Tag: veggie food

A Day in London

A few weeks ago, Phil and I spent the day in London to celebrate his birthday. We put Poppy in day care and headed for the train. We’d planned our day around a few delicious looking cafes and visiting a few places we’d never been before.

We started our day with breakfast at Kin. As Phil is now a pescatarian and me being a vegetarian, we wanted to try a few veggie places. Kin caters for veggies and vegans and if you look at their Instagram feed, you’ll see amazing, delicious, healthy meals. I had scrambled tofu, as I’d never had it before. It was lovely and I really want to give it a try at home. Kin has a really lovely feel to it and I can’t wait to go back there. Just a stones throw from Kin is Attendant, which, if you didn’t know, is a delightful cafe set in a Victorian underground gents loo. It’s a great little place, with a decent range of drinks and food. Plus the decor is pretty spectacular too.

Kin Cafe Scrambled tofu at Kin Chai at Attendant

We had planned to visit Kew Gardens and go by boat from central London, however, the boat we needed was full and we didn’t have enough time to wait for another one and get back in time to pick up Poppy from day care. So we had a look around and decided on visiting Westminster Abbey instead. Neither of us had ever been so we joined the queue and paid our £20 each. It was amazing. There was so much history and despite not being able to take pictures (despite my sneaky one below) and loads of other tourists listening to the audio guide, we had a great time looking around, exploring the different areas of the abbey and seeing the famous graves, including Charles Darwin, which I didn’t expect at all.

Big Ben Westminster Abbey The CenotaphWomen at War memorial Horse in London

After our visit to the Abbey, we headed to another vegetarian restaurant, Mildred’s, which was recommended to us by Ockviewer on Twitter. They don’t take bookings, so we were worried that we wouldn’t get a table, however, luck was on our side and we got a great table in the corner. Perfect for lots of people watching! The menu was amazing and it was so great to know that we could eat anything on the menu. We both opted for the Classic Burger and fries, as I’d never had a burger made with tofu before. I wasn’t disappointed! It was amazing, incredibly filling and tasty. If people think that veggie food is boring, they need to take a trip to Mildred’s! We didn’t have enough room for dessert, but that menu looked delicious too.

Tofu Burger at Mildreds Tofu and Lentil burgerAfter a bit of shopping, it was time to head home. Phil had got us first class train tickets for our return journey and it was a great idea. After a day of walking around, it was brilliant to have comfy, spacious seats, so I could have a little nap on the way home! The perfect end to a great day.

Review – Jamie’s Italian, Oxford

I can remember when Jamie’s Italian Oxford opened, not too many years ago. People queued down the street for a table and I enjoyed many a breakfast there. Then, after a while, I started to find that things weren’t as good as they were when they first opened, and as there are many great places to eat to Oxford, we ventured elsewhere. So when I was asked to review it for A Crafty Chai, I jumped at the chance. As always, I checked out the menu in advance, pleased to see they’d sectioned off the vegetarian offerings. Word to the wise, there are many more options available to both veggies and vegans than it might first appear on the website – just ask your waiter/ess for the veggie menu. (Or take a look at the pic below!)

Veggie Menu

My lunchtime companion was my friend Mary, and her 2 year old daughter. When booking, I’d asked for a high chair and was really pleased to see a childrens menu, a pack of crayons and a viewfinder with a copy of the menu on at our table. What a great way to show the menu! Plus, a nice little retro reminder for those of us who had them as kids (Have to admit, I think I played with the viewfinder more than Mary’s daughter!) Now, I have no idea what it’s like to go out for dinner with children or how well restaurants generally do catering for families, but Mary was really impressed. She liked the fact that the childrens menu was full of food a grown up would eat, not too babyish and just like they’d get at home. The portions were sensible too, both for children and adults.

Childrens Menu

There were a number of great options that I could easily have chosen, but it was a miserable day so I wanted something warm but not too filling. I ordered the small portion of the Penne Pomodoro and had some extra chilli, along with a simple green salad. We started with the World’s Best Olives on Ice and they came with a tapenade and music bread. The olives were good, tasty and fresh, as was the tapenade. The music bread was good too, but I wouldn’t call it bread, more like a wafer. I also opted for a non-alcoholic cocktail, the Refresher, well, why not eh?!

Worlds best olives

Refresher

Pomordoro

Simple Green salad

The pasta was delicious and the extra chilli gave it a lovely bit of heat, without overpowering the flavour. I always like a fresh green salad with a pasta dish and really liked the simple green salad, especially as the dressing was put in a cute little bottle on the side for me to add myself. Service was good, despite it being a busy Wednesday lunch time during half term holidays. They did forget to bring my side salad, but were hugely apologetic and prompt getting it when I asked. I’m pleased to say our waiter wasn’t intrusive and only asked once to see if everything was okay. Plus, even though I didn’t order a dessert (I had to get back to work after all), he brought me a spoon, just in case! And I used it, as Mary ordered this little beauty:

Epic Brownie

This is the Epic Brownie. If you go to Jamie’s Italian, leave room for this bad boy because it is amazing! If you’re full, order it anyway and see if someone will share it with you. Totally worth it!

Jamie’s Italian is a lovely place to go in Oxford. It has a lovely opulent feel, without being expensive. Our meal came to less than £50 for three of us, which I think is pretty good.

Jamies Jamies Italian

I am so pleased I was asked to review Jamie’s Italian, as otherwise I might never have eaten there again and missed out on such great food. I would definitely go back, either for light lunch or more of a fancy meal in the evening. Plus, I really like the fact that veggies and vegans get their own menu so there’s no confusion over ingredients. As a vegetarian, you feel like your diet choices are considered, thought about and treated equally, which is something other restaurants need to pay attention to.

Disclaimer: I was a guest of Jamie’s Italian, all opinions are my own.

#BEDM – Healthy Living

I can remember my Nana saying that ‘A little of what you fancy does you good’ as a child. She wasn’t wrong. I’ve been dieting since I was a teenager and I can safely say that there are a few things you can easily do to live a little healthier that’ll have a massive impact.

Healthy Living Tips

1. Get plenty of sleep. Sleep is your best friend whether you’re trying to lose weight, have enough energy at the end of the day to exercise or just make yourself feel a bit better. This can be difficult if your sleep is disturbed. When I was really stressed, I would wake up between 15-20 times a night. Not great. Even now, most nights I have to get up for a night time wee. Yep. Pretty much every night! There are lots of things you can do to help you get to sleep, but make sure you go to bed early enough, read before bedtime (and I don’t mean Twitter!) and try taking some deep breaths to help your body know it’s time to relax.

2. Eat as much veg as you can. Seriously, since doing the Feeling Fabulous Course, I can’t promote this enough. It’s great for your skin, your energy levels, your insides, but for me, when I eat lots of veg, I just feel lighter. In order for this to happen, I plan my meals like they are a military operation, write a comprehensive shopping list and stick to the meal plan. I do plan a treat meal once a week, which is usually a take away, but most meals are made from scratch, with the main focus on getting as much veg into my system as possible.

3. Exercise because it makes you feel better. Don’t go to the gym, workout for an hour and then go home and eat crap because you’ve burned all those calories. Work out because it’s good for your body and your mind. You’ll get a rush of good hormones, a boost of energy and it’ll make you walk taller. If you hate exercise, you’re doing the wrong sort. Find something you like, whether it’s swimming, a workout DVD or gardening. For me, I like nothing more than walking Poppy. So I do that three times a day and then try to do something else as well, as I sit down all day. Getting out in the fresh air is so important for making you feel better.

4. Make time for the things you love. If you love reading, knitting, talking on the phone, watching trash TV, whatever, make sure you set aside time to do it. If not, you’ll start to hate everything that gets in your way of doing it. Have a look through your day plan – is there something that you can cut to make sure you fit in the thing you love? Do it. You won’t regret it. No one says ‘I wish I spent more time working’. If they did, they clearly didn’t have an ace hobby!

5. Keep on learning. I love to learn new things. I always try and have a course on the go, whether it’s a free one on FutureLearn, a hand lettering class on SkillShare or something completely different like the Paper Love ecourse on Paperphilia, learning new things keeps our brains and creative juices going.

These are just a few things that help me make sure I’m living healthily. Having a balance of work and play is so important in this day and age where everything is 24/7. I’ve worked 14 hour days and it’s not fun and it’s certainly not good for you. I’m all about making sure I’ve got enough time to play – those Harry Potter films aren’t going to watch themselves! How about you? What do you do to make sure you’re living healthily?

#BEDM – Motivation

I love my sofa. And I love junk food. And I’m a fan of lazing around in my jammies. A lot. But none of that is healthy. Around Christmas time, I was in complete agony. I have a dodgy back and a bum knee and I’d been lazing around, eating too much junk food and my body was telling me enough is enough. I felt soft, weak, tired and run down. All the time. Life is way too short to make yourself feel like shit. There’s plenty of people out there who will do that for you. If you’re not doing the best by yourself, who is? So I decided on a change. A sensible, feel better, look after myself kind of change.

motivation

Image found via Pinterest // Original Source Unknown (if you know, tell me!)

I started off by doing the daily exercises the physio recommended for my back and knee. I started using Lift app to track it and help provide a little more motivation. After a while, I added in a plank move to help try and improve my core strength. The big turning point, however, was reading Laura’s Keeping Healthy Getting Stylish blog, signing up to her newsletter and taking her ecourse, Feeling Fabulous. Why was this so important? Because exercise is only 25% of the issue. Food is the bulk of it. I’ve got a crappy relationship with food. I’m all about comfort. Had a bad day? Make it better with cake. Had a great day? Celebrate with some cake. Does the day end y? Have some cake. Yep. I like cake. And I’m a rubbish vegetarian, in that I didn’t really replace meat with anything other than, yep, you guessed it, cake! Dieting never worked. I’d follow the diet for a while, see results, feel amazing, then start letting ‘bad’ foods back in until before you know it, I’d fallen off the diet wagon into the cake pit. I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. All it does is make for low self-esteem and a wardrobe that you can’t fit into.

The Feeling Fabulous course teaches you to forget what you think you know about healthy eating, stop labelling foods good and bad, enjoy your treats, just don’t treat yourself day in, day out and eat as many vegetables as you can! Since I started the course, I’ve learnt that if I want to have energy, feel better and enjoy life, I need to plan all meals, including snacks and treats, find vegetables I like and eat them, shop accordingly and not dial Dominos when I don’t feel like cooking. And what do you know, it works! It’s not about ‘dieting’, it’s about changing the way you see food. It’s fuel, not a comfort blanket. It’s a way of life, not an instant fix.

I’m never going to be a size 10, heck I may never even be a size 12 and I’m certainly not going to be running any marathons any time soon (or ever! Running for a day?! No thanks!) But if I can go to sleep at night (and actually sleep) knowing I’ve made the right choices for myself and done the best I can for my body, then I’m good with that. It’s all about balance.