Sunday, 27 April 2014

THE WEEKEND: Easter times.

Hey guys! Hope you're all well and have settled back into work nicely this week after the Easter break. Or if you were one of the people who worked hard during the long weekend, I applaud you!
Today I thought I'd share with you a little bit of what I got up to during my Easter weekend. 
Warning: This will be a pretty photo-heavy post!

I was lucky enough to have a lovely four day weekend which tied in nicely with the gorgeous weather we were having in Belfast (a rarity!). On the Saturday, my boyfriend Dom and I got up early-ish.. got some breakfast and headed off for a long walk. We went to Cavehill which as the name suggests is a large hill overlooking Belfast, situated close to Belfast Castle. Its about a 4.5 mile walk, so its not too long, but its quite steep which makes it a good workout! Plus, the views are outstanding! We brought a picnic along with us and ate lunch at the very top in the sun, bliss!

On Easter Sunday we had a pretty chilled day. We had an Easter egg hunt, a yummy family lunch and napped a lot! I got this Chok A Blok egg which was amazing. It didn't last very long to be honest!

On Easter Monday, Dom and I took a road trip with a few of our friends. We headed into Newcastle, which is a small seaside town about 45 minutes outside Belfast. Its best known for its sandy beach and being home of the Mourne Mountains. We headed up at about 12.45 and got stuck in all of the traffic, arghhh, but our friends in the car in front kept us amused! 

When we eventually got there we were freaking hungry! So our first stop was Country Fried Chicken for some seriously unhealthy (but so tasty) food! We ate our food on the grass by the sea and of course we had to take some group selfies!

Next up it was time for the Amusements, and with pockets loaded with change we hit up the 2p machines!

After being big kids for an hour or so we were all craving some ice cream so we went off to join the queue for Mauds. My banana ice cream was definitely worth the wait!

After quite a busy few days Dom and I decided to take it easy on Tuesday and do a lot of nothing. Our rumbling tummies did force us into town for a late lunch though. We wanted to try somewhere new so we went to Slim's Healthy Kitchen on the Lisburn Road in Belfast. Its been getting a lot of attention and is promoted as a healthy option for eating out. We were both really impressed. The menu is pretty extensive and caters for everyone and it makes it really easy to make healthier eating choices. 

I opted for the chicken stir fry and Dom got a Steak Wrap. We also enjoyed fresh fruit juices, sweet and potato fries. Everything tasted amazing, left us really full but not uncomfortably so and it was a really refreshing change to the normal restaurants we eat in. We'll definitely be back!

I hope you've enjoyed this little snippet into my Easter guys. Let me know what you got up to!

Rachael x

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Smoothie Time.

Spring has finally sprung! Its starting to heat up in little old Belfast and I've finally been able to ditch my stodgy porridge breakfasts and start my days with something a little lighter and brighter (Sorry porridge, I still love you!). My go to breakfast choice recently has been a good old smoothie. I love smoothies. They're super quick to make, they're an easy way to get some extra fruit/veg into your diet and are perfect for breakfast on the go. If, like me you leave the house at 7am this is absolutely vital!

Seeing as I'm loving the smoothies so much at the minute, I thought I'd share some of my favourite combo's and recipes with you guys.

First up though, if you're gonna make a great smoothie, you gotta have the right blender/smoothie maker!

My smoothie maker of choice is this bad boy:

Its a smoothie maker, blender, juicer and grinder. I'll be honest, I've only used it to make smoothies, but you can supposedly use it for lots of other things! My favourite bit about it is that it comes with a 1L container to make your smoothie in, once you've made it you remove it from the smoothie maker, pop on a lid and you're good to go! Which means you only have one thing to wash later on! I paid £27.99 for this as it was on offer on Amazon, total bargain! 

Moving onto the making of the smoothies. I like something quick, usually I'm in a rush, pulling my shoes on, grabbing stuff from the fridge trying not to wake everyone else. For this reason my breakfast smoothies tend to be pretty simple!

I generally go for 200ml unsweetened almond milk, a frozen banana (it gives it a nice creamy texture) and about 200g of blueberries/raspberries/strawberries. I sometimes add in a tablespoon of peanut butter too for protein. Be careful with the PB if you decide to add it, don't use too much, although its a great source of protein, it is quite high in fat. Finally I add a teaspoon of Matcha green tea powder, which is basically just a really concentrated green tea powder, its perfect if you don't like the taste of normal green tea as it doesn't give much flavour in a smoothie. If you're interested you can have a read about the health benefits of Matcha tea here

For those of you who prefer a less sweet smoothie, this recipe is great. Its made up of greek yogurt, nut butter, blueberries, pineapple, kale and water. I must warn you, if you're new to using vegetables in your smoothies it might take a while to get used to the taste, but if you can hack it its a great way to get some veggies into your diet!

Here are a few more of my fave smoothie recipes:

If you've recently introduced smoothies into your diet, this Pop Sugar article is really useful, it'll keep you right and explain what to add to your smoothies in order to be as healthy as possible!

Thanks for reading guys, let me know your favourite recipes in the comments!

Rachael x

Sunday, 6 April 2014

What I've been loving this month | March

Hi everyone, todays post is going to be my March favourites; all of the things I've been loving throughout March! Its mainly beauty products this month, but there are a few foody bits thrown in as well!

First up is the Garnier Micellar cleansing water, a lot of brands have been jumping aboard the cleansing water ship recently and I was interested to see if any of them would be as good as my beloved Bioderma. I got this from Boots and it was around £5.99 at the time. It claims to "remove make-up, cleanse and soothe". The idea with the Micellar water thing is that you use it on a cotton pad to remove all of your make up and you don't need to rinse if you don't want to. I mainly use this to remove most of my make up, then I go in with a normal cleanser and remove the rest. I think the Garnier offering is quite similar to the Bioderma, its unscented, gentle and doesn't dry my skin out. I do need to use a little more product than I would with the Bioderma, but if you're looking for a slightly cheaper, more readily available alternative to Bioderma I would definitely pick this up!

My next skincare product is the Simple Kind to Eyes revitalising eye roll on. I bought this on a whim in Superdrug one day, my eyes were feeling quite dry and itchy so I wanted to get something to soothe them. This really works well, it has a metal roller ball applicator which is really gentle and has a nice cooling effect on the skin under your eyes. Its super cheap at around £4.00 and it doesn't irritate my sensitive eyes. This has definitely been a life saver for my runny, itchy eyes!

Moving onto make-up products, I've been loving the Illamasqua Skin Base foundation recently. I have to admit I am a bit of a foundation addict, I can never stop searching for the perfect one. The Skin Base foundation is gorgeous, its really pigmented, it blends really well and creates a really nice smooth base. I'd say the coverage it gives is medium, but could be built up for a more heavy look. The shade range is brilliant and I love that Illamasqua cater for the very fair skin tones like mine, right up to very dark skin tones. If you're looking for a good coverage foundation that lasts really well, this is one for you to try!

My next favourite is new from Seventeen and its the Seventeen Cheek Stamp. I saw this product when the lovely Kate from gh0st parties mentioned it on her blog. I thought it looked like a cool little product and I picked it up when it was on 3for2 in Boots. It gives a really pretty flush of colour and lasts really well. The shade range isn't brilliant but I loved this bright pink colour called Made you Look. These little blushers are a bargain at £4.99 and I think next time I'm in store I'll pick up the shade Blushing too.

The last make up product is the Maybelline Brow Drama Sculpting Mascara, which is basically, as the name says, just a mascara for your brows. I use this once I've filled my brows in to set them and keep the shape as neat as possible. I have the shade Medium Brown and its the perfect match for my brows. 

Moving on to two random non beauty favourites, I've been loving the Nakd Banana Bread bars. These are little raw fruit, oat and nut bars, they're really yummy and they are wheat and dairy free and don't contain any added sugar or syrups. They're 100% vegan and count as one of your 5 a day. I like to snack on one of these in the afternoon to try to avoid the 3pm chocolate cravings in work. You can get them in Holland and Barrett, Boots or Tesco but my mum bought me a pack of 18 from Amazon, so I'm well stocked up!

Finally, this next one is a little bit strange, but I picked up these mints from Holland and Barrett. They're from a brand called Sen Cha and they are Green Tea Leaf Mints. Eating three mints provides you with the same amount of anti oxidants that is in one cup of green tea. I got mine in Bombay Chai flavour which is seriously yummy and they're nice if you're craving something sweet! They do a lot of other different flavours that I'm interested in trying!

I hope you all had a great March and let me know in the comments below what your favourites thing were throughout the month!

Thanks for reading!

Rachael x

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