Thursday, 26 February 2015

lighter and brighter

Two images from H&M

With the mornings brighter, the evenings getting longer (I'm pretty sure it was light until almost 6pm today, it's practically summer!) and the temperatures reaching balmy double figures I am feeling positively Spring-like. Yes, I know the mercury might only be hitting ten or eleven celsius for some of us this week, but it beats the frosty mornings and chilly air. I'm throwing open the curtains in the morning and if I'm really lucky and am blessed with an early finish at work, I can get home to see the last moments of daylight. I really do live for the summer! All this light, bright weather has got me thinking about getting more light into our little home.

Linen curtains H&M
Copper lampshade Asda
Glass vase H&M
Metal pot H&M
Hanging planter Etsy
Mirror H&M
Candle Ikea

Light, bright linens on our bed and over the windows to let in optimum rays - I love these linen curtains for their rustic, homely feel. No nasty voile curtains for us, please. I'm currently obsessing over the idea of a VELUX roof window or sun tunnel to help bring even more light into our home after seeing my parents newly renovated garage. Dreamy! But for now... reducing clutter, using glass and other light, transparent materials and bringing a bit of nature into our home via some indoor plans will do just fine.


Wednesday, 25 February 2015

pan asian noodles

I love me a bit of Pan Asian cuisine. Wagamama and Dim T are two of my go-to chains if I fancy some noodles, ramen or rice and I've been keen to recreate something equally as tasty at home. I love to cook with the fresh, fragrant flavours of Asia - no heavy oil or deep frying needed! I've adapted this recipe from Jamie Oliver's 15 Minute Meals book, it's so simple to throw together and really packs a punch flavour-wise. Here I've used chicken and prawns but we also have it with salmon, and Jamie Oliver's original recipe uses steak. Take your pick! You'll see I have't really stated exact quantities in the ingredients - I explain a little about what I use in the instructions, but feel free to adapt to your taste, and throw in/substitute anything you think would be a good addition.

You will need
Dried egg noodles 
Chicken breasts
Sesame seeds
Handful of prawns
Red chilli
Spring onions
Lime juice
Soy sauce (reduced salt)
Hoisin sauce
Pak choi

Start by coating your chicken - I use a breast per person, cut into strips - in sesame seeds before frying a little oil or Fry Light. If you're using salmon, pop it in some foil and in the oven for about 20 minutes until cooked through. Rub a little five spice on if you fancy! Into the chicken throw in a couple of crushed garlic cloves, a squeeze of ginger paste (I use this), a handful of chopped coriander, a chopped red chilli, a few diced spring onions and mushrooms and a squeeze of lime juice. Cook all together on a medium heat until the chicken is cooked through. 

In a separate pan cook your noodles in boiling water according to pack instructions. 

Add a couple of tablespoons of soy sauce and a couple of hoisin sauce to the chicken and vegetables, stir through and then throw in your prawns (I use frozen cooked prawns, defrosted in a bowl of water) and pak choi. Leave to cook on a medium heat for a few minutes until the pak choi has softened and prawns have turned pink and opaque. Drizzle on a little more soy sauce if you think it needs it. Drain the cooked noodles and stir into the pan with the chicken and sauce. Serve in warm bowls with another squeeze of lime juice.

Most of Jamie's 15 minute meals seem to take me far longer than 15 minutes to cook, but this really doesn't take long at all! There are a load of shortcuts you can take to ensure you have these ingredients ready to use after a busy day at work: ginger paste, frozen chopped chillis and garlic, freezing your own coriander cubes or this frozen coriander. I buy my frozen prawns from Lidl (around £2 something) which I keep in the freezer and just grab a handful when I need them. 

For those Slimming World folk interested, everything in this meal is free (even the noodles!) apart from the hoisin sauce, which is two syns per level tablespoon. Make sure you use Fry Light rather than oil. 


Monday, 23 February 2015

fitbit one

2015 is the year I get in shape. The first step I took was starting Slimming World, which you may have seen me talking about in previous posts and on my twitter and instagram - stay tuned this week for my first post on how I'm getting on. But of course, healthy eating should always be combined with an active lifestyle. Being a teacher means I am on my feet most of the day, but the heavy workload also means I don't have as much time to workout as I'd like. I've been trying to find ways of monitoring my fitness, so when I was asked to review the Fit Bit One I jumped at the chance. 

This handy little gadget claims to help you both get fit and sleep better, all in one teeny tiny device. For me, sleeping is really important. There are two things which just send me over the egde - a lack of sleep, and a lack of food. Like many people my stressful job means my sleep can often be disrupted, meaning I wake up feeling tired and agitated. The first thing the FitBit One helps you to understand is the quality of your sleep - pop it into the wristband provided and whilst you're sleeping it does all the hard work. 

I find the data (which syncs to your laptop or phone) so fascinating! It tells you how many times you woke up and how long you slept for in total, allowing you to get a better understanding of your sleep patterns. Mind blowing stuff! Not only does it measure your sleep, but it also measures what you do in daytime hours. A little like a pedometer, this clips to your clothes and measures the number of steps you take, stairs climbed etc, giving you an idea of how active you are and how many calories you burn daily. As it's so small, it is totally discreet - you can even pop it in your bra! 

For me, the FitBit One helps me understand my body. I never thought I did much exercise in the day - how wrong I was! I love checking out how many miles I walk each day, and using the online tools I can record a load of other stuff such as what I eat, drink and when I workout. So far, I'm super impressed. This year I am determined to slim down and develop my fitness - this is really helping me understand how I need to go about doing that. What a clever little thing!

Disclaimer: I was gifted the FitBit One for review purposes on behalf of LV = Love Life. You can see their top ten smart fitness tech here. All views still my own. 

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