15 December 2016

The Year of Saying Yes

"It's going to be a breeze!"
"Wow, I should probably set myself some goals so I don't get totally bored."
"Maybe I can write another book."
Such were my thoughts on maternity leave before the bubs arrived.


It turns out that having twins is actually kind of time consuming. I've been swept along in a glorious yet sleep-deprived whirlwind of nappies, feeds and piles upon piles of laundry ever since my baby boys arrived at the end of October. And so that second book I'd be smugly planning has yet to materialise but that's no big deal because guess what you guys? My first book has now been published! Wheeeeee! May I introduce you to The Year of Saying Yes.


6 October 2016

Lindsey Kelk "We Were On A Break" blog tour and Q&A

Good news book fans! Lindsey Kelk is back with a brand new novel and some shiny new characters to boot. I've been sinking my teeth into We Were On A Break and, let me tell you, it's another LK corker.

Here's the sitch: Liv and her boyfriend Adam are on vacay and she's convinced he's going to propose. Only their romantic last night in Mexico goes spectacularly wrong and he ends up suggesting a temporary split instead. Ouch. Cue awkward moments, misunderstandings and a whole lotta will-they-won't-they.

The book is written with Lindsey's usual funny, fast-paced style and she's thrown in a few new twists to keep us on our toes. With On A Break we get to hear a male voice for the first time as Adam and Liv switch narration through the book. This totally took me by surprise at first but it's such a great idea, you get a brilliant insight into Liv and Adam's different takes on their romance dramaz.


21 September 2016

My vegan-inspired Acai Berry Smoothie Bowl, aka The Kim

When my best friend went vegan a while back I'm ashamed to admit that my reaction was a teeny tiny bit *rolls eyes* at first. What the actual heck was she going to eat now? Twigs? Some half-decomposed apple from a tree, perhaps?

It goes to show how embarrassingly little I knew about the vegan lifestyle. Over the past couple of months I've had the luxury of hanging out with my best one loads... just dreamy given the fact that we live four ferocious hours apart. All the more dreamy thanks to her insistence on feeding me at every single opportunity.


8 September 2016

Late summer fling: Watermelon smoothie

Transitional wardrobes, cosy knits and log fire scented candles... So many people seem keen to get their autumn on already. But here's the thing, it's still the summer. UNTIL 22 SEPTEMBER! And we all know that the British winters can drag, so I'm officially refusing to use the a-word until 23 September at the absolute earliest.

Besides, I'm just back from a sun-drenched holiday in Cornwall and I'd like to keep these summer vibes going a little bit longer. Which means whipping up a totally tropical watermelon and strawberry smoothie. This recipe can't fail to make you want to throw on a bikini and soak up some last-minute rays.

Oh, and did you hear that there's a mini heat wave on its way? What are you waiting for?!


18 August 2016

Pregnancy skincare must haves for mamas-to-be

Finding out that there's a bun in your oven is one of the most exciting / nerve-wracking / *insert other wild emotion* times of your life. Soon enough you're dashing between baby appointments, trying to digest confusing new phrases ("tummy time"?!) and panic-buying maternity clothes on ASOS.

Amidst all the chaos, it's important to remember that you need some TLC too. Yeah girl! Since learning that I have bubbas on board, I've been doing exactly that with the help of my new baby beauty besties. Here's what Bump and I are loving right now...


14 July 2016

Summer holiday reading list

You've got the sunscreen, the cute dresses and a bikini in every colour of the rainbow... Now all you need is a whole heap of brilliant books to keep you entertained for your summer holiday! I get SO excited planning what books to take with me on hols because I know I'm going to read absolute tonnes while I'm away. No distractions allow for hours upon hours spent lying on a lounger with a good book in my paws.

So in the spirit of feeling oh so summery, I've rounded up some fabulous reads for fellow bookworms. Squeeze as many as you can into your luggage and prepare for summer holiday bliss!

Wild Strawberries, Angela Thirkell


30 June 2016

Current crush: Raspberry and almond butter smoothie

It's official, I'm a smoothie bore fan. I make one most days and, when it's finished, I'll spend at least two minutes pondering what to put in tomorrow's glass of goodness. But that's allowed, right? Because they are quick and easy to make, super refreshing and a lovely way to get lots of fruit and veggies into your system first thing.

This raspberry and almond butter smoothie is my current crush. It contains frozen raspberries, which whip up to make a beautifully cool and refreshing breakfast, and the almond butter creates the most delicious, creamy texture.


23 June 2016

A weekend at Sheffield DocFest

Highbrow alert... I just spent the weekend at a documentary festival, yo! I'm always excited when Sheffield DocFest rolls around because the city comes alive at this time of year. Deckchairs and huge screens are scattered around town for outdoor viewings, street food stalls entice you with delicious smells, oh, and there are a whole lot of documentaries being premiered for you to get your teeth into.

So I popped on my press pass and moseyed into town to soak up the atmosphere. With a coffee from Tamper at Sellers Wheel, because of course. Did Tamper know that their interiors would go so well with the DocFest lanyards this year? Top marks!


7 June 2016

Carluccio's, Ecclesall Road: Review

A post-work catch up with my gorgeous girl B, a pre-shopping coffee and croissant with my mum... Carluccio's has long been a favourite of mine. There's something about the inviting menu, the buzzy restaurants and the happy staff that make the place a winner whenever you've got the munchies. And don't get me started on the fact that many have a deli attached. It's practically impossible to leave without a new pasta / giant, rose-tinted meringue in your paw.

So after a busy week, my husband and I met at the Carluccio's on Ecclesall Road in Sheffield for a dinner date. We poured over the menus and he got in trouble for not wanting to share a deli plate like my dad and I always do.


26 May 2016

A sunny city break in Berlin

I'd been advised to pack a lotta layers for Berlin, because #cold, but the weather did a pretty smashing job at being brilliant for our May city break. And it turns out that Berlin in the sunshine is one lovely weekend away. Whether it's the sparkling sunlight reflecting off modern architecture or the fact that everyone piles out onto the streets for breakfast, lunch and dinner, sunny Berlin is dazzling.

Prenzlauer Berg was our home and we bagged a beautiful Air BnB for the trip. A fourth floor flat with cool, colourful touches and a balcony which proved perfect for sun-dappled breakfasts each morning.


16 May 2016

Livia's Kitchen Review: Naturally Sweet and Indulgent Treats

I'm the girl who wakes up on Fridays and wonders what she'll be eating at the end of the day. I'm the girl who sends my husband a 'WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM PAT VAL?' message before an emergency dash to Patisserie Valerie. And I *might* be the girl who covers pretty much any pudding in double cream.

Because sweet treats are pretty high up there on my list of weekend indulgences. During the week, however, I try and be a little better behaved. I'll make up a batch of my raw chocolate brownies on a Sunday night, or chop up fresh fruit to munch after midweek suppers. And then I heard about Livia's Kitchen. This lovely lady is all about that gluten and dairy free life, but she also has a seriously sweet tooth, so she's created an entire book full of nourishing goodies to satisfy your cravings in a healthy way.

Basically, I had to get my paws on her book Naturally Sweet and Indulgent Treats. Firstly, let's all take a moment to appreciate how cute the book looks. Or looked, until I accidentally spritzed it with raw cacao powder.


21 April 2016

Pearl barley, avocado and poached egg lunch of champs

If you're on the hunt for a bright, fresh lunch to match these spring days then this pearl barley, avocado and poached egg recipe should do the trick. It's perfect for times when the sun is up but there's still a chill in the air.

Fibre-rich pearl barley will power you through the afternoon and there are tonnes of other treats in there to make you feel good. Fresh asparagus, peas, red onion, lemon and a happy little egg. Yum! Also, if you want to make this for a packed lunch just top your salad with a boiled egg instead of a poacher.


7 April 2016

Party For One! The Perfect Solo Night In

Getting bored was Not An Option when I was little and, as an only child, that called for some creative thinking. Every member of my Sylvanian Family enjoyed a rich back story and I once spent an afternoon creating fake, fake nails using sellotape and Tipp-Ex. It wasn't my strongest look but I felt hella fly at the time. 

I may not chat to a family of tiny koalas any more (would if I could) but I'm still pretty good at throwing a party for one when I have an evening all to myself. It's all about getting comfortable in your own company, doing the fun stuff you can't usually make time for and chilling the heck out. Pretty simple, really. 

Here are 8 tips to nail your solo night in.


1 April 2016

Ready Steady Glow by Madeleine Shaw Review

Is it just me or does everyone become off-the-richter-scale excited when they get a new cookbook? Because when Madeleine Shaw's Ready, Steady, Glow landed on my desk I may have given the book a little hug. (I definitely did.)

I could pour over new recipes all day long and Madeleine doesn't do just any old recipes... Hers are delicious and healthy. I learned this last year when I reviewed her first fabulous book Get The Glow and it turns out that new kid on the block Ready, Steady, Glow is just as awesome. Behold...

If you're not on the bandwagon yet, Madeleine advocates a nutritious diet packed with lovely gems to get you looking and feeling your best. She shares meal plans, recipes to fit your schedule and her fave yoga moves in Ready, Steady, Glow, as well a food philosophy which I LOVE! It's all about a flexible approach with just a few golden rules, like embracing good fats and not depriving yourself of anything. "Focus on crowding in, not cutting out," she says while wearing a red wrap dress of dreams. 

I'll be chowing my way through the entire book in no time but thought I'd sample of couple of recipes here to coincide with the April release date.


17 March 2016

Healthy chocolate recipes to make this Easter

I fell for a Hello Kitty white chocolate egg last Easter. Hello Kitty AND white chocolate! Never mind that it was being marketed at children. Never mind that I am, in fact, an adult... She had to be mine. I tried very hard not to be sad when I took her out of the box and tore off a pretty little ear, ready for demolition. Don't be ridiculous, it's an egg not a person. 

Only, there was a problem. The chocolate was gross. I'd maimed my very own Hello Kitty for a sickly sweet egg which tasted like milk powder. Cue crashing disappointment and a vow to do better next year. And here we are! I've been gathering raw chocolate recipes which tick the seasonal box and won't leave you feeling stodgy / disappointed.


10 March 2016

7 hand luggage beauty essentials for flying

What with work, weekends and wondering if I might secretly be a genius at upcycling (doubtful) there hardly ever seems time to do some beautifying without turning it into a multitasking masterclass. You know... face mask + checking emails. Nail paint + online shopping.

Flying is one of those rare occasions when we get to properly switch off. Floating above the earth means no Instagram! No email! No way to triple check that your hair straighteners are off! But planes are notorious for sucking the goodness out of your skin because recycled air is super dehydrating. And as no one wants to step off a flight with dull skin, I've gathered up the 7 hand luggage essentials to turn your flight into beauty TLC time.

The only other essential? A devil-may-care attitude to being the one onboard smothering yourself in products.


3 March 2016

Buckwheat, chia + coconut granola

Thanks to my inability to pass a whole food shop without buying something, our kitchen cupboards are heaving. The other day a packet of raw buckwheat groats fell out on top of me and their message was clear.

Now you've bought buckwheat flour you are leaving us out! We're great too... Sigh. #leftout.

Feeling a bit guilty - and weirded out that the buckwheat was talking to me - I decided to use up some of the half-empty packets.

I've been wanting to try a homemade granola for a while now, so this seemed like the perfect chance. Using the Hemsley's Buckwheat Crunch and My New Roots' Banana Bread Granola for inspo, I came up with this Buckwheat and Coconut Granola.


25 February 2016

Broccoli + sun-dried tomato salad

Mid-week lunches can get a little samey, can't they? I had Itsu's dumpling menu memorised by heart when I worked in town and now that my office is at home, avocados skip into my shopping trolley on the regular. I heart both Itsu and avocados but sometimes you need to shake things up.

Enter my new broccoli salad!


18 February 2016

Eight reasons to visit Switzerland in the summer

With it's snow-dusted mountains, bazillions of ski slopes and propensity for producing the perfect mulled wine, it's easy to see why Switzerland is so hot damn popular in the winter.

And while it is a little sleepier in the summer, when the après ski has long gone, the country is so worth a trip during one of the sunshine months. Because, guess what? There's tonnes to do if you fancy a holiday filled with fresh air, mountain views and some serious relaxation.

Here are my top eight to do's in Switzerland...

1. Grab a gondola


11 February 2016

How to deal with your cold like a boss

It's common cold season, that inevitable time of year when you can never have enough tissues. Lately, I got to thinking *Carrie Bradshaw goals* that there are two ways of dealing with a cold.

Option one: complain about it relentlessly to loved ones and the people of Facebook. #cold. Thermometer-in-mouth emoji. Yeah... no one wants to be that guy.

Option two: like a boss. Let's do this, soldier!


4 February 2016

Eight popular pictures to Instagram

FLOWERS! COFFEE! THIS LUNCH THOUGH! I've been looking back over my Instagram snaps and there's a definite theme to the things I most like to photograph.

I'll screech to a halt in the middle of the street / work / a meal and rage at my phone for never, ever having enough storage. Cue frantic deleting of old pictures... plus vaguely wondering why I took nine identical photos of a solitary tulip... before I can get the shot.

People have mixed feelings about Instagram, which I get. It definitely encourages a little bit of bragging. "Ohmygodyouguys, just look at my arm casually laden with all the new jewels." But if you don't take it too seriously then it's also a lot of fun. Just enjoy the good stuff, like making pretty pictures, admiring other pictures and maybe feeling a little inspired to nail the day / book a holiday / cook something delicious.

I've noticed that some snaps in particular bring in a lot of love. Here are the things I put on Insta, and the hashtags that go with them, which prove most popular...


28 January 2016

January Reading List

Being an incorrigible bookworm made taking English Literature at uni seem like a sensible choice. I'd get the reading list at the start of each term and rush off to a book shop, ridiculously keen to have some shiny new books in my paws. 

Not that I bought every item on the list, of course. I never did start finish Ulysses and I *possibly* fell asleep during a seminar on Yeats. The Norse sagas were my faves. Which reminds me, did you watch The Last Kingdom on the BBC in December? It. Was. Brilliant.

To this day, I like to read a good mix of books. Here's what I've been curling up with this January.


21 January 2016

Ginger & Banana Best Ever Porridge Recipe

Sipping green juice, running off all that festive food, swapping prosecco for an 'invigorating' sparkling water... January can be a total basic b.

We need all the help we can get to make this month brilliant and I* think I've found the perfect way to kickstart the day. *I actually mean my mumsy, from whom I have shamelessly stolen this recipe.

We've been munching warming, nourishing porridge on these chilly winter mornings and ooooosh, does it taste good. Normally I spoon a load of jam on my porridge and have done with it. Ok, jam and milk. Ok, jam and cream. But when Mumma whipped up this incredible breakfast I was converted.


14 January 2016

The 5 Best Coffee Shops in Sheffield

It's a prompt 11am for me. I push my keyboard out of reach, stretch, race into the kitchen and pile freshly ground coffee into a cafetiere. Or French press, if you're feeling fancy. 

When's your coffee break? 

Sometimes I like to treat myself and nip out for one. I work for myself, so it's a bloody exciting chance to interact with some actual humans! 'HELLO,' I beam at frightened staff. 'I would ABSOLUTELY LOVE a cappuccino.'

I've been doing my research around the really rather lovely streets of Sheffield recently and I'm clearly not the only coffee lover in South Yorkshire. A whole host of coffee establishments have sprung up to keep us merrily caffeinated. 

Here are my 5 favourite coffee spots in Sheffield...

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