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Brunching in Covent Garden, London

My fave meal of the day, it’s breakfast and lunch combined into one. This means it’s perfectly acceptable to eat twice as much plus if you think about it, it’s economically smart as you actually save money by combining two meals, right? Add to this the Bloody Mary’s and tall glasses of fizz then brunch got me like, we are on to a winner. So what to do on a gloomy cold Saturday in London…why not have brunch with the girls.

I find that all life’s problems are sorted out over brunch, it’s catch-up time. Is Sandra at work still annoying you, how is your diet going, how on earth do you go to the gym before work and has anyone tried Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Cream yet? These round the table gems are real caring and sharing items of discussion amongst friends. The caring even continued as the fizz circled the table. There were no Dry January taunts, just words of encouragement (love you ladies). The whole time I am thinking ‘Just sit on your hands Nic’ as it was all to easy to snatch a glass and potentially inhale it. Just two more days remaining, I can do this! Thank you to everyone who has been kind enough to sponsor me so far, little ole me has managed to raise £329.02 (to be precise). I really do appreciate your support and it is for an awesome cause. It hasn’t been easy I won’t lie but using brunch as an example, it is usually either a cure for a hangover or is the lead up to one so I have to admit, it was nice to be in neither position so it isn’t all bad.

This weekend, Balthazar, Covent Garden was our chosen venue.

The popular cobbled-stoned hip atmosphere in Covent Garden seeps into the restaurant. It’s bustling yet sprightly with well-timed service throughout. They also don’t scrimp on the portions, a generous serving at an affordable price is a big tick for me. Even our little lady was impressed as she placed her order…she is learning early.

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Full English Breakfast £15.50

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Sides: Sprouts and Chestnuts £5.00

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Scrambled Eggs and Cornish Crab with Balthazar sourdough and creme fraiche £11.50

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Sides: Onion Rings £5.00

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Avocado on toast with poached eggs served on Balthazar sourdough toast with a tomato salsa £12.50

6 REASONS TO LOVE BRUNCH

  • It’s unobjectionable to start drinking fizz at 11am.
  • You forget what time it is, no-one rushes brunch.
  • Brunch is like therapy for a fraction of the price!
  • It makes you feel glamorous.
  • Savoury and sweet are supposed to be together.
  • And the best one…no washing up!

So no excuses, schedule your next brunch date, I am scouring places as we speak. All suggestions welcome!

N x

Thankyou heaps for reading my blog, I really appreciate it. Please feel free to leave a comment or to share with your friends.

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How Gratitude Can Change Your Life

According to the English Oxford Dictionary the definition of gratitude is ‘The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.’

Being grateful can completely transform your life, it can change a really shit day into an awesome day. It can shift your focus from what is missing in your life to what is already present. The result of this is happiness and having inner peace. I reckon that’s something we all want in our lives right?!

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Photo Cred: Roman Kraft

My daily routine includes thinking of three things which I am grateful for. I’ve got to be honest, they range from the wackiest to the simplest of things. I thought about what I am thankful for this week and noticed a theme. I seem to like mornings. A bit of a revelation for someone who literally drags herself out of bed to get to the gym before work but none the less I seem to like the start of my day. I’m an organised person, enjoy a routine and if all runs smoothly so I can leave the apartment on time then all is good in the world. I realised I have a grave determination that each day should be a day to remember. A recent family death smacked me in the face with that vigorous reminder to love every second of my life and I now mean business.

I must admit I thought I was more grateful of my mornings at weekends. You know, not having to get up early for work, not having to lay out my clothes (organisation at its best) or make my lunch (weight watcher craze) and literally having two whole days off to do whatever I wanted. But on reflection it seemed apparent that I was also immensely grateful for the weekday mornings. Let me explain…

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Photo Cred: Morre Christophe

THE WORKING WEEK

Monday to Friday for me means early alarm clocks (I am one of those who needs multiple snoozes as I am actually full of intentions of getting up earlier and enjoying being at home before heading off to work), making that first cuppa of the day (I literally do not do anything until that is in my hand) and then beautifying myself to head out the door. This hasty sunrise routine means that when I step foot in the office I have lost a couple of hours without even realising. So this week I put a stop to it and called out the things which I am grateful for:

  • My bed – the moment the alarm goes off I instantly fall in love with it! It’s a velcro moment when I feel I can’t move, I am stuck and therefore need at least 5 more minutes to snooze!
  • My masala tea – it’s my 7am hug in a mug. It slowly drip feeds me caffeine whilst I get ready. I enjoy it and think that if I couldn’t have this because of a power cut or god forbid I ran out of teabags then we have an issue. So gratitude #2 – tick.
  • My TV – I know we are discouraged from social media and electrical devices first thing in the morning and I do that to a certain extent but it’s been a godsend this week as the news warned me of train delays which impacted my commute.

 

Photo Cred: Brooke Lark

THE WEEKEND

Ok this is going to sound weird but I just LOVE setting my alarm to wake me super early at weekends. I know I know, what happened to the lie in?! Hear me out, this is why I’m grateful for this early start:

  • I enjoy making my masala tea and doing a big fat HA because I don’t have to do the work day morning routine. That alone is something to be grateful for!
  • I don’t have to get dressed nor do I have to go anywhere. I can relax on the sofa in my PJs for as long as I like. I can catch up on my favourite blogs, schedule my own blogs and actually enjoy my sofa as the sun comes up instead of not even noticing I have a sofa on a weekday morning!
  • For some reason waking up early helps me feel more energised, more optimistic about the day ahead as I’m not wasting the morning away sleeping. I know that if I am attacked by the zzzz’s in the afternoon then a nanna nap it is!

Each and every one of us has something to be grateful for, it can be for having a person in your life, for a material possession you feel lucky to own, to have a job, to have a home, the list really is endless but acknowledging the appreciation for these really can help change your life. Your outlook is different, you feel happier thinking of what you currently have rather than what you don’t have.

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Photo Cred: Luca Upper

Being grateful even boosts self-worth. When you reflect on what others may have done for you, what your achievements are, what you have overcome, how does it make you feel? It makes you feel good right? This is because it has boosted your confidence, it creates inner joy. What a feeling…don’t you want to feel like this every day?

You can. By thinking of three things to be grateful for every day. Try it, it will change your life.

N x

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Why You Should NOT Go On A Diet

“Don’t you dare touch that pasta!”

“Put those crisps back right now!”

“How many smartpoints are in a Double Decker?”

Is it just me or are those voices in your head too when you decide to go on a ‘diet’ and oh man, diets are tough nuts to crack. In an effort to not succumb to the winter blues and becoming a couch potato I decided action must be taken. I am back in the gym and loving every minute of it, I mean who doesn’t love smashing out some feel-good tunes on a treadmill followed by a hot and steamy sauna? And that is before I have even stepped foot in the office. Yes amen sisters I have been getting up in the middle of the night to get the 10k steps in so I can chill in the evenings.

Years ago I joined Weight Watchers. It kept me trim, focused, comfortable in a nice little dress size which for me is important as I am frequently called a Hobbit and in recent years an Ewok (?!) so any weight I put on adds to the hilarity of my nicknames. What was great about Weight Watchers is that it became a way of life, I had mastered it. I knew what I could eat and what I should back away from, what gave me more energy and how to balance any naughty cravings with exercise. There was of course no need to attend the dreaded weigh-in, I was disciplined…until I returned to the UK from Singapore!

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Photo Cred: Katerina Pavlickova

Since I moved to the UK a few months ago (I can’t believe how time flies!), I have unfortunately rekindled my love for hearty soups (which is fine) but what isn’t fine is the absolute non-negotiable desire to accompany it with crusty bread and butter! My other new found love is awesome chunky doorstopper sandwiches (for some reason I could never find a decent sandwich in Singapore). So deja-vu, the journey begins all over again and that weigh day dread has returned. That dread however is fuelled by sincere determination. I don’t want to feel like I have failed and I want to see real results after working so hard to stick to the plan and exercise as much as I can. Plus exercise is an endorphin pill right there!

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Photo Cred: Brooke Lark

I may be a little controversial here but although I have joined Weight Watchers, it’s not a diet. Not to me anyway. It’s the same with any slimming club. They provide the tools for you to have a new way of life and a new thought process about healthier living. In my opinion, the word ‘diet’ is negative, it suggests that if you stop you will regain all of those awesome lbs you lost, so what’s the point? Just change your lifestyle, all the slimming clubs and diets out there provide you with the tools and help you in the lifestyle change journey. They encourage the exercise, the wellbeing, the mindset and the rest is down to you. Sounds like common sense right? But here’s an example of how mindset can be changed. I made a massive faux pas the other evening at home by suggesting that for dinner we could have Chicken Chasseur ‘Weight Watcher style’ and immediately the reaction (I could tell by his face) was that he just wasn’t eating it. It was rabbit food. When in actual fact it was chicken, tinned tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, carrots, tomato puree, rice, stock and a healthy alternative to garlic bread! You know, just normal food. And guess what, he liked it. Ker-ching!

THE Chicken Chasseur!


Slimming clubs can sometimes get a raw deal in this sense but the key is to remember that you don’t have to only stick to the recipes your slimming club suggest, you can eat what you like as long as you adapt it to healthier alternatives and substitute if required, but it does not limit you.

Weight Watchers: St Botolphs Church Centre, Bishopsgate, London


I have just completed week two of my weigh in, I would like to lose a stone, 14 lbs or 6.35kgs, whichever conversion you use. I have lost 3lbs so far. Did you know that’s the weight of an average human brain?! I was disappointed that I hadn’t lost more as I have been so good but when you can equate it to something like that you actually feel quite proud.

Photo Cred: Elizabeth Lies

So what I am saying here is don’t diet, just change your lifestyle. If it’s crisps you fancy, have crisps. And if you desire there are heaps of less heavy taties out there and options to give you the same texture and flavour you seek. And make sure you are changing your lifestyle because you want to eat healthier, be more active and have heaps more energy not because you want to look like you may fall down a grid.

MY FIVE REASONS FOR NOT GOING ON A DIET:

  • Diets do NOT help you maintain weight loss in the long term.
  • You feel restricted. You are told you can’t eat certain things so guess what, you binge and crave. That’s no fun and then the guilt sets in.
  • You ALWAYS feel hungry and then feel miserable because you want crisps and you can’t have them.
  • What happens when the diet ends? The likelihood is you put the weight back on and then the cycle starts all over again.
  • They can actually be harmful, starving your body is not a good thing!

Good luck if you are on a similar journey to me and remember if you want cake…have cake!

N x

Thankyou heaps for reading my blog, I really appreciate it. Please feel free to leave a comment or to share with your friends.

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