July (and June) Favourites 2017!

It has been a while since I’ve written one of these posts, but in all honesty I didn’t have any new favourites until the very end of July. Now I have some, its time to share them…

Food

Woods Brownie Co. – These are the MOST AMAZING brownies I have EVER had the privilege to eat. They are super-fudgy, and intensely chocolate-y. My favourite is the Belgium Chocolate straight up. The others I have tried are the Valencian Orange, and the Maple & Pecan. Other flavours I hope to get hold of soon are the Salted Caramel, and Morello Cherry. Once they’re back in stock at the shop I buy them from, I shall have a proper review up!

Chaophraya, Newcastle – I’m praying the restaurant in Leeds is just as good, because this is my favourite place to eat at the moment. Chaophraya is Thai food done really well, and so good I chose to eat here after my graduation. I recommend the Tofu Pad Thai, or the Steamed Sea Bass.

Henderson’s Salad Table, Edinburgh – This place serves the most amazing vegan and vegetarian food I have ever come across. When I headed to Edinburgh at the end of July I ate here both the Saturday and the Sunday. I can highly recommend the Vegan Shakshuka, and the Porridge. Henderson’s make amazing porridge.

 

Drinks

Kale-ing Me Softly Mocktail, The Alchemist – My family ripped into me for ordering this when we went for drinks. Its a mixture of lime, apple, and kale, all blended up into a smoothie texture. Super-cold and refreshing if you aren’t feeling the alcohol, or are designated driver.

 

Entertainment & Travel

The Handmaid’s Tale- I know this is a TV show now, but I haven’t watched that yet. The book is amazing, and so I probably will end up watching it this next month. For a full review see here.

Northanger Abbey– This was one of the only Jane Austen novels I hadn’t read before. Overall, really entertaining. I always say Austen is like the comfort food of the book world, and this novel lived up to that.

Edinburgh- July was the first time I have ever visited Edinburgh, and I fell in love with this city. There were so many art galleries, museums and places to explore that I easily filled two days and could’ve stayed longer.

Scottish National Portrait Gallery – This was one of the highlights of my trip to Edinburgh. The Portrait Gallery is well worth a trip if you happen to be visiting the city. For other recommendations of where to head check out my 48 Hours in Edinburgh post.

 

Online

YouTube channel: Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell. – This reminds me of TEDTalks, but in a much, much shorter video. I’m a bit of a science nerd at heart, and so this allows me access to science (and philosophy, sociology, psychology etc) without having to pay for it, accompanied by colourful videos, and to-the-point explanations which are easy to follow.

YouTube channel: Jen Bretty – I’m sure that Jen has been a favourite before, and she is again now. I get very excited when I see a video from Jen on my YouTube subscriptions.

Instagram: emmasfood- I have loved this account for quite some time now, because Emma always has beautiful looking food, using everyday ingredients. I’ve recently been grabbing some meal ideas from this account, and one of the best things I was persuaded to try was “cakey oats” (picture at the top of the post). Think porridge with a fluffier, more cake-like texture. I could eat them every day.

 

 

 

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February Favourites 2017

Food

Rawreos– I was send these by Embrace the Cake down in London, and oh my lord they werewp-1487157855190.jpg delicious! You can check these out in my full review right here. Possibly a good thing I don’t live in London, because I’d be there all of the time…

Omelettes– I recently wrote a post all about omelettes, giving you guys a whopping 21 omelette combinations to try out. They’re cheap, fast, and once you learn to make one then you can pretty much feed yourself if there’s not a lot of money left at the end of the week.

Almond Butter & Blackcurrant Jam Bars– This is a quick and easy (no bake!) recipe I like to make on a weekend, so that I have snacks prepared for the week ahead. They’re gooey and nutty, which pretty much spells out just plain delicious.wp-1488111400372.jpg

Pizza Storm– Think Subway, but pizzas. You basically craft your own, and then they bake it in their 900*c pizza oven in just 3 minutes.

Pancakes– It was pancake day this month. Need I say more? You can find the recipe for my Banana & Nutella Pancakes right here (if the picture to the left is tempting you). Continue reading

December Favourites 2016

Food

wp-1482414298911.jpgEgg White Oats- Quick and simple, super-creamy, tasty, high protein…what’s not to love?

Gingerbread Baked Oatmeal- Okay, I possibly enjoyed this more than the above. Gooey, warming, sweet…picture to the left, and recipe right here.

Omelettes- I have been living off of these recently. So versatile, so cheap- and especially good with mushrooms cooked into them, served with dry roasted potatoes, brown sauce, and broccoli.

Violet’s Café, Newcastle- This is down by the Quayside, and is one of the most perfect cafes I’ve ever visited. They have an Instagram account, and serve amazing food in quirky surroundings- it’s great for a girl’s coffee/ brunch date. Full review coming in 2017.

Random

Christmas Lights- I have spent a lot of time walking around, eyeing up other people’s Christmas lights this year. Our streetlights are out, making those fairy-lights look all the more magical (and necessary to not breaking your neck)

Health & Fitness

Nuffield Health Gyms- I’ve got a membership here while I’m home, as part of my Christmas present. And it is the BEST gym I have ever entered. Plus, they do 12 point health checks (I got 91 out of 100. #morethanproud), and provide guidance as to what training is right for you. Something I desperately need, as I am more than a little bored with my current routine and lost as to how to increase my strength.

HIIT- One thing I don’t grow bored of though is HIIT. However, I am a fickle human being and this may change. But not any time soon.

USA Pro Sport Bra- This is the comfiest, most supportive sports bra I have ever owned, and it looks- there’s no other way to say it- fabulous!  Gone are the days of boob pain during HIIT. Continue reading

November Favourites 2016…

Food

Canned mackerel– I cannot emphasise enough how much I am loving this right now. Fresh fish is a little pricey on a student budget- but cans of mackerel are 66p down at Tesco, they go well in packed lunches, and you can get them in a sweet chilli sauce. I see no downside.

Jim Jam’s Hazelnut Spread– If you look at my instasnap now and again, then you’d have realised that on my overnight oats I have been loving this healthier nutella alternative. It’s creamy, its nutty, its chocolate-y- and its really good on top of ice cream as well. And on rice cakes with banana, on porridge, or just off of the spoon.

Health & Fitness

HIIT Workouts- We all know I’ve gone through the following workout stages: Pilates, weights, at-home, various classes… Now I’ve moved into the realms of HIIT training. I still train with weights, but only once a week. I feel I need some guidance to progress further in that area, and right now I can’t afford to pay for that guidance. PTs don’t come cheap at my uni gym. So weighted HIIT training it is! More so, I find it fun. I was becoming bored with my old routine, and this had allowed me to switch it up a bit. The best routines I have found are from Joe Wicks (aka The Body Coach), and Clean Eating Alice (her facebook page has regular videos posts about them, so you can see the moves clearly)

Nuffield Health Gym- So, speaking of gyms, my mum recently signed up with one, and couldn’t go with good old Pure Gym, oh no. She signed up to the most expensive gym in my home town and got herself a PT. But she also took me with her on a guest pass when I visited home. This was like the Mount Olympus of all gyms. All the equipment worked, it had a friendly atmosphere, the showers had temperature controls, and the café was amazing and had food that was reasonably priced. It had a swimming pool, several gym rooms, a steam room, sauna, Jacuzzi- it even had a frigging machine for wringing out wet swimsuits. I’m trying to figure out which of my organs I can sell to buy a membership.

Entertainment

Human Hungry Hippos- Okay, we played this at my friend’s 21st mid-month, and it’s actually better than ring of fire. You lie on your stomach on a board with wheels, and your team push you forward towards a ball-pool. You have to grab as many balls as you can before switching team members. Team with the most balls at the end wins.

Grease (the movie)- One of my flatmates was assigned this film for a module she takes on the Spielberg generation (80’s films). The third time she had to watch it, I was the one putting it in the DVD player. Nostalgia on a disc, and we now know the words to pretty much all of the songs. Continue reading

October Favourites 2016

Food

Arlo’s Banana & Hazelnut Porridge- Arlo’s has changed up their breakfast menu now that it’s autumn, and the blueberries topping the porridge have been swapped for banana and whole hazelnuts, with bee pollen and honey. This is the single best porridge I have evwp-1477655469260.jpger eaten out. Recommend it over all of the other porridges available in Newcastle.

Quorn & Vegetable Chilli Con Carne- When I stopped eating red meat, and then chicken, I swapped my beef or turkey chilli for straight up bean chilli. Bean chilli is lovely, but not the same somehow. Sometimes I just want an old fashioned chilli con carne, and I finally got to make one when I tried Quorn mince for the first time. I’ll  link to the recipe right here.wp-1477341637912.jpg

Proper Nutty Peanut Butter, in Smunchy – This is one of my favourite nut butter brands (it’s up there with Meridian), and it has the single best texture I’ve ever come across: smunchy. In-between smooth and crunchy. Which genius came up with that, and why did it take so long?! The PB has nothing but nuts and some salt in it, and has won a permanent place in my cupboard. I believe Proper Nutty only make PB, but I pray that some day they expand their range.

Random

Pumpkin Carving- Can’t not include this around Halloween time.

Hot Water Bottle- Because I get cold feet at night, and a hot wattle bottle is a must for someone who sleeps with the window open, regardless of how far below 0 the temperature falls.

FRINGE Stationary- I was recently bought a new journal, because I’d filled my last one, and my new writing material is from this fabulous stationers. If you’re in Newcastle then there’s a massive display of their wares on Fenwick’s Christmas Floor, which is where I got mine. Perfect paper thickness, perfect line strength and spacing, perfect size of pages, and a beautiful cover reading ‘Be Brave With Your Life’. Paperchase just got beaten hands down, and I never thought I’d say that.

Fenwick’s Newcastle’s Christmas Floor- Leading on from the above… I know this is Newcastle specific, but if you’re in that neck of the woods then check it out. Another major draw was the Beatrix Potter themed display up here, and Miss Tiggywinkle’s Restaurant (though I wish it was called “Tearoom” in the interests of alliteration). I grew up with Beatrix Potter being read at bedtime, and this was a massive walk down memory lane- plus the food there is beautiful. My prediction is that the Fenwick’s window will be a Beatrix Potter scene. Continue reading

July 2016 Favourites

I have a lot of favourites from the month of July, so grab a cuppa and get comfy before you start reading! If you’ve tried any of these things, or have an recommendations for me, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below…


Random

Primark Lightweight Khaki Jacket-
I bought this in Bath, because the weather had been awful, and I had broken my umbrella. Needless to say, the minute I bought it, the sun came out for the rest of the two weeks I was there. But this is still my current favourite jacket, as it’s light enough to be cool on a warm day, but has a pretty decent hood.
Bath Skyline Walk
I did this walk on my last day in Bath, and if you’re ever able to complete this National Trust Walk , then go for it. It takes you through woods, over hills, and through orchards- and you get to see the city of Bath looking beautiful from numerous different angles.
Oxford Street
I hopped on a bus during the press drop day on my work experience, and so got to see this street briefly. I have never been to Oxford Street before, and have only been to London once in all my twenty years previous to this (I still haven’t managed to do all the touristy stuff), so Oxford Street had to feature here.
Mr B’s Book Emporium
A fantastic, quirky little book shop in Bath- check it out if you can.
‘Life is a Mixture of Coffee and Magic’ Mug

I’ve been eyeing this up in Morrisons for the past month, and finally bought it.

 

Food
Beyond the Kale Banana & Date Bread (Bath)
They’ll offer to toast it, and top it with peanut butter. Say yes.
Discover Chocolate, Fig & Cashew flavour
I picked this up from a farm shop in Gloucester on the way back from Bath: it’s a sugar free bar of chocolate. I picked up the dark chocolate flavours: Coffee & Cardamom; Fig & Cashew; Cacao Studded Dark. All of them were good, though a bit pricey for me to purchase again any time soon. The Fig & Cashew was the best though, as the plain dark is pretty standard, and the coffee one could have used more coffee.
Zoats
Zoats have more volume than regular porridge, and provide on of your 5 a Day, as you add in grated courgette. Don’t let the addiction of a vegetable put you off though. I find courgette adds little flavour wise, but gives really thick, voluminous oats. Perfect post gym, when you want to feel as if you’re having a feast.
Summer Rolls
I saw someone eating these on YouTube, and decided to try and recreate them (they were from a restaurant)- with brilliant results. I have a recipe coming soon, so keep your eyes peeled. I served mine with a spicy soy sauce & peanut dip, and loved every bite…

 

Drinks
Iced coffee (Café Nero)
Best chain Iced Coffee goes to Café Nero. As the only one that makes it a) strong enough, and b) without automatically adding sugar syrup (Costa, I’m looking at you), it deserved a mention.
Vivid Tea
An alternative to iced coffee for the summer: naturally flavoured iced tea. Give the grape & elderflower a try. I really want to get my hands on the pear & rhubarb flavour, as this sounds phenominal. I’ve tried matcha tea before, but the acrid bitter taste put me off. If you’ve had the same experience, but are still open to trying matcha tea, then grab a mini carton of this.
 
Books
Hound of the Baskervilles
The first Sherlock Holmes book I’ve ever read, and I was surprised by how much a enjoyed it- though I have to say, Holmes himself hasn’t really grown on me yet. Perhaps I’ll have to read some more of his adventures before I form my opinion on the detective.
Game of Thrones: A Clash of Kings
Even though my uni reading is preventing me finishing the second book quite as quickly as I would like, this is still one of my favourite books of the moment. Easy to read, and with more humour than you would expect.
The Moonstone
This was uni reading, and I’m currently working on a full review. It’s the original detective novel, following the theft of a cursed Indian diamond, and takes so many wonderful twists and turns- you wont want to put it down.
Brave New World

I already have a review for this novel, so check it out right here: http://ecstaticallyem.blogspot.co.uk/2016/07/brave-new-world-book-review.html

 

Beauty
Garnier Ultimate Blends Delicate Oat Moisturiser
I have incredibly oily skin on my face, and incredibly dry skin on my legs and arms. This is the only moisturiser I have found that keeps the skin on my body soft and hydrated. I am looking for a good alternative though, as when it isn’t on offer this is too expensive to be buying all of the time.
Aveeno Handcream
I feel as if I’ve mentioned this before, but a friend bought me this as a birthday present, and I’ve just about finished it. I put it on every evening before bed, and my hands have never been in better shape.
Collection Concealer (in ‘Fair’)
In summer I tend to get a lot more spots- mainly due to the fluctuations in temperature and humidity. This is the only concealer I ever use, and have ever used  for the past two or three years. It covers everything, and is much cheaper than the high-end stuff, at £4.19 a pop.
 
Online
Boho Beautiful –
YouTube channel of the month. This has given me some fresh yoga videos to try out, and I cant wait to attempt the meditation videos as well.
Podcasts
You may remember my obsession with podcasts a little while back. Well, it has re-emerged. My top picks are the Maddy Moon podcasts, or the In Our Time ones from the BBC.
 
 
 

April Favourites 2016

Random
I Am Malala
 An absolutely fascinating read, which I recommend to you all. I don’t want to say too much, as a review will be on the blog in the next few days, but know that it is an April favourite.
Howl’s Moving Castle
 I began reading this yesterday, as I found it second hand, and have watched the Studio Ghibli film more times than I care to remember.
Bullet Journaling
 My new obsession. In this I can combine my love of organisation and doodles. It also means I now no longer have a tonne of different notebooks, just this and my diary. I’ve even made a Pinterest board.
Stitch Tzum Tzum
I finally managed to get hold of a massive Stitch tzum tzum, which has been a life goal for a little while now.
Food
The Nut Roaster Almond Butter, and Proper Nutty Smunchy Peanut Butter
 These brands are right up there with Meridian. That’s right; another brand is level with Meridian. I love the “smunchy” texture of the Proper Nutty brand (which is also made in Yorkshire, and so I had to love it), and that with The Nut Roaster I have actually met the guy a few times at the market in Tynemouth, and seen the butter being made.
Meridian Squeezy Date Syrup
I was very kindly sent three samples of the new syrups Meridian have released, and this one is my absolute favourite. It works best in Banoffee Overnight Oats (for which the recipe will be arriving on the blog soon)
Pret Spelt & Oat Cookie
Cookies. At Pret. Need I say more?
Naked Deli, Heaton
My first trip to to actual Naked Deli! And it didn’t disappoint…try the green feta patties with poached eggs. Its also one of the only two places I know that can make a good almond milk cappuccino.
Wagamamas
 This month I tried my first Wagamamas. I went for the ramen containing egg and silken tofu, and they shall definitely be seeing me again
Avocado on Toast
Simple, quick, and good for you. I don’t need to tell you that it’s delicious too. Top with salt, pepper, lemon juice, and then any of: tomato, mushrooms, balsamic vinegar, or roasted veggies…
Americano and essay material isn’t all that bad
Drink
Wagamama’s Super Green Juice

 Zingy and fresh, as a green juice should be

Americanos (with milk)
 Yep, as exam season rolls around and my dealines loom, I need stronger coffee.
Beauty
Manuka Honey 
 I um-ed and ah-ed for ages over buying this, but it has proven to be a brilliant investment. I can put it in my porridge, oats, use it as a glaze for fish…and also as a facepack! In fact, I think it works best as a facepack out of all of the above.
LUSH Porridge Soap
 Exfoliating and moisturising, my only gripe is that I have to clean the oats out of the bath after using it
Online
YouTube- Lavendaire
 This channel is probably up there with Melanie Murphy. Lavendaire’s channel is dedicated to becoming an “artist of life”. Which basically means self improvement. But! What’s significant about this channel is that “self improvement” doesn’t mean bodily- it means mentally, incorporating learning and opening your eyes up to the wider world and its possibilities.