Food, Travel, Winter

The Lake District | Food

When people asked me where we were going on our honeymoon I would explain to them all about the beautiful little cottage we had booked right in the middle of the countryside and the walks we had planned but I would always end with the most important thing – the food we intended to eat. For me the food is an integral part of any holiday and a great way of sampling local culture. Both Russell and I are big foodies, part of the reason we fit each other so well, and so when we are looking at visiting a place the food is a massive consideration. Having been to the Lakes numerous times I knew that the food here does not disappoint. From pubs, to cafes, to restaurants if you’re looking for amazing food the Lake District is the place to be. I thought I’d share a selection of the places we had some seriously spectacular food on our honeymoon for any other foodies out there wanting to take a trip.

The Watermill
This was the local pub for us, just down the farm track from our cottage we decided to pop here for a bite to eat when we really couldn’t be bothered going any further. We’d been told it was a great place for a nice local ale, so Russell was in his element choosing a few to try over the evening. The food was good english pub grub and was absolutely delicious. If you are looking for a chilled out evening, somewhere you can go after a long walk for a slap up meal and a drink this is the one.

Poppi Red
One of my favourite cafes from when I used to visit with my parents, Poppi Red is full of cute floral prints and vintage gifts. Predominantly a cafe it also has a lovely little shop worth looking round before you sit down and order one of their deliciously naughty cakes. We decided to go for a panini each and were really impressed with the use of local ingredients including Hawskead Relish and local meats. This is a great place for coffee and cake or lunch out with the girls.  

Zepherellis 
Another place I used to go to with my parents when I was little, Zephs is definitely more of a restaurant. Although you can just turn up in your jeans its also somewhere you feel you can get a little bit more dressed up for. The menu is entirely vegetarian but don’t let that put you off, even my meat loving husband managed to enjoy himself as we ate two courses before going through to their cinema to watch La La Land. Zepherellis is both a restaurant and cinema offering special deals for food and cinema tickets. It was a lovely place to go to as more of a date and we enjoyed the chance to dress up a bit and have a special night out together.

Mason Arms
This is definitely my favourite place in the Lake District (so far), a beautiful little 13th century inn the Masons Arms is cosy and warm with a crackling fire, candle light and the most amazing food you’ll ever eat. A slight step up from pub grub, it serves all sorts of local dishes such as lamb Cartmel as well as ham hock, black pudding burgers and my personal favourite – Masons Arms Ribs. If like me you are a bbq rib lover this is the place to go,  having sampled many bbq ribs all over the world for these are the best. A great place to go for a cosy relaxed date with sensational food.

Autumn, Fashion, Food, Slow Living, Style, Travel

The Best Autumn Day

Oh Autumn I cannot get enough of you! I know some people can’t wait for summer, for bare legs, bonfires, beach trips and sun kissed skin but for me there is no better season than autumn. I spend the summer months waiting in anticipation as autumn creeps closer and closer. Although I was watching very careful autumn in Oxford definitely suddenly appeared. It seemed one day it was beautiful September sunshine warm enough for ice cream and sandals, and then over night the temperature dropped by 10 degrees and the bright orange and mustard colours began to appear in every tree. It seemed autumn was especially prevalent in Hereford last weekend when we went up to do wedmin, and I couldn’t contain my excitement. We had decided to spend Friday and Saturday inside doing wedding jobs and then take a day off to enjoy the season outside on the Sunday. Luckily we were blessed with the most amazing weather, my absolute favourite type – bright blue skies, cold crisp air and low golden sunshine. It was glorious.

We decided to go back to one of our favourite spots to go walking in Hereford, the Brockhampton Estate and were extremely excited (well as least I was, not sure about Russell) to find out it was apple day! The National Trust definitely put on some of the best events and this was one of them. We enjoyed wandering around the house where we tried spiced mulled apple juice and sat in the 1950s sitting room – my outfit that day definitely blended into the surroundings. I’m wearing my lovely new dress from Lindy Bop that I got in the sale, I wanted some clothes in more autumnal colours and this definitely fitted the bill. We then wandered through the court yard where the cider pressing had been going on and got a good whiff of apple. After having a look around the shop we went in to the orchards and spent the best part of an hour jumping around trying to grab the shiniest juiciest apple on each tree. I have never actually been apple picking before so it was a new experience for me and I absolutely loved it. We decided to get one of each variety we thought looked the nicest including a massive apple almost the size of my head.

After carrying our apples back to the car we went to the lovely little tea rooms in the old apple store, we decided to continue our theme and bought a cider for Russell and an apple juice for me with a scone to share. By the time we’d finished it was almost five o’clock and the sun was beginning to descend and glow golden over the fields. We enjoyed a walk around the grounds and even stumbled across a private Georgian mansion which I decided must be Netherfield Park (I really wanted to knock on the front door and ask for Mr Bingley).

To end our day we piled back into the car, turned the heating on and drove part of the way back to Oxford stopping in the Cotswolds for the most amazing meal at Bitter and Twisted in Chipping Norton. I love living so close to the Cotswolds, everything was lit up with beautiful fairy lights and for the first time this year it started to feel really Christmassy.

What I Wore…
Dress – Lindy Bop | Cardigan – M&S | Shoes – New Look
Food, Green, Lifestyle, Outdoors

Foraged Jam | A Recipe

One of the things I wanted to do whilst on holiday was to cook and bake some things I’ve been meaning to try for a while but just haven’t  had chance. Jam is one of those things I’ve always fancied making but just never got round to, so when I saw a ridiculous amount of blackberries just going spare on the side of the road in the village we now live in I decided foraged fruit jam was much more fun than just buying the fruit. I love this time of year when all the fruit trees are perfect for picking and you can often find your local park becomes a haven for foraged fruit and blackberries are definitely a favourite.

Having never made jam before I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but it was actually very easy and tasted pretty good if I do say so myself. Of course the only way to serve it was on a homemade scone with a massive dollop of clotted cream, what can I say, I’m very British at heart.

Ingredients:
Foraged black berries or any fruit you like
The same weight of caster sugar as fruit
A squeeze of lemon.

Recipe:

1. Put all your fruit in a pan on the heat with a squeeze of lemon and a splash of water, just enough to stop the fruit sticking. Leave the fruit to simmer until the fruit has stewed, I liked leaving a few lumps in as I like a bit of fruit in my jam.

2. Once the fruit has reduced down add your sugar and stir until dissolved. Once dissolved heat the jam up to 105 degrees. Once hot take off the heat, leave to cool a little then put it into a clean jar.

3. Leave the jam to cool completely and enjoy the satisfying pop of the lid when you open it.

Enjoy!

Food, Green, Health, Lifestyle

The Trout Oxfordshire | Restaurant Review

Now that I have a full time job Russell and I find ourselves going out for dinner quite a bit and I thought I would share a few of the amazing places we have been to. After a few stressful and difficult months at the end of last year we made the decision that in 2016 we would try to enjoy living in Oxford a bit more and make a conscious effort to go on dates rather than sit in and watch Harry Potter. Me and Russell are both very foodie having been brought up in families where food is the centre piece to family life and every special occasion so its no surprise really that one of our favourite dates is trying new restaurants or popping over to a pub thats had a very good recommendation. The Trout was one of those pubs we’d heard a lot about, walked past on a walk along the Thames path and almost stopped to have dinner at numerous times. But it wasn’t until a beautiful hot sunny day in Oxford that we decided quite randomly to go and sit in the sunshine and have a drink by the Thames.

The Trout is a lovely little gastro-pub situated right on the bank of the Thames and just in front of beautiful Port Meadow in Oxford. They have a large patio on the front which has always been full every time we’ve gone past as its a real sun trap and perfect for a drink with friends or a lazy summer meal whilst you soak up some rays. We were lucky enough to find a table right by the river so we could watch the water cascading down and even share our dinner with a few ducks who hopped onto the wall to say hello.

Russell and I are lucky enough to share the same taste in food and so we often find we either order the same thing at a restaurant or we like to share food and try each others. Although we both love a good burger we decided to try something a little bit different at this pub and the Sticky Platter was just perfect. It was essentially a sharing platter of different meat and was absolutely delicious, full of flavour and spice with amazing home made chilli jam and tzatziki to dip into it was the perfect summer meal.

We really enjoyed The Trout and seeing as it’s only about 10 minutes from us I’m sure we will be going back over this summer. 

Food, Foodie Fridays, Lifestyle, Recipe, Vegan, Vegetarian

Chickpea and Spinach Curry

Hello guys and welcome back to another foodie Friday! It is almost the weekend and I have just the perfect dish for all of you looking to enjoy a little something special this weekend. Put your wallet away and the takeaway menu back on the pin board for today’s foodie Friday is a delicious fakeaway to coin a phrase from Jamie Oliver. This curry tastes just as a delicious if not more so than anything you’d find at the Indian takeaway round the corner, it’s much cheaper, its full of natural wholesome ingredients and its 100% plantbased! What more could you want guys?

Ingredients:
1 onion
3 gloves of garlic
1 tin of chickpeas
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
Half a tin of coconut milk
1 Green Pepper
1 tbsp of Curry powder (Depends how spicy you want it, add more or less depending on your taste buds)
1 tsp of chilli flakes
1 tsp of paprika
Pinch of salt
Pinch of Pepper
300g Rice of your choice
Olive oil
4 large handfuls of spinach

Recipe:

Feeds four people

1. Slice Green pepper into strips, cut the onion in chunks or whatever size you prefer and dice the garlic small.
2.Heat a large sauce pan on the hob, add a glug of olive oil then add the garlic and onion and cook until the onion starts to go soft on a medium heat. Once the onion is going soft add the curry powder, chilli flakes and paprika. Stir well.
3. Add the peppers and stir them into the spiced onion mix, followed by the chickpeas. Leave these to cook for a minute then add the chopped tomatoes. Stir well and allow the tomatoes to begin bubbling and become hot all the way through. Add the spinach and allow this to wilt and stir in.
4. Pour in the coconut milk and stir thoroughly. Add in the salt and pepper. Leave the curry to simmer on the hob whilst you cook the rice (read instructions on the rice packet for this). The longer you leave the curry the better it will taste but remember to keep stirring it. After a little while taste it to see if it needs more salt, pepper or spices.
5. Once your rice is cooked serve with curry and enjoy!

And there you have it! A ridiculously delicious creamy curry that tastes so indulgent you honestly won’t be able to tell it’s healthy I promise you and it’ll make you and your wallet feel a lot better than getting a takeaway. Let me know in the comments if you try it or any other exciting things you’re eating this weekend.

Food, Foodie Fridays, Lifestyle, Recipe, Vegan, Vegetarian, Winter

Spinach and Roasted Veg Winter Salad

I have a confession to make……Salads are one of my favourite things….yep that’s right, I’m a total weirdo who loves to eat salad. But I think must people have the wrong view about salad, a lot of people imagine salad and see a simple plain boring load of iceberg lettuce in a box with no dressing. For me however, this is not the case at all. My salads are juicy, yummy, satisfying things full of nutrients and tangy flavour. I absolutely love having them in the summer but once it got to October I wasn’t feeling salad any more, I wanted something warm that was full of starch and be comforting on those cold days. And so I went about inventing some warm salads to have during the winter, something delicious and satisfying with seasonal veggies. I came up with lots of yummy recipes but this one has to be my favourite so far. Packed full of flavour and nutrients this dish is just the perfect comfort food on a winters day and it’s so easy to make. 
At the beginning of the week I like to make a few things in bulk to see me through and make life easier. It means I don’t have to be organised and make my lunches the night before every day of the week because I’ve already got a load of stuff in the fridge that I can chuck together. This dish is one of those things. The roasted veggies I like to make in advance and I pretty much use anything I can find be it sweet potatoes, carrots, butternut squash, potatoes, parsnips whatever I just cut it into chunks add some seasoning and throw it in the oven. Then once its cooked I put it in containers in the fridge and throughout the week I toss it over salads or add in some other veggies. Its so easy and so tasty and it means you can get a really delicious nutritious lunch every day of the week.    
Ingredients: 
Half a butternut squash
4 Potatoes 
Spinach
2 tsp mixed herbs
1 tsp paprika
Pinch of Salt
Pinch of Pepper
Two large handfuls of spinach
Olive oil
Recipe:
1. As I said I like to make the roasted veg in advance but it can be done on the day if you wish. Preheat the oven to 200 C. Cut the potato and butternut squash into chunks throw into an oven proof dish, add a glug of olive oil, the mixed herbs, paprika, salt and pepper shake the dish until the veggies are coated. 
2. Roast the veggies for 40 minutes – 50 minutes, until the potatoes are looking crisp and golden. Leave to cool and store in a box in the fridge. 
3. When you are ready for your salad take out a frying pan, put a tiny bit of oil in it add the roasted veg and the spinach and stir until all the spinach has wilted. 
And that is it! Simple and delicious and so easy to make in any way you want, you could add whatever veggies you want. The roasted veg also go really well on a bed of tender stem broccoli, raw spinach or mixed leaves. Hope you enjoyed this super easy recipe. Let me know in the comments below if you tried it.  

Food, Foodie Fridays, Recipe, Vegan

Super Easy Vegan Tomato and Spinach Crostini

Today is the beginning of something a little new on here. As I mentioned in my previous post I eat a plant based diet and I love to cook, it’s something that takes up a big part of my life and I really wanted to share it on here with you guys. And so I have decided to start up a new feature on this blog called Foodie Fridays. Each week I will be sharing something to do with food and a plant based diet such as recipes, cookbook reviews, restaurant reviews and much more. I’m really excited to start this new section of my blog and I hope you will enjoy it.  

I love the word crostini! The whole time I was making this I was saying it in an absolutely awful Italian accent but it has to be done, I think it makes the food taste better. The word crostini essentially means toasted bread with a topping and that is simply all that these are. Like a fancy beans on toast. These were a complete experiment after a saw a picture of some bruschetta and it gave me a craving. I raided the fridge to see what I could find and come up with these. They are delicious! And so simple, they make a great snack or lunch or even starter to a dinner a party and you can easily recreate them with different ingredients, fridge raiding is always the best way to discover new tasty foods I find.

Ingredients:
Two large Handfuls of Spinach
Two Ripe Tomatoes
Two Slices of Bread Toasted
Two cloves of Garlic Chopped Small or Crushed
A Glug of Olive Oil

Recipe:
1. Chop the Tomatoes into small chunks then slice the garlic thinly and chop into small pieces or use a garlic crusher.
2. Put a glug of olive oil into a frying pan and put onto the heat allowing it to warm up slightly.
3. Add the tomato, garlic and spinach the the frying pan and cook until the spinach has wilted down completely and the tomatoes have turned into more of a chunky paste.
4. Toast the two pieces of bread and then put on a plate, top with the tomatoe spinach mix and serve.

And it’s as easy as that. So simple, so yummy and super healthy, who wouldn’t enjoy this great dish?      

Food, Foodie Fridays, Health, Vegan, Vegetarian

Healthy Living

For the last 21 years (my entire life) I have never really cared that much about my diet and what it does to my body. I love to cook and I love really good food so I never ate anything really bad for you on a regular basis and a lot of my cooking involved meat, carbs and vegetables – a nice balanced meal. I was never particularly interested in nutrition or eating in a way that would best serve my body. I had had problems with weight gain but if I put on too much weight I would just cut out all the junk exercise a bit more and a few months later I’d be back to normal and the whole process would start again.

However when the new year came a long last year and I had put on more than a few pounds (about two stone) I decided enough was enough. I was very unhappy with my weight and although I was never really fat my weight had yoyo’d all over the place during my life. I was constantly on and off diets, I would always be on to the next faddy diet like the military diet or a juice detox in the hope it would give me that “perfect” body. But none of these diets were sustainable and they often just made me feel a lot worse. I decided enough was enough, I wanted a sustainable diet that was healthy and made me feel amazing all the time. Whilst still at uni I began to look into nutrition a bit more. I became more aware of the importance of understanding exactly what you were putting into your body and how hard this can be on not only your internal system but also the world outside. Due to a particularly bad bout of depression is took me until the summer to really begin to turn my diet around but during that time I read books, blogs, articles I found on pinterest and I began to learn all about nutrition. Now I am in no way suggesting I am a nutrition expert or my diet is the perfect diet but the changes I have made to my lifestyle and my way of eating have made such a huge difference I really wanted to share them.

It began over the summer when I decided to cut out as much processed food as I possibly could which unfortunately included chocolate (insert weeping here) and instead focused my diet on wholesome, healthy, balanced meals. I stopped eating most things that came in packets and if it did come in a packet it could only have 5 or less ingredients and nothing strange that I couldn’t pronounce or didn’t understand. Processed food is one of the worst things we can eat as not only does it contribute so much waste and pollution to the environment the food itself is also packed full of preservatives and additives that can be harmful to our bodies. Eating unprocessed was amazing and really helped to get my body back to being healthy.

I started to do a lot more yoga as well and meditation to help my anxiety this pared with a healthy diet really made a huge difference to my body and my mental health. Over the summer I also began to read about plant based or vegan diets and the more I read the more it interested me and was something I wanted to try. However being at home with my family where we all sit and have dinner together it was too difficult for me to adopt an entirely plant based diet and so I ate plant based during the day and waited till I came back to uni to try it 100%.

I’ve been eating a plant based diet for 3 months now and I have to say it feels amazing. Not only am I losing weight and starting to get back down to my natural healthy size but my acne has cleared up on my face. As I said I love to cook and so I am really enjoying finding new and exciting ways to create my favourite meals like lasagne and burgers I am also enjoying how much cheaper my food shop has become since I stopped buying meat and filled my trolley with fruit and veg (you can buy almost twice as much).

I know this diet wouldn’t suit everyone and I am by no means saying that this is the perfect diet and everyone must do this but it works well for me and I want to share my journey eating plant based and trying to get into a healthy lifestyle in case others are interested or in case it may help others who want to do the same things. I am planning on sharing recipes on here and what I eat in a day videos on my YouTube channel as well as talking about different exercise routines I am trying. I post food things on my instagram too so if you’re interested check that out.

Hope you enjoy this new addition to my blog and I’d love to hear your thoughts, recipes and ideas so please do comment or tweet me.

Bye for now!

Adventure, Books, Food, Green, Health, Lifestyle, Travel, Vegan

My New Years Resolutions

I know this year there has been a real trend going around that people aren’t making new years resolutions and whilst I fully support people not putting too much pressure on themselves to achieve I actually find setting goals quite a helpful tool for myself. Every year I like to set myself some achievable goals that I know I can do and some crazy out there dreams that help me to keep my sights on the stars. And so without further ado here are my new years resolutions for 2016:

Health and well being:
A goal I set myself last year was to become healthier and to take more care of myself both physically and mentally. This past year I’ve started to get really interested in nutrition and have learnt a lot about the foods we eat and what they do to our bodies, I have also started to exercise more, take time out to spend it in green open spaces and meditate more through yoga or prayer. This year I would like to continue learning more, I’d like to get fitter and stronger and lose some more weight. I have already lost a stone by changing my diet to plantbased and doing more exercise and I’d like to continue that to get back down to the weight I used to be when I was my most comfortable.

Writing:
As a lot of you will know if you’ve been reading my blog, I am a writer and I love it! My main goal for this year is to finish my current novel which I am now a third of the way through and to get something published be that an article, a short story or a novel. I think its more likely to be the first two but I am going to try as hard as I can to become a published author this year, wish me luck!

Blogging:
I love this little space of the internet but over the past few months I have struggled to figure out what it should be. I found myself worrying about what I was doing and copying other successful bloggers who I liked instead of looking for my own unique voice. This year I would like to focus more on what I want this space to be like and what I want to share on here. I don’t want to be a bad copy of something else I want it to be entirely me. I am hoping to explore my interests and learn more about photography, green living, cooking and fashion through trying out new things on here. I’d also love to meet more bloggers and do some collabs so please message me, I’d love to chat.

Random:
There are always a few random goals I set myself and this year is no different. I would like to read one inspiring book a month as well as making the time to read more. I would like to start to grow my own vegetables and I would like to make mine and Russell’s Sunday walks a weekly thing for this year.

I hope you all had a lovely new year, what are your new years resolutions?

 

Food, Green, Lifestyle, Summer

My First Time……

 …….picking strawberries! Yes I was a very deprived child and was never taken strawberry picking. But to be fair to my parents I was one of four and my house was always a bit crazy and to be honest there aren’t many strawberry farms in Liverpool. But when my boyfriend and his family found out I’d never been strawberry picking they told I hadn’t truly experienced the joys of a strawberry until I’d picked them myself. And so on a rather sunny day (not something we get a lot of in Scotland) me, my boyfriend and his sister all went to the Cairnie fruit farm to go strawberry picking.

I was relatively restrained and only ate a few strawberries whilst I was picking as it did seem a bit naughty even if everyone else was doing it. And I have to say it was really fun actually picking my own strawberries and being able to take them home to eat. It was also quite a cheap trip out as there was no entrance few you simply paid for what you picked so the three of us had an hour of entertainment for only £4.50. We also got to dip them into cream and hot chocolate sauce when we got home which was amazing. 

I’d definitely like to go again and I think it is definitely something to do when I have my own children as I imagine its almost more fun to watch a little one picking and eating than it is to do it yourself. Let me know in the comments if you’ve been strawberry picking this year or if you used to go when you were little.

Bye for now!