At the beginning of the year, I found out that I was suffering with IBS symptoms (not my organs exploding like I had originally thought). I’d been really sick after trying to switch over to a vegan diet and went to the doctors after a weekend of being in horrific pain. I left with some information on Fodmaps and since then, I’ve been trying to navigate this food maze by myself. I’ve had a really hectic year, so I’ve not properly recorded what my triggers are and in what quantities that I can tolerate high Fodmap foods. This is something that I am starting to do more ritually as just recently I’ve had a terrible flare up leaving me feeling run down, bloated and sick. I’ve been following a collection of low Fodmap recipes/ adjusting recipes to be Fodmap friendly and will be posting examples of ones that I have found to work well for me. I am by no means a dietitian and what has been good for me may not be great for you, so if you’re brand new to Fodmap, be cautious and remember to always take into consideration what your doctor tells you, listen to your body and record everything!
Eliminating anything from your diet is difficult, there’s a lot of information online about low Fodmap diets, but one article to the next can often be contradictory. I found a really basic recipe over the weekend and tweaked it slightly to avoid anything that might cause a flare up (onion, garlic etc). I haven’t found that stock cubes aren’t a trigger for me, but if they are for you, make sure that you use an IBS friendly alternative or boil up your own stock beforehand.
Ingredients (Makes 4 lunches):
Preheat oven to 200˚C
500g fresh tomatoes – (Sainbury’s loose, 80p)
70g/ half a red pepper – (Sainsbury’s loose, 21.5p)
45g/ half a carrot – (Sainsbury’s 4p)
15g fresh basil – (Sainsbury’s 37.5p)
Drizzle of olive oil
Salt & pepper
1 vegetable stock cube
300g Quorn pieces (Sainabury’s £2.00)
540g Basmati rice (Sainsbury’s 82p)
2 Tbsp Engevita Yeast Flakes
Total Ingredient Cost: £4.25
Roughly chop everything and chuck it into an oven proof dish, drizzle with the oil and season with salt and pepper.
Roast for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and use a hand blender to blitz it all up.
Fry up 300g of Quorn pieces
Add sauce to the pan with a glug of water
Add in 1 vegetable stock cube and nutritional yeast
Stir everything and simmer while the rice cooks
I have been having this for the past few days at work and I am really enjoying it! I added some chilli flakes once it was dished up, I’ve not found spice to be a trigger for me and the kick of heat really adds to the flavour!
Do you suffer with IBS? Let me know some of your favourite meals and recipes in the comments!
I’ve been writing this post for a long time now, but because of a house move and lots of other bits and bobs, I’ve not had chance to share with you all some really positive work coming from The Refill Garage. Since I first started writing this post, a lot has changed, but the goal for The Refill Garage has stayed the same.
The story starts with a husband and wife embarking on a personal mission to reduce their plastic waste. Like a lot of us, Jess and her husband had the daunting realisation that their bathroom was full of plastic bottles and started to piece together ways that they could cut down their waste and live a more sustainable life. They started making little changes – using the milk man, refilling their milk bottles at a local farm, buying their veggies at a farm shop, using soap, shampoo and conditioner bars rather that bottled products – all really great changes that got Jess thinking about this on a larger scale.
“How fantastic it would be if there was a service where you could use the same bottle, but fill them up?“
Jess started researching, seeing that there were similar shops in Cornwall and Bath, but nothing closer to home. Introducing – The Refill Garage! Like a lot of us, Jess is in love with the planet and is devastated by the damage that we’re causing. “Watching things like Blue Planet or War on Plastic Waste really hit home that we need to make some changes. It’s overwhelming.“
When I asked Jess what running The Refill Garage meant to her, she told me that she finds it incredibly rewarding being able to help, and ‘knowing that doing something small can make such an impact in the long run is an amazing accomplishment’.
Jess sources her products from a collection of retailers. Choosing them involved a lot of research as she wanted to be able to find a supplier to whom she could return the containers to be refilled, so that it’s a circular system that isn’t creating any waste. She also wanted to ensure that the products that she is using are as eco-friendly as possible, as she doesn’t want the process to be counterproductive.
I originally asked Jess if she was planning on introducing any new products, to which she replied with a big yes! We’ve watched over the past months how The Refill Garage has responded perfectly to the demand, listening to it’s customers requests and reacting appropriately with products to help them reduce their own waste.
Jess didn’t create The Refill Garage to be her sole job and source of income, ‘ I created it to provide a service for others that I longed for!‘. She told me that not having a permanent shop, and instead ones that she can ‘Pop Up’ in allows her to keep prices as low as possible. ‘If the prices are extortionate then it would discourage people from using the refill option as it’s cheaper to go to a local store and buying another bottle full of what they wish to buy!‘
The Refill Garage is a really exciting venture and something that we shouldn’t take for granted. We definitely need more people like Jess with the passion and drive to not only make a difference to her own life, but help the rest of us make a difference with our own!
“We needed a facility to refill our bottles, so if it meant me researching and trying it then that’s what I was going to do!”
Eco friendly products are a big talking point at the minute. Opinion columns are discussing them daily, with some jumping for joy and others thinking they’re just another way for large corporations to pass the guilt down the chain.
Despite what some people think, our personal consumption is important. It’s become a part of our identities now, it’s engrained into our existence. It’s choosing to take your refillable water bottle everywhere, or it’s the ignorance of buying bottled water every day on your way to work. It’s the moment that you get your consumerism under control and stop wasting your money on trash. If this is you, and you’re looking at making a difference to your life, my Christmas Wish List will hopefully give you some great ideas. In absolutely no specific order, I’m going to share with you some of my favourite eco friendly products right now.
Lock & Lock Eco Friendly Tubs
Off the cuff, Lock & Lock have released a collection of eco friendly tubs that are produced using the cut offs from their original clear range. Every one is said to be a different shade to the next, depending on where they’ve come off the production line, and they’re just as durable and hard wearing as their original collection – and they are a fantastic size. I got mine from Sainsbury’s, they were on offer at around £3 and came wrapped in a piece of card that explained that they’re salvaged from 100% food grade waste plastic. You can find them here for a really great price, or they are on Amazon with a bit of a hefty price tag. I use them when I meal prep and for storing soup for quick midweek meals.
Tefal Enjoy Utensil Collection
Next up, the Tefal Enjoy utensil collection. I’m struggling to find many links for this one, there are couple on Amazon, though I got mine in Sainsbury’s on offer a lot cheaper. They’re made from 95% recycled materials and have a 2-in-1 function, like a spaghetti spoon that you can also scoop up your sauce with. They’re nifty in the sense that you can have more space in your drawer, and you’ll have less dishes once you’ve made your signature spag bol. I’ve been using these for a while now and feel like the days of using 2 utensils at once are part of a messy culinary past I’m glad to leave behind *stares lovingly towards utensils*.
This may seem like a weird one, following the food theme from the previous products, but thermal curtains have become my must have home product. They’re great for prevents draughts and breezes, reducing noise, and helping to stop the sun from bleaching your decor. Having moved from a draughty 1930s property, the last thing that I wanted was to have a cold house, and these have really helped to banish those last little chills around the windows. It’s said that having thermal curtains can help to cut down your heating costs, with them reducing the amount of energy lost through your windows, so they’re an all round win win. Don’t rush out and ditch your curtains too quickly though, you can upgrade your current curtains with a thermal liner that will help do the exact same job for a fraction of the price.
Insulated Lunch Bag
I recently bought one of these for Jamie, he is terrible for buying food on the go while he is at work. Besides the cost and waste, the lack of nutrition in everything he buys is a worry for me. I picked this one up on Amazon, it came ready for Monday morning and was surprisingly practical. The upper compartment fits a standard size protein shaker in, so it’s more than enough space for your water bottle. The main body houses the Lock & Lock 1.2L eco box and has room left over for snacks and boasts a couple of hook and loop tape fastening compartments that I stuff homemade cookies in.
I came across these guys listening to the Plant Proof podcast, their story is incredible and definitely worth a listen. I was gifted a bunch of things for my birthday last year and they’re almost too good to use. 4 bowls, some cutlery and a bag of straws are now in my possession and I’m as happy with them now as I was when I first saw them. They need to be hand washed with soapy water and polished with coconut oil after every 10 uses, but don’t let this put you off as not only do they look fantastic, but they’re also handcrafted and helping to reduce the mass waste of coconut shells. You can fill them with anything your heart desires, just make sure your family and friends are ready for the new tropical level of food porn you’re about to be producing. Grab them straight from the guy’s themselves and you’ll probably bag a discount!
Biodegradable Poo Bags
If you’re a dog mom/dad/guardian then you’ll know that you can never have too many poo bags, but the type we choose is really important. As an extremely gross experiment, I totalled up how many poo bags I’m using in a week and the results were pretty mind blowing. On average, both of my dogs will poo twice a day, however if we go for a walk, they could both squeeze out another 2 (very pathetic looking) poops each – because they’re both kind like that. That can be a whopping 8 bags just in one day, and an average of 56 bags a week if we get a walk in every day. My good friends and Hounds sell Earth Rated Scented Lavender Poo Bags, they’re everything that you want from a poo bag – sturdy, thick and capable of masking pretty stinky dog droppings. Your dog mom/dad/guardian points just went through the roof.
I know that there isn’t a biodegradable cotton bud in sight, but these are all different ways that you can look at your consumption of products and make changes for the better.
Let me know if you’ve tried anything on my Christmas Wish List in the comments!
The party season is fast approaching, and all of our favourite retailers are going all guns blazing when it comes to sequins, glitter and show stopping finishes. I am an absolute sucker for buying something new for every occasion, but I’m trying to reign it in knowing the impact that fashion can have on the environment. In July I purchased a gorgeous Monki fruit print dress dress for my work summer party. I wanted to make sure that whatever I got could be worn again and again, dressed up or down, and it’s done just that. I styled it with drunk eyes, Kim K braids, lace up heels and a little shoulder bag covered in animals playing golf. Since then I’ve teamed it with sandals, trainers and even a parka – it’s versatile, my friends.
With this Christmas attire roundup, I’m going to push you away slightly from the glitter and glam of dresses and show you some of my favourite alternative Christmas party looks.
Monki Emerald Ribbed Culottes
I absolutely adore Monki, a lot of their clothes are highly functional and have the kind of style that you can make look seriously edgy, or keep conventional.
These emerald culottes are the perfect example of how you can work a sassy wide leg for parties and for a random weekend in Feb. The statement hue is sophisticated and has that Christmas-y vibe we love and teams in perfectly with this seasons obsession with 70’s cuts and prints.
For your Christmas party, a sleeveless black chiffon top, metallic nails, a smokey eye, barely there black heels and your glitzy clutch bag from last year are all you need to shimmer through the festive season, then retire them down with a brown sweatshirt and chunky black boots throughout the rest of the winter months.
These caught my eye even more, as they’re apart of the ‘Better Cotton Initiative’ that helps to support responsibly grown, sustainable cotton farming.
Newlook Paperbag Waist Trousers
Paperbag waists aren’t leaving us anytime soon, they’re a really easy way to work a day-to-night look with ease. These have a more tailored finish than some, but still boast a slightly relaxed fit that’s perfect if there’s going to be lots of fizz and snacks at your party.
I chose these as not only can you pair them up for your party with a silky cami and nude heels, but you can style them for work with a blazer and shirt, or for the weekend with a graphic tee and slouchy cardi.
Miss Selfridge Grey Plush Overcoat
We’re all guilty of going out without a coat or jacket over winter, but this plush overcoat is a cosy way to work chic slouchy style over the party season and beyond.
Back in 2003, Kate Moss was pictured wearing an oversized faux fur coat with a silver maxi dress, white heels and a black clutch bag. It worked for Kate, so it can work for us. Layer your legs in knee high boots like the Miss Selfridge model for a fierce party look, or add in plain white tee tucked into your fav boyfriend jeans for a casual finish.
Yours Black Distressed Jeggings
Because who doesn’t like the jeans and a nice top look? These distressed jeggings are a comfortable choice for every occasion and easily worked with sweatshirts, tees, blouses and shirts.
If you’re not a big fan of tight fitting clothes, don’t shy away from these just yet. They’re fitted with an elasticated waistband and have elastane added into the cotton-rich mix, so they’re easy to pull on and have a finish that moves with your body.
For the party season, a lace bodice and smart blazer will keep you looking glam from Christmas to NYE, while a year round staple look can boast a tie waist shirt and ballet flats.
Reiss Floral Mini Skirt
I had a mailer through with this skirt on and fell in love with it the moment I lay eyes on it. It’s classy, contemporary, and easily worked from coffee with friends to your NYE party.
The black shirt combo featured is a statement choice for your festive RSVP’s and can be taken into your work wear with a blazer and brogues or layered with a chunky knit jumper and roll neck top.
Now, I’m under no illusion that this design is quite expensive and I struggled to find an exact replica, though I don’t think that this look is unobtainable using any kind of floral skirt. One in particular that I loved was this gorgeous floaty Rara number from Miss Selfridge. It has a shirred waist and layers of tulle, making it ultra feminine and adaptable for any event.
Boohoo Floral Wrap Skater Dress
Boohoo isn’t exactly known for subtle clothing, but I thought that this floral skater dress was quite a classy choice that you could take throughout the seasons with the right jacket and tights.
It’s styled on the site with chunky white trainers (sigh) and that’s about it. BUT if you’re confident with your style, lace up boots would give this dress some killer boho vibes ready for the festival season. For Christmas, a popping lippy and strappy heels will complete the look perfectly.
Debenhams Black Faux Suede Loafers
Last but not least, one my favourite Christmas party picks are these black faux suede loafers. I’ve done a few years of ripping up my feet now, and I can’t say that I ever really want to look back. Small heels and stylish flats can work wonders – not only are they absolutely killer in style, but they’re also comfortable, allowing you to spend more time socialising with a G&T, rather than sitting in the corner nursing your newly formed blisters.
Have you got your party outfit sorted? Let me know in the comments!
If you’re looking for a shop that really cares about you and your dogs, Hounds is the place you want to go. Supplying a collection of natural chews, treats, food, toys and accessories, this isn’t your average large chain dog shop that sells you suspicious products with unknown ingredients, it’s a unique sanctuary for people that really love their doggies.
Choosing natural treats and food should be something every owner should commit too. Nourishing your pet is the difference between them thriving and merely surviving. Quality brands like Canagan, have a higher nutritional value in each piece of biscuit, meaning your dogs body is absorbing more nutrients and protein with every bite, which of course means that your dog isn’t starving again half an hour after their meal. Canagan estimate that a dog of 8kg only requires 125g of their food a day, working out at a measly 71p.
Treats such as raw hide chews are produced using a tonne of nasty chemicals, bleach and glue, before being re-coloured with a plethora of dyes, some of which are considered a carcinogenic. A great alternative to these types of chews are at large in Hounds. Some of which I found nestled within my latest order.
I purchased a Hounds Monthly Chew Box which currently contains a pack of Denzels Chews, an Edgard & Cooper snack bar, a natural cow ear, 2 types of chicken feet, a pork roll, a beef heart and a lovely biodegradable poo bag! Along side the box, I ordered 4 puffed chicken feet (Serge’s all time favourite), 4 chicken sausages, 2 buffalo ears and a standard sized buffalo horn.
As you can imagine, the dogs were ecstatic when my package arrived promptly at the door, and neither of them could wait to tuck in. We started by investigating the Chew Box. Both Serge and Max were intrigued by the tasty smelling box, so much so I struggled the get any photos before they were trying to run off with bits to start demolishing!
I tried to insist (for science of course) that they did a sniff test of each paper bag before I unwrapped it. The winner by far was the bag of little chicken sausages, so we started with them on the taste test. Max sat with me while he scoffed his, Serge ran off like usual to eat his in secret (probably so Max can’t come to steal it). In a close second was the pork roll, we of course did a taste test on this and it went down so well that I had to take a trip to the shop and buy some more before a mini dog war erupted in our living room. Whilst there, I explored the pick and mix style treat table and picked up some more chicken sausages and a couple of duck necks too.
The Chew Box has definitely been a hit, it’s perfect if you’re after something a little different every month and even more so if you haven’t got much time to nip out and get your pooch some treats. Priced at a very modest £8.49, or £8.07 if you subscribe (box contents valued at over £10), it’s a little price for a ‘happy, healthy hounds’!
Until very recently, my family has always had a Sky TV package. With channels for the whole family, the prospect of keeping everybody entertained seemed like a godsend. I remember one of our first TV upgrades being ‘Multi Room’, shortly followed by the ability to record, pause and rewind live TV, and if that wasn’t enough, we were greeted by the option to add On Demand TV to our package, not to mention cinema and sports.
It seemed like things couldn’t get any better, most providers offered these brilliant perks that once seemed like a pipe dream, but at what cost?
After having Sky TV myself and spending a grand total of £3320 over 52 payments. I looked at my spending habits and wondered how I could cut back on needless payments, Sky was the first thing to go. It was initially offered at a relatively cheap price that started to creep up over the years before I realised that enough was enough. I was rarely at home to watch any shows, and when I was I found myself tirelessly flicking through the channels for something that was semi entertaining.
I reflected on the channels that I did watch, I could count 5, my partner a couple more. After doing a little digging I found that I already had the platforms needed to watch them all, without the hefty price tag every month. The main two that I have been using are Amazon Prime Video and a Now TV Smart Box.
Amazon Prime Video: Included with any Amazon Prime membership and offers thousands of free TV shows and movies with the option to rent or buy additional shows that aren’t included for free. Also has a subscription service to individual channels. I use a Fire Stick to watch Prime Video, which is also compatible with most TV apps.
Now TV: Contract free streaming that works with ‘Passes’ that you can purchase. Passes include Entertainment, Sky Cinema, Kids, Sky Sports and Hayu. I got a collection of free passes when I purchased the Now TV box. The smart Now TV boxes also allow you to download apps to watch things like BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4, Netflix and many more for you to be able to catch up on your favourite shows for free.
I’ve been free of a Sky contract for 4 months now and it’s still on of the best decisions I have ever made. Not only am I saving on average £65 every month, but I’ve also found myself spending my leisure time differently, whether it’s reading, writing or exercising, my life is definitely more fulfilled since I cut ties with Sky.
Have you been thinking about changing your TV provider or cutting the contract all together too? Let me know in the comments!
Whether it’s from Brexit, Boris Johnson, or more importantly, global warming, the UK is stuck in a whirlwind of terrible news. We’re bombarded daily by a lot of negative information that can be difficult to digest, especially when there are a lot of conflicting opinions. Despite having a strong interest in the matter, I’m currently taking a step back from getting angry at the disaster that has become UK politics, and I’m instead focusing my energy into changes I can make to help reduce my Carbon Footprint and waste.
Something that has become very real for me recently is the constant pressure of consumerism, there’s always something new or better that we should be buying, most of the time when what we already have is perfectly fine.
One of the worst contenders for this is fashion, so trying to reduce what I buy is something I try to exercise a lot. Being able to make simple repairs is a great way to cut down the need to buy clothes. There will always be times when you can’t avoid buying something, but what we do with our old clothes afterwards also impacts the environment. At one point, among everything else I owned, I had around 40 dresses in my wardrobe. Some I hadn’t worn for years but couldn’t bring myself to get rid of, others I wore day to day, and the rest were purely for evening wear and didn’t get that much use. After sorting through everything I had (a lot still had tags!), I’d made a huge pile of clothes to be sold, another to go to charity, and one that I planned on recycling with the H&M scheme.
What happens after you sell your clothes on is out of your control, but somebody else buying second hand is a small step in the right direction for our society becoming more eco-friendly. A way that you can be sure on the fate of your clothes however, is up-cycling. I just recently made a cotton tote bag from an old T-Shirt, it was quick, easy, and didn’t require a sewing machine.
I’ve also invested in a couple of products from Lush. All of the products come boxed in recyclable materials, either placed in the cardboard on their own or wrapped in a very thin piece of paper. The padding inside is also recyclable, rather than being Styrofoam – I kept this for packing for our move.
I ordered a Wiccy Magic Muscles bar to help sooth my aching muscles after the gym. I don’t really have a product that this is substituting, but if you use something like baby oil or massage oils, you would have very little waste from this product. I also bought a conditioning shampoo bar called Godiva, it’s a lovely yellow bar that contains cocoa butter, cupuaçu butter, shea butter, camellia oil, organic macadamia nut oil and extra virgin coconut oil. It comes unwrapped, but Lush sell their own little tins that you can pop your products in. Last but not least, I ordered a soap called Honey I Washed The Kids. I couldn’t find a tub large enough on sale at Lush, so I’ve popped it in a small Tupperware tub.
I think that people can be put off by the prices at Lush, though after doing a little bit of research and comparing my findings against the prices of one bar to how many bottles of shampoo and conditioner I buy, it seems like this is going to be much better value for money. I’ve been told that one shampoo bar can last over a month, whereas one bottle of my shampoo lasts a few days at most when it is being shared between two people. Again, the soap bar is forecast to last a lot longer than one bottle of my body wash, which leads me to hope my day-to-day waste can be cut down drastically.
For a long time I have flicked between being vegetarian. At the beginning of this year I fell terribly sick after switching completely veggie, mainly due to my intolerance to most meat alternatives. Since then, meat has been reintroduced to my diet, but in much smaller portions. I try to eat a lot of vegetables that I can buy loose from the shop by my house, usually this will be things like courgettes, aubergines, onions, peppers, and just recently, mushrooms. I go through mushrooms by the bucket load and a lot of the time eat them with a mixture of veggies instead of having something like chips when I’m cooking in the week.
We are all aware by now that cutting down our meat and fish consumption is crucial to maintaining the environment, though another thing that is in the firing line right now is the packaging that our food comes in. Many things come in plastic tubs with film lids, most of which aren’t recyclable. I’ve been trying to tackle this is by buying all of my fruit and vege loose, and taking advantage of stores that will sell you meat and fish in tubs you’ve bought from home.
Over the past few weeks I have been exploring bulk buying products like pasta, rice, herbs and spices, though I haven’t quite found the best way to approach this yet. I feel that with only 3 weeks left to move, a sudden bulk buy might be alarming once I come to pack up the kitchen, though it definitely seems to be a way to reduce lots of bits of plastic.
Consistency is key when it comes to reducing your waste – making sure that the changes you make can be implemented every day. Whether it’s from the points I’ve made above, or doing things like taking shorter showers and remembering to turn off the tap while you’re brushing your teeth, a more conscious approach to living is a step in the right direction.
Let me know in the comments any tips on living more consciously!
Liam Gallagher recently hit us right in the feels with his new track Once, from his solo album Why Me? Why Not, set to be released on the 20th September 2019.
Liam needs no introduction, having risen to fame in the early 90s, he’s a household name that packs a punch and a parka. Over the past few years he’s been pursuing a successful solo career which is often critiqued against his former fame within Oasis, and of course, his brother, Noel.
As solo artists, I believe the two are incomparable. I find Noel lacks the entertainment and charisma that oozes from every pore of his younger brother – an opinion that’s quite often landed me in hot water with die-hard Noel fans.
Back in 2017 when Liam released As You Were, I found myself listening to Chinatown on repeat. The emotional approach to the songs content took me back to the first time I heard Talk Tonight; it’s calm, meaningful, intoxicating.
Once has been no different.
Its lyrics are almost troubled and filled with reflection on both the past and present, touching on growth and companionship. The first verse comically mocks his own concern about how time has passed, remembering how at times our adolescence and fight for freedom can feel embarrassing when you’re looking at it from the other side. I think this is something that we have all felt in our lives, whether it’s looking at something we wore or seeing an old Facebook memory, we’ve all sat and cringed at our former selves.
With any rumination, comes the nostalgia, and like Once, it always hits hard. “But oh, I remember how you used to shine, back then / You went down so easy like a glass of wine, my friend / When the dawn came up you felt so inspired to do it again / But it turns out you only get to do it once”.
Only getting to do life once is a harrowing realisation most of us try to avoid thinking about, but Once unites us as all as humans that age, make mistakes, and grow.