Saturday, 31 January 2015

An update on healthy 2015

So, I have been doing well with my healthy living year so far!

I am not a fitness or health expert but I have been doing lots of online research and asking my personal trainer lots of questions, so am finding out lots of stuff! Plus I study a Food and Nutrition degree so I find it all very interesting!

I have got a personal trainer at the gym who I try and see at least 4 times a week, and its been so much fun. I love having someone to tell me what to do because sometimes I find the gym so overwhelming and don't know what to do! He has got me lifting some big weights and my squats are getting much better! I have noticed my arms are showing a little muscle too which is good!

I also go to classes in the evenings, my favourites are bang tidy and LBT. HIIT fit it so hard, but definitely worth it for an intense cardio workout! I have stopped running because we have had too much snow and its dangerous - plus its absolutely freezing and I cant hack it! Once it warms up a little I will brave another run!!

In terms of eating, I have been having lots of fun trying out new recipes and new food too! I am really enjoying researching recipes to try that are high in protein, low in fat but tasty!

My favourite has been sweet potato and spinach tikka masala served with brown rice. I kinda just made the recipe up, but I used tinned tomatoes and lots of spices such as garam masala, curry powder, corriander and chilli flakes. Just made sure you add the spinach at the end as it doesn't take long to cook spinach. Spinach is a excellent food choice as it is high in iron and also a good source of vitamin A,K and C.

I also enjoy sweet potato, carrot and chickpea morrocan soup, I adapted the recipe from here.
But its very simple to make, I cooked sweet potato and carrot in chicken stock until soft. I then added drained chickpeas and added various spices tasting as I went. I then blended with a hand blender to make a soup. I have got lots pots of this soup in the freezer!

I have also been having many smoothies and I add two teaspoons of chai seeds which I bought for a decent price from tesco. Chai seeds are excellent as they provide the body with many nutrients such as omega 3, are high in antioxidants, and also high in fibre and protein. Added to a smoothie makes them very easy to consume. I vary my smoothies every time I eat them depending on what I have in the cupboard/freezer. Frozen fruit are excellent in smoothies as they last longer when kept frozen. I particularity enjoy frozen berry mixes but currently also have frozen mango in my freezer. This smoothie contains, frozen berries and frozen mango, with a banana and an apple.

I have just bought some whey protein powder so tomorrow I think I am going to try and make protein pancakes. I have been doing lots of research on how to make them and think I have the best one that contains egg whites and greek yoghurt.

I feel so much better for eating healthily and going to gym and am slowly starting to notice a difference which is fab!

Look out for the protein pancakes in the next week! xoxo

Sunday, 25 January 2015

D.I.Y Hot Chocolate @ The Forum

On Saturday myself and a friend visited The Forum on Devonshire Street in Sheffield for the first time for a drink.

We didn't know what to expect but fancied going somewhere other than a coffee chain, The Forum looked cute and is regularly busy so seemed a good idea.

The Forum is a restaurant and bar, but also has a coffee bar on the side of it. We decided to sit on the high stools by the bar and looked at the menu. There was so much to choose from, a large array of smoothies and too many hot chocolate flavours including chocolate orange and rocky road. However the DIY one stood out to me as it seemed fun and different.

For it, you got to choose the chocolate type, either white, milk or dark, I went for dark chocolate as it is my favourite! You then go to choose a filling; flavoured syrup, marshmallows, blackberries, cherries or fresh strawberries. I went for caramel syrup seeing as I love the stuff.

The hot chocolate came on a lovely wooden board, with a mug of frothy milk, then your pot of chosen chocolate drops, a pot of whipped cream and mine came with a jug of caramel syrup.

I poured the chocolate drops into the wamred milk and stirred, I then added a little of the syrup and topped with cream.

It was such fun to make it yourself and I think a great idea that other cafes should do too!!

Thanks The Forum for a brilliant afternoon in your lovely coffee bar. xoxo

Sunday, 18 January 2015

A trip to an Alpaca Farm

On Thursday myself and then girls wanted to take a break from the library and enjoy a day out. We had no idea where to go so turned to Groupon for ideas. We are students so a spa day is WAYYYY to expensive and nothing else took our fancy!

Then we found a voucher for a trip for 4 to an alpaca farm on the edge of Sheffield for £10 for 4. It seemed like a bargain! I then found a voucher for 15% off local Groupon deals so it came to £8.50, £2.25 each for a day out for students is perfect.

We drove out of Sheffield to the farm which was on the edge of the Peak District. When we first arrived we were confused and not sure what we were doing or where to go. However we went into the visitors centre and gave the lady our voucher who gave us a token each. The token allowed us to go through the gate and into the farm.

The family started the farm when a family member was ill and it gave something to take her mind off things, the farm has grown and grown since. There were so many alpacas it was crazy! We had bought some feed so fed them and ran away when they spat at us!!!

At the farm there were also some cool wallabies and Shetland ponies and a horse. 

It was a fun day especially as we had a selfie stick to play with so took loads of photos and tried to take selfies with the alpacas too!!

Afterwards we headed back into Sheffield and had tea and cupcakes at Fancie. I had a tasty salted caramel cupcakes and iced caramel latte.
Next we want to go and enjoy afternoon tea at Fancie, it looks excellent value!

Thanks Groupon! xoxo

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Pots of Arts and Waffle House - St Albans

My sister went to Fiji on Sunday to teach for 8 months so before she left I wanted to organise a girly day out for us both. I went onto Groupon for some ideas. I wanted to do something a bit different and didn't fancy a trip up to London.

After searching I saw a deal for painting pottery, so that gave me the idea to go and paint pottery. I looked to see where one was that was local to home and the one in St Albans called Pots of Art seemed good.

We arrived at midday and there were a couple of people in there but it wasn't busy. It was advised to book at busy times but I figured a weekday would be quiet especially as most people have gone back to school and work.

The best thing about this place is that you don't get charged a 'studio fee', you pay for the item you paint and that's it. It was fantastic as many places charge you up to £5 on top of the item you have chosen to paint.

Trying to decide what to do was the hardest part, there was so much to choose from! Did I want to make a money box, or paint an animal, or a plate or a mug?! In the end I went for a simple square plaque.

I decided to put Little Miss Tiny on it, as I am known for being short! I am not the most natural person when it comes to drawing, however I tried my best!

We were there for a couple of hours and then drove to the Waffle House which is the other side of St Albans.

I love the Waffle House and their sweet waffles and was excited to take my sister there as she had never been before!

We were originally going to get a waffle with chocolate sauce and choose extras such as butterscotch sauce and whipped cream. However I noticed a special which had everything we wanted on it plus more.

It was called Knickerbocker Waffle and was amazing! It had chocolate sauce, toffee sauce, vanilla fudge pieces, chocolate shavings and whipped cream and ice cream. It also came with berry coulis but we asked for it on the side. It was such good value and tasted divine. I could eat another one right now!

What a lovely day we had! xoxo

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Trying kale for the first time and a healthy dinner

Yesterday I tried kale for first time, I had no idea what to expect and no idea how to cook it so I turned to Google.

I decided to try it in a salad, so I made a kale, lettuce, cucumber, feta cheese, olive and hummous salad dressed with balsamic vinegar. It was delicious. After doing some research I discovered that kale is very tough and chewy so it was advised to 'massage' the kale in a teeny bit of olive oil then leave in the fridge for 10 mins. This is exactly what I did and it slightly softened the kale and made it easier to chew.

I took the advice of how to dress the salad from one of the pages of Lucy's book:

For dinner I had the most delicious curry, Mum gave me some leftover to take to uni and one of these was a red thai curry. I don't have the recipe for it but its made completely from scratch using a number of herbs on spices, you make a paste. I think the recipe is from the Hairy Bikers Asian cookbook. In it included cauliflower, butternut squash and then I added green beans. I served it on a bed of brown rice. It was advised to eat brown rice instead of white, so I did. I have never tried brown rice before and it was yummy! 

I think its all these little changes to the diet that will most definietly help. Its not wise to jump straight into the whole eating too healthy as it will be a shock to the system and easier to give up!

I have booked a personal training session at the gym for next Monday, where the instructor is going to make me an exercise plan which will be fab! I never know what to do at the gym and am always too scared to go on the big weights but this programme will teach me which weights to use and how and when. 

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Be Body Beautiful: My guide to a healthy, happy new you

This year I have no exciting holiday plans to look forward to, unlike last year. Therefore I wanted something to focus on. I have always been active and go to the gym 3-4 times a week and enjoy a variety of gym classes, I also enjoying running 10km. However I eat absolute rubbish, I snack on sweets, chocolate and have such a sweet tooth that I have dessert after almost every dinner.

However, this is all going to change, I want to become fitter and I want to tone up. I often feel bloated and sick after meals, however this is all going to change. My new years resolution this year is to become a fit, happy and healthy Rachel. This all starts with reading Lucy Mecklenburgh's book Be Be Body Beautiful: My guide to a healthy, happy new you. I started reading it last night and cannot put it down.

The book starts with a story as to why Lucy has decided to write this book, and with a little history behind her Result's With Lucy programme.
Then there are meal plans and exercise plans too. The meal plans look fantastic and I cannot wait to start making the healthy juices, eating healthy and nutritious meals and doing the workouts.

I will document my progress on this blog. It's funny this blog started out as a food, travel and lifestyle blog. However I feel that this year it will be focussed on a healthy diet and exercise.  Then next January my adventure to somewhere in the world will begin!

I feel very motivated and cannot wait to have something to focus on and aim towards.

Here's to a happy and healthy new me! xoxo

Friday, 2 January 2015

Castleton - Mam Tor

My family came up to Sheffield with me so I wasn't alone in my flat on my own whilst working.

I worked Monday and Wednesday, so on the Tuesday we took the shop drive from Sheffield to the Peak District. It snowed a lot on Boxing Day in Sheffield and the snow was still present, which made driving a bit tricky!

Castleton was still covered in a thick blanket of snow and looked stunning.

We walked up Winnats Pass and headed up the hill to the top of Mam Tor which gave stunning views of the Peak District. We then headed back down the hill. It was a long walk and very hard walking in snow, my leg muscles ached the next day!

The walk was simply beautiful and the lighting was gorgeous, I took a tad too many pics!

In the evening we went to our fsvourite restaurant in Sheffield - Graze Inn.

We were sat in a cosy booth at the back of the restaurant. I had a delicious raspberry mojito for only £5 as it was happy hour. I also enjoyed some ribs served with winter-slaw, fries and peas and carrots. The portion was huge and I couldn't manage it all, excellent value for money!

I'll miss this place once I gradate from University! xoxo

Thursday, 1 January 2015


I know this sounds cheesy, but 2014 has literally been the best year ever! I have loved every minute and am sad its over. I find it sad when people put status' like 'cant wait for 2014 to be over', because I have loved 2014! I did a similar post last year but here are my highlights from 2014.


March the highlight was the Captain America premiere which was held at Westfield White City. I got to walk the red carpet and even took a photo with Philip Schofield! Just one of the many perks of working for Disney! 


Over the Easter holidays I went to the Ile de Re with my family, which has to be my favourite ever family holiday. I had such a great week cycling the Ile de Re and wrote a couple of posts about it too!
The end of April was also my birthday, turning 22. I went to Jamie's Italian for the first time and loved it!

The harbour at St Martin

Beach Day


In May myself and my family enjoyed a fun time at 'Go Ape!' a place where you become a monkey for the day! We had the place to ourselves as the weather wasn't great and it was so much fun, I would go back any day to swing among the trees and jump off towers! 


I finished my amazing placement year at The Walt Disney Company on Monday 9th June, with a lovely send off from my whole team On 10th June I flew to Florida to work at Walt Disney World Resort. I worked at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in Downtown Disney for 2 months as a Fairy Godmother in Training. It was very different to work in America and I found it quite hard at times, however looking back I had such a wonderful time at the boutique and made some amazing friends that made the working days 100 times better! Apart from working we also visited the parks on our days, mornings or evenings off! I loved it, and even started to give away shifts so I could go to the parks!  


At the end of my time working in the boutique I started picking up shifts at the Boutique in Cinderella's Castle in Magic Kingdom. This was the most magical role ever and I absolutely loved it. I feel that if I was placed at Magic Kingdom for my whole program I may have enjoyed it a lot more and felt a lot happier! I wrote a separate blog about my America experience and my post about working in the castle can be read here


I finished at Disney on 15th August. Leaving was really sad and I had to say goodbye to my lovely FGiT family at the boutique. I also had to say goodbye to my amazing flat mates who I had shared a flat with for 2 months and also my amazing roomie who I had shared a room with for 2 months. We had a lovely farewell meal at Animal Kingdom and then watched Wishes at Magic Kingdom.

Then myself and a couple of the other Disney girls got the Megabus to Miami and stayed there for a couple of days relaxing on the beach everyday. We didn't really do much here except sunbathe and shop! 
I then flew to Vegas where I met my best friend who I was to be travelling with for a month. I loved Vegas, it was mad but amazing! We also went on a day trip to the Grand Canyon which was fantastic and spectacular! 

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

Pool Party @ Encore

We then got the Greyhound bus (which broke down!) to LA. Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive was so cool. We also walked the Hall of Fame, visited Madame Tussauds, saw the Hollywood Sign and went to Venice Beach.

Beverly Hills 90210

From here we had a very eventful journey to Yosemite, which was suffering from a severe drought, we did not love it here so left early and headed to beautiful San Francisco. 

Yosemite National Park


We were in San Fran in September and it, from dinner at the top of Macy's looking over Union Square, Lombard Street and also a visit Alcatraz.

Cheesecake Factory, Macys - Union Sqaure

Golden Gate Brideg

San Fran skyline from Alcatraz

We then flew to New York for the last part of our trip. We did lots of shopping, saw the Statue of Liberty and watched Enrique and Pitbull in concert which was amazing! On 14th September I was back home to reality in England. I then went back to University for my final year. 

New York Skyline from Staten Island

Brooklyn Bridge


October was Halloween and we had a reunion with all the girls and boys from Disney Placement year. The theme was pirates and we all met in Nottingham and had a night out to Forum. I had such a fun night being reunited with all my pals! I spent the weekend in Notts and visited the famous castle too!


In November I had a reunion with the Disney America girls and they all came to stay with me in Sheffield. We all got so close over the two months in America and it was fab to all get together again. We had a fun night out and then a good day at Bakewell in the Peak District.


December my brother surprised us and came home from Vietnam for Christmas. I hadn't seen him since January and we did not know he was coming back so it was lovely to see him! We have had a great family Christmas despite me being ill for most of it!

What a great year it has been, bring on 2015 and lots more fun and adventures hopefully! Happy New Year! xoxo