No Longer Counting the Calories

No Longer Counting the Calories

Since my early teen years I have always been very body conscious. I have never been extremely thin, in fact my weight is extremely up and down, and like many other people it can really affect my mood. I don’t find that eating healthily comes naturally to me, and I am awful when it comes to dieting. I have zero will power. Last year, when going through some relationship problems and being stressed all the time about my health I lost so much weight. I joke that ‘it was the best diet I ever went on’, but it really was. Obviously, I then had major surgery and was sat on the sofa for a good 6 months, so I regained everything and up until a few weeks ago I felt awful in myself. For some reason, something ticked in my brain in the last few weeks, not just because my weight is starting to go down again, but I think I naturally am developing a much more healthy attitude towards it.

Living a healthy, balanced lifestyle is about fuelling your body with good and nutritious food, whilst also being able to enjoy a giant slice of chocolate cake, guilt free!

I think I am definitely one of those people who loves to enjoy life and thinks that it is way too short to waste doing things that you don’t enjoy. I appreciate entirely that we need to remain fit and healthy to live a long and happy life, although I do know that giving into cravings and enjoying unhealthy food is also the key to living long, and truly happily. So what are the best ways to do this, and what attitude shall we have to make sure that we are able to carry this out on a daily basis?

Everything in Moderation

The best and most successful way to stay healthy is by really understanding that it is everything in moderation. If like me you enjoy carbs and cake, there is no reason why you cannot have this in your diet, however in moderation. For example, if I have a slice of cake in the week and I m trying to be good I will tend to have a much smaller portion. Same with carbohydrates. I will never be someone who can give them up, but I try my best not to eat them with every meal and put more veg on my plate in proportion to my protein and nutrients. Also, a big thing I have got a lot better at, is if I have already had a sweet treat in a day, generally I won’t let myself have anything else. Having two would not be in moderation.

Realistic Exercise Regimes

Exercise is very important for our bodies, although I do truly believe that you have to stick to a good balance. Realistically going once a week isn’t enough, but in my view any more than four is way too much. Don’t push yourself too much mentally and create unrealistic goals. The only way I manage to get there, which I do have to admit doesn’t happen every week, is to mix my workouts up and not take it too seriously.

Homemade Meals & Snacks

With it being said about everything in moderation, I also think the best way to stay healthy is by most of your diet being made up of homemade hearty meals. In the food shop there are so many items available designed to make our lives easier, however there are very few that are good for us. I enjoy making food from scratch knowing exactly what is in it, whether it contain loads of butter or sugar. As long as it doesn’t contain the crap preservatives and chemicals found in other products, in my head it is totally okay. Try to be as organised as possible with your food prep and ensure that you are always choosing homemade alternatives as opposed to shop bought items just because they’re easy.

Ignoring the Scales

Something I learnt years ago is that for me, the scales are a no go area. Not only do I find it a horrible feeling of how low you can feel after seeing the number, but also I have learnt that it doesn’t actually matter. Really, if you are exercising correctly and are toned, you will have a lot of body muscle, therefore you will be heavy. Personally, I go purely on dress size, what I am able to wear and how I am feeling in myself. The weight on the scales doesn’t matter in the slightest and we all have a very unhealthy attitude towards it at some point in our lives.


Always eat your breakfast. I have always been so awful at this, mainly because my stomach just can’t really take it when I wake up, which I know is the case for a lot of other people. However, I have learnt that it is so much better for your body and your diet if you do. I can never eat anything massive, unless it is after a Sunday lie in, however even something simple like a banana can really do the job.

Home Routine

Having a good routine is the easiest way of staying on track, staying healthy and making good choices for when it comes to food. This doesn’t just mean having a routine when it comes to work and general life, but also how you use your spare time. I have got into a good routine now of which evenings I cook fresh meals, which mornings or evening I go the gym and even when I am having my rest time. Staying up to date with everything can really help you to stay on track.

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Top – New Look

Shot in – Tincan Coffee House, Bristol

We enjoyed:

Lemon and Courgette Cake

Caramel Shortbread

Hearty Latte


Old Fashioned Tea


I have not been paid to feature any brands, and all views and opinions are my own.

Posh Beans on Toast

Posh Beans on Toast

What makes a perfect Sunday morning brunch? To me, one choice is beans on toast with a  vanilla latte. It is by no means the healthiest meal on the menu, but in my eyes, calories don’t count on Sundays. After flicking through Deliciously Ella a few weeks ago I stumbled across a recipe for homemade beans and was instantly tempted to give it a go. To be honest, in the end I landed up doing it a little free hand and threw it together with what I had in my cupboard. In my head I actually thought they were going to be so much more difficult to make, but in fact were incredibly easy. But most importantly, they are so delicious, and so much better than the traditional canned product that we are all so used to eating. I do think it is one of those things that once you have eaten these, you will never go back to the old ones. These have so much more flavour, and naturally contain so many more nutrients which is obviously always a bonus.

I never thought I would sit down and write about how delicious these baked beans are. They surprised me on every level and are the perfect lazy weekend breakfast, work time lunch or even easy dinner.

Prep Time: 5 Minutes

Cooking Time: 1 Hour

Skill: Easy


500g tinned haricot beans

2 garlic cloves

3 Fresh Tomatoes

2 tins chopped tomatoes

tomato puree

1tbsp honey

1tsp paprika

salt and pepper

Serve with Chilli Avocado & Sourdough

Heat your pan on a medium high heat. Start by frying the garlic with a little oil and the honey. Add the fresh tomatoes and cook until soft. Add the chopped tomatoes and reduce the heat to medium low.  Cook for 30 minutes until bubbling.

As an alternative to honey, you can use a little syrup or a teaspoon of sugar.

Add the puree, paprika  and beans and cook for another 10 minutes. In this 10 minutes it is usually the perfect amount of time to make the rest of your meal. My choice is always avocado and chilli with sourdough. I find that these taste best the next day, however they can be eaten straight after cooking.

Store the beans in an air tight container in the fridge for a few days.


This recipe is entirely my own.

Rosa Tapas | Bristol

Rosa Tapas | Bristol

Last week, I was lucky enough to visit Rosa Tapas situated in the heart of Bristol on Whiteladies road. I have been meaning to go for so long, for my love of tapas and because of how many people I have heard raving about it. I absolutely adore discovering new places to eat so as you can imagine, I was extremely eager to try Rosa out. I don’t go to Whiteladies very much, but always love going whenever I do. It is one of the main reasons that I love living in Bristol. There are so many different places to go, just minutes apart and they are all so different. Rosa fits into Bristol perfectly, with its unique brand and cosy interior. When we walked in it instantly felt warm and somewhere where you can easily relax and enjoy a good meal. It has a very romantic theme, with dim lights, candle settings and wood interiors, however without the cheesy addition that sometimes comes with this. The restaurant was buzzing, with people enjoying their Friday evening, good music and drinks in flow.

My favourite thing about the restaurant itself has to be the interior (obviously not to mention the food). It was so welcoming and it felt so nice to feel at ease the minute you step through the door.

Finn and I were made to feel welcome for the whole of our visit, and I must say the staff are a real credit to the Rosa brand. Not only were they friendly and attentive, but their knowledge and clear passion for the job completely shon through. Whenever trying somewhere knew, one of us usually does ask what they would recommend to try and particularly from a blogging view we try to get a variety of dishes to really experience what they have to offer. The lady who served us (I am SO sorry, I forgot to get your name!) was extremely helpful in helping us choose, not only recommending the dishes she enjoyed, but also the ones that the chef is the most proud of. It was an extremely personal service, whilst also being very chilled and easy to experience. From start to finish they were all incredible.


To drink, I obviously had to start with a cocktail, which unfortunately had to be my one and only because I was driving. I say unfortunately not only because I love a few drinks on the rare occasion that I am out on a Friday night, but also the cocktail I had was AMAZING! Obviously I had to go for the ‘Rosa’, which consisted of vodka, fresh passion fruit, limoncello, raspberries and thyme.  It was a cocktail with a punch and the perfect balance of flavour. The sweet fruit balanced out the sharp taste of spirit, whilst also managing to refrain from being too sweet and overpowering. I am extremely fussy when it comes to cocktails as I need them to be very balanced in flavours to enjoy them. This was more than perfect for me.

Tapas | small dishes of Spanish cuisine, traditionally served with drinks.


Hummus & Goats Cheese


I am the biggest goats cheese fan, so with Finn not being that fussed, this was all for me. The hummus was amazingly creamy and packed with flavour, which was incredible with the sharp salty taste from the goats cheese. To add texture, it was topped with chickpeas, dates and apricot. The dates and apricot did a great job of adding sweetness to the dish, as well as the variety of texture. Served with bread, this to me was the ideal start to a meal or as an accompaniment if you visited just for a drink in the day or evening.

Pork Tenderloin

To try a variation of the meat dishes, the pork tenderloin was my choice, served with green runner beans and mint. I don’t know about you, but I personally find pork the hardest meat of them all to cook, particularly chops. I always manage to overlook it as I worry I could poison someone by not doing it for long enough so it just lands up being chewy. Obviously, I don’t have the skills of the Rosa kitchen team, as this was everything that mine isn’t. The meat was deliciously tender, with beautiful juices and a perfect balance of sweet and saltiness. The beans were really nice for added crunch and a kick of vitamins.

Patatas Bravas | translated to ‘Spicy Potatoes’

My view is, how can anyone go for tapas and not order patatas bravas?  I think it is one of my favourite types of potato and if it is on the menu anywhere, I am ordering it. Rosa did a great job of nailing this Spanish classic. As it should be, the potatoes were crispy on the outside and perfectly fluffy in the middle, topped with the traditional aioli and tomato sauce. The aioli is a traditional sauce made with olive oil and garlic, then paired perfectly with a spicy tomato sauce. These little potatoes were packed with flavour and were everything I had hoped for out of the dish.

BBQ Rump Steak

For us both, this was the highlight of the tapas dishes and we are still both going on about how good it was. With us both being huge steak fans, this obviously was the first thing we knew we wanted to order. Cooked in the Rosa barbecue, the steak was served with some amazing puffed rice and gochujang. It was cooked to perfection, pink in the middle and a melt in your mouth texture. The addition of the crispy rice was such an amazing effect with the meat and was the ideal accompaniment to add a variety of texture to the dish. If we go back, I wouldn’t be surprised if Finn just orders himself three plates of this.

Black Pepper Squid

This dish was all for Finn as I cannot stand sea food. He is a big fan, so we ordered it for him to enjoy. Due to the fact that I can’t stand it, I left this part of the review to him as I wouldn’t even be able to tell you if it was good or bad. In his words he said it was amazing with an incredible warmth from the black pepper that perfectly complimented the squid. It was the perfect balance of texture and flavour, and Rosa managed to turn an ingredient that can often be bland into something very exciting with a huge kick of flavour.

BBQ Trout

I am a huge fan of Trout, however it is something that I just don’t eat very often. There is no particular reason for this other than I often forget about it. Trout is very similar to Salmon, however I would say a little denser in flavour. In Rosa, it was served with miso, spring onion and pickled cabbage. These are all things I would never have the enthusiasm to create at home, but all worked amazingly together.


 It was an amazing combination of a taste of the sea with a slight sourness from the cabbage and strong but mellow taste from the fish. The fish was also cooked to perfection, with slight crisp on the outside whilst still being pink in the middle. I cannot stand over cooked fish. I was a big fan of the dish and would love to try and recreate something similar at home.

That Dessert

To finish our meal, we had one of the most delicious desserts I have ever tasted. For me, having a huge sweet tooth, this was the star of the show and the cherry on top of a delicious meal. We actually chose to share our pudding, however if I had known that it would be that delicious I would never have agreed! So, it was a while chocolate and vanilla panna cotta with crunchy meringue type biscuits, apricots and pistachio. It was absolutely incredible and I would completely recommend that you go to Rosa simply to try this. It was the perfect balance of sweet, with a subtle sharpness from the apricots and mellow nuttiness from the pistachio. In terms of texture, everything contrasted each other exquisitely, with the creamy panna cotta, gentle crunch from the biscuits, and extra bite for the pistachio and soft apricot. Every component was mouth wateringly delicious, and really showed off the skills of the talented chefs in the kitchen of Rosa Tapas.


This blog post is in collaboration Rosa Tapas and Socialight App. However all views and opinions are my own.

Thank you so much to Socialight for the opportunity to review Rosa Tapas, and to the whole team at Rosa for the delicious food, amazing hospitality and wonderful evening. We will be back!

Broccoli Bake with Sweet Potato Fries

Broccoli Bake with Sweet Potato Fries

This is a recipe that I have been meaning to put on the blog for a while, but it always seems to get moved down the list because I am never sure if it is deemed interesting enough to share online. Particularly so, in the Summer when everyone seems to be eating salads. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good salad and definitely eat less in the Summer, however I do still get a craving for a proper meal at some point during the week. This recipe is very simple, easy to make and even something that you probably don’t need all the instructions, but I wanted to share it as I always enjoy making it and eat it a lot. As you can probably tell it stems from the traditional cauliflower cheese, simple swapping the vegetable for broccoli. In my view, even being a huge cauliflower cheese fan, I think broccoli actually works better as it is a match made in heaven with cheese. I often will eat this by itself, but I find if you do need some carbs and more to your meal, the addition of homemade sweet potato fries is perfect. They always seem so difficult to make, but I can assure you that they are beyond easy. I always add a slight kick to these, as it definitely compliments the flavouring in the bake well. This is a recipe that can be adapted for the seasons, probably more suited to winter most of the time. However, I do think the bake is delicious with a summery salad, and the ideal meal to eat whilst sat outside soaking up the sun which we are amazingly seeing in the UK.

I am a firm believer that your diet in Summer doesn’t have to change all that much. It is all about mixing up what you pair with certain dishes and the scenario in which that you are eating them.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 1 Hour

Skill: Easy

Serves: 4 people (2 of us over 2 nights!


2 Medium Broccolis // 1pint Whole Milk // 40g Butter // 40g Plain Flour // 400g Cheddar Cheese, grated // 1 Large Sweet Potato, peeled and cut into chip sizes // 1tbsp Paprika // ½ tsp Chilli Flakes // Olive Oil & Seasoning



Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees, 180 fan. Start by preparing the cheese sauce. In a medium sized saucepan on a medium, heat the butter until melted and bubbling. Add a little flour at a time, mixing thoroughly with a whisk. Once it is all added, start to add the milk gradually about 100ml at a time. Whisk in between so it is completely smooth. Turn the heat onto medium-low and let this bubble away until thick. Whilst it is simmering, boil the broccoli in a saucepan for about 6 to 7 minutes. By the time the broccoli is done, the cheese sauce should be too. Drain the broccoli and transfer to the dish that you wish to cook it in. Remove the sauce from the heat and add ¾ of the cheese, a little at a time. Season well, as well as a generous helping of salt onto the broccoli. Pour the sauce over and completely cover. With the remaining cheese, sprinkle evenly over the top. Pop in the oven, as this cooks for one hour.


In a baking tray, drizzle a little oil. Add the sweet potato fries and drizzle with more oil. Sprinkle over the paprika and chilli flakes and mix this all together thoroughly so every potato is covered. When the bake has been in the oven for 15 minutes, pop the fries in too, on the top shelf. These can now cook together for 45 minutes. The fries should be crispy, but still orange, and they bake should be golden and bubbling on the surface.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a minute or two. Serve together, with of without the addition of a few green leaves. Yum, yum, yum!

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Table&Chairs – Wilkos

Orange baking dish – Le Creuset


This recipe is my own.

The Ivy Brasserie, Clifton | Review

The Ivy Brasserie, Clifton | Review

Last week I was delighted to be invited to The Ivy brasserie in Clifton village to sample their evening menu, and a selection of their cocktails ready for Summer. It was the perfect opportunity to spend some quality time with my boyfriend, who was celebrating his birthday the next day. I know the Ivy well, having eaten there a few times before, In Clifton and in a few other locations, so as you can imagine I was very excited to visit again. I have spent most of my life around Clifton village, with my grandparents living a mere 10-minute drive away and working there for almost 2 years. I love the village, the cosy atmosphere and array of independent shops, with The Ivy fitting in extremely well in the central location. I used to actually visit the building before it was The Ivy, as my grandma used the bank. One thing I love about how they have restored it, is that they have kept the existent and traditional writing above the door, as a feature of the restaurant. You can’t miss it at all when you visit the restaurant.

The thing I love most about visiting The Ivy is how special you are made to feel in the restaurant. It has a very cosy and intimate atmosphere, that automatically relaxes you ready to enjoy your delicious meal.



The interior is beautiful, with high ceilings, navy and gold and beautiful flower displays dotted around. To me it is a very unusual design for Bristol, as it perfectly balances luxury and sophistication with casual and welcoming. The Ivy offers a range of food and drink throughout the day, starting with a delicious breakfast variety, which I myself have tried many times. The vegetarian breakfast is delicious.! Followed by lunch, and the new Afternoon Tea menu designed for Summer. I have seen a lot of blog posts written about this tea, so am definitely going to try and get there myself before Summer is over.  The selection of cakes and treats look sensational.

To start our evening off, we began with a drink. Naturally. When booking I was told how amazing the new selection of cocktails is and how a few of them have been created in the Clifton brasserie depending on the customer feedback and the endless imagination of the talented bar staff. The lovely waitress suggested the ‘Lavender Lady’ for me, as it has proven to be extremely popular with customers during the Summer. I love floral based products, however cannot stand when they are overpowering so was nervous about giving it a try. Finn had a delicious glass of Sauvignon, which would always be my choice if cocktails weren’t an option. On first glance, the ‘Lavender Lady’ blew me away with its subtle beauty and elegant appearance. We live in a world now where it would be very difficult to serve a cocktail without it having the wow factor appearance, and The Ivy have certainly played up to this role, ensuring that all their Instagram fanatic customers have something to share on their booming feeds.

So yes it was pretty, but also on its side was the mouth-watering delicious taste. I can definitely say that it is one of the best drinks I have ever had and will probably stay up there for a very long time. I do always say, as I learnt from watching a cooking programme a few years ago, that you know when a cocktail is good as you can’t taste any spirit. In this, I knew the alcohol was there, but it could barely be tasted against the soft and minimalistic flavours created by the lavender. It was incredibly smooth in texture and everything you look for in a cocktail on a girly night out, date night or in our case, birthday celebration.

On My Menu

Duck Liver Parfait with Brioche

I have been lucky enough to dine at the Ivy previously, so already knew about this starter from a prior visit. It was that good that I had to choose it again, and share my love for it here in the review. I have always been a big parfait fan, as it always signifies to me something a little more special that is guaranteed to make your taste buds tingle. The combination of the rich parfait, with a sweet glaze that consisted of pear and ginger with caramelised hazelnuts, was a real match made in heaven. Writing this out again and dwelling on the experience is seriously making my mouth water. Yum, yum, yum! There would be no other accompaniment for me than brioche bread, as it adds the perfect contrast in flavour, as well as texture. The soft bread with a rich parfait is always the ideal balance.

Something I find a lot when order parfait, or a pate dish, is that you always run out of bread as you receive a lot more of the main component of the dish. When I had finished my brioche, the waitress made a point of asking me if I would like some more. I declined purely because I knew how much more food I was about to devour, however the gesture was something that truly suggested the professionalism and thought process targeted at making the customer feel special, and also comfortable.

Smoked Haddock and Salmon Fishcake with a Poached Hens Egg and Pea Puree

That is quite a mouthful there, although I had to ensure that I included all components as there is very much a vital reason as to there being all the stated ingredients, and my surprise at how well they worked together. I am the biggest fan of eggs in the world, for their taste, nutritional value and versatility in the kitchen. Nevertheless, I am usually much less likely to pair them with anything on my plate for my evening meal. I wanted to try this, as I thought it would be a lighter meal, which is what I am craving so much now with this excruciatingly hot weather. The fishcake itself, is obviously potato based, but was by no means too heavy and the flavours combined with the smoky fish and light breadcrumbs were faultless.

Finn’s Menu

Smoked Salmon and Rye Bread

Smoked Salmon is always a simple choice for a starter, but in both our eyes, always a winner. Something I noticed instantly was that the quantity was perfect. I find in a lot of places it is either too much or too little, and with some bread, as a starter you want it to be just right. With a squeeze of lemon and paired with delicious rye bread, the starter was a little piece of heaven and something that you can’t really go wrong with.

Crab Linguine

I am not actually a fan of crab, but Finn had never tried it before so wanted to go for something different. The only thing I can say about it, is that it seemed to look extremely appetising and a very good portion size. It completely fitted in with the theme of The Ivy, in terms of colour and presentation. Finn really enjoyed the dish and said that it was utterly delicious.

It is pretty safe to say that after our meal we were both in complete food comas. The kind of coma where you wish you hadn’t done it, but at the same time, it was so delicious that we didn’t care at all!

To Finish…

Lastly, but absolutely not least, we went for The Ivy classic chocolate bomb. I have actually had this before, and could not wait to devour another one. As we had eaten so much, we chose to share, but to be honest, I probably should have tried to squeeze a whole one in! It is a delicious chocolate ball filled with ice cream, that melts when hot caramel is poured over it. It is just the most mouth wateringly delicious dessert and it is worth going just to eat the one thing! Also, in a funny way, even though it is incredibly rich, it is by no means stodgy or overpowering. The perfect balance between a light texture and a rich flavour.

*this blog post is in collaboration with The Ivy Clifton Brasserie, however all views and opinions are my own. Thank you so much to the whole team for giving us such an amazing experience. To see the whole menu and selection that The Ivy offer, click here. 

Below you can find the menu for the new Summer Afternoon Tea at The Ivy in Clifton.

Tomato, Mozzarella and Pesto Potatoes w/ Rocket, Pancetta and Lemon Salad

Tomato, Mozzarella and Pesto Potatoes w/ Rocket, Pancetta and Lemon Salad

Anyone else a complete pesto addict? I cannot get enough of it…if it is ever on the menu, I want to make a quick pasta or even a panini, that is always my go to ingredient, and I usually always have it in the fridge. It is so easy to use and goes with so many different ingredients. Anyway, that is obviously where this recipe came from. One of my favourite combinations ever is tomato, mozzarella and pesto. It is such a simple flavour, and really easy to put together. Jacket potatoes are also one of my favourite things, and for some reason I have been eating a lot of them recently. So naturally, two of my favourite combinations came together. To compliment this, I wanted to make more of a Summery salad. And when I think of Summery salad, I always then stray towards lemon. I mean I love lemon all year round, but in the Summer it is the perfect addition with pretty much everything. So this recipe really is something I love to eat, and as it is so easy to make, I have been making a lot! It is also very much a traditional recipe, but sort of twisted and made more in a less conventional way.

This recipe is a real labour of love. It consists of so many individual ingredients that I love, that really do come together beautifully. It is easy to make, and just something a little different, which we are always after when making food at home. Let’s be honest, it can sometime get a little repetitive.

Skill: Easy

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 1.25 hrs

Ingredients (for one):

*this recipe is kind of for one, however the salad is quite big and so is the potato, so really it probably would be enough for two!

1 Large Baking Potato // 2tbsp Green Pesto // 2 Medium Tomatoes, chopped // 1 Mozzarella Ball, cubed // Rocket for Two // 100g Pancetta // 1 Lemon // ¼ Full Cucumber, diced


Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees’ fan (220 normal). Place inserts in the potato and put in the oven once it is up to temperature. It needs to cook for an hour.

When the potato is around 15 minutes away from being cooked, you can start to prepare the other ingredients. In a bowl, mix thoroughly the tomatoes and pesto. Remove the potato from the oven. On a baking tray, place a large piece of foil flat. Put the potato on it and half it so you can put the mixture in the middle. Place the tomatoes and pesto in the middle topped with the mozzarella. I leave a little aside as it is really nice to have to cold in the salad. Pick the foil up around the edges and fold at the top so that it is all held together. Place back in the oven for 15 minutes.

To make the salad, place the rocket, cucumber and any leftover mozzarella in a bowl. In a small pan or frying pan, heat a little oil and cook the pancetta on a medium heat until crispy. Once cooked, pour all of it over the salad as well as the oil. Not the best thing for your heart, but it tastes good. Squeeze the lemon juice over and mix everything together.

Serve up!


This recipe is entirely my own.


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