Happy New Year from me to you

So, we’ve come to the end of another year. Who’s been doing a lot of reflection of late? It’s been a bit of a crazy year my end. The beginning of 2017 started out fairly strong. I had lots of plans for the year ahead (particularly with Naturallea) then it all went a little crazy. Work life went stupidly busy, patient referrals hit an all time high and staffing at an all time low. Which has been leaving me feeling quite drained for some time. We moved house which has been and continues to be a huge renovation project/headache. I can’t believe how hard it’s been if I’m honest. I don’t do too well with mess, builders walking through my house, and what feels like disorganization. Oli had a car crash. He was fine, but then we were down to one car. Which for us, is a logistical nightmare. Then I decided now was a good time to embark on my yoga teacher training. Then just to throw more chaos in to the works Oli thought it was a good idea to get not one but TWO puppies. Definitely my biggest challenge so far. Most the time, my life is all a bit of a comedy sketch and I feel like I’m in the middle of it all, losing my mind slightly. BUT, I sort of see light at the end of tunnel now. I’m hoping that my life in 2018 will have a bit more calm with more direction and not just about surviving the day. So, although I don’t really do resolutions as such, I have given myself some goals. I think giving yourself some sort of focus or a goal is a positive thing. You’re sort of just gently giving yourself a sense of direction. So direction for me looks like this right now:

  1. Make more time for blogging (currently getting off to a flying start).
  2. More recipe creating (and then blogging about it).
  3. More yoga teaching. More yoga learning.
  4. Get outside and run more.
  5. Having the best time with Amelie before she starts school in September. I’m currently off Tuesday and Friday’s with her so I’m going to enjoy every minute before the routine changes again.
  6. Smiling more at all the good in my life and not fretting about some of the shit that happens. It happens, I need to learn not to dwindle on it.

There’s a few things there. But they are things I feel quite passionate about so I’m pretty sure my focus won’t steer too far from this list. I also just wanted to take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy New Year (to anyone that might happen to be reading this). You are a lovely lot. I hope 2018 is bright and prosperous for you all. Resolutions or no resolutions just enjoy this crazy thing called life. Lots of love Lea xx

5 Simple Ways to feel good and at your best this Autumn Winter

I work in the health industry and work out in the community, so I’m exposed to everyone’s coughs and colds. A few ways I try to stay on top of my health and wellbeing are outlined below. Of course I sometimes fall short (like now *coughs and sniffs*) but that’s why I like to come back to a short check list to make sure I’m doing all the right things to help combat the winter bugs and blues.

  • Start the day right. This means having a healthy balanced breakfast. If you follow me on Instagram you know I love my porridge topped with fruit, nuts and seeds. For me, this provides the nutrients and energy I need to kick start the day. I also recommend introducing some lemon and ginger in hot water for your first drink of the day. This is great for breaking up the caffeine in take throughout the day too. I find it definitely provides that soothing and healing quality to a drink particularly when you’re feeling fragile. If your feeling massively adventurous my Mum swears by a shot of organic apple cider vinegar first thing. Now, I don’t do this very often, but when I do it really does settle my stomach. I might give this a try this winter.

 

  • REST, REST, REST. Particularly as we come in to the festive season. It’s so easy to start burning the candle at both ends. You must learn to relax and let your body and mind rest. Schedule a night in with your pj’s on and a good book or an afternoon of films and sofa snuggles. With rest in mind, this also means, make sure you’re getting enough sleep. I always tell myself “when you’re sleeping your healing”. I would say I definitely sleep more in the winter. I think nature wants us to sleep more in the winter months.

 

  • Keep active. It’s so easy to lose sight of your fitness levels as we head in to the colder and darker evenings. Social engagements creep up and our appetite for exercise tends to dwindle as we wrap up in extra layers. My advice would be to sign up to a fitness event like a run, or book in a term of yoga sessions, if you’re a member of a gym schedule in a weekly class. Or, if mobility or funds are an issue for you, get out walking with some friends.
  • Up your fruit and veg. Keep your fruit and vegetables up throughout this winter, it’s so tempting to up the carbs as it gets cold but don’t let your fruit and veg slide. You’ll need extra vitamins and nutrients to fight off the cold and flu viruses.

  • Spend a little bit of time out in nature and the fresh air. I’m talking wintery woodland walks, blustery beach strolls, hilltop hiking. Wrap up warm and get out in the fresh air. This will do your physical and mental health the world of good.

I will do another post going in to a little more detail of particular benefits of certain foods and exercises that will help to keep winter bugs at bay. I think being a little bit more specific in this area is useful when trying to keep your health in tip top condition. I am a little snuffly today so I’ve put some spinach and watercress soup on the hob, only took a few minutes of preparation and I will have some of that a little later. And obviously hope it works miracles immediately ; )

 

These are just a few hints and tips that I’ve tried and tested. Please share with me all your hits and tips in the comments below or connect with me on Instagram where I post a lot of meal ideas and healthy lifestyle tips.

Lots of love

Lea xxx

Slow cooker potato and courgette curry with roasted butternut squash recipe

Now this is a one pot wonder. AND vegetarian. AND vegan. AND enjoyable even if you love meat in your curry. Bursting with goodness and flavour this is a winner dinner.

Ingredients 

5x small potatoes

3x sweet potatoes (1 was large, 1 medium and 1 small)

1x courgette

3x garlic

1x tablespoon of coconut oil

1x tinned chopped tomatoes

1x tin of hot water (I empty the chopped tomatoes and fill the tin with hot water)

2x teaspoon of ground cumin

1.5x teaspoon of ground coriander

1x teaspoon ground ginger

1.5 teaspoon mild curry powder (more or stronger powder if you want it spicier)

1x butternut squash

2x tablespoon of olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Turn the slow cooker on to a medium heat and put in a tablespoon of coconut oil to melt. Peel and chop potatoes, chop courgette and peel garlic.

Once slow cooker is hot and coconut oil melted add all the spices and mix to a paste. Then add the chopped potatoes and courgette to the paste making sure all is covered by the paste. Next use a garlic crusher and add garlic to the mixture (if no garlic crusher simply mince). Put lid on and let mixture heat up/sweat for roughly 3 minutes. Then add tin of chopped tomatoes, fill empty tin with boiling water from kettle and add to mixture. Add a a generous dash of salt and pepper, give a good stir and put lid back on.

Now you can go off and enjoy your day whilst this cooks. I left mine to cook for about 6.5 hours. 45 minutes before serving I chopped the end off my butternut squash, and gave it a good wash. I then sliced length ways in to quarters, scraped the seeds out, placed in a roasting dish, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. I then roasted at 200 degrees for 40 minutes.

And voilà. All done. Technically a two pot wonder dish. But this is super tasty and I didn’t even bother sautéing the courgettes or garlic, just threw it all in the slow cooker. You could also add an onion if you wanted. This would serve 4.

Hope you enjoy xxxx

Dauphinoise Potatoes with Crème Fraîche 

I made these dauphinoise potatoes last night but didn’t fancy using cream as I felt it would be too rich and heavy. Using crème fraîche and skimmed milk instead works really well. I slightly burnt the cheese on last night’s bake but it actually tastes quite nice a little crispy.

Ingredients

1 tsp olive oil

150ml skimmed milk

1 large garlic clove, peeled and halved

4 rosemary sprigs, plus extra for sprinkling

1 bay leaf

1 shallot, roughly chopped

5 medium sized potatoes, thinly sliced

300g full-fat crème fraîche

75ml vegetable stock

Grated mature cheddar cheese (enough to cover potatoes)

 

Method

  1. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Brush the oil over the bottom and sides of a 20 x 30 x 5cm ovenproof dish. Put the milk, garlic, 4 rosemary sprigs, bay leaf and shallot into a saucepan. Bring just to the boil, then remove from the heat and add a little pepper. Set aside to infuse.

  2. Peel and then slice the potatoes very thinly. Layer the slices of potato on to the bottom of the dish, overlapping slightly, then season.

     

    Take the bay leaf and garlic out of the infused milk and pour into a jug. Put the crème fraîche into a bowl, then gradually pour in the milk, whisking gently until smooth. Then gently add the stock mixing as you go. Next using a ladel pour the mixture over the potatoes in the dish just covering them. Layer up the next layer of the potatoes, again cover the potatoes with your mixture. Note: you will need to keep enough of the mixture to cover the final layer of potatoes. Now layer up your final layer and cover with your remaining sauce. 

  3. Next cover the potatoes with the cheese and a grind of pepper. Place the dish in the oven and bake for 1¼-1½ hrs until golden and tender – test by inserting a sharp knife through the potatoes. Stand for 5 mins before serving.

    Enjoy guys, it’s really tasty and goes great with a salad.

    Love

    Lea