Sunday, 13 April 2014

Recipe: Coconut & Cinnamon Pancakes

Ah, pancakes. Surely the ultimate breakfast food, non? There's nothing quite like a syrup-glistened stack of those fluffy drops of heaven.

Now, the real deal doesn't do nothing for the ol' waistline, but here's a stack that's just indulgent enough to feel like the real thing whilst being kinder on the summer bikini diet. Oh, and paleo too!

Introducing Coconut & Cinnamon pancakes.

This recipe uses coconut flour, which I've used in pancakes in the past but those guys were a bit of the dry side, so here's a tip - always add a little bit more liquid that the recipe says.

So, wanna make pancakes?

Coconut & Cinnamon Paleo Pancakes (serves 1) 
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 3 tbsp full fat coconut milk (add 1 tbsp more to make the mixture a bit thinner)
  • 1/2 mashed ripe banana (freeze the other half to add to smoothies)
  • 1.5 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • Coconut oil for frying

1. Mash the banana. Add the eggs and coconut milk and whisk until well combined.

2. In a separate bowl, mix together the coconut flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt.

3. Whisk together the wet and dry ingredients to form your batter.

4. Heat your coconut oil in a frying pan and add tablespoons of batter to the pan (I made mine slightly larger, so each pancake was around 2/3 tablespoons)

5. As soon as bubbles form on the surface (about 1.5 mins), flip the pancakes over and cook for around another 30 seconds

6. Serve! I had mine with organic natural yoghurt and frozen blueberries.

Do you know of any great clean pancake recipes? Hook a sister up. 

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Top 5 Holiday Heroes

It's that time of year again pals. The clocks have sprung forward signalling the start of summer. Thank the LORD.

Well it definitely ain't feeling like summertime here, so a couple of weeks ago, me and Joe escaped the freezing cold climes of the North and headed off to catch some rays in the Canary Islands.

Firstly, going on holiday in March threw me completely; the idea of having a holiday so early on in the year just felt damn wrong, but it was actually just the ticket. We spent the week chillin' out max, eating great food and suppin' on cocktails poolside. Also, I drank my weight in Watermelon Margaritas (best drink EVER, definitely one to try and recreate).

Hot and sunny weather means a whole different kind of beauty routine to the norm, so here are my top five holiday hero products to help keep you looking cool in the heat.

Sun Protection: Institut Esthederm Sun Intolerent High Protection Body Spray
My skin and the sun really aren't the best of friends. I love the sun but the sun don't love me. I suffered terribly with infected prickly heat when I was younger, thanks to my very weird skin (I had bad eczema as a child, and my skin became really un-absorbent and I get blocked pores very easily). I still suffered badly with prickly heat through my late teens and early twenties, trying every product I could get my hands on to help sun intolerant skin like mine survive in the heat. A few products have eased my troubles short-term, but none quite like the Sun Intolerant Protection Body Spray by the French brand Institut Estherderm. This has literally changed my life. I know that sounds dramatic but it really has. Even up to a couple of years ago, I would get prickly heat as soon as it got 20 degrees+, coming out in an awful rash despite slathering on what I thought would help prevent it. I used to feel terribly self conscious about this and had covered it up wearing long-sleeved tops. Just plain awful. I discovered this bad lad whilst checking out Lisa Eldridge's (girl crush) favourite sunscreens video, where she mentions IE. She explained their sun care range was great for people with problem skin, so I hopped on down to my local Space NK where a sales advisor pointed me in the direction of Sun Intolerant Protection Body Spray. I used this first in California in September and then again in the Canaries, and boy does that stuff work. No sign of the nasty prickly heat rash, so I actually managed to enjoy these holidays properly. Pricey yes, but totally, totally worth it.

Hair Care: Lush Shampoo Bar
No one wants to be lugging around a big old bottle of shampoo on holiday. Even miniature shampoos don't quite tick the box for me. Enter Lush Shampoo Bar in Godiva. This jasmine and nut-oil packed gem of a product is easy to sling in your washbag for your holiday, and very long-lasting. I washed my hair everyday and the bar didn't even seem to lose it's size and shape at all. How incredible? It lathers up well and leaves your hair feeling clean and light. And as with all Lush products, you can imagine this smells pretty great. My advice? Pair your bar with the great little tin that Lush stocks to keep it dry and last even longer.

The tropical blush: Benefit Coralista
Sunshine for me equals sun-kissed skin and a bit of shimmer for the ultimate holiday make-up look. Now as I don't tan at ALL, Coralista is the perfect flush of colour to help me cheat that healthy holiday glow. The warm coral tone lifts the whole look of your face instantly. This will be my go-to summer blush.

The perfect lightweight base: Bourjois 123 Perfect Colour CC Cream
Full coverage foundation in the sun is a massive no no. You want to keep your look fresh and simple, so when Lily mentioned Bourjois' CC Cream I knew this could be just the thing to keep my skin looking shipshape in the sun without having to pile on a heavier base. Available in four shades, the lightweight formula blends easily into the skin with fingers, and as you'd expect a CC cream to, it corrects any pigmentation/redness issues in the skin for a light and fairly long-lasting make-up base. A winner all round in my book.

Post-Holiday Hero: John Frieda Frizz Ease Nourishing Hair Elixir*
The hot sun and all that swimming can leave your hair feeling a little dry, and when I got home, I lathered on John Frieda's Nourishing Hair Elixir. I've used a few hair oils before, but this is lovely and lightweight, and where other oils have made my hair feel greasy, this didn't at all. The Frizz Ease range caters more for curly and frizz-prone hair, but this was perfect for me to return my hair to it's smooth and glossy state.

What are your holiday hero products?

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Recipe: Banana Breakfast Bites

Breakfast. The most important meal of the day which we don't do justice on weekdays. We either grab something on the way to work, which is generally loaded with sugar, or don't have anything at all (slapped wrists for those people). 

This used to always be my downfall when I was younger, but over the past few years as I've developed a healthier and cleaner eating and lifestyle regime and I've embraced weekday breakfasts and making them something to get the day off to an amazing start. I'd rather get up a little bit earlier and have time for a clean and balanced breakfast rather than grabbing something on the go which won't fill me up and leave me feeling sluggish by mid-morning.

Now, we all have busy lives, so for those mornings when there just literally isn't any time, welcome Banana Breakfast Bites into your life. Super easy to make and perfect for making sure you're eating healthily on the go. Get these bad lads made so you can easily grab them on your way out the door to work this week.

I came across the recipe for these gluten and sugar free goodies on nutrition babe Madeleine Shaw's site and wondered how I could add my own twist to them. Fancy giving them a whirl? Here's how!

What you'll need:

Madeleine's original recipe includes stevia and an additional banana on top, but I find these sweet enough with just one banana in the main batter and the blueberries add a lovely sharp tang.

Yoghurt makes these cakey-bars lovely and moist, and if whole-milk yoghurt isn't part of your diet then it should be. A healthy fat which contains far less sugar than low-fat and fat-free yoghurts, meaning it's MUCH better for you.

How to whip up these breakfast babes
1. Set the oven to 180°C or Gas Mark 6.
2. In a food processor, blend the ground almonds, banana, butter, eggs and yoghurt.

3. Grease a small baking tray/brownie pan with coconut oil (I popped my baking tray in the oven whilst it was heating up so the coconut oil could melt a bit and grease the tin easily).
4. Spread the banana bar mixture evenly in the tin and top with the blueberries pressing them down lightly into the mixture.

5. In the oven they go for between 15-25 minutes (depending on your oven) until the edges start to turn slightly golden and the blueberries cook down slightly.

6. Place on a cooling rack and when cooled slightly, mark into 20 small squares or 10 larger bars.
To make these bars a bit more indulgent you could add 80% dark chocolate chips, or even better, raw cacao nibs for a real edge of dark, chocolately goodness.

For those worried about the fat content, all of the fats included are healthy and essential fats which aid a healthy, active lifestyle and weight loss. Obviously don't go eating loads of full fat foods (everything in moderation, folks) but full fat dairy especially is better for you than their low-fat or fat-free counterparts which are loaded with sugar to compensate for flavour and sugar is the real nasty when it comes to gaining weight.

What do you do for healthy breakfasts on the go?

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

After Dark

NewcastleGateshead's weekend of after-hours culture returns in this year's The Late Shows.

Over Friday 16th and Saturday 17th May, Tyneside cultural venues are throwing open their doors for a lil bit longer and hosting some top-notch events for all of us North East culture buffs.

The TLS gang recently released their programme for this year's happenings, and by golly, by gosh, what a line-up it is.

Here's what I've got my eye on:

Printmaking @ Northern Print
I am a bit mad on all things screen-printed at the minute, so what better way to feed this obsession than to see how it's actually done? I love knowing the processes behind things like this so I'll be first in the queue for the event at Ouseburn's print mecca.

Marilyn Monroe: A British Love Affair @ Hatton Gallery
Ah, my old stomping ground. I worked at the Hatton whilst I was at uni, but have actually only been back a couple of times since then, which is just criminal. The HG currently have an exhibition dedicated to the Monroe, highlighting British photographers and personalities who worked with her. I've always been massively intrigued by Marilyn Monroe's lifestyle, so this a must-see for me.

Ginny Reed @ The NewBridge Project
Reed's solo exhibition - closing on 17th May - explores the way we receive and digest information via digital forms. Looking at the idea that we constantly crave information, Reed presents work in the form of Vine videos, memes, gifs and samples. I have a big interest in the age of distraction so especially looking forward to this one.

You can download the full The Late Shows programme here.

Which events have you got eyes on?

*Image cred: The Late Shows
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