Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Tea Tuesday: Green Tea

It is finally starting to feel a little more like spring and that means one thing...spring cleaning! As well as clearing and organising our living spaces let's also focus on getting our healthy habits back in-check. Did you realise that we are a quarter of the way into 2016 already? Yep, time to review those new year's resolutions!

This week's Tea Tuesday features the humble green tea which is not only loaded with incredible health benefits but can also be incorporated into your beauty routine. 

Green tea has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for many years and is known to contain powerful health-boosting antioxidants. As well as speeding up your metabolism and reducing cholesterol, it has also been shown to improve brain function and help with signs of ageing. It can even reduce anxiety and have a calming effect on your mind. Why not try starting your day with this superfood beverage instead of your regular cup of coffee and see if you notice any positive changes?

There is a fairly extensive range of green tea blends on the market today and you can even find matcha lattes on the menu in a number of coffee shops (so delicious - you must try it if you haven't already) so get out there and enjoy all of the goodness!

One of my favourites - loose leaf green tea with jasmine

And if that wasn't enough, here are three simple ways to incorporate green tea into your beauty regime.

1. Eye compress - Cool steeped tea bags in the refrigerator and then place over your eyelids for 10-15 minutes to battle puffy eyes and dark circles.

2. Toner - Steep a cup of green tea for 5 minutes and allow to cool. Transfer to a clean spray bottle, keep refrigerated and spritz onto skin after cleansing for a healthy, glowing complexion. Experiment with adding a few drops of essential oils such as tea tree for antibacterial properties or vitamin E for extra hydration!

3. Body Scrub - Mix together one tbsp dried green tea leaves, 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup olive oil. Store in an airtight glass jar. Massage this natural scrub into your skin in circular motions to buff away dead skin cells before rinsing off to achieve super soft skin.

What is your favourite type of green tea? Let me know in the comments!


Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Tea Tuesday: Pukka Womankind

Anyone who knows me well knows that I have a slight obsession with tea. In fact, I have become a bit of a tea hoarder and my cupboard is indeed overflowing with every type of tea you can imagine, ranging from Chinese herbal blends to Christmas specials. For this reason I have decided to do a little 'Tea Tuesday' series on my blog where each week I will feature one of my favourite teas and what makes it so special!

To kick things off I am starting with one of my favourite brands Pukka Herbs. I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to collaborate with Pukka recently for National Breakfast Week (squeal!) and since then I have added a number of new Pukka teas to my collection.

Today I am featuring the Womankind blend - a naturally caffeine-free tea with ingredients including chamomile flower, liquorice root, beetroot, vanilla, rose flower and cranberry.  The combination of ingredients are designed to help you feel more energised and balanced and I think this makes the perfect nourishing beverage if you want something a little sweet as an afternoon pick-me up.  Also, the beautiful blush pink colour of this tea just makes it even more enjoyable to drink! Have you tried it yet?

Don't forget to check back for the next instalment in this Tea Tuesday series! I hope you are having a great week, Amy 

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

National Breakfast Week!

So apparently it's National Breakfast Week if you haven't heard already! Why not spend a few extra minutes to prepare a super nutritious breakfast this week to celebrate? Add some fresh fruit, make your own granola or simply experiment with new flavours to keep your breakfast exciting.

Today I made a super delicious bowl of cinnamon porridge and topped with plenty of fresh fruit, a sprinkle of chia seeds and a dollop of peanut butter. So satisfying and wholesome! This is definitely one of my favourites during the colder months. How will you amp up your breakfast this week?


Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Snippets of Shanghai: Healthy Food Guide

During my first trip to Shanghai around two years ago, I really struggled to find healthy options when eating out (which happened to be on a daily basis since I had no access to a kitchen). I do love to try local food but eventually, I reached a point where I was craving nothing but a plate of fresh veggies. This time around, I was lucky enough to have a kitchen in my apartment and so I made an effort to cook most of my dinners at home using fresh produce from local supermarkets. I also discovered a number of amazing cafes and restaurants serving delicious and wholesome food so I thought I would share my top five picks with you today!

1) Lizzy's All Natural - If you are after a superfood smoothie then this is the place to go. Lizzy's has a range of delicious blends made with only the best ingredients. Whether you need a green fix, a caffeine-kick or something to satisfy your sweet tooth, I can promise that you will find something you love here. The menu now also includes hot drinks and a range of soups, salads and energy bars - be sure to pop in and see what's on offer!

2) Pure & Whole - This is one of my favourite spots for a wholesome plant-based meal. The entire menu is vegetarian so I was spoilt for choice but I know that my non-veggie friends love the food here too. Quinoa salads, veggie wraps, warming soups, delectable dips - it's all so good!

3) Hunter Gatherer - Most well-known for the 'HG Classic Bowl' where you choose a base (rice/noodles/greens), a protein (meat/fish/tofu), 2 vegetable options and a garnish. This is a fun place to have lunch and perhaps grind your own nut butter (you can buy a range of food items in store) but I wasn't blown away by the variety of food on offer. Nevertheless, the salad was good and the customer service is great so it's worth a try if you are in the area!

4) Wagas - Again not a lot of choice for vegetarians but for a quick lunch, the 'Vege Box' hits the spot. Half a spinach falafel wrap with Wagas salad and perhaps a fresh juice is great for a midday pick-me-up. With cafes dotted around the city, it's a fairly convenient option too.

5) Sproutworks - Here you can find a fairly impressive 'pick and mix' type salad bar as well as warm tofu curries and soups. There is plenty of variety for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike and the food is reasonably priced (with good-sized portions!).

So those are five of my favourite spots for healthy food in Shanghai. I have realised that when travelling to a new country, the most important thing is to enjoy yourself - that could mean that healthy eating becomes less of a priority and that is perfectly fine! As long as you are happy, embracing the local culture and creating great memories, you won't regret letting your healthy diet slip a little. 

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Easy Spelt Bread Recipe

In general, I try to avoid buying and eating the 'regular' bread varieties that are available in most supermarkets. I have found that even the healthier seeded and wholemeal options are highly processed with a list of ingredients longer than my arm! Whenever possible, I opt for organic rye bread although this is not always easy to find and it can be quite pricey in comparison.

During a recent food shop I came across organic wholemeal spelt flour as I browsed the baking aisle and thought to myself, why not try baking a wholesome loaf of bread right in my own kitchen? Spelt flour has a slightly nuttier flavour than regular wheat flour and provides health benefits ranging from healthy digestion to reducing cholesterol and boosting the immune system!

This recipe is surprisingly easy and uses only five simple ingredients, yep just five. So roll up your sleeves and get ready to bake this delicious loaf, you won't regret it.

  • 4 cups organic wholemeal spelt flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups oat milk
  • 2/3 tsp honey

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius.
  2. Whisk together the dry ingredients in one bowl and the milk and honey in another.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until thoroughly combined.
  4. Transfer to a greased loaf tin and bake for 60/70 minutes or until golden brown. (Tip: Placing another loaf tin of the same size over the top whilst baking will give you a nice crust.)
So that's it! Could it be any easier? I like to top my loaf with a sprinkle pumpkin seeds but you could add any other seeds you like. You can even mix them into the batter for an extra seedy loaf!

I love to toast a slice or two for breakfast with nut butter and strawberries to keep me energised and full until lunch 

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Snippets of London: Tanya's Cafe

I am always excited to hear about new plant-based restaurants opening in London and when I heard about Tanya's Cafe, I knew that I would have to stop by for a bite to eat. Tanya's is not only a vegan cafe but the food is also raw, organic and free from refined sugar, gluten and diary!

The menu includes a range of breakfast options, salads and wraps but I decided to go for one of the living mains, 'Green Pea Gnocchi'.

The wilted leeks were a little more pungent than I expected but the gnocchi itself was delicious and presented beautifully. I also ordered a Matcha Latte which I thoroughly enjoyed - creamy with a touch of sweetness, perfect for warming up after walking around blustery London earlier that day.

Key Lime Pie
Have a sweet tooth? Not to worry as there is a range of delicious sweet treats on offer including decadent slices of cake made with only wholesome and nutritious ingredients. 

If you are trying to get back on track after over-indulging this Christmas, Tanya's is a great place to enjoy a meal with friends without the guilt. The cafe is located in Chelsea, close to South Kensington Station if you travel by tube.

Where are your favourite spots to eat in London?


Saturday, 2 January 2016

New Year's Resolutions

Firstly I would like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year and I hope that you were able to rest, recharge and enjoy time with friends and family over the holidays.  Although new year's resolutions are sometimes deemed to be unrealistic and we can indeed set ourselves new goals on any day of the year, I think it's a great time to reflect on our achievements, refresh and look forward to what the future will bring. It's important to set ourselves goals (however big or small) in order to stay focused and motivated in the months to come, so I thought I would share 5 of my resolutions here in this blog post. Not only will this be a checkpoint for me to come back and review, but I hope this will also inspire you to set yourself goals and make 2016 your best year yet!

1. Read - I used to love reading books as a child but I have to admit that as I have grown older, I have struggled to form a habit of reading regularly. I am determined to change this in 2016 and aim to read at least 12 new books, one for each month of the year. I have started with 'I am Malala' this January and have already chosen next month's read but if you have any other suggestions then please do leave me a comment below!

2. Health - This is an ongoing goal as I always strive to be the happiest and healthiest version of myself possible. Everyone knows that it's important to look after your diet and physical health but it is also important to look after your mental health. Meditation is a great way to do so and as I have heard numerous people reap positive benefits from practising meditation I thought, why not give it a try? I started with a 10 minute meditation after my morning yoga today and it definitely brought a sense of calm and self-awareness which is a great way to start the day.

3. Positivity - Sometimes it's easy to forget the small positive things that have happened during the day when we are feeling stressed, overwhelmed or a little down. This year I have decided to keep a happiness diary of some sorts. For each day of 2016 I will write down one thing that has made me happy on a piece of paper, fold it up and place it in a jar. At the end of the year I will then have 365 happy moments to look back on and make me smile! I have also convinced my family to join so that on 31st December 2016 we can appreciate all of the positive memories and look forward to creating more in the new year.

4. Travel - There is so much of the world to see and my recent stay in Shanghai has definitely inspired me to travel more whilst I am young and able to do so. I would absolutely love to travel to New York City on my next trip abroad but I would also like to explore new cities here in the UK.

5. Career - Although I was more than happy to wave goodbye to my Economics textbooks this summer, I haven't felt quite ready to launch myself into the world of work just yet. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to intern abroad with a company that I absolutely love but now that I have returned back home, it's time to find my feet and get myself onto the career ladder. I'm not sure exactly where I will be heading but I hope that I can work in a field that I am truly excited and passionate about. 'Choose a job you love, and you will never work a day in your life' right?

What would you like to achieve in 2016?