September 24, 2014

Roasted Ramiro Pepper & Tomato Soup

I've moved back to uni. I've been here for a week and it's been exciting, fun but very tiring. The weekend before I moved back Mum and I took to mass soup production. We made big batches of all different kinds, curried parsnip, carrot and coriander and red pepper and tomato.

Soup is probably the easiest meal in the whole world, and there's nothing better than jars and jars of homemade soup. It's so easy to make, all good for you and so cheap. I probably make at least one batch of soup a week during the winter. It's wholesome, warming and delicious.

This tomato and Ramiro red pepper soup is just that little bit more interesting and delicious than your bog standard tomato soup with an amazing roasted sweet pepper flavour coming through. Perfect as we head into Autumn.

To make 4 portions you will need:

4 large sweet pointed Ramiro peppers
1 onion
Approx. 9 large tomatoes
Olive oil
1 1/2 pints of vegetable stock
1 tbsp salt
Ground pepper
Start by deseeding the peppers then place on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and roast for 20 minutes.
Whilst your peppers are sizzling away place all your tomatoes into a bowl and boil the kettle. Pour hot water over your tomatoes so they are completely submerged and leave for a minute or so.
After a minute drain the water and peal off the skins. They should come off nice and easily.
 Then slice in half (or quarters) and deseed the tomatoes as much as you can.
Chop up your onion and add it to a large saucepan along with the roasted Ramiro red peppers, the tomatoes, a pinch of salt, lots of ground pepper and 1 1/2 pints of stock.
Cook on a medium-high heat and let it all boil away nicely for about half an hour until the peppers have softened.
 Then carefully ladle the soup in batches into a blender and blend baby blend until smooth.
A perfect autumnal soup.

September 21, 2014

The 5 Day Juice Detox

After my incredible trip to London and just generally 'living life' I was feeling very worn out, tired and a bit blurgh (you know what I mean). I'd tried sleeping 10 hours a night, eating healthily and exercising but it was just taking a lot longer than usual to get back to my usual self so I decided I needed a bit of a kick start to get things going again before I went away inter railing.

I immediately thought of juicing.
The controversy surrounding juice detoxing is unimaginable. And if I'm completely honest I'm still a little at war with it myself.

I believe the benefits of juicing are endless when drank as part of a healthy diet, and that's the key, 'as part of a healthy diet!' We all know that the best way to get fit and healthy is to consume a balanced diet and exercise regularly but sometimes you just need a little something extra to get you on the right road. I bit of a turbo boost to get the momentum going.

So is too much juicing actually bad for you?
Well in terms of a way to receive nutrition then I don't think it is, I'm not saying you never need to eat again because you definitely do to keep your digestive system healthy and ticking over, but every once in a while I don't think it's damaging to consume nothing but juice for a short period of time.

I believe that a lot of problems with juicing stems from your mindset. I honestly think state of mind plays a big part. As soon as you put yourself on a strict regime or diet your body sees it as a sign of stress and may react by releasing an increased level of cortisol, a hormone which can ultimately make it very hard for you to lose weight, and increase oxidative stress which causes ageing.

Any restriction of something completely, and in this it's case food, can become obsessive and that's not what juicing is about. Juicing should not be restrictive. It should be about consuming an abundance of fruit and vegetables. Natures goodies.

If you see this programme as simply 'a diet', a quick fix to lose as much weight as possible in the shortest amount of time then you may enter a dangerous cycle of bingeing the night before you start your cleanse then cleansing for however many days followed by a few days of bingeing, therefore repeating the cycle. This stems from the belief that you feel like you are going to be restricting yourself and will never be 'allowed' to eat certain foods again so you eat more than you normally would. In order for this to work you need to embrace a healthy lifestyle and understand why you are juicing/looking after your body.

However I found my juicer was kaput and my blender had burned out, a little how I was feeling, so I wasn't off to a great start.

In the end I opted for the lazy girl option and just ordered a juice programme. But who would I trust with my pre bought juice programme, the one and only Juice Master of course!!

I've read most of Jason Vale's books, and followed all of this 3, 5 and 7 day juice programmes in the past. I find his enthusiasm infectious!!

So out of all the juice programmes, why this one?

  • Well most juice programmes are extremely expensive, extortionate infact, but I found this 5 day one to be a lot more affordable.
  • It's £149.99 for 5 days which works out to be roughly £7.50 per juice.
  • It's easy to follow as all the juices are clearly labeled and colour coded for different days.
  • The juices are extracted using a masticating juicer to retain more nutrients and then frozen immediately to ensure they are as fresh as they could possibly be.

So what do you get?

  • You get 4 juices a day and 5 ginger shots (1 per day).
  • A plan to stick on your fridge which keeps you on track.
  • 5 juice in a bar/simply nude bars which can be eaten as a last resort, aka hunger SOS, if you get so hungry you feel like you will eat your arm.
  • Advice for what to do after the plan, so you're not left on your own.

Ideally making your own juices is the best thing to do, Jason even says this himself, but I think these are definitely an excellent good second option.

It gave me a bit of comfort that I already had an idea of what I was getting myself into before I started as I've made all the juices and smoothies before myself. But I was intrigued as to whether they would taste the same as when I make them.Apart from one exception, I loved all the juices, even the green ones!! Don't be put off by the colour, this is the biggest mistake you can make!

Favourite Juices - Ruby Tuesday (I was so surprised by this because whenever I have made it myself I have hated it), Minty Sunshine and Pear 'n' Parsnip (don't knock it 'till you've tried it).

Least Favourite Juices - Berry Crunch Smoothie (this also came as a big surprise for me as I normally LOVE  this juice. It's normally my favourite, but I just wasn't a big fan of the texture or the taste).

My Tips and Advice for a successful cleanse.

  • Doing a complete juice detox TAKES WILLPOWER. I had support whilst doing mine, making sure I didn't cave at weak moments.
  • Saying that, do not give up. If you get realllllly, I'm going to eat my arm, hungry eat some REAL food. Have one of the SOS bars provided or have a piece of fruit, an apple, a banana, a small handful of almonds, something that has not been processed and contains artificial ingredients.
  • Download the app, the daily coaching videos are invaluable or read the book. Just something to keep your mind focused so you enjoy the cleanse more than detest it.
  • Do not consume your juices in 3 seconds flat. It would take a lot longer to eat the equivalent amount of fruit and vegetables so take your time over the juices.
  • Do not brush your teeth straight after drinking a juice. It's bad for your teeth. Juice lowers the pH of enamel making your teeth weaker and more susceptible to abrasion from the toothbrush.
  • Stock up on mint tea or other non caffeinated herbal teas. They're LIFESAVERS.
  • I didn't weigh myself at the beginning because although losing a few pounds before my holiday would have been nice weight wasn't my biggest concern. My advice. Don't focus on the number on the scale. If you are an avid scale weigher weigh yourself before you start and then DO NOT weigh yourself until you have completely finished the programme.
  • Take a bit of 'you' time. Use it as a cleanse in all aspects of your life. Have a bubble bath, go for a long walk, read a book, just something you enjoy and then completely lets to relax and chill out!
  • Oh and you may become a bit more acquainted with your loo, if you know what I mean, so that's just a warning to you!
In the end...

  • My skin cleared up
  • My hair is definitely a lot thicker (although I have a sneaky feeling this definitely has something to do with it)
  • I just feel better in myself - a bit lighter, a bit more energy and a sense of accomplishment (might sound silly, but it's true).

Would I do it again?
The programme, yes definitely! And if you don't have access to a juicer then I think this is a great second option. But I must admit, I definitely prefer making my juices myself, especially over a reasonably long period of time! It gives you something to do/prepare at meal times.

That being said I did actually enjoy the whole 'experience'.
I am not a nutritionist or a health expert by any means, it's just something that interest me, so if you do have any major concerning health problems please consult your doctor before undertaking a juice cleanse.

I am also not associated with The Juice Master company or Jason Vale himself, I just really advocate his programmes, advice and way of life.

September 08, 2014


I'm baaacckkk. For real. Did you miss me? I missed you. It's been a while but I am so excited to share my travelling adventures with you.

I'm not entirely sure how I'm going to do it yet. With over 2000 photos and me being a bit all over the place I've got a lot of work to do!!

I thought I would simply start by showing you the actual route we took.

We actually didn't stray too far off course with the only country we missed out being Croatia as it was going to take roughly 22 hours to get there. I'm rather glad this happened though as we found ourselves in Slovenia. We stayed in Ljubljana and spent a day at Lake Bled. It was so so beautiful and ended up being one of my favourite places, but more on that later. In the mean time..

We started off in Amsterdam, as planned, travelled to Berlin and then down to Krakow, via a slight detour to Warsaw. To get to Budapest we went through Bratislava, then our biggest detour saw us going up to Salzburg in Austria to come down to Lake Bled and Ljubljana in Slovenia. Verona was pretty straight forward to get to and then we went slightly up to Milan to finally finish our journey in Cannes.

7 countries in 2 weeks complete.