Monday, 31 August 2015

Eats: A Taste of Aberdeen - Herb Crusted Roast Rack of Lamb

A Taste of Aberdeen, Copthorne Hotel, Lamb

A Taste of Aberdeen, Copthorne Hotel, Lamb

I am pretty much a make-what-I-know kind of person when it comes to creating meals especially where guests are concerned. I'm not experimental in the slightest and chances are if you come to mine for dinner, I will make something I have made a hundred times (or order takeaway....but lets not talk about that!). I also have a fear of either giving people food poisoning or my guests not enjoying their meal.

Joes Bloggers  recently got in contact with myself to see if I would like to recreate a traditional recipe created by chef Anupam Kuila from the Copthorne Hotel in Aberdeen. For the reasons mentioned previously, I jumped at the chance in order to see if I could challenge my fears.

The recipe (which you can find here) is probably the most elaborate recipe I have ever followed. As I had invited one of my friends round for dinner, I read the instructions a million times beforehand. And I am glad I did otherwise it could have been a disaster as the recipe is not in a chronological order.

After lots of reading instructions, chopping, stirring and even burning a pan (again let's not talk about that!), I eventually managed to create something that tasted pretty incredible. I also managed to not poison anyone and serve up something I had never made before. All in all a successful challenge.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Fitness: My story...

2009- Graduation when I was most likely at my heaviest

From the end of primary school upwards, I was always the fat kid in the class. Thing is, I never really noticed until one day after graduating University, I had enough. I didn't want to be the fat kid that I saw in the mirror any more, I wanted to be someone else. Around the time that I decided enough was enough, a new gym opened near me and with encouragement from one of my best friends, I signed up with her. 5 years later, I am still a member of that same gym and loving every minute of it.


~1999 - I seem to have been going through a scruffy stage

When I initially started the gym, it was a bit of a hit and miss as to whether I would be at the gym or not due to general laziness and working long shifts. When I was, it was cardio, cardio and even more cardio. Needless to say, it got boring. After that I started to introduce a class or two (Zumba and the occasional Combat Aerobics [which they no longer do]) and it made it a little more exciting.

2005 - Did someone say pirate partaaay? (Outfit what on earth ?!?)

~ 2006/07 - most likely drunk

Summer 2007

It wasn't until I was officially diagnosed with Epilepsy in 2013 that things really changed. One of my triggers for my epilepsy is tiredness (other two being stress and photosensitivity) and having this as a trigger made me seriously question my overall health. Before I embarked on adopting a healthier lifestyle, I was tired all the time; I was eating the wrong foods; I stayed up late and I was generally doing everything wrong. In some ways, being diagnosed with epilepsy gave me the wake-up call I needed. It gave me the drive to want to fuel my body appropriately and also to build up body strength so all in all I could potentially reduce tiredness as a trigger for seizures.


2012 - Drinking yet again (probably approaching drunk) and this was also the night before I had a seizure.

In the same year as my diagnosis, I discovered Les Mills classes at my gym. These classes are designed for everyone of all abilities and they certainly know how to challenge you. On a weekly basis, I currently do Body Attack, Sh'bam, Body Combat, Body Pump and Body Balance multiple times (ie all the Les Mills classes that Aberdeen Sports Village currently offer). What I love about these classes is the enthusiasm that every single instructor has: it doesn't matter how fit you are or how many classes you have attended, they push you to your limit every single time. Honestly, I have never met a group of people that have pushed me so hard to the point I want to collapse in a heap; corrected my technique when required and made me discover things I never knew my body was capable of (who knew that I would ever be able to hold any type of plank). On another slightly related note, the Les Mills team who teach at Aberdeen Sports Village are...just...well...bloody brilliant! I have no other words that I could possibly use to describe them.

2014 - Portugal

August 2015 (Impromptu play with my camera and caught slightly off guard, haha)

Not my usual choice of picture but a recent progress shot taken in August 2015. Still have some fat burning to do but it's a start!

Taking selfies for this post after a night out (totally normal...right?)

Two years on from my diagnosis, I am still enjoying living a healthier lifestyle. I still love my Les Mills classes as much as the day I started them. I'm a firm believer that if you get to a point where you are not enjoying a class, then drop it. There is no point in doing something in your spare time that you do not enjoy. In addition to the points above, I have also enjoyed seeing changes in my body: from the obvious change in weight to the not-so-obvious changes such as being able to add an additional weight on my bar during Body Pump. Furthermore, I have also discovered that I like setting myself realistic goals that I can work towards and achieve. For me there is nothing more satisfying than a sense of achievement. Yes, I work hard and being able to make last-minute plans is definitely not my forte but I would not have it any other way. For me, living a healthier lifestyle is a priority and if I can continue living this way until I am old and grey, then I would be very happy.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Eats: Chicken & Avocado Caesar Salad...

If you're anything like me, then lunches for work can get a little monotonous after a while. Ham sandwiches for weeks on end followed by an occasional cheese one would bore most people.

I have been trying to switch up my lunch with lots of healthy options. Usually, I go for a pick and mix approach, however this salad has been one of my recent favourites.

What I used:

Several leaves of Romaine Lettuce
1/2 Avocado (this amount is perfect for 1 person)
Cherry Tomatoes
Handful of Kale (Great source of iron)
Chicken (Great source of protein; the pre-packed packets are fab)
Caesar Dressing

001) Wash all the salad ingredients
002) Prepare the avocado (slice top to bottom and twist)
003) Add the croutons and the dressing
004) Enjoy!

Top tips:

To stop your remaining 1/2 avocado going brown, add a thin layer of olive oil to the exposed flesh. This will act as a barrier to prevent it going brown. Pop it into a container and place into the fridge.
If you are taking it to work, keep your croutons and dressing separate from the rest of the salad. No one likes soggy croutons!

This post was a collaboration with Joe Blogs Network & Simply Health. All ingredients were supplied.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Life: This week #008...

001) I had to say goodbye at the vets to my favourite, cheeky little boy. I was lucky enough that he let me have one last  massive cuddle before he passed away. He was naughty, affectionate and highly amusing. Loved sunflower seeds and monkey nuts and he always knew the sound of the sunflower seed tub being opened which made him come running for some.

002) This week I also found out that sports massages are definitely not as relaxing as they sound. Saying that, I can now actually lift my right arm over my head. Swings and roundabouts or something like that anyway...

003) Topshop seems to have been draining my bank account this week: 2 separate orders placed. To be fair, I did one order and spotted a couple of things in the 'new this week' section and couldn't stop thinking about them 5 days later. So I ordered them...

004) The Great British Bake-off is back and so is my addiction to baked goods. I find you can never watch Bake Off without wanting some kind of baked goods....