Month: October 2016

Book Review: Where’d You Go, Bernadette

This was hands down a five star book for me. The whole thing intrigued me – how it was written, the fantastically quirky, reclusive character of Bernadette, the gnats, the simple one-liners that made me smile and the whole plan of a trip to Antarctica.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette is like no other book I have ever read. I flew through it and couldn’t put it down.

A must read if you are looking for something fresh and funny.

Now I must go through the rest of Maria Semple’s novels!

Whole 30: Week one in review

I have felt really good this week, light, bouncy and happy. Only on Wednesday did I have a slight headache, I think it was the change of having no sugar in my diet. It hit. But by Thursday it had passed, my tummy was feeling flatter (not thinner, but not bloated) and I was sleeping so well. Straight to sleep each night quickly, without waking up in the middle of the night. The dream (excuse the pun)!

I have thoroughly enjoyed all of my meals this week. Taking the time and making an effort with dishes and recipes really does make a difference. I have found so many amazing recipes through Pinterest and Instagram – so many inspirational and creative people out there eating well!

Here are some snaps below of my various meals over breakfast, lunch and dinner. Click on some of the photos to find the recipe. I should mention that I am spoilt at work and have a kick-ass cafeteria on the 15th floor that serves up great salads every day for super cheap. So I haven’t had to prepare the three salads below, I was just excited about picking new things.

Coconut, lime & chilli chicken on cauliflower rice
Dinner – Coconut, lime & chilli chicken on cauliflower rice
Salmon & egg with an addition of avocado
Breakfast – Salmon, spinach & egg with avocado
day1-lunch
Lunch – Roast chicken salad with roasted cauliflower sprinkled in cumin
Lunch – Roast beef salad with fennel, walnuts and orange
Dinner – Salmon with an almond and macadamia crust, with broccoli and basil mash
Dinner – Roast veg pile – sweet potato, carrot, asparagus and kale, with a dusting of bacon
Salad with chicken roasted in lemon and oregano
Homemade bun-free burgers and sweet potato fries
Breakfast - egg, spinach, mushrooms and avocado
Breakfast – egg, spinach, mushrooms and avocado
Sweet potato nachos with salsa and guac
Sweet potato nachos with salsa and guac
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Dessert – Pineapple grilled with fresh lime juice and zest and a sprinkle of cinnamon
day1-breakfast
Breakfast – Smoked salmon, boiled egg, baby spinach and lemon, followed by an apple

I am really excited about week two and I’m hoping I can only feel better after day eight. I won’t lie, I was in a pub this afternoon and it was cold and bitter outside and I nearly caved and bought a red wine. I changed my mind before ordering and instead had a sparkling water and fresh lime. I was so close.  I can admit it – I’m human. I’m proud of myself for not failing though. Seven days down, 23 to go.

 

Celebs who blog

In recent weeks I have become hugely fascinated by celebrities who have lifestyle or personal blogs. I love to read about their daily lives from their own perspective. I’m definitely from the generation of reality telly and knowing everything and anything about the famous people around us – hello, Daily Mail!

But I personally think, where a celebrity has the chance to write in their own words what they think or are passionate about is a much better read than journalists just trying to jazz up an article.

I’ve always been able to retain useless celeb gossip and tid bits. It’s a talent I have. Bloody useless in the grand scheme of things, unless I plan to become a Celeb Goss Pub Quiz Champion or write a book about Celebrity Facts. It’s just information that I absorb and retain. Completely sad.

Some of my top favourites:

Katherine Heigl

Blake Lively – Now taken down. I was sad when this blog died.

Gwyneth Paltrow

Whitney Port

Lauren Conrad

Reese Witherspoon

Alicia Silverstone

Do you follow any famous folk online? I mean, apart from stalking their Instagram feed. I’d love to hear of more lifestyle blogs.

Whole 30: action time

One of my good friends is currently staying with us, having just arrived in London. Last night we enjoyed a girls night in watching trash TV, drinking red wine and eating pizza oozing with cheese. It was magic. But we discussed how blah we both feel, sluggish and heavy and not at our optimal health. We decided that starting Monday we would start a Whole 30 detox and body reset. It’s usually easiest to start on the 1st of the month, but I just want to get into action, not wait two weeks. My other half and I have social events booked in but I’m just going to make it work – there’s never a good time to be on a restrictive food plan, you just have to get on with it.  As previously mentioned I first completed a Whole 30 in January 2013 and loved the outcome; my skin was clear, I didn’t feel bloated, no sugar highs and lows, I slept better and I managed to lose a few kilos.

I have managed to persuade the other half to join in this time too. I can tell I’ll be pulling him kicking and screaming over the finish line in the first week, but hopefully he gets the hang of it and reaps the benefits early on to keep him focused.

Last week I spent time reading through all the information I had previously received when signing up for Whole 30, as well as perusing my friend Leah‘s website. Leah is a Whole 30 champion, she’s done it four times now and swears by it.

I also spent time mapping out my meal plan for first week as I think one of the most important things I learnt was how important it is to prepare. PREPARE. Otherwise you find you come home after a long day and reach for your Just Eat app on your phone. Which completely undoes anything good you’ve done.

Throughout I will post details of my meals and how I’m feeling, the ups and downs. Posting updates is the perfect accountability – no cheating or quick trips to the chip shop allowed!

I’m just so over being unhappy with my body. SO, SO OVER IT.

Book Review: Sweetbitter

I was drawn in by cover-lust. But that’s where the lust ends.

Sweetbitter follows a bunch of misfits getting high, getting drunk, quoting literature, working in a high end restaurant and messing with each other’s lives. You can’t fall in love with any of the characters, nor feel any empathy for them. This book was not intriguing nor well written.

One star.

star

Four books I can’t wait to sink my teeth into

Since I bought my first Kindle back in 2011 I have been an avid reader. I have always loved books, but with university and being in my early 20s I never made the time to read or get properly sucked into books. But I found adding the Kindle to my daily life made me read more frequently and therefore get through books much quicker. The addiction of buying books straight from Amazon and knowing they will be present on your Kindle within minutes also made it easier.

blackrabbithallBlack Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase; Amber and Toby and Barney and Kitty.

The four Alton children spend every day of the hot Cornish summer playing games on sun-baked lawns or building dens in the dark woods. Endless days of laughter and fun, without an adult in sight.

But no one can foresee the storm that will bring it all to a tragic end.

Afterwards, Black Rabbit Hall, their home, with its endless corridors and ancient creaking clocks, is a twisted and changed place, set to steal the last vestiges of their childhood and innocence. A home that not all of the Altons will be strong enough to survive.

Now, thirty years later, a message from one of the Alton children is discovered carved into an old oak tree. Could the tangled truth of that terrible summer finally creep into the light? Or should some secrets be left in the past for good?

aboutgraceAbout Grace by Anthony Doerr; David Winkler begins life in Anchorage, Alaska, a quiet boy drawn to the volatility of weather and obsessed with snow. Sometimes he sees things before they happen; a man carrying a hatbox will be hit by a bus; Winkler will fall in love with a woman in a supermarket. When David dreams that his infant daughter will drown in a flood as he tries to save her, he comes undone. He travels thousands of miles, fleeing family, home, and the future itself, to deny the dream.

On a Caribbean island, destitute, alone, and unsure if his child has survived or his wife can forgive him, David is sheltered by a couple with a daughter of their own. Ultimately it is she who will pull him back into the world, to search for the people he left behind.

love-ninaLove, Nina by Nina Stibbe: In the 1980s Nina Stibbe wrote letters home to her sister in Leicester describing her trials and triumphs as a nanny to a London family. Nina Stibbe’s Love, Nina: Despatches from Family Life is the laugh-out-loud story of the trials and tribulations of a very particular family.

This was later made into a TV series too! But of course, best to always read the book first.

 

 

 

how-i-lost-youHow I Lost You by Jenny Blackhurst: They told her she killed her son. She served her time. But what if they lied? I have no memory of what happened but I was told I killed my son. And you believe what your loved ones, your doctor and the police tell you, don’t you? My name is Emma Cartwright. Three years ago I was Susan Webster, and I murdered my twelve-week-old son Dylan. I was sent to Oakdale Psychiatric Institute for my crime, and four weeks ago I was released early on parole with a new identity, address and a chance to rebuild my tattered life. This morning, I received an envelope addressed to Susan Webster. Inside it was a photograph of a toddler called Dylan. Now I am questioning everything I believe because if I have no memory of the event, how can I truly believe he’s dead? If there was the smallest chance your son was alive, what would you do to get him back?

I set myself the challenge of reading 30 books in 2016. Unfortunately I’m only on book number 21 so I need to up my speed to just shy of a book per week. Eek! My books to date:

2016-books

I’m always keen for new book titles to add to my ever-growing list. So what’s next on yours?