I think one of the biggest misconceptions about vegan food is that it’s just boring salads, seeds and misshapen bits of tofu. But those of us who have been to many vegan cafes and restaurants that have been popping up all over the country in the last couple of years can attest that vegan food is not only exciting, often it’s not even always healthy! Vegans love the taste of burgers or cakes as much as anyone else, just without the animal products inside.
This weekend I decided to bake a naughty vegan cake using a recipe I found in a cookbook on my windowsill aptly named The Naughtiest Vegan Cakes in Town by Ms Cupcake. I picked out a favourite that I’ve made before – the blueberry lemon loaf cake. This beauty is made with three lemons and a small box of blueberries and is delicious. I put in more lemons than the recipe suggests so it’s more like a drizzle cake, with extra lemon peel going into the icing which I purposefully dribble down the sides.
The recipe is definitely a bit naughty for containing plenty of sugar, but I do use rapeseed oil which is a healthier oil than most alternatives, almond milk and plenty of fruit of course! My favourite part about baking this cake is when you open the oven door after half an hour and you get hit with a wave of hot zesty lemon. It makes your kitchen smell amazing and of course it all goes down wonderfully with a cup of tea.
Take a look at the pictures below, and if you’re interested in baking this yourself check out the recipe book on Amazon!
*This post is sponsored by the lovely people at rapeseedoilbenefits.com, check them out for more healthy oil recipes!
The Dreamers Ever Leave you
This week saw dancers from both The National Ballet of Canada and The Royal Ballet collaborate on a new piece by Canadian choreographic associate and former Royal Ballet Apprentice Robert Binet. The piece, The Dreamers Ever Leave You is to celebrate Canada’s 150th Anniversary, a huge feat. Binet took a short piece that had been created while working with Wayne McGregor that was inspired by Canadian painter Lawren Harris, of beautiful yet simple landscapes and built on this. The site specific piece was originally set in a Canadian gallery that had a major Harris exhibition on show. When this collaboration came up at the Printworks, this seemed like the perfect piece to rework and set there and they weren’t wrong.
The heat as you walked into the space hit you first, but this was to keep the dancers warm so that there were no injuries during the performance. Three flat stages were set in the darkness on the ground floor of the Printworks. The blue and yellow lighting set the tone of the piece and had the essecence of the Harris paintings with shadows of the 13 dancers moving across the walls.
The beautiful live hypnotic score was created and performed especially by Lubomyr Melnyk, and it lulled you into a meditative state before building with a stunning and emotional reprisal.
The performance cycled three times, each section lasting 45 minutes with the dancers working hard. The audience was as close to the performance space as you could get, with the likes of principles Francesca Hayward, Alexander Campbell, Yasmine Naghdi, Heather Ogden and more dancing just feet away which was a rare treat. So close in fact that you can feel the heat and see the sweat coming off the dancers as they brushed past you and moved between the spaces to their next section or to rest and catch their breath.
It was an interesting mixture of performance and behind the scenes movement and ritual.
Separately the individual elements of this piece were beautiful and highly technical but together it became an immersive bubble that you were allowed into for a short amount of time. I enjoyed this insight into both companies and I went away feeling inspired by this moving and once in a life time experience.
When I’m not working I love to watch a little bit of TV to unwind. who doesn’t! I like a good story, some believable acting and some drama so I thought that I would share with you 3 of my favourite programs at the moment.
NCIS Los Angeles
First up is an America show called NCIS Los Angeles – It’s a spin off of the much loved NCSI Series and it brings together military and police expertise. It follows the Navel Criminal Scene Investigation team that go undercover to crack cases. It’s full of light hearted humour amongst the heavy subject matter. There’s lots of action and it has a reel of star actors including a main character appearance by rapper LL COOL J. You’ll find this on Channel 5, it’s a good one!
Next up is a British Program called Our Girl. Series 3 of the show currently follows Michelle Keegan as Army Medic Corporal Georgie Lane in the first of three separate humanitarian missions in war torn countries and follows her story along the way. The first two series were great, with a somewhat gritty and action packed storyline and I’m looking forward to what the third series has in store. Our Girl currently airs on Tuesday nights on BBC 1. Enjoy!
Last up in another American TV show called Chicago PD. It’s a cross over or/and continuation of Chicago Fire as Sargent Henry ‘Hank’ Voight was in both. Chicago PD follows uniformed police and the Chicago Intelligence Unit fighting the cities worst issues. It also features Sophia Bush from naughties series One Tree Hill as Detective Erin Lindsay. The acting is beliveable, the story lines are fast paced, gritty and there’s hard hitting action. You might even recognise a few of the perps. You can also find this on Channel 5 too.
Let me know if you love keeping up with any of these series or are thinking about giving one a go.
The weather is starting to get colder and I’ve been loving plenty of transitional pieces in September so I thought I would share a few of my favourites with you this month.
First up is a fashion favourite, a gorgeous pair of pearlescent Superga trainers. I was given these by my lovely husband for our wedding anniversary in September and I’ve been wearing them every since. They go with everything and look so stylish and I mustn’t for get to tell you how comfy these trainers are. They needed no wearing in and I’ve walked so far in them already. I’m thinking of going back to get the black leather ones with the white sole soon too. I think they’ve started an obsession.
Next up is a book, I Heart Forever by Lindsay Kelk. I’m a big fan of all of her books especially the I Heart Series that follows Angela and her friends so when the most recent instalment was released in September I hot footed it down to my nearest shop to get it. I do love delving into the world of books especially when it’s cold, wet and windy and I read this within just a few days. It’s a great read and it has a real cliff hanger at the end of the book too so go and have a read.
Next up is a mascara that I was ultra keen to try out. It’s the Paradise Extatic mascara by L’oreal. It has beautiful matte and shiny rose old packaging which looks expensive. I love the brush size and shape as it gets to all of those hard to reach eye lashes but still maintaining the ease of use. The formulation of the mascara is great too and it gives amazing length while combing through and separating the lashes.
The Pixi 24K Eye Elixir is a recent purchase and it’s one that I loved straight away. It’s a great multi tasking product as it has plenty of anti- aging properties that will help with freshening the eyes and the roller ball itself that you can also pop in the fridge for a ice cold treat for the eyes. I feel so awake after using it and it’s ultra delicate too.
Bobbi Brown have recently brought out the Crushed Lip Colours and I’m loving using these fab colours in the past month. The one that I went for the most is the colour Bare – it’s a lovely darker nude that really looks great at this time of year. The product itself feels like a lip balm but has a deep colour pay off and they aren’t drying either. Perfect!
Last up is this Candle from Tiptree at Wilkin and Sons. This company is really close to where I live and they’re normally known for their yummy marmalades and jams but they’ve also branched out into making other products too. We’ve tried the diffuser in the Lemon Curd Scent and it was amazing – it smells just like freshly baked lemon meringue pie. The smell makes my mouth water every time I get a whiff so I thought I should pick up the candle too. They’re organically made and naturally sourced which is a bonus. They also have tiny versions of these so that you can sample a few so if you spot them anywhere do go and have a sniff.
Let me know if you have been loving any of these products a much as me or if you’re off to order some of them after reading my favourites.
5 of my Favourite Places to Visit in Berlin
I recently got back from a few days in Berlin and really did love taking in the city sights. It’s jam packed with heart breaking history, great shopping, beautiful architecture and friendly people. It’s a great place and it’s one that I already can’t wait to go back to.
There are so many things to see and do but I thought I would choose some of my favourite things that I came across during my trip.
Berlin Wall: The Wall Museum & East Side Gallery
The Berlin Wall was a significant part of the cities history after being up for the best part of thirty years so the first stop after landing, grabbing some food and a jumper was the The Wall Museum, East Side Gallery. It’s a concise yet really informative museum in a trendy part of town. Take a walk down both sides of the wall here, it’s the biggest surviving section and there’s some really amazing art work, some of which is really famous. It’s well worth going to see.
Brandenburg Gate is an 18th century neoclassical monument and is one of the most iconic and well known land marks of Berlin. It was the entrance to Unter den Linden, the gorgeous trail of trees that leads straight to the Royal City Palace of Prussian Monarchs further up the road. It’s now seen as symbol of unity and peace for Berlin. It had a great atmosphere while we were there and it really is a must see for everyone that goes to the city. It’s particularly beautiful at night lit up.
Berlin Zoological Gardens
Berlin Zoological Gardens is considered one of most popular zoos worldwide. They are particularly well known for their polar bears and giant pandas. The zoo is open all year round and the animals looked well looked after. They’re all about conservation and they often collaborate with other zoos, universities and research institutes. They also have one of the largest Aquariums in Europe and it’s a must see. Make sure that you go to the Monkey Bar, which is part of Hotel Bikini,Berlin which overlooks the zoo grounds. It’s beautiful but can get very busy so get there in the early evening for cocktails and music.
Check Point Charlie
There’s plenty of history surrounding Check Point Charlie, and for that reason it became an iconic symbol of the cold war. It was given it’s name from allied troops and basically one of a few check points where they could move from the East to the West sides of the city. After the Cold War, it was made into a tourist attraction with American food chains and shops close by. You can now also get your picture taken and your passport stamped for a few quid. It’s well worth going to see and there ‘s also a small museum just across the road about all that happened there too.
This beautiful building sits on a section of the city called Museum Island in the Mitte borough of Berlin. There has been a church of some kind on this site since 1441 and according to Wikipedia, The Evangelical Supreme Parish Colleiate or in short the ‘Berlin Cathedral has never been the seat of a bishop so isn’t a Cathedral in the actual sense of the word. It’s still pretty spectacular though and really worth a wonder around.
Are you planning a trip to Berlin or perhaps you’ve already been. Let me know in the comments below or over on Twitter.
Most people spend around 45 years of their life at work and if you have an office job then the impact that sitting down constantly should be something that is thought about seriously. We think about our health outside of work, maybe go to the gym or run in our spare time but thinking about our bodies while we’re at work is equally as important.
This is something that Fellowes think about a lot and this was obvious when they recently put on a fab event to introduce the new Viking sit stand desks and I jumped at the chance to be involved. The desks available easily adjust to raise and lower so that you can work both seated and standing – that’s the key alternating between the two. There have been endless articles about the research on the advantages of using these kind of desks but the main benefits that stood out to me are that it really helps increase productivity while at work and that can’t be a bad thing as everyone always wishes the were more hours in the day. It also helps with maintaining good posture too.
What I didn’t know is that using one of these desks can also help reduce the risk of obesity as allowing the movement between sitting and standing makes a person more alert, hence the productivity. This in turn can help you burn 50 more calories per hour and reducing the risk of loads of other nasties like heart disease and diabetes. Bonus!
My background in dance has always given me a love for looking after my body so as you can tell this was workshop was right up my street. Fellowes teamed up with Graze box and had also arranged for a smoothie and juice talk where we sampled some of both. It’s important to think about what you eat and drink while you are at work too, while it’s easy to snack on chocolate bars and crisps, reaching for a handful of nuts, seeds or dried fruit can be a far healthier alternative and we tried these while we were going around the event too.
One thing that is often overlooked is your mental health and managing your stress levels in the work place is really important. Fellowes teamed up with a fitness instructor that taught us some simple stretches and breathing techniques that can help with short term effects of stress. Stretches help to loosen up muscles, prevent injury and will help with posture too. It’s all relevant!
The last people that Fellowes had on hand were some massage therapists who were giving shoulder, back, and arm massages. It can be the perfect way to unwind.
Overall I loved learning about the new sit stand desks and I’ve already started to put a few of the tips that I learnt in the workshop into practice in my own life.
Tweet me and let me know if you’ve tried a sit stand desk in the comments below.
*All photos taken by Elouisa Gergiou
This month has been a great one for favourites so lets get straight into it and have a look at July’s Favourites.
I’ve been testing out this Garnier Nourishing Botanical Toner Honey Flower for a review that I did for the Really Ree site. I always find that it’s best to use these types of product in combination with another to cleanse fully but for me I found this was quick and easy to use. It doesn’t smell and it’s also really light on the skin, so light in fact that it just feel like water. I’ve been using it non stop since I got it.
My husband bought the Jo Malone Nectarine Blossom and Honey fragrance for my birthday and I’ve been wearing it ever since. It’s light, delicate and fruity. Perfect for Summer and theres no way it could miss out on a place in my favourites.
I’m a big fan of Youtubers so when Louise Pentland came out with a number 1 best selling book Wilde like Me, I couldn’t just pass me by so I bought it so see what all the fuss was about. I actually loved it and although I usually love to read books really quickly, I saved this one for the evenings just before bed to wind down to instead of reading my phone. I have to buy more because it’s something I’ve really enjoyed as well as the story.
The L’oreal Colour Riche polishes are pretty lovely. With their gorgeous textured bottle through to the colour that really lasts on the nail. This one in Rue Cremieux in a muted pink will go with any outfit and add that extra feminine touch.
Charlotte Tilbury is really smashing it at the moment and this new Beauty Glow palette is something that I’ve been enjoying using quite a lot. The seven products are numbered so it’s easy to use and the blend beautifully. I really love the highlighter and the centre blush too as they’re so pretty.
Have you got any of these products and love them as much as me or maybe you’re thinking of picking one or more of them up? Let me know in the comments below.
On Saturday I hoped onto a train to London about lunchtime and hot footed it down to Covent Garden for a photographic walk around the capital with Maplin. We started in Covent Garden and ended in China Town taking photos, learning photography tips from the lovely Kaye Fordtography and took a different look at London.
I’ve spent quite a lot of time in this area over the years but this time walking around I noticed things that I’ve never seen before. The crest above the walkway on the Royal Opera House, the roof top Garden terrace on the main court yard, the multicoloured macaroons in Laderee, the brightly coloured buildings around Neal’s Yard, and most of all, people having fun and going about their day happily exploring London just like me.
I loved the candid moments, although I’ve found I can be quite rubbish at capturing them and making them look good even after our masterclass. This is something I really need to work on more. After finishing our walk around London we made our way to B- Bakery. It’s a beautiful bakery that does a spectacular Afternoon Tea with savoury and sweet treats galore with a few flat lays thrown in for good measure.
The afternoon was thoroughly enjoyable, and it reaffirmed my love for photography – I have to get out and take more pictures without feeling like I’m intruding.
Do you love photography, been to London recently or have you been to B- Bakery and loved it? Let me know in the comments below.
The weather is wet! If you’re going to a festival, take a poncho – lunch on a rooftop garden, you might want to take an umbrella, thinking of going to the beach this weekend – forget about it! It’s been raining for three weeks and the outside fun has officially been put on hold.
It’s even turned a little chilly so why not reach into your wardrobe for that Spring jacket. You know the one you thought you wouldn’t need until next year, well at least for the next few days until the weather has gets its act together.
I’ve been teaming my New Look embroidered faux leather jacket with summer skirts like this stripy one from Oasis, a black Topshop cami with cute New Look white slip on trainers and the mini Michael Kors bag. It’s keeping me warm as well as helping me look a little stylish. I’ve even popped this Blossoming Gifts Summer Cocktail Bouquet with it to brighten up my look. I love the Lilies, mini Sunflowers, and Stocks. They’re so bright and make me happy.
If you’re looking to brighten up your dreary day too, get your flowers from Blossoming Gifts!
Stay warm and stylish!
*in collaboration with the lovely people at blossoming gifts
A few weeks ago Arlene Phillips announced that she would be bringing together some of the best and well known dance stars together at the Adelphi Theatre in London to raise emergency aid for all those affected by the Grenfell Tower tragedy. The tickets sold out really quickly but I was lucky enough to get hold of just one for this incredible night filled with dance of all kinds.
Dressed in their rehearsal gear, just over 100 dancers took part. The Strictly residents and a few former contestants were out in force with Anton Du Beke, Adam Garcier, Rob Rinder and Harriett Thorpe presenting, dancing and joking their way through the show with Arlene Phillips reminding us why we were there.
The whole gala was filled with talented dances and unmissable performances making it hard to choose just one that I loved so I’ve picked out some of my favourites points of the evening.
The first was Adam Garcia, as he effortlessly tapped his way through an impressive and light hearted comical solo. He had the audience in fits of giggles straight away.
Rather excitingly the recently promoted Mariinsky Ballet principle Xander Parish and Ekaterina Chebykina took time out of their busy schedules to dance Swan Lake’s White Swan Adagio. The performance was beautiful and ended with ballet enthusiasts shouting ‘Bravo’ and ‘more’, wishing they could have stayed on the stage a little longer.
Akram Khan also made a rare performance with a beautiful piece called Nameless that closed the first half and was a definite treat for dancers and audience members alike.
Royal Ballet Principles Ed Watson and Olivia Cowley danced the Wayne Mcgregor’s Quailia Pas de Deux and provided one of the most stunning performances of the night.
All in all, a wonderful evening full of so many amazing memories, and for an amazing cause. Bravo!