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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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