Going dairy free

No you haven’t stepped into some kind of alternate universe and yes you are on the right blog. Nor is this title click bait to get you questioning my sanity …. I, Laura Grant (still weird to say) am going dairy free!

Today (18/4/17) marks day 15 of going dairy free and I honestly thought my world would have imploded by now but alas I’m still here, surviving without cheese. Who’d have thought it eh!

Now I don’t want to get ahead of myself because you may recall I gave up cheese for 1 month before my wedding but this time is different, this time the aim is forever and it’s all dairy products. If I think about the long game it scares me a little… never being able to order a Domino’s alone fills me with sheer terror. But in all seriousness I couldn’t have picked a better time to go dairy free. Our shops have shelves stocked with so many options, restaurants and food stores are getting on board, we are evolving. This is great for me because it means that I don’t actually miss out on anything.

Okay let’s back track a little, why am I going dairy free? My main reason behind it is for my skin. I’ve read so many articles and watched a million videos all with people saying dairy and acne go hand in hand. Reports of people with beautiful skin after years battling with acne and frankly I want in! I’ve suffered with acne of varying degrees ever since I was about 12 and I am sick of it! I’m so exhausted of feeling rubbish about my skin.

For years people have told me to cut out dairy but I was addicted. This may sound extreme but I honestly think it’s true! Cheese is SO addictive, it’s bloody delicious but it’s not serving me so it’s gone!

They say it takes 21 days to break a habit but I feel pretty secure in my abilities at the moment, in fact I’m actually really enjoying it. I’m the type of person that always needs a project, something to research, to put all my energy into and at the moment this is it. I’m experimenting in the kitchen and it’s got me excited! I love food so to put my energy into better food choices is a great plus.

Another factor that’s got me cutting out dairy is the Kinseology appointment I went for and I will go into more detail on this soon. The lady I saw came to the conclusion that I was intolerant to cows milk, as well as white products like white pasta and bread and advised that I go dairy/gluten free but gave me some exceptions. I can have small amounts of goat/sheep/buffalo products and small amounts of wholegrain.

From researching what I can and cannot eat I have found myself on many occasions in a YouTube deep dive, mainly on the vegan channels. Searching dairy free gives a lot of content but vegan brings up so much more which will obviously be dairy free too. The interesting thing I’ve found from doing this is the change in my thought process towards food and my growing interest in dabbling with veganism. Like I said before, It’s becoming so much easier to be vegan/dairy free/gluten free. Restaurants and shops are recognizing that these are real things that need to be catered for and you aren’t left munching on a boring salad.

I plan to do a post soon on the dairy free/vegan alternatives I’ve found / things I’ve been making but I would love to hear your suggestions. The vegan community is so amazing at sharing useful links and tips and the more I think about eating animal products the more it doesn’t sit right with me. I don’t know why it’s taken so long! Now I’m not saying I am currently and I may never become totally vegan but it’s something I am exploring at the moment. No pressure!

A lot of people have been asking how I feel and has it made a difference but I personally think it’s too early to tell at the moment. I’ve just come out the other side of laryngitis and still suffering an annoying cough, I’ve also just had a pretty crap break out so I’ve got a long way to go yet.

I’m looking forward to finding and possibly creating more content around this and really would love your input 🙂 the best thing I’ve found so far is the hashtag #accidentalyvegan if you haven’t already I recommend you check that out – you will be surprised what’s on it.

Peace and Love xoxo

Payday millionaire

A payday millionaire is someone who lives the champagne lifestyle on pay day and regrets it for the rest of the month. You see those figures in your bank account, get a little over excited, get a little frivolous and then OOPS you’re in your overdraft. The worst offender in this is of course the Christmas payday millionaire, because if you’re company is like mine you will get paid super early and your money will have to stretch a lot further.

Paymentsense recently did some research and found that out of all these yolo!, payday!, friyay! people, a third will change their eating habits at the end of the month – why? Cause they’re bloody skint!

If like me the payday millionaire is a concept way too real for you then I could not recommend a slow cooker purchase more! Next pay day when you’re looking to flash your cash, make sure this is top of your list, especially in winter! It enables you to cook so many cheap meals in bulk and keeps you eating like a king even at the end of the month.

So here’s my fave under slow cooker recipe, this bad boy comes in at around £5 depending what you chuck in and it can be cooked in bulk, frozen and reheated (although you should probably look up how to reheat properly, I hold no responsibility for your salmonella 🙂 ).

I’ve made this a meat dish but it can be adapted to suit your diet and if you just use a load of veggies the price is likely to come down even more!

Ingredients:

Chicken (I tend you use breast cause I’m weird about meat on the bone but you can use any cut)

Veg: I like to use frozen suede and carrot mix with sweet corn. Frozen veg is perfect for the slow cooker!

Butter Beans – for a bit of texture!

Herbs: my faves for this dish are garlic and mixed herbs

Salt and pepper

Stock – either cubes or the jelly ones from Knorr, sometimes I use both to thicken it up more. You can also use packet casserole mixes which are super cheap!

Method:

Chuck your chicken in the slow cooker. Add herbs, salt and pepper. Add veg. Mix stock with water as directed on packet and add to slow cooker.
Cook on low for 6-8 hours. I tend to do mine in the morning and head off to work so dinner is ready when I get home! (It will also make your home smell heavenly.) I would add the butter beans in about an hour before it’s done so they keep a decent texture. Have it with potatoes, pasta, salad or on its own and as I said, any left overs can be frozen for another day.

Remember, you don’t have to scrimp on your food, there are so many low cost meals out there that are dreamy for your taste buds and your bank balance.

Click here to read paymentsense’s blog on being a payday millionaire– it’s actually really quite interesting and maybe a little too close to home for me!

If you have a favorite slow cooker recipe PLEASE send it my way! I’m looking to expand my horizons with the nifty appliance.

Peace and Love xoxo

*** please see disclaimer

ASK Italian #VIPnight 

Chelmsford is so up and coming right now and I could not be more proud of my little city! The new Bond Street complex is looking absolutely amazing filled with beautiful looking store fronts, a super handy John Lewis and a multitude of new restaurants.

Tuesday night, my focus was on the restaurants and in particular the #VIPnight hosted by ASK Italian. I mean you’re probably all aware by now but if not I’ll reiterate for you….. I bloody love Italian food! I mean I love food in general, but Italian…. That’s my true love!!!

Walking up to ASK Italian on the dark wintery Tuesday I was greeted with twinkling fairy lights and the cutest court yard sporting fur blankets! (Already a winner for me). I approached the front door, was handed a glass of prosecco and shown to my seat.

The décor of the new restaurant is fab! So up my street – the perfect mix of industrial and rustic! Think wood, hanging plants, tiles and exposed lights! I am SO into interiors at the moment (Pinterest inspo here) so this was pure delight for me!

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Once my friend had arrived, we were treated to a shot of real lemonade…. At first this confused me but once I took a sip I didn’t care why it was given to me, I was just happy that it was! So lemony, zingy and fresh! I’m a bit obsessed with San Pellegrino lemon cans at the moment and it was a bit like a still version of this so my taste buds were in their element already!

Next up the mixed platter – meat, bread and cheese. I mean what’s not to love??! I’m not a huge bread person but I could have eaten an entire loaf of this stuff, and when it’s still warm Mmmm! warm carbs are 100% the one! Especially in winter. Although my favourite part of the platter had to be the hard cheese – shocker I know!

With our tummies well and truly prepped and a bottle of red ordered it was time to consider mains! I’d gone in with the full intention of having a pizza, I then hovered over the lasagne (my go to at an Italian restaurant) but instead settled on something totally different. I ordered the Rigatoni Al Manzo Piccante and it was exactly what I needed! Warm carby meaty cheese! A flavoursome little hug for the ole gut! My friend went for the Pollo Piccante Con Pancetta pizza and loved that too! I tried some and it was definitely as good as it looked! (Although a little chilli at the end had her ordering a glass of milk to get over the burn LOLZ the staff were super accommodating, if not a little confused at the order!)

Now I cannot gloss over the red wine we ordered, whilst the wine itself went down a treat it was actually the glass wear that got me all kinds of excited! I’ve literally never seen glasses like it and I’m in love!!!! In fact all the crockery impressed me that night! The marble platter server with the plates underneath, the fab wine glasses and the marble dessert dishes. (What has my life come to that this is what excites me?!! #oldlady)

And because all that food was not enough, we just had to order dessert! But considering it was my favourite thing of the whole night, I’m glad we did! Now my friend Lottie kindly and graciously agreed to try the new giant profiterole for me (cause I don’t like profiteroles – I know, don’t lynch me!) isn’t she the best haha! This badass dessert is part of the Christmas menu which launched on Tuesday. It was so gooey and #foodporn – if profiteroles are your thing, you simply cannot go home without trying it. I on the other hand opted for the honeycomb cheesecake and OH MY LIFE I can die happy! The flavours were beyond perfect and it was 110% the best cheesecake I’ve ever put in my mouth! We seriously discussed going back to ASK Italian purely for a dessert date!

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Aside from the food and drinks being awesome there was just a really lovely atmosphere in the restaurant. The staff were great, especially Mary our waitress who checked to make sure we were ok without being annoying or pushy and was super smiley – top customer service Mary!

All in all a great night! A lovely catch up with my pal and a happy tummy for Laura! I will definitely be heading back here, mainly to stare more and the beaut interiors and stuff my face with honeycomb cheesecake – oh jeez I can’t wait – who’s taking me for dinner???

ASK Italian have created 3 options for you this Christmas so whether you’ve spent all your money on Christmas presents and you’re feeling the 2 course quick fix lunch or you want to go all out with the Super Festivo menu (exclusive dishes and drink included) then there will be something for you!

Find out more and book a table below 🙂

Twitter: @ASKItalian

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ASKItalian

Instagram: @askitalian

https://www.askitalian.co.uk/

Peace and love xoxo

** Please see disclaimer. Also the few lovely glossy pics in here were sent over to me and taken by the lovely event photographer.

Zizzi’s AW16 menu…

This is it guys! Time to put away the salad and get stuck into some dreamy gooey carbs. I literally couldn’t be more excited – but Laura you had lasagne for lunch you cant have spag bowl for dinner – but it’s cold?! – Touché you go for it babes.

Yep Autumn is officially here, the weather is getting cooler and it is now totally acceptable to stuff your face with the kind of food that makes your insides melt with love and happiness.

My go to meals, my meals that make my heart smile, are always of the Italian variety. If I’m feeling a bit low all I need to do is go see my mum and she will whip me up a delicious bolognaise that gets me back on track. Food has this wonderful way of healing the worst of days (especially if it’s accompanied by wine.)

SO when I saw Hannah Gale’s instagram post inviting followers to a dinner of dreams (free carbs and prosecco) I couldn’t resist entering. They say you got to be in it to win it so boy am I glad I entered cause I only went and got picked! (No longer that girl in P.E #winning!)

Hannah and Elle (both bloody amazing bloggers fyi) got to pick 5 pals to join them at their Zizzi dinner. We were supplied with super strong cocktails and the perfect setting for a sassy girls night.

Zizzi had literally launched their new menu that day (27/9/16) so we were one of the first to give it a taste and in order to get the full effect, our long table was filled with ALL the dishes so we could try a bit of everything. I felt like a kid at a candy store – which carby cheese babe do I eat first? Can I just shove it all in my face please?! Then a sudden anxious – will this outfit make my food baby look cute or no?!

Now you will know if you have ever been for dinner with a blogger that you cannot just tuck in! Girl gotta get the perfect insta shot so on a table full of bloggers it obviously took some time before we tucked in.

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But when we did…. oh sweet heavenly Jesus is was delicious! So let me list here a few of my faves for you guys to go and try ASAP! (Also little tip for my Chelmsford readers – we now have deliveroo…. that deliver Zizzi’s ….. you can literally eat this stuff in your pjs – I KNOW RIGHT! Dreamy AF!)

Starters

The Pulled Beef Arancini – Yeah I thought this was a pear too but don’t let the shape deceive you! This little gem was filled with meat, rice and mozerella. What’s not to love? The taste was pretty mild and that gooey texture had all the mmm’s leaving my lips.

Pumpkin and Mozerella Crocchette – I kind of loved this and wasn’t sure about it all at the same time mainly because I’ve never had pumpkin before, so if you have, and you love it this is deffo the starter for you. And I couldn’t really leave the pumpkin dish out of this post could I!? Autumn is basically a giant pumpkin wrapped in golden leaves.

Butterfly King Prawns – yep yep yep yummy prawny goodness. Garlic pesto and wine – literally all my favourite things!

Mains

Venetian Duck Ragu – I’ve started with my absolute fave of the entire evening because I need you to know about this as soon as possible so you can drop whatever unimportant thing you are doing and find your nearest Zizzi’s (don’t worry I’ll wait!) ……

I bloody love duck! It’s just so flavoursome and YES! (mega descriptive points here.) I’ll certainly be dreaming about this until we are reunited.

Duck Arrosto – Woo more of the good stuff! This time served on the bone, accompanied by mash and lentil ragu. Again super delicious, the meat just fell off the bone and I’m always game for a bit of mash.

Rustica Pizza Pulled Pork Roma – Ok guys don’t loose your shit but this pizza is covered in pulled pork (amazing) AND CRACKLING!!!!!!! (I know, my mind is just as blown). It shouldn’t work but it totally does. And you know, pizza!

Dessert

Ultimate Salted Caramel Chocolate Brownie – I wasn’t really feeling in a dessert mood by this point (having stuffed my face with so much starter and main). That was until someone passed me the salted caramel dessert of dreams and all my taste buds wishes came true at once! You HAVE to try this! Sweet, gooey, warm. It’s like a hug for your insides, letting you know that no matter what, you will always have salted caramel brownies. The weirdest thing is, I don’t usually like chocolate brownies but this my friends, this is a game changer!

(Ok this is A tiramisu which I did not try BUT I didn’t get a pic of the brownie soz!)

So who’s coming to mine for a deliveroo Zizzi night in?!?!!

Whether you head into a Zizzi restaurant or you get it delivered to your home, make sure you are surrounded by your fave gal pals (mainly so you can share the food bill guilt.)

Spending the evening with a bunch of people you have never met can be a bit daunting but once the food got going and the skinny prosecco got flowing (oh yeah I forgot to mention… skinny prosecco – half the calories, double the pizza!) it was like we had all been friends for ages, sharing our cringe stories that can only be released after a couple glasses of fizz. (And you know the stories are going to be good with Vix Meldrew on your table!)

A massive thanks again to both Hannah and Elle for being such babeing hosts! And to Zizzi’s for supplying ALL the components needed for the perfect girls night!

Let me know when you try the duck ragu please guys so we can lust after it together!!!!

You can find all of the above plus more on the new menu here: Zizzi’s AW16 Menu

Peace and Love xoxo

Yo! Sushi 

It feels like an absolute lifetime ago that I was invited to try some new dishes at Yo! Sushi …. I mean I’m practically a different person now! (Well I have a different name at least but more on that to come soon.)

I’ve not always been a fan of sushi, in fact the thought of it used to make me want to vom in my mouth but I was a sheltered individual, food wise anyway! I stuck to my bland, beige basics and that was me.

Let’s just say I’m soooo glad that I became more adventurous cause boy was I missing out on some sweet sweet food delights.

So about 3 weeks ago I headed to yo sushi in Chelmsford for the second time ever with a friend of mine. I’d been invited to try the new poke dishes on the menu as well as sample a couple of signature cocktails. Yep Yo! Sushi does cocktails, well the Chelmsford one does, in fact they’re the only one, so make sure you check that one out if you decide to go to any!

Out of the 4 poke dishes available we sampled 2, one meat (chicken) and one fish (salmon). Personally I preferred the chicken one cause you can’t beat a bit of chicken really can you.

Not realising how filling these dishes would be we decided to order an array of other menu items, which in hindsight was NOT needed (but welcomed none the less)! The poke bowls are a pretty hefty portion in themselves, they could definitely do you for lunch and with Yo! Sushi’s take away option you can either sit in or grab and dash back to the office! (We have also been teased with the idea that a cheeky delivery service may become available once the John Lewis complex is open…. That’s right guys and gals, Deliveroo is coming to Chelmsford! What next Uber????)

Anyway back to food…. The poke dishes were filled with so much flavour (although I took the ginger strips out of mine ’cause I made the mistake of eating one of those before and was NOT a fan!) They aren’t stingy on the ingredients they give you, especially the rice – so much rice!!! And aside from this they actually look exactly like the pictures which I think is pretty rare in the food industry.

The other menu items we ordered were Soft shell crab tempura, Tuna sushi rolls and Ebi fry curry (prawn katsu)…. I have to say the crab was definitely my fave!


Then for dessert, the ice cream mochi’s and the less I say about these the better because they were not for me! (My friend on the other hand really enjoyed them so don’t rule them out purely on my opinion.) These new dessert balls were creamy in the middle and squidgy on the outside… I just could not get my head around the layer of rice stuff on the outside so yeah maybe it’s your thing maybe it’s not! (Flavours are mango, salted caramel, sesame seed and coconut.)

Now cocktails! I actually visited Yo! Sushi on my first day off of the 2 weeks I took to get married so I was totally in the celebratory mood! There are 3 cocktails on the menu and we tried 2 – the mojito which was actually delicious! I’m always skeptical of a mojito because although it’s pretty easy to make its not easy to make well! The second cocktail I forget the name of but was essentially kiwi and prosecco and it looked great!!! Got to love those insta worthy cocktails eh!? It helped that it tasted fab too, so fresh and fruity without being too much.

During our visit we got to speak to the manager quite a bit and it was instantly easy to see how passionate he was about the brand. He seemed like a pretty enthusiastic and creative guy so keep an eye out on the Chelmsford branch ’cause I vision all sorts going on here! I believe they even had a live music night for the V festival weekend.

We were also informed of the teaching side of things…. I’m sure you’re all aware of the cocktail master classes you can go to but here they offer sushi making classes! Perfect for those who don’t drink OR big sushi lovers! There are also classes available for kids using only vegetables and of course, no sharp objects! The manager is looking to get into schools to promote this little ninja initiative which I think is great! We need to teach our younger generation how to prepare good fresh food so if you have any mini ninjas yourself deffo get them signed up!

Overall I’m really impressed with Yo! Sushi in Chelmsford. To me Yo! Sushi always seemed, from the outside, to be an in and out no personality kind of place due to the conveyor belt sending all your dishes round but I couldn’t have been more wrong. On my two visits I’ve had a great experience and will definitely be heading back at some point!


Do you have a Yo! Sushi near you? Have you tried the new poke dishes? Let me know what you think!!!!

If you want to check out their website you can do so here: YO! SUSHI

Peace and Love xoxo

#bigbloggerexpo – Food

As promised here is the first in my series of spin off’s from the big blogger expo and what better way to start than with one of my true loves…. Food!

Food is a glorious thing, not only nourishing our bodies and keeping them going but also giving us all the feels, comfort and inside hugs! (Let’s ignore the part where it can makes us squidgy emotional wrecks shall we?!)

So let’s dive in….. (I could dive into a pool of cheddar right now mmmmmm 17 days without it guys, give me strength!)

Chia Bia

Ok so first up is ChiaBia a company started by Barrie Rogers and Ray Owens, their main aim – bringing affordable Chia to Europe. Why? Because it’s amazing!

You may have heard chia seeds described as a super food and Barrie discovered first hand that this was the case when they aided his recovery from a back injury with their anti inflammatory properties.

Other such benefits include:

Antioxidants

Nutrients

Lower risk of heart disease

You can research these benefits and more yourself but you get the gist…. They’re bloody awesome!

Chia Bia kindly gifted a packet of their seeds and a bar. Now I’m no stranger to chia and usually incorporate the seeds into my overnight oats for breakfast! They give it an interesting texture and a little crunch but have no real taste – just tons of goodness.

The chia bar I had never tried before but it was so good! It’s a perfect on the go snack to curb those cravings! It’s not totally healthy but it’s a great alternative to that kit Kat or twix! It’s also super textured which I love! I’m deffo a texture girl, I’m more likely not to like something for that rather than taste. No taste is over powering either so it should be pretty palatable to everyone.


You can find out more information on the company and what they offer here… CHIA BIA

Aduna

Aduna treated us to some of their baobab powder. Baobab is another superfood – it is a 100% natural and organic African fruit.


Benefits include:

Immune function

Skin health

Energy release

Again, like the chia seeds I added this to my overnight oats. It gave my breakfast a subtle citrus flavour…. Perfect for people who aren’t keen on adding whole pieces of fruit to their oats but wanting to reap the benefits!

Not only this but the company itself have a fantastic mission! Their aim is to create sustainable livelihoods in rural Africa. So you aren’t just getting fab nutrients into your body, you are also helping communities in need! What’s not to love?

Find out more here: ADUNA

Ombar 

Ok this was by far my favourite food item that I received!

I’m not the biggest chocolate fan in the world and I’m not a great lover of dark chocolate as its way too bitter for my liking but after reading about the benefits of cacao, I started to introduce it into my diet. I currently add cacao to my overnight oats and occasionally make energy balls with it too.


Benefits of cacao include: 

Hormone balancing

Protects heart

Mood enhancing

Helps shed fat

Yep, it tastes like chocolate BUT it’s so good for you! It’s like a dream come true.

I don’t find it to be as bitter as dark chocolate but it’s not quite as milky and dreamy as dairy milk.

Then Ombar came along with its “coco mylk” bar and OH MY LIFE it’s delicious! So creamy and like velvet on your tongue. BUT it’s totally dairy free which is great if you’re lactose intolerant, vegan or if you’re like me, cutting down to help with skin issues.


To get your hands on these babies and find out more about the benefits and processes head to the website here: OMBAR

Borders Biscuits

Now it’s not every day that you’re gifted two dark chocolate gingers! No!? Too dad joke?? You’re right lets pretend that never happened!

Ok so biscuits…..

I’ve actually only recently got into ginger and usually have it in the form of herbal tea (or ginger beer with my rum). I was actually pleasantly surprised to note that I really enjoyed these biscuits, especially as they were dark chocolate but the tastes paired nicely!

This may not be as healthy as the other items mentioned but if you’re after a decadent little treat and you’re a ginger fan, then this my friend might just be for you, with its fiery kick and it’s delectable crunch. It’s probably the naughtiest thing I’ve eaten for some time now which probably goes towards why I enjoyed it so much!

Borders “about us” section on their website may be one of the most British things I’ve ever read! But you can tell that they’re are passionate about biscuits and what they can represent, therefore striving for quality in every crumb! Follow this link to find out more: BORDER BISCUITS

Let me know if you try any of these yummy treats or if they are already a personal fave’s of yours!

Peace and Love xoxo

PS I wrote this post a while ago so my 17 days without cheddar is now about 10 mins BUT I did go for a whole 4 months without any so yeah there’s that. I’m also eating cake as I edit this … don’t judge!

Stampede at Intu Lakeside…

Last Wednesday saw me doing that thing women are supposed to be real good at…. Multitasking!

With my mother dear in tow we headed to Lakeside in Essex for two reasons… 1. To find my mum a cracking wedding outfit and 2. To try out the newest addition to the food court – Stampede!

I’d looked up the menu to Stampede weeks previous in anticipation and had been dreaming of succulent burgers dripping with cheese. But first things first we needed to get that outfit, no use trying dresses on with a food baby amiright?!

Luckily for us we were on some kind of crazy amazing roll and we literally kept stumbling upon the perfect items! The dress, the shoes, the bag! So we were more than ready for a celebratory lunch when 1 o’clock came around.

Stampede is probably the first stand you see when entering the food court, nestled to the right of the escalator. This is mainly because it’s brightly coloured, pumping music and has a giant bull out the front. It seems to be the only place with any kind of atmosphere which I loved! We were served by a super friendly, helpful guy (unfortunately I didn’t catch his name!) the only difficult part was deciding what to have!

Considering the wedding is only a month away now, I opted for a light weight burger (instantly regretting my decision when I saw my mums middleweight burger come out!) we went for two sides, sweet potato fries and onion strings and I got a vanilla milkshake ’cause hump day!

Carrying the tray to the table, people were literally staring at me with that goggle eyed food envy only the sweet smell of something delicious can bring on! I can’t lie to you, the smell was incredible, I was jealous of myself! The ladies on the table next to us exclaimed how gutted they were that they’d opted for a jacket potato! I’d be gutted too guys!

I hadn’t had any breakfast in prep for this feast but I wasn’t really prepared for how much food there would actually be! The sides come in such large portions that one is deffo enough to share between two! And I would 100% recommend the onion strings LORD HAVE MERCY I could have cried at this crispy little bowl of heaven!

The burgers were so juicy and dripping in cheese, just like I’d dreamed! (Although not easy to eat and keep your feminine mystique, but come on, who gives a crap just get that burger in my mouth stat!) of course we also added bacon, cause bacon!

Oh and let’s not forget the milkshake… Literally like melted ice cream, just the way I like it and my mum revelled in scooping up the cream once I’d finished!

Safe to say there were two very happy tummies in that food court on Wednesday! Totally defeated by the sheer mass of what we had eaten, the food coma set in! Sweet, delicious, worthy food coma… I was ready for a nap.

I was also so full that I didn’t even have dinner that night, that meal literally set me up for the entire day!

If you happen to be passing through lakeside anytime soon and you are partial to a humble burger…. Do not leave without heading to Stampede, you will regret it!

Let me know if you give it a try and tag me in your food porn pics on insta! (@lifebylaurax)

Peace and love xoxo

Limitless Tuesday’s at Sway… 

Ok a little warning before we get going guys….. Do not read this post if you’re hungry or on a diet! (Pizza porn commencing)

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So I was recently contacted by the lovely people at Sway, a bar and restaurant in Holborn, to come and try out their new offer. Limitless Tuesday’s. Anything starting with the word limitless is great, but what exactly does this mean? Well my friends, what it means is unlimited prosecco AND PIZZA for 90mins! Yep you heard right, Prosecco…… and pizza – Limitless. Unlimited pizza and prosecco! It’s like all my dreams had come true!

To say I was disappointed with limitless Tuesday’s…. WOULD BE A BIG FAT LIE! I mean who in their right mind is going to be disappointed by this, come on guys!

Ok so we got to Sway (a venue we had both actually visited years previous for a friends 18th) and was shown to our booth in the cocktail bar. Apparently this is usually done in the restaurant but that was booked out for some kind of charity auction. We were more than happy in the bar though, the vibe was chilled, the decor was great and they had press for service buttons on the wall!

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Our waiter was called Alistair (not Alison which is what I thought he said!) and he explained to us how the deal works. Basically you order a pizza, when your almost done with that pizza they will come ask you what one you want next and they keep doing that till your done/your time runs out! Same with the prosecco! Lord have mercy this must be what heaven is like.

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We ordered our first pizza and waited for what seemed like forever till it arrived; but our pizza was delivered with a welcomed message, “Since it took so long we are starting your time again!” Wow! At the time we thought Alastair was the best person ever we were like yes my friend you are our kind of waiter….. In hindsight he was probably the devil, as having our time extended allowed us to get through 4 bottles of prosecco and 3 pizzas! On a Tuesday! Yep, by the end of our session there had been more pizza and prosecco than people! Safe to say I’m currently nursing day two of the worst hangover in the history of life! How I managed to get to work yesterday was nothing short of a miracle.

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(Pizza 1 – Chicken, Chorizo, Roquette, Chimichurri. Pizza 2 – Artichoke, parma ham, sundried tomato, parmesan, buffalo mozzarella. Pizza 3 – chorizo, coppa, smoked bacon, gordal olives.)

BUT it was so worth it! Me and my bestie had THE BEST NIGHT! ‘Cause the venue was so chill and pretty quiet we were able to just chat for hours, and laugh….. So much laughing. Oh and let’s not forget all the snapchat filter loving. Basically we had the time of our lives! Both of us came away on such a high and with some great memories.

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The prosecco was tasty and fresh and the pizzas were mouth-wateringly delicious, seriously I’ve been thinking about them ever since! (I could have gone for number 4 not guna lie.)

At just £22 a head it was definitely reasonable! (Especially when you work out your bill should have come to around £160! Eek!) I’d say that was a bloody bargain don’t you?!

Sways limitless Tuesday’s were a grand success, definitely something I would consider again. (Although next time maybe I don’t take it as some sort of challenge that puts me on the verge of vomming for two days after!)

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To book yourself this little treat you can contact the venue on any of their social media or give them a call 🙂 – And if you are anything like me I would deffo consider booking that Wednesday off work to, you know, eat your weight in carbs and sleep for hours.

Website – http://www.swaybar.co.uk/

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook

Phone number – 020 74046114

Let me know if you go check it out, and drink responsibly kids!

Peace and love xoxo

** please see disclaimer.

A new found love for tea…

I know right! Being British and not liking tea is basically blasphemy and could potentially get you be-headed!

But the truth is I’m not really a hot drink kinda gal… no coffee, no tea, rarely a hot chocolate. It’s just not something I enjoy, I’m a water girl – all day erry day.

HOWEVER, things are a-changing, I don’t know if it’s because I’ve turned 25 and being officially grown up means you must drink tea or what. I mean I still hate coffee, I still rarely have hot chocolate and I still hate your standard tea, but herbal teas… these little babes have found a new place in my heart.

So to celebrate I thought I’d list some of my regular teas and their health benefits. (And when I say regular, a couple of these I’ve bought in the last couple of days lol)

1.Green tea with lemon.

My all time fave! Green tea is where it all started… I wanted to like it, basically forced myself to drink it and now I love it. The reason I pushed it so much is due to the benefits of this little tipple. Green tea not only gives your metabolism a big boost, aiding in weight loss, it is also said to be more hydrating than water. And with the added hint of lemon it is extra powerful, lemons are antibacterial which helps to boost your immune system and also aids your digestion.

Green tea is naturally caffeinated so I personally find it difficult to drink on an empty stomach, I tend to have this in the afternoon.

 

I am also a massive fan of Clipper as a brand, not only are they fairtrade, they do not bleach their tea bags!

2. Ginger Tea

I cant lie to you I’ve literally started drinking this today! I had a sample pack of pukka tea’s and so tried the Ginger, Lemon and Honey mix. I then went out on my lunch break and purchased the three ginger blend (particularly because it includes turmeric which is SO good for you.) I tend to have ginger with my rum so it’s a bit different drinking it as a tea… my body may go into shock and think that I’m drunk if I have too much LOLZ.

Ginger is great to relieve you of nausea and digestive issues and turmeric is basically good for everything! Seriously look it up, it’s crazy.

I’ve read that this is more of a morning tea – particularly good with a squeeze of lemon. (edit: I’m drinking this now and OH BOY it’s good)

 

I also found out yesterday that Pukka Herbs are now part of the 1% for the planet initiative. You can find out all the information here  … but let me tell you, it’s an amazing thing to be a part of and a definite step in the right direction for our planet 🙂

3.Peppermint tea

This little baby I picked up a couple of days ago and as a big mint lover I don’t know why I’ve not tried it before. Inspired by Hannah Gale’s recent post I decided to give it a go and I was not disappointed!

I’ve decided this is now going to be an evening ritual as peppermint tea is known to calm, relieve stress and help you sleep. Not only this but it is also said to aid weight loss and help soothe stomach problems.

 

4.Pommegranate tea

Not one I have very often but something that I have on my kitchen counter if I fancy mixing things up a bit. Pomegranate’s are a known antioxidant and can therefore be great for your skin.

 

In fact all of the above tea’s are said to help your skin so for me that is a huge massive TICK!

Let me know if you have tried any of these and what your thoughts are! Also if you have any other healthy herbs for me to try 🙂

Peace and Love xoxo

6 healthy meals I’ve been eating recently…

I mentioned in my last post that I would do a separate little piece about some of the more healthy meals I’ve been eating recently, so in attempt to be a woman of my word here we go 🙂

My friend Jenna bought me the first Deliciously Ella book for my birthday in February and I was instantly hooked. Obviously this is a cook book and not something that is naturally read for general entertainment but I could not put it down! So much so that I bought the second book with some Amazon vouchers I’d got. Now I wouldn’t say these meals are directly taken from the book but they are 100% inspired by Ella’s way of life. Trying to introduce more veggies and less grains.

Now I am an obsessive person. I get obsessive about everything to a point where its ridiculous. For this reason I know that if I try to religiously stick to something like a new way of eating I will end up treating it like a diet and I’ll binge eat for a week! The trick here is balance, introduce new healthier things into your day BUT don’t go cold turkey on the stuff you’re used to because you will crave and eventually crack under the pressure. Set yourself up for success, not failure!

Okay so let’s start with breakfast shall we… I’m a creature of habit and I tend to eat the same things, when I like something that’s it, It’s my go to dish for life. Hence the pasta and cheese obsession that still follows me from my childhood.

1. Overnight Oats

This is my go to, weekday breakfast! Super easy to prepare and is done the night before so you just grab your jar in the morning and head off to work.

There are so many ways you can do this but here’s how I do mine. (I don’t measure anything btw I just go with the flow!)

As the name suggests I start with some oats, I use the organic ones from Tesco, probably about 5/6 spoonful’s. Next I add a spoonful of chia seeds and flaxseed, followed by some natural Greek yoghurt and almond milk. To add some sweetness I pour in some 100% maple syrup and if I have any I’ll add some fruit (my favourite being raspberries and blueberries or if I’m feeling crazy, passion fruit!) Mix that baby up and stick it in the fridge BOOM done.

2. Smoothie

Now I can’t lie to you, I’ve only actually made this once (this morning, although by the time your reading this it will no longer be this morning and I may have made it again by then.) BUT the main thing was that it was yummy 🙂 Many of the ingredients are the same as the overnight oats.

So I start with some frozen berries, add some spinach (don’t get weird about it, I promise you wont taste it), chia and flaxseed, a dollop of yoghurt, some maple syrup and topped up with almond milk. Blend blend blend! I had to add more almond milk after my initial blend as it was way too thick but the great thing is… you can make it however you goddamn please! I was intending to add oats too but completely forgot.

(edit: I made this again with oats and OH BOY do I recommend adding them! yum yum yum)

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Okay now for lunch. Making your own packed lunch will not only save you tonnes of money, it also ensures that you know exactly what you’re putting into your body with no hidden nasties.

3. Roasted Vegetable Salad.

This is a recent discovery of mine, I basically chucked a load of ingredients together and found that it was bloody delicious! Like I’m not a salad person but I could happily eat this forever more.

I started by chopping some sweet potato and parsnips, covering them in oil, sprinkling on some turmeric (cause have you heard how good this stuff is for you!? Seriously look it up) and chucked it in the oven for like 40 mins. I also added some chopped red peppers but I put these in some time after as they don’t take as long.

Whilst this was cooking I rustled up some quinoa, I won’t tell you my method, mainly because it was wrong and I ended up making mush BUT it tasted alright and that’s the main thing.

I made enough of this for about 3 days and stored them in separate tubs in the fridge.

So to make the actual salad itself I tore up some curly kale and spinach, covered this in apple cider vinegar (also amazing for you!) then added some of the roasted veg and quinoa. I would do this the night before then in the morning chuck in some walnuts so they didn’t go soggy.  SO SO tasty! And look how pretty it is.

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4. Tuna Pesto Courgettie.

I’m a little obsessed with pesto! I have it with so many of my meals and it tastes so good with tuna (although some people look at me weird when I say this.) This meal can be made with red or green pesto and I did actually intend on making my own but didn’t get round to it.

For this one you will need to get yourself a spiralizer or just buy ready made courgettie. You then add some torn up spinach, sweetcorn, tuna and lashings of pesto! If you’re feeling a little naughty a grating of parmesan goes down a real treat with this! Quick, simple and yummy.

 

Now onto dinner…

5. Cauliflower Cous Cous Chicken.

A bit of alliteration for you there my friends, who says I didn’t take anything away from school!

Anyway food…

This was a little random mix I made myself the other day and another resounding success! I bought diced chicken (cause I’m lazy) and popped that in a frying pan with some oil and some mixed herbs. Once this was pretty much cooked (about 20 mins) I added some chopped tomatoes with basil (I blended these first cause I’m like a child and I don’t like lumps, but whatever floats your boat is fine.) Next I added some torn up spinach and a tub of cauliflower cous cous (of course you can make this yourself by blending a cauliflower but like I said… lazy). Let this simmer away nicely for about 5 mins, stirring throughout. Oh I also added some garlic paste, I would rather actual garlic but I didn’t have any.

Serve up with a little parmesan, if you have no willpower like me, and you’re good to go!

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6. Pesto Courgettie.

Now this last one is a very light dinner, maybe for when you’ve had a big lunch or something but it could also be used as lunch or a snack or as the base for something else.

There are three simple steps to this dish…. courgettie, pesto, sun dried tomatoes.

That’s literally it!  (Well actually no l lied, there’s 4 steps cause there’s spinach too, oops!). Have as much or as little as you like. Super scrummy and quick as you like. This is the kind of “fast food” we need in our life people.

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As a little bonus I will also tell you about the delicious sauce I made the other day but I don’t have a pic soz! Basically get some chopped tomatoes, basil leaves, garlic and tomato puree… whizz it all up in a blender and I served mine warmed up in a pan. Mmmmm.

Let me know if you get round to trying any of these! And I’d love to hear some of your recipes too 🙂

Peace and Love xoxo