August Antics

I’m way too hot right now. Taking a respite from the blazing Cretan sunshine, I’m sat under the umbrella writing this post, also the only place I can see the screen. Is there such a thing as a laptop screen that you can still see in the sun? No matter how much I turn up the brightness I’m still staring into a black void, which isn’t so ideal for editing photos, and god knows what I’m actually typing here.

So yes, I’m spending my last week of August in Crete, near to the city of Rethymno. We have a beautiful villa here, surrounded by olive groves and pomegranate trees and the mountains in the distance. Did you know that Greece is approximately 80% mountain?? I didn’t!! It’s so peaceful here too, except for the sound of crickets, birds (not forgetting the bloody barking dogs, they’re not so peaceful but we can forget about them) and the swilling of the pool, well that’s about it.

The so-called British summer has been pretty poor this year. All those who don’t believe in global warming, well surely it’s proof enough when our summer’s have been getting wetter and cooler year on year. The boots and puffer coats never get put away and the sandals and bikinis are too shy to come out. I’m very grateful to be here and to end August on a good note in a beautiful setting. I’m sick of the rain, so when I get back home to England can you please have gone away? Thanks.

With next coming September (my birthday month, annnnddddd it’s a big’un!) I’m very much looking forward to it, celebrating with a bang. Also what’s not to love about Autumn, the last of the seasonal fruit and vegetables, foraging for blackberries, low and golden sunshine beams and walks through the falling leaves. But that’s next month it’s a while to go yet, so back to now! Here’s what I’ve been loving this August, just a couple of things, mainly with a sunny theme of course!

#1 Daily morning swim

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There’s no way that I could go on holiday without having a pool nearby, just a few steps away is ideal. I’m not a huge fan of the beach, sand gets everywhere in every single crack and crevice, you can’t eat or you’ll end up chewing on the stuff and swimming in the sea gives me the heebie jeebies. The pool is a must. On holiday I like to have a little routine of waking up putting my swimsuit on and swim a few lengths. It’s just me and the pool, some time for myself to reflect on things in my mind and get my body moving before a hard days’ work of lying down, reading books, doing crosswords and eating. The pool isn’t so big where I am right now, maybe only four or five strokes per length, but hey that only means more lengths. I’m currently on eighty, let’s see by the end of the week if I’ll make it to one hundred. I highly doubt that! NOTE: One day I did manage one hundred, pretty chuffed with myself I must admit, also pretty ravenous the rest of the day. Can’t complain about that just means more cheese for me!

 

#2  This dress from & Other Stories

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The love affair all began way way back on a shopping day with my mum to Manchester, let’s say around May. I spotted this dress in & Other Stories, the skirt with the same print too, and just fell in love. I knew I had to own it. Unnnntttil spying the price tag of a lofty £79, well that idea was swiftly put aside. A week or so later I did a shoot on Formby Beach (which is absolutely beautiful on a sunny day by the way) and what was to be one of the looks? Of course that dress. It’s was as if it was fate. So again on another shopping trip in the summer months, I spied this beauty. ON THE SALE RAIL. I felt like all my stars had aligned and karma was on my side (something which doesn’t happen very often). It was meant to be after all! So finally last night I had the chance to wear said dress for a meal by the sea. It was a little breezier that anticipated and the waves were definitely crashing on the rocks, and the waistband perhaps was a little too tight so I had to undo the zip (too much feta maybe?). But it got its first outing and that’s all that matters!

 

#3 Greek Tea – particularly this brand Krocus Kozanis

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There’s a theme this month if you haven’t already noticed, I am pretty in love with Greece. They like tea, as do I, meaning we get along well together. They do something called mountain tea which is made from the dried leaves, stems and flowers of the sideritis plant. But many other herbal teas are popular including the likes of sage and oregano all with supposed individual health benefits but a delicious flavour too. I’ve found this brand Krocus Kozanis, who sell a small range of organic greek teas, it is available in the uk but not the easiest to get hold of. The best of the lot are the herbal tea with sage, lemon verbena and saffron and the herbal tea with rosemary, thyme and saffron. I will be stocking up whilst we’re here and packing my suitcase with teabags. If we’re overweight on the baggage allowance – I’ll sure know why!

 

#4 Pistachio and dark chocolate cookies with sea salt from Joy The Baker

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This is one of my go-to’s. Whenever my family is pining for something sweet or I need a present to take to someones’ house, I know it’s a pleaser. A mixture of finely chopped almost ground pistachios with chunkier ones for some bite, dark chocolate chips (the darker the better to contrast with the sweetness) and a good sprinkling of sea salt on each one which is totally obligatory. They’re a little more adult than your regular chocolate chip, and just that little bit better. Joy the Baker has some brilliant finds on her blog, I’m a repeat visitor for her cookie recipes and also her chats about cats, I’m always into that. Cats are life. As are cookies.

 

#5 Organic cold-pressed rose hip seed oil from The Ordinary

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Rosehip oil is something I’ve intergrated into my beauty routine for some time now. A few drops on slightly damp skin (nothing which a good spritz of rosewater can’t solve) massaged in then left to absorb before applying my moisturiser. It’s highly hydrating, full of Vitamin A and Fatty acids which are beneficial for our skin, is lighter than many other oils such as coconut oil so won’t clog your pores and it gives you a natural glow due to its orange colour (I’m not talking oopma loompa, but just eough of a tint). I’ve been faithful to this rosehip oil from Pai, it has a lovely scent but also a bit costy too. A friend suggested the company The Ordinary to me, a new beauty brand which aims to bring trustworthy products to the market, dispose of false advertsing and to sell everything at a reasonable price. Well at £9 a pop I can’t really argue with that.

 

#6 Swiss cheese plant or Monstera (or as I like to call it Grilled Cheese Plant) from Ikeamonstera-potted-plant-swiss-cheese-plant__0507893_pe636086_s4

Oh Ikea, you walk in with intentions of tracking down the one wardrobe, to walk the wrong way down the aisles, get hungry halfway round so stop for meatbealls and a cinnamon bun, buy way more unnecessary things than you intended to and then struggle with the trolley on the way to the car as the flat pack is way heavier than you anticipated and the trolley has a Dickie wheel. We’ve all been there! HOWEVER they do sell everything at a reasonable price and you can get some pretty snazzy finds. Even though I have just bought this mirror for my room (which I love to pieces may I add) but every other man and his goat has the same one, which is rather annoying. They also have a really good plant section. I bought two plants from there, a Calathea (obviously purchased entirely on the basis of the name) and the Montera (or swiss cheese). Perhaps plants have become that indie ‘staple’ to be seen in every coffee shop and young persons apartment. It’s true I also have a pinterest board full of plant inspiration for my bedroom, I’m talking planters, macramé and succulents. Buutttttt it’s also true that plants are really beneficial to our health when kept inside. They increase the quality of the air by removing pollutents, keep the air more humid and less dry and supposedly encourage an increase in mood and lower stress levels. Well I’ll be having some of that please. Also they just look really nice. The swiss cheese plant, has holes in its leaves, similar to an edam or gouda (d’ya get it now?), and a hell of a lot easier upkeep than a dog or cat. I’m just praying that after a 1 week holiday it hasn’t given up on me!

 

August it’s been a fun ride but here we are on the other side. I’ll be chatting here this time next month when I’m another year older. 21. Pretty excited I must admit, but do I feel like I can officially call myself an adult and I have my life in check. Hell NO. Am I looking forward to eating my weight in birthday cake, drinking way too much prosecco and seeing all my family and friends (ooh not forgetting the new outfit)? Why OF COURSE!!

Ta ta

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July Jamborees

July. A month of variable weather. Full of promise one day for that scorchio summer at home that we all hope for, to wake up the next morning to torrential showers and gusting winds that leave a chill in our bones. When it comes to what to wear that day, preparing for all weathers is a must, or in my case giving up and just wearing jeans and a t shirt with some jazzy earrings and a neck scarf. And under no circumstances forgetting that umbrella even if it’s broken and sagging, as all of mine are, it will provide some protection against that unforgiving weather of ours.

The summer provides some serious downtime for me. As the whole of Europe prepares to shutdown for August, the UK decides to take a break too and jet off to some warmer clime. Meaning not much work to go around in the modelling industry. A time I am now learning to take in my stride, not get stressed about having a free schedule and just make the most of it and doing things for ME. So far having involved decorating my room, a few lunches out, shopping trips, plenty of cooking and soon to come will be trips to other cities in the UK, gallery visits and *fingers crossed* a day at the seaside.

I hope you have the most fantastic summer if you’re in the northern hemisphere, and if you’re in the south and moving into winter, don’t worry too much as I’m sure it will still be a hell of a lot warmer than it is here in Manchester!

Here’s the things I’ve been loving this month. Enjoy!

#1 Belazu Rose Harissa

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If I had to, which I’m hoping no one holds me to this, choose ONE food that I would eat for the rest of my days, I reckon harissa would be a strong contender. Harissa is a chilli and paprika paste mixed with spices, oil and in this case rose petals, used frequently in North African and Middle Eastern cooking. I’ve tried many supermarket brands in the past, and they’ve been fine, perfectly acceptable but I’ve had my eye on this harissa from Belazu for a while and finally got my hands on some. A gloriously deep red spiced up paste, which is fragrant, sweet and smoky, compared to the supermarket versions it wins hands down. Also the company is based in the UK, YAY for that too! I’ve been swirling it through my hummus, spreading on a sandwich, dotted across eggs, mixed into salad dressings and using as a marinade for salmon. Come along harissa, I reckon you’ve surpassed peanut butter in the Thea’s Top 10 list, and you won’t be going anywhere for a long time.

 

#2 ManiLife Deep Roast Peanut Butter

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Ok I go on and on and on about peanut butter here. I’m sorry. I’m sure many of you also share the same feels? Please say yes. I’ve been happy eating the same brand of peanut butter for a good while, Meridian Crunchy Peanut Butter is found in the majority of supermarkets, made with no added sugar or palm oil just roasted peanuts and salt. It’s good. Then however I discovered Pic’s Crunchy Peanut Butter. Made in New Zealand, again just salt and high-oleic peanuts, it surpassed Meridian on the flavour scale, but money wise it’s slightly more pricey. Not much later, ManiLife Deep Roast arrived in my life. A British company grinding and producing in London and sourcing their peanuts from Argentina. They roast them for longer so it is dark, verging on the bitterness of coffee, utterly AMAZING. I can’t look at normal peanut butter anymore…I am a changed woman 😉 Visit their online shop here, as it is impossible to buy in the north of the UK but found in many shops around London and the south. Hop onto it, you will be forever grateful. I am.

 

#3 Home brewed Kombucha

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One of my favourite treats to buy whenever I go to London. If you’ve never heard of it, kombucha is a fermented tea drink which has a slight effervescence, the taste not completely dissimilar from cider. It’s made using a sweetened black or green tea and a SCOBY which feeds on the sugar to create an acidic environment and when bottled up the CO2 increases which makes it that bit fizzy. I’m a huge fan of Jarr, a company haling from Hackney, their passionfruit kombucha is particularly dreamy, not too sweet and really provides a good pick me up as well as some TLC (tummy loving care that is). With only one place I’ve discovered in Manchester which sells kombucha, I’ve taken to making my own as a little project for over the summer. One batch down, in a ginger and lime flavour I’m pretty chuffed and getting all jazzed about the flavour combos I have lined up. If you want to give kombucha brewing a go, I bought a scoby from ebay and then there’s many blogs full of all the information you need to get started. See here, here and here. Happy fermenting!

 

#4 Bundobust – Leeds and Manchester city centers

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Any of you Leeds/Manchester-ites will be well aware of this gem of a food spot. And if you’re not where have you BEEN? Originally an craft beer bar in Leeds which sold Indian street food for a snack, turned out the food was more than good so now it’s an Indian street food restaurant with a well stocked bar full of beer, lager and ale. Completely vegetarian and most dishes are vegan too, that’s not saying you shouldn’t go if you’re a meat eater. You won’t miss the meat at all. Offering all the classics such as Massala Dosa, Idli Sambhar, Chole Batura, Tarka Dahl and Vada Pav alongside their own Gujarati-inspired creations like the Biryani Bhaji Balls and the Onion Gobi Bhaji Bhajis. Do not visit without ordering the Okra Fries. And you will want a portion for yourself, those aren’t for sharing. See their website for the rest of the menu and where to find them.

 

#5 Light Before Dark Black Gingham Wide Leg Culottes – Urban Outfitters

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You know when you walk into a shop, see something and know that you NEED to own it. That happened with these culottes. At heart I’m still 8 and would happily live in my junior school red gingham summer dress. So, in flies in these black and white gingham culottes, slightly cooler, more ‘hip’ as my dad might say, whilst still living that ‘mini-me’ life. They’re loose and airy, perfect for those times when the weather is in our favour, or layered up with a jacket and some trainers to withstand the rainy days. The high elasticated waistband, well the fashion isn’t the only reason I wear them. Going out for a big meal? Stick these on and you can squeeze in that dessert instead of your jeans button popping open. Comfort and style, I’m in.

 

#6 Flamingo wallpaper

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So last week me and my mum spent a few days redecorating my room. Going though the whole procedure of painting the ceiling, woodwork, walls and finally coming to the best bit, the wallpapering. When your new wallpaper is pink and covered in flamingoes it’és particularly exciting. As glorious as it sounds. I have plans for a corner full of plants, terrariums and succulents to keep the air fresh and clean, lots of artwork by me, a handmade crocheted throw which I’m currently in the making of and some white artichoke lights as there isn’t enough of a 70’s throwback as there is. If anyone has any Pinterest boards that they would be happy to share for some bedroom/plant/artwork inspiration, I’m all eyes!!

X

 

 

hello 2017

New year, new me.

Really, are we still going through the same notions as soon as that clock hits 12 on the 31st of January??

The feelings of guilt for the past month of indulgence and enjoyment (yes didn’t we all have a good time), plans of restriction, intentions of sweaty runs in the arctic gales which will be preceded by a bowl of kale with a no-oil dressing, an early bedtime and an early rise only to start it all again.

Because kale is good for me, right?!?

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This kid knows about intuitive eating

It may sound healthy but that person sure ain’t happy.

2017 should be the year when we realise diets are out the window, and the word balance comes to mind. It’s thrown around a lot these days along with intuitive and mindfulness and I’m sure you use them yourself and have no idea what they really mean.

Intuitive eating is a nutrition philosophy based on the premise that becoming more attuned to the body’s natural hunger signals is a more effective way to attain a healthy weight, rather than keeping track of the amounts of energy and fats in foods.

Thanks Wikipedia
Being healthy 24/7 just isn’t being human. We all see those Insta stars with daily updates of their meals, gym selfies without an ounce of sweat dripping off their faces or a hair out of place, and quotes telling us to ‘glow like a glowstick’ which of course mean well but i’m a human being not an inanimate object and i have feelings. Somedays I really don’t want to be a ‘strong woman’. Collapsing in a heap on the sofa and saying “I can’t” might be the thing that’s needed.

 

I must admit, my interest in food and into this whole ‘wellness’ scene started when I came across Deliciously Ella. It was a good few years ago now, and she didn’t have that worldwide status that she’s now achieved. Slowly taking over the world one sweet potato brownie at a time. I didn’t quite see the downside at the time, but decided to follow a diet like hers, basically of just fruit and vegetables, lots of dates and nuts for energy because I was always hungry.

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There we have, the first example of an unsustainable way of life.

I used to beat myself up about why my meals never looked as amazing as hers (and other fellow Insta health gurus) why my skin wasn’t glowing and why I wasn’t a happy person with a smile plastered on my face.

I’m not against Deliciously Ella at all, I think what she has done for the UK and almost the rest of the world is a really good thing. making more of us aware that we need more fruit and vegetables in our lives, and a good slice of avo on toast of course. I just think it can be quite dangerous for many people if they start to cut things out of their diets unnecessarily. Ella has written many posts about how her lifestyle isn’t the ‘be all and end all’ although some people don’t seem to understand that still. But even her food choices has changed over the years, at the very beginning she was extremely strict, avoiding things like rye and spelt, eggs and fish, whereas now she uses rye bread almost daily, eggs are used in the pancakes in The Mae Deli, and she has admitted to eating fish occasionally, soon to be followed up by hoards of angry followers shaming and guilt tripping her.

It’s this part of the wellness community that I hate. One persons’ food choices shouldn’t be shamed by anyone. Whether you’re vegan, flexitarian, pescetarian, vegetarian, meatarian, fruitarian, whatever other ‘arian’ you may be, that’s your life you’re leading and the choices you make are for you. Nobody else.

As long as you’re healthy, have no vitamin or mineral deficiencies and can live your life full of energy nourished from the fuel you give it, that’s A OK.

Back to January and the wave of diet fads and abstaining from alcohol we all feel pressured to partake in. Number one why? It’s cold, we’re back at work and its a whole 12 months till Christmas comes around again. Also the only time when watching elf wrapped in your duvet becomes acceptable (i.e. not in the middle of summer). In winter, we’re supposed to be laying on a little extra fat as insulation to shield us from the dropping temperatures. Big hearty meals should be celebrated: steaming stews, soups, pies, a nice bit of molten cheesy goo is welcome and some stodge in the form of a good ‘ol potato is always on the menu. Use this furnace from the inside to power up for a bracing walk out in nature. Move your body around, do whatever you fancy whether it be dancing in your knickers, going to the gym or a gentle jog round the park. As long as you enjoy it that’s all that matters.

One thing I love about my mum is how realistic she is. While the majority of adults are on a dry January, she has a dry November (with an exception for drinks at the weekend and whenever we have pasta red wine is a must). No it’s not completely perfect but every year she follows it through and even my dad joins in. All in all they end up drinking much less than usual. Her thoughts are that January is pretty depressing, as I’ve already mentioned before, so supplementing it with a ban on alcohol is just plain wrong. We need a bit of the hard stuff to make it through to the end unscathed. November is the time when we’re starting to get excited about the festive period, so why not stop drinking and save a bit of money to either spend on a loved one or as a special gift for yourself, after all you deserved it.

So back to January. 2017. That’s right, but doesn’t it sound so wrong. Out with the diets and in with all round wellbeing, trying to be a bit healthier, but still enjoy the sweet things in life. Whether that’s a daily square of chocolate, a glass of vino with your meal, a bowl of apple crumble and steaming custard. Seriously what is wrong with that?!

By depriving yourself, it’s only human nature that you will end up craving more of the forbidden fruits and face plant into a tin of Quality Street.

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We’ve all done it

So say no to restriction, no to cutting out whole food groups, your friends may be singing and dancing about a new diet they’re on and how amazing they feel, but are they feeling the same a few weeks down the line? I highly doubt it. Enjoy things in moderation, eat every meal, no feelings of guilt and learn to love yourself. It’s a hell of a lot easier to say than to do (I’m struggling but it’s one of my aims to improve on this year).

Read this piece by Laura Thomas on learning to respect our eating habits, enjoying our food and a big fat NO to diet culture.

I always like to follow the same principles, loads of veggies, a bit of meat or fish if I fancy it just not every day, protein with every meal typically in the form of nuts, beans, lentils, tofu (I’m attempting to learn to like it), organic full fat dairy, healthy fats like olive oil and rapeseed oil, avocados, olives and a variety of whole grains. Not forgetting my favourite indulgences of a thick wad of butter on sourdough, cheese, wine, dark chocolate, and a big fat pudding and custard, they make me happy and make me human. This is what works for me and we are all different so listen to your bodies and when you get a pang for that sticky toffee pudding HAVE IT!

So lets all celebrate this new year, new experiences and people are awaiting. Start with a bang by enjoying some fresh air, making tasty heart warming food and spending it with friends and family. That sounds a hell of a lot better to me than going on 6:30am runs in the rain and eating an iceberg lettuce salad for lunch, which one sounds healthier to you?

Much love, wishes and warmth sent for this January. Don’t worry it’s nearly Summer!

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