Kale, mango & ginger

As a health enthusiast, I can’t do a smoothie section and not have a green one, can I?
I had to do a green smoothie and don’t be scared- not every ingredient is green ok. It doesn’t consist of sprouts, runner beans and broccoli. It got some leaves in it, yes, but it’s all good. I promise you. Now go buy yourself some Kale and get making this bad boy:
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What you need:
  • 2 cups (~ 60 g) kale, packed, fresh or frozen (organic when possible)
  • 1 cup (165 g) ripe frozen mango cubes (organic when possible)
  • 1 cup (150 g) ripe frozen peaches (organic when possible)
  • 1 Tbsp (6 g) minced fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 – 2 lemons or limes, juiced (~1/4 cup or 60 ml)
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups (360 – 480 ml) filtered water
  • optional: honey
  • optional:¬†1 cup iceWhat to do:
    1. Pop your ice, kale, mango, peaches, ginger, lemon juice (starting with 1 lemon (2 Tbsp or 30 ml) and working your way up) and 1 cup water (240 ml) into your blender/smoothie maker.
    2. Once well blended, taste and adjust seasonings as needed. If too tart, add more fruit or a little honey…. For more zing, add ginger or more lemon juice.
    3. Divide between two serving glasses and enjoy ūüôā

 

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Cashew nut, coconut & white chocolate – warm!

 

What you need:

  • 100ml of fresh Coconut milk
  • 30g Oats
  • 1 small Banana
  • 1 tsp Maca powder
  • A hand full of Cashew nuts
  • 2 tbsp desiccated coconut
  • 2 (or three) squares of organic white chocolate


What to do:

– Microwave 50ml coconut milk and white chocolate for 2 minutes.
– Mix the banana slices, maca powder, cashew nuts, desiccated coconut, oats and the remaining 50ml of cold coconut milk into your smoothie maker or blender.
– Blend for a minute until the oats and have been completely incorporated (add a splash of cold coconut milk or water if you think it’s too thick to blend….)
– Divide the blended oat mixture between two cups and stir in the hot milk/chocolate mix. Then just top with a sprinkle of coconut or cinnamon and you’re good to go.

 

 

 


to lift your mood

We’ve all been there. When we’re feeling a bit low, bogged down with work, stressed with assignments, due on our period or just merely having a crappy day. It’s when were having one of those days where we want…. to eat.

And its never normally spinach or seeds.

Its normally something bad, something fatty or carby. Something begining with ‘ch’ and ending in ‘ocolate’….

 

Well there’s something good and something bad to say about this:

  1. that it’s completely understandable, everyone does it when they’re not feeling too chirpy and, because of the nutritional properties of chocolate, it scientifically makes a lot of sense.
  2.  stop.

Instead of munching on a toffee crisp, snicker or chomp, how about you consider some of the other foods that can help to ‘turn that frown upside down’ (….did I really just use that?) and your mood will soon be lifted.

 

Heres five foods that can help you when you’re feeling low…. Lets get started.

 


1. Chocolate, and I don’t mean a snicker bar.

Dark chocolate. Yes, the dark one. Some people scrunch their face up and turn away at the thought of the stuff and say it’s too strong and bitter… but could I sway you if I told you it is one of the most effective mood lifters of all?

Enjoying a piece of (70% cocoa or higher) dark chocolate provides an incredible sense of comfort and warmth and that rich aroma some find overwhelming is actually a means of relaxation and can calm the senses. A small cube of dark chocolate is effective enough to promote the release of endorphins that increases the secretion of serotonin. In addition, it also helps in decreasing the release of stress hormone cortisol even in stressful situations.

2. Eggs

We all love eggs. Well, I certainly do; scrambled eggs, fried eggs, boiled eggs, egg sarnie, omelettes! They’re an absolutely amazing source of iron and protein, are naturally rich in B-vitamins ¬†-which are responsible for converting food into energy- and are sure to give you a sustainable hit of this energy which will last throughout the whole day. feeling energetic is key to lifting ones mood.

As a result you will feel more active, will be able to focus on work more effectively and can concentrate without fatigue or stress getting in the way.

3. Kale

On the contrary, we’ve got kale. Now, not everyone loves kale but it truly is a superfood- one of the best too. Packed with vitamins and minerals, kale is one of the best vegetables you can fuel your body with and is a real energy booster as it provides you with the essential minerals of copper, potassium, iron and phosphorus. Like with eggs, kale’s impact on your energy levels correlates with an improved mental state.

(To get the most out of the energy boosting benefits of this super veggie, ensure you cook it instead of eating it raw as it makes it easier for your body to digest and absorb all those important nutrients.)

 

 

 

4. Yogurt

A diet for depression and anxiety should include dairy products such as natural yogurt due to it’s high levels of calcium and vitamin D which¬†not only play a pivotal role in improving bone strength and density but also helps to lift the mood by reducing the level of anxiety and stress.

Foods containing calcium and vitamin D is extremely beneficial in treating PMS related mood swings and anxiety. In addition, yogurt is also an amazing natural probiotic food that helps in relieving digestive disorders and boosts the immune system.

5. Coconut

Did you know that the scent of coconut has been proven to be an instant mood lifter? Making it a perfect natural food for fighting depression and anxiety.

Coconut meat is a rich source of protein and fiber that provides much-needed energy to the body and reduces feeling of lethargy and fatigue while the coconut water is a rich source of potassium and is a natural isotonic drink rich in electrolytes.

Additionaly, the kinetin present in coconut meat helps clear the skin and keeping it youthful and glowing, which is gonna have you saying ‘I woke up like dis’ …for sure.

 


 


for better sleep

Getting enough sleep is vital for our health and, thankfully, there are several foods that may help with this.

Some foods are high in antioxidants and nutrients, such as magnesium, that are known to enhance sleep by helping you fall asleep faster or helping you to stay dreaming for longer while other foods are packed with sleep-regulating hormones / chemicals such as melatonin and serotonin.

To reap the benefits of sleep-enhancing foods, it may be best to have them a couple hours before bed as eating them right before sleep may cause digestive issues, such as acid reflux.

Here are 6 examples of foods that will indeed help you to crash out and have an overall ¬†better quality snooze….


  1. Fatty fish

    Salmon, tuna, trout and mackerel are all incredibly healthy fatty fish that are loaded with healthy omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D. it is in fact the combination of these two cruicial elements in fatty fish has been proven to enhance sleep quality.  When these two ingredients are put together, the production of serotonin, a sleep-promoting brain chemical, increases thus, the feeling of being tired soon starts to kick in. Eating a few ounces of fatty fish in an afternoon or evening may indeed help you fall asleep faster.

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  2. Bananas

    These calorific, energy suppling fruit contain tryptophan and are a good source of magnesium, both of which are known to help relax your overworked and perhaps tense muscles allowing a deeper, calmer, better quality sleep. Bananas also have the added benefit of helping to lower your blood pressure while you sleep which is a nice bonus.

  3. Kiwi fruit

    A medium kiwi contains only 50 calories and a significant amount of nutrients, including 117% of your daily needs for vitamin C and 38% for vitamin K. They’re also packed with folate and potassium, as well as several trace minerals. Eating kiwis may benefit your digestive health, reduce inflammation and lower your cholesterol due to their high fiber and carotenoid antioxidant content.

    However, Kiwi’s are not only great for all this but they may also be one of the best foods to eat before bed. The sleep-promoting effects of kiwis are thought to be, like with fatty fish, due to their content of serotonin- the brain chemical that helps regulate your sleep cycle. It has also been suggested that the antioxidants in kiwis may be partly responsible for their sleep-promoting effects.

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4. White rice and Oatmeal

These grains are widely consumed as a staple food in many countries. White rice is considered less healthy than brown yet it still contains a decent amount of vitamins and minerals. White rice is significantly higher in carbs and it is just this that that contribute to its high glycemic index, which is a measure of how quickly a food increases your blood sugar. It is the high glycemic index that may help improve sleep quality. Despite the potential role that eating white rice may have in promoting sleep, it is best consumed in moderation due to its lack of fiber and nutrients.

Oatmeal is similarly high in carbs and has been reported to induce drowsiness when consumed before bed. Oats are also known as a good source of melatonin, that sleep-regulating hormone I keep mentioning.

5. Turkey

It‚Äôs not just that festive meat that goes well with cranberry sauce and gets a fair bit of stick for being ‚Äėdry‚Äô and boring‚Äô, Turkey is actually one of the best meats one can consume, not just for sleep but in general. And here‚Äôs why‚Ķ.

Turkey meat is extremely high in protein, which we all know is greatly important for keeping your muscles strong and regulating our appetite. It is also a good source of vitamins and minerals including riboflavin, phosphorus and selenium. Turkey, however, does contain properties that explain why some people may become tired after eating it, and not just on the 25th December after the biggest feast of the year. It has been proven that it’s high levels of the amino acid tryptophan increases the production of melatonin, another sleep-regulating hormone. The protein in turkey may also contribute to its ability to promote tiredness.

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6. Nuts 

Let‚Äôs start with walnuts; these bad boys are a good source of tryptophan, a sleep-enhancing amino acid that helps make serotonin and melatonin, the ‚Äúbody clock‚ÄĚ hormone that sets your sleep-wake cycles.

And don’t forget almonds…. Rich in magnesium, a mineral needed for quality sleep. Eating almonds regularly has been associated with lower risks of a few chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. This is attributed to their content of healthy monounsaturated fat, fiber and antioxidants. The fact that these little things can help our snoozing is because almonds, along with several other types of nuts, are a source of, you guessed it, melatonin.

Almonds are also an excellent source of magnesium which has been proven to help those who suffer with sleeping disorders such as insomnia as the magnesium counteracts the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, which, obviously, can disrupt one’s sleep.


 

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And there you have it. My top 6 foods for better sleep.

Ok, a little more research can and should be done before we can conclude the exact role that foods have in promoting sleep, but their known effects are very hopeful.

Hope you enjoyed reading this blog and learnt something from it.

With love as always,

Anna Vitality

xx


On Toast

There’s lots of things we regularly eat on toast. You’ve got your jam, marmite, honey and of course Nutella…. then you’ve got your cheese, beans, eggs and even mackerel. But after a while these can get a bit tedious don’t you think?

The need for healthy snacking ideas seems to be trending at the moment and so here, I’ve shortlisted seven different sweet and savoury ideas to make your breakfasts, lunches a snacks that little bit more exciting.

 

1. Cinnamon, maple and banana. 
All you need is a ripe banana, cinnamon or nutmeg, maple or agave syrup, your favorite bread for toasting and of course some creamy nut butter. The mashing of the banana may seem strange since you usually just slice them onto peanut butter, right? Well, mashing actually makes a difference Рalmost like an instant homemade banana jam if you like. It also enables the spices and maple to combine evenly for a lovelily sweet, balanced, cinnamony, banana infusion. Add seeds or berries for added crunch.

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2. Pears, yogurt and honey.

So, for this one there’s a bit more involved. First, you fry the walnuts until fragrant, usually this takes around 5 minutes. Allow them to cool slightly before chopping them finely.¬†In a small bowl, add the chopped walnuts to the yogurt and honey and stir until well combined (the spread will keep in the fridge, I’d say, for 3-5 days). When ready to serve, toast the bread and cut the fruit into slices. Spread the walnut spread onto your toast and top with your pear slices, dust with cinnamon. Mm, mm, mmm

 

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3. Shrimp & guacamole garlic bread

 

Spread a thin layer of garlic butter on each slice of bread and grill until golden. While your baguette slices are on the grill, combine garlic, paprika, lemon juice and shrimp in a bowl.

Fry the mix using spray light for a couple of minutes, take off the heat and add the and parsley. In another bowl, mix in avocado, tomato, lemon juice and salt, finally adding the shrimp. Spoon your mixture onto the toasted garlic bread and you’re good to go…

 

 

4. Nut Butter and blueberry

I looooove this one. All you do is cover your toast in whatever nut-butter you’re in the mood for (almond, hazelnut, peanut…), add a layer of blueberries evenly, creating a pretty pattern or just chopped and sprinkled on at random and add a tiny pinch of coconut sugar, brown sugar over the blueberries (if they’re a tad sharp) and you’re done.
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5. Nuts, honey, rasin & hummus.

Hummus. Heavenly hummus.

Spread the glorious chickpea concoction evenly on toasted bread,¬†sprinkle whatever chopped nuts that tickle your fancy; walnut, pistachio, pecan, Brazil…. then add a few¬†raisins or currents and lastly, drizzle with either honey or agave syrup for a touch of sweetness. … delish!

 

 

6. Apricot, ricotta and hazelnut.

Spread apricot jam over your desired toasted bread, on its own or with a coconut butter underneath. Top with roughly chopped hazelnuts, crumble some goats cheese on top, and, if you want an extra special touch, add thyme or mint.

 

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Half Marathon Training

I had roughly 6 months to train for the 2017 Cardiff Half Marathon and, in the early days, I’d run merely once a week with a few gym sessions in between. Months down the line and I realised this wasn’t cutting it. And that’s when I created this plan.

If you’re thinking entering a 10K, half marathon or even if you just fancy getting into running, this table can be really useful tool to schedule your runs, improve stamina with interval training, and undergo regular strength training sessions. This timetable gave my half marathon training more structure, focus and helped me to keep track of my progression.¬†So, here it is;

half marathon training plan

This training plan has been implemented with a race day in mind and is spread over the course of 4 months. However, if you have less or more time to play with before your event then this plan can be adapted, squeezed or stretched to best suit the amount of potential training time you have. On the other hand, if there is no event as such and you just want to improve your cardiovascular fitness and endurance then you can always chose your favourite four rows (eg. 3, 5, 7 & 9) and alternate continuously throughout the months.

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Interval & Strength Training 

You’ll notice in my table that Mondays and Wednesdays are dedicated to interval and strength training. Now, just to clarify, on these days you will do an interval training workout as well as focusing on strength and conditioning, not one or the other. However as the plan intensifies, so does the interval training, hence there are four variations which are detailed below. OK, so what is interval training? Well, it’s a highly beneficial workout style in which cardiovascular efficiency (the ability to deliver oxygen to the working muscles) is improved and so is the body’s tolerance to the build-up of lactic acid. It involves the alternation between high-intensity bursts of speed with shortened, slower, recovery phases, working both the aerobic and the anaerobic systems. It is a great way to improve speed, endurance, and enhance overall performance thus making it a vital element in your half marathon training.

Interval training

These can be swapped around and amended depending on what suits you, for example, you could alternate all four interval types for four weeks and then repeat.

Strength training throughout your program is equally as crucial, though I only realised it’s importance later on in my training regime. I would, admittedly, have an extra run or rest day on some of my allocated strength training days and, as a result, I lost a lot of power in my legs and my core stability and overall agility lessened. Targeting different muscle groups for just one day each week between runs will make such a difference. Don’t make the same mistake I did and think that the interval training and running will suffice. it wont. Remember these three important S’s: Stamina, speed and strength.¬†

The importance of rest days

Rest days are implemented into most training plans with good a reason and that is because they are essential in allowing our bodies time to repair and recuperate. As we work out, run, or weight train, we place greater strain on our muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones and joints. Our immune system is activated when there are muscle tears or joint strains, but if the body doesn‚Äôt come out of continual practice, this system doesn‚Äôt have the time to catch up, rejuvenate and repair where needed. This is why resting is so important. There is also a¬†greater risk of injury without these much needed¬† days as your body fatigues so don’t be tempted to ignore them and over-train because it will do more harm than good.

 


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This may not work for everyone and won’t be the most refined,¬†perfect training in the world¬†but hey, if it worked for me,¬†it can work for you. Following a structured yet adaptable, flexible plan like this allowed me to go from not being able to run to the corner shop for some bread without being out of breath to confidently running 13 miles in a matter of months. It’s a great starting platform and like I said, even if you’re not training for a specific event, this could be an ideal way to help you discover, or re-discover, your love for running.

As always, thanks for reading and until next time,

Anna x


Entering the Cardiff Half

Until last weekend, I hadn’t taken part in a race since my last sports day at high school,¬† which was probably about 8 years ago. I’ve always liked athletics (albeit mainly when I was watching it on TV) and was an OK sprinter but, even though I would often do cross country races with the school, long distance running was never really my thing. I remember doing one cross country race (which, looking back, was definitely the point where I thought ‘screw this’) that had me so numb with the cold that I hadn’t even realised that halfway through the race, amid the deep squelchy mud we had to trod our little legs through, I’d lost a shoe. I then had to walk around this stupid great big field, shivering like anything, with a coach full of kids watching and giggling at me as I tried to find my trainer in the swamp somewhere. Yeah. You’d probably be put off too.

Over the last few years however I managed to rediscover my love for fitness. I’ve become an avid gym goer, I created Anna Vitality, my health and lifestyle blog, and I train four- five times a week, mixing up my workouts and classes regularly to keep myself motivated. Although, cardio and running were always very much, shall we say, ‘uninvited’ to my fitness regime.

But all of this inadvertently changed when at the end of last year something pretty terrible happened. On November 8th 2016 a colleague of mine and friend took his own life. It was completely unexpected, not that I suppose suicide ever really is ‘expected’, and the shock of it had a really horrible impact on me. I spent weeks, if not months, thinking why and what if.

At the funeral, we were told about ‘CALM’, the Campaign Against Living Miserably, a charity of which encourages men to talk about their feelings and challenges a culture within which seemingly prevents men from seeking help when they need it….and I just wished I’d known about it before. Who knows, it might’ve saved him.

So,¬†‘how does this link up with running a half marathon’ you must be thinking?

Well, not long after losing Mike, I was asked by a fellow fitness enthusiast if I’d ever consider doing an organised race of any sort? A 10K, The Race For Life? But, as the humiliating lost-muddy-trainer-episode arose from my unconscious mind, I just shrugged off the idea and changed the subject. But that evening I thought about it. What if I DID?¬†What if I went out of my comfort zone and put my determined fitness ethic towards training for a major running event? What if I entered a¬†half marathon? What if I did it to fundraise for CALM?

Overcome with inspiration, that night I signed up for the Cardiff Half Marathon and the next day, my training begun.¬†Six months and 251 kilometres of training later (yep, 251K) and I’m writing this. I’m overwhelmed to say that I raised a total of ¬£707 for CALM and I completed the Cardiff Half in 2.15 hours, beating my estimated time by quarter of an hour.¬†It was the most amazing experience and it just proves you really can do anything you put your mind to.

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For half marathon training, top tips and diet plans make sure you check out the other blog posts in this category. For now, I’d like to say a big thank you again to everyone who sponsored me and I’ll see you at next years race!

 


M I L A N

After a two hour flight we reached Malpensa, a large but not hectic airport just half an hour from the city centre. It had been a busy morning and, albeit tired, we were excited for the weekend ahead. Another half an hour goes by (of which entailed various attempts at asking fellow commuters where ‘el trainio’ was) before we made our way to Cadorna station, where our mini holiday would begin.¬†In just five stops our time to disembark was upon us and, for a few brief moments, I tried to embrace everything around me and log it somewhere in the depths of my mind. It was hot, but not uncomfortably so, and the tangy scent of an orange being peeled in the seat behind me floated lazily through the carriage. As the breaks screeched we looked eagerly outside to get a hint of the city we were about to explore. Yet peering in on us was nothing more than a red brick wall with many tangled branches creeping over its top, almost as though they were reaching out at us. For those few moments we just stood there, gazing at ruby bricks and the sunlight that squeezed through the gaps in those arm-like branches. Neither of us could wait to see what lay ahead of this wall. Neither of us could wait to get off and see Milan.

 


 

El Duomo di Milano

There it stood. Walls so tall they seemed never-ending, a door so grand I wondered if I should bow before it, sculptures so lifelike I feared they would flinch if a pigeon were to accompany them. It’s not very often a building can make you so curious. But then again, it’s not very often you come across a building like this one.

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The angelic yet hostile faces carved into the buildings exterior stared down at us as we stood at its feet and, I have to say, it was pretty overwhelming. It was so detailed, so intricate, so majestic. As I lifted my head to defy their stares I felt a whole cocktail of emotions being stirred up inside of me. I was intrigued and in awe, but also something else. Something else that I still can’t put my finger on. Something else that, only these walls, made me feel.

We walked towards the entrance door that was so beautifully detailed, seemingly portraying mini snippets of the bible, where we were told by the armed guards that we simply could not enter the building. Apparently my collar bone and shoulders were too exposed to enter such a place of worship and unless-they were covered up and kept out of sight -much like the contents of this cathedral- then we were staying put.¬†With no means of concealing my d√©collet√© we had no option but to re-think our itinerary. At this moment, the whole structure appeared to have intensified, as though we’d been defeated, and the feeling of inferiority, alongside curiosity, grew and grew.

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We then found that my oh-so unacceptably exposed shoulders were not such as issue if we wanted to go up and explore the Duomo’s rooftop terrace. Climbing the steps to the peak of the cathedral, observing it’s spiked towers, tiny windows, and scary gargoyles, reminded me of the Disney film ‘The Hunchback of Notre-Dame’…. you’ll understand why it was this childhood movie that I recalled when you see my photos below…

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As the cool breeze danced around in the Italian heat we admired the city beneath us. From here, I felt slightly more at ease with the intensity of the building of which I was on top of. I was no longer beneath it, looking up, but I stood still and tall, as though I were carved into its structure, and gazed down, with it, at the tiny moving dots on the ground bellow.

Inside el Duomo

The next day I was thought ahead and, although it was going to hit 32 degrees, I brought my jacket along with me in preparation of entering el Duomo. We collected our tickets, had a look around the museum del Duomo, which was really interesting, and then headed over to join the queue of shawls and cardigans.

From the inside, it looked even bigger than before and everything you’d expect in a cathedral was intensified x100. The stained glass was busier and more vibrant than any other stain glass I’d ever ever seen, the statues were too realistic for comfort, the columns were dauntingly tall and symmetrical, and the pews were- like an army of ants- perfectly aligned and never-ending….

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A Taste of Milan

During our short stay we discovered that the city’s most renowned dish, famous for it’s unusual taste, bright colour and the story behind it, was created completely by mistake. The Milanese favourite consists of Arborio risotto rice, cream, white wine and sometimes vegetables or seafood but traditionally it’s served on it’s own.¬†I won’t bore you with the entire story but it went something along the lines of …. “Once upon a time a jealous man decided to sabotage the wedding of a woman he once loved by attempting to ruin their evening meal…. He thought that by adding heaps of saffron and other spices to the risotto dish bubbling away in the kitchen, that the wedding guests would be insulted and horrified and would leave in disgust. However, the food was served and yes, the jaws of the guests dropped open as the ghastly yellow mush was presented before them, but as a polite gesture one guest tried it… and then another… and another …and another…. until soon, every plate was scraped and licked clean. It was at that moment that ‘Rissotto alla Milano’ was born.

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So of course, when my Malaysian Milanese waiter suggested I try the famous saffron risotto (yep, that’s right, from Malaysian, in Milan) I had to try it. Mine was a slightly tweaked version and was served with zucchini and lime infused prawns. Delisioso!

Other than the delicious, yellow, mushy stuff that the Milanese are seemingly very proud of, the city is also celebrated for its Pizzas (of course) as well as its coffee, pastries and ice creams… or should I say ‘gelatos’

La galleria Vittorio Emanuel

It’s exactly what you’d expect from the world’s oldest shopping mall. The extravagant¬† architecture, beautiful art work and carvings, and the palatial ceilings was the home to some of the worlds most notable high fashion brands such as Prada, Gucci, Louis Vuitton and, not to forget, some of the most expensive restaurants in the country

 

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Ferrari Store 

Here is where Anna Vitality had to take a back seat. Literally. No more “how rustic and picturesque is this cobbled street?” and¬† “Oh, I know, let’s go to the Da Vinci museum”. No. This was the place where James was in his element and no matter what I could have said or done, he was staying…. for as long as he pleased.

F1 race car debris hung on the walls, ¬£18,000 model cars were encased in glass containers, Ferrari branded helmet bags, brief cases, jackets, were price-tag-lessly displayed on shelves and the 2 Million Euro racing simulator just sat there on the lower floor, waiting to be used, to be ragged around¬† Monza and Silverstone. Yep…. We were there a while.

 

 
San Siro

I’m not into football. I’m not really into any sport. I love to keep fit, I love to swim and ski and I love watching athletics but, as for team sports, I’m just not that into it.

Yet, visiting San Siro was one of my favourite parts of our trip. For a football stadium, it really was something else. I could picture the crowds. I could almost hear them. I could envision the colours of the different t-shirts and could hear the roars that would come from them. That would come from these very seats. It was old and dated, but grand nevertheless.

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And there you have it. That was a small summary of my trip to one of my most favourite of City’s to date. In a separate blog I will share with you guys my ‘City Break Lookbook’ and also the full vlog of our weekend away will be up on the Anna Vitality YouTube channel very soon. as well as on James’ channel: ‘CF10 official’

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Eat Courgettes

Now, I’ve got to say, a couple of months ago, courgettes would’ve been one of the last foods I’d think of popping into my shopping basket. I love my veggies, especially the Mediterranean -and often green- ones. Courgettes though? No thanks. These guys were definitely featured in my top most disliked foods list, along with mushrooms, truffle and liquorice.

But, when you’ve just always had such a strong dislike for something there comes a point where you question why?Was it their taste? Their texture? Their smell? (Do they even have a smell?)¬† Or was the whole thing in my head? Psychological if you like. A figure of my imagination.

So then, one day, this weird thing happens.

I got up, got dressed, headed to the shop, grabbed a basket and what did I do? I went and put a courgette in it. That’s right. A courgette. In mybasket. What’s weirder is that once I returned home, I got a bowl out of the cupboard, and ate it.

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This literally happened. Ok so, not like literally. I didn’t just chop up a courgette and get a spoon ready to dive in (as the picture above suggests).

But I did however have it it for breakfast ….and I’m about the tell you how and more intriguingly -why…

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Why?

Quoted from Anna Vitality Instagram;
“These bad boys contain hardly any calories, have a high water content -making them a friend for people wanting to lose a bit of weight- and are the perfect ingredient for bulking out any meal to help you feel fuller for longer…. They aren’t packed with micronutrients, but they do contain significant amounts of vitamin C which is vital for our immune system, skin, hair and nails, as well as potassium which is key to controlling blood pressure”


So, y’know I said I hated the damn things? Well, it turns out
…. I don’t.

Their texture ain’t all that great as for taste and smellI really don’t think they have¬†much.

They do, on the other hand, have some really beneficial nutritional properties and, when chopped finely and mixed together with oats -or even blended into a breakfast smoothie- you really can’t taste them.

So, why do it then?

Well, like I said, it bulks out the meal and is loaded with essential vitamins- this can suppress cravings and helps you feel fuller for longer. It’s also allows you start your morning knowing you’ve already consumed more than one of your five a day, especially when the berries and bananas get stirred into the equation.

How do I do it….


All you gotta do is roughly chop the courgette into small cubes, pop them in a bowl with a little water and microwave for 90 seconds, softening their otherwise hard texture. Next, I like to pop them in a mini food processor and whiz them up so they’re super fine, but you can skip this if you’re a more skilful chopper-upper than I am. Next, I pop them in my favourite breakfast bowl with one cup of oats, half a cup of chia seeds, half a mashed banana and whatever nut milk I have in the fridge …. and mix. Lastly I shake in a generous amount of ground cinnamon, stir thoroughly and then pop my magical mix of goodness intp the microwave for a further two minutes until it’s really gloopy and creamy. I add some blueberries, the other half of the banana and some wallnuts on top and in goes my spoon for my first taste. If I don’t add the banana to the mix I find that the oats can taste a little on the savoury side and so, if I’m all out of bananas, I’ll often add a small spoonful of honey, a form of nut butter or, to mix it up even further, I’ll blend the blueberries into the mixture at the start instead, which not only adds a bursting, sharp, sweetness but it gives the oats a fabulous vibrant purpley colour. So, however you chose to do it, as long as the courgettes are finely chopped and a few other (sweeter) ingredients are added to the bowl then you’ll have a winner.¬†#BreakfastZoats


Z A K Y N T H O S

Santorini and Mykonos, seemingly, are¬†the places to go in Greece right now, right? They are the postcard ideologies of blue and white clifftops, hanging baskets and magical cobbled pathways leading to even more magical scenery. And, although I‚Äôd love to go to both of these places, I‚Äôve just got back from their sister land and it was just as beautiful but it‚Äôs name, frustratingly, carries an unfortunate stigma. A stigma that pushes vibes of craziness, partying and ‚Äúsun, sex and suspicious parents‚ÄĚ into the na√Įve minds of many.

Zante is that place. The place where 18-year old‚Äôs go straight out of college to host their ‚Äėlads on tour 2K16‚Äô trip. The place cram packed with budget hotels, lively bars and clubs, cheap alcohol and scorching heat? Sure. But‚Ķ what about the place of pure bliss, peacefulness, crystal clear waters and a frequent, calming, sea breeze that, when it rustles in your hair, reminds you how very close you are to the ocean? Definitely.

Zakynthos is the town within which I slept seven nights and awoke seven mornings. It consisted of picturesque gravelly paths, blossoms and anemones in quite possibly every shade of red and pink, heaps of feta cheese, the sun-kissed, tired, yet gentle faces of nearby locals, and fish like you’ve never tasted before, caught in the Mediterranean ocean and served within the very same day.

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I had the most fabulous time in a fabulous place with my close friends and can’t wait to share with you some of my favourite snaps from our trip:

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Belvedere Luxury Suites and Apartments

 

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Strawberry Daiquiri for him, Pineapple juice for her.

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Whitebait and swordfish served to us at the local fish Restaurant ‘Porto Roma’ in Zakynthos bay

Outfit:

Playsuit: Missguided £25

Jewellery: Swarovski

Clutch/Purse: Primark £12

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Crochet Swimwear – Brazilian Bikini Shop

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