Silly Yak – Review

I love sausage rolls. I have roll in  my surname and warm sausage rolls are one of those perfect Christmas treats or for family picnics like I had today. I’ve tried the ones from M&S before and they are really yum but nothing really beats a homemade sausage roll – fresh from the oven and made with your own two hands.

I’ve heard some amazing reviews of the Silly Yak gluten free pastry before but never had a chance to use it and happily found out that it was stocked within my local Tesco and for only £1.75 – I thought it was a really great price. I mean, that’s not too far off what normal chilled pastry costs for other big name brands. I have used frozen options previously but found that sometimes you have to overly plan and sometimes you just fancy a sausage roll!

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One tip that I read about was putting the pastry into the freezer for a few mins before rolling it out to keep it extra cold – the colder, the better for this one. You also need to really not overwork it as it will lose it’s puffiness when it cooks so you do need a plan of what you’re going to use it for before you start so you limit the amount of times you roll it out.

I made the decision to make basic sausage rolls to give it a try out properly. I split the pastry into two and kept one in the freezer whilst I worked using the other half. I also used Heck sausages, which are a massive favourite of mine and I have been for them for a good few years since they launched. The meat is of great quality and the taste is impeccable – not something you find every day.

Three sausages per half of pastry block sealed with a little bit of water and ready to go on the tray:
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Almost forgot to glaze them before they went in! But managed to get an egg wash on and these are the final product:

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I gave my non-gluten intolerant other half one to try and he thought they were great! Honestly, it’s the best sausage roll that I’ve tried since I’ve gone gluten-free. The pastry was really light and crispy and cooked really well. I then feed some to my family who couldn’t believe that they were ‘Anna friendly’!

I am definitely going to experiment some more with other pastry based recipes with these as it didn’t feel ‘gluten free’ and the price is really reasonable in comparison to other normal gluten-free products.

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My Simple Life

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I’ve made the decision to rebrand now as ‘My Simple Life’ – why? Because the focus on health and fitness has become just part of my everyday life, and if I’m honest, I want to natter about a little bit of everything and things that may not sit under the ‘Health and Fitness’ banner.

In no way have I decided to depart from living healthily and becoming more active but I live that life now and when I started this blog – it came from a place where that wasn’t part of my life and I was using this as an outlet to talk about the struggles and issues I was finding with it. I can’t really say that anymore. Some days being healthy is a struggle and sometimes fitting in exercise isn’t easy but that’s just part of my life – and I think there is so much more that I could write about!

The idea of ‘My Simple Life’ came about actually from talking to friends recently about our lives. In comparison to some of my friends and family, I’m not the most adventurous or the most spontaneous but I have what I call a simple life that I absolutely adore. For example, one of my sister’s at the moment is in Rio volunteering at the Olympics and another sister is on a road trip of the States – I’m quite happily pottering about in the ‘Shire!

Also, I’d like to talk more about living life gluten-free – I love finding fantastic new products and I love to rave about them when I can. And As you may have noticed, I’m getting married and actually I want to talk more about themes, the highs and lows and take you on the journey with me.

So here goes – Eat.Sweat.Smile.Repeat has been reborn as My Simple Life and I look forward to taking you on my new adventure.

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Body confidence

Amy Schumer

This picture of Amy Schumer pretty much sums up about how much I love her. There is a woman who is in the public eye who is not afraid to be who is, as in who she is as a woman whether that’s with or without her clothes on. This screams positive body confidence in one image.

Now, I’ve got some incredible girl friends who are all going through their own individual issues at the moment but we all seem to dealing with the same thing – we aren’t happy with our bodies and we are all dieting, in one form or another to get ourselves to where we want to be.

Body confidence is SUCH a personal thing. One friend of mine – who is ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL – like she has the ability to put on anything and it just looks so ‘put together’ whereas I seem to put on clothes and my body is like ‘WHAT ARE YOU DOING?’. But this friend of mine has just had a baby. It’s such a huge thing and you have to respect her and her body of being able to create not only one ridiculous cute baby but actually that her body has created it from scratch and now she has days where she isn’t happy.

For her, she’s now got bigger boobs and is like – what are these and why are they jiggling around?! As a woman of the bigger rack variety, mine seem to be move spontaneously and of their accord so it was really interesting to hear her talk about how it felt so unnatural to her. But it really put things in perspective for me – my boobs moving around as much as they do and how much I love my boobs sometimes for giving me the curves that I’ve got used to, just feels unnatural to someone else.

Another friend of mine has gone through a REALLY difficult time and is on the way out of this but with stress comes emotional eating (or not for some people) and I can really relate to that. When you’re down and stressed, you lean on the very loving bottle of red wine or bar of chocolate for support and it’s one of the reasons why I ended up being the size I was. But listening to her struggling to lose weight using MyFitnessPal is horrible when that isn’t working for her – because the theory and the education tells us that she should be losing weight but she isn’t.

Now, if I looked like either of these two friends then I would be PROUD – they are both BEAUTIFUL women and to be they are perfect but they don’t feel like that. This makes me sad and it’s such a thing about women today where we feel this need to be perfect (to a certain extent) and it’s something I’ve found with thinking about putting on a wedding dress at some point in the near future.
Another friend of mine has started to take up running, now she was NEVER a runner, started to make her feel better and she is totally smashing it but even she sometimes gets caught up in the calorie counting and stressing about why the weight isn’t coming off. I can’t preach to anyone as I’m very much on my journey still and there are days, including this morning, where I try on 70,000 tops as I think I look dreadful in everything but actually when I look in perspective – I’m doing alright.

I was asked recently about what I’ve learnt in my 20’s and I think the thing I’ve learnt most about is my own body confidence. I have a whacking great big pair of boobs and I’m actually becoming slightly proud of them. I have chunky ass thighs and calves but after a year of putting my butt into a decent fitness programme, these bad boys are now pretty solid with pure muscle. I don’t think I’m perfect but it’s appreciating what you have and realising that as long as you’re working towards a plan, then it will fall in place when you’re ready.

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Bringing structure back to my life

The excitement of the past few weeks has started to subside slightly and reality has kicked in that as exciting as a wedding is, it requires money – HELLO BUDGETING, and also, I want to make sure that I feel my best when it comes to the actual day. Something I’ve talked a lot about recently on other posts.

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This is where my own emotional relationship with food comes in, I’m a complete emotional eater – I’m tired, I eat. I’m hungover, I eat. I’m stressed, I eat. I’m happy, I eat. And that’s been the kick back for the past few weeks which has seen me drink, eat and be merry in a blissful land of engagement cloud nine land. I have been out to eat loads, I’ve drunk probably more Prosecco than I have ever drunk (counting the bottles this morning when putting them out for the bin man got to me like 10!) It’s been really wonderful celebrating with everyone and I couldn’t have asked for more excited family and friends about this whole process but reality has kicked in a bit more now and it’s time to knuckle down.

So, I’ve previously talked about on this blog about how I have found Weight Watchers too restrictive, and living in Points land, I can end up obsessing too much about the food I was putting into my body without enjoying it. I’ve started back at Weight Watchers – purely online though – to help kickstart back my diet and more importantly, a bit more structure into the way I eat. I’ve previously worked at Weight Watchers and to be honest, since I left, the approach has changed massively and actually the latest version is possibly the most holistic version they’ve ever had. Encouraging healthy living, eating lots of lean protein, vegetables and fruit with the right carbs and other elements can help you lose weight in the right way.

There are some elements that don’t sit perfectly with me, like you shouldn’t be using your FitPoints for food as they’ve not been created that way but once you’ve done a 60 minute bootcamp like I do twice a week, actually my body needs more energy to keep going.

Watching a few (when I say a few, I mean about 4 hours) episodes of Say Yes to The Dress over the weekend I watched so many women stress about their bodies going “I hate my arms”, “ I need my stomach to be flatter” or “I need to basically lose 50 pounds to feel good” and it hit home that I don’t want to feel like that at all. I know that trying on wedding dresses isn’t going to be a walk in the park for me anyway – there will be tears. I’m trying to think about making my body confidence NOT something that I’m worrying about.

This week is my first week back following the programme so we will see how I get on but it’s time to get my bum back into gear!

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Getting wedding ready

So as you may or may not know… I think I may have written a blog post about it here. I am now officially ENGAGED. It’s exciting and when I say exciting, I mean REALLY BLOODY EXCITING.

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This does mean though that I need to start the preparations for feeling my ultimate best on what is considered to be the best day of my life. And talking to my other half, that’s all I want – I just need to feel the best and that doesn’t mean being the tiniest person in the world or the most toned but I just want to feel like the best version of myself.

And I’ve been having a bit of think about things that I know that I CAN do which will help me feel that way.

  1. Diet & Nutrition

For me, it’s all about getting my healthy kick back up and started. I’ve taken a couple of weeks off being ‘good’ and allowed things like chocolate to slip back into my daily habits, and not worrying about what I’m putting into my body. That needs to stop so healthy kick back in – the snacking on chocolate is going to stop (daily that is!) and drinking more water.

I also have some matcha tea from the lovely guys over at EatClean so I will be bringing that to work to try and keep me on track as well. I think less coffee but more naturally derived caffeine hits may help clear up my skin and detox my system.

  1. Skincare routine

This is something that I have been desperately trying to get my head round for the past year or so and I think I’ve finally found my perfect match in Liz Earle. As you may have read previously, I tried a range from Balance Me which I really did love but found that some of the cleansing balms were slightly too heavyweight for my skin, and also I was using a skin oil as well, that I found possibly not the right fit. It is lovely but I need to use it sparingly when I’m having a really dried out day otherwise it causes my skin to feel very glaggy and for my make up to just slide RIGHT off.

  1. Bodycare

I’ve got better at this and it’s simply about giving yourself that extra bit of time in the morning & evening to yourself. Things like moisturising my legs and giving myself that bit of time to just give my skin what it needs will mean that over a pro longed period of time, I will actually see the benefits.

  1. Fitness

Finally, but not probably most importantly, my fitness. I have committed to doing two bootcamps a week along with an additional PT session. Now, these don’t work unless you actually commit to the nutrition as well. So here I am committing to myself that this time next year when I decide that I want to go and do proper dress shopping that I will feel the best that I can in where I am in my journey.

Anyone that has got married, had any great hints and tips on getting ready for the big day then I would ABSOLUTELY love to hear them!

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So I said…. YES

For my close friends and family, they have known that I have wanted to get married since the DAWN OF TIME. It’s been a constant source of hilarity and annoyance for everyone about whether or not my other half was ever going to propose. There have been taunts of ‘She’s not getting married until she’s 75’ and even ‘Every time she mentions it, I’m going to add another year onto when it will happen’.

Well, it happened. And I said yes. After crying for about 20 minutes.

The jist of the story is, we went on holiday with my grandparents sailing for a long weekend, and in a hotel garden overlooking the sea, he asked me the question and I genuinely was the most surprised I have ever been in my entire life. There was the man I loved holding out a FRIGGING gorgeous ring asking me to spend the rest of my life with him. Of course I said yes – he is frigging incredible and I couldn’t imagine spending my life without him.

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Here are a few things I have learnt about getting engaged:

Shock

  • If you really aren’t expecting it, then it will be the biggest shock of your life. As in I don’t think I have ever been speechless but it’s the only moment I truly have been.

Fog

  • It will take you a few days to get through what could be best described as a fog. There were tears, there was periods of being lost in thought and times when it all becomes just quite overwhelming but after a while the fog clears and IT’S REALLY EXCITING

Love

  • I have been truly and utter overwhelmed with ALL of the love we have been sent in forms of messages, phone calls, cards and social media messages. Everyone we know has come out to tell us how happy they are for us, how excited they are and they couldn’t think of a nicer couple for it to happen to. It’s lovely.

Excitement/Anxiety

  • That’s right – it is ALL very exciting until you realise that you know the WORLD and the guest list is quite daunting, you then start to panic about how to plan to feed everyone, make sure everyone has plenty to drink and what about the entertainment?! And the photos? And what it will look like? Is it going to be a field or in a fancy hotel? All I can is breathe. Honestly – it will all figure itself out and actually, the one thing I would recommend is giving yourself MORE than enough time to not freak out about and most importantly to save moolah for it.

 

Now for ALL of the planning but more importantly, feeling my best on my wedding day. I’m not going to go mental and start drinking just liquids but I may actually focus on my diet a lot more in terms of fuelling myself a bit better than I have done all week which seems to be mainly just Prosecco… Hey, you only get engaged once!

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Nutribix – Gluten Free Breakfast Dream

When I figured out that I was gluten intolerant, almost verging on 4 years ago now, I had to figure out new foods that I liked, what could I miss and what could I live without. It’s not easy. The dream I have of French baguettes with salted butter practically disappeared overnight and when I used to crave pizza on a hangover – the choices weren’t particularly appealing. Over the last 12-18 months, the gluten free market has done a complete u-turn with products filling up the shelves that really make you think twice about what you missed.

One of mine was Weetabix. As a child, my Mum used to feed me mushed up warm Weetabix with sugar or golden syrup on top as my true comfort breakfast – then going gluten free – no more warm Weetabix for me! I maybe not have that anymore but the options for breakfast were the ones I found the hardest, especially when going to hotels or staying at friend’s houses as the “awkward” one.

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You come to find out about these new products, mainly through Twitter and people RAVING about the latest and Nutribix was one of those that I’d heard loads about and I was determined to
get my hands on a packet to give them a go. This was about 6 months ago, and I’m now hooked.

Nutribix are created by some lovely people called the Life Health Foods UK, who currently only have two products in their range – the gluten free Nutribix that I know and love, along with another version called Gold & Grains that features wheat. BOO! J Gluten free Nutribix are created with a wonderful grain called Sorghum, which I had never heard about until this product came along. More information on their website states that “Sorghum is an ancient crop that has been growing in Africa for thousands of years, it contains fibre, iron, protein, vitamins and is low in fat. It is tasty and also completely gluten free

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I’ve found Nutribix to be the ultimate go-to breakfast cereal replacement (apart from my own homemade granola) and I adore it! Honestly, it’s currently on offer and I end up stocking up so the top of my fridge ends up looking like a supermarket!

My favourite go-to toppings at the moment is fresh milk with berries – in particular strawberries and blueberries. This is a gorgeous breakfast that is really low GI and full of goodness that keeps you going until lunchtime.

Can’t wait to see what these guys have up their sleeves for the future! Check them out here – www.nutribix.com

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Review: Friction Free Shaving

After seeing this product through a number of different beauty blogs, I thought I’d give them a go! Earlier in the year, I promised to be a bit of a better ‘girl’ – I’m not the best in terms of having the latest in make up trends or even having good routines for my skincare or body care. So, in light of that, I gave Friction Free Shaving a go.

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Friction Free Shaving is a subscription service whereby you pay a monthly fee to get a brand new set of razor blades hitting your doorstep so you have a fresh blade on a weekly basis. I never really thought much about this but actually, I realised I could be using an old disposable razor for a good couple of weeks, which I have to say I always knew wasn’t something I should be doing. There are a range of benefits to changing your razor blades more regularly than the erratic way I was doing it (normally when there was an offer on them in the shop!). Firstly, by using blades over and over again, you can find a build-up of bacteria within them and that’s not great for you or your skin. Secondly, blunt blades cause more irritation on your leg therefore bringing you out in those gorgeous red bumps that we all know and love(!)

This service has been designed to help women change their blade weekly and therefore prevent these issues in the future.

They have three options:

  • Faye – 2 blade head for £3 per month
  • Frankie – 3 blade head for £5 per month
  • Samantha – 5 blade head for £7 per month

On your first order you get the razor, and all of their razor bodies are all metal, making them feel really premium. They come in a small package that fits through your letter box so really you don’t have to think about buying them at the supermarket as they drop through the post every month!

I’ve found that I need to keep on top of making sure my legs are clean and bare with upping the amount of time I spend in the gym and at bootcamp – and no one wants to see the jungle on your legs. I decided to go with the Samantha and I haven’t looked back. I’m on my third box and I can’t imagine buying another razor. The blades are of such a good quality, the look and feel of the razor is of such a high standard and the price is SO affordable. Because you’re not paying for a brand, the overheads for having space on the supermarket shelf, you get a really high quality product at a really great price.

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If you’re like me and are sometimes forgetful and wonder why when using a slightly old razor, your legs look like something out of the chainsaw massacre – I would really recommend these guys. For a small British born company, I really love the idea!

Check it out here – www.ffs.com

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Sometimes you need to take a break

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We are all manic individuals. There is not one of my friends that when I ask them says “Yeah, I’m really chilled out at the moment” –  everyone is “Busy.” I think it happens when you get older, you end up having more things to be responsible for  – whether that be for the house that you need to clean, the children you have to manage or just living life trying to find a balance between work, social life and just a bit of ‘me’ time.

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Interview with Lucy Edwards – Paddle Pedal Pace

PPP1Lucy Edwards, previously of Lucy Lunges, and after a sparkly new rebrand is now the editor of Paddle, Pedal, Pace! Her recent rebrand has happened after understanding where her real passion lies – which is triathlons. Lucy has been someone I’ve followed for quite a while and find her story to be really inspirational. I’ll let you find out more about her for yourself below…

Tell us more about you and your blog
My blog is called Paddle, Pedal, Pace and is primarily focused on sports, fitness and outdoor activities. I share race reports, tips, product reviews and my personal experiences of training for triathlons. I’ve been writing my blog for almost three years and it has evolved over time as I’ve been on my fitness journey. I started out going to group exercise classes at the gym, but this has developing into a love of swimming, cycling and running outdoors. I hope that it is an inspiration to anyone considering getting fit or trying something new for the first time.

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