Tips for a Healthier Christmas

It may be hard to believe, but the holiday season is fast approaching, which means that before we know it, we’ll be celebrating Christmas once again, before partying our socks off a week later as we see in 2016. For most of us, with the weather generally turning colder and darker, and the fact that unhealthy party food and alcohol is virtually everywhere at this time of year, it can be tough to maintain a healthy lifestyle during the festive season.
 

Most people just say ‘what the heck’ and dedicate much of December to stuffing their faces, drinking far too much alcohol and making themselves feel pretty ill and overweight in the process. Every year we do this to ourselves, and every year we swear that the next year will be different, particularly when we step on the scales when the party season is over and nearly keel over in shock at the number staring back at us. If, however, you’re truly serious about having a healthy Christmas and maintaining a healthy lifestyle this festive period, here’s a look at how you can have a healthy Christmas, whilst still having a great deal of fun in the process.
 
Set yourself goals and targets
 

Unless you happen to be incredibly dedicated, setting yourself weight loss targets are not the way to go here, but what you can do is set yourself different goals instead. For example, Christmas is really only celebrated on the 24th, 25th, and 26th of December for most people, so instead of having all of December off your diet and away from the gym, set yourself the goal of getting to the gym like you would normally for the rest of December. Obviously you may have office parties etc, but generally, try to give yourself a target of getting to the gym at least 3 times each week for example and look forward to some time off as part of a Christmas present to yourself.
 
Don’t go overboard with the party food and drink shopping
 

Let’s face it when it comes to Christmas, most of us find ourselves  buying far too much at Christmas in some sort of competition who can fill their trollies the highest and then struggling to find room to store it all when we get home. Most supermarkets only close for 3 days during the holiday period (Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day) so we really don’t need to be a victim of the media induced frenzy that seems to sweep the nation every year. By the time Christmas is over, we’re often left with huge quantities of questionable vegetables (more parsnips anyone?) with only junk food still remaining, threatening to ruin our new year diets before they’ve even started!
 
Everything in moderation
 

As previously mentioned, it’s a good idea not to go overboard when you purchase your party food around Christmas, but at the same time, it’s an even better idea not to go overboard when it comes to eating it either. If you can, choose healthy snacks when you shop so that when you settle down to a cosy Christmas film and your sweet tooth tickles your fancy, you can help yourself to sultanas, fruit or low sugar yoghurts before reaching for the dreaded biscuit tin or choose low-fat biscuits instead, there are many alternatives to our family favourites on the market these days.
 
Make healthy substitutions
 

Eat healthy and stay fit! This applies not only for Christmas dinner, but for all of your other dinners, snacks, and beverages leading up to Christmas. If you’re making roast potatoes, for example, instead of covering them in goose fat, how about giving them a light spritz of olive or coconut oil before roasting them in the oven? When making mashed potatoes, leave out the cream and butter and add a splash of milk instead. Choose leaner cuts of meat and trim away any visible fat. For cheese dishes, instead of full fat, opt for reduced-fat cheeses. You can even make smart choices with beer by opting for low-calorie beers or alcohol-free beers. If you do use oil or butter in various dishes, try not to use as much as you would ordinarily. That way, you still get the same great taste and texture, with less calories in the process.
 

All of these changes may not sound like much, but they all add up to a make a big difference this Christmas and less regret in the New Year! For the recipe to the delicious Creamy Camembert in the featured image click here. To share your tips, reviews and experiences, please go to the Share Your Experiences page, we’d love to hear from you!

Milk and the Myth – Do you Dare Give up your Dairy?

The more I read about cows milk, the more I question the nutritional content when compared to other dairy free alternatives that are now on the market. It’s a controversial issue and I know not something many people will agree with me on (yet) but if I tell you a little bit more about where I’m coming from, you might just understand my concerns.


OK, so growing up in the Western World, we’ve been lead to believe that the white stuff is liquid gold. Our mums taught us it’ll make us grow up to be as strong as daddy, right? But as time goes on and more research is carried out on the effect the consummation of this milk for mammals has on us humans, it’s not looking as good as  it’s been cracked up to be over the years.


A large study in Sweden  found that women who drank more than 3 glasses of cows milk every day had almost twice the mortality rate over 20 years compared to women who drank less than 1. And contrary to the myths perpetuated to us over the years through the media, these women did not have any improved bone health and were surprisingly more prone to fractures than their none milk-drinking peers.



As a parent with a lactose intolerant baby at one time in life, I started my search for dairy free alternatives a long time ago. When we were first diagnosed with Kian’s condition, I was upset at the thought of him missing out on milkshakes, ice-cream and all the other ‘good’ stuff I knew he would enjoy, but when I looked more in depth at the facts, I realized that it’s not just 1 of my children that could potentially live a healthier life if they don’t consume dairy.

 

Higher dairy intake has been linked with high cholesterol levels, diabetes and several cancers as the primary milk protein (casein) has been proven to be susceptible to cancer initiating carcinogens.

 

There’s no doubt that the calcium levels in the lactation fluid are high but a recent study published by Dr. David Ludwig and Dr. Walter Willett from Harvard, showed a lack of evidence on the government’s recommendations that we should all be drinking 3 glasses a day and found no data to support the claim that the consumption of dairy leads to better bones, weight loss, or improved health.


More and more health professionals are now advising that dairy should not be a staple of our diets. The milk from the genetically altered ‘hybridized’ cows is considered much more likely to be problematic for some people. It’s important to remember that cows milk is designed for calves, and not for calves to drink all of their lives either. Typically even calves only consume this liquid until they are weaned (as do all other species on the planet) but it’s us humans that continue to ingest the milk of another species throughout our lives and encourage our children to do the same.


For years, we have been purchasing organic milk from our milk delivery company, in the hope that this was the safest option for our children, but organic cows are also milked while pregnant, so that too contains anabolic hormones (60 different types reported in 1 glass) that can promote growth of the types of cells we really don’t want to mess with.


I personally have been slowly introducing our children to eat oat milk such as Oatly. I love the creamy consistency and having been through the full spectrum of none-dairy alternatives in the supermarket (soya, almond, hazelnut and rice) I’ve found this to be the closest in terms of taste to the cows stuff that I grew up on. Unfortunately, the children are taking more coercing. Kian and Kaira (now 2 years old) have never drunk cows milk and so are more willing to give it a go (although I can tell they’re not too keen just yet) and Ariana (our beautiful 4 -going on 14- year old) point blank refuses to drink it. We’ve tried everything for her to have more than a mouthful, but she absolutely loves cows milk and so she’s not budging.


Which leaves me to ponder whether no milk is better than organic milk for our growing girl? It’s like an internal struggle between the science that is there for us all to see if we just Google it, and the years of having the “Is’nt milk brilliant?” style marketing campaigns thrust upon us. But I think we’ll let our children decide their own preference and let you know how we get along in further blog posts.


Do you have any dairy alternatives? We’d love to hear from you! Use the comments section below or send me a message through our contact page (top right) or the ‘Submit your Story’ page.

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Is Juicing Causing you Health Problems?

As an avid fan of juicing, primarily to get those vital nutrients we hear so much about into my children on a daily basis, it came as a shock to me to read one day (whilst sipping my juice and feeling pretty virtuous I have to say), that the popular food fad is causing health problems for some people.


Apparently, there was a Nutribullet purchased every 30 seconds in the build up to Christmas last year, and (along with the Duchess of Cambridge, apparently!) I was one of the happy customers completely sold on the promise of getting vital nutrients, cancer preventing antioxidants and minerals into mine and my family’s bodies but it’s the level of sugar (be it natural or not) that’s causing some experts to worry about the contribution to the obesity epidemic sweeping the country.


Weight-gain, dental problems and type 2 diabetes are all attributed to a diet high in sugar and even though the vitamins in fruit and vegetables are proven to protect against health problems such as high blood pressure and low immune systems, the sugar content in an average juice can often be as high as that in cans of fizzy drinks and I certainly don’t want to be doing the equivalent of feeding my children the equivalent of a can of coke every morning! Even dentists are worried about this latest health trend. Tooth enamel decay is on the rise and the sugar content in fruit drinks is being partially blamed.


Another problem is the acid content that blending all of this fruit and vegetables can cause to the gut lining. Unlike juicers, blenders such as the Nutribullet pulse everything including the skin and all of the lovely fibre contained within it, into a liquid suitable for drinking. Although not scientifically proven, many experts now believe that it’s the blades in the machine that can heat up and damage the fruit cells, reducing the amount of fibre you are consuming so the amount of antioxidants and phytonutrients aren’t as high as if you were to eat the fruit in its whole form. By crushing the fruit, it also increases the body’s ability to absorb all of the fructose (or sugar) contained within it.


For example, a Cadbury’s flake contains 18g of sugar but your average apple juice contains around 25g in a single 250 mil glass. Now I’ve got your attention haven’t I?


But it’s not just these health hazards that have been on my mind recently. Being the self-proclaimed germaphobe that I am, I spent some time researching how to get the parts of my Nutribullet clean just recently and was quite astonished by what I found. A study in 2011 found the effects from serving drinks from unclean juicers to be incredibly dangerous with salmonella and E.coli present if they were not washed properly. Harmful bacteria can hide in the many crevices within the devices and pose serious health threats for you and your family. The raw pathogens can potentially cause diarrhea, vomiting and in worse case scenarios, kidney failure! I have been scrubbing then soaking mine in boiling water ever since this discovery!


So what are the best low sugar fruits and vegetables to juice with?


As a general rule, water-rich vegetables (cucumbers, celery) and leafy greens (kale, spinach, and lettuce) contain less sugar per ounce. Fruit such as apples and pears and root vegetables like carrots and beetroot contain more sugar per gram and should be used sparingly. Lemons and limes are high in vitamins and can be used to add flavor. The best fruit and vegetables to use for a low sugar juice are kale, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, cucumber, tomato and collard greens.


In summary, juicing is a great way to increase your nutrient intake, but by reducing the amount of high sugar fruits and vegetables you include and substituting with some water-rich options from the list above, you will reduce the sugar and resulting calorie intake, which is healthier for you and your family.

 

Post-Baby Weight Loss – Top Five Tips to Help you Stay Motivated

Taking care of a newborn baby is often as exhausting as it is enjoyable. Because those beautiful bundles of joy need feeding at crazy hours of the day and night, you will end up eating at crazy hours of the day and night and your appearance will fall lower on your list of priorities than washing bottles and wiping bottoms! During this hectic period, even brushing your teeth in the morning can seem like a chore but after a few months of settling into a routine, you’ll probably find yourself feeling ready to shed those extra unwanted pounds that naturally creep up during pregnancy. So if you’re looking for body-after-baby motivational tips, here are 5 that could help:
 
1 – First and Foremost – Give Yourself Some Love

 

After having a baby, it’s very easy to feel down and demotivated when you realise your waistline isn’t shrinking as quickly as your sleep quota. Everyone reaches a plateau at one point and needs something to push them forward. Don’t be hard on yourself. The best thing you can do is to detach yourself from the results of working out and simply find an activity that you enjoy. In fact, ignore the weighing scales entirely for a good few months after childbirth and embark on a healthy diet full of protein and nutrition that will not only benefit your appearance but also increase your energy levels so that when you feel the time is right, you can try to increase your activity levels slowly.
 
2 – Get a Partner
 

We all have a friend, neighbour or relative who’s trying to lose weight too, so why not get in touch and join forces? Having a weight loss accomplice can be a good way to stay motivated as not only can you can support each other, your workout partner will also hold you accountable, making sure that you keep going and don’t give up on yourself.
 

The road to weight loss can be a bumpy one, but much like life’s other journeys, the going can be smoother when you have someone to share the trip. Not only will you have a common goal, but working out will be much more fun when you have someone to listen to your new baby stories of gummy smiles and sleepless nights and will also give you a good excuse to have some much needed me-time away from the house work!
 
3 – Keep Track
 

If you keep track of your diet and exercise, you’ll be able to stay motivated. Keep a journal and list down your daily, weekly, and monthly achievements. You can also keep note of how many calories you consume every day with apps such as My Fitness Pal that promises to improve weight loss goals by encouraging you to bring control back to your eating habits through a method of tracking your calorie intake.
 
4 – Work Out with Your Baby
 

Search YouTube and you’re sure to find several exercises that you can easily do with your baby. Walking is a great way to absorb Vitamin D, get fresh air, shed weight and relax your baby too. Pushing a pram not only works your legs and glutes, but also your arms and shoulders too! Some new mothers dance with their babies in their arms, simply putting on some music and moving with the rhythm together. This makes workouts fun and is a lovely bonding experience between you and your child.
 
5 – Set Goals and Reward Yourself
 

One of the best ways to stay motivated is to have a reasonable goal to work towards. Many new mothers have unreasonable expectations based on pre-pregnancy fitness levels and if they fail to reach their targets, they become discouraged. You can avoid this by setting a very attainable goal at first and work your way up to a bigger challenge. Every time you reach your target, reward yourself with a manicure at a beauty salon or trip to the shops for the pair of shoes you’ve had your eye on. In most cases, reaching the set target offers its own reward. You will get great satisfaction from your success especially when you compliments come your way!
 

You can use these methods to keep yourself motivated but remember to always be gentle on your body. Just by being persistent with an enjoyable exercise and healthy eating regime, eventually you will see some great results.
Borani Bademjan – Eggplant and Yogurt Dip

Borani Bademjan – Eggplant and Yogurt Dip

It’s fair to say that I am pretty obsessed with aubergines. If I could find a way to combine them in my morning coffee, I probably would! Along with tomatoes, potatoes and bell peppers, the aubergine (solanum melongena) belongs to the nightshade plant family (Solanaceae). In fact, aubergines grow in a manner much like tomatoes, hanging from the vines of a plant that grows several feet in height. The most popular variety of aubergine looks like a large, pear-shaped egg, hence the American name ‘eggplant.’
 

Aubergines are packed with health benefits, including being an excellent source of dietary fibre, vitamins such as B1 and B6 and minerals like copper and magnesium. This is my favourite Persian dip and it is so simple to make with a delicious deep and earthy flavour from the grilled and lightly charred fruit, lightened by a touch of mint and creamy yoghurt.
 
Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients:
 
2 large eggplants
2 cups plain yoghurt
2 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon dried mint
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 teaspoon turmeric
Vegetable oil or olive oil
 
Method:
 

  • Make 2-3 cuts in each eggplant to let the steam out and prevent it from bursting in the oven. Place the eggplants in a baking dish and cook in a 200°C/400°F pre-heated oven for about 30-40 minutes until soft. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
    Remove the skin by chopping off the stem and peeling with your hands, then chop eggplants into small pieces and place in a colander to drain.
  • Heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil in a skillet over medium heat, add the onions, sauté until golden, add the turmeric and sauté for another 1-2 minutes.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add the fresh garlic and combine all ingredients, mixing well. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Transfer into a serving dish, garnish with fried onions and a sprinkle of coriander if you have any.
  • Serve cold or at room temperature with warm bread.
Don’t forget to register your details in the ‘Join us to follow our blog’ box to be the first to know when my ebook of 30 of our family’s favourite Persian recipes is ready!
 
Enjoy!
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It Smells Like Raspberries and Caramel!

Every time I visit my lovely hairdresser (Louise at Jamilla Paul Hairdressing – if you’re ever in the north of Manchester, I really recommend a visit!) I seem to leave with a new product that is a game changer for my hair. My last encounter was no exception as I was dazzled by the smell Wella SP Luxe Oil gave my hair after she applied it to my newly chopped locks and it literally made me smile from ear to ear!
 

Enriched with Argan, Jojoba and Almond oils, Wella’s ‘reconstructive elixir’ has a super lightweight texture that doesn’t weigh my hair down as other serums I have tried in the past have done and it makes it feel softer than ever before.
 

The product provides 3 times more Keratin protection that smoothes the shaft when used on wet hair and makes it super easy to detangle and on dry hair to give it shine and definition. It can also be used as a pre-shampoo treatment when massaged onto the scalp for 10 minutes (or overnight) and washed off to reveal silky smooth locks!
 

For my hair length, I only need 2 pumps when it’s damp and just 1 when it’s dry so I think the 30 mil bottle I purchased for £10 from Louise will last me for quite a long time. I’ve found some equally good bargains on amazon too, should you wish to try it out, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. My hair smells like raspberries and caramel for days after I’ve used it and I can’t tell you how happy that makes me! I’ll be using it on Ariana’s hair if it’s ever as unruly as her too!
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Get Up, Work Out!

When I look back to the picture of me (above) full term with the twins, I have an overwhelming sense of pride in what my body achieved to create 2 lives at the same time. My waist went from 28 to 42 inches and I never thought I’d see the day that I could get back into skinny jeans again. In fact, for the past 2 years I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I may have to live in leggings for the rest of my life (which is a small price to pay for the beautiful babies my big belly gave us) but there has been a real determination in me these last few months, a determination to regain my pre-pregnancy body and along with it, reinstate a more positive frame of mind to benefit myself and my family.
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As all parents know, finding time to dedicate to anything you enjoy is lower in the list of priorities than emptying the bin and catching up with the soaps. My brain literally has turned to mush by the end of a day spent answering to “mum, mum, mummy!” and changing dirty nappies whilst humming Raa Raa the Noisy Lion, but 2 months ago I made a decision to dedicate just 20-30 minutes a few times a week to myself.
 

Where have I found these magical minutes I hear you ask? You might not want to hear the answer, but the truth is – it’s in the morning! I’ve been setting an alarm and getting up earlier than the rest of the family to work out before they wake up and I have actually found that I feel so much better about the day ahead when I know I’ve prioritised myself and my health!
 

And there’s another benefit to exercising first thing in the morning too – faster weightloss! Working out on an empty stomach (or ‘Fasted Training’ as it is more commonly known) is being hailed as a faster way to lose weight through training rather than during the day when we’ve had chance to eat and the food has raised our insulin levels resulting in our bodies wanting to store food as fat, rather than to burn it for fuel. That’s a good enough reason to get me up early, I can tell you!
 
My workouts:
 
workout

I love the workouts on the Befit channel on YouTube. You can find routines from Jillian Michaels to Jane Fonda and other industry experts, which are completely free and I simply choose a workout depending on how much time I have. Some days I only manage to do 20 minutes but it’s high intensity and I feel like I’ve really pushed myself by the end of it. Just 20 minutes, 2-3 times a week has made me feel strong again.
 

When I can get to the gym, I like to do a Body Pump class on a Sunday morning just after the kids have had their breakfast and before my husband can figure out what’s going on as I shout “BYE!” and run out of the door. We use barbells and a step for a full body conditioning workout combining squats, steps with weights and some core work (planks, mountain climbers etc). That’s 45 minutes and I usually struggle walking for a day or two after it!
 
 
 
My eating habits:
 

I’ve stopped eating the kids leftovers – seriously who likes cold fish fingers anyway? I don’t even like warm ones so why do I find myself eating discarded ends before I toss them into the bin? New motto: ‘I am not a dustbin!’
 

Left the bread out: I don’t miss the bloated feeling I get from sandwiches and toast. I’ve replaced it with wholegrain wraps, muesli and salads (some of my recipes are in my ‘let’s eat’ category) and I’m still juicing a lot (mainly spinach, kale, apple and almond milk to keep my sugar intake low. A spoon of peanut butter helps keep me full for longer too). Our Nutribullet works even harder than me!
 

I’m sweet enough – sugar is lurking in everything, from being hidden in jars of sauces to blatantly stating the obvious in most every day breakfast cereals and I’m done with it. The crash in blood sugar levels mid-morning after a sweet breakfast and resulting craving for more of the artificial high it brings about should be illegal! Obesity is on the rise and I feel really strongly about the lack of information us every day consumers have about the hidden nasties in most of our foods. Personally, I cook everything from scratch (as in some of the recipes in my ‘let’s eat’ category here) and I’m not saying that in a ‘mum of the year’ type of way, it’s just the way I’ve always done things and find it easier because I’m far too unorganised to buy in ready made anything, I never know what I’m making until the last minute and throw things together with what we have in!
 

I’ve got bags of sugar free sweets from Boots (their diabetic range) and some Atkins cereal bars to satisfy my sugar cravings during the week. I’ve really resisted the biscuit tin and left the jammy dodgers for my jammy lodgers. Having said all of that, I know it’s not always easy to resist that satisfying slow melt of chocolate on the tongue or (my personal favourite) a coconut macaroon all crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle (yum!) so if I want a sweet treat in the evening I never deprive myself after all, I think if I’m working out I can afford a reward!
 

Almond milk – I am all over this stuff at the moment and I think it’s helped beat my bloated tummy. I’m back to a coffee most mornings (after all I went through to get myself off it, I just missed it too much!) but I don’t have sugar in it and I don’t think I’ll ever go back to having it with cows milk.
 
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Little changes are making big differences. I can see it, I can feel it. I really look forward to weekends even more now because all of the above goes out of the window for 2 lovely days when we eat take out and enjoy time together with family and friends. I really feel like I’ve earned it by the time Friday night comes around and giving my leggings a break while I dust off my skinny jeans again feels so good!
 

There’s no magic pill or any instant fixes (believe me, I’ve Googled it enough times!) and I know my stomach will never be tight and properly toned again but with patience and perseverance I’ve managed to comfortably fit into some size 10 jeans by getting up and working out!
 
After all, no-one ever got a compliment for having a lie in!

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Spirulina Smoothies

It’s no secret that we make a lot of smoothies around here! Really, we can’t get enough of the stuff! So much so that our Nutribullet lasted just long enough for it to be past the manufacturers warranty (typical) and so we had to buy a new one a week ago. But every cloud has a silver lining and all that – this new one is so much quieter and doesn’t shake the roof off the house or terrify the kids every time we use it!
 

I’ve mentioned some of our recipes in precious posts (here and here) but I just wanted to update you on the latest addition to our juices that we’ve been loving – Spirulina! I’m not sure if you’ve heard of it – I hadn’t until recently to be honest – but being the massive research geek that I am, I heard nothing but good so decided to give it a go. Here’s what I learned in brief if you’re interested:

 What is Spirulina?
 

Dried Spirulina contains about 60% (51–71%) protein. It is a complete protein containing all essential amino acids, superior to typical plant proteins such as legumes.  Spirulina is a single-celled, blue-green micro algae that has lived on Earth for roughly 3.5 billion years.
 
What health benefits are there?
 

Algae can work wonders for your health because it provides a rich source of nutrients and zeaxanthin, selium, zinc, and vitamins C, E and B-Complex. It is also rich in GLA (gamma linolenic acid) which makes it anti-inflammatory and beneficial for inflamed or dry skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, rosacea and acne and it contains 17 detoxifying and alkalising betacarotenoids (antioxidants), over 2,000 enzymes and a full spectrum of minerals including sulphur, all of which are essential for vital, glowing skin.
 

Sound good? It did to me! So I purchased a pack here from Amazon for £9 and have been adding it to our smoothies since. I add less than the 10-15g recommended as it does change the flavour slightly and I don’t want to put the kids off their magic morning drink, so I use around a tbsp in a full Nutribullet jug. Our favourite other ingredients to add are banana, strawberry (preferably from our plant in the garden!) blueberries, apple, raspberries and always a little spinach to add some greens and soya, almond or oat milk to keep it dairy free for my lactose intolerant boy!
 

I’ll add some more detailed recipes soon. Let me know if you give it a go and don’t forget to add your details to the black box in the side bar for more of our favourite recipes I’ll send to you by email!
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Super easy omelette 

When I was young, my dad would make us these amazing omelettes on lazy Sunday mornings and I’d look forward to the smell and sizzle that filled the house while he stood patiently over the cooker working his magic, all week. His Persian culinary skills taught me simply that “everything begins with an onion” and his omelettes were no exception to that rule, which is lucky for us as I rarely plan our meals but I know you can’t go wrong with any dish by starting it with an onion fried gently and by adding the right herbs and spices – it usually is the beginning of something delicious in our kitchen!

If you’ve never grated a sweet potato into your omelettes, then you’re missing out on a taste sensation that really adds substenance to an already filling dish, but with the slow release energy of this complex carbohydrate you really won’t feel hungry for a very long time! Whatever vegetables you have in work great with a meal like this but here’s what I did and what Ste told me was “the best omelette I’ve ever tasted!”

I began by washing and grating a sweet potato (skin on) into some heated coconut oil in a deep frying pan. I fried it gently until softened, then added a chopped onion, half a tsp of turmeric, half a tsp of smoked paprika and a sprinkle of garlic salt and placed a lid on, allowing it to caramelise for around 10 minutes whilst stirring now and again. After it was all lovely, soft and golden I added 2 chopped rashers of smoked bacon, half a tube of tomato purée and 2 big handfuls of spinach and after stirring, replaced the lid allowing it to continue to cook on a low heat. After around 5 minutes of occasional stirring, I made a couple of holes in the mixture and dropped in 4 eggs, again replacing the lid to allow the eggs to cook through.

For additional yum, this is so tasty with cheese grated on top, then melted under a grill but I left out those additional calories for today!

For more of our family favourite recipes, don’t forget to subscribe to post notifications on the side bar and I’ll send you some tasty meal ideas really soon!

Hope you’re having a great day.

Love from Leyla

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A holy grail highlighter

If a better quality highlighter exists in the world than I have yet to find it! I remember searching for this shade of Skinfinish last year after reading some ‘glowing’ reviews but couldn’t get my hands on it anywhere! Sellers on eBay were profiteering from it at the time and my ‘Watch’ list contained a couple at around £60 per product! Anyway, I’m glad I stuck with whatever I was using at the time, because now Soft and Gentle is back in stock and only £23 for the 10g, dome shaped compact.

The new window compact comes in 5 shades – Lightscapade, Gold Deposit, Cheeky Bronze, Global Glow and Soft and Gentle (which I opted for). Mac describes it as:

A luxurious velvet-soft powder with high-frost metallic finish. Smoothes on: adding buffed-up highlights to cheeks and brows, or an overall ultra-deluxe polish to the face.

The compact has a magnetic close and although it lacks a mirror, I think it feels both sturdy and luxurious to use. The colour looks marbelized and on application to the cheekbones, tip of the nose and a little swirl on the forehead, it shimmers to perfection creating a healthy glow that can be used day or night to contour the face.

IMG_8213I love a healthy glow and some nights are so disturbed around here, I would look poorly if I didn’t reach for my makeup in a morning! Today, I’m wearing it with Estee Lauder Double Wear in Tawny, Mac Skinfinish in Medium Dark, Sleek Brow Kit in Dark (full review here), Max Factor 2000 Calorie mascara and Collection 2000 eyeliner pen, Mac blusher in Early Morning with All Fired Up lipstick, again by Mac (full review here).

I purchased mine from Mac at Selfridges, Manchester, but it’s also available on Amazon. Hope you’re enjoying your day!

Love from Leyla