We Ate Like Students For One Week in Our Mid-Twenties. It Was Pretty Grim. | #ThisGirlEats

Times are tough, guys. I’m skint. You’re probably skint too. Affording food has become somewhat of a ridiculous luxury. Spending £50 on fresh ingredients every week makes my foodie heart very happy, but leaves my bank balance severely unimpressed.

broke dude.gif

In order to cut costs, my boyfriend suggested a break from creating blog-friendly food for a week (HOW VERY DARE HE?!) and make a “student” shopping list. Unlike myself, he’s never actually lived a student lifestyle, so I was given the task of creating a shopping list to feed us both, three meals a day, for a week, for £25. I did it – but how did he cope with our budget banquet? And how did we feel after a week living like students in our mid-20s?

First, I’ll give you a little run down of what we actually ate for the week:

Day 1
Bowl of porridge made with water
Jam sandwich, packet of crisps, cereal bar, last week’s grapes
Frozen pizza, oven chips, baked beans

Day 2
Bowl of porridge made with water
Wrap made with whatever I could find in the fridge (some slightly out of date veggies), cereal bar, and an orange
Went to a student pub with some mates and ordered a “Burger and a Pint” meal deal from the menu

Day 3
Bowl of porridge made with water
Another leftover “whatever was in the fridge” wrap, packet of crisps, cereal bar, and an orange
Frozen pizza, oven chips, baked beans

Day 4
Bowl of porridge made with water
Chocolate spread sandwich, packet of crisps, cereal bar, and an orange
Small takeaway pizza for one, using a (fake) student discount code

Day 5
Bowl of porridge made with water
Chocolate spread sandwich, packet of crisps, cereal bar, and an orange
Plate of chips at Spoons (£2.99, what a bloody bargain)
Frozen microwave ready meal – chicken & bacon pasta bake – bought from the reduced section of the supermarket

Day 6
Bowl of soup
Another microwave ready meal – sweet and sour chicken this time

Day 7
Beans on toast

How did I feel after eating this? Malnourished. Tired. Gross. Oh, so gross… I’m not sure I even managed five a week, let alone a day, and I’ve consumed more bland, processed, souless food this week than I have in a long, loooong time. I’m not proud of myself.

ryan gosling

There are a few plus points to eating like a student again – it’s cheap, it’s quick, it gave me more time to get other stuff done and, yeah, eating pizza midweek is kinda fun. For a day. Maybe two.

But feeling like a sad microwave meal or beans on toast are your ONLY options is a bit disheartening. For a food lover, someone who loves being in the kitchen, having no tools to work with left me at a bit of a loss. I felt like I was doing absolutely nothing in terms of therapeutic stress relief, let alone for my health!

How did my boyfriend get on? Well, to be completely honest, I don’t think he really noticed. He wasn’t a fan of the tasteless breakfasts and he practically begged me to never get a block of value cheese again but, at the end of the day, as long as a plate of food is in front of him and we never run out of coffee, he’s happy.

I think he’d get on alright as a student. Me? It was great at the time – about four years ago! – but these days all I want is an hour to myself in the evening to prepare and eat fresh, tasty food. Now, hand me the avocados!



5 Everyday Food Apps I Couldn’t Live Without | #ThisGirlEats

These five apps have become so useful to me, I reckon I use most of them at least once a week. They help me make nearly all of my food choices these days and have just made life so, so much easier.


This app is a gift sent straight from the heavens if you’re trying to save on your food shop 💸 You pick your preferred supermarket, but the app allows you to see how much your shop would cost at a whole list of other stores so you can make great comparisons. If it’s cheaper elsewhere, simply switch over! It also gives you money saving swaps, “bulk buy” offers and lets you save your shopping list for next time. It’s not only saved me money, but also forced me to shop much more sensibly too. I love it!

BBC Good Food

The BBC is known for many things; some good and some, er, not so great… But did you know one thing they do really well is food? The BBC Good Food app is home to literally thousands of recipes. If I’m looking for foodie inspiration it’s definitely my go-to. You can search using a keyword or check out their ready-made collections, from “Healthy” to “Cakes & Baking” and “Vegetarian”. You can also save recipes and make your own categories, meaning you can practically index your own online cookbook at the touch of a button.


If you’re really dedicated to kicking the junk food and losing weight, MyPlate is a fantastic (free!) tool. Not only can you track your daily food, water and exercise, but you also receive handy notifications reminding you to log your lunch or have a snack if your daily intake is low. You can also mark your progress and see how others are getting on in the MyPlate community. It’s like having a nutritionist, food journal and support network all in one! 💖

Change 4 Life

You’ve probably seen cute cartoon adverts promoting the Change 4 Life campaign, which encourages swapping regular foods for healthier alternatives. But did you know it’s an app too?! It’s pretty simplistic, but can help you make some great choices. Just scan a barcode with your camera and it’ll tell you how much sugar, salt, sat fat and calories are in the product. It uses great visual aids too so if, like me, numbers scramble your brain, the info is still easy to understand.


Because everyone deserves a treat day, right? 😉


RECIPE: Honey Mustard Roast Pork Fillet | #ThisGirlEats

Serves: 2
How much does it cost? This cost me less than £1.50 per person
What are the benefits? This recipe is high in protein, low in fat and contains lots of great vitamins such as B1 (helps the growth and repair of muscles and nerve tissue) and B6 (good for metabolism).

Pork fillet – or tenderloin, for our American friends – is a great cut of meat. It’s relatively inexpensive compared to, say, a chunk of lamb or beef of the same size, so you definitely get more bang for your buck. 💸

It’s also REALLY easy to cook. Seal in the pan, roast in the oven, bosh, done. Well, perhaps treat it with a little more love and care, but you get the idea.

With this recipe, I’ve worked on making it even tastier with this classic flavour combo. Honey mustard is one of my favourite marinades, and it gives this lean cut of meat a kick

I’ve made this recipe for two, but that’s probably quite generous – you could easily split it between three and bulk out with yummy roasted vegetables for a healthy, hearty roast dinner!

Pork Fillet (approx. 400g)
1 tsp English Mustard
3 tsp Clear Runny Honey

Obviously the flavour really oozes from the honey mustard combo, but take it to the next level but adding some extra seasoning. Sprinkle some salt and pepper over both sides of the meat while sealing in the frying pan, for a start – that’s just Flavour 101! With the honey mustard sauce, sprinkle in some dried rosemary, thyme and garlic flakes. Stir and enjoy!

So, this is how I did it…

1. Heat a large frying pan, spritz with cooking spray, slap the pork fillet in there and season with salt and pepper. Let it cook for 5 minutes on one side, flip it over, do the same on the other side.

2. In a bowl, mix the mustard, honey, rosemary, thyme and garlic flakes together and taste it. Yep, taste it. Mustard is such a distinct flavour; some people like just a touch, some people like a super strong hit. Give it a taste and if you think “Corr blimey, that mustard’s a bit bloody strong!” then add more honey.

3. Spread the honey mustard sauce all over the sealed meat until it’s entirely coated in lovely, sticky goodness.

4. Cover the pork with foil and throw into the oven for around 50 mins on 200°C. Bin the foil for the last 10 minutes of cooking to get some colour on that bad boy!

5. Check it! Pork always needs double checking – all sorts of things can affect the cooking time, so it’s best to cut into the meat and ensure it’s thoroughly cooked when following guidelines.

6. You should be left with a juicy pork fillet, packed with flavour and cooked to perfection.

pork fillet.jpg

RECIPE: Pepperoni Pizza With a Tortilla Base | #ThisGirlEats

Serves: 1
How much does it cost? This cost me less than 75p per person.
What are the benefits? This makes a great takeaway alternative, provides one of your five a day with the passata and mushroom, and is low carb compared to a normal pizza.

We all know pizza is pretty low on the scale of nutritional food. Even I, a dedicated pizza lover, can accept that.

But we also know that it’s probably the best food on God’s given earth and life without it just isn’t worth living – and no, I’m not being dramatic, this is genuinely how I feel about pizza.

So I’ve come up with an alternative so we don’t miss out by sticking to a balanced diet. By making a pizza at home you’re already cutting calories, but using a wholewheat tortilla as the base instead of going full-on deep crust is also lower in carbs and sugar content, plus the fresh toppings help contribute to your daily dose of vegetables.

I’ve done the maths and this recipe equals out to less than 500 calories for a WHOLE. GODDAMN. PIZZA. I know calories don’t count for much but it’s the most obvious piece of nutritional information on any takeaway menu (you have to go on a proper hunt to find full nutritional info) so it’s an easy comparison – my favourtie pizza takeaway, for example, offers one single slice of pepperoni at 226 calories. It’s not the be all and end all, but it gives an idea.

joey pizza

1 Wholemeal Tortilla Wrap
1/3 Carton of Passata
1/2 a Ball of Light Mozzarella (approx 65g)
Sprinkling of Low Fat Cheese
5 Slices of Pepperoni
2 Mushrooms, Chopped

There is a hefty dose of seasoning that goes with this recipe – but don’t worry, it’s nothing complicated! When preparing the passata, pour it into a bowl and stir in some dried garlic flakes, mixed herbs, a pinch of dried chilli flakes, salt and pepper. When you’re adding toppings to the pizza, sprinkle over a generous helping of dried basil.

So, this is how I did it…

1. The last thing you want is a soggy bottom (shout out to my fellow GBBO fans) so spread the tiniest amount of oil or cooking spray across a frying pan and heat it up.

2. The oil/spray shouldn’t take too long to heat. Once it does, lay the tortilla flat in the pan and immediately spread the passata sauce all over it, right to the edges, then top with torn mozzarella (make sure it’s drained otherwise you’ll get a puddle on your pizza!), pepperoni, mushroom and dried basil.

3. When the mozzarella begins to melt, sprinkle  a light layer of low fat grated cheese on top – I used cheddar, but it’s personal preference really.

4. The toppings will begin to cook and the grated cheese will begin to melt. Once everything looks like it’s almost cooked, pop it under the grill for a couple of minutes to crisp up the tortilla and ensure everything melts together nicely. And that’s it!

tortilla pizza

Cute Christmas Gifts for Your Inner Foodie | #ThisGirlEats

This weekend, I spent yet another afternoon perusing a local Christmas market – just try and keep me away from the damn things! This time I found myself in the middle of Canterbury, where the high street has been transformed into an adorable Santa’s grotto, with traditional huts, twinkling lights and cutesy stalls selling all sorts of unique gifts, tempting treats and lovely liquid delights.

I came across countless bits and pieces as I wandered about – mostly completely useless but charming trinkets that would help create the boho boutique decor I one day dream of showering my home in without having any real practicality whatsoever – but, alas, my budget wouldn’t allow such frivolous spending. These are just some of the knick-knacks I stumbled upon that made my inner foodie squeal with excitement…

This lavish sweet treats stall, decked out with literally hundreds of mouth-watering nougat, fudge and cake bars, decorated marvellously with tasty decorations and fun, novelty themes, not to mention sliced and wrapped beautifully.

cake stall


This quintessentially British stall, featuring traditional family board games such as Monopoly and Cluedo on one side and copious amounts of unique alcoholic beverages on the other. Christmas ales, mulled wine flavoured gin, marmalade vodka, you name it, they had it (and they let you try it as well!).

drinks stall


This totally f’ing adorable bloggers journal which, no, isn’t technically a foodie gift and, no, isn’t something I found on one of the market stalls, but it’s something that this particular foodie would love for Christmas (guys, take note) and, you know, it came from a shop on the same high street, like right next to the market, soo…

bloggers journal

Why Aren’t the Pit Falls of Junk Food Enough to Stop Me Craving It?! | #ThisGirlEats

I’ve met people who, when confronted with the notion of diving into McDonalds and grabbing a quick bite, will wrinkle their nose in disgust, briskly brush off the suggestion and instantly start Googling the location of the nearest Pret a Manger on their phone.

emma stone ew

I’ve been obsessed with food and diets since my early teenage years, so wish I could be that person. I mean, sure, when we’re all drunk, stumbling in any direction that promises chicken nuggets, and that person just wants to grab a water from the WHSmith at the train station, I hate that person. That person is a real buzzkill. But when words like heart disease and diabetes are tossed around, when I agonise over my figure and weight, when I stress about how much money each month is spent on takeaways, I really wish I was that person.

i hate you friends pitt

I know a whole lot about food. Truth is, I could tell you why you’ll regret that curry tomorrow (obvious aside, of course). I could tell you why a fast food burger is so much worse for you, nutritionally, than one you’d make at home. Hell, during my most neurotic days, I could probably tell you exactly how many calories are in your favourite pizzas, slice by slice, topping by topping. But my most logical, rational, informed self just isn’t enough to compete with those pesky cravings.

grease gif burger

When it’s curry night, I’m not thinking about how bloated that sauce will make me feel tomorrow; I’m thinking, “damn, get some of that delicious butter chicken in my belly!” I’m not thinking about healthy, homemade alternatives when I’m tucking into a Five Guys burger; I’m thinking, “wow, how are there still SO MANY FRIES in the bottom of my paper bag?!” I’m not thinking about counting the calories in my pizza when I’m scoffing down a slice; I’m thinking, “man, pizza is the freakin’ BEST!”

robin how i met your mother gif

It’s weird, isn’t it? I know it’s unhealthy. I know I can make something better at home. I don’t need it. I mean, I’m not a smoker because I know it’s super bad for my health, right? I’d never drink alcohol and then get in my car and drive, because I know it’s dangerous (and, um, totally illegal). I know my body would truly benefit if I cut out junk food, yet I don’t. So maybe I might as well smoke a pack a day and down a bottle of wine every night? Maybe this is just as bad…

Maybe, one day, I’ll learn how to be that person.

make good choices freaky friday

RECIPE: Oven-Cooked Sweet Potato Fries | #ThisGirlEats

Serves: 1
How much does it cost? This cost me less than 50p per person.
What are the benefits? These fries are 1 of your 5 a day, are low fat, and make a great vegan side dish.

I’ve always assumed I don’t like sweet potatoes. It’s just sort of always been a thing for me, like, “Sweet potatoes? No thanks.” It’s an instant reaction. But they seem like something I should like. So this week I tried making sweet potato fries at home as a last-ditch attempt to jump on the foodie bandwagon – and LOVED them!

It depends how you wanna serve these – I had them on their own for lunch, so I just cooked up a whole sweet potato for myself. I was ecstatic to find there’s a way to essentially just eat a big bowl of fries for lunch and feel great afterwards.

You can get a sweet potato for around 35p and you’re pretty much sorted, so it’s a definitely cost-effective option. Not only that, but sweet potatoes are, of course, a vegetable, so you’re now using a side of delicious fries as one of your five a day!


1 Sweet Potato, Sliced into Chips 

For me, seasoning is key for this recipe, adding a healthy dose of flavour helped me scoff down with delight something I would’ve previously avoided. Coat the fries with a sprinkle of salt (try onion salt for an extra burst of flavour!) and pepper, a pinch of garlic flakes and a handful of rosemary, dried or fresh.

So, this is how I did it…

1. I’m not really familiar with cooking sweet potato, on account of inexplicably not eating them for most of my life, but hacking away until it resembled chip-shaped chunks. Seemed to work out fine.

2. Lay the fries out on a baking tray, cover with a small amount of oil (I was afraid cooking spray wouldn’t crisp up properly – but feel free to try it!) and season with salt, pepper, garlic flakes and rosemary.

3. It was a complete guess, but I cooked on 220°C for 20 minutes, turning them over halfway through and they turned out fine. Crispy and, to my surprise, utterly delicious!

sweet potato fries
Crispy, tasty, oven-baked sweet potato fries

What I Learnt From Publishing My Most Embarrassing Food Habits Online

If you’ve kept up with #ThisGirlEats, you’ll know I spent the last month or so keeping a food diary published it for all the world to see 😬

embarrassed gif

It was all about learning to live a healthier lifestyle. I wore my bad habits like a badge, telling everyone that yes, I can eat a whole pizza on a Tuesday night all to myself. I can’t say I always wore this badge proudly – but I wore it nonetheless.

It’s easy to munch your way through half a pack of biscuits in front of the telly and not even notice; it’s easy to grab a hot chocolate every lunch break and think you’re just treating yourself. Writing down every morsel I consumed – no matter how embarrassingly gluttonous – forced me to take a look at what I was putting in my body.

Sometimes it was hard. Really hard. But it made me realise I’ve got some serious bad habits that need to be squashed immediately if I want to move forward with a healthier lifestyle.

I learnt loads about myself by doing this, but these are the five main changes I need to make after reflecting on my 30-day food diary.

  1. Cut out the fizzy drinks every. damn. lunch.
    Choosing the “diet” version isn’t a free pass when it comes to fizzy drinks. I’ve had it in my head that a fizzy drink will make me feel more full or give me more energy for the rest of my shift, but it was getting out of hand. Now I choose squash or water with my lunch at work, and find it easily cuts out five fizzy drinks a week.
    Five! 😱 
  2. Please stop ordering takeaways – for your health and your bank balance!
    Throw out the menus. Block Just Eat from all home devices. Delete the Dominos app. Desperate times call for desperate measures and, after logging my eating for just one month, I realise my lack of willpower when it comes to ordering in is getting DIRE. It’s a lethal cocktail of junk food cravings and plain ol’ laziness, but it reeeeeally needs to stop! I can’t afford it, and my body can’t either!
  3. Five-A-Day is a minimum, not an achievement! 🍏
    I’m not too bad when it comes to fruit and veg. I pack meals full of vegetables, and I’d say I hit the Five-A-Day target at least 75% of the time. But it’s not something I’m conscious of – if I eat them, I eat them. If I don’t, I don’t. I think I’d really benefit from just being more aware, planning ways to fit at least five portions of fruit or veg in every day – stick an apple in my lunch, throw some salad on the plate, chuck an extra veggie into the pot of chilli con carne. Just something to think about.

    apple witch snow white gif
  4. Packed lunch isn’t just for the playground, y’unno.
    I’m a decent cook. I’m creative. I’m passionate. If I took lunch to work everyday, it’d be more than a dried-up ham sandwich and a pack of ready salted. Pastas, wraps, club sandwiches, salads… There are loads of lunches I can make at home which are tasty and satisfying. I’d save some pennies, and they’d definitely be better for me than whatever I find in the work food court!
  5. For God’s sake, get off your butt and do some exercise!
    I am SO BAD AT EXERCISING. Don’t get me wrong, when I go out for a run or do some yoga in my living room I always feel better. Heck, even just going for a long walk every day – which we did in the summer – makes me feel healthier. But the THOUGHT of it? Nah. Sitting on my sofa right now, wrapped in a fluffy blanket with a cuppa, there is
    literally no part of me that wants to get up, whack on my sports bra and go for a run. I know I should. I know that making the effort to do a little more exercise every day will make probably the biggest difference to my health. I just need to leap over that mental barrier and get some motivation. Any tips?!
mike monsters inc gif

SERIES: My Journey to a Healthier Lifestyle #12 | #ThisGirlEats

10AM: I feel a health kick coming on… They usually don’t last long, but I reckon I can squeeze at least one good day out of it.

11:15AM: YUM. I’m so jumping on the bandwagon here, but I’ve been mega-tempted by these cute little overnight oats jars I keep seeing on recipe pages and food blogs lately, so I decided to give one a go. And I will DEFINITELY be making one again! So easy to just chuck everything in a jar last night and wake up to it being ready-to-go this morning. Lazy breakfast is the only kind of breakfast I do.


😍 Overnight oats (porridge oats, fat-free yoghurt, mixed berries, sliced banana, drizzle of honey)
😍 Green tea

😍 Wholewheat pasta with pesto, fresh tomatoes and a sprinkling of low-fat grated cheese
😍 850ml water
😍 500ml summer fruit squash

😍 Two low-fat sausages in a part-baked baguette with cooked onions and ketchup
😍 Cup of lemon and ginger tea

SERIES: My Journey to a Healthier Lifestyle #11 | #ThisGirlEats

8:30PM: Oh. My. God.

8:40PM: This dessert is amazing. I mean, I know I say lots of food is amazing, but this one really is. We’re out for dinner this evening for a birthday and are talked into having this particular dessert by someone who swears by it and, to be honest, I’m not exactly going to put up much of a fight. Chocolate? Tick. Ice cream? Tick. Gooey sauce? Tick. But then it comes out looking like this…

chocolate etna

And it tastes EVEN BETTER than it looks. Try to imagine that! You can’t. The only way you can truly understand the pure indulgence of this gorgeous dessert is to go have some for yourself. Believe me, this is not a dessert you’ll want to share…


🌺 Cup of green tea
🌺 Strawberry jam on toast

🌺 EAT. – Firecracker chicken toastie, salt and vinegar crisps, Diet Coke

🌺 Out for a birthday meal at ASK Italian – Penne al Pollo Della Casa (oven baked chicken and mushroom pasta) with shared Parmesan Garlic Chips ; Chocolate Etna for dessert (chocolate dome with melted toffee sauced over the top and vanilla ice cream inside)
🌺 White wine spritzer