Sunday, 19 October 2014

Wake Up and Live

"Do you struggle with maintaining your energy levels throughout the day?  Or find it hard to get out of bed in the morning?"

As I read these words in this months OM Yoga magazine, I thought - YES.  Yes I slump around 3pm.  Yes morning are tough.  

I read on.

"The plain truth is that living a modern on-the-go lifestyle can result in eventual burnout"

Then I began to panic.  I don't want this to be my life.  Working the corporate 9-5 slog.  Groundhog Day.  There has to be more to life than this? 

I want to be one of those infuriating people who jump out of bed in the morning, ready to take on the days challenges.  I wat to be full of energy so that when my working day is finished I still want to have Date Night or go to the gym.

OM Yoga went on to describe the main causes of energy depletion.  

Poor dietary choices:
Great, I thought.  This is definitely something I can change.  Our bodies are not designed to eat todays processed foods, fizzy drinks, alcohols and so on.  Everyone knows this right?  It's so important to nourish your body.  To balance your blood sugar.  So, always, eat breakfast.  Start your day off right.  Also, try to include more raw foods in your diet. Green juices are great for this!  But it is also exceptionally important to hydrate.  Aim for 6-8 glasses of water a day.  Take less caffeine and go for raw juices and herbal teas instead.

Lack of exercise:
Most definitely, I don't exercise enough.  I know this.  Again, our bodies are used to moving, but today a more sedentry lifestyle is adopted.  We need something to fire the engine.  Even just 30 minutes of exercise a day can help to raise your energy levels.  Whatever you do, just move your body!  

Chronic Stress:
Hmm, a little more difficult, I don't feel that stressed.  Sure, there are times in the day where I feel pressured, time-stretched and tense.  Oh, wait...  Now, there is no denying it.  This is a tough one to combat.  But have you ever heard of 'Earthing'?  

"According to scientific research, walking barefoot as little as 10 minutes per day, helps to absorb electrons from the earth up through the feet and aligns the body's electro magnetic field to that of the earth.  This has a beneficial effect on the immune system, greatly reduces stress and helps to maintain adequate energy levels throughout the day"

No wonder I was so happy as a kid!!

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Creamy Carbonara

So, sticking with this autumn theme, another firm favourite in my house is carbonara.  This recipe is just the ideal mix of creamy perfection with all the meaty goodness!  Mmmmmm, my mouth is watering just thinking about it!  And the best bit, it is so unbelievably easy.

For four people, you're going to need:

125g pancetta
2 tbsp olive oil
4 egg yolks
30g grated Parmesan
A splash of white wine
2 tbsp single cream
salt and pepper to flavour
500g spaghetti

Heat a glug of olive oil in a pan and cook the pancetta until crispy then pop to the side.

Beat together the egg yolks, Parmesan, white wine, cream and a little salt and pepper.  Add the pancetta and mix all together.  

Cook the pasta and as soon as it is done mix together with the sauce.  You want to move fast on this because you don't want the egg to cook.

And that's it.  Honestly, that is all you have to do.

We had some homemade garlic bread with ours which is just as simple.  Mix butter with grated garlic spread over bread, top with a layer of Parmesan and grill until crispy.

Serve with a glass of cold wine and watch with some Great British Bake Off.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

The Pinafore

If you haven't guessed by now, I think Autumn might be my favourite time of year.  I've surprised myself by this a little, as I always thought it was summer...

One thing I like most about Autumn is the clothes.  I love soft jumpers, slippers, skinny jeans.  Perhaps you can expect to see some of these on the blog this season...

But if there is one piece of clothing which fits all of the seasons, it's the trusty pinafore!

So, in this little in between summer/autumn weird phase, I took mine out to play.

But, first Imma take a selfie...

Ye, I know...

As it was Saturday we headed to our favourite little Wholefoods Cafe, Foodstory.  This place is pretty cool.  Maybe I'll do a post on it soon?

In case you're wondering.  The pinafore is from Oasis.  Because it is really thick denim, it's really warm for this time of year.  But if you're in Scotland, it's best to take a cardi.  You just never know!

I choose this little soft number from Hollister.  My handbag is vintage and I can't remember where from, but you can find a really lovely similar one here.

Oh yeah, I may have fallen into Channel...

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Autumn Granola

Autumn is a particularly nostalgic time of year isn't it?  Connotations of back to school and new beginnings stronger than any New Years Resolution.  Pumpkin Spiced Lattes, crunchy fallen leaves, warm jumpers, smores.

I love autumn.  I love the warm autumnal colours, I love the romanticism and I love cuddling up on a Sunday afternoon with tea and a book.

You already know about one of my promises to myself this year from my previous post À la rentrée.  But I also have another.

To cook more seasonaly, with fresh, local grown produce.

This September I am going berry daft!  Which is where my Autumn Granola comes in.  All it consists of is granola, yogurt and mixed berry coulis.

For the granola, you will need:

2 cups of rolled oats
1/3 ground flaxseed
1/4 cup of your favourite nuts
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup cranberries

For the coulis you will need:

1-2 cups mixed berries
1 tablespoon icing sugar

Firstly, preheat your oven to 300C.

Combine the rolled oats, flaxseed, nuts and cinnamon together in a bowl.

Add in the orange juice, honey and brown sugar in a pan and cook over a medium heat.  You want the sugar to just dissolve and keep stirring.

Once the sugar is dissolved stir in the vanilla.

Pour all these ingredients over your oat mixture and stir together.  Spread a thin layer onto a baking tray coated with cooking spray and bake at 300C for around 10 minutes.

Stir the mixture then bake for a further 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Spoon into a bowl and stir in the cranberries.  

Cool the granola completely and store for up to 2 weeks.

When you want your delicious breakfast blend your mixed berries and icing sugar together.

Fill the bottom of a bowl with you're choice of yogurt.  I plump for natural Greek yogurt.  Spread over a thin layer of your coulis and top with your Power Granola!


Thursday, 4 September 2014

Happiness Affirmations

Staying on the subject of new beginnings, positive thinking and just generally living life to the full this week, I have been reading into the idea of positive affirmations recently.

It all started with this months issue of OM Yoga Deb Macs article entitled 'What's your positive affirmation?' 

The word affirmation simply means something that is true.  The idea is that they are used as a kind of positive thinking technique by repeating positive phrases to yourself.  Not only are they used as a method of combating negative thinking, see my previous post on this here, but they can also be used for a coping mechanism for anxiety and depression.

Otherwise know as a 'tiny phrase for praise' affirmations can help in various ways.

1.  They create a positive distraction.

Anxiety can be worse when your thoughts get away from you.  Positive affirmations give you the opportunity to collect your thoughts and focus on positive phrases.

2.  They give your brain time to catch up.

Repeating positive lines to yourself again and again forces your brain to adapt to that belief.  You're basically convincing brain to believe you.

3.  Regular positive reminders.

Let's face it, it never hurts to be regularly reminded of the positives in your life.  Affirmations are healthy, positive reminders of the good in your life and the things you are working towards.

So, with all that said, I am sharing with you today my favorite positive affirmation:

I am healthy, happy and worthy of the life which I have created for myself.  My creative energy leads me to new a brilliant ideas.

If you feel comfortable enough, I'd love it if you would comment with your favorite positive affirmations.  Together, we can shower the world in positivity!

* OM Yoga Magazine have very kindly given me an online subscription in return for writing occasional posts that have been inspired by what's in this months issue.  I love the magazine and I'm sure you would too.  You can get your subscription here  

** pictures in this post are from

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

The Power of Positivity

You may be able to tell from my last post that I've not entirely been feeling myself recently.  I'm not entirely sure how long it has been going on for and I'm not even sure I noticed all that much.

It was a Wednesday evening, perhaps around 7pm.  I was home from yet another day in the office, eating something entirely uninspired for dinner and was sitting around in my jammies.  

Andrew said something like 'what do you want to do?'.  A perfectly innocent question right?

'Dunno' I snapped back.  Snapped.  

Why?  What had he done to deserve my moody wrath?  Not a thing!  That's where it hit me.  What a Negative Nelly I had become.

It happens from time to time and sometimes it will just hit me.  It's times like these that I really have to make a conscious effort to think differently.

Think more positively.

And just in time really!  Because this month on September 13th id Positive Thinking Day.  It's a day to smile, be happy and a shine like the brightest start that you are!

This months issue of OM Yoga tell us that 'Positive Thinking Day is a day that encourages people not to lose energy towards negative thoughts, bu instead think positively'.  

But here is the thing.  How do we keep those negative thoughts away?  How do we fight through the daily churn and not burn out?

Here are some suggestions from yours truly and OM Yoga.

1.  Be true to yourself.

In todays online world we are constantly exposed to other peoples perfect lives.  And the result can be that we are left feeling somewhat desolate.  Instead of comparing yourself to the dream, remember the positives in your life and be constructive about the negatives.  Recognise what you don't like and find ways to improve it.  

And don't forget, you're life probably looks pretty perfect on social media too!

2.  Smile.

If for no other reason than it is contagious!  Spread the love.

3.  Make (positive) friends.

You don't want to be surrounded by the Negative Nelly!  Surround yourself with people who make you happy and by people who truly make you feel great about yourself.  Clear out the negativity online too!

4.  Talk a walk... or a run... just get outdoors.

It's really no secret that fresh air clears the cobwebs!  

5.  Move.

You know that moment where all you want to do is curl up with ice cream?  Next time, why not try some yoga first.  If you still feel like ice cream after, then go for it!  You earned it!

6.  Be Present.

Stop worrying about things gone by.  'What if I had done this?'.  'But I could have done this'.  You'll be surprised at how much extra time to do these things if you worry less about not doing them!  Be in the here and now and just live your life.  The way you want to live it!

7.  Look forward.

Always have something in the pipeline to look forward to!  Me, I'm headed for a really lovely lunch this weekend with friends.  Can't wait!  In fact, I'm off to plan my outfit!

* OM Yoga Magazine have very kindly given me an online subscription in return for writing occasional posts that have been inspired by what's in this months issue.  I love the magazine and I'm sure you would too.  You can get your subscription here  

** pictures in this post are from

Sunday, 31 August 2014

À la rentrée

September 2014.  How did that happen??  Back to School... À la rentrée... the French make it sound so much better don't they?

I've realised that I graduated over a year ago now.  I'm not going back to University after a three month summer break.  This is my life now.  It's different.

I'm not sure how I feel about that.  But I do know that when I was in my final year of university and I imagined my life, this is probably not how it would have looked back then...

I don't want life to be a simple case of get up, go to work, come home, have dinner, go to sleep.

But that is what it has become.  My life has become a rut!

That's not to say I'm not happy.  

Having said that, it is now September and I have been writing The Orchard since January.  I started with such vigour and excitement, and I realise that this blog is not at all what I had originally intended it to be!

I wanted The Orchard to be a place where I could let my creativity be explored.  A place where I could learn new things, become part of an online community and a thing that I could be proud of.

And it's not.  Don't get me wrong I have enjoyed these past 7 months.  I certainly take better pictures now than I did before!  However, The Orchard has become something which I post very irregularly to and often times rush posts just to get them out.  Sometimes it is even a chore.

So this is my Back To School promise.

I will use this little space on the internet as a place which I enjoy creating content towards.  A place which I love to create and a place which I would love to come to read.

But what I really want The Orchard to be a place to remind me to enjoy life.  To get out of my comfort zone and try new things.  Because at the end of the day I have a great place for a photo album to look back on when I'm older!

So here it goes!