Scientific Monday Blues

So, its Monday 16th January 2017. In my eyes, and I am fairly sure to the rest of the world, a fairly normal Monday, the same kind that comes and goes every seven days, and the same kind that marks the start of a new week. However, I was surprised to realise, that this Monday was apparently not an ordinary Monday, it was in fact the annual occurrence of ‘Blue Monday’.

So I feel like I am a bit behind the hype of this anniversary, but with the help of some quick googling, today, or most specifically the third Monday of the month has been SCIENTIFICALLY labelled the most depressing day of the year. A group of scientists actually came up with a formula back in 2005 that calculated when the population of the Northern Hemisphere would be feeling at their lowest. And I am not sure about anyone else, but my goodness the fact someone wanted to calculate that made me sad!

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But it wasn’t until about half-way through my day that I knew Blue Monday was a thing, and before and after then I had actually had an alright day. I woke up, (however I had a small adult headache due to enjoying a couple glasses of wine last night to celebrate finishing my exams and getting some good essay results), walked onto campus and sat and did some uni work, went to a lecture about something that genuinely interested me (that was however interrupted by a fire alarm half way though so we had to stand out in the cold), and then I went to do some more work before walking home and retreating to my room to write this. Now, while that doesn’t seem like a spectacular day, and I could have done without the headache and the fire alarm, and the uni work to be honest, I didn’t once think ‘ugh well it’s blue Monday so that explains it’. It got me thinking, if we weren’t aware of it being said dreaded day, would we see the not so great things that happened to us as bad and depressing? Or would we do what I did and not even register them as anything.

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Me enjoying that wine…

But there are two outcomes I have seen come out of today, one of which I found frustrating and the other filled me with a bit more hope.

  1. The first, sadly, goes back to good old consumerism. Whilst flicking through my Instagram feed I noticed that any company/ clothing brand/ anyone that sells anything had latched on to this ‘Blue Monday’ idea with a firm grip. All would tell you that if you’re feeling blue, buy some clothes to cheer yourself up, grab some product to make you look or feel better, buy some food to comfort your sorrows. Anyone and everyone had used this ‘scientific discovery’ as a marketing push to get you to bust those blue with spending money – something which seems illogical because the ‘formula’ actually takes into account your debt at this time of the month.

I guess the real point I’m getting at here is it made me pretty sad that once again, like many things, this piece of research has been turned into a mass marketing campaign set to drive us to spend money.

 

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But if there was a cocktail deal on this evening, I probably would have been there quicker than you can say ‘2 for 1’ 

However, in a very non-cynical frame of mind, people have to make money somehow and its actually quite clever of them to use this to ramp up their numbers after January sales finish, which sort of leads me to my next point…

2. Blue Monday is actually going quite far in raising awareness for mental health and just the populations’ general well-being. So, its sad that someone has formulated when the most depressing day of the year is, but, does that not mean that people can look out for each other at this supposed ‘trying time’ in our lives? Charities are promoting mental health awareness, universities are offering free yoga classes, bloggers and websites are offering their tips to help beat the blues and promote healthy mental well-being.

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I go for walks with my family to cheer me up and have some thinking time.

So, yes, it seems as if Blue Monday has fallen prey to the world of consumerism and marketing just as all things do. But not all marketing is bad, to see that people were using this research to try and help and support others, filled me with an enormous sense of pride and hope in people, which made my ‘Blue Monday’, decidedly less blue.

So if you’re feeling glum, hug a friend, hug a pet, do some yoga, eat a pizza, call your mum, have a nap, talk to someone, read a book, dance around your house naked, you get the picture. Do whatever you want to do and what makes you happy, don’t sweat the small stuff and look for the positives in life, no matter how much adversity you face, but ultimately, stick together and support each other.

Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.

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But sometimes staying positive can be really tough so here are some really great people/charities to call, get in contact with or check out if you ever need that extra support:

Mind: A charity and place for advice and support for anything mental health related http://www.mind.org.uk

Young Minds: For information and support for anyone concerned about a child or young person http://www.youngminds.org.uk

Samaritans:For anyone feeling distressed, needs support and someone to talk to http://www.samaritans.org

PANDAS Foundation: A charity focused on helping mothers with pre and postnatal depression  http://www.pandasfoundation.org.uk

Nightline: For students who need someone to talk to if they are walking home alone or just need someone to listen http://nightline.ac.uk

(Note there are a lot of worthwhile charities that help with mental health and these are just a small selection and mainly UK based)

I realise again that this was a pretty hefty post, so thank you if you stuck with it, but I hope that at least one of you found it interesting or helpful… It’s my first sort of ‘opinion’ piece that I’ve ever really written/posted so its a new adventure for me to write and you to read!

Much Love x

My Week With No Internet

 

It’s enough to make people breakout in a cold sweat, riddled with nerves. You cry ‘what am I supposed to do all day’ and despair how you could ever live without it. Internet. The all-mighty wifi. So freely available to us in this technological age it really is hard to imagine life without it.

We check our phone when we wake up like we would a daily newspaper. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, E-mails, Messenger, Snapchat etc. then we can finally go about our daily routine, showering, brushing teeth and eating breakfast (while refreshing all theses apps and flicking through again). We live in a time where it is quicker, easier and more common to get a hold of our friends on WhatsApp, or where we find out the worlds biggest breaking stories through Facebook or Twitter rather than watching the news.

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The internet is amazing, connects us in so many ways and gives us access to a universe of knowledge, but we all fall prey to being wired up so much, we see life through a computer screen. I know I struggle to feel at ease when I don’t get to check my messages every half hour, we all do. So while on holiday this summer with my family the wifi unexpectedly went down for a few days, I like many, felt at a loose end, here is how my week went…

 

Day One

Mid-morning the internet suddenly stopped working. This initially caused only little panic as the wifi was pretty shocking here, and so it wasn’t uncommon for it to stop working for half an hour or so.

It got to lunch time and nothing was happening. This was followed by asking each of my family members several times if theirs was working ok, which it wasn’t, and even having a conversation with the people living in the same apartments if they were having the same issue.

Then came the obsessively switching on and off the wifi, forgetting and then re-joining the network, turning on and off my phone, walking round the complex to see if anywhere had better signal, but to no avail, it was truly RIP to my beloved wifi.

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Day Two

Day two of wifi-gate started much the same as day one ended, obsessively connecting and reconnecting with the hope that if I did it enough times it might give in and work.

My dad laughs and claims he wanted to set us a challenge to go without wifi anyway, and jokes that he asked the apartment owners to cut the cords just for his amusement. However, this was no laughing matter, as I had undoubtedly lost my Snapchat streaks with my housemates and that was a tragedy in itself.

More attempts to reconnect are made throughout the day, but less frequently than the morning, my detox had begun and I was starting to accept my fate. I even turned to reading an old fashioned book, shock horror, which I began and completed in one afternoon.

 

Day Three

The morning check for wifi was becoming a ritual just as checking Facebook once was, my friends back home had probably filed out a missing persons report by now, as it was uncommon for us not to speak for a day, let alone 3.

But then I went about most of the morning and afternoon barely touching my phone, knowing it wasn’t worth checking for internet, it was left to the side while I went about my unconnected day.

It still played on the back of my mind when I would finally have wifi that I would have so much to catch up on, but it then became sort of accepted that there was nothing I could do but wait and yet another book was started and finished within a matter of hours.

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Day Four

Still no sign of my beloved, and even dad who laughed at first is getting agitated that he can’t read the surf reports or check us in online for our return flights. Reduced to family card games such as rummy or uno would I ever see an end to this torture?

After despairing again this morning, my phone got left for the entire day, untouched and forgotten, it seems my detox is taking an effect as I am not breaking out in a sweat every time I think of all the notifications and emails I’m missing out on.

 

Day Five  

Yet again my phone was left on its own for the entire day, knowing there wasn’t much point in trying anymore.

However, although I had become less dependant in wanting to check my phone every two minutes, getting to day five in this traumatic experience, we were starting to get stupidly fed up with not being able to google things we couldn’t remember like the name of a random Argentinian football player (Diego Maradona btw) or even check the weather for tomorrow.

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Day Six

It was our last day in tropical paradise, and how bitter sweet it seems, the internet magically began working as we began our departure.

I’d like to say I had detoxed so much that this didn’t phase me, but I, like so many would, spent a good hour catching up on emails, Facebook messages, Instagram notifications, etc. etc. Which may beg the question, had I really learnt anything?

I can safely say I won’t be going a week without wifi again any time soon, but as I returned to England, and quite shortly after, to uni, I did feel time away from the connected world had done me some good. I learnt the universe would not implode if I didn’t hit refresh every minute, and that being on holiday was supposed to be about disconnecting and it shouldn’t matter if I have internet or not. But most importantly, I learnt how to have a bit of switch-off time at home. Dad (and many others) call this ‘mindfulness’. Every day, I have a 20-minute walk to uni, and in those 20 minutes I turn off my internet. I might have some music playing, but other than that I have no contact with anything or any one for 20 minutes to uni and 20 minutes’ home, I am alone with my own thoughts, I can look at the beautiful sunset or sunrise around me and I can just, for those 20 minutes, remember that the world does not need to revolve around my phone.

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If you stuck with me for this long, then I applaud you, it was a lengthy one! This sort of came out of avoiding revision and trying to be more productive with my time when I’m not doing uni work, so where this is not a promise to be posting more regularly, it is a promise to myself to make use of my time doing things that I enjoy or are productive.

I hope you all had a wonderful 2016 and move into 2017 ever more positive as I am.

 

Much Love x

Older, But No Wiser?

It is fast approaching my 19th birthday, meaning it has nearly been a year since I legally became an adult, and 19 years since I popped into this world, clueless and crying. I would love to say that the cluelessness and crying has ceased, however as I begin to make my way into the adult world, I feel it has only increased!

I have learnt a lot over my few short years of living, but there are also a plethora of things I am yet to discover and understand so here is a post about the first 18/19 years of my life, lessons I have or have not learnt and I guess advice for those experiencing the same.

  1. Never will you have so much free time

    I am still getting the hang of this one, but between the ages of 0-22 (ish) never will you have so much time and so little responsibly to do absolutely anything you want. In-between the times you are at school/college/uni you have 6+ weeks of summer where 9 times out of 10 you do not have any work to do apart from a part time job which means the world is your oyster. Unfortunately I can remember a few summers where I have worked ridiculous amounts and then on my days off stayed in bed because I am knackered and by the time its up I wonder where all the time has gone. But as I am fast approaching the end of a very intense year at uni, I am ready to make the most of every free day I have in the summer and I advise all those who can to do the same.

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2. You can’t make everyone happy, and not everyone will like you

I really struggle with this one a lot because I always want to make everyone happy and to feel liked. However, I have learnt that it is impossible to be liked by everyone and that is ok. Sometimes people will disagree with you but as long as what you are doing what makes you happy, the people that matter will stick by you.

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3. A postive outlook on life makes positive things happen 

I know this sounds a bit hippy-dippy and like I am advocating karma, but I am not. This is something I believe in quite heavily, even if I do not practice what I preach sometimes – If you have a positive mental attitude, and see the bright side of things, 90% of the time good things will ‘happen’ to you. Not in a karma sense, but in the sense you notice more good and positive things when you think in a positive way. Now I am famous in my family for being good at getting in a grump, but when I do remember to keep positive, it helps.
A smile goes a really long way. 

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4. Admin days are bloody great

If you are in that college/uni stage, you are gradually having to do more ‘adult’ things such as book appointments, write important emails, pay bills, buy essentials etc. Setting aside a day to get all of these things ticked off a list is one of the most satisfying things and makes you feel incredibly productive.

5. Do not pay attention to the media

We all fall victim to it, I do all the time, but if you can help it, stop valuing yourself based on what you see in magazines, on tv, Instagram, Facebook etc. IT IS NOT HEALTHY. Sure the internet and media can be a place of great inspiration and motivation, but it is also a breeding ground for unrealistic expectations and a large kick in the teeth for self esteem. If you want to feel good about yourself spend time with your family and friends, go for a run or eat a piece of cake, whatever floats your boat but the media is not the place to look for validation.

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6. Tea is glorious

I am British, and I am sorry, I have not grown up enough to condition myself to like coffee even if I wanted to, but tea on the other hand is a gift I wish I could give to everyone. Cold? Cup of tea. Feeling sad? Cup of tea. Having a afternoon snack? Cup of tea. Tea is like having a warm hug on the inside, comes in many different varieties and if made correctly is a sure fire way to cheer me and much of England up. Take note.

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7. It is far better to be fool for a minute than it is to be a fool forever 

I can recall more occasions than I wish where I have stopped myself from asking a question to clarify, understand better or just because I simply did not hear which has caused me more grief than it was worth. So I have learnt the hard way, many times, that it really is so much better to be a fool for a minute and as a question than it is to suffer in silence and be a fool forever.

8. Dishwashers are amazing 

For real, after moving to uni halls this year and having no dishwasher I have never appreciated one more.

9. “I am only going to have a couple of drinks tonight” is the biggest lie ever 

Everyone has good intentions when they have stuff to do the next day or are short on money, so we vow to take it easy on the drinks and have an early night. Oh how we lie to ourselves. 90% of the time this is the night you get so drunk that you end up with half a burger in your bed and not a clue how it got there (guilty). And so accept it and quit lying to yourself, its ok that you spilt that tequila down your top at 2am, everyone does.

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10. Enjoy the little things 

I may have stolen this from Zombieland, but it is still valid. Enjoy the little things in life that make you happy and you will appreciate life and everything that comes with it.

So here are a few of the many things I have learnt over my short existence. Some were a lot more soppy than I intended but life is great and we should all take the time to reflect every once in a while.

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Much Love x

“There is no love sincerer than the love of food.”

So this is a post about something I have read a lot about lately and really feel passionately for, and that is food waste. I feel as a privileged person surrounded by many privileged people that much of the world has become complacent about food consumption and just how much we waste.

Every year one third of the food produced for human consumption (that’s 1.3 billion tonnes) gets lost or wasted, living in the UK it genuinely shocked me that out of the 21.7 million tonnes of purchased food, 7 million of it is just thrown away. This is while 1 in 9 people (795 million) do not have enough food to lead a healthy or balanced lifestyle.

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We are living in a world where people buy more than what they need or want and have no problem with throwing it away if it is past its sell by date by a day or they cooked too much for dinner, while in many disadvantaged areas, people would kill to eat what was in our bins. And what is in our waste is more than edible, as 61% of that food we could have prevented being thrown away, a further 20% was only chucked due to consumption habits such as having the crusts on your sandwich removed. This waste not only denies those in need from receiving it, but also contributes significantly to the worlds water footprint, landfill sites and also your own wallet as wasting food is wasting money!

But this is not a doom and gloom message, as I wish to highlight some amazing projects and companies who are challenging food waste in any way they can, which I hope inspires you to do the same.

France

The French have been the leading pioneers for preventing food wastage, much like they have with banning underweight models, as they recently became the first country in the world to ban supermarkets from throwing away or destroying unsold food. This caused a huge increase in donations of food to charities and food banks. This increase has a significant impact as even a small 15% increase in donations, 10 million more meals could be handed out each year.

Tesco

Much like the French, this month Tesco announced that they too will be sending their unsold and unwanted food to charities across the UK after their trial period last year.

In addition to this, 200 stores will now also stock ‘imperfect’ veg, which would normally be rejected, at half its regular price in attempt to encourage buyers and reduce waste. Asda also introduced something similar previous to Tesco offering a 5kg box of seasonal ‘wonky veg’ to customers for around £3.50, over a third cheaper than standard lines.

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Pret Charity Run

Pret the well established food and coffee shop have also contributed by partnering charities across the UK with their local store allowing them to collect unsold food from the shops at the end of the day to distribute to those in need.

For more information – https://www.pret.co.uk/en-gb/pret-charity-run

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Real Junk Food Project

This is a project I have become in awe and inspired by over the last year when I first discovered it and they continue to grow. Founded by Adam Smith, the Real Junk Food Project was set up as ‘pay as you feel café. This café cook delicious, hearty meals and desserts using only intercepted food from supermarket bins, allotments, food banks and town markets. Anyone can come in and enjoy a sit down meal and afterwards pay in whatever way they wish to, be that helping around the shop by cleaning, preparing food, fixing things such as the electrics or simply cash for what they think the food is worth. Set up first in Leeds the Junk Food Project ethos has started to spread across the UK and the world and in their first year alone 10,000 people were fed with an intercepted 23 tonnes of food waste.

Check their website and their Facebook page for more information – http://therealjunkfoodproject.org/about/

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All of these initiatives are incredible leaps forward in preventing food waste to help our climate, society and our pockets. But we can do much at an individual level too:

  • Make sure you only buy what you need, and not what you think you need – make a meal plan and stick to it.
  • Don’t trust sell by dates, trust your judgment. If it smells, looks and tastes ok, it is good of a little while longer.
  • Made too much for dinner? Tub it up and have it for lunch or dinner the next day.
  • Don’t think you are going to eat all of something before it goes off? Freeze the rest and it will be good to use another time over the next few months.

Here is where I got a lot of my facts and stats from; they also give a lot of tips about saving waste so have a look if you want to do more:

United Nations Environment Programme: http://www.unep.org/wed/2013/quickfacts/
Love Food Hate Waste (UK): http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com/node/2472

And if you are still interested there are also so many amazing documentaries such as ‘The Cowspiracy’ on Netflix or “Just Eat It’ http://www.foodwastemovie.com to help you become more aware of the world we live in.

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Thank you for reading if you go this far.

Much Love x

A Year in a List

Yes, I am fully aware it is March and not the 1st of January or even the middle of January anymore, and while I am a strong believer in having a good starting point, I also believe that change and challenges can be started at any time. Hence, this list.

I was really struggling for my next blog post already until I realised a few things,

  1. I love lists
  2. I love to challenge myself
  3. There were a lot of things I wanted to do/ change in this next year

I have been punishing myself about my weight and fitness for a while, and every other day I am dreaming about adventures  or things I want to do and so, I have created a list. Between the date today (March 7th 2016) and a year from now (March 7th 2017) I aim to complete as many things on this list as possible.

It’s not a massive list, and I imagine not even very interesting to you out there – but here it is. I’ll blog about each thing as I complete it, and update this page when they are completed.

But for now here it is – let me know if you have a list which is similar, or want to share different things on yours to make me feel like I’m not the only one trying to get their shit together!

Health and Fitness:
  • Be able to run a 5K
  • Be able to run a 10K
  • Up my yoga fitness and strength
  • Master the head/hand stand
  • Complete a 30 day squat challenge
  • Be able to do 5 chin ups
  • Do a colour run
  • Complete a 30 day ab challenge

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Blogging and Social Media: 

  • Update blog at least every 3 weeks – (I know that isn’t a lot, but with uni deadlines all the time, it is more realistic)
  • Get total views to 1000 – (again, not a lot, but I am a tiny beginner blog, so any views are good views)
  • Write a blog post that gets over 20 likes
  • Blog about each thing I tick off the list

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Travel: 
  • Visit 3 different countries
  • Visit every main beach in the area I live
  • Take a spontaneous day trip to somewhere in the UK
  • Go to a Christmas market somewhere else in the UK
  • Visit winter wonderland in London
  • Visit Joe/Matt at uni

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Getting Organised/ Work/ Uni:
  • Learn to do leaves on coffees at work
  • Start learning to drive
  • Write more for the student paper
  • Have something published in the physical paper
  • Have my phone sorted and fixed  29/03/16 (I won’t blog about this as it is highly uninteresting to me and to you – but in summary it was a nightmare I wish to never repeat) 
  • Complete my first year of uni with over 60%
  • Save £2000 from working the summer

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Personal: 
  • Be up to see a sunrise in the UK
  • Be up to see the sunrise in Costa Rica
  • Do something for charity (or at least apply to)
  • Give blood
  • Read 15 books for fun – (This does not sound like a lot, but when studying for a history degree, I don’t have a lot of time to read ‘normal’ books)
  • Buy a new practical coat which I will actually wear

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Food:
  • Make my own hummus
  • Try a week being Vegan
  • Try a week being Gluten free
  • Create a book of recipes i make all in one place
  • Try proper sushi
  • No Dominos for a month – (I am a student, Dominos deliver till 5am, I drink, it’s a lot harder than it sounds)

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Much Love x

3 Delicious Avocado Recipes

Avocados, lets just appreciate that they are simply delicious, nutritious and as it turns out, super versatile. So if you are a lover of this little green fruit of goodness but do not know quite what to do with them, or you are simply bored of your avocado and want some inspiration, here are a few ideas to satisfy your taste-buds…

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Baked Egg and Avocado

I discovered this beautiful combination a few weeks ago and never looked back. This recipe is perfect as an afternoon snack, or breakfast, it is packed with protein thanks to the eggs and satisfies those avocado cravings.

Ingredients:

1 Avocado
2 Eggs
Pinch of Salt and Pepper
Sprinkle of Paprika (optional)

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to around 200 °. Halve the avocado and remove the stone, then carve out a third of the flesh so it makes a bigger hole in the middle (big enough for an egg).
  • Then crack the eggs in the middle of the avocado – note you might want to use a small egg as when I first tried it with a large, white went all over the sides!
  • Then simply season as required, I add a bit of paprika to mine for a nice kick but you could always add a few dried herbs for a different taste.
  • All that’s left is to pop in the oven for around 15-20 minutes (If you prefer your yolk to be a bit runnier, try cooking for only 10-15) and enjoy!

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Smoothies

This is not so much a recipe as it is a tip, avocado in smoothies is revolutionary. While it does not add much more to the taste (the other ingredients do that), the avocado makes any smoothie thick and creamy without having to add unhealthy alternatives such as yoghurt or milk. Here is a recipe you could try…

Ingredients:

½ Avocado
Handful of frozen mango
Handful of leafy greens (spinach or kale works best)
1 banana
Squeeze of honey
Water

Method

Blend the leafy greens with the water for the base. Add all the other ingredients, blend again and bask in how healthy you look without compromising on taste.

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Avocado Chocolate Mousse

For those of you who have a bit of a sweet tooth, here is something a little more indulgent, and lets all agree it can count towards our five-a-day, probably. Now this serves 6 so adjust accordingly, or don’t, I would quite happily eat it all in one sitting.

Ingredients:

150g dark chocolate
2 large avocados
2 tbsp coca powder
2 tsp vanilla extract/ vanilla paste
3 tbsp maple syrup
160g coconut cream

Method

  • Place a bowl over a pan of simmering water, break the chocolate into the bowl, allow to melt and then set aside to cool.
  • While it is melting halve and stone the avocados and scoop the flesh in to a food processor or blender
  • Add the remaining ingredients and blend for a few seconds
  • Pour in the cooled chocolate and blend again until smooth
  • Divide the mixture into six small bowls and then chill for at least 30 minutes and enjoy!

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AGAIN – MASSIVE DISCLAIMER ABOUT THE AWFUL LACK OF POSTS, I HAVE A MILLION AND ONE ESSAYS DUE (2 OF WHICH I SHOULD BE DOING RIGHT NOW) 7 DOWN 6 TO GO!

Much Love x

Are You Still Alive?

So it has officially been over a month since my last post ‘festive drinks’, great start right? Three posts in and I disappear for the whole of January! So this post will be a bit of a boring update for most of you about what I have been up to in the last month, and then I do actually have some more interesting posts planned, I promise.

I had a wonderful Christmas with my family where I got spoilt rotten and ate so much turkey I thought I would turn into one! It was a very relaxing few days with just my mum, dad, little brother and enough food to feed an army.

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My New Years’ was equally as fun but not quite as relaxing as I worked it! When I am not studying I am a part time waitress at one of my local restaurants and we had a big party to bring us into 2016 before we shut for the winter months. I would say that it was extremely gruelling serving almost everyone in the village a drink behind the bar, but I spent most of my shift drinking myself so I really can not complain!

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(IT WAS UV THEMED SO WE HAD A LOT OF PAINT AND GLOW STICKS ON)

But all good things must come to an end, and so once my celebrations were over, it was back to revision as I had an exam on the 6th. After spending days revising my Greek philosophy module after two hours it was all over and time to get back to my lectures, which seemed far too soon, and seeing my flat mates, which felt like forever ago.

One of the things which stopped me from posting for over a month was this simple fact: After a week of lectures, I realised I had no less than thirteen essay deadlines this term, and it worked out to AT LEAST one a week. Now the prospect of this totally freaked me out for about a week and I was a total ball of stress, and to be perfectly honest I still am as the next ten weeks will be as close to hell as I will care to go, but this week I handed in my first two so only eleven more to go…

In other news, this term has also brought good things, last week my flatmates and I booked a trip to Amsterdam in June which I am SO excited for as I have been meaning to go for so long. That was quite nice to do because it made me feel like I had something right after exams to work towards and it means I get to see my flatmates for one last time before we go home for the summer.

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I have also been on a bit of a mini ‘health kick’ recently (how cliché of me), but thanks to my grandparents I now have a smoothie blender so I have been trying out lots of recipes, some sound nice, some have been described my family and friends as ‘questionable’, but I promise you they all taste amazing. Some of the girls I live with and I have also started getting our run on, by that I mean we have started this week… and I have really got back into yoga so I will keep you updated on that progress, if you do not hear anything, I am probably face deep in a pizza instead, but I have set myself a challenge to be able to do a free standing headstand so wish me luck! I have quite a few posts planned to do with food and health stuff as well as some weekly challenges I am setting myself so keep your eyes pealed… (I love how I am writing this like any more people than my dad reads this, but you have to dream).

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(MY NAN DESCRIBED THIS A ‘SLUDGE’ – IT’S ACTUALLY KALE, BANANA, AVOCADO AND MANGO)

So that is me for the last month! Very busy and very stressed with uni work but also glad to see home for a month and also back surrounded by my friends again and I guess this is my unofficial promise to try and post more regularly about interesting things rather than this waffle. But thanks for reading if you got this far, much love x

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Festive Drinks

As it is Christmas Eve, the pinnacle of festivities, I thought I would follow on from my previous post ’10 things to… Beat that hangover’ by supplying you with the possible causes to your seasonal headaches.

Here I have some tried and most definitely tested festive drinks recipes to see you through the dinners with distant relatives and screaming cousins or just to give you a little liquid courage to kiss that good-looking individual under the mistletoe.

Orange Hot Chocolate

 Serves: 1

 

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Orange and chocolate will forever be a favourite flavour combination of mine, and so it seems, the rest of the country at Christmas time. So given the opportunity to make it boozy? Of course I jumped at the chance!

Ingredients…

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  • 30ml Cointreau (or any other good brand of Triple-sec/orange liqueur)
  • 3-4 tsp Orange hot chocolate powder
  • Mug full of milk
  • Whipped cream (optional)

Method… 

Heat the milk in a jug in the microwave for a minute and a half, stir, and then repeat until the milk is a little too hot to drink. Stir in the power, and add the Cointreau and pour into your favourite mug. Top with whipped cream and prepare to be hit by a warming taste sensation with a little kick.

A 30ml ‘shot’ is a standard measurement, however add as much or as little as you like to fit your taste preference. If you are not a booze fan, you can always make the recipe with melted Terry’s Chocolate Orange, or just the chocolate orange powder on its own.

Or if you are like my Dad and are not a fan of chocolate orange full stop, (sacrilege), then you can substitute the Cointreau for something like dark rum or Bailey’s to keep the kick and add a different flavour.

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Christmas Cosmopolitan

Serves: 4

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The traditional has only a few ingredients, this variation adds ginger to make it that little bit more seasonal, and has become a personal favourite of the evening.

Ingredients…

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  • 200ml Vodka
  • 200ml Ginger wine
  • 400ml Cranberry juice
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Few slices of stem ginger
  • Handful of ice

Method…

Shake the vodka, ginger wine, lime, ice and stem ginger together and pour into a glass. Top up with the cranberry juice, garnish and enjoy!!

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Frozen Berry Margarita

Serves: 4

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Mum discovered this seasonal twist on a classic a few weeks ago, and we were all too keen to volunteer ourselves as guinea pigs this evening to test it out. Now I’m fairly sure you are supposed to use white Tequila to make this, but we did not have any to hand, whatever is your preference I am sure will work just as well!

Ingredients

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  • 125ml Tequila
  • 75ml Cointreau (or again, any other good brand of Triple-sec)
  • 225g Frozen mixed berries
  • 25g Sugar
  • A handful of ice

Method…

To up your classy cocktail levels, rub a wedge of lime round the rim of the glass and dip it in sugar, this not only makes it looks festive and fancy, but also offsets the tart berries.

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The actual cocktail? Could not be simpler! Place all of the ingredients in a blender, blend until smooth and pour into the glass to serve. (note: we did not have any proper cocktail glasses so a wine glass had to suffice!).

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Now I will admit, the recipe was VERY strong, so you might want to adjust the quanities, other than that, after a few sips, I am fairly sure this was the best cocktail I have ever made…

So all that is left to say is MERRY CHRISTMAS! I hope you all have a wonderful festive season and I will hopefully see you all in the New Year. x

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10 THINGS TO… BEAT THAT HANGOVER!

 

This feels quite apt right now as I am lying on my sofa under my duvet with a cup of tea and tired eyes. Last night was ‘Factory Friday’ and also the first night my best friends and I were all back from uni, so it was a perfect excuse to get my drink on and dance all night.

As a student, drinking is as natural to me as it is to eat, breathe and sleep. But more often than not, we have that extra VK or shot of something regrettable and wake up the next morning feeling like we have been run over by a truck and vow ‘never again!’. Well, until the next two for one cocktail offer… Hangovers are horrible but also inevitable, so if like me, you are feeling sorry for yourself today, or at any point over this festive season, here are 10 things to help you beat that morning after feeling!

  1. WATER, WATER, WATER!

Basic, but effective. Drinking massively dehydrates you, causing that dreaded headache, so make sure you keep yourself topped up before, during and after! Grab some water at the bar in between drinks, and down a lot when you get home and wake up, with any luck the headache will stay away.

  1. BOOST YOUR VITAMINS

When you are out hitting the town, the next morning is your time to say sorry to your body. First port of call, if you have some to hand, Berocca, this will up your overall vitamin count, and just make you feel more human again. If you can’t, Marmite is filled with B12 and bananas with potassium, both of which you lose while drinking your weight in alcohol.

  1. SLEEP

Let’s be honest, you can count the number of hours sleep you have had on one hand, anyone drinking or not would be feeling pretty rough. So if you decide you can not possibly make it to your lecture or work, sleep it off! Or if you’re in a lecture sit at the back and hide behind your laptop screen, no one will ever know…

 

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  1. FUEL YOUR BODY

Another obvious one, but it has to be said. First make sure you line your stomach properly before you go out, that avoids any one stepping in your vomit while walking down the high street. But stock up on bread for those filling carbs, chocolate for sugar to reduce the shakes, and greasy eggs and bacon to make you feel just that little bit better about your life choices.

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  1. THE ANCIENT GREEK TECHNIQUE

In Ancient Greece, it has been said that one of their ‘proven’ methods to prevent or cure a hangover were two simple things – consuming two owl eggs and sheep lungs. Sworn by, apparently, but if you don’t fancy the lungs, panic not, they did substitute this for a fried canary occasionally, so take your pick and do it Greek style.

  1. DISTRACT YOURSELF

If you sit around thinking about how you feel like death in human form, or that you are going to throw up at any minute, where is the nearest bin, you probably will! So keep your mind busy, watch a film, go talk to your house mates, family or friends, find something that occupies you mind other than that last sambuca that you should not have touched.

  1. SPRITE

Research in China found that drinking Sprite the morning after was the most effective for reducing a hangover. But others swear by Fanta, Lucozade or sometimes coffee, so find your saviour and stock up.

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  1. EXERCISE

I know, how dare I suggest such a thing? But if you can make it out of bed, exercise of some description will get your blood and oxygen flowing, and although not scientifically proven to have any effect, it will boost your mood so you just might stop feeling sorry for yourself.

  1. PUERTO RICO

If you think you won’t be able to stomach a bracing jog, try the Puerto Rican technique. Before boozing, a slice of lemon or lime is rubbed in the armpit of their drinking arm and this is said to prevent a hangover. Personally I think I’d rather save the limes for some tequila, but whatever makes you feel better.

  1. HAIR OF THE DOG

If in doubt, drink more. Some swear by it, others would not dream of it, it may be a case of how fragile you are feeling the next morning.

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So there you are, your definitely not full proof and completely unreliable methods of curing the inevitable. I hope these serve you well!