VEGAN PINK LADY® APPLE PIE BREAKFAST SMOOTHIE (V+, R, NF, ChF, GF)

VEGAN PINK LADY® APPLE PIE BREAKFAST SMOOTHIE (V+, R, NF, ChF, GF)

It's an I-am-gonna-tell-you-some-personal-stuff-about-me kinda day today. I know you didn't ask for this info, but I'm in the mood for sharing anyway, so here goes:

Fact number 1: I am a self confessed fruit junky! I love fruit! I eat fruit ever day and I think I'd loose the will to live if fruit weren't a part of my life. Seriously!
Fact number 2: After all's been said and done, I am a simple girl at heart.
Fact number 3: Though I adore exotic fruit with lots of crazy cool names, flavours and colours, my most favoruite fruits tend to grow close to home, so I can enjoy them in season and without the airmiles attached.

Hence - knowing what you know now - it may come as no big surprise then that apples are right up there when it comes to my choice of best fruit ever. Yup, since I was a little girl, I've loved them, be it served warm in an apple pie, juiced for breakfast or given to me raw as an afternoon snack. I even remember, when I was younger my mother would take me to this pancake place and I'd always order the exact same thing: thin crepe style pancakes with warm apples and LOTS of cinnamon.

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RAW VEGAN ACAI SMOOTHIE BOWL + A COOKBOOK GIVEAWAY! (V+, V, ChF, GF, GrF, P, R, NF)

RAW VEGAN ACAI SMOOTHIE BOWL + A COOKBOOK GIVEAWAY! (V+, V, ChF, GF, GrF, P, R)

I posted the following statement under this image of Xochi Balfour's new healthy lifestyle book 'The Naturalista' on instagram the other day:

'FACT I get lots of cookbooks sent to me. FACT I buy lots of cookbooks,. FACT I'd never recommend something I don't wholehearted believe in.
So if I say that the healthy living book 'The Naturalista' by @xochibalfour is INSANELY AWESOME you better believe it's true. I hope this treasure gets the attention it so deserves when it comes out at the end of April. @xochibalfour you should be darn proud of this looker.'

And, though it's been a few weeks now since I first received the book, I still feel mega excited about it and super duper lucky to have been given a copy. Yup, it's THAT good. So, what about it is so special, you might wonder? Well, ...

1. The voice behind the book - Xochi is engaging, genuine, so, so sweet and I read the story of her journey to health with great interest. It's one that so many of us can relate to. (I'm not telling you more. You just gotta buy the book ;)). Plus, I've had the pleasure of meeting Xochi in person and I can tell you, she's not a brand. She's the real deal :). 

2. The stunnig, healthy and most importantly achieveable recipes - I have literally bookmarked every other page - banana almond pancakes, kale and avocado rice with pickled carrots, smoky beet hummus etc.. I mean there are soooo many recipes to get excited about and most of them require ingredients that are easy to come by. However, please be warned - there are a few non-vegetarian recipes in this book. It doesn't bother me as you can count them on 1 hand, but I'm aware that for some of you this may be a deal breaker, which is why I'm pointing it out.

3. Drop dead gorgeous photography - In case it's not totally obvious from the hours I spent writing about it, I'm obsessed with good food photography. And this book's got some of the most stunning shots I've seen in a long, long time. In fact, if I ever photograph a cookbook I kinda want the pictures to look like the ones in Xochi's book *blush*. 

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PISTACHIO MILK GREEN SMOOTHIE FOR HEAL'S AND SOURCING FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY PROPS (V+, R, ChF, P, GrF, GF)

PISTACHIO MILK GREEN SMOOTHIE FOR HEAL'S AND SOURCING FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY PROPS (V+, R, ChF, P, GrF, GF)

Hi everyone! If you're here to get the recipe for the vegan pistachio milk green smoothie which I created exclusively for Heal's then please head over to their blog where you'll find some more images of the recipe creation process as well. The smoothie recipe was put together to show off one of the gorgeous Mervyn Gers Bowls which they sell at their flagship store on Tottenham Court Road in Central London. As those of you who follow along on instagram know, I have been a massive fan of anything Mervyn Gers makes and so this collaboration felt like a match made in heaven.

I often get asked about where and how I source my food photography props so, as I'm not sharing a recipe on the blog today, I thought I'd take a little time out to talk you through where I get my food photography props from and how I choose them instead. I hope this will be of some help to you.

When first starting out....

1. Use what you've got.
When I first got into food blogging I just used the plates and bowls I had at home. It was a very cheap and easy way to get started and also helped me experience first hand why certain plates work better than others. For example, there was nothing particularly remarkable about the plates I used for my Spring pearl barley risotto recipe, but the simplicity of the plates let the food shine, which was all that was needed. 

And whilst in South America I used these cute little bowls, which were the only ones I had to hand, to show off this easy vegan blackberry crumble. The bowls were mainly white, but had some simple detailing around the edges, which just worked for this particular shot. And - from my experience - it is simple plates and bowls like these that make a good recipe look great!

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SUPER VITAMIN C JUICE (R, V+, P, GF, ChF, GrF, NF)

SUPER VITAMIN C JUICE (R, V+, P, GF, ChF, GrF, NF)

Hi everyone! Sorry it's been a little while since I posted a recipe. As you know I like to post bi-weekly, but the last few weeks I've been away from home meaning it's been rather complicated to access the internet or a kitchen for that matter. I'm glad to report though, that I may have found a way around this problem. For now. More about that soon...

Firstly, I wanted to tell you a teeny tiny bit about my week on the island of Curaçao or Curadise as I like to call it. If you've been following me on instagram, you know I enjoyed lots of gorgeous and fresh juices whilst I was there. Honestly, I can tell you that they were all as tasty and refreshing as they looked!

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You'll be glad to hear though that those delicious juices formed only a tiny part of our wonderful time on Curaçao. I mean the warm and friendly people, the fun music, the vibrant atmosphere and those magnificent beaches were actually what made our stay unforgettable. It's such a special island; I can wholeheartedly recommend a visit :).

VEGAN MANGO AND COCONUT FLOAT (V+, P, GF, GrF, NF, ChF)

VEGAN MANGO AND COCONUT FLOAT (V+, P, GF, NF, ChF, GrF)

As you read this post I'm either at the airport, perhaps I'm even on a plane high up in the sky or maybe I've already landed in my first destination. Either way, I won't be in London. In fact I won't be in London for the next 6 weeks (eek!). Needless to say I'm excited and not just because it's a holiday and a nice long one too. Nope, it's more than that. Actually it's really all about my son. He's just finished his first year in school and with me being so busy over the last 12 months, we've not seen each other as much as we we did before he was in full-time education. So, I though it was worth making the most of the school holidays and spending the entire time together. 

During the first week of our journey, we will be on the gorgeous island of Curaçao which forms part of the Dutch Antilles. Curaçao has the most beautiful beaches I know and it's also the place my mother is originally from meaning that part of my roots as well as my son's roots are from this stunning little country too.

GREEN FENNEL JUICE (R, V+, GrF, GF, ChF, NF, P)

GREEN FENNEL JUICE (R, V+, GrF, GF, ChF, NF, P)

I've posted some really long blog posts recently and you'll be glad to hear this one's gonna be short and sweet. Why? Cuz I've got a massive nutrition exam coming up at the end of the week and I am waaayyy behind schedule. Which in turn means I'm in a total panic :(

BUT I made a commitment to this blog and to you so here is my bi-weekly post as promised. And, it's a pretty good one too. In fact it's a super good one - my all time favourite green juice! Yup, this is one of the juices that helped me find my green path and I bet it will help you on your wayy too.


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FLUE FIGHTING WINTER JUICE: 5 WAYS (V+, R, GF, P, NF, GrF, ChF)

FLUE FIGHTING WINTER JUICE: 5 WAYS (V+, R, P, GF, NT, ChF, GrF)

HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone! It's sooooo good to be back. I really, really, really missed writing, creating recipes and taking pictures for the blog. And I missed being part of the blogging community :). But the 3 weeks off did me well and I can't think of a better month than January to start blogging again! I know lots of people think the first month of the year is too dark, too gloomy and too depressing but you know what? I am rather fond of January. That's because the beginning of the year to me means a chance to make a fresh start and to be a better, healthier and happier me :).

Like many of you, I tend to make a wish list of things I want to accomplish and achieve . (I don't like using the term New Year's resolutions as it kinda implies that it'll all fall to pieces before Jan is even over ;). Whereas wish list is more positive, more attainable and less conspicuous, don't you think?). I always post my New Year's wish list on my personal facebook page because the scrutiny of family and friends, as well as their support and encouragement, makes me work harder at completing all items on my list.

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SPICED FRUIT STEW - COLADA MORADA (V+, NF, GF, ChF, GrF)

SPICED FRUIT STEW - COLADA MORADA (V+, GF, NF, ChF, GrF)

Turn back the clock by about 6 years: It’s the morning of Halloween. I frantically run to the supermarket, get a family sized pack of miniature milk chocolate bars and - that evening - hand them out to unassuming children after they have politely rung our doorbell and chanted ‘trick-or-treat’.

Of course there are left-over chocolate bars. There always are. I eat 1-2 (honest ;)) and then take the rest into the office at the earliest opportunity, causing a handful of work colleagues to abandon their diets and yet strangly feel better for it; at least temptation is no longer within my four walls.

Fast forward: I become a mother. Then I learn more about nutrition. Then I question my actions...

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UPDATED! BACK-TO-SCHOOL GRANOLA (V+, GF, V, NF, ChF) & HOME-MADE SEED MILK (V+, R, P, GF, NF, Chf, GrF)

UPDATED! BACK-TO-SCHOOL GRANOLA (V+, GF, V, NF, ChF) and HOME-MADE SEED MILK (V+, R, P, GF, NF, ChF, GrF)

NOTE: The pictures were updated and the recipe improved in June 2015.

I write this blog entry on my 4-year-old son’s first day of school (which is a few weeks ago by now). I had mixed emotions, to say the least, about him starting his formal education so young and would have preferred he spent another year or two climbing trees instead and letting his imagination run roit. But alas, the English education system didn’t allow for it.

My son must have picked up on my feelings as - before starting – he said he thought school was 'dumb' (I think he’d have loved to have used the ‘S....D’ word, but that isn’t permitted in our house – just for your info ;)). However, to my surprise, he whizzed into class today with a big smile on his face, barely able to contain his excitement. In fact, he was so quick he never did see my tears (Thank you God!).

UPDATED! SWEET POTATO PIE SMOOTHIE (V+, P, GF, NF, ChF, GrF)

UPDATED! SWEET POTATO PIE SMOOTHIE (V+, P, GF, NF, ChF, GrF)

NOTE: The pictures and recipe for this blog post were updated and improved in October, 2015.

This post is dedicated to all the breast cancer thrivers and survivors out there!

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and there is no way I'm not using this blog to raise awareness about the C word!!! Because, shall I tell you a secret? I HATE Cancer. I LOATH it. I DESPISE it! I've never had it (Thank you God), but too many people I know have and it's ain't pretty.

I particularly dislike breast cancer; as a woman this illness evokes very strong sentiments in me and as someone who works in a predominantly female office (I'm an adoption social worker), I feel I'm constantly surrounded by it or the threat of it. That is because I am...

Just in the last 18 months three work colleagues of mine have been affected by breast cancer in one way or another. Thank goodness they are alive and brave and strong and standing. And I admire their courage and determination to fight with all their might. All three of them seem to be doing amazingly well now, by the way :), but stats in the UK are depressing with more than 12,000 women and 80 men dying of the illness every year! :(

I know, it's not like me to write doom and gloom blog posts, so let's talk about the good news quickly, ok? The good news is that I so strongly believe that we each have the power to reduce our chances of getting cancer. Yup, you read that correctly. Big stuff eh?! So how can we take matters into our own hands and kick cancer to the curb? By eating the right food. Another big statement, I know. 

UPDATED! HOME-MADE ALMOND MILK (V+, P, R, GF, ChF, GrF)

UPDATED! HOME-MADE ALMOND MILK (R, V+, GF, P, ChF, GrF)

NOTE: The pictures for this blog post were updated September, 2015. 

Let me be open and clear: As I write this post, we are not a dairy-free household. (Ouf, glad that’s out in the open and no, I am not planning a Swiss fondue recipe for the blog any time soon, in case you were wondering). Although I personally don’t consume any dairy and would love it if my husband and my son didn’t either, the reality is, they do. To be frank, I am ok about it because I appreciate that they have to find their own path in their own sweet time. I see my role not to judge them but to offer as many (better) alternatives as I can. I’d also like to stress though that I have the utmost respect for families who take a more definite and decisive vegan approach. Fantastic, amazing, wonderful :), I may even be a tad jealous, but I also know it’s just not for us. 

Like I mentioned last week, we are really only just embarking on our plant-based journey and still have a long way to go. But it’s so exciting to be at the start of something so big; I love this moment right now, right here and all it has to offer in the form of new discoveries and the shape of awesome opportunities. Importantly though we’re making lots of big steps in the right direction, but ...

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SEASONAL ABC JUICE (R, V+, NF, GF, P, ChF, GrF)

SEASONAL ABC JUICE (R) (V+) (NF) (GF) (P) (ChF) (GrF)

I have been thinking a great deal lately about where I am on my whole food plant based journey. I suppose everyone’s reason to move away from animal based foods and their attraction to a plant based lifestyle is quite individual and quite unique. For me there were a lot of reasons why I chose this path. Mainly and primarily I was concerned about health and I had a strong urge to find a way of feeding my family and myself that would allow our well-being to thrive and blossom. I would love to tell you more about that aspect of my journey in another post perhaps. But today I wanted to focus on the second reason as to why I shifted to a more plant based lifestyle: my wish to honour the earth.

I know there is a lot of debate as to whether man (and woman)’s demand for agricultural produce places a greater strain on the environment than man’s wish for animal based foods. You can find lots of articles on the net supporting either position. And I suppose ultimately, it is about what research resonates most with you. For me a couple things are quite clear: the way that we consume meat now is completely unsustainable and so destructive. The earth cannot support this growing demand; it is completely impossible. And I feel very, very strongly about that.

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MINTY LIME AND LEMONADE (R, GF, NF, P, V+, ChF, GrF)

MINTY LIME AND LEMONADE (V) (R) (GF) (P) (NF) (GrF) (ChF)

‘Mama, can we ppplllleeeaaassssee make some lemonade? Pllleeaassee?’ My son asked as he gave me his best, cheeky smile and batted his enviable long eye-lashes.

‘Yes of course!’ I said.

(Some more smiles and excited giggles followed, in case you were wondering).

So, hubby, my son and I got to work and the outcome of our nice, spontaneous team effort is this looker of a drink, full of vitamin C and minty freshness courtesy of our herb garden.

I can’t think of a better drink to enjoy whilst watching the World Cup. Can you ;)?

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UPDATED! REBELLIOUS GREEN SMOOTHIE BOWL (V+, R, GF, NF, P, ChF,GrF)

UPDATED! REBELLIOUS GREEN SMOOTHIE BOWL (R) (V+) (GF) (NF) (P) (ChF) (GrF)

UPDATED! Please note the pictures for this blog post were updated in December, 2016.

How do you get noticed in the competitive vegan food blogging world? It’s tough to make your mark I can now tell you from personal experience ;). But, it seems I may have cracked the code: #masonjars, or even better #bellheritagemasonjars. And the # is crucial, you see to get your followers (top tip ;)). Because, no respectable, honest, good and popular vegan blogger can do without it. And although I haven’t taken the exact stats on this, my guesstimate is that about 99.9% of all smoothies on most vegan blogs are presented in this attractive glass jar.

So, I won’t lie, I was pretty tempted to get one myself and jump full force on the band wagon. Until I saw the price tag (£10 including postage for a single jar, in case you were wondering) and decided against it. Surely, there must be another way;). Just a simple way - aha – how about the good old breakfast bowl? The 99p one you can get at your local supermarket or better still, the one that’s actually already in your cupboard with all the other old plates, cups and saucers. Perfect! So, being the stubborn person my friends know me to be, I decided to take the tough route in this game called blogging and try to win followers with a cheeky post and a cracked breakfast bowl instead of the #masonjar. :) #keepingitreal #rebelwithacause

ELDERFLOWER AND PEAR SPRING GREEN JUICE (R, V+, NF, GF, P, ChF, GrF)

ELDERFLOWER AND PEAR SPRING GREEN JUICE (V+) (GF) (NF) (R) (P) (ChF) (GrF)

It’s funny because I actually had not planned to make this juice. But then there was a sort of competition on Instagram for ‘the best smoothie or juice’ and the competitive streak in me went into overdrive. Fuelled with adrenaline, my brain knew pretty much straight away what it wanted my body to do:

1. Go to the farmer’s market
2. Buy the most beautiful seasonal ingredients you can find
3. Challenge yourself and work with a fruit/veg you’ve never used before
4. Forage to add interest
5. Kick ass and make a GREAT juice you can be proud of and tell your grandchildren about

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