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.

FOOD DIARY

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

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

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

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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…

FOOD DIARY

Breakfast
🌺 Cup of green tea
🌺 Strawberry jam on toast

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

Dinner
🌺 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

SERIES: My Journey to a Healthier Lifestyle #10 | #ThisGirlEats

3:30PM: You know sometimes you just really fancy something? Like pizza (always) or Channing Tatum (never – like, I just don’t get it). Well today I got a real craving for Nando’s. I’m not obsessed with the Peri-Peri chicken chain or anything, but sometimes there’s a kind of hunger that only a chicken wrap can solve – and yes, I’m a lemon and herb. Fight me.

4:15PM: I’ve convinced the work lot to come to Nando’s with me for lunch. Win.

FOOD DIARY

Breakfast
🍗 Green tea

Pre-work brunch
🍗 Cheese, onion and mushroom omelette

Lunch
🍗 Nando’s chicken wrap with avocado and halloumi, with Peri-salted chips
🍗 Diet Coke

Post-work
🍗 Cup of tea

SERIES: My Journey to a Healthier Lifestyle #8 | #ThisGirlEats

11AM: Sometimes you just feel like you need a decent meal to see you through the day. When you know you’re going to be working until 9PM almost every night this week (yep, that’s right…) that sort of pushes you to feel like it’s one of those times. Because of that, I’ve opted to have my main meal of the day right now – a fry up. YUM. Meal of champions.

4:25PM: This wrap is gross. I don’t think that’s a sentence I’ve ever said before… 😦 To be fair, it wasn’t the delicious wholemeal tortilla’s fault – it’s because I tried to use up what was leftover in the fridge before it went off, and turns out that’s too much processed meat for one day. For me, anyways.

FOOD DIARY

Breakfast
🥓 Cup of green tea

Pre-work meal
🥓 An (almost full) English breakfast – two slices of bacon (fat cut off), two pork and apple sausages, one fried egg, baked beans and wholemeal toast

Lunch
🥓 Sausage, bacon and salad wholemeal wrap (not good, got thrown away)
🥓 Walkers Honey BBQ Sunbites
🥓 Fibre One brownie bite
🥓 Bottle of Diet Coke
🥓 850ml water
🥓 Dairy Milk bar

Late night snack
🥓 Cup of tea
🥓 Chocolate buttons

SERIES: My Journey to a Healthier Lifestyle #6 | #ThisGirlEats

1:30PM: I’m not really a big fan of honey 🍯 – my body is probably so used to processed sugar it gets all confused when something naturally sweet rears its head – but I’ve started eating this combo of fat-free Greek yogurt and mixed chopped fruit with just a drizzle of honey over the top, and it’s SO GOOD. Honestly, yum.

2:40PM: I HEARD RUSTLING IN THE FLAT, THE DAMN MOUSE IS STILL HERE SOMEWHERE. Oh God help me.

5:30PM: I brought home my very first car today, and now I’ve got a cute little car all of my own. This has nothing to do with food or anything but it’s still a pretty big deal so I thought you all should know.

new car edit

6:45PM: Chilli is, like, the best meal. It doesn’t even need the meat, it’s just as good with Quorn mince – as long as you make it spicy, of course.

FOOD DIARY

Breakfast
👏 2 cups of green tea
👏 850ml water

Lunch
👏 2 slices wholemeal toast with Sour Cream Pringles (we had a few crumbs left in the bottom of the tube from the weekend and that’s one of my favourite weird food combos, don’t judge me)
👏 Greek yogurt, mixed fruit and a drizzle of honey

Dinner
👏 Home-made, oven-cooked spiced potato wedges topped with Quorn chilli “con carne” and a sprinkling of low-fat cheese

Snacks
👏 A couple of cubes of Dairy Milk chocolate and a cup of tea – well, it is Great British Bake Off night after all!

Exercise
👏 15 minutes on the exercise bike

 

Having a Blow Out on Holiday is NOT – I Repeat, NOT – a Crime! | #ThisGirlEats

We’re all obsessed with looks – the right selfie angle, the right shade of highlighter, the right clothes at the right time to the right event. Whatever it is, it’s always something.

For me, it’s body insecurity. Yeah, I know – textbook, right? I’ll spend hours posing in every conceivable (and sometimes inconceivable) position in the mirror before deciding whether I look good, or like a capybara who got lost and accidentally stumbled into Forever 21.

Okay, I’m exaggerating (but not really…).

Don’t even get me started on the summer! Give me sweat and humidity over cold toes and the sniffles any day, but summer brings its own challenges for my internal vanity. New obstacles arise; frizzy hair, shiny skin, chaffing thighs and the thought of shaving my legs on a regular basis keeps me up at night.

Worst of all, it brings on a barrage of what I like to call ‘kick-you-when-you’re-down’ media – you’re still carrying your Easter chocolate weight (it never really goes anyway) and suddenly there are ads and articles everywhere telling you how to get the “perfect bikini bod” for summer. I thought having a bikini body was as simple as, y’unno, having a body and putting a bikini on it 👙 Apparently not…

When you’re on your summer holiday refusing to do anything other than lie flat on your back around the pool for fear of tummy rolls (which every human in the whole entire world has), you really feel the pressure.

IMG_3079When you’re drinking your weight in cocktails, visiting amazing local restaurants and experiencing the glorious all-inclusive buffet for a week, it makes you question yourself. You know how it goes: “Oh god. Look at my body. Look at her body. She looks like Jennifer Lawrence emerging from the sea if James Bond ever decide to do a Doctor Who and go down the vagina route. Look at your enormous bum in those shorts – should you REALLY be digging into another tapas bowl?

SHUT UP BRAIN, I’M TRYING TO ENJOY MYSELF!

Remember, you’re on holiday. On holiday from the grim British weather, from housework, from your job. But also on holiday from yourself. A holiday from that strict diet. A holiday from worrying about what your boyfriend / girlfriend / friends / family / colleagues think. You don’t know anyone there, so who cares?!

You’re allowed to enjoy yourself, to enjoy your food – and I mean enjoy it. Try the local delicacies. Choose the most indulgent ice cream. Sip cocktails you’ve never heard of before. And don’t feel bad about it! Don’t let other people’s bodies get you down. Don’t waste time examining your so-called “bikini body” in the mirror. Holidays are the perfect time to unwind. They’re an escape and, sometimes, escaping from your own mind is the biggest part of it all.

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I Am Worthy: Learning to Cope with Being the Dreaded Wedding “Plus One” | #ThisGirlEats

Weddings are fun; a chance to tart yourself up, get disgustingly drunk and catch up with distant friends and relatives. The romantic joy of a newly-married couple (and getting a free meal on them) is great, as far as I’m concerned  

inbetweeners
giphy.com

But it can be difficult if you’re there as the dreaded “Plus One”. Freaking out about how you look even more than usual, getting faaar too drunk out of blind fear (and, as a result, end up dancing like Neil out of The Inbetweeners – but worse) and dine out courtesy of people you barely know.

No? Just me?

I attended a wedding as a Plus One recently and, le’me tell you, it was fantastic. But once upon a time, such an occasion wouldn’t have gone so smoothly for me. The thought of trying to mingle with strangers for hours was the stuff of nightmares… like, Freddy Krueger level nightmares  

This time, I’m proud to say I handled it. Armed with a new positive outlook, I taught myself a mantra that got me through with newfound ease, chatting, drinking and feeling totally comfortable with my partner’s mates who have known him since he was a scruffy, boozed-up teenager – long before I straightened him out, obviously. (LIES – if anything, I’m a terrible influence!)

So, what was my mantra, you ask? Well, it’s just three simple words.

I am worthy.

That’s it. And it worked.

Don’t get me wrong, I had to say it a lot.

I said it as I agonised over my dress in the mirror, deciding between “oh, that’s a cute summer dress” and “inappropriately short for a wedding, you hussy”.

I said it when I realised I couldn’t walk in the heels I’d worn and I looked more like Bambi on ice than an elegant wedding guest.

I said it when I was introduced to strangers, intimidated by old friendships and tried to think of witty, intelligent dinner conversation.

But I said it.

Eventually, I felt comfortable with my outfit, just like many of the other gorgeous guests. I walked with pride (and clung onto my boyfriend’s arm) in my silly heels. I made polite small talk with strangers, played drinking games with our friends, and felt more relaxed than ever before.

So yeah, it turns out telling yourself you’re actually an alright person makes you feel like, you know, an alright person.

For those of you who are thinking, “What the hell?! I came here for food, not your life story!” – at the wedding meal, I had a goat’s cheese tart (I don’t like goat’s cheese), chicken and bacon in a deliciously creamy sauce with veg and roasties (amazing) and chocolate sponge (you can’t go wrong). So there!

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Fuck Shame: How This Blog Snubbed My Career-Shaming Habit (Yes, That’s a Thing) | #ThisGirlEats

Like a decent cuppa, #ThisGirlEats has been brewing for a long time. As it became less an idea and more a reality, my passion exploded and it was suddenly super important to me. It was like a new lease of life (is a mid-20s crisis a thing? It really should be) and I wanted to make it work.

penny gif drink
Image: Pintrest.com

If you’re sitting at home, perhaps feeling defeated, perhaps finding comfort in a bag of Kettle chips and a bottle of wine (no judgement here), wondering how a foodie blog that probably only my family and some very nice friends will ever read lifted me out of a similar funk, let me tell you…

I don’t like my job – I know; newsflash, I’m not the only one, bla bla bla. I mean, it’s not toooooo bad (‘cept rude customers, late nights and the absolute nightmare of Christmas retail, obviously), it’s just not my passion. And when you slog away day in, day out, at something you don’t feel any passion towards, it can get kinda depressing.

I’m SO guilty of letting my day job knock me back – I can’t count how many times I’ve come home feeling utterly rubbish. Still working at what I imagined to be a temporary stop-gap (HA HA HA) and not exactly making waves with my degree – or the £30,000 of debt I spent getting it! – led to endless hours punishing myself. I’d often turn a completely fine day into a living hell because I’d make myself feel so down about it.

full length selfie - editBut then I came up with this blog. Something to focus on, to aim for, to work on. Something exciting, motivating. It was a new adventure, the start of something. Once I realised that, everything else, including changing my negative mindset, just seemed to fall into place.

What was I criticising myself for? For being fortunate enough to have a job? For earning money, which allows me to have my own creative space, a decent laptop, and food to cook and experiment with? Is that really so awful? Isn’t that actually something to be proud of? Everyone who is successful, who I admire, has been in my shoes at some point. I’m a work in progress.

I thought having an “ordinary” retail job instead of being an award-winning journalist, music mogul or internet sensation of the blog-o-sphere made me unambitious, uncreative, underachieving. But did I look at my colleagues, doing the exact same job as me, that way? No. I saw them as funny, independent, interesting, creative, etc.. So why did I find it so hard to look at myself the same way?

We need to stop thinking that if we aren’t creating, organising, housekeeping, social media-ing, exercising, seeing friends and finding time to chill, all in one day, that it’s not a successful day. Productivity doesn’t have a time limit. The clock doesn’t refresh and start all over again after 24 hours. There’s no shame in working hard for bloody ages to get what you want. Fuck shame – take shame, disappointment and frustration into your own hands and mould it into inspiration, motivation, work ethic, passion, hunger.

Starting this blog gave me a bigger picture. It made me see my day job as a stepping stone rather than an obstacle. We are all a work in progress, and that’s okay.