I love to cook. Like really like to cook.

But I also want to look after my weight/health, so tend to buy cookbooks that reflect this. I go home every couple of weeks and one trip back I unearthed this book. I don’t know a lot about Nadia Sawalha (I think she was once in Eastenders.) However, the book is wonderful and a brilliant tool for cooking delicious recipes that are healthier for you. Thumbs up.

Blurb

Nadia Sawalha has always loved cooking, but until recently rarely ate her own food. Like a lot of women, whilst her family tucked in to delicious dishes, she nibbled on diet food. Later, ravenously hungry, she binged, somehow convincing herself that the calories didn’t count if nobody saw her eating them. Two years ago, after decades of fluctuating weight, she decided enough was enough: She wasn’t going to start a new diet tomorrow. She wasn’t going to start a new diet ever again. She was going to eat normal meals with her family and, most importantly, she was going to do so for the rest of her life.

Since then, Nadia has lost and kept off 3 1/2 stone, by simply throwing away the diet books. Instead she shaved off the hidden calories, all without anyone noticing. A little less oil here, a different cut of meat there; brown rice instead of white, more herbs, spices and colour; and a dessert every day! The result is ‘The Greedy Girl’s Diet’, which is packed with more than 100 delicious recipes, and Nadia’s invaluable tips and advice on how to achieve a slim, fit and healthy body.

My Review

I was skeptical about this book to begin with. Celebrity diet books often tend to be suspect. But I really like Nadia’s approach. The book begins with a very down to earth explanation of how she’s lost and kept off the weight. Many of the feelings and habits she described hit home for me. I have been the lazy girl who lived of low cal ready meals or takeaways in front of the box. Yo-yoing between weight-loss and gain. This book encourages you to re-think your eating habits and re-align your goals with your personal life. No, we won’t lose 2 stone in two weeks – but you might in a year. The book focuses on giving us fuel through food but making it tasty. (And moving around too.)

It seems obvious but Nadia makes your foodie favourites better for you. Mac and cheese for 400 cals  portion just by upping the strength of the cheese and using semi-skimmed milk. Or creamy scrambled egg – just stir in light cream cheese instead of nobs of butter. Very few of the recipes have tens of ingredients making the recipes super easy to make. The book details breakfasts (Lazy Weekends, Breakfast on the run) lunches, (soup glorious soup, ladies who lunch, spectacular sandwiches) dinners, (yummy mummy, dinner for two) and desserts. Yes it’s a little tongue in cheek but Nadia’s down to earth, friendly descriptions of the recipes make it feel genuine.  Oh and all the nutritional information is listed, making it very accessible.

 

My favourite recipes include the creamy advocado soup, salad nicoise sandwiches and the tandori chicken. But, the desserts are also fantastic. Coffee and walnut cake, chocolate cheesecake and mousse pots all feature. Nadia doesn’t make you cut things out she just makes very simple but clever changes. Changes that you and your family won’t notice but your waitstline will.

Final Thoughts

In terms of delivery, the images are beautiful but there could be more of them. Secondly the recipe don’t have a complete cooking time (which would be helpful.) Saying this, the book is fantastic for those attempting lose a little weight but not lose their favourite recipes. I think it’s wonderful.

 

You might have guessed I’m a big reader.

Give me a rainy day, and I’ll read till I’m blue in the face. Or until I’ve read all of the words. As many words as my tiny brain can take in. But, I don’t just read fiction. I read A LOT of articles. I’ve always read Narratively, but recently I discovered Medium.

Read Medium, get smarter

Welcome to Medium, a place where everyone has a story to share and the best ones are delivered right to you.

^ Best description. Better than I could come up with. (I tried to re-write it, I couldn’t.)

Every day thousands of people turn to Medium to publish their ideas and perspectives. They might be personal essays, they might talk about tech. They might be 21 minutes long they might be 3. It’s a new type of news, that comes straight from the people living and making it. And it’s bloody beautiful. Here are 5 articles you need to read. (Because they’re brilliant.)

Medium Articles

‘It’s Because You’re Fat’ — And Other Lies My Doctors Told Me

This article really struck a chord with me. I’ve struggled in the past with PCOS. Too many times I’ve been told to lose weight. It will solve all ills. Needless to say at the time of my PCOS diagnosis I had lost 20lbs and was at a healthy BMI. (Shrugs – explain that.) Martina’s story has made me think about people that have more destructive illnesses that could be gravely misdiagnosed because of prejudice towards weight. It’s not cool and needs to stop.

Cooking with Sarah

This series is fantastic. It’s all about sharing the joy of cooking with your partner. Both Sarah and her partner Aaron have profiles and they have created a very special slice of the Internet in the process. Sarah tends to write the recipe, Aaron tells you the reasons behind it. It’s a two step story and it’s wonderfully done. The posts end up being a mixture of learning to live in the midst of being a couple and some really  bladdy good recipes. I’ve signed up for updates from both. (You should too.)

This is what I want for losing weight

I’ve recently lost 24lbs and counting for the second/third time. (Yes I am a yoyo dieter.) This article talks about rewarding yourself for hitting certain weight-loss goals. Not in food treats (step away from that treat day.) But, in tangible things. A lipstick maybe? A trip away. It’s a positive post about self-love and coping with your body.

I wanted to see how far I could push myself creatively. So I redesigned Instagram.

FOR MY GEEKY GALS. I love Instagram. It’s a recent love and I’m currently trying to post once a day. But I have discovered SOME faults. Kim went a step further and decided to redesign Instagram and I like what she suggested. One of the things I love about Medium is how it encourages us to think more about what we could do. How could we push ourselves to develop our skills. After reading this post I saw that 3 people had taken inspiration from Kim and had written/designed their own improvements to Instagram. Medium creates an ever-moving discussion.

6 non-intuitive lessons I learned from living on Airbnb for 365 days

Finally a bit of fun (and something I now really want to do.) Chenyu lived in AirBnb’s for a year. I’ve done one in my lifetime (SO FAR,) and do definitely want to learn more. I love how this article is constructed. Plus, it’s seriously increased my travel bug. Ergh I wanna go now.

Do you use Medium? If not here’s 5 to get you started! (And if you know any good articles, link a gal up.) 

Medium Articles

Medium Articles

I caved and bought a blog planner.

For the last few months I’ve been using my personal diary to plan my blog posts. It started off well enough but recently I’ve been moving a lot of posts around. It’s meant that my personal diary is super messy. That week I received an email from Dot Creates that they had a couple of slightly damaged blog planners. Seeing as I had meant to buy one earlier in the month I snapped one up. Was it a good idea?

It’s all in the details

Dot creates state on their website that

Our all-in-one A5 blog planner is the perfect way to keep both your daily life and blog content organised. Small enough to carry in your bag and easy to write on. And with daily diary space, loads of post planning pages, upcoming event, sponsored content space, AND notes pages. This is the only planner you will ever need.

The planner contains:

  • 12 month (undated) planner

  • 192 post planning pages! (split into months)

  • Daily diary space

  • Hand-drawn quotes

  • Upcoming events section

  • Sponsored content section

  • Monthly stats recorder

  • Extra sponsored content pages

  • Notes pages

The Design

I love the design of this planner. It’s A5 which is the perfect size and it’s spiral bound so it’s easy to use. I like the clear cover to help protect the diary and the paper is really good quality. But the detail I really love is that it’s not numbered. It means that you can use the planner at any time of the year with no wasted pages. Brilliant. The cover is gorgeous too. I was tempted by the peach but the blue/grey pipped it to the post.

It’s what’s on the inside

The inside is perfect. There are pages for sponsored content if that’s your thing and space to write in upcoming events. The pages for planning blog posts are really well designed. There’s space to tick whether you’ve finished words/photographs, which is very helpful for me. I tend to write my posts during the week and then photograph on Saturday’s when the light is good. I think this is definitely going to help me keep up-to-date.

You Go Doll

I love the inspiring quotes throughout the planner. Blogging can be a lonely world so it’s nice to have a pick-me up every 15 or so pages. The type-font is gorgeous and I’m half tempted to rip these out and frame them. Or just buy prints from Dot Creates.

It’s purse friendly

I don’t think I will use this for every post I do. I want to use it for longer posts, or series posts. But I love how weighty it is. This will last me at least a year, probably more. The planner I bought was £7 because of slight marks on the cover but these sell for £12.50 which is, ridiculous. For such a high quality product it’s a steal.

Better Content

I really think this is going to help me improve my content. I’ve recently really upped my game with my photos and SEO. I think it’s going to help me improve what I’m posting and keeping an eye on my stats and the like. I’m really excited to get stuck in.

Should you invest?

Yes, yes, yes. It’s a fantastic planner, with a great price-point and a stunning cover. Big fan. I lave it.

Dot Creates Ultimate Blog Planner

Dot Creates Ultimate Blog Planner

Dot Creates Ultimate Blog Planner

 

I make a lot of rusty coloured soups. Carrots/butternut squash/tomato or pepper they look gorgeous but samey. So imma switching it up for a green recipe/ Specifically one with broccoli, pea and basil. It’s bustling because it takes no time at all to create. Mainly because you don’t want to over-cook the broccoli! Enjoy.

Bustling Broccoli, Pea and Basil Soup

Put in your trolley

(Would properly feed a dozen hungry mouths.)

Low cal cooking spray

2 large onions, roughly chopped

2 garlic cloves, diced

3 celery sticks, roughly chopped

A large pinch of dried oregano

80 g fresh basil (chopped the stalks and leave the leaves)

1,5 kg broccoli

1,5 l vegetable stock

500 g frozen peas

juice of 1/2 lemon

a sprinkling of Parmesan

One Slice of Campbells Bacon for garnish 

Black pepper

Step One

Heat up the low cal cooking spray and cook the onion on a low heat for around 10 minutes. Stir every often so they don’t brown so much. After the 10, add the garlic, celery and oregano and basil stalks (only) and stir well.

Step Two

After 6-10 minutes (ish) add the broccoli, vegetable broth and salt and pepper to taste. Keep stirring.

Step Three

Let it cook for 15 minutes and taste. You don’t want over cooked broccoli! At this point fry the bacon slice (chopped up till crispy) Remove from the heat and add the frozen peas, lemon and basil leaves. Blend until you have the consistency you desire. (Add more stock if you want it thinner.) And serve! Oh and sprinkle the bacon!

Numbers (If you’re bothered.)

This comes in at almost spot on 300cals. If you add on a delicious crust of bread and some tzatziki you’re up to 400 cals. Perfect for a lunch at your desk or as a lighter dinner.

Recommended Reading

I recommend reading COLORLESS TSUKURU TAZAKI By Haruki Murakami. I’ve read 1Q84 and thought it was really wonderful but not, well perfect. T recently read this and adored it so I’m looking forward to it too. T suggested that this would work quite well with this recipe. Lavely.

Bustling Broccoli, Pea and Basil Soup

Bustling Broccoli, Pea and Basil Soup

Hello readers – I’m here, on a Wednesday and it’s not a book review? What, I hear you say. Well – today is a new blog day and I thought, let’s not sit around and cry about the mind-boggling election of Donald Trump (insert cry face emoji.) Lets explore all the exciting things I did last week and kinda move on from all the drama; because reading about the life of a small time blogger is quite distracting right?

QUICK NOTE: For those of you wondering what’s happened to the bloody blog – well, London is an exciting, amusing and crazy new place but it’s pretty exhausting and although I’ve read a hella number of books, I kind of want to push the boundaries of this blog and write a little more about my life here in London. It should still be primarily bookish but I just want to share a little more about my life here in London. Without delay, here’s what I’ve been up to.

Cocktails at Somerset House

On Saturday afternoon one of my loveliest long-time friends @HopeCami came to visit. After visiting Wagamama’s for a well-deserved catch-up (GIVEE me all the R A M E N,) we trekked towards the London Eye to take a number of touristy shots. We gave up though at Somerset house and spent an eye-watering amount of money on cocktails. (If you do go, The Somerset is one of the most perfect cocktails I’ve ever tried – so go try it!)

Week Commencing Nov 1

Walks in Greenwich Park

I’ve mentioned it maybe 100000000 times; but I recently moved to Greenwich and it is just the most beautiful place. Leanne, (another brilliant friend who I missed a hella load in Stoke) and I went for an early morning walk and it was sublime. This photo doesn’t have a filter; it was honestly perfect. (Plus hot-chocolates were pretty fantastic too!)

Week Commencing Nov 1

Having my own kitchen

Basically I can now make the most delicious breakfasts each and every single morning; (then add mouth-watering filters and post them to instagram cause I’m that cool) . But seriously getting our own kitchen was a serious deal breaker. There might be fewer people to deny needing to wash up but it’s much better than the soul-destroying moment when going to cook and there being NO GODDAMN SAUCEPANS.

Week Commencing Nov 1

Greenwich Food Market

You guys, if you live anywhere near Greenwich you have to try this out, seriously. The range of food from different countries/cuisines/diets (gluten-free anyone?) is incredibly. Plus there are so many vegetarian and vegan options T was pretty damn happy.

Week Commencing Nov 1

Getting back into Instagram

This one coincided with moving to London. I have very, very fond memories of living in Stoke on Trent but after 5 years there I struggled to photograph it in any other light than it was kinda sucking the life out of me. Moving to London means I’m constantly whipping out my camera and taking photographs, and posting them on the ole instagram. I’m still getting a feel for it but if you fancy following me you can find me at @littlebookblog1!

Week Commencing Nov 1

So there you have it; my first week commencing style post? I’m not sure what I’ll call them in the coming weeks and I’m pretty sure I want them to come out on a Monday but once again we’ll see. Let me know if you enjoyed this – I would love to make them very book related but I don’t know how easy that will be. But I’ll stop withering – and chin up about Donald everyone. It’s only four years? (hits head on table.)