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Saturday, 28 January 2017

My Top Five Healthy Oaty Breakfasts!

Hey Guys!

Seeing as it's FREE Porridge Day, I thought I would share with you my favourite healthy breakfasts using those superfood oats. There are so many benefits to including oats in your diet. If you want to make these recipes gluten free just use gluten free oats or if you want to make them dairy free then substitute the milk/yoghurt for a dairy free alternative such as almond milk or coconut yoghurt. They're a wholegrain full of protein, fibre, antioxidants and trace minerals keeping you full right until lunch. Oats have been found because of their nutritive value to aid weight loss and reduce the risk of developing heart disease and type two diabetes, as well as tasting absolutely delicious!

1. Porridge

Long considered one of the best breakfasts anyone can eat, porridge can be as simply or as exciting as you make it! I start with 35g of porridge oats and 125mls of milk and put it in the microwave for 2mins 30sec. Alternatively you could simmer it in a saucepan over a low heat until the milk has been absorbed. Then it's time to top it with whatever you choose, I recommend 50g of fruit and a couple of nuts/1tsp nut butter or seeds. In the picture I've gone for half a banana, 4 chopped almonds, a drizzle of honey and a sprinkling of cinnamon. The possibilities are endless and it's such a tasty, warming way to start a cold winter's day.
2. Overnight Oats

This is a great option if you're always in a rush in the morning or have breakfast on the go. It just takes a couple of minutes the night before getting it ready then you can wake up to a lovely healthy breakfast. I like to layer mine in a jar but you can just chuck it all in a bowl and cover in it with clingfilm! It's honestly like eating a dessert for breakfast but is actually really good for you. I'm going to do a separate post on my favourite overnight oats flavours but for now, Operation Transformation have a mixed berry version that is so yummy! Find it here, and change up the fruit to experiment with your own flavours.

 3. Smoothie

My favourite way to have a smoothie is to keep aside some of the fruit and serve it in a bowl topped with the rest of the fruit. Smoothie bowls are a huge food trend and have been all over my instagram, but for a good reason they taste really good! My favourite combination is:

100mls milk
25g oats
1 banana
100g berries
10g raw spinach
1tsp honey

Blend it all together and enjoy! Using raw greens is a great way to get more nutrients from your smoothie without a weird flavour.

4. Soft Boiled Egg with Wholegrain/Porridge Toast 

Not necessarily what you might think of as an oaty breakfast but it just goes to show even if you think you don't like oats, maybe you can incorporate them into your diet and learn to love them! Or maybe you want to get your kids eating oats then this classic is a great introduction. 

For a soft boiled egg, put one or two room temperature egg per person in a saucepan of boiling water and cook for 5mins. 

Instead of serving with the usual white toast, look for an oatmeal bread, a traditional brown bread with a high oat content (better yet make your own) or you could even toast a slice of the porridge bread (see below).

5. Porridge Muffins/Loaf

This is the easiest bread recipe ever because you just need 3 ingredients, yoghurt, oats and baking powder. Then you can keep it savoury by baking it as a loaf of bread or sweeten it by adding 100g of fruit such as mixed berries and baking in muffin cases for individual portions. Here's the recipe:

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Pour one large tub of natural yoghurt into a mixing bowl then fill the empty tub up with oats 2 times and add it to the yoghurt, so it's 1 tub of yoghurt to 2 tubs of oats. Finally add 1tsp of baking powder and mix it all together. Bake in a loaf tin lined with greaseproof paper for 45-50mins or spoon into a muffin tin lined with paper cases until 3/4 full and bake for 35mins.

 If you try these at home let me know how they turned out in the comments or on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram and tell me your favourite way to enjoy oats? 

A xx

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Week Three of Operation Transformation

Hi Everyone!

If you've been following along with the Operation transformation plan then it's day 21 for you too and we're almost at the halfway mark, so keep going you're all doing fantastic! For my weigh in this week I lost 2.5lbs, I was happy with that because at this stage, any loss is a step in the right direction. 

This week I really upped the effort I was putting into my workouts and I've started walking at a faster pace, I even managed to do some jogging intervals which felt great as I do eventually want to build up to a jog. Last week at my local Parkrun 5km I shaved 1.5 minutes off my time but this week I want to do even better! I'm using the Nike+Run Club app to keep track of my walks and I love it. It's a free app that maps your route and keeps track of your distance, speed, pace, etc.. so you can try to beat your personal best each time you use it making me want to work harder when I walk. Also just to let you know that the OT Phoenix Park 5km is now booked up, if you managed to get a place then I look forward to seeing you there but don't worry if you didn't get a space you can still run or walk at your local Parkrun event on the same day.

In terms of food, for week three all of the dinners on the OT plan were meat free. There was still some white fish but it was primarily a plant based diet this week and I honestly really enjoyed it. Currently the majority of us eat too much meat meaning the demand for meat is very high and has lead to the likes of intensively reared animals. This means the animals have a very poor quality of life but not only that it's bad for our health too when we eat meat that has been heavily processed, which you'll know if you watch the show has been linked to some cancers. Don't get me wrong I love meat and I'm in no way a vegetarian but ever since I have made my own meals I have always enjoyed a couple of "flesh free" meals a week. For me the ideal situation is smaller portions of better quality meat and including alternative protein sources such as eggs, dairy, nuts, seeds  and pulses in my diet.

Finally I just wanted to let you know that this Saturday (28th Jan) Operation Transformation have teamed up with Flahavan's to bring us "FREE Porridge Day". Flahavan's is an Irish company based in Waterford, so close to home for me and they are giving away a bag of oats for free available to every household in Ireland which you can collect in Tesco, EuroSpar, SuperValu and Dunnes. Plus if you post a picture of your Flahavan's porridge on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the #OperationOats you're in with a chance of winning a year's supply of Flahavan's Oats! I eat oats almost everyday and they make the best breakfasts in my opinion that keep you full until lunch. If you're stuck for ideas on how to use your oats I will be posting soon about my favourite healthy breakfast ideas so keep an eye out for that. 

That's all for now, thank you for all your support during OT I really appreciate it and if you've missed my previous posts on Operation Transformation you can find them in the "Health" tab. Thank you for reading, have a great week!

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Easiest Smokey Eye (Affordable Makeup Look)

 Hiya Everyone!

Today I have a little beauty post/tutorial for you, I really like these kind of looks and they're so simple to do and easy to wear. It's a soft smokey eye, with glowy skin and a nude lip. At the end I've put a picture and product list of everything I used, it’s all affordable/drugstore makeup, well loved as you can see from the pictures so forgive me for that! I’ve also been testing out some Pennys/Primark makeup brushes too and they're surprisingly really good for the price. I'm by no means a makeup artist it's just something I've always loved and makeup is very much personal preference so what I like you might not but that's ok you do what works for you and have fun with it. These are just the kind of posts I love to read and decided to make my own. So whether you love makeup too or just want a giggle at some of the ridiculous faces I make doing my makeup, I hope you enjoy this post and let's get started!

For Primer I used the Nivea Men Sensitive Post Shave Balm. I first saw NikkieTutorials use this as a super affordable primer, it has Glycerine as a main ingredient which helps makeup stay all day! I also have sensitive dry skin with Nivea being a brand I really trust because it works for me and it gave me some nice hydration too. However it will not fill in or blur any pores if that's what you look for in a primer. I also moisturised my lips with a lip balm in preparation for the matte nude lip later.

Next I applied my foundation. It's full coverage so I blend it out well by tapping (never drag or rub) with this damp Pennys version of a beauty blender. I wasn't a big fan of this sponge because it was too hard but I do like the new PS Pro black makeup blending sponge from Pennys.

I used the same technique with my concealer to hide any blemishes and highlight the area under my eyes and along my T-zone.

Then I set that concealer down to stop it creasing with the translucent powder, I never "bake" my face with powder though because I find it can emphasise my dry skin.

After that, I make this funny face in attempt to find some cheekbones to contour using the brown shade from the Collection contour and highlight duo. I like this because it's not too ashy so you can bronze up the skin a little with it too. For highlighter I used the shimmer shade from the same duo on the tops of my cheekbones, tip of my nose and cupid's bow. I wasn't as impressed with this highlighter but if you like a more subtle glow you will like it.

Next I applied one of these super pigmented wet'n'wild blushes, this one has a bit of shimmer to it. I know it looks a little scary in the pan but I put a very small amount on the apples of my cheeks just between where I put that contour and highlight shade to give a pinky glow. After I finished up the face I filled in my brows which I'm trying to grow out so it's a bit messy but we'll say I've gone for the natural look! 

For my eyes I kept it so simple using this labeled trio again from wet'n'wild. 
I used the brown crease shade in my crease and outer third of my eye, the eyelid shade on the inner two thirds and finally the browbone shade to highlight my inner corners and blended everything together using windscreen wiper motions with this catrice blending brush.

I don't normally like to put mascara on my bottom lashes so I just run some of my favourite eyeliner along my lash line. Then I applied a few coats of mascara to my top lashes.

To finish it off I put on my lippie and spritzed some setting spray, this dewy finishing spray has been my favourite find find of 2016 because it takes away that powdery look from your makeup and it leaves it so much fresher for longer.

And here's the finished look, I hope you enjoyed this post thanks for reading. 

Product used:

Wet n Wild Colouricon Blush  (shade Pearlescent Pink)
Wet n Wild Colouricon Eyeshadow Trio (shade Walking on Eggshells)
NYX Auto Eyebrow Pencil (shade Auburn)

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Week Two of Operation Transformation

Hey guys! 

Today is day 14 of Operation Transformation, if you're following along then well done you're doing fantastic! Keep up the good work and let me know how you are finding it so far, I'd love to hear. As always if you've missed the start you can go back and follow the plan from day 1 on the website https://ot.rte.ie/ and if you can read about how I found week one here. This week on the plan there is no meat in any of the dinners which doesn't really bother me because I've always enjoyed one or two flesh free meals a week anyway, so I'm excited to try out some new recipes. I've been loving all of the food so far at least!

Now that week two is at an end it's time to weigh-in, this week I lost 2lbs which at first I was a little disappointed with after losing half a stone last week but 2lbs is a very healthy loss. If you've been disappointed with your weight loss this week then just remember that 1lb is a lot of fat to lose, think of 1lb of butter for example. Before Operation Transformation I weighed 18st 13lbs and I now weigh 18st 3.5lbs, meaning I've lost 9.5lbs so far which I'm delighted with! A steady sustainable weight loss is what it's all about, this was never a short term goal. Moving forward into next week I'm going to remember how well the OT plan as worked so far and make sure that I'm weighing all my ingredients and really putting a lot of effort into my exercise.

Speaking of which I've been walking a lot faster this week so I hope to beat my time this Saturday at the New Ross Parkrun 5km, come join me or find your nearest Parkrun on their website. I'm using the parkruns as preparation for the Operation Transformation 5km in the Phoenix Park on the 18th of February, it looks like an incredible event and I'm so excited to go! If you're interested in taking part in the OT Phoenix Park 5km then you need to register here, because this is a very popular run, spaces are limited and are expected to have been filled by tomorrow already! I would hate for anyone to be disappointed, so if you need to register then I really recommend you do so now. 

All of the leaders did fantastic this week, last night's show was brilliant and I can't wait to tune in tonight and watch their challenge with Dublin Fire Brigade! I'm so proud to have met them, the leaders are such an inspiration if you need some health and fitness motivation catch it on RTEOne at 8:30pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Thanks for reading and good luck for Week 3!


Sunday, 15 January 2017

Operation Transformation Week One

Hi everyone ! 

If you have been following the Operation Transformation plan since it came back last week like me, then well done today is day 10 ! I can't believe we're on day 10 already but don't worry you can still go back and start following from day 1 at any point. 

When I went to the OT assessment day before Christmas my start weight was 18st 13lbs, far too much for my 5ft 5" height. The OT team then called me before the show aired to update my start weight which had gone down by 1lbs at 18st 12lbs. So after a week of following the diet and exercise plan, I now weigh 18st 5.5lbs which makes my weight loss for week one 6.5lbs! I'm delighted with that and it means so far I have a total loss of 7.5lbs.

Personally, I've been really enjoying the food although the portion sizes are smaller than I'm used to. The exercises have been more challenging especially finding the motivation each day to do them but they are very doable. There's exercises for 6 days a week alternating between walking/running and resistance training videos. Yesterday, I finished my first ever 5km in 57mins with Parkrun in my local park. I went with my aunt and met up again with the OT fitness expert Karl Henry and leader Mairead as it's her local run too. I walked because I'm not quite fit enough yet and just got off antibiotics for a chest infection, but I still wasn't last to finish. So it just goes to show Parkrun is for everyone! Find your local run here, they're on a t 9:30 am every Saturday and I hope to improve my time each week.

As I mentioned before in my little catch-up post, I'm following Mairead's food and fitness plan. You can read a little about each of the 5 leaders here and choose one to follow that inspires you, I guarantee you all of them are amazing people and are there to motivate us all to become healthier. Every Wednesday and Thursday on RTE One at 8:30pm you can keep up to date on how the leaders have been finding the plan and follow their weight loss progress. If you've missed the show or are outside Ireland you can always watch them on the RTE Player too.

Keep an eye out for more updates and tips on what's helping me on my Operation Transformation journey, thanks for reading! 


Saturday, 14 January 2017

Surprise,I'm Back !

Hey everyone!

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and are well on your way to having a great new year in 2017! Sorry for the major lack of posts recently, truthfully life just got in the way a little but we're back on track now so it's time for a catchup.

It was a bit stressful with assignments and exams at college which are thankfully all over now. On top of that I got a new job for the Christmas break as a Customer Assistant in Tesco, I really enjoyed it however, it meant I was very busy and didn't have much time to post worthwhile content. As if that wasn't enough I've also had 2 chest infections that has just cleared up, but it's not all bad news.

So as you may already know just before Christmas I applied for RTE's Operation Transformation and made it to the assessment day as one of the 18 finalists. I got to meet the other finalists and they are the most inspirational group I've ever met. It was an absolutely amazing experience and I would recommend for anyone thinking about applying or following the plan to just go for it ! I wasn't picked as one of the main 5 leaders being followed by the cameras, but the production team are brilliant and check in with me every week to keep me on track as well as keeping in touch with the other finalists.

For anyone who doesn't know, Operation Transformation is a health and fitness programme here in Ireland. Five brave members of the public volunteer to lead the nation in an effort to lose weight and get fit with the help of four experts. There's a food and exercise plan which I'll link here, that runs for 7 weeks and anyone can follow it! 

I've been overweight my entire life but decided that it's time to change, I'm following the OT leader Mairead as her lifestyle is the most relatable to mine, I thought she was incredible at the assessment day plus we're from the same area so it's great to get out and support another local girl. I'll be posting loads more about OT so keep watch and expect lots more posts on food and fitness that's good for body and mind.
Here's to a healthier, happier new year !