At this time of year the tree in my back garden is full of apples, the branches this year are hanging lower than ever before. Now that it is a little colder as we have entered the autumn months, it is the perfect time to use the many apples on that glorious tree to bake something warm and comforting for the evenings. An apple crumble felt right at the weekend and is simple for anyone to bake. If you have any suggestions for other sweet treats that I MUST bake, let me know. 

Ingredients

For the crumble.. 
75 grams oats
75 grams wholemeal flour
50 grams brown sugar
75 grams butter
A handful of flaked almonds
A handful of chopped pecans

For the filling.. 
800 grams cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped into smaller chunks
75 grams sugar
A tablespoon of water
A teaspoon of ground cinnamon or cinnamon stick

Firstly, preheat the oven to 190C then peel and core the apples and cut in to chunks. Put the apples into a pan with the sugar, water and cinnamon. Cook over a low heat for 5 to 10 minutes until softened and then place into an ovenproof dish. Next put the oats, flour, almonds and pecans in a bowl and mix well, cut the butter into small pieces and add to the mixture. Using your fingers rub all the ingredients together until you get an even crumb texture, then add the sugar and honey to the crumb mix. Cover the apples with the crumble and bake in the over for around 20 minutes until the crumble is golden on top and the apples are hot.

Apple crumble for autumn

30.9.15


At this time of year the tree in my back garden is full of apples, the branches this year are hanging lower than ever before. Now that it is a little colder as we have entered the autumn months, it is the perfect time to use the many apples on that glorious tree to bake something warm and comforting for the evenings. An apple crumble felt right at the weekend and is simple for anyone to bake. If you have any suggestions for other sweet treats that I MUST bake, let me know. 

Ingredients

For the crumble.. 
75 grams oats
75 grams wholemeal flour
50 grams brown sugar
75 grams butter
A handful of flaked almonds
A handful of chopped pecans

For the filling.. 
800 grams cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped into smaller chunks
75 grams sugar
A tablespoon of water
A teaspoon of ground cinnamon or cinnamon stick

Firstly, preheat the oven to 190C then peel and core the apples and cut in to chunks. Put the apples into a pan with the sugar, water and cinnamon. Cook over a low heat for 5 to 10 minutes until softened and then place into an ovenproof dish. Next put the oats, flour, almonds and pecans in a bowl and mix well, cut the butter into small pieces and add to the mixture. Using your fingers rub all the ingredients together until you get an even crumb texture, then add the sugar and honey to the crumb mix. Cover the apples with the crumble and bake in the over for around 20 minutes until the crumble is golden on top and the apples are hot.


Lately I haven't read much, I've been awful at finding the time to just sit or lay down and open up a book. When I went away to Sardinia it was a good chance to get back to reading for the pure love of the story. I chose a book from my 'to read' pile to bring with me, and as soon as I sat down to read it on the first day I was immediately consumed by the story. It was the only book I brought with me so I had to try and stagger it out across the week. I managed to finish it just as we were about to start descending back home in London, I had a few tears down my cheek while I was looking out of the window at night with the glow of street lights and buildings.

Louisa Clark is a young woman in her twenties who has led a very ordinary life, worked in the same cafe for years, had a long term boyfriend and lived in a small box room with her whole family. Will Traynor was an accomplished corporate worker , travelled all around the world and a ladies man living in the city. He has done a lot of adventurous things in life from bungee jumping to climbing Kilimanjaro, always wanting a challenge that will get his heart racing. Until one day while walking to work he was involved in a motorbike accident and left him paralysed from the chest down. Leaving him unable to walk and very limited use of one of his arms, meaning he required assistance for the rest of his life as there is not a cure for his condition.

When Louisa is left looking for a job she realises that she has no idea what she wants from life or who she is. Out of desperation for money to help support her family she takes a carer job, where she meets Will. Two very different individuals from different worlds being brought together. At first they both find it difficult to be around each other, over the first few weeks they become more at ease with one another and it turns into a friendship. Louisa becomes one of the only things that actually makes his painful days bearable and Will opened up Louisa's mind to better things that she could do with her days and actually live. They bring out the best in each other and then Louisa discovers a secret Will is keeping from her that changes the time they spend together and both of their lives.

Me Before You was honestly a thought provoking book that reminds you how precious every life is and every day we have on this earth. From the things we choose to spend our time doing, to the people we wish to have in our lives and doing what makes you feel alive. I have come away wanting to better myself in every way because I deserve and owe it to myself. Taking opportunities, allowing yourself to feel things and remembering that sometimes we can't control everything, but making the most of what we have is how we can thank ourselves. It does get emotional at times but I would wholeheartedly recommend reading this book. I also picked up the sequel After You the other day and I can't wait to continue the story.

Book Review: Me Before You by JoJo Moyes

27.9.15


Lately I haven't read much, I've been awful at finding the time to just sit or lay down and open up a book. When I went away to Sardinia it was a good chance to get back to reading for the pure love of the story. I chose a book from my 'to read' pile to bring with me, and as soon as I sat down to read it on the first day I was immediately consumed by the story. It was the only book I brought with me so I had to try and stagger it out across the week. I managed to finish it just as we were about to start descending back home in London, I had a few tears down my cheek while I was looking out of the window at night with the glow of street lights and buildings.

Louisa Clark is a young woman in her twenties who has led a very ordinary life, worked in the same cafe for years, had a long term boyfriend and lived in a small box room with her whole family. Will Traynor was an accomplished corporate worker , travelled all around the world and a ladies man living in the city. He has done a lot of adventurous things in life from bungee jumping to climbing Kilimanjaro, always wanting a challenge that will get his heart racing. Until one day while walking to work he was involved in a motorbike accident and left him paralysed from the chest down. Leaving him unable to walk and very limited use of one of his arms, meaning he required assistance for the rest of his life as there is not a cure for his condition.

When Louisa is left looking for a job she realises that she has no idea what she wants from life or who she is. Out of desperation for money to help support her family she takes a carer job, where she meets Will. Two very different individuals from different worlds being brought together. At first they both find it difficult to be around each other, over the first few weeks they become more at ease with one another and it turns into a friendship. Louisa becomes one of the only things that actually makes his painful days bearable and Will opened up Louisa's mind to better things that she could do with her days and actually live. They bring out the best in each other and then Louisa discovers a secret Will is keeping from her that changes the time they spend together and both of their lives.

Me Before You was honestly a thought provoking book that reminds you how precious every life is and every day we have on this earth. From the things we choose to spend our time doing, to the people we wish to have in our lives and doing what makes you feel alive. I have come away wanting to better myself in every way because I deserve and owe it to myself. Taking opportunities, allowing yourself to feel things and remembering that sometimes we can't control everything, but making the most of what we have is how we can thank ourselves. It does get emotional at times but I would wholeheartedly recommend reading this book. I also picked up the sequel After You the other day and I can't wait to continue the story.
After being back at work for almost two weeks and looking back at these photos I would love to be walking along these beaches again, dipping my feet into the sea with the warmth of the sun on me. That is the beauty of pictures, they freeze a place or moment and you are connected back to it instantly to when it was taken, remembering how you felt. These in particular all make me feel peaceful. They are mostly shots of the sea and beach, it's where we spent most of our time when we weren't eating so much Italian food. Spending seven days refreshing my mind and body was exactly what I needed. I didn't realise it until I was there, how much I was due a break.

We stayed in a town north of the island, right by the beach and the sea. Lots of pizzeria's, although I'm not that much of a pizza lover I did have one of the best pizza's I've had out there. It was a simple cheese and mushroom pizza but it was so good, the dough was perfect. It wasn't the best thing I tasted out there, I had mussels, clams and all of the seafood, so delicious. The absolute highlight for me when it came to food was definitely the pistachio gelato. Heavenly scoops of sweetness, worth travelling all the way back to Italy for. I feel like I came back so full, it was worth indulging for the week.

One day we went dolphin watching, I haven't seen a dolphin in years and as a child they were my favourite. Seeing them swim alongside the boat and come up for a second to show off their fins. On another boat trip we made a few stops to visit smaller islands like the little town, La Maddalena. It felt like what I always imagined an Italian town to feel like, the best way I can describe it is if you picture that you're near the water with lots of coffee shops, gelatarias and small shops full of pretty things. Then we headed to the most beautiful beach I have ever been to. The sea so clear and blue with white sand, I could have stayed there all day. The only way to get there was by boat which makes it even more special.

When I come back home from being away somewhere it always makes me want to explore more. I have a few places in mind for future trips already. It's good to take yourself out of the everyday and reconnect with yourself, visit new places, experience something different. It's what your soul needs, we have to give ourselves that chance to do so. For now I'll close my eyes and think back to when I was at that peaceful place again, until next time. 

Sardinia Snapshots

24.9.15

After being back at work for almost two weeks and looking back at these photos I would love to be walking along these beaches again, dipping my feet into the sea with the warmth of the sun on me. That is the beauty of pictures, they freeze a place or moment and you are connected back to it instantly to when it was taken, remembering how you felt. These in particular all make me feel peaceful. They are mostly shots of the sea and beach, it's where we spent most of our time when we weren't eating so much Italian food. Spending seven days refreshing my mind and body was exactly what I needed. I didn't realise it until I was there, how much I was due a break.

We stayed in a town north of the island, right by the beach and the sea. Lots of pizzeria's, although I'm not that much of a pizza lover I did have one of the best pizza's I've had out there. It was a simple cheese and mushroom pizza but it was so good, the dough was perfect. It wasn't the best thing I tasted out there, I had mussels, clams and all of the seafood, so delicious. The absolute highlight for me when it came to food was definitely the pistachio gelato. Heavenly scoops of sweetness, worth travelling all the way back to Italy for. I feel like I came back so full, it was worth indulging for the week.

One day we went dolphin watching, I haven't seen a dolphin in years and as a child they were my favourite. Seeing them swim alongside the boat and come up for a second to show off their fins. On another boat trip we made a few stops to visit smaller islands like the little town, La Maddalena. It felt like what I always imagined an Italian town to feel like, the best way I can describe it is if you picture that you're near the water with lots of coffee shops, gelatarias and small shops full of pretty things. Then we headed to the most beautiful beach I have ever been to. The sea so clear and blue with white sand, I could have stayed there all day. The only way to get there was by boat which makes it even more special.

When I come back home from being away somewhere it always makes me want to explore more. I have a few places in mind for future trips already. It's good to take yourself out of the everyday and reconnect with yourself, visit new places, experience something different. It's what your soul needs, we have to give ourselves that chance to do so. For now I'll close my eyes and think back to when I was at that peaceful place again, until next time. 
I'm a believer in the way your morning goes can set the tone for the rest of the day. Waking up with a clear mind and thinking about how you intend to live out your day is one of the first things I think about. After the initial sleepy mind wears off, of course. Gradually, I have become more of a morning person. Not quite the jump out of bed at 5am and have more things done by 9am than most would in a whole day. I see the stillness in the morning that I never used to and I value the ones I can have that peace all to myself. Taking time to fill your head with good thoughts. In the week before work, I play music while I'm getting ready for the day ahead of me.

In the mornings I like to ease myself into it all with serene yet positive songs. Making me feel good. How we should always feel when we wake up. Music is a powerful mood enhancer. There is a song for every mood and every feeling. I've put together a playlist of songs that do exactly that for me. A smile sometimes grows, calm washes over me and I feel ready to take on whatever may come. It includes some of my favourite songs at the moment, I hope you like them. Have a listen one morning, over a cup of coffee, a morning walk or on your way to work. And most importantly, have a very good morning.

Playlist 004 / Music For Your Morning

10.9.15

I'm a believer in the way your morning goes can set the tone for the rest of the day. Waking up with a clear mind and thinking about how you intend to live out your day is one of the first things I think about. After the initial sleepy mind wears off, of course. Gradually, I have become more of a morning person. Not quite the jump out of bed at 5am and have more things done by 9am than most would in a whole day. I see the stillness in the morning that I never used to and I value the ones I can have that peace all to myself. Taking time to fill your head with good thoughts. In the week before work, I play music while I'm getting ready for the day ahead of me.

In the mornings I like to ease myself into it all with serene yet positive songs. Making me feel good. How we should always feel when we wake up. Music is a powerful mood enhancer. There is a song for every mood and every feeling. I've put together a playlist of songs that do exactly that for me. A smile sometimes grows, calm washes over me and I feel ready to take on whatever may come. It includes some of my favourite songs at the moment, I hope you like them. Have a listen one morning, over a cup of coffee, a morning walk or on your way to work. And most importantly, have a very good morning.


Right now, I'm making sure I have all the last bits and pieces I need before I head off to the airport in a couple of hours. Tonight I'll be arriving in Sardinia, where I'll be soaking up the sun by the Mediterranean sea. I haven't made a trip out of the country in nearly a year and I'm yearning to be immersed in somewhere new.

On this trip I'm trying to be frugal and only take what I absolutely need. Every time I go somewhere new I'm convinced the prices to check-in luggage doubles in price, so I'm sharing a suitcase with my sister and taking a smaller one on board with me. Packing it with mostly clothes and then the important stuff I need easy access to.

I like to bring a tote bag with me to put everything I will need on the plane so I don't have to keep getting up every time and disturb other travellers, it's also handy when you're on your adventures elsewhere. In that I will have a notebook and pen, not necessarily needed on the journey but you never know and I'd like to write when I'm out there. Passport, can't get very far without that and I can't wait until I can change my picture in 5 years! And of course my boarding pass. Ipod, headphones and charger, I would feel lost without listening to music on the plane. I'm not a nervous flyer or anything but sometimes it's uncomfortable and it will keep my sane, I have an audio book on there as well to mix it up. If I don't feel like listening to music I'll read a book, I decided to bring Me Before You by JoJo Moyes, I've heard good things and it's a decent size that will be perfect for a week away. Lipbalm and hand cream, for when the plane air becomes very dry, I'm keeping it simple with Neutrogena Norweigan lip balm and a travel size L'Occitane Shea Butter hand cream. Sunglasses for the beaming sunshine and hopefully I'll get to see a sunset while in the sky. A Purse with euros, sterling and EU Health Insurance card. Then finally my phone, I want to 'switch off' from technology a bit when I'm away but I'll still check in and take some photos.

Everything I need for a week away. I'm looking forward to sharing my trip with you all soon.

Travelling Essentials

5.9.15


Right now, I'm making sure I have all the last bits and pieces I need before I head off to the airport in a couple of hours. Tonight I'll be arriving in Sardinia, where I'll be soaking up the sun by the Mediterranean sea. I haven't made a trip out of the country in nearly a year and I'm yearning to be immersed in somewhere new.

On this trip I'm trying to be frugal and only take what I absolutely need. Every time I go somewhere new I'm convinced the prices to check-in luggage doubles in price, so I'm sharing a suitcase with my sister and taking a smaller one on board with me. Packing it with mostly clothes and then the important stuff I need easy access to.

I like to bring a tote bag with me to put everything I will need on the plane so I don't have to keep getting up every time and disturb other travellers, it's also handy when you're on your adventures elsewhere. In that I will have a notebook and pen, not necessarily needed on the journey but you never know and I'd like to write when I'm out there. Passport, can't get very far without that and I can't wait until I can change my picture in 5 years! And of course my boarding pass. Ipod, headphones and charger, I would feel lost without listening to music on the plane. I'm not a nervous flyer or anything but sometimes it's uncomfortable and it will keep my sane, I have an audio book on there as well to mix it up. If I don't feel like listening to music I'll read a book, I decided to bring Me Before You by JoJo Moyes, I've heard good things and it's a decent size that will be perfect for a week away. Lipbalm and hand cream, for when the plane air becomes very dry, I'm keeping it simple with Neutrogena Norweigan lip balm and a travel size L'Occitane Shea Butter hand cream. Sunglasses for the beaming sunshine and hopefully I'll get to see a sunset while in the sky. A Purse with euros, sterling and EU Health Insurance card. Then finally my phone, I want to 'switch off' from technology a bit when I'm away but I'll still check in and take some photos.

Everything I need for a week away. I'm looking forward to sharing my trip with you all soon.
Image Source
 Every now and then my thoughts go back to the younger, slightly different me. I'm still the same person I've almost always been but gradually developing into the me that feels right and is more like my true self at heart. A big part of that has been adopting a healthier lifestyle. I won't get into my whole story, I think I'll save that for another day. For now I want to share what I've learnt from my always evolving lifestyle change.

The best way I can describe it is, one day something clicked in my mind. There wasn't a big shooting star moment, it started small, little things here and there. Before I knew it, more things in my lifestyle had changed and I took it from there. By a healthier lifestyle, I wouldn't say I lead the healthiest life, it's a constant journey I'm living and every day I'm slowly making progress. However, it is far better than it was for a very long time. In every aspect of living, from the food I eat, how active I am, the amount of time I rest and everything in between. Health, body, mind and soul. It's a package deal.

What I've changed.. 

My diet is one of the key changes that I've made, I'm more mindful about what I put into my body. Not everything is clean and nutritious, however it's better than ever. More of the good stuff that comes from nature and less of the not so good stuff, and drinking plenty of water. Exercise is now very much a part of my routine, I get moving at least twice a week and it has been that way since the beginning of the year. I've tried out different workouts and I can honestly say I'm fitter than I've ever been (for now). I go to sleep and wake up at more reasonable hours, that in combination with exercising has helped me become less fatigued. Writing down my thoughts and feelings, keeping it in is emotionally and mentally draining. My mind is clearer and moods are not all over the place. Thinking more positive and remembering to be thankful. Just some of many little changes that have helped me become healthier, personally.
 
What I've learnt.. 

It takes time
When I realised this, I think that was around the time it all became clearer. There isn't a quick fix, that's why they call it a 'lifestyle'. It's the way you live, if you want it to last it takes a little while for it to stick. At times it feels like you'll never get to where you want to be but you will.

It's not always easy
Think of it like you have always walked backwards and you have to learn to walk forwards. You find your balance, you can hold yourself up and put one foot in front of the other. It feels strange, you know it's better for you but you haven't quite got the knack of it yet and still stumble to the ground. That's what it's like to change the way you've lived for most of your life. Some days will be difficult and some will be manageable. Once you've got the hang of it, it gets easier.

It's all in the mind
Although there is active changes when you're adjusting your lifestyle, a lot of it is a mental change at first and then the physical acts follow. Being wired in your head to continue to do good things for yourself is what keeps you going back to it and it will become a healthy habit.

It shows in unexpected ways
Firstly, I felt better in myself both emotionally and physically. I saw it in my mood, body, skin and just about everything. Of course I knew it would be beneficial in a lot of ways but you don't quite realise how much. I found that other people could see it in me too, my confidence was one thing people commented on, how I looked and that I seemed happier.

I won't regret it
No matter what, I will never regret the more wholesome attitude I've achieved by taking care of myself. One little thing I do regret is not doing it sooner, but maybe I had to get to this point in my own time when I was ready to take a stand and do something so amazing that is now my life.

By no means am I an expert, I did what felt right for me. It's going to be different for every one because no human is the same. If there is ever anyone who needs some encouragement to strive for what they want when it concerns their life, I want to say that taking the first step is the most important part. Believe in yourself. Be kind. You can do anything and most of all, you deserve it. 



What I've learnt from leading a healthier lifestyle

1.9.15

Image Source
 Every now and then my thoughts go back to the younger, slightly different me. I'm still the same person I've almost always been but gradually developing into the me that feels right and is more like my true self at heart. A big part of that has been adopting a healthier lifestyle. I won't get into my whole story, I think I'll save that for another day. For now I want to share what I've learnt from my always evolving lifestyle change.

The best way I can describe it is, one day something clicked in my mind. There wasn't a big shooting star moment, it started small, little things here and there. Before I knew it, more things in my lifestyle had changed and I took it from there. By a healthier lifestyle, I wouldn't say I lead the healthiest life, it's a constant journey I'm living and every day I'm slowly making progress. However, it is far better than it was for a very long time. In every aspect of living, from the food I eat, how active I am, the amount of time I rest and everything in between. Health, body, mind and soul. It's a package deal.

What I've changed.. 

My diet is one of the key changes that I've made, I'm more mindful about what I put into my body. Not everything is clean and nutritious, however it's better than ever. More of the good stuff that comes from nature and less of the not so good stuff, and drinking plenty of water. Exercise is now very much a part of my routine, I get moving at least twice a week and it has been that way since the beginning of the year. I've tried out different workouts and I can honestly say I'm fitter than I've ever been (for now). I go to sleep and wake up at more reasonable hours, that in combination with exercising has helped me become less fatigued. Writing down my thoughts and feelings, keeping it in is emotionally and mentally draining. My mind is clearer and moods are not all over the place. Thinking more positive and remembering to be thankful. Just some of many little changes that have helped me become healthier, personally.
 
What I've learnt.. 

It takes time
When I realised this, I think that was around the time it all became clearer. There isn't a quick fix, that's why they call it a 'lifestyle'. It's the way you live, if you want it to last it takes a little while for it to stick. At times it feels like you'll never get to where you want to be but you will.

It's not always easy
Think of it like you have always walked backwards and you have to learn to walk forwards. You find your balance, you can hold yourself up and put one foot in front of the other. It feels strange, you know it's better for you but you haven't quite got the knack of it yet and still stumble to the ground. That's what it's like to change the way you've lived for most of your life. Some days will be difficult and some will be manageable. Once you've got the hang of it, it gets easier.

It's all in the mind
Although there is active changes when you're adjusting your lifestyle, a lot of it is a mental change at first and then the physical acts follow. Being wired in your head to continue to do good things for yourself is what keeps you going back to it and it will become a healthy habit.

It shows in unexpected ways
Firstly, I felt better in myself both emotionally and physically. I saw it in my mood, body, skin and just about everything. Of course I knew it would be beneficial in a lot of ways but you don't quite realise how much. I found that other people could see it in me too, my confidence was one thing people commented on, how I looked and that I seemed happier.

I won't regret it
No matter what, I will never regret the more wholesome attitude I've achieved by taking care of myself. One little thing I do regret is not doing it sooner, but maybe I had to get to this point in my own time when I was ready to take a stand and do something so amazing that is now my life.

By no means am I an expert, I did what felt right for me. It's going to be different for every one because no human is the same. If there is ever anyone who needs some encouragement to strive for what they want when it concerns their life, I want to say that taking the first step is the most important part. Believe in yourself. Be kind. You can do anything and most of all, you deserve it. 



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