Sunday, 29 September 2013

Autumn Wishlist #1: Loungin' and Lazy Days

6. Topshop AMALIA lace up brogues - £65

The leaves have definitely turned this year. I'm eagerly waiting with my autumn scarves and winter coats for the cold weather to arrive; my hands are warmed from the furnace of heated mugs and daily bowls of oatmeal. I haven't cursed at the drop in temperature (yet), I haven't mourned over my summer clothing farewells. For the first time in my life, I am excited at the prospect of autumn/winter arriving. Updating my wardrobe for the season is an invitation to an alien adventure that I'm keen to explore.

Step forth to discover my very first recipe for a successful lazy day - an autumnal brew of ingredients made from stitches of comfort and materials that shield you from the crisp, fresh air. The range of French Connection cardigans all promise snugness with style but this particular number caught my eye. The coatigan: the lovechild of knits and outerwear, a creation of convenience. It acknowledges the chances of impromptu travels and adapts as the uniform for indoor lounging on chilly Sunday afternoons. The Zara two-sided scarf is a hybrid of emerging trends: the tartan print is a reflection of cold Scottish moors whereas the monochrome hues nod to the components of a triumphant neutral palette. Woolly gloves and journey essentials fit into the compartments of a matte oxblood satchel, a bed of golden leaves lay under the sole of Amalia lace up brogues and the wind glides off the slick exterior of the biker trousers. How does the oversized canine t-shirt fit into this equation, I hear you ask? It's as simple as...Well, I'm just a dog person really.

Stir in a few dashes of flushed cheeks from winter air; sprinkle a smattering of crackles from an open fire. And there you have it, the instructions to create your very own concoction of a lounging lazy day.

I hope you enjoyed your stay :)

*This is a sponsored post

Friday, 27 September 2013

Healthy Breakfast Ideas - Introducing Complex Carbs and Protein

Now, I take the phrase 'eat breakfast like a King' very, very seriously.

It's a meal that I simply cannot miss and I'd quite happily walk out of a door with messy hair and a non made up face if it means that I'll have the time to prepare and eat it... and possibly arrange it to look nice for Instagram. I'm that person. If you know me in real life or follow me on Twitter/Instagram - I apologise for the amount of times I rave about my first meal of the day with its array of fruit/nuts/seeds toppings, it's a meal that just cannot be beaten and I've taken to having it for dinner on Friday evenings to round off the working week. Bliss in a bowl and a tradition I intend to cherish. Look at me being the ultimate wild gal. If you're looking to adapt to a healthier lifestyle change or want to shed a few pounds, look no further (and put down the bacon sandwich) because this is possibly one of the best breakfast dishes you can have - and it bids farewell to muffin tops and bingo wings too.

Breakfast facts:

The first meal of the day should technically be your biggest meal of the day. Breakfast splits into break and fast which quite literally means to 'break the fast' from the 6-8 hours that you've been asleep. It's the meal that kick starts your metabolism for the day, it refuels your body and supplies it with enough energy to keep you going for the day ahead. To sum it up, it's important and if you plan on losing weight and to maintain it, it's a must.

I normally kick start my day with a glass of cold water and normally aim to eat my breakfast within 30-60 minutes of waking up. Leave it any longer and your body will slowly head to starvation mode then proceed to cling on to any signs of fat - not good.

Complex carbs: low GI food

Aim to have a mix of protein, fiber and complex carbohydrates with your breakfast. Carbs get a very, very bad rep due to its refined siblings but they're essential if you know the right types to eat! Ditch the morning pastries and aim for low-GI options instead. Low glycemic carbs is based on blood glucose levels and are food that slowly gets absorbed and released for energy. It avoids the instant sugar crash you get from croissants/pain au chocolats, doesn't spike your insulin levels and is a great way of enjoying carbohydrates without gasping in horror.

For lunch/dinner option - swap sweet potatoes from normal potatoes, use brown/red/basmati rice instead of white rice and switch to wholemeal bread.

The benefits of oatmeal/muesli:

Oatmeal is often hailed as a 'granny' dish - a bowl of grains that only the old can enjoy... or the Scottish. Whilst I'm all for living like a grandma (PJs, fruit tea and The Great British Bake Off, anyone?), it's a belief that I'd quite like to break. It's a complex carb and will keep you full until lunch without having to reach for a mid-morning biscuit. To save on calories, I normally opt to cook it with water and prefer to flavour it with cinnamon, sliced fruit and nuts/seeds. It's perfectly fine to have it with milk and it'll give a much creamier taste too. It's the same with muesli - the dry version of rolled oats usually combined with raisins/hazelnuts/almonds. I sometimes mix mine in with some natural/greek/strained yogurt too - my absolute favourite being Chobani. An added dose of protein with my complex carbs - perfecto! My preferences of them both depends on the amount of time that I have in the mornings combined with what I'm 'craving' that day. I then chuck in a looooooad of fruit in and aim to have 2-3 different types in depending on the size of the fruit although banana wise, I usually stick to a half.

My favourite toppings are a mix of:
blueberries, walnuts, almond flakes, goji berries, apple chunks, peach slices, pear chunks, banana slices, figs, grated apple and cinnamon. 

Don't worry, I haven't gone crazy. I don't add the whole shebang; I only pick 2-3 different fruits, a small handful of nuts and a dash (three dashes) of cinnamon. Fruit and oats also increases your fiber levels too which again, keeps you full as it takes longer for your body to digest (and keeps you going to the toilet regularly - sorry, gotta be said).
Note: Do NOT go for the instant oatmeal packets, whilst they're convenient and have flavours like 'golden syrup' - it's full of sugar and preservatives. Stick to the traditional rolled oats option instead. Ditch the brown sugar/swirls of syrup in too. If you're aiming to eat healthily, adding in a ton of sugar is not going to help matters (or your waistline). Stick to a small amount of honey if absolute necessary, or have fruit for natural sweetness instead! :)

Protein and healthy fats:
There are plenty of health benefits associated with protein and I try to include protein rich things into my diet to aid muscle repair/building. These are things like quinoa, nuts (almonds and walnuts are my absolute favourites), natural/greek yogurt and eggs to name a few examples. Avocados, smoked/normal salmon, avocado and egg yolks gives you much needed doses of healthy fats. Whilst they are higher in calories, they're still very healthy and ensures your body is topped with the right kind of fats. Want glossy hair and good skin? Keep those avocados comin'. 

Eggs BeneFit (geddit? full credit to Jordan for thinking of it)
Eggs, oh eggs. They're packed full of protein, keep you full and are mighty good for you. There's a rumour about ditching the egg yolks to avoid high cholesterol but the majority of the nutrients are actually in the sunny yellow counterparts! Don't throw it, eat it! Whilst I have no problem with having hard-boiled ones, it can get a little boring. Step in banana pancakes. A two-ingredient pancake with nothing but oodles of nutrients. I first saw this on Blogilates and it's been a staple since as it's super easy to whip up! It's 100% natural and is also a great pre/post workout snack too as banana is a potassium that supplies you with energy and helps muscle recovery too. For lunch, I usually slice up a boiled egg over a bed of lettuce, peppers and cherry tomatoes. Delicious!

I've think I've covered the basics of what I wanted to speak about! If you'd like me to expand on this further - let me know as I'd be more than happy to! I know this is primarily a fashion blog but I'd really love to expand into lifestyle/food posts too as it's become such a big part of who I am as a person now! I always receive comments to do more food related videos about my fitness routine/meal ideas so I hope this helps :)!

Judging from my snaps above (and my whole insta-feed), it's easy to make the mistake that I'm a food blogger rather than a fashion one. In fact, a few too many friends and colleagues have commented on this and even suggested for me to create a 'shulikesfood' YouTube channel. To their amusement, I actually went ahead and did so. You can find my channel here - banana oatmeal cookies and Thai red fish cake recipes are currently available to watch!

So voila!

If you've made it this far, thank you so much for reading (and phew!)
I hope you're having a great day so far :)

(definitely enjoyed a bowl of this today)


Wednesday, 25 September 2013

OUTFIT: Peter Pan in Monochrome

monochrome peter pan collared lace dress - topshop
lipstick - rimmel kate moss collection in 107
leather ankle boots - topshop
rose gold watch - asos
mermaid ring - h&m

black and white, old pal. we've developed a strong enough friendship to tide us over the next 10, 25, 50 years and I don't think I'll ever get bored of you. you're a shape-shifter, a master of disguises and continue to fascinate me with the ways you can transform yourself into an everlasting collection of wardrobe attire. thank you for persuading me to coax this peter pan collared number from my sister's wardrobe for my birthday dinner out with my friends. to truly make you shine, I thought to inject a hint of Hollywood glamour with a slick of crimson and a flick of feline on the eyes. you'll be pleased to know that the makeup lasted perfectly throughout the hungry bites of falafel burger but didn't have much luck against the constant storms of Brighton. thanks for sending this lace shift dress my way though, the diner food baby was hidden and my pals were none the wiser.

don't worry. to make you happy, my debit card and i will be finding more monochrome friends to join you for the autumnal season. in fact, i'll head over to ASOS right now because we're just that darn close.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Review: Jeffrey Campbell Lita Dupes

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This review has been a long time coming. It's not a secret that I'm a contender of the world's clumsiest person championship. I manage to somehow trip up in thin air so heels... aren't really something I'm much of an expert with.

These however, are an exception to my frequent falls. I was intrigued by the Jeffrey Campbell Lita shoes (yawn - cliché) due to the huge hidden platform masked by the height of the heels. Will it give you the illusion of longer legs? Yes. Would they be easy to walk in? Maybe. Would they fool everyone  into thinking that I can walk in 5/6 inch heels without breaking a sweat (or in my case, my arm?) OUI!

I decided on some eBay dupes first to see how I'd get on. Now, I love me a statement printed anything so when I saw this crazy paisley number, it was a flurry of PayPal passwords and manic 'checkout' clicks. Jeffrey Campbell doesn't seem to offer this particular print in the range so it won't be able to fool those beady-eyed fans but these designer-inspired platforms are worth every tut and shake of the head from loyal customers. They're very comfortable and with help of the platform attached to the bottom of your feet, you don't seem to notice the height of the shoes either. You'll get to feel like a giant without having sore toes or blisters to match. Score. It definitely doesn't strain your feet or force them to bend at an unrealistic angle like stilettos/non-platform heels do. I took them with me to Madrid in June and managed to walk for 4/5+ hours on cobbled uneven streets without any injuries to report (although my eyes were fixed on the floor with every step that I took). A winner in my books.

 I definitely recommend them and think I'm ready to take the plunge into purchasing the real deal soon... or use the money to buy 3 more pairs of dupes. Bonjour burgundy faux leather shoes. 

If you're interested, you can find the heels here.

What do you think about the Jeffrey Campbell Lita dupes?

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

My 21st Birthday


I recently celebrated my 21st birthday over three different events and thought I'd share the outfit posts for them! It's a strange one: I have never been one to enjoy my own birthday and the mention of it used to be met with a mix of dread and longing for it to be over. This year, things completely changed and for the first time ever - I was running around updating Jordan the countdown until my birthday and it felt really good to be excited for once! :)

Did you see the most amazing fruit cake above? I spotted a similar picture on Instagram a while back and showed Jordan and his lovely mum, Wendy.

"THIS IS THE MOST PERFECT CAKE IN ALL THE LAND. It's entirely made out of fruit! AHH!111!one!11"

All of my fruit wishes came true and I spotted this on the family's dinner table as I walked in bleary-eyed at 8 in the morning. I fell in love. Compromised of a watermelon base with cocktail sticks full of grapes and kiwi, I don't think I've ever loved a cake more. Luckily, my birthday fell on a hot summery day too so the watermelon was perfect to cool down! Thanks Jordan and Wendy for making me it!

After unwrapping all the amazing presents that I received, it was time for a carbs-loaded breakfast. I'm usually very strict on myself with the amount of carbs I ate especially if they're refined as it's not great for the body. However, free carbs pass on your 21st birthday right? I'm learning to let go and to relax about the odd 'cheat treat' too. Food should be enjoyed and getting myself stressed over the specific things I can and cannot eat wasn't helping me mentally either! Croissants, scones and pancakes galore. One last question: is butter a carb?

If you're interested to see what I received for my birthday, I recently uploaded a birthday haul on my channel! Spoiler: one of them was a day trip to Monte Carlo as gifted by Jordan. Outfit post will be coming soon! :)

The inside of the cake! :)

Crochet yellow cut-out dress: ASOS (borrowed from my sister)
Longchamp Le Pliage tote bag
Watch: Michael Kors
By noon, I was already pretty exhausted from the excitement of the last few hours. My day had barely started though! Jordan, my sisters and I shooted off on the train into London where we met up with my mum! She bought me the beautiful Michael Kors rose gold watch and I haven't wanted to take it off ever since! We had a mooch around Oxford Circus, had dinner in China Town and then walked over to Drury Lane in Covent Garden (with a full stomach) to watch... Charlie & The Chocolate Factory!

I definitely recommend it. The story line was humourous, the actors were brilliant and my jaws dropped at several occasions with the stage effects. Sam Mendes - great job. I think it's now my new favourite musical.

We then ended the night at my mum's house and tucked into some midnight Chinese birthday cake that we bought from China Town. Chinese birthday cake is my absolute favourite - it's full of fruit and the sponge is always so light, airy and extremely addictive. It's not stodgy in the slightest!

All in all, it was the most perfect day that I could ever have dreamed of.

I'm so thankful to everyone that had made it so great and thank you to everyone that wished me a happy birthday on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/YouTube! I was so shocked that some of you even remembered! Thank you!!! :)

Here's to my 21st and my next birthday! :)

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