A Weekend in Brussels

FullSizeRender(1)Ok, so perhaps this weekend getaway was not exactly filled with healthy choices, but it most definitely was full of delicious food. This was my second time in Brussels, and I do not doubt that I will go back there for a third time soon. It is a beautiful and energetic city, full of yummy treats on every corner.

FullSizeRender(2)First and foremost I have to mention the mussels. Unfortunately the ones we had in Brussels city centre were not great. We ventured out to Bruges on our way back to the UK, in search of good mussels, and good mussels we found. Fantastic quality and a fair price too.

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However, when it came to beer, Brussels did not disappoint. We ordered this tasting selection in order to try as many as possible. They were all great. There literally is no bad beer in that city!

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Back to the good stuff though, let’s talk waffles. Is there anything better in this world than a hot, sweet, caramelised waffle for 2 Euros? I doubt it. This was the highlight of my trip, enjoying a waffle under The Atomium. Fantastic! In the city centre you can find little gems on street corners which serve waffles for 1 Euro, with additional toppings at a small cost. On the first day there, I treated myself to one topped with fresh strawberries, melted Nutella and a scoop of pistachio ice-cream. Hands down, the best dessert ever!

Why not give Brussels a go the next time you are looking for a Bank Holiday weekend trip?

Thanks for reading! πŸ™‚

Sonia

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Final University Exams!

image1(15)Yes! Exams are upon us. This time round, these are my final ones. The last ever exams I will sit as part of my education in the process of becoming a business and marketing whizz.

Coming to the end of my four-year university experience I am beginning to reflect upon all those exams, essays and unhealthy snacks. During my first year I gained a considerable amount of weight. As a worry & stress-free fresher it is easy to forget about a healthy and balanced diet and indulge in all the little snacks which mum did not let you buy while living at home. Oh yes, my freezer was stacked with bargain-brand pizzas while my cash was splashed on worryingly blue-coloured drinks at the students union.

Year two came with a reality check and much more complicated essays. I started looking for healthier alternatives in aim of shedding the weight. It was a fantastic year of discovery, when hummus became my friend while green tea and water kept my study sessions productive and efficient. I was on a roll.

Four years on, I have lost 20kg and have managed to keet it off. Now I have developed a slight addition for the gym, with four sessions a week, including mix of cardio, weights and HIIT exercises to burn some of that wobbly fat off (yes we all have some, regardless of how well those skinny jeans hide it).

Six weeks in and I am really starting to see a difference. My legs are definitely looking more toned and there have been some major personal battles being won on that treadmill.

Top tip – exercising is in fact a fantastic way to give your brain a break during revision/study periods.

So there you go, my lifestyle has definitely changed for the better. My aim for the next few months is to graduate and wow the world with my amazing knowledge of business (just kidding!). A job would be nice to start with πŸ˜›

For those of you who are studying away – I found these 11 tips helpful. I am rewarding my super-intensive study ‘sesh’ with this Graze box. Pah! I am already ahead of my energy drink-fuelled peers just by choosing this snack.

Anything to make myself feel more positive right? πŸ˜€

Thanks for reading and good luck with exams everyone!

Sonia

Trying New Things

Is there anything more boring than eating the same food over and over again? Especially when trying to stay healthy.Β  So every week I try to have something completely new – whether it is a new ingredient, a new dish or drink. Here are some of the things from this week:

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First on the list is sweet potato mash. I have never tried it before and decided to cook some up and served it with sweet chilli salmon, boiled kale and fresh tomatoes. I loved it! I would definitely replace my regular mash with this alternative. A little butter and salt is all it needs.

IMG_3637I am really into porridge oats at the moment so I tried to make something which is more suitable for lunch rather than breakfast. A portion of porridge oats (I use golden syrup flavoured ones, they are amazing!), natural yoghurt, banana, a really tiny scoop of strawberry jam and a little sprinkle of seeds. So delicious! Really quick to make too πŸ™‚

image2(9)Last on the list is Tropicana’s Fruit and Veg Juice. It caught my attention while shopping and as soon as I saw that it has beetroot in it I had to try it. It is very tasty! Highly recommended. I will have to try the other flavours in this range.

Thanks for reading! Sonia πŸ™‚

Pesto and Prosciutto Pizza!

IMG_3524If you love a thin-base pizza, you’re in for a surprise. It is extremely easy to make at home and only takes about half an hour all together with the baking. Being able to pick your own toppings is not only fun but also allows you to choose healthier alternatives to the ones used in shop-bought pizzas.

I always use the recipe from BBC Good Food for the base of my pizza, you only need 5 ingredients! Flour, water, salt, yeast and a little olive oil. I improvise with my toppings.

This time I used mozzarella, spinach, mushrooms and little dollops of pesto here and there. I then topped with someΒ prosciutto ham and a fresh rocket. A delicious dinner in celebration of my first ever 7km run πŸ™‚

Re-creating a Sushi Salad

image2(8)You read correctly – A Sushi Salad! I was so excited when I saw this on the menu at a restaurant that I simply could not wait for my food to arrive at the table. And my God, was it impressive!

Last week we made a trip to Bath in the UK and treated ourselves to a little relaxation at the Thermae Bath Spa. It was absolutely incredible! I highly recommend the Eucalyptus steam room, it made my skin so soft and clear instantly. I thought Bath was a beautiful city, with a very chilled atmosphere and plenty of places to eat at.

IMG_3421Anyway, back to my Sushi Salad. I loved it so much that I had to try re-create it at home and here is my attempt. I think I did pretty well, the flavour was almost much spot on, however next time I will wait for the rice to go cold before making this salad. If you like Sushi you will definitely like this combination of rice, avocado, mango, cucumber, kale, carrots cress and smoked salmon, in a fresh, wasabi flavoured dressing, served on a seaweed sheet. Yum.

image1(11)It makes a great lunch – very filling and so fresh!

Getting My Health Back on Track

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The last few months have been hectic. With multiple coursework deadlines and my final year dissertation to hand in, it was difficult take good care of my body. Spare time because almost non-existent meaning my outdoor running grinded to a halt.

Thankfully it is all over. My final coursework is finished and I am trying to get back on track. I will admit, it is very difficult to get back to good old habits. Especially in regards to exercise.

So two weeks ago I joined the gym! The change of scenery and added benefits such as the sauna and weight machines have got me excited about getting fit again. I have been going 4-5 times a week and I feel great.

Today I broke my record and went beyond my regular 4km run. I managed 5.26km in 42.35 minutes. It felt great! I treated myself to some new trainers (long overdue) and I love them. Light, with plenty of air flow which is exactly what you need when running.

IMG_3427I also wanted to share with you a couple of great finds which I have come across in the last few weeks. First of all, I used to run without eating in the morning, however recently I have started to change that. My favourite at the moment are scrambled eggs with fresh avocado and a couple of slices of toast.

IMG_3426I also gave this smoothie a go. It is absolutely delicious! I usually make my own at home but this was a great swap. Perfect for dealing with hunger pangs or sweet cravings. Highly recommended πŸ™‚

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I hope that this has inspired you to get back on track with your healthy routines πŸ˜€ Thanks for reading!

Banana Tree – Clapham, London

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I had to share this one with you – the value for money at this restaurant is fantastic! This weekend I ate at Banana Tree in Clapham Junction, London. Looking at the menu I was not sure to expect as they label themselves as ‘Indochinese’ – it definitely caught my attention. So if you are into Asian flavours, spices and fruity smells, this one is a winner!

There is a lot to choose from on the menu. Plenty of vegetarian options also which is a big plus. I went for the Pad Thai with a chicken and prawn mix which was delicious. As you can see in the photo, the dish arrives at the table in a deconstructed form, allowing the diner to mix and blend the flavours together. It is a fantastic way of showing off all the fresh ingredients which go into the dish. It was yummy! Even though it was a noodle dish, it tasted fresh and vibrant. A definite winner. Everyone enjoyed their meals – and the papaya salad which my friend ordered looked amazing!

For such good quality you are expecting a price of around twelve pounds, especially if seafood is involved. But you will be pleasantly surprised that my chicken and prawn Pad Thai cost just under Β£10. A really good price. Cocktails were also very well priced, at just under Β£7 each. This is a really good place to go if you are looking for exciting food on a budget.

Have you been to Banana Tree before? Let me know what you thought πŸ™‚

Sonia