!

What did you get up to over the Easter holidays?

 

OH MY GOD. BEING VEGAN IS SO HARD.

A couple days ago, whilst attempting to make plans with a friend, he mentioned we could go to a restaurant ‘for vegetables’ due to my dietary needs. It just got me thinking how HARD it is being Vegan, just having to eat vegetables all day. I mean, I could go as far as saying it is probably one of the HARDEST things I’ve EVER done.

I mean it is just so HARD eating pancakes with agave nectar and blueberries.

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Soy based Coffee ice-cream milkshake? YUCK YUCK YUCK. 

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I mean Samosa’s….. EWWW

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Moo-free Chocolate covered strawberries??? THAT IS SO WRONG. 

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Salads with  colourful and nutritious veg? I CANT EVEN.

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Oatmeal cookies…NO NO NO.

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Smashed avocado toast with paprika… AVOCADO IS THE DEVIL.

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Curries with vegetable pakora? HELL NAW.

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Even chips with curry sauce….. GROSE.

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Veggie burgers with onion rings, avocado and bbq sauce… VOMCANO. 

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PASTA’S….Garlic pasta in white wine sauce and olive oil… THAT’S JUST NUTS.

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Red wine with Oreo’s… WHAT IN GODS NAME!

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Cold pressed fruit and veggie juices…ERGH.

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Sweet potato and hummus? THINGS ARE GETTING OUT OF HAND NOW. 

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Massaman curry and spring rolls? THIS IS MADNESS.

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That doesn’t even cover all the awful nuts like almonds, cashews, peanuts and grains like rice and couscous, risottos. Don’t even get my started on those vile fruits like mangos, watermelons, berries and vegetables like butternut squash, pumpkin, peppers eggplant.

Being Vegan is just too damn hard.

Have a good week ya’ll!

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Weekend Blog: Brunches, BB gun wars and Burritos.

Apologies for the lack of posts (for those who read this blog!) The last week has definitely been a busy one. The first reason being, was that is was my the second anniversary of my dad’s death, which is always a tough time mentally, physically and emotionally, but it has also involved a couple nights of remembrance dinners and drinks. We decided that instead of eating out, I would cook dinner for the family and we would listen to all his old music. As I’m the only herbivore of the pack, I wanted to put out a spread which I know everyone would enjoy. It was a lovely night of memories, good food and paying our respects.  It also happened to be one of the best sunsets I have seen in a while.

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I prepared some roasted sweet potato and pumpkin, a Greek salad (without feta), hummus, olive dip, avocado dip, salsa, pull apart pesto bread,  and other tapas. I also bought some cold cuts and chicken for the carnivores.

On Saturday morning, we made our way to our friend’s 30th birthday brunch at The Grill Grand Hyatt Hotel in Wan Chai. I was a little unsure that I’d be able find vegan options considering the brunch specialised in meat and seafood ,but thankfully there were a range of Vegetarian options and a few Vegan options I could choose from. The quality of food was  a lot higher than some of the other brunches I have tried. Paired with free flowing Champagne, what’s not to like? I’d even go as saying this brunch may be one of the best in Hong Kong. 

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We awoke on sunday with slight hangovers so we decided to make some vegan pancakes! These pancakes are so easy to make and just include brown rice flour, mushed banana and your choice of sugar (we used coconut sugar). We added some cacao nibs and paired the pancakes with some mango. Delicious!

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Post lunch, we took our fur babies for a mini hike up the mountain not far from our house. As sad as it sounds, it totally made my weekend watching the rascals run around the rock pools like mad with their new puppy friends.

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After some much needed relaxation time by the rock pools, we headed back to get ready for our second birthday party of the weekend, which was at a BB GUN WAR ZONE! 4 hours of BB gun wars with 3 different maps = ultimate fun. I have to admit that the combination of experiencing some painful close up shots to the arm and not having protective shoes, the fear got the better of me and I took a few breaks. However, it was ended up being one of the more fun Sunday nights I’ve had in a while and definitely beat my usual routine of binge watching reality TV shows. Oh, AND I even got to order my favourite vegan burrito from Cali Mex ;)

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Thank you again for a great weekend!

Follow me on instagram: @maiden_hk

A week of firsts – Weddings, vegan pizza and Maid Of Honor surprise!

My first week of adapting to the vegan lifestyle has flown by. It hasn’t been a week of feeling deprived and unsatisfied, like I had originally nervously anticipated. After the first 4 days, I started noticing so many changes within myself and my body. Even though it has only been a week, my energy levels have slightly improved, my brain fog has lessened and my junk food cravings have started to diminish. The he majority of what I’m eating are carbs but I do find myself filling my plates with a variety of fruit, veg and legumes instead of breads, pastas and vegan junk food. I have been trying my best to adopt a healthy mindset and look at food as fuel, rather than a treat and whether I end up feeling the best I ever have or I end up piling on loads of weight, and I’m excited to see where this may take me.

Earlier this week, I stumbled across this vegan pizza recipe from Minimalist Baker and just had to try it! Paired with a Greek salad (without feta), I recreated this pizza for a midweek treat. Being the pizza fanatic that I am, I was once again pleasantly surprised with the alternative options vegans have these days.

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Below are some of the other meals I’ve had during the week:

Quinoa bowl with broccoli, sweet potato, peppers, cucumber and onion. 

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Cauliflower rice with a tomato lentil sauce and roasted butternut squash.

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Passion green juice @ Mana

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My favourite after work go to, sweet potato with hummus and arugula

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Coconut oil popped popcorn with chill salt and lime. This stuff tastes exactly like pad thai! 

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This week was definately a week of firsts. My best friend has asked me to be her Maid Of Honor for her wedding! She seems to think that I would’ve already expected it, but, since she has friends from all over the world, it was such a lovely surprise to open the box below! Not only is the wedding located near her birth town, it is also an area which I hold close to my heart and where my god mother resides and have spent many amazing summers with my family. Bring on the best wedding ever summer 2017 in beautiful Spain!

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Speaking of weddings, I attended my first ever wedding last night which was such a good time. It was held at Hullet House in Tsim Sha Tsui and the setting was beautiful.

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The menu was a 10 course, meat filled, Chinese set menu which unfortunately meant I ended up only eating a few pieces of veg which resulted in my massive hangover today! I have to admit that I did drunkenly consume a few pieces of chocolate which WASN’T vegan. I was starving and intoxicated, but in my eyes, slip ups are always part of every new process. I am someone who feels strongly about the corruption of animals and will try my best to limit all consumption of all animal based products, but, I can’t say on my life, that I will never taste an ice-cream or  piece of cheese ever again. I can only hope and try my best.

Since being inspired to turn vegetarian months ago and now vegan, I’ve noticed that within the vegan community, with some individuals, the focus is being drifted away from the welfare of our beautiful ecosystem and inhumane treatment of animals and on to whether or not you’re sticking to all the 100% strict vegan rules and restrictions. I have seen numerous YouTube vegan activists attempting to publicly shame fellow vegans for accidentally eating something that had contained honey in it. It seems that there are many vegan public figures that believe you should not or cannot ever fail. To me, there should be compassion for both humans and animals and people in no way, shape or form should attempt ‘out vegan’ you.
I understand that the majority of vegans are out there to promote a healthy lifestyle, but, how on earth has coffee been banned by the community? For goodness sake, if you feel like you want a coffee (using soy or almond milk, of course) then have that coffee and do not like anyone tell you otherwise! No animals have been harmed for that coffee so bloody enjoy it!
BUT ANYWAYS, If you’re interested in checking out some lovely, ordinary vegan YouTube channels, you must check these guys out:-
Thats just about enough posting about food. Wishing you a great upcoming week!

Weekend Getaway – THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MACAU MADNESS.

Like every Hong Konger, you will have either been to Macau or have heard of it. Situated only an hour away by catamaran and coined ‘Asia’s own Las Vegas‘, it is no wonder that it’s a popular destination for anyone over the age of 21.

My boyfriend and I were sitting on the couch one morning discussing how to spend our weekend and within 10 minutes we had booked 2 nights in Macau on a last minute website. We were looking to take a break from responsibility for a couple nights and Macau was the only place that didn’t require either a flight or a visa. So, within an hour we were on route aboard the Turbojet.

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We arrived at the Grand Coloane Resort and the rooms certainly didn’t disappoint. The hotel was located around 10 minutes from the Cotai strip and 25 from the ferry terminal.

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To our surprise the hotel was situated not far from one of Macau’s favourite restaurants; Fernando’s. This Portuguese restaurant is considered a ‘must do’ and attracts locals, tourists and celebrities.

We ordered the garlic prawns and sea bream which were accompanied by french fries. We had heard that Fernando’s did a good sangria to which we were asked if we’d like red, white or green sangria. Yes, you read right. GREEN SANGRIA. I had never heard of this concoction so of course we had to order it. It turned out being sparkling wine with sangria mix and was rather tasty!

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The next day we woke up just in time for breakfast at the hotel. I can’t say I was expecting much, but we were delightfully surprised! For HK$170, the buffet provided such a wide variety of foods from dim sum, to vegetarian curries, to on request omelettes and pancake stations. There were cereals and pastries, cheese, fruit platters, bacon and sausages.

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After breakfast, we decided to delay the casinos and see what more Macau could offer. We bought an open bus sightseeing ticket for HK$150 and hit the road. The first stop was Macau Fisherman’s wharf, which was pretty much a tourist trap. Some built roman architecture with an attached mall of shops and souvenirs. Never again.

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Our second stop was the Macau Science Centre. I wasn’t particularly interested as I didn’t see how it was considered a sight to see, but once we were in there, we ended up having a pretty good time.

 

Our third stop was probably the stop I had been most excited to see, The Ruins of St. Paul’s and Leal Senado Square. It was probably the most cultural area in Macau yet, despite the Portuguese influence, it was overrun with commercialism and more SHOPS.

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For lunch, we found a hidden Dai pai dong offering a range of Vietnamese dishes. We both opted for Pho and my goodness, it was delicious. That’s what I LOVE about Asia! Sometimes the best meals are dirt cheap and are found in makeshift ‘restaurants’. 

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When in Macau, do as the Macanese do and end your meal with a Portuguese egg tart! Fresh out the oven, these bad boys are only priced at $9 and according to my boyfriend, can be eaten by the dozen.

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Our last stop was the Macau Tower. By this time, we had grown tired of sightseeing and were desperate to hit The Venetian. However… After loosing more money than we had hoped on the blackjack and Sic Bo tables, we ended the day with drinks at the Bellini Lounge which is always a great time!

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I have been to Macau many times and have had great nights out and comfortable stays, but it seemed that the more I saw of it outside of the casinos, the more I started to dislike it. I’m a believer that beauty can be found anywhere, even in the darkest of places. Whether it be crystal clear beaches or grimy, smelly back alleys somewhere in mainland China. There is always an element that stands out, whether it be the energy/atmosphere, design or culture in every place I visit. However, I cannot say the same for Macau. I feel like I spent the whole time thinking what it lacked. Sure, it had some gigantic casinos and super clubs where you could experience a couple hours of thrill but the novelty soon wore off. Macau lacks that energy and thrill that it should possess given its comparison to Las Vegas. Macau could have had such potential, but unfortunately 90% of the place looks run down, dirty and ghost town like, purely existing to empty your pockets at tourist traps and gambling.

All in all, I had a great weekend in Macau and at The Grand Coloane Resort but I think that was purely down to the person I was spending time with and what we made of it.

What are your thoughts on Macau?

 

CNY holidays -My first veggie burger & our fur babies first trip to Sai Kung.

The week before CNY I managed to catch a flu virus which was going round my workplace. I can’t remember the last time I have felt this ill from the flu and spent around a week in bed with minimal interaction with the outside world. By the time it got to the holidays, I was desperate to be able to talk to someone other than my two dogs and determined not to waste anymore time indoors, despite feeling horrendous.

On Saturday, a friend invited me to try out an aerial yoga class in Discovery Bay. This was my second time doing aerial yoga and after getting over the initial laughing fits from watching my friend struggle to move her long limbs whilst upside down, I remembered how fun this type of yoga was. It’s not often you get to stretch your body out whilst swinging from material.

After yoga, we were invited on one of our friends boats for the day. The weather was beautiful, sunny yet cool, just like a good English summers day. Unfortunately, the seas were a little too rough for my liking and not wanting to ruin everyone else’s time with my panic ridden face and gasps, we cut the boat trip short and headed for a bite to eat.

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My boyfriend and I were both craving some Mexican so we headed to our local Mexican chain, Carumba. We started with some jalapeño poppers, (which were definitely worthy of the #foodporn tag!) Nachos Simpatico, accompanied by a green apple mojito.

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The next day we decided to visit my boyfriends mum who resides in Sai Kung. I absolutely LOVE Sai Kung and hope to one day live there myself. The only downside is that it literally couldn’t be any further from where we live, which means, enduring an hours taxi with our two furry little vomit buckets. Much to our luck, we had forgotten some vomit catching bags which resulted in me instinctively catching it in my hands (who does that!?) The rest of the journey was far from pleasant as you can imagine….

We arrived late morning to a fresh fruit breakfast of mango, grapes, blueberries and pomegranate.  Luckily my boyfriends mum always has an array of fresh fruit at the ready which can be a godsend after some greasy Mexican the night before. It’s crazy to me to think I only tried mango around 6 months ago and now I can’t get enough!

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This was the dogs first trip to their grandmas home and they loved every minute of it. They spent most of the day running round the garden and it was so lovely to see. It was nice not having to keep an eye on them at every second whilst outdoors.

We then wandered down to the beach to let them run wild some more. It was so refreshing to have the sun shining down and my feet in the ocean after these winter months.

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After we tired the fur babies out, we headed into Sai Kung town for a drink and a snack. On the way, we passed a couple selling roasted chestnuts and sweet potato. After living in Hong Kong for over 20 years, it was almost embarrassing that I had never tried roasted chestnuts so I had to grab myself a bag. They tasted nothing like I had thought and the texture definitely needed some getting used to.

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We walked along the pier to our favourite hidden snack joint for some egg puffs. These little balls of batter are delicious and will always remind me of my teenage years hanging around Causeway Bay. This place is extremely popular and specialises in bubble tea. I’ve yet to try bubble tea, but will get my hands on some next time I visit.

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With a day well spent, we said our goodbyes headed back home. We finished off the day with yet another bad decision and gobbled up some more greasy food. However, I have to say Mcsorleys do an amazing veggie burger!! With it being my first time trying a veggie burger, I can honestly say I was expecting to hate it, but it tasted so similar to a beef burger AND didn’t make me feel ill after. #winning!

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Veggie patty, red onion, swiss cheese, avocado, bbq sauce and mayo.

Now it’s time to ditch the deep fried foods and finally get over this virus!

 

 

 

10 OF MY KITCHEN MUST-HAVES!

Happy Tuesday! ( doesn’t it always feel like just a second Monday?) Hope you’ve all had a great weekend. This post is going to be dedicated to all those foodies who may suffer from intolerances/allergies or just want ‘healthier’ options. I say healthier in quotation marks as some of the below products may not be the most wholesome of foods when comparing them to 100% organic, GMO free, low glycemic, low fat, low carb blah blah blah. BUT, they are definitely some of the products my kitchen AND taste buds can’t live without. I feel that these products are great substitutes for when you’re craving junk foods and are helping me make better choices on the road to better health.

Okay, so lets get started.

  1. Lemon and cucumber water 

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I am completely obsessed with water infusions! I’m not one of those people who finds it hard drinking copious amounts of water, but water + fruit = heaven. Not only does lemon and cucumber water alkalize the body, which aids in your body functioning at its optimal level, but its also packed with Vitamin C, antioxidants and silica making it an amazing immune system booster and a nice energy boost. It will also cleanse toxins as well as purify the liver and digestion (great for those party animals!)

2. CHOCOLATE!

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Okay, who doesn’t love chocolate? When I was living in London I developed this really unhealthy habit of HAVING to have something sweet after lunch and dinner to cleanse my palette so to say. This 72% dark chocolate bar is made of organic cocoa beans, organic coconut blossom sugar and organic cocoa butter. It is suitable for vegans, vegetarians, and is organic, wheat-free, gluten free, soya free, dairy free, nut free, low GI and all natural! It is especially high in Potassium, Magnesium, Zinc and Iron; a delightfully natural source of the vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6 and C. BEAUT!

3. Himalayan salt

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Pink Himalayan salt boosts 84 naturally occurring minerals and is an unrefined, unprocessed “raw” salt that’s hand-mined from salt caves that were formed 250 million years ago. The many benefits of Himalayan salt includes effective detoxification purposes, (and has been proven to be much more effective than white table salt versions) lowering your blood pressure, aids you in replenishing the loss of electrolytes, banishing sinus and respiratory conditions and improving the condition of your sleep. I use Himalayan salt when seasoning my food, but the two most uses for this salt for me is straight after incredibly sweaty exercise classes and for gargling a mixture of water and himalayan salt when I have a sore or phlegmy throat. It works wonders!

4. DAIRY FREE ICE CREAM 

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At first I was a little hesitant to try a dairy free ice cream, but after tasting it, you can see why this vegan ice-cream is stocked in numerous stores around Hong Kong. All Happy Cow ice creams are dairy free, soy free, gluten free and low glycemic. They have a coconut cream base and offer 25 flavours ranging from chocolate chilli to strawberry shortcake. These ice creams really are the SHIZZ.

5. HERBAL TEA 

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There is nothing better than coming home after a long day at work and settling down with a herbal tea. I use the wild apple and cinnamon with ginger when i’m craving something sweet, the warming camomile and spiced apple(camomile has a very calming effect on the body, allowing for a more restful sleep) before I go to sleep and the peppermint infusion for when my intolerances are acting up and I am sporting a sexy bloated stomach.

6. Brown rice pasta

Even though these pastas are still processed, they are however perfect for people with gluten and wheat intolerances. They are just as delicious as white or whole wheat pasta , however, the texture may need some getting used to. Brown rice pasta = happy tummy.

7. Water Kefir (pronounced keh-FEER) 

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The ultimate probiotic. The grains in water kefir are made up of various strains of healthy bacteria and yeast. The healthy bacteria that feeds on the “bad” unhealthy bacteria in our stomach and intestines. It is suitable for vegans as it provides an excellent source of vitamin B12, and is high in vitamins B1 and B6.

8. Roasted chickpeas

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yum, yum, yum, yum, yum. I do normally make my own roasted chickpeas, but when I’m short of time, I usually pick up some of these store bought bad boys! Chickpeas have become a regular in my diet since giving up poultry and they contain healthy protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Some good flavour combinations for roasted chickpeas are cayenne pepper & Manuka honey, simple salt and pepper and cinnamon.

9. Soy sauce and apple cider vinegar 

Living in Asia, it can be a nightmare ordering Chinese food when soy sauce has a such a high gluten content. Everything is coated in the stuff. However, my local health food store has just started stocking gluten free soy sauce and this is music to my ears! This calls for some homemade fried rice and noodles.

Now Apple Cider Vinegar is my go to salad dressing. I could live off the stuff. Apple cider vinegar has many uses. It can help dissolve kidney stones, detoxify the body, relieve allergies and heartburn as well as help kill cancer cells or slow their growth. It wards off the flu, lowers cholesterol, soothes bug bites and clears skin. A good time all around.

10. Granola & Almond Milk – 

Anything But Salad’s Life Rawnola is Organic and includes dehydrated clusters of sprouted buckwheat groats, almonds, pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries. It is GF, a good source of protein and fibre as well as high levels of antioxidants. Paired with some almond milk, it makes an easy and nutritious breakfast.

What foods are your everyday go-to’s?

 

 

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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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

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!

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 :)