Friday, 29 August 2014

Healthy Dinner Idea - Baked Sweet Potato & Quinoa Salad

Orange-fleshed baked sweet potato with a cucumber quinoa salad
Orange-fleshed baked sweet potato with a cucumber quinoa salad

White-fleshed baked sweet potato with a peas & sweetcorn quinoa salad
White-fleshed baked sweet potato with a peas & sweetcorn quinoa salad

I always find dinner the most difficult meal of the day even though I probably enjoy dinner more than any other meal. Trying to think of dinner ideas is one thing but trying to think of healthy dinner ideas makes it that little bit harder. However, one of my favourite meals to have for dinner is sweet potato with quinoa salad and it's my go-to meal on days where I have no idea what to eat. It's simple, delicious, and so good for you. Also suitable for vegetarians and vegans. So, following on from my healthy breakfast idea post, I'm bringing you a healthy dinner post today.

You'll need one sweet potato, I tend to go for the orange-fleshed variety where possible as they contain more nutrients and they're also sweeter. You'll also need some quinoa, and a choice of vegetables to mix in with it.

I purchase my quinoa from Morrison's Wholefoods section but you can get it from a number of supermarkets and health stores. Quinoa has fast become one of my favourite things to eat because it tastes good, it's filling, it's a complete protein, and it's good for you.

Step one. Set your oven to 200 degrees. Wash and scrub your sweet potato under a running tap and, using a knife, pierce holes all over the sweet potato. Place it on a baking tray that has been covered with a sheet of foil.

Step two. Place your sweet potato into the oven to bake. This needs to bake for approximately 40-45 minutes but you'll need to head back into the kitchen before that time is up to cook your quinoa. Time it right and you'll get the sweet satisfaction of all parts of your dinner being ready at the same time.... ahhh.... bliss...

Step three. Once your sweet potato has been in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, it's time to make your quinoa. Boil a kettle of water and measure out your quinoa. I usually use an amount equating to about half a cup (about one handful) but you may want to experiment with this a bit to see what suits you. More is better than less as you can keep it in the fridge for the next day. Half a cup may not seem like much but quinoa expands when cooked. 

Step four. Boil your quinoa in a pot over the stove. The amount of water you use should be approximately double the amount of quinoa you've used but you may need a bit more water if your pot is wide. Put the lid on and let it simmer. Leave it to simmer for approximately 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to stop it from sticking. Feel free to add pepper or any other flavours at this point. Cooked quinoa should be light and fluffy, you should also see that the "tails" have come off too.

TIP: If it looks like it's burning and drying out before it's cooked, add more water. If it looks like it's almost cooked but there's still too much water left, turn up the heat and take off the lid so that the water can escape via steam. It'll be gone in no time. 

Step five. Pour out your quinoa onto a bowl or plate and fluff it up using a fork. At this point, you may want to cut up some vegetables to mix in with it. My favourite choice has got to be peas and sweetcorn, but I often add cucumber instead as I always have some in the fridge!

Step six. At this point, your sweet potato should be done! Take it out of the oven and cut it up into slices. I do this so that it's not boiling hot when I cut into it to eat. 

TIP: You can also cut this up into chunks and mix it in with the quinoa salad. 

So, there you have it! A delicious and healthy dinner idea. Make sure you let me know if you try this out. You can tweet me @IAmLinderella.

Happy cooking!

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

I Have A Mini Cactus

I went to some beautiful gardens the other month and spent a good few hours admiring how beautiful all the plants and flowers were. It's possibly one of the few things that does make me miss summer a little. Technically, it's still summer but the sun seems to have made an early escape this year. 

I saw some amazing giant cactuses and whilst I'd love to have a garden full of beautiful plants, it's not really practical at the moment so. upon leaving the gardens, I decided to explore their garden shop and I picked up a mini cactus. There were so many but this was definitely the cutest. The spines are actually more fluffy than spiky too.

It's amazing how a little plant in my bedroom can cheer me up in the mornings. It's taken pride of place on my windowsill and it's such a welcome addition to my room.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Review: MeMeMe - Coral Blossom Cheek & Lip Tint

MeMeMe Coral Tint

I was first introduced to MeMeMe many years ago when I had a voucher which offered a discount for the MeMeMe Cherub's Blush Tint, although it may have been called something else back then. It was the one that looked similar to Benefit's Benetint but was much more affordable! By the looks of things, MeMeMe has grown so much since then and their packaging has changed a bit too

One of their newest additions is the Coral Blossom Cheek & Lip Tint*, kindly sent to me from MeMeMe. Ideal for adding some colour to your cheeks and lips, this is easy to blend and use.

When I first opened the product, I thought that the colour would be quite strong and that the formula would be thick but it's actually the complete opposite. The colour is quite sheer and would best suit those with pale skin tones to give a natural flush of colour. The lightness of the colour may be down to the fact that the formula is also really light, it almost feels watery.

This tint looks completely natural and gives a nice peachy flush of colour to the cheeks and looks a little like a gel blush. However, if your skin isn't fair/pale, you may be better off going for their Cherub's Blush Tint instead.

You can also use this on your lips but I prefer not to because I don't feel like this fomula sinks into the lips as well as their Cherub's Blush Tint does. All the tints at MeMeMe are among their best-selling products and you can get yours from their website for £5.50.

Are you a fan of MeMeMe cheek tints?

Friday, 22 August 2014

Autumn Is Coming

I am so excited that Autumn is almost upon us. It's been getting chillier lately and it's put a huge smile on my face. Sorry to anyone out there who worships the warm heat of the summer sun but I'm very much a jumpers and scarves kind of girl. I've spent most of summer trying to battle with my sensitivity to the heat and to find clothes to wear that cover me up without heating me up. I'm most happy when I'm snuggled in layers of soft fabric. Plus, there's something really relaxing about wrapping up in the evening and taking a long walk through the pretty streets that are lit up with lights, even the lights from apartment and office windows can look magical. The above photo was taken in London last Autumn. You can actually still see the clouds too which I think is pretty cool.

Autumn. Bring it on.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Chatterbox Walls - Personalised Print

I can't get enough of things that have been personalised, it's like adding that extra bit of magic to a product. If I could have everything custom made then I would definitely do it, although I'm not sure my bank balance would be looking too healthy afterwards...

I was recently sent the Original Likes Print* from Chatterbox Walls, a company that produces personalised artistic prints. They have so many different designs and sizes that there's got to be something on their website that takes your fancy.

Posters and prints are something that I never really saw the point of up until a few years ago when I went to my first poster sale and bought far too many of them. From that day onwards, I don't think my walls have ever been poster-free, there's always at least one up. Other than this one, I currently have an orange poster on my wall that says "Keep calm and buy shoes". I'm actually not even sure why I purchased it since I'm not really a "shoe person".

At least my new Chatterbox Walls print is a lot more relevant to me and makes more sense to have in my room. I chose this print as I loved the fact that I could fill it with information about all the things that make me happy, and perhaps it also acts as a reminder on bad days that there are actually things that I love. There are many colour variations to choose from and I was torn between a few but opted for "Cup Cake" in the end because I liked the pretty pastels.

It's printed on high quality satin paper and I'm pleased to say that it's also UV-resistant so it prevents fading. There are four different sizes to choose from and mine is Small which is A4 size. I'm always a bit uncertain about A4 posters as I feel that if it's simple and A4 size then I could probably make it myself. Perhaps I'm just being presumptuous...

I really like this print and it's taken pride of place on the front of my wardrobe. For months I've been tying various ribbons onto my wardrobe handles to jazz it up a bit so at least now I have something colourful on there. The size of it is actually perfect for the purpose of my wardrobe but if you're looking to stick one up on your wall, I highly recommend going for one of the larger sizes. Seriously, large prints look amazing!

I'll definitely be re-visiting Chatterbox Walls at some point, even if it's just to get this poster enlarged but I have a feeling I'll also be purchasing some for my friends. It would make such a great gift and there are so many different designs available. You can even personalise your own "Keep Calm" poster which is great if the poster people haven't yet printed one that suits your tastes.

This print starts at £14.99 and there is also the option to purchase a frame with it which I think would look quite good if you went for the Small sized print.

Will you be visiting Chatterbox Walls for a personalised print?

Friday, 15 August 2014

Some Animals & A Picnic

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to take advantage of the sunshine and head out for a day at the zoo. Ah, who am I kidding? I deliberately chose that day because it wasn't that sunny. I don't deal well with heat...

I went with a friend and, as we both love the zoo but hadn't been to Twycross before, it was confirmed as our next destination! Don't worry, I won't bombard you with all the photos of my day out but here are the best bits!

I was most excited to see the meerkats so I was thrilled to see them as soon as we entered the zoo. Meerkats make me want to squeal because they're so darn cute!! They're so small and adorable, I just wanted to take one of them with me. There were a few baby meerkats too which was double cute!

We watched the apes get fed some lunch and I love this photo because it reminds me of how closely related they are to us. It's easy to forget about that when they're walking around slouched over and pretty much walking using both their hands and feet, but when this one started walking around just on its legs whilst munching on fruit, I thought "they're just like us!".

Can't forget to stay hydrated! I love coconut water as it tastes so good and really quenches my thirst. This is from a brand called Foco. I believe they're made exclusively using young green coconuts. This one also has added mango which was really nice. I definitely prefer this over Vita Coco, it just tastes that little bit more refreshing and natural.

Then it was picnic time! I bought this picnic basket last year and had only used it once prior to the zoo, and that was in my garden... It's great as it comes complete with plates, cutlery, glasses, napkins, and salt & pepper shakers. The print is lovely too and it all closes up securely with the red straps. This picnic basket is from BHS which I managed to find on the website even though I got this last year and it's also down from £50 to £20! However, it looks like it sold out since I started writing this post but I'll leave the link here anyway, just in case you want to check.

I haven't eaten potato crisps for so long and I had no intention to but I wasn't the one who packed the picnic! Turns out, I couldn't resist some Tyrell's, well, I say "some" but it was more like "a lot", oops... I forgot how good they tasted, they remind me of Kettle chips which one of my friends from university got me hooked on.

The rest of the picnic was pretty healthy though so, of course, there was a lot of juicy fruit to be devoured. I also had a healthy wrap and some breadsticks. We also made some pineapple & cheese sticks which tasted so good!!! Who would have thought that pineapple and cheese made such a great pairing?!

I've been to so many butterfly farms that I always brace myself for the makeshift sauna that these pretty butterflies reside in. Although the morning wasn't that warm, by the time we'd finished our picnic, I felt like the temperature had increased by about 10 degrees, so it made going into the butterfly farm feel that little bit more unbearable. The butterflies were beautiful but we didn't hang around in there for too long. 

Pet farm! I couldn't believe that they had a pet farm there. I won't show you twenty odd photos of bunnies and guinea pigs but here's a goat for you!

Just before we left, we gave the alpacas one last visit. They were such funny creatures. There were actually two of them, the other one kept chasing this one round and round. It was like they were playing a really short game over and over again.

I had such an amazing day out and I highly recommend watching some of the animal feeds as well. I watched the meerkat one which was so adorable, and also the elephant one which involved a power walk around the enclosure because we didn't realise that the feed was taking place on the other side from where we were waiting! It was good exercise though!

Do you like the zoo?
Have you been to Twycross Zoo?

Monday, 11 August 2014

Dunelm Lust List

Something that I'm really into but have rarely, if ever, mentioned on my blog is homeware. I used to think that homeware was a little dull and something for older people who had settled down with a family etc but I've now realised that there is so much amazing stuff out there - why have I not seen any of it before?! From cute cushions to glass jars to mini storage displays, I could spend hours just browsing through it all. One of the places that I love when it comes to homeware is Dunelm so today I've compiled my favourite things from their website. Take a look!

Dunelm Mill Wish List

1. Nesting Tins - These are so adorable and would be perfect for storing things like quinoa, pasta, sugar etc. Who wants boring looking tins in the kitchen when you can have these?

2. Mini Heart Drawers - I'm really into anything minature and I think these drawers would look great in any bedroom.

3. Small Glass Jar - I've recently developed a love for glass jars. I'm not entirely sure what I'd use this for but I know I'd have it out in display. I reckon it would look so cute filled with origami stars.

4. Vintage Bikes Cushion - I used to cycle loads when I was younger but unfortunately I don't anymore as I don't really live in a cycle-friendly area. I'd love to get a Pashley bike at some point but until then, this cushion will fill that empty cycling spot in my life...

5. Pink Stand Mixer - Anyone who reads my blog regularly will know my love of baking and, surprisingly, I actually don't own an electric stand mixer. I usually opt for the good old fashioned bowl and wooden spoon, or I sometimes get the electric whisk out. A standing mixer is usually better though if you're making something like macarons.

6. Perpetual Calendar - I've always wanted one of these because it means I can pop it on my desk, it'll look nice, and I won't even need to buy a calendar. Plus, it's just one of those things that, for me, completes a desk.

7. Tumbler Glass - My love of all things glass continues but this time, I actually have a practical use for it. I really like the design with the overlapping hearts. It looks really elegant and I definitely wouldn't be embarrassed to take these out for special guests.

8. Wooden Beauty Box - If you're someone who stocks up on loads of bath bombs, face masks, and anything else pamper-related then this is the box for you. If you're into the whole vintage and shabby chic thing, this would look lovely in the bathroom. You could even pop it on your desk for storing all your skincare products and cosmetics.

9. Printed Storage Boxes - I spotted something similar on another website ages ago but it was sold out so I was pretty pleased to find something even better on Dunelm Mill's website. They may look like books but they're actually storage boxes to stash all your favourite things. How pretty would this look on display in the living room? I'm very tempted...

Do you shop at Dunelm?

Friday, 8 August 2014

Healthier Snacking

I've been trying hard to be more healthy recently and to get into a proper exercising regime again. Trust me, once you stick to it for a few weeks, it starts to become second nature. It can be hard to resist snacking sometimes so I've compiled a list of things that I like to snack on. I can't guarantee that these are completely healthy, but they are healthier alternatives to typical snack foods. These have helped me a lot so I hope they're useful to someone else too.

Fresh fruit - This is the blindingly obvious choice of snack if you're trying to be healthy. It goes towards your 5-a-day, you get plenty of Vitamin C, and it hydrates you too. You're more likely to eat fruit if it's easily accessible and quick. I like fruit such as raspberries because you can just grab a handful and go. Plums are also a great choice because they're soft and easy to cut up.

Dried fruit - If fresh fruit isn't your thing, how about the dried version? Dried fruit is a great alternative to fresh fruit as they're easy to just pour into a bowl and eat without worrying about seeds etc. They're also cheaper too. Avoid the ones that are coated in sugar or yoghurt though, and eat things like banana chips in moderation.

Pops - If you can't give up the great taste of Walker's, opt for the pops version rather than the crisps. Although I wouldn't recommend eating them too often, they're much better for you at 84 calories per bag. They taste delicious and are packed full of flavour.

Kale Crisps - The vast majority of people who are into healthy eating will have heard of kale crisps. Kale is known as a superfood packed with nutrients that are great for you. I initially tried a brand called rawLicious which I really didn't like because they put way too much pepper in it and it wasn't even crispy, I wasn't too impressed. These, however, from PrĂȘt are so good!! They're crispy and are really flavoursome, I just wish I could buy a whole box of them from the supermarket.

Beetroot Crisps - This may be something that you haven't heard of. With the exception of Morrison's, I haven't seen anyone else selling beetroot crisps. These are so tasty and so crispy. At only 62 calories a bag, these are healthy and nutritious. If you like beetroot, try these out! If you don't, then perhaps these aren't for you because the flavour really comes through.

Rice cakes - Without a doubt, plain rice cakes are best, but if you want a little flavour, you can also get a selection of sweet and savoury rice cakes which aren't too bad either. This one is a popcorn flavoured one from Morrison's. I love snacking on plain ones though and topping it with low fat cheese spread and pumpkin seeds.

Do you like any of these snacks?

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Scarf World

When it comes to fashion, scarves are my number one accessory and this is probably why I like winter so much! It's been way too warm lately to be wearing scarves but I do have an ultra thin silk scarf that I've been wearing to death these past few months. 

I was recently sent a couple of scarves from to feature on my blog, so you can imagine my excitement at adding more scarves to my wardrobe! Scarf World offer a selection of scarves and pashminas from around the world including both winter and summer scarves, perfect for someone like me who would happily wear scarves all year round.

Navy Ruffle Scarf* - Scarf World
Lace top with collar (old) - Tesco

This was the one that I wasn't too sure about to begin with but once I tried it on I loved it. The ruffles sit so nicely on the shoulders and almost looks like a little shawl, it's so simple but so stylish. I know this will look great with my trench coat this Winter. Gosh, I'm thinking about Winter already, anyone else really bored of the heat? I guess it has cooled down over the last few days though.

Cream Fashion Scarf* - Scarf World
Leather sleeve dress - ASOS

This is a great scarf for teaming with dresses or for wearing in the evenings. The gold lurex stripe adds a little bit of glamour and sparkle whilst the cream looks elegant against it. I feel this image doesn't do this scarf justice as it really is so gorgeous and looks really luxurious.

Vintage Rose Triangle Scarf* - Scarf World
Boyfriend Tee - Debenhams

This one caught my eye because I really like triangle scarves. I like how they are shaped, it gives a little structure to my outfits. I'm not crazy on wearing pinks but I like how subtle this shade is and I'm in love with the adorable rose pattern. I own a scarf very similar to this but the roses are made from a faux fur which feels considerably heavier than this so this is definitely more for the slightly warmer days.

Soon enough, I'm going to need a brand new wardrobe just for scarves. I actually showed someone these scarves the other day and they said "How many more scarves do you need?".

A girl can never have too many scarves, right?

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Don't Wait For Tomorrow

In the wake of all the airliner tragedies last month, it got me thinking about how precious time is and how we should  never take for granted each minute we have with those around us and those we care about. 

If you've had an argument with them, resolve it.

If you love them, tell them.

If they've upset you, forgive them.

If you've upset them, say you're sorry.

If you're away from them, tell them you miss them.

If you don't want to leave them, stay.

If they're no longer adding value to your life, don't be afraid to walk away.

Life can be short, treasure every moment you have with those closest to you and don't waste time tolerating those who don't deserve to have you around. New clothes, getting that big promotion, luxury holidays, the latest gadgets etc... All of that is so irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. It's people and the time you spend with them that truly matters. The only certainty is here and now. Show those closest to you how much they mean to you.

Don't wait for tomorrow.