Friday, 29 July 2016

Taking Pleasure in Great Basics ( & #Passion4Fashion Link-up)

 This is something I've covered before (I think.. either that or it was a real life conversation.. I get the two confused, my memory is so confudled of late.. summer holiday madness maybe), I am a jeans and Tee girl at heart, and as the years are going on I am learning that it isn't a bad thing to love the basics, 'cos the 'Basics' can be pretty great!
This outfit is made up of such simple pieces but they are all greats in my mind.
It's the kind of outfit where I feel I can pretty much do anything; Work, shopping, run around after the kids, go out for a little drink.. All completely do-able in this outfit. It just works for me, and when something works then it surely can't be a bad thing?
I find it helps if the basics are particularly nice  items, that have longevity and will work with a number of outfits.
This outfit, though it may be simple, is made up of some pretty great pieces:

The Shoes are from a lovely British Brand called Love Taylor Blake, which is run by two gorgeous #girlboss ladies named  Emily & Tracey. As soon as I saw these beauties on their Instagram  I knew they would be the perfect all rounder shoe. I went for the Gold Lora as it just screamed Chanel-chic-classic to me.. And boy oh boy are they comfy.
This is the type of shoe that is a sheer joy to wear, and will be worn so much through Autumn (I'm thinking Breton Stripes, classic trench, black cigerette trousers and these shoes.. Perfect right?).
Plus I absolutely love supporting independent, women run businesses. These girls are so lovely, their brand is fantastic and I highly recommend the product.

Jeans, oh I have had trouble with jeans of late. Having lost some weight (read about how here) I was left with about 4 pairs of really ill-fitting jeans that when I wore them made me feel like a sloppy mess, I mean, if I wanna feel like that I'll just where my scruffy joggers, y'know? When I don a pair of jeans I want them to look nice. So i took the plunge and bought the Topshop high waisted Jamie Jeans and oh how I freakin' LOVE them. They are super skinny, which funnily enough that's what I want in a skinny jean, but they have a good stretch, but they aren't saggy by the end of the day. I really like them and will definitely buy another pair for my Autumn Capsule (which i may or may not be already thinking about.. I blame this non-British Summer)

Again another new to me British Brand Iolla, but they make gorgeous modern Sunnies with your prescription. As a person with TERRIBLE vision, this is fab news. Most of the prescription sunglasses I've ever bought were all pretty rubbish if I'm honest; the frames just weren't right for sunglasses and they made me look a bit naff. But Iolla's offerings are fantastic (and practical.. yay for being able to see!). I went for The Bell frame in black with a green tint.. I wore them all weekend (when the sun was out.. yeh life was good) and they are the comfiest frames.

Sounds like an old lady thing to say, but I love a nice cardi. Y'know sometimes when you don't want a jacket but something just as a light cover up, well cardi's are my favourite. Cardigans are my friends.
And this one has been worn a ridiculous amount of times this summer, and i still love it.It's sold out now, but cream maxi cardi.. You are awesome!!

Outfit Deets
Cardigan: Warehouse
Jeans: Topshop
Shoes: Love Taylor Blake
Sunglasses: Iolla
Bag: House of Fraser
Vest Top: Matalan
Necklace: Yosa

Do you have any Great Basics that you love?

Ps: Sorry this is late.. summer holiday madness!

Also If you fancy a gander at my latest Youtube video where I'm rambling about going to the toilet (its true) and other bodily functions (gas and such ) then I'd love you to come and have a watch here.. to put it in to context read here


Thursday, 28 July 2016

Food Talk: Plant Based Life, Veganism & Intolerances

I wanted to talk today about food and the switch I have made over the past 9 months and how i feel the best I have in years. When something feels so right, to the point of seeing amazing results I think its only nice to pass on that knowledge and hope that maybe it can help someone else.

Ok.. Where to start with my story..
I have suffered IBS and flare ups most of my adult life. I could go for some time being absolutely fine, then like a switch had flicked I would be really poorly for a cycle of 3 days where my body would just go in to melt-down. This would include, the mother of all stomach-cramps, severe bloating, feeling lethargic, then light-headed and on occasions passing out, then my body would evacuate everything in it, meaning multiple, multiple trips to the bathroom. After that I would be left feeling pretty weak, have mouth ulcers and a really tender tummy.
It was awful.
I had tried IBS over the counter meds but they ended up blocking things up so to speak, but making me feel equally crappy.

I had a pretty unhealthy lifestyle through my twenties. A life of running a stressful business meant long hours, lots of takeaways and convenience foods. I had constant sugar dips which would have me reaching for another can of Coke every time.
Looking back, I can't believe I was so unhealthy. But you live you learn.

I made a switch to a pecastarian(no meat just fish) diet about 9 months ago, I didn't like consuming animals, but yet wasn't quite ready to make the switch completely.
I was plodding on, still eating wheat and dairy, still having some pretty bad flare up's and wondering what the hell I needed to do to just feel normal again.

My husband had been a Vegetarian for years, feeling something still wasn't quite sitting right with us we started to do some research. We sat down and watched some documentaries on the farming of animals and the effect on both the animals and the environment.
We started with Cowspiracy on Netflix then this by Erin Janus  literally made me cry (and I'm not being dramatic here , or emoji inserting for the hell of it, I'm completely serious, I cried and had to pause it to compose myself.. that is my polite warning.. its graphic but true) And Bite Size Vegan were excellent and in many cases disturbingly painful sources of reality.

From then we quit meat and dairy and haven't looked back.
When people talk about vegans it has a real negative stigma attached to it, with Vegans being deamed as extremists and OTT. I think passion is often confused for extremity.

I'm not true vegan, I still use honey and do consume a small amount of free range eggs (which I am currently researching and looking to also quit).  I also still wear wool and currently leather. But I want to be better. The point of change is always a hard one, but surely its worth it?

I am Plant Based
Eating a Plant based lifestyle has left me feeling pretty darn good. My skin is cleare than its been in years, and i feel healthier from the inside.
Here's a great piece I found on why plant based eating is simply fantastic

So, already starting to feel a lot better physically and mentally I then decided to go have an Intolerance test to find out what the route cause of all my troubles over the years has been.

I've made a rambly little vlog about it here, no editing, just rambling and even a big pile of stuff in the background.. #RealLife ;)

I booked in for an Intolerance Test with Nutritionalist Vicky Perkins at Beanfreaks in Cardiff. Really helpful, lovely and assisting.
The test was pain-free and took about an hour with chatting along the way.

It was conclusive that I have a High intolerance to Wheat, aspartame, Coke, Coffee (wahh!) and Wine.
After the results we chatted and it revealed that my body has a hard time with fatty foods. It doesn't break them down well and can send me in to a bad cycle.

All this made complete sense.
It confirmed everything and more, that had been on my mind. Thankfully I had already made tracks in to conquering my food demons and had been eating Plant based for the past couple of months, which had already shown fantastic results for me.
The confirmation has just spurred me on even more to live a healthy clean-eating lifestyle.
I refuse to call it a diet as diet implies weight loss and that's not why I've ventured down this road ,although I have lost a stone and now my weight is sitting in exactly the same place week in week out, its like its found its happy ground, I started this to feel better, to feel like my insides weren't hating me any more.
But along the way I also found an ethical grounding too. No longer consuming animals has become a huge part of my life.

I'm going to follow this post up with a 'What I Eat In A Day' post next week, as its the main thing people often ask.. When I explain that I'm Plant-Based Wheat intolerant I get utter looks of confusion and expressions of "Well.. what do you eat then?" To which I always reply.. "Fantastic food!"

I know this sounds cheesy but I have honestly never felt better. I feel the happiest and healthiest I ever have, and that's a huge statement to make.

Have you ever thought about what you put in to your body and how it effects you?


Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Summer Bags: Think Fringing

Every summer that rolls around see's a more relaxed, casual vibe from myself. I guess it's the ease of dressing, the undone, effortless look, and sometimes the heat, that sends me to an informal style of attire. But i love it; I love the loose layers, those bohemian vibes satisfy my inner Hippie chick.
I have the peasant tops and floaty dresses down pat, but once dressed and heading out the door, I stood for a moment contemplating the perfect summer handbag to accompany the easy-summer look.
Turned out I didn't have one!
And as i grabbed a sub-par bag choice out of necessity, I got to thinking what would be perfect. Something that can be used all year round, but is especially perfect come summer.
The Fringe Bag
Oodles of boho vibes, fun and definitely worth investing in. Fringing has been around for seasons and is quite simply a bag staple these days.. So why don't I have one??
Cue shopping..
I feel like this is a bag I could potentially be using for a long time to come. These days when something is added to my downsized wardrobe, it has to have longevity and be able to withstand multiple seasons and serve many functions ( I mean, its just a bag, but it has to be able to be used a lot)

So I'm starting with a great neutral option for summer that could be used again and again...
Tan. I love a great tan bag. Great with everything including and especially black.

Label Lab Tan Fringe Bag (only 1 left at time of posting.. had to include it though as its so pretty)
It's more satchel version  than I would usually go for but equally appealing on the fringe front. And a pretty small price tag to boot.

Next up and possibly my favourite

Side fringing, crossbody and tan. love, love love. Small price tag too making this a great option for dabbling with fringing.

Backpack versions
Infinitely useful through summer. As a mother, having a bag that can carry a lot of stuff(for the kids, for the dog, for me) is always advantageous. Adore the khaki colour-way, it would transcend in to autumn so well.. but then the black is also pretty timeless too.

New season and a pop of colour from Whistles now
Beautiful, right? Being New Season goes to show that once again Fringing will be following us in to autumn and this will make a rather fabulous transitional bag. The red is just divine. Love a red bag. Endless possibilities. Slightly smaller, so perhaps more for those moments when you find yourself sans kids (or all the time if you don't have any ;)

From Small to Big Bags now.. There's a fringe option for all.

Right: Kenneth Cole Burgundy bag

Both pretty perfect, but the Kenneth Cole is particularly fabulous, with its deep maroon hue and its also cross-body(my favourite) and has the top handle, so tick tick there.

From big to small but this would make the perfect evening out bag.
Love the idea of this bringing some interest to an outfit. Gorgeous little bag.

And finally finishing on the wild card..
Canary yellow anyone?
Less than half price, but still an investment. Yellow bags just bring such a great pop of colour. I have one (no where near as fabulous as this) and it always makes me happy when I wear it. Instant outfit update and conversation starter.

So there we have the cream of the crop of the Fringed Bags.

What are your thoughts on fringed bags? Love or loathe?
I am now utterly desperate for one as i think it could be a little work horse for me.

Which is your favourite?


Friday, 22 July 2016

Latest Capsule Wardrobe offerings (& #Passion4Fashion Linkup)

Just the latest offerings from my Summer Capsule today, a month on (already) from the last one.
 Its been a bumpy ride to say the least but I haven't given up completely, and I am definitely still continuing as it's now a way of life for me that I love.
I am half way through my summer Capsule and have had to relent add in a few more pieces. Only a few are newly bought, any others I have flexed in from storage. 
Currently I'm sitting in sub-tropical temps, which is so unlike the UK (and I daren't even moan about it, but I have prickly heat, bleuhh!) and finally I am getting some use out of the shorts and little cami vests I had picked out all those weeks ago, hurrah!!
So this looks like phase one of my summer capsule. Filled with more Spring wear then summer, but I did it, and I've loved every single one of these outfits. I've definitely found my groove, and looking through these pics or on my IG account you can see a definite colour scheme.. a working colour scheme pleases me greatly.

A few of my favourite pieces are
The Cream lace insert shirt (above, and again further down) on sale from Warehouse. This is an addition as all the cami's were just not working in the cold weather spell. This shirt is so soft, so comfy and minimal, but charming. I love it.

My Topshop jeans were to replace some of my really ill fitting jeans since loosing some weight, or destroying a pair with bleach. I could quite happily live in these. Just the right amount of stretch, the perfect fit, high wasited and they don't sag through the day, which wins them major brownie points in my books.

Black slider sandals.. easy, minimal, perfect lazy girl sandal.

Lots of the other pieces below are all old, the red floral dress is about 4 years old but I still love it now. Slow Fashion can be so satisfying when you see a piece that you've had for years and still want to wear it. 
Now thats true love!


Wednesday, 20 July 2016

The Best Damn Dips, Ever!

As promised my delightful blogging buddies, some more foodie inspiration (hopefully inspiring, or maybe just  y' enabling)
Today I am bringing a staple of mine that gets made at least once a week, to be consumed for the next few days by us all(this even had the teenagers stamp of yummy approval). I usually make a batch and then it will see me through as a lunch staple or an evening side, dependant on what we're having.
So yes.
The best Damn Guacamole and Hummus ever!

Now the Guacamole has taken me weeks to perfect, with many different attempts, each eaten and the tweaked till I got to this point of guac-perfection.
What you will need:

2x super ripe guacamole, if kept in the fridge, bring them out at room temperature for a wee bit before you start making.. it just helps with the mushing.
2x Cloves of garlic
1x Lime
A handful of baby plum tomatoes
1x chilli deseeded
A good bunch of chives
Salt & pepper

This is so, so simple  but so effective.
Cut your avocados open, de-seed and scoop out the flesh in to a bowl, mash with a fork to your desired consistency. I like mine to be a bit smooth with a few lumps.
De-seed you chilli and finely chop, add to the avocado
Crush your garlic in a garlic cursher, add to the mix.
Roughly chop the tomatoes and add.
Chop all your chives and add.
Mix it all together.
Add in the juice of 1 lime.
Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Mix again.

Now it's up to you here if you want a smooth guacamole like you would buy in the shop then you can pop the mixture in to a blender and give it a blitz until its to your desired smoothness.
I love mine rustic, so when you dip in a corn-chip you get an explosion of flavours.
Its that easy.
The thing I was finding with Guacamole was the traditional onion inclusion was cutting through the taste more than any other flavour, leaving you with more of an onion flavour that an avocado.
The chives bring the wonderful light hint of onion but aren't over powering.
I highly recommend!

Next up

You will need:
2x tins of Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1x lemon, juiced
about 250ml of olive oil (or 10x tablespoons)
2tsp Tahini
4x Garlic cloves crushed
2tsp Ground Cumin
Salt and black pepper

Pop all your ingredients in to a food processor, add about 80mls of water to help get things going and whizz away.
Again, blend until you're happy with the consistency. It's that easy

 The thing I wanted to mention is that these both taste SO much better than the pre-packed versions. The freshness, the explosion of flavours, it's all there and they are just the simplest to make.
I keep these in tupperware in the fridge for about 3-5 days (but they're normally eaten within 2!)

I love to serve both these dips with crudités, my favourites being
Baby beetroots
Sweet Potato Wedges
Pepper sticks
Carrot sticks
Cucumber sticks.

When you first put it on a plate, it doesn't look like much, but it is so filling, fuelling, healthy and above all, totally delicious.

Try it and see what you think.

Until Next time.. 
Happy cooking
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