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!

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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!

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!

 

 

 

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?

X

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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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!)

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

Going Pescetarian

For as long as I can remember,  I have always loved meat. Steak, burgers, nuggets..you name it, I crave it. There is no better taste than a juicy medium-well steak in my eyes and whilst I’m sat here salivating at the mouth, I have to remind myself that for a person who’s favourite things in the world are animals, why should I be so hyprocritial to indulge in them? I wouldn’t gobble up my boyfriend (even when he’s spent too long on FIFA) so why should I have the right to eat the things I love. Why should I support such an inhumane industry when I want to spend my life trying to protect and stand up for these beautiful creatures? For others, it will not seem hypocritical but for me, it is something that questions my entire being and values. With that being said, I have not and will never judge anyone for the dietary choices they choose to make.

I’m a strong believer in taking things step-by-step and not going full speed ahead. Starting today, I will be cutting out all meat except for fish, eggs and cheese in the hopes of eventually in years to come, cutting those out too. A couple months back I decided to cut out all meat and experienced more side effects than I anticipating. The first few days consisted of gruelling headaches and extreme fatigue whilst my body was detoxing and getting rid of all toxins, chemicals, antibiotics, added hormones, feed additives, flavor enhancers, age-delaying gases and salt-water solutions found in meat. I felt ill and very very weak. This time around I will be educating myself on the right protein sources and making sure I am consuming a healthy, balanced diet. Luckily, in London, meat substitutes and vegan/vegetarian restaurants are extremely popular and readily available.

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My #vege sheperds pie 💛 #Quorn with onion, garlic, stock & spices with a half potato & sweet potato with almond milk topping

I can’t guarantee I won’t slip off the bandwagon and at times and I may even treat myself to a birthday burger next month (25 years old.. scary stuff!) but no journey is complete without a few hiccups.

But to me, no taste will be worth an animals life. Simple as. 

In the process of bettering my health, I like to occasionally rummage through my favourite London store in Bayswater, Planet Organic. It’s incredibly sad but roaming round this organic haven, attempting to find healthier substituted products is just my ultimate de-stresser. Below are some of my favourites.

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Instead of white/wholemeal bread. Try Biona’s organic Rye Bread – Amaranth & Quinoa – Goes amazingly well with avocado and cheese!  Biona’s organic crunchy peanut butter is also great as it includes no added salt, sugar or palm oil and is vegetarian, vegan, gluten and diary free for those with allergies and intolerances.

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As I’m allergic to caffeine, Rooibos (Red Bush) is perfect for a little sweet pick me up after lunch. Rooibos originates from South Africa and boosts so many health benefits. It contains powerful antioxidants, has a high mineral content, aids iron absorption, relieves stomach and skin complaints and aids a restful sleep. After dinner, I also like to treat myself to a square or two of Green & Black’s organic 70% dark chocolate. It does the trick without splurging on a chocolate bar. 

As I start my quest to implement a healthier, balanced life, any pescetarian/vegetarian/vegan recipes recommendation would be greatly appreciated.

Onwards and upwards!

K

12 days in Holborn.

For the past two weeks, my boyfriend and I have been fortunate enough to living the hotel life at The Citadines in Holborn. Due to Phil’s heavy work schedule at the European Poker Tour, I’ve had the chance to mooch off of his job perks and explore both Holborn & Covent Garden for the first time. Whilst doing so, I have come across some of the best meals in London I’ve had to date.

One morning, I stumbled across HUSH Brasseries. During the week, I tried nearly everything on the menu and the english breakfast is just on another level! Their menu also includes 5 different types of Eggs Benedict, 4 variations of waffles and pancakes and heavenly pastries.

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On Friday night we headed to Bricklane to celebrate my old friend from uni’s 25th with a little drunken bowling. Had a great time at All Star Lanes as well as one of the best cocktails of my life.

Jumpin’ Jack Flash Cocktail. 
Jack Daniels, Falernum, Agave Syrup, Fresh Lemon juice churned with Raspberry puree, in this cheeky long drink with a taste of classic sherbet.

Although, Brick Lane is one of my favourite ways to spend a sunday, I have to admit that it is quite frightening on a friday. I may possibly be getting more boring with every year that passes but the mixture of screeching teens and buzzed out crack heads does not appeal to me. I guess I’ll have to give it another go before I write it off but boy do I miss Lan Kwai Fong!

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To celebrate the end of the European poker tour and Phil’s manic work schedule, we ventured over to Leicester Square to visit his company’s casino and to sample one of the best steaks in London at the Heliot Steak House. At first I questioned if dining with the view of Roulette and Black Jack tables would be borderline tacky but the food, ambience and service exceeded my expectations by miles. The steak was succulent and bursting of flavour. With the additional garlic butter and peppercorn sauce equipped with a bottle of Cycles Gladiator Merlot and sides, I can honestly say my experience couldn’t have been any better.

With a belly full of food and a week of total relaxation after work, I’m prepping myself for a week ahead of getting myself back into fitness and healthy eating. Wish me luck……

K