Thursday 30 January 2020

Vegan Cooking Made Easy

As someone who is not vegan, the notion of vegan cooking can be a little daunting when cooking a vegan meal for the first time. I remember that one of my biggest concerns was cross contamination, as I was preparing a non-vegan meal at the same time, and whilst I’d put together plenty of vegetarian dishes before, vegan wasn’t something I’d focused on. Although that was easily fixed with separate work surfaces and utensils for each meal. 

Vegan cooking made easy

I’ve slowly expanded my list of recipes since, to a fairly reasonable, although still small selection. Then when we found out said friend required surgery on her spine, and would be laid up in bed for at least 2-3 weeks I decided to expand further.

Whilst her partner will obviously need to do all of the cooking, he unfortunately only knows how to make chickpea curry, which whilst tasty, can’t be her sole meal for 2 weeks. So, to help out I decided to put together some meals that can simply be reheated in a microwave. Not only to make it easier for her partner, but also, to enable my friend to be able to get a hot meal quickly with minimal moving or standing.

Vegan browser

Given that I myself still only have a handful of meals, I decided to reach out to the Twitter community for help, and help came in the form of a fantastic app; Vegan Recipe Browser

Along with having hundreds of different dishes to choose from, Vegan Recipe Online has a function that allows you to select ‘good’ ingredients and ‘bad’ ingredients. So, for example, I know my friend doesn’t like mushrooms, and that they are a common substitute. Using this feature, I can label mushrooms as a ‘bad’ food, which will filter the recipes I get to those that don’t contain them.

Likewise, if you have a food that you do want to include, for example if you were using up various things from your cupboard or fridge, you can add these as ‘good’ foods and get suggestions that contain whatever it is that you have selected.

You can also filter by where the recipe has come from, so if you’ve used the app a few times and find that you are enjoying the recipes of one chef in particular, you can filter to see what else they have to offer.

Once you have chosen what you want to cook, you simply click on the photo and you will be taken to a screen that lists out what you will need. From there, simply click the link provided and you will be taken to the original post for that recipe, where you can find more information, photos and the method.

Using this app, I’ve managed to find inspiration for loads of meals, and have included a few of them within my food based care package. I’ll be sharing some of my favourites at some point on the future, but for the time being just wanted to share this handy discovery!

Where do you go for inspiration or to find new recipes?


Sunday 19 January 2020

Moi-meme Monthly | The Winter Warmer | January 2020

It’s the first Moi-meme box of the year! Amazingly I had completely forgotten that it was being delivered until I arrived home and found that it sitting on the table in my living room. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect, giving me a nice surprise at the end of a very long week.

The theme of this month’s box has been based around winter weather, the snow and the cold. Although we’ve not had snow yet in Norwich (in fact, it’s been pretty mild other than some wind) I’m sure we have plenty of chilly weather ahead of us, and the contents of the January box is absolutely perfect to help see us through.

Hand cream

I keep a small hand cream on my desk at work, which I’m constantly reaching for during the cold weather. It ran out a couple of days ago, so to receive a new one in my box was nothing short of perfect timing.

It’s a decent size while still not being too oversized to have sitting on my desk, and it sinks into the skin quickly which is perfect. Working with a computer and paperwork all day, I hate when a hand cream doesn’t absorb, or leaves a residue that then gets transferred to everything I touch.

Katie Loxton Mug
I love pretty mugs, but currently have none, not even one. When we moved house we decided to start from scratch, and when buying for the kitchen pretty much repurchased everything. We have a set of attractive white marble look mugs, but nothing else. So you can imagine how glad I was that Moi-meme have kicked off my collection again.

The mug has a good weight to it, it isn’t thin or fragile, although as with a lot of personalised mugs it is hand wash only. It’s beautiful to look at, with the lovely quote “enjoy today sip, sip hooray!” written in italic gold writing along the inside, with “may contain champagne” in the same text on the outside. As it happens, I’m in the process of planning a revamp of my beauty room, and this mug matches the aesthetic / colour scheme I’m thinking of going with, so I may even put flowers in it and have it as a decoration piece.

Luxury hot chocolate

It simply wouldn’t do to send us a gorgeous mug, and nothing to put in it would it? Luckily, Moi-meme has us covered with the final item of this month’s box being a jar of hot chocolate. When I initially pulled this from within my box I thought it was chocolate coated raisins or something similar, but no, these little beads are hot chocolate!

Simply heap two teaspoons into a mug, pour in hot milk and stir. The milk will melt the beads and create a delicious, smooth hot chocolate! I can confirm that the result was delicious, and given the attractive clip top jar it would make a great gift for the chocolate lovers in your life. The jar itself is reusable, so when I’ve got through the contents (which let’s face it, won’t take me long) I want to think of something creative to do with it, so if you have any crafty links, please do pop them below so I can have a look! If I can incorporate it into my new beauty room somehow then even better!

As the first box of 2020, I think Moi-meme has kicked off to a great start. As usual the contents is well thought out for the theme and time of year, and everything fits together nicely. This box was the perfect pick me up for those January blues, and I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us in future months!

Are you a Moi-meme subscriber? If you’d like to try it out use code “EMSWORLD” for a discount off your first box!


Tuesday 14 January 2020

January Goals 2020

New month, new year, new goals! There’s something quite satisfying about setting goals for a fresh new year, even if I have followed my typical fashion and posted them late… ah well.

Before looking at what I want to do in January, let’s have a look back over how I did with my December goals.

Do some craft
I got most of the bits together that I needed for a Christmas decoration piece for my dining table but never got round to it. Given our décor I’m fairly confident I can adapt it to something suitable for all year round, so I’ll work on it at some point.

Drink more water
My colleague was a great help, and filled up my water bottle several times through the day, so I’m getting a pretty good intake of water through the day now. 

Drink less caffeine

I’ve managed to switch to caffeine free coffee in the afternoons, and with my increased water consumption I’m not drinking anywhere near as much coffee anyway – success!

Get some decorations up
I set aside an afternoon to Christmas the house to make up for no decorations last year, so, tick!

Finish Christmas shopping

This was made easier by my friends all deciding not to do presents this year. We’re all going to America in the summer, so money is pretty tight for all of us. Instead, we each put £10 in a pot, and used that pot to have an evening together, paying for food, drink, taxis and a night out. Time together was far more valuable that any ‘thing’ that could be brought, and it really took the pressure off.

Get a new planner
I said last month that without a new planner I’d be all over the place. I still haven’t got one, and guess what…. I have no idea what I’m doing most of the time.

Get a new credit card
I ended up needing the credit card, so haven’t got a new one as I want to clear it first. I don’t want to move the balance from one to the other, I’d rather have a fresh start with a new card.

Get back in the gym
I did pretty well at getting myself into the gym through December, especially over Christmas and New Year when it was quiet and I had the whole gym to myself. I’m pretty pleased with this, as the ‘New year new me’ crowd always make the gym a nightmare for the first few weeks of January...

I’m feeling a little indifferent toward my last set of goals. Maybe because it was last year, but possibly because they were pretty dull and I wasn’t particularly bothered about them when putting them together. By contrast I’m looking forward to my new goals for January..

Vegan Cooking
I’m not doing vegan January, but my best friend is having surgery on her spine at the end of January. She’ll be totally immobile for the first few weeks. She may even be bedbound for as long as a month. Whilst I’m sure her boyfriend will try his best to cater to her vegan diet, he’s confessed he can only cook one or two meals for her.

My goal is to find loads of meals, cook them, freeze them and take them to her. She’ll be able to eat more than the same two things for a month, and it will hopefully take the pressure off her other half too, as there will be meals ready and waiting that just need heating.

PlannerGiven that January is a tight month that seems to go on forever, I think I’ll do this toward the end of January after payday. Regardless, I really need to get myself a 2020 planner.

Eat better & Gym
It’s now exactly six months until I get married… so I should probably start working towards the body I want on the day. I’m usually pretty comfortable in my own skin, but I haven’t been of late. I think it’s a bit of a case of January blues, but I’m hoping some clean eating and exercise will make me feel better. I’m aware that getting in the gym may be difficult as it tends to be packed in January.

See the baby seals
Living in Norfolk means it’s pretty easy to nip out to the coast, and stroll along the beaches where seals are currently having their pups. We wanted to go at some point between Christmas and New Year but were poorly. I’d like to go in January while they are still about.

Saving plan
I want to get a saving plan together to implement after February pay day. I used to be really good at saving each month, and had a pretty healthy savings account. Buying a house and going traveling blew everything in my savings, and there’s very little left in there at the moment. This was kind of highlighted when our tyre blew at the beginning of the month and we had to shell out for a new one. It would be ideal to get back into routine so that I at the very least have a rainy day fund.

Wedding dress
I need to get on this… I have less than six months to find, buy and sort any alterations needed. It’s starting to instil some panic as I’m very aware I’m on the clock, which I don’t like.

Flights and vehicle hire
We’ve deliberately held off booking flights for the wedding until now, as they are supposed to be cheaper in January. There’s a fair few of us travelling, with slightly different priorities which could make things a little difficult. Once we’ve got our flights sorted it means we can arrange the vehicle hire for the week.

Start planning Mike’s birthday
It’s Mikes birthday in February, so I want to start planning for it now, presents, what to do and so on. It falls on a Wednesday this year, but as we both have the day off it’s my plan to take him somewhere rather than us just be at home.  

Get back into a rhythm
I’ve fallen out of sync with blogging of late, and I want to find my rhythm again. I’ve not been active on social media either, even though I have content I can post sitting in my drafts. I’ve had my Christmas break and now it’s time to get back into the swing of things!

Do you have any goals this month?


Friday 10 January 2020

Word of the year | 2020

Sometimes we know exactly what we need any want in our lives, and sometimes, we need to dwell on it for a bit before we reach a definitive answer.

I’ve always been someone who is in two minds when it comes to setting goals in the new year. On the one hand it’s a fresh start to a new year so it’s a logical time for new things. On the other, it’s rather cliché, and I don’t believe you should wait until the year changes to fix something you want to change, you should do it there and then.

Having seen loads of posts floating around choosing a word for the new year rather than setting specific goals, I found I really liked the idea. It isn’t changing any one thing as such, but it sets a bit of a tone for what you desire out of the year to come.

I thought long and hard about what my word would be, and found myself flitting around quite a lot and not really settling on one, mainly because so much can change in a year. When I look back to me now vs me a year ago it’s a different person. Even more so if you were to compare me now to me 10 years ago. What I may want, need and hope for in 2020 now, might be totally different in a few months’ time.

What I’m trying to say, I suppose, is that a lot can change in a year, and it’s hard to pin down a singular word that will be timeless and relevant for the next 12 months.

I want to grow as a person, nurture my positive relationships, move away from the negative ones, progress in my career, especially now that I’m somewhere that I’m happy. I want to keep going with this blog, constantly try to improve it and see where it takes me. I want to get my mental health back on track and I want to do positive things that improve and enrich my life. With all that in mind, I finally managed to land on my word…

 Flourish; to grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way

I want to flourish this year. I want this year to be a year of growth and improvement in as many aspects of my life as possible. I want to adapt my surroundings to ensure a positive environment for self-growth.

Do you have a word for 2020?

Friday 3 January 2020

10 Year Look Back

Not only is it the start of a new year, but a whole new decade! This prompted me to look back over the past 10 years at everything I’ve experienced and achieved over that time.

I’m a totally different person to who I was ten years ago, and I almost don’t recognise myself – in a good way. So todays post is about some of my bigger achievements and things I’ve learned over the past decade.

Left a negative relationship
In my late teens and early twenties I was in a very toxic relationship, which unfortunately lasted a fair few years. I’d reached a point where I knew I was desperately unhappy, but had been ground down so much I genuinely didn’t think I’d be able to make it on my own.

Taking the plunge and leaving was one of the best things I ever did. My friends along with the girls (and coaches) on the American Football team I played for at the time were fantastic, and it’s fair to say they played a huge part in getting me through what was a really tough time.

Got on the property ladder
It was a goal of mine to get on the property ladder before the age of 30. When I got out of my negative relationship, I was told that I would never manage it, and for a while it felt totally unachievable. Regardless, I worked all the extra hours I could and cut my spending back to scrape the savings together little by little. On my 25th birthday I got my mortgage on my first flat agreed. I’d had to settle for a run down, bottom of the pile house, but it was mine and I’d proved to myself and everyone else that I could do it.

Since then, I’ve sold that flat, and the money I made from it was my half of the deposit for Mike and I to buy our first home together. Again, I was told that I wouldn’t be able to sell it for anything other than a loss and was stupid to be selling at the time I was. In the end it sold for over the asking price and I got exactly what I needed out of it. I even had money left over that meant we could decorate and furnish most of our new home.

I’ve managed to get a fair bit of travel under my belt in the last 10 years, but the biggest to mention is leaving my job to go travelling around America and Canada for 2 months. It was a once in a lifetime experience, and I highly doubt I’ll be in the financial position to do it again, but it is the source of some of my fondest memories.

In my teens I was an extremely quiet and body conscious person. I would dress in a way that attract as little attention as possible, which usually meant baggy clothes almost always in black. When I look back at old photos I have no idea where this even came from as I was a small 8-10.

When I left high school and went to college my new friends worked the negative mentality out of me, and I’m forever grateful to them. I still wear a lot of black, mainly because it goes with everything, but I’m far more confident in myself and my appearance.

Found ‘the one’
After leaving my bad relationship I was single on and off for a little over a year. I wasn’t particularly interested in having a relationship and was happy to casually date without any real commitment. Until I met Mike. I think it’s true when they say you’ll find love when you stop looking for it.  

Now we have a happy life together, and in 6 months’ time we’re getting married. It’s weird to think that this year is our wedding year!

Learned that I can
Over the past decade I’ve been told “you can’t” far, far too much. I was told by my tutor that I wouldn’t pass college; I did. I was told I’d never be able to forge a good career for myself, that I wouldn’t be able to buy a house before the age of 30, that I’d never find someone who loved me.

I was told I would never be able to make money out of my first flat, told that I shouldn’t go travelling and that I wouldn’t be able to find a job when I got back home; I did, and it was a better job than the one I left! All the things I was told I couldn’t do, I did.

With that in mind I’m storming into the new decade with a totally different mind-set to the last. If there is one thing I’ve learned over the past 10 years it’s that if someone tells you that you can’t do something, just say “watch me” and prove them wrong.

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