Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Almond Butter Caramels & Getting Fit For Free







Confession time: I have such a sweet tooth. My sensible brain tries to repress my sugar cravings while my indulgent brain battles for desserts. Since this happens fairly frequently, I love finding more nutritious recipes and alternatives for classic sweet treats that aren't quite to bad for the body or conscience. Throughout September Sweaty Betty has once again performed a fantastic "Get Fit For Free" Campaign; this time in the shape of Body By Simone. An energetic, intense dance and body weight workout.  (The last session is tonight, so see if you can gab yourself a last minute place at your closest boutique!)  Book Here

To accompany the 4 week class, dancer turned drop-dead-amazing-foodie-blogger- Naturally Sassy came up with 3 totally delicious plant based recipes that were easy to try at home, and just as satisfying and tasty as the traditional versions. This recipe is therefore perfect post workout for nourishing and energising yourself ready for the next one! Little indulgences are good for body, mind and soul after all. 

I tried it out to see for myself if it was worth recommending. It totally is, so if you fancy giving these a go, just follow the recipe I've popped in below. Thanks Saskia and Team SB!


Ingredients

1/3 cup almond butter
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup pure maple syrup, agave or raw honey
 
Method
 
1. Start by melting the coconut oil. Once melted, add the almond butter, natural sweetener of choice and vanilla extract. Mix until totally smooth.
 
2. Pour the mix into some some chocolate moulds (or ice cube moulds if you don’t have any) and leave in the freezer to set for about half an hour. Pop out and enjoy. (Store in the freezer to keep cold and firm!)
 
 

B xx 
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Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Talking About Change






Mid September and it's time for a reflective ramble. 

How we've got to Autumn so quickly I'll never know. I'm a summer girl through and through, and this week it's felt thoroughly like change is in the air. The weather, my outfit choices, the darker evenings and new academic year within touching distance. My Summer buzz has fizzled out and I've noticed feeling energised has become more of a challenge. For me this time of year is usually synonymous with a dip in my mood, a dip in my energy and rise in my stress levels. This September is no different, but my response to these symptoms will be. I've spent the Summer somewhat pondering and evaluating the good, the bad and the ugly of situations life threw up and how I dealt with them, taking lessons from mistakes and praising my conscious for when the bad was well handled. Reaping from it, really, all you can do is embrace the inevitable and let go of what's not in your control. (That's the tough bit.) 

My perspective on reacting and adapting to change is the fresh bit. The new addition to my psyche this year is... in a nutshell...rationalisation. At almost 23, in the blink of an eye I've feel more self assured, than ever before. Failures, successes, relationships and CHANGE since the beginning of my adulthood have all shaped and transformed me into who I am today. There's been vast adjustments to just about every life category; family, occupation, location, relationship, friendships, home. Reflecting and thinking *wooahhh thats's a lot, cut yourself some slack Bec* has it's place - Had some doors not closed - new ones may not have opened. 

In light of this, I think I've narrowed my not-so-much-experience- life lessons down into 3 main points; which may be applicable to you, if, like me, you're an overthinker with alot on your emotional plate.  

1. It's ok to cry.

2. You aren't the only person to ever go through this.

3. Adaptability is key. Think Dynamic not Static. 

Here's to hoping I read this back in another 5 years, "awwing" at my innocence, with more experiences and game changers under my belt, armed with only positive ammunition and perspective. 


Love,

B xx  
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Sunday, 20 September 2015

Half Marathon Training Diary // Week 8





Monday
3 Mile Jog 

Tuesday
6 Mile Jog

Wednesday
Leg Weights Gym Session

Thursday
Hot Pod Yoga 

Friday
10 mile run (1hr 30mins) and Crossfit Class 

Saturday
3 mile jog 

Sunday
REST


Wowzers this week went fast. I've had the chance to vary training by running in the countryside and in the city, and finally I'm finding my flow with this training malarky just in time. The race is next Sunday, giving me just 6 days left now to prepare. I'm thinking lots of resting and sleep will be on the cards and no weight sessions or long runs. Race dat looks set to be super fun filled and bigger than ever before. Truth be told however, I'm really looking forward to it being completed and heading into Autumn being able to mix up my workouts again, doing what I want to do and feel like doing not what I feel I perhaps should. Hopefully alot more crossfit, circuits and weights and less steady state cardio until Spring. Wish me luck...

B xx
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Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Vegan Blueberry Cheesecake







Yay a for baking post today... I've wanted to share it for a while as it's my new absolutely most favourite ever healthy, plant based dessert. I'd had my eye on this Deliciously Ella recipe for ages; so when I came home one day to find my boyfriend had whipped one up that afternoon I was ecstatic. How, I'm not quite sure, but it came out the freezer looking like Ella Woodward had made it herself. Not to say that my Mr can't bake, (he's actually pretty good) but the recipe worked to perfection and with straightforward ingredients and a method to follow, there were no cock ups. 

The 3 differing textures and flavours all combined into one dessert is just heavenly. A sticky, crunchy date layer on the bottom, creamy, smooth banana and cashew middle and zingy blueberry/strawberry layer on top. The nutritional content for something SO delicious is amazing, lots of vitamins, good fats and antioxidants. It's so moreish and melty, you'll love it! 

For the base:
– 1 and a 1/2 cups of almonds
– 2 and a 1/2 cups of medjool dates
For the middle:
– 2 cups of soaked cashew nuts
– 2 frozen over-ripe bananas
– 1/3 – 1/2 of a cup of maple syrup depending on how sweet you like it
– 1/3 of a cup of freshly juiced apple juice
–  1 teaspoon of cinnamon
For the top:
– 1 cup of freshly frozen blueberries (packaged frozen berries have too higher water content and make the mix too runny so freeze your own for a couple of hours before making this)
– 1 cup of strawberries
– 1 frozen banana
– 4 medjool dates
– 1 tablespoon of maple syrup
– 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
Before making this you need to slice the three bananas and freeze them for at least three hours along with the blueberries. You also need to soak the cashew nuts for at least four hours.
Start by making the base. Put the almonds into a food processor and blend for a minute or so until the nuts are nicely crushed. Once this has happened add the pitted medjool dates and blend again until a sticky mix forms. Press this into the base of a cake tin and place in the freezer.
Then make the middle layer by simply putting all the ingredients into the food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Take the base layer out of the freezer and pour three quarters of this mix over it before putting the cake back into the freezer – keep the final quarter of the mix in the processor as it’s needed for the top layer.
Wait about twenty minutes for the middle layer to set in the freezer before making the third layer. To make this simply add the remaining ingredients to the blender combined with the mix from the middle, blend until smooth and then pour over the middle layer.
Place the cake back into the freezer to set for two hours before serving. You’ll need to remove the cake from the freezer and allow it to warm up for a few minutes before you serve it.




Hope you manage to give it and go and love it as much as I do.

Lots Of Love

B xx 


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Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Hoffs Nottingham: First Impressions







I think we know my thoughts on coffee and breakfast; I'm obsessed. So when "wholesome" new fast food joint Hoffs opened its doors in Nottingham last month I was really excited to try their menu. There are few cafes in the midlands where genuinely healthy and fresh food can be found so this was seemly a breath of fresh air. Located in Trinity Square, just next to The Gym, it's an ideal location. They pride themselves on providing healthy versions of comforting classics such as Chilli and Tagine, using fresh ingredients. The modern interior and decor made for the perfect city pit stop for brunch, lunch or coffee. 

"We offer a much wider variety and diverse choice with that wholesome homely experience,
well balanced meals, with no compromise on taste." Hoffs 2015. 

Since the opening I've had 3 visits to Hoffs as I was keen to try a few items on the menu and give it a chance after dubious first impressions. From the outside; it looks great. The food sounded fab and I loved the concept. The execution however, I have been so disappointed with. 

Firstly; The quality and taste of the produce didn't live up to expectations. Pastries came from plastic wrappers and were neither tasty or wholesome. The sausage sandwich was re-heated, dry and bland with no information provided on the meat content or nutritional values and the bread was white and synthetic. My second point at issue was with the general atmosphere and service. For a place I assumed to be somewhat young and trendy; the music was questionable and the staff were quiet and anything but passionate about the establishment. 

I truly believe with better commitment to delivering what they promise Hoffs could be a firm favourite, but the current offering is not genuine or reflective of their values. Unfortunately the #KeepItReal is totally contradictory to the reality. Fingers crossed for more honest produce in the future!


Have you tried them out?  What did you think?


Lots Of Love

B xx    


Photos: www.hoffsrestaurants.co.uk/ 
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Monday, 14 September 2015

Half Marathon Training Diary // Week 7







Monday
REST

Tuesday
AM Circuit Training   //    PM Hot Pod Yoga

Wednesday
AM 6 Mile Run (53 mins)   //     PM Circuits

Thursday
AM Rings Session    //     PM Sivananda at Bahia Yoga

Friday
AM  3 Mile Run  //     PM   Legs, Bums and Tums Class

Saturday
3 Mile Park Run

Sunday
REST
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Thursday, 10 September 2015

How To Beat Burning Out

Sometimes life really takes it out of you. I seem to find myself in vicious circles of overcommitting or over working and taking on too many projects to juggle and collapsing in emotional "why am I so useless" tantrums when it all gets a bit too much. I thrive on being busy, but there's a fine line between being busy, and running yourself into the ground. When you're ill for the first week of a holiday as your body finally relaxes, it's definitely a sign to relax your lifestyle when returning home. 

Every time these episodes happen, I (try) to have a word with myself, eat too much chocolate, the boyfriend intervenes with a pep talk, and then about 6 weeks later I need another reminder. Serial Offender? I am. 

This post therefore comes as a little reminder to myself as things get hectic, and as advice to others who feel "meltdown ready". Sometimes a pair of listening ears and some new ideas to break bad habits is all you need...

1. Walk

Walking to the gym, to work or to Uni (where and when possible) ensures your day starts with a clearer head. Moving your legs and getting some fresh air helps massively with reducing stress and waking yourself up. Can you walk more often? Reduce your buses or walk between Tube stations? Maybe re-schedule your diary to allow an extra 10 minutes and prioritising some fresh air and thinking time.
  
2. Persevere With Yoga

I'm no Yogi. 5 months into consciously going to classes every week however, and I'm honestly now enjoying my practice. I fit in just 1 hour a week and the relaxation and calm it brings, ensures my feet are firmly (literally) on the ground. For me I've found it's a great accompaniment to my high intensity, sweaty workouts for stretching and slowing down thoughts. Exercising hard when you're body feels tight and stressed may do more harm than good, so on these days, give yoga a try instead and have a hot bath.   

3. Chat 

How many times have you said you're ok when actually you aren't, you just can't be bothered to explain the issue that's bugging you. Probably many times. Call someone who knows you well and get it all off your chest. Engage with them and be interested about their day and lives. Take the focus of yourself and onto helping someone else. This may help you realise your stresses are over exaggerated or simply chatting to someone else, aids in answering your worries without even trying. 
   
4. Add a Sprinkle Of Context 

Have a think about the bigger picture. Why is it that you do the job you do? Do you value the friendships you have? Are you making progress in your fitness goals? If there isn't a positive or passionate response the these questions maybe it's time for a change, If deep down you know you do generally get enjoyment from them, then maybe just a little perspective is necessary. Hard work and a can do attitude goes a long way - but you can't be wonderwoman everyday.    

5. Let Your Hair Down      

If you have to think long and hard about the last time you had a great night out, or day with the girls, or laughed til your tummy hurt then stop right now and schedule something in your diary.  Have a reward for your accomplishments. Don't just buy something, experience something and refresh yourself.  



Lots Of Love

B xx 






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Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Health(ier) Flapjacks

Anything oaty, chewy, sweet, syrupy, nutty is heaven to me! Nom nom nom. But flapjack is traditionally very buttery and calorific. Perhaps a great treat after you've run a marathon but not something to eat everyday if you're cutting body fat or generally trying to feel healthy. 

I've tested a few "healthy" versions of this classic traybake and hereby come up with my own recipe that's really easy, not too expensive and much more wholesome. 

Generally speaking add in whatever you fancy, the nuts, seeds and fruit can be substituted for your own personal favourites but I've found these quantities make for a gooey and moreish bake. They also keep really well - wrapped in foil for an on the go pick me up I adore them! 


Image Source https://www.pinterest.com/pin/483081497505771897/ 


INGREDIENTS 

150g Dates (preferably medjool) 

100g Coconut Oil

3 Tablespoons Agave Syrup OR Honey

100g Nuts - I love peacans or almonds in mine chopped nice and chunky

2 Tablespoons Seeds - Pumpkin, Chia and Sunflower are great

50g Raisins, Apricots OR Cranberries - what do you fancy today? 

150g Oats (gluten free great here!) 



METHOD

1. Heat the oven to 190C/gas 5 and grease your square tin with coconut oil or line with baking parchment. 

2. Put the dates into a food processor and whizz up until they are finely chopped and sticking together. 

3. Put you coconut oil, agave syrup and dates into a large pan and heat gently. 

4. Stir until your oil has has melted and the dates are blended in. 

5. Add all the remaining ingredients to the pan and stir until well mixed. Spoon the mixture into the tin and spread level. 

(Try not to eat all the raw mixture, its delicious!) 

6. Bake in the oven for 15mins or until golden brown. 




Send me your snaps if you give them a go! 


Lots Of Love

B x 
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Sunday, 6 September 2015

Half Marathon Training Diary // Week 6






My sixth week of a conscious effort to run more in preparation for the Robin Hood Half Marathon... didn't quite go to plan. I've eaten loads, exercised sporadically and ran only once. BUT I also caught up with 3 girls who mean the world to me, celebrated a birthday and kick started the first of many Bon Voyage shenanigans for my brother who moves away to the USA for a year next week. Counting memories not miles was the agenda so I'm cutting myself some slack and reminding myself enjoying a week in the slow lane does no harm. 


Lots of Love,

B xx 



Monday

Leg Weights Session 

Tuesday

Hiitboxx AM   //   Speed Endurance Runnning PM 

Wednesday

REST

Thursday

Sivananda Yoga @ Bahia 


Friday

Shoulder Weights Session AM    //   Circuit Training PM 


Saturday

REST

Sunday

6 mile run (55 mins) 



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