Sunday, 30 October 2016

LITTLE GEMS: Word of the week - DELICIOUS!

Why Hello!
I can't believe that this week is over already! It feels literally like it has just begun! How was your week? My food has been more comforting I think because of the change in weather. Lots of hot soups, porridges and warm veggies.


Start as you mean to go on! Big bowl of porridge to start my week off on Monday. Yum!


I had to be in work super early on Tuesday and so I ended up getting breakfast out. Th is was really yummy, it's the quinoa porridge with granola and maple syrup from the garden. Very warming on my tummy!


Ok, so I know this looks rather gross, but it was really delicious! I cooked a big roast dinner for my family last weekend and had some veggies left over. So, for my dinner I heated the veggies up and fried some green lentils with a little lemon juice, salt, pepper and 1/4 tsp sugar. Mixed it all together and ended up with this... Bowl food! Heaven!


Wednesday night I was craving pasta, so I rummaged around in the freezer and found some pasta sauce I made last month. It makes it all so quick, then I just grilled some salmon and added some of the veggies I roasted on Monday too. Such a great combination! Yum!


This could possibly be the last acai bowl of the year :o(. It's getting a bit chilly to have something so cold in the morning. I've loved having them so much!


I was working from home a couple of days this week and so decided to make myself some warm, green soup and sweet potato fries. I literally emptied the contents of the fridge into this ha ha! Anything that was green went in - peas, spinach, kale, potatoes, coriander, basil and mint!


Classic cat pic of the week he he!


I made this super delicious vegan chocolate cake this week too! It's a Nigella recipe from her new book, Simply Nigella. It was super tasty and nice and gooey too.


This is so decadent. I made it using raw cacao instead of cocoa powder and sprinkled some rose petals on top. 


Friday lunch in my 'Happy Place' at The Greenhouse. Perfect lunch after yoga (my second happy place!)


Friday night was a seriously tasty dinner at Mughli on Wilmslow Road. This food is sooo good! I love a bit of street style food!


Then, Saturday night I cooked a big Chinese meal for the family. I made a big broth (traditional Chinese style) and used the vegetables and chicken from the broth as part of the mains. Then I did salmon with chopped vegetables and then some Chinese leaves. It was so good. 


Then, for dessert I did a deconstructed pavlova. I've never done this before, but it worked so well. I don't eat dairy really so it's hard from me to eat a pav as I don't want the cream. This was so good, I stewed some plums and served it with homemade meringues. That way, everybody could control how much cream/fruit/topping etc they had. I also put out some toasted coconut which was really good!


I served mine with Coyo coconut yoghurt, plums and toasted coconut and it was delicious!


Finally, big brekkie this morning. Can't beat avo toast with tomatoes and a poached egg. It's super filling but doesn't feel heavy! Nom nom nom!

Not sure what's for dinner tonight, I think it's going to be more leftovers ha ha! Maybe we can just have pav for tea! ha ha!

Hope you all have a great week next week,

Thanks so much for reading,


Em x
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Friday, 28 October 2016

EATING OUT: Opera Grill Chester

After a nice day out to Wales a couple of weeks ago to see some family, I was getting pretty hungry on the way home! Hubs suggested that we should try this new place on the way back in Chester called the Opera Grill. Apparently it's part of the Club Individual brand (you know, Piccolinos peeps) so I thought why not? I love a bit of Piccolinos now and again, how bad can it be!


First impressions were pretty good to be honest. I didn't venture upstairs but it all looked very nicely done. We were sat on on the ground floor near the entrance in a booth area so pretty comfy too.



I went for a little mooch around the restaurant downstairs so I could take some pictures for you of the bar and the kitchen. It all looked very impressive - loving all the white marble especially!








So, as you can see this place is pretty nice. Then came what I feared the most though, the food! I know that sounds a little bit weird, but if you have been reading my blog posts recently, you have probably heard me go on about these 'uber cool' places with the 'artsy' food and the 'fancy pants' people - you get my drift right? Well, I was gutted to say this was one of those places. Don't get me wrong, I love a cool venue with all the cool cats and some tasty, arty style food - but only when the food is good! When it's not, it's so depressing... well, maybe not depressing but it's a bit of a let down - especially when the food is pretty expensive! It was also one of those places where their menu is globe trotting all over the world, selling anything that's cool but doesn't really go together. As in Japanese sashimi along side barley risotto? It was all a bit random! It's like a world fusion cuisine ha ha!


This was the teriyaki salmon. Covered in sauce with even more on the side. It was unfortunately cooked to an inch of it's life and was quite dry inside - I was disappointed - it was £17! Normally I wouldn't mind spending this kind of price on a piece of fish that's cooked to perfection, but unfortunately this was not! :(


Chargrilled asparagus that when you took it off the skewer it was as limp as a wet rag! 


This was the salmon tiradito. This was actually quite nice finally! Kind of like salmon sashimi but with an acid style dressing. It tasted quite vinegary but it was quite refreshing as it was so cold.


Prawn tempura with a rather thick and heavy batter, it was ok - nothing to really write home about.



Ooh, this was the fattoush salad. This was actually quite nice as well, it didn't help though that we had the best fattoush salad ever around a week ago in Dubai though! Too much spring onion for me, but I can imagine that most people would like it.


Beef skewers too. I obviously didn't try these but hubs said they were quite nice. A bit on the chewy side but good.

Listen, this place is pretty nice. One of those places that I'm sure is good for a drinky poo's with some friends but it wasn't amazing. I wouldn't normally write a bad review and to be fair this isn't. I just found as beautiful as this place is, the standard of the food wasn't worth the money. I can understand the prices, but only if the food is up to a good standard, otherwise it just becomes rather disappointing and another restaurant I would have to write off as a 'nice bar'.
If you're out and about in Chester, are dolled up to the nines (hubs and I were not ha ha!) maybe give it a shot. For me though, it wasn't up to par for that kind of price. We had a bottle of water to share and one juice and with the food it came in at around £65 for the two of us. I will let you decide, if it were me though, I'd step across the road to Piccolinos, sometimes it's better the devil you know!

Thanks so much for reading,

Big love,


Em x









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BEAUTY: Why you should throw away that makeup primer!

Makeup primers are everywhere at the moment. All the beauty bloggers rave about them and if you're not using one, it's like you're not doing your makeup properly!
So what's the deal with them? Why do we use them?



Makeup primers are designed to prep the skin before foundation. They usually contain a lot of silicones which create a smooth canvas by filling in any pores. They also can give a matt base to foundation as well. Sounds good right? Well, yes I guess... Kind of!



As I'm sure you're aware, I see quite a lot of clients and I can almost always tell if somebody is using a primer. So what do they do to the skin? Why should I not use them?
In my experience, primers that contain a lot of silicone really can irritate the skin. The whole face tends to be slightly bumpy and can have breakouts. What happens is the silicone tends to irritate the skin and causes a bit of redness. It can also make it rather dry and flaky. Finally, as it put a 'protective barrier' over the face, it can block pores as sebum and sweat can't escape easily. You could say it helps to 'lock in moisture', but unfortunately it locks in a lot of other things too.
I recommend avoiding primers to be honest, if you feel like you need something extra to keep your makeup lasting all day, do like I do and use a good SPF as a primer. For many years now I have been using the Nimue SPF 40 as a primer and my makeup lasts all day. It also means that I have a good sun protection on my skin everyday. It doesn't matter what time of the year it is, we ALWAYS need to have a sun protection on. Whether the sun is out or not, whether it's day or night, the UVA rays are always there and so we need to constantly protect our skin from them.


So, do you use a primer? Do you find you have breakouts a lot or dryness? Do you get red patches on your skin? If so, maybe it's time to give it up and treat yourself to a good SPF like the Nimue one.

You can buy the Nimue SPF 40 in the clinic for £36. Email me for details at bookafacial@outlook.com

Thanks so much for reading,


Emmaline x

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Wednesday, 26 October 2016

FIVE FAVOURITES: Tips for Happiness

So I don't want to make this post too deep, too 'real talk' or any other strange and un-meaningful word that all those bloggers use. I want this to be an uplifting post and make you think is there anything else you can do in your life to make you feel GREAT! I'll be straight with you, I've felt like I've been in a bit of a 'funk' the last few months. Not too sure why, maybe stress from work, pressure on myself from myself or just the overall change of seasons. So, this post is for me as much as it's for everybody. I am very pleased to say I am now out of said 'funk' and I am back to my usual chirpy and slightly bonkers self! Marvellous!



As it is that time of year though now, the clocks are going back and we are moving into 'reflection' mode, I thought it would be a good time to give you some tips that I like to live by to keep my little head above water when I feel like I'm sinking :)


1 - DO WHAT YOU LOVE AND THEN KEEP DOING IT - A LOT!

I speak to a lot of clients, I guess mostly women in particular, but even so, I speak to a lot! What I find is that a lot of us are in jobs we don't like, marriages that make us unhappy and lives that kind of 'suck ass' to be polite. Why do we do this? It's like we are conditioned to do something that makes us unhappy because we have to. Bills need to be paid, mouths need to be fed - I know, I know. Have you ever sat down though and thought what would make you really and truly happy in life? If not, I suggest that you do. Go somewhere quiet, whether it be in bed at night when everybody is asleep or take yourself away in your car to a nice place by yourself with a lovely view. (I used to send a lot of clients to the local water park when they were stressed. Tell them to sit in their car quietly and have a good think whilst looking over the water). This does not have to be something super deep and meaningful but just some time for you to plan in your head what you love to do. If you can, make a career of it! I adore my job, I love treating clients and I struggle to think of myself doing anything else - so I keep doing it! I LOVE yoga, it's changed my life and takes me to a 'happy place' inside of me (cheesy line I know, but it's actually true!) so I keep doing it. I love to bake, I love to watch Nigella on TV, I love spending time with my family, my best friends, eating out in different restaurants, going for walks... I could go on. In the last few months I've been so busy with life, I forgot a lot of these things. List what makes you happy - then get to doing it! Try and build these little highs into your life on a daily basis. Take a step back and look at life from the outside, are you stressing over things that you can't change? Instead, let them go and sit and watch some Nigella on TV!


2 - SORT OUT THOSE FINANCES FOR YOUR IDEAL LIFE

This can lead on from the first point, you could argue that you continue doing what you do because you have to. Yes, I understand. Finances can be a mega stress on anybody. Maybe sit down in front of a spreadsheet and try and get your money in order so you know how much you have to spend and also how much you need. It might seem a little regimented at first, but if you find your main stress is money then you should try and organise it. There are so many templates online where you can find a spreadsheet to organise a family budget. This way you know when you can afford to treat yourself and also when you can't. Also, you can build in holidays, parties, presents and anything else. Hopefully it should take the stress out of money and leave you clear on what you can treat yourself and your family to.



3 - CUT OUT THE NEGATIVITY

We can all have poisonous friends. The ones that 'zap' you instead of uplift you. Sometimes though, we need to come to terms with the fact that some people don't bring the best out of us and we need to leave that behind. They say you're the average of your 5 closet friends, so if you look around and think you're surrounded by a group of miseries then maybe it's time to change direction and work on making new ones. If you have friends that make you feel good and happy, spend more time with them. Don't forget though, it's all about give and take. Just because they make YOU feel good, don't just take and take from them. It's all about balance, looking after others and giving to your amazing friends as much as you receive (because we all know it feels so much better to give than receive anyway!)


4 - LOOK AFTER YOU AND YOUR BODY

It's sometimes quite easy to forget how important our bodies are. If you are eating sugary, processed foods, not moving enough and not taking care of your mental well-being then you are not going to feel your best. Take a good look at your diet and try and reduce the things that you know are not good for you. If you love sugary foods then cut back on the processed ones to start with and replace them with a healthier version (instead of biscuits, look for energy balls made from nuts and dates). If you hate going to the gym (like I do!), then find something that you can do that gets your body moving without having to run on a treadmill for 30 mins at a time! I did that with yoga, I hate the gym but instead I practice my yoga daily instead. Maybe go for a walk after dinner, take up swimming or horse riding. Just try doing something that makes exercise fun and that way you won't hate it so much! Then, finally don't forget your mind. Practice mindfulness, meditation before bed and filling in a gratitude journal. Don't forget your brain is a muscle that we can train, if you keep telling yourself you can't do something, you never will be able to. Teach yourself to set an intention for your day each morning and follow it through. If you say that each day you will be the best YOU that you can be, when you go to bed at night you know you have done your best, given it your all and don't have to feel guilty that you didn't try hard enough. Then, if something doesn't work out, at least you can say you gave it your best shot.

5 - CHANGE WHAT YOU CAN CHANGE AND ACCEPT WHAT YOU CAN'T

Some things in life we have no control over and somethings we do. If there are some things in your life that are not making you happy, that are not making you feel good, then it's up to you to do your best to change them. Firstly, if it's something that is out of your control, then you must learn to accept it and change the way that you react to that situation. When there is something that's getting you down or affecting you in a negative way, you must do what you can to change things to make your life easier and therefore, make you happier.
If you hate your job, then look for a new one. If you're in a crappy relationship then talk to your partner and try and resolve some issues. Either way, try and eliminate anything in your life that doesn't make you happy to get your life back on track.

So there you have it! Some little tips that I try and love by to keep me in that Happy Place more often than not! I hope it's made you think and work harder on yourself, to be the best version of you.

Thanks so much for reading!


Em x
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Sunday, 23 October 2016

LITTLE GEMS: Hispi - Could this be my favourite meal EVER!?!?!

Another busy week it's been! I've been doing a bit of cooking too, maybe even a little more than usual! I'm really trying to get back into my cooking again. I used to spend hours in the kitchen on my days off and even sometimes before work in the morning I would whip up a batch of granola. I feel though that in the last 12 months I've not done as much, so I'm going to work on that! I miss it!



So, I had a mini breakthrough this week! I fancied some comfort food and couldn't decide what I wanted, then it came to me! Bangers and mash! Now I have discovered the most delicious veggie sausages (incase you're interested, they are the cauldron ones from the supermarket). So, I decided to make it, it's been years since I had bangers and mash and this really did not disappoint! I made a mushroom and onion gravy to go with it and it was DELICIOUS! Nom nom nom he he!


Breakfast in the week was leftover mushrooms and some sourdough with a poached egg. Our local Booths has the tastiest sourdough and although I don't have it often, it's a definite treat when I do.


Heartbroken this week as The Garden has been closed to have some building work done, so I've been venturing out into Hale to try new places for lunch. I had the biggest 'Belly Dancer' sandwich from Gastronomy on Monday (for those curious, it's a falafel salad sandwich with sweet chilli - and it's divine!) Above, I went to Succo and had their soup and salad offer too.


Quick meeting on Friday morning after yoga. I was so hungry I treated myself to a croissant at Carluccios. Not something I would normally have, but it was the only option that suited me (bar all the butter in them ha ha)


Classic cat photo of the week. My gorgeous little ball of fluff!


Ok, ok, this is the big bit now! Friday night we went out for dinner to the new Hispi restaurant in Didsbury (designed and built by my hubby may I add!) and oh my gosh! I know I can be a bit of a picky bugger sometimes with food but I could not fault this place. The food was INCREDIBLE! And for the record, I virtually never say that! We went for the full three courses (I would recommend this as they are not huge portions). I had the cured fish to start and hubs had the crispy lamb. 


The fish was cured in gin and then it was served with pink grapefruit too and radish. So light and refreshing - so yummy!


For mains, hubs went for the slow cooked beef and I had the roasted cauliflower and butterbean mash with asparagus. 


Firstly, I love bowl food. It just makes your food always feel more comforting. I can't explain how tasty this was. There was so much flavour, crunchy texture and smoothness. The bean mash was perfect and the toasted almonds added extra texture.


I know it's not the most beautiful plate of food but it was amazing


A vegan dessert too! I couldn't believe how excited I was for this. I asked if they did a dessert without dairy and they said they did. This is smoked pineapple, toasted coconut and (I think) passionfruit sorbet. This worked together so well. The pineapple was warm and sweet, it almost melted in my mouth and it was spicy too. Wow! I have never had pineapple so good in my life!


Hubs had the chocolate pudding which he said was seriously delicious too! You all must try this place, I can't tell you how good the food was. My all time fav restaurant in Manchester (fine dining wise) is always Manchester House, but this may have beat it. You just have got to try it out, I'm not joking! It was awesome!


Saturday morning was a yummy brunch with the family in Victors. Perfect place for brunch too!


They have so many choices! Avo toast, pancakes, eggs or fruit (plus lots more options)


I opted for the Eggs Royale. I do love this and it was cooked perfectly! EGGceptional actually ;o) ha ha!


So Saturday night I cooked a big roast dinner for my family. I think everybody was so hungry (especially me!) we just ate! So, I apologise for not taking pics, but I'm sure you can imagine what a roast dinner looks like! So this morning I had some of the leftovers for breakfast. I had some of the sourdough bread toasted and fried some mushrooms with the leftover roasted potatoes and squash. I added some harrissa spices and a poached egg too. It was really good and kept me full for ages! Had a few eggs this week so I think I will be chilling it out next week! I try not to eat eggs often but this week has been an EGGception! ha ha!


Went for a lovely evening walk too tonight, look at the colour of these leave though! Gorgeous!


Then, whilst I say and did some work, hubs cooked me dinner! He made fish with Channa Chaat - yum!


Grateful for a hubby that can cook!

How was your week? I hope it was a good one! Got so much in the pipeline for next week, excited to get some work done. I will tell all when it's all ready!

Have a great week and thanks so much for reading,


Em x
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