Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Instagram #8

Instagram, Life, Update, Personal, Social Media, Lucylocket_x
Another monthly favourites – Monday night chills, ft. Ho filter – Barnet v Blackpool with mumma – When Big John scores a last minute equaliser and you celebrate like crazy – Lean in 15: Chilli prawn tagliatelle – View from the top of the Palacio de Cibeles, Madrid – View from the window of our hotel room in La Rioja – Being right at home at the Wine Museum, Briores – Another view: from the top of the fort in Laguardia – Pre-fiesta mojitos – Wine tour & tasting at the hotel – Fiestas night one, ft. Litre mojitos

The quickest round up begins with a Tuesday night in Northwest London – I took my mum to her first Barnet game at The Hive. When Blackpool got relegated, my dad said it was the one game he’d want to go to. Obviously he couldn’t be there, so it was only right me and mum went. The game finished 1-1 – and I’ve honestly never celebrated an equaliser so much. I’m not sure if my mum had a good time, but it was an evening out at least!

Yep, another dinner pic – and I’ve got my mum and brother eating meals from the Lean in 15 books! The most recent recipe I tried was the chilli prawn tagliatelle, which was absolutely lush. I don’t really eat white pasta, but I didn’t find this heavy at all. I would definitely make it again – maybe using linguine or vermicelli. It went down a treat with mum too.

And then to the exciting part – I’ve just come back from holiday! I had a week at my auntie and uncle’s, in Madrid and it was so lush! We also drove to La Rioja and spent two nights at this amazing hotel, which was also a bodega. I am going to be writing a few posts, explaining what we got up to, as well as a few restaurant reviews, but it’s safe to say, I ate and drank like a queen. When we returned from La Rioja, the fiestas started. Although we missed the fireworks and bull runs, I drank plenty of mojito, danced in the street and had a great time! We went into Madrid city centre twice – visiting the Prado Museum and the Plaza de Cibeles. We also had a lovely Thai meal out. While it’s back to reality now, at least we had a Bank Holiday weekend to enjoy – and I did!

What have you been up to lately?

Love, Lucy xx

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Brunch like a Boss with my Everything Omelette

Breakfast is by far my favourite meal of the day. During the week, I love prepping things like chia seed bowls and overnight oats the day before; while there’s nothing better than the luxury of time over the weekend. I love to get creative with different dishes and flavour combinations – and on a Saturday or Sunday, a cooked breakfast is definitely what I require.
This recipe came about because, being a Saturday, there were loads of leftovers in the fridge. What better way to use them than in an omelette – so hence the name, I chucked everything in. Of course, you can go wild and put whatever you like in: kale, broccoli, mushrooms, cheese, chorizo... the list is endless.
Serves 1
Ingredients:
·         4-6 cherry tomatoes, quartered
·         Handful of spinach
·         1 slice of Parma ham / prosciutto
·         2 eggs, beaten
·         Black pepper to season
Method:
·         In a frying pan, heat some fry light
·         Cook the tomatoes and ham for two minutes
·         Add the spinach and cook until wilted
·         Add the eggs and leave to cook until the bottom has browned and edges start to cook
·         Remove from the hob and heat under a low grill setting until the top has cooked (be careful with the handle of the frying pan!)
·         Remove and serve
I love to have high-protein breakfasts, as I find they help set me up for the day. That’s why during the week, I love oats, chia seeds and nuts. If I’m lazy, I’ll have a protein shake. Obviously, this contains a lot of different food groups and the more veg you pack in, the better. 
Will you be trying this recipe? Let me know your favourites in the comments.

Love, Lucy xx

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Health | My weight-loss journey & food diary

I HIT TARGET!

As my Twitter followers know, after possibly four long months, I’ve finally reached my target weight. It’s no secret that I’ve been unhappy about my weight for ages and I’ve tried every diet or health kick under the sun. It’s true that quick fixes are just that – and I’ve learnt to adjust my lifestyle in order to get long term results. I hit that magical stone and when I hopped on the scales, I did squeal, as it was a total surprise.

I really don’t make a habit of talking about my weight, especially revealing numbers – but those that did know, couldn’t believe it. My BMI is healthy and my body is in proportion, so I guess it wasn’t noticeable to anyone except myself. I’ll admit I often put unnecessary pressure on myself, but that’s also down to my PCOS. When I was on my medication for it to begin with, I put weight on quickly and I found it so difficult to lose it again, in fact to me, that’s one of the worst thing about the condition. It’s absolutely soul-destroying when you have a reasonably healthy diet, but aren’t losing weight – and in fact gaining it.

I kick started it all when I bought the first book in the Lean in 15 series. I religiously spent Sundays choosing my meals, buying the ingredients and then meal prepping for breakfast and lunch. My meal planner chart from Paperchase was ideal for this. I love being organised and it really helps me keep on track. I then bought some new running shoes – needless to say I’ve been on about four runs – and really got into HIIT workouts, which are quite hardcore but deliver quite quick results. I mixed these up with cardio (power walking and skipping) and also on my ‘lazy’ days, I did the Blogilates YouTube videos. My main focus was on what I was eating, rather than how active I was – after all, abs are made in the kitchen.

I work in an office and anyone that works in a similar environment will know the temptation to snack is unreal. Whether it’s a birthday, or my manager brings in cakes or sausage rolls, there is quite often food – and you are judged if you don’t eat it! My will power isn’t the greatest when it comes to snacks, but I learnt to control it. I drink three cups of green tea a day and found that it suppressed my appetite.

I stick to three meals a day, with two or three snacks during the week. I’ve worked out that this is enough to keep me going at work and I stick to water or green tea. At the weekends, I am more lenient. I’ll probably drink fizzy drinks once a week and then drink every other weekend, depending on my social calendar. I’ve even cut down on sugary snacks and don’t eat sweets as much, so it’s been a success all round. I thought I’d share a rough food diary.

Breakfast – 7.30am
·         Smoothie, made with almond milk with fruit/veg/seeds and protein powder
·         Chia pudding, made with almond milk and natural yogurt, topped with fruit and/or nuts

Snack – 10am
·         Fruit

Snack – 12pm
·         Lentil chips, Sunbites or Snack a Jacks

Lunch – 2pm
·         Chicken salad (sometimes with couscous)
·         Wholewheat pasta with tuna or prawns and veg
·         Homemade lamb koftas with Greek salad

Snack – 4pm
·         Nakd bar
·         Good Full Stop bar

Dinner – 7.30pm
·         My favourite Lean in 15 recipes (oaty chicken, chicken & new potato hash, tortilla pizza, sausage ragu with gnocchi)
·         Grilled chicken with veg/salad
·         Steamed/grilled fish with veg/salad
·         ‘Lazy girl’ omelette with salad

I rarely have dessert after dinner and at 9pm, will have a green tea with lemon. I was doing the Cute Nutrition 28-day teatox as well, but to be honest, don’t think there’s much difference between drinking that blend and having a green or mint tea. I was never really an evening snacker, unless there’s football or a film on – but having that hot drink fills me up until morning.

Next up, I would really like to tone up properly, so if anyone has any sensible (or reasonable) suggestions, please leave them below as they’ll be a great help. Or if you have any questions or want me to talk in more detail about this, my social media links are below.

Love, Lucy xx

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Degustabox | BBQ box

Degustabox, Food, Drink, Monthly Subscription, Fdbloggers, Unboxing
If youve not heard of Degustabox, then where have you been? Its a food & drink monthly subscription box bringing you 10-15 surprise products, many which are new to the market. When you sign up, you get to fill in your very own profile, meaning a couple of the products may differ. Its actually the highlight of my week when this little beauty arrives on my doorstep so what was in June’s box?

·         A jar of Haywards silverskin onions
·         A bottle of Branston spicy tomato relish
·         A can of Amoy coconut milk
·         A sachet of  Schwartz American smokehouse burger mix
·         A bottle of Zeo cloudy lemonade
·         A four-pack pot of Sacla classic pesto
·         Two bags of Butterkist yogurt coated popcorn
·         A pot of Bakedin mug brownie mix
·         A can of Marstons King Star lager
·         A box of Smooze mango & coconut fruit ices
·         A packet of Destrooper-Olivier waffle crisps

I’m not entirely sure why this was named the barbecue box – other than the burger mix and relish, I wouldn’t say that this contained items eaten or taken to a barbecue. Back to the post and let’s begin with the savoury items this time round...
Degustabox, Food, Drink, Monthly Subscription, Fdbloggers, Unboxing
The Branston spicy tomato relish certainly was spicy – it contained chilli and jalapeno. This was a great burger condiment, but also made a great alternative to salsa with Mexican cuisine. This was loved by everyone in my household so I’m sure we’d buy it again – and even I liked it; I’m not usually a fan of spicy foods. The Schwartz Grill Mates American smokehouse burger mix was incredibly tasty – you can’t beat homemade burgers. We added this to some lean beef mince for a weekday treat. The seasoning was barbecue-y and smoky and just lovely. The Sacla pesto pots were another great success and so versatile. We mixed one with some penne pasta and sausage, while we also stuffed a chicken breast with mozzarella and pesto (and served with butternut squash noodles). I’m thinking chicken skewers and salad for lunch next? Similarly, the Amoy coconut milk was used to make a hearty meal. Amoy is a familiar brand in our house and my mum made a chicken and cashew nut curry with this particular can. I do normally opt for the ‘light’ version, though. The Haywards silverskin onions are currently unopened, but only because we have a couple of jars on the go – I love them, so it won’t last long!
Degustabox, Food, Drink, Monthly Subscription, Fdbloggers, Unboxing
I don’t drink beer or lager, so can’t comment on the can of Wychwood King Star – I wish Degustabox would remember our preferences because there’s no point me receiving such items. However the Zeo cloudy lemonade was beaut: the perfect size for taking on a picnic. I’d tried other products by the brand before and enjoyed them – and who doesn’t like cloudy lemonade?
Degustabox, Food, Drink, Monthly Subscription, Fdbloggers, Unboxing
There were also plenty of sweet treats in this month’s box. We were lucky to have a snack size and share size bag of Butterkist yogurt coated toffee popcorn – needless to say, I didn’t share. It was far better than the original, the coating was so creamy and moreish. The Smooze fruit ice were lovely too... although I was disappointed not to receive the coconut & pink guava flavour (not to worry, I’ve bought it since from Holland & Barrett). The mango & coconut was refreshing though. The Destrooper-Olivier waffle crisps were badly damaged and in pieces, but that didn’t stop me demolishing them. They had a subtle lemony flavour, which I loved. And finally, I’ve not tried the Bakedin chocolate brownie mug mix yet, but I have had similar products and the concept is genius. When I’m having a bad day, I’ll make this – it’s bound to be rich and indulgent.

Try your first box, with a £7 discount. Either follow this link. Or go to the website and enter my special reference code: LUCYW-2B19. Enjoy!

What were your thoughts on the June box?

Love, Lucy xx

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Restaurant | Celebrating a Birthday at Tom’s Kitchen

Dining, Review, Tom's Kitchen, London, Fdbloggers, Restaurant, St Katharine Docks
Dining, Review, Tom's Kitchen, London, Fdbloggers, Restaurant, St Katharine Docks
The Book a Table and Open Table apps are my new favourites and I’ve currently got about 20 emails in my inbox of places I’d like to go to. For mum’s birthday (now a fortnight ago!), I booked the Star Deal at Tom’s Kitchen, St. Katharine Docks – a welcome cocktail, three courses and tea or coffee for a mere £25pp. My brother joined us after work and three of us enjoyed a pre-drink at The Dickens Inn, before walking around the quayside to the restaurant.

The location itself is absolutely beautiful – I had never been before but there are so many eateries and it’s a nice place to walk, especially when the sun is shining on the water. Plus all the mega yachts are amazing; it’s like being in Puerto Banus or somewhere! Tom’s Kitchen is modern and minimalist, both inside and out; the floor is open plan so it’s really spacious and there was that lovely relaxed vibe.

Upon arrival, the staff wished mum a ‘Happy Birthday’ and we were shown to our table, in the middle of the restaurant. The window tables were hugely popular and were set for two, so perfect for a date – especially when you consider the views. While we looked at the set menus, the bartender made our welcome cocktails: strawberry bellinis, one of my favourites. The set menu had plenty of choice with three or four options for each course and it was very difficult deciding what to have.
Dining, Review, Tom's Kitchen, London, Fdbloggers, Restaurant, St Katharine Docks
To start, I had the gazpacho with tapenade-topped croutons. It’s something I don’t have often and have only ever eaten in Spain a handful of times, but it was perfect considering the weather. It was beautiful: rich and spicy with plenty of flavour and chunky veg. We all chose different starters: mum had the potted & smoked salmon, while Robert opted for the ham hock terrine. Everything was so well presented – I particularly liked the Tom’s Kitchen branded paper.
Dining, Review, Tom's Kitchen, London, Fdbloggers, Restaurant, St Katharine Docks
We all decided on the same main course – the minute steak, which came with seasoned fries, a mixed leaf salad and pot of béarnaise sauce. As someone who often opts for their meat blue or rare, this steak was cooked to perfection and we were pre-warned that it would be pink; although I’m sure it wouldn’t have been a problem to have it cooked a little longer if required. The steak was already seasoned, although I added pepper to suit my taste. The portion sizes were generous – I couldn’t eat all the fries, but the salad was fresh and luckily, undressed. I had never had béarnaise sauce before and I still don’t know what to make of it; bordelaise or peppercorn all the way!
Dining, Review, Tom's Kitchen, London, Fdbloggers, Restaurant, St Katharine Docks
Mum and I opted for the same dessert: apricot bakewell tart with crème fraiche sorbet – and it was absolutely heavenly. Freshly baked, the pastry wasn’t overly sweet and the filling was unbelievably moreish. The crème fraiche sorbet made it though, I could have eaten scoop after scoop. Robert went for the chocolate & peanut butter fondant that looked very rich, but perfect for chocoholics. It must have been tasty – he absolutely demolished it.

Before ordering our Americanos, another waiter brought over an espresso martini and our original waiter then explained it was complimentary and part of her birthday meal. Honestly, every member of staff was lovely and they really went above and beyond to make it a special occasion. Mum had never had an espresso martini before, even though I rave about them all the time – and of course, I had to have a sip and it was a good one! We all really appreciated the effort the staff went to; from the welcome to the moment we left, they couldn’t have done any more for us. And if that wasn’t enough, we also received 10% off – both on the food and on the carafe of wine we shared with the steak.

There are several branches of Tom’s Kitchen across London and I’ll be sure to go back, especially to St. Katharine Docks. The a la carte menu is reasonably priced, so I’ll definitely try that next time.

Love, Lucy xx

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

July favourites

Monthly, Favourites, Garnier, Perricone MD, Sonic, New Look, Fashion, Beauty
I’m not going to lie, I’ve really struggled with this post. A lot of my favourites I’ve recently posted about and nothing else really jumped out. Yes, I realise it’s the 9th and we’re nearly a third into the way of August.

I’ve seen and heard so many bloggers raving about the Sonic Chic electric toothbrush (£9.99 | Look Fantastic) and of course, I had to jump on the bandwagon. First up, I love the gorgeous designs and there are several to choose from – would be wrong to own more than one? Due to their size and weight, they are great to have on-the-go, whether you’re overnighting or going away for a weekend or extended holiday. I do take mine everywhere. Plus, being electric, they give your teeth a really thorough clean and I’ve noticed the difference since using mine – as opposed to a regular toothbrush. It comes with a replaceable head and runs on one AAA battery. It’s easy to clean, use and maintain and I thoroughly recommend the product. Oh, and for those interested, mine is Starlight.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned the No Foundation Foundation Serum by Perricone MD (£45 | Look Fantastic) on the blog before, but I feel the need to share it again because it’s a bloody god-send. It’s one of the few products I’ve used religiously over the last couple of months and is set to be one I use throughout August too. Its light, silky formula makes it a great alternative to heavy foundations, or even tinted moisturisers.  It provides even coverage and only a few drops are required – the pipette-style applicator is perfect for ensuring minimal waste. I’m not a fan of traditional pumps, as there’s always a lot of product left in the bottles, but I feel this would be really cost effective. It also contains an SPF which is great for the summer months. I want to try the bronzer and blush as well – has anyone tried either out?

Dressing for work in the summer is always difficult, the office is often cold even when it’s warm outside and I seem to wear tights on the hot days and then sandals when it’s raining. One item of clothing I am currently obsessed with is my coral blazer (New Look | Similar available from Pink Boutique), which adds a pop of colour and puts me in the summer mood. I normally wear it with my white tennis-style dress from H&M, or alternatively the white dress in this post. It keeps me cool, the material is light and it’s just the ultimate summer accessory.

I was sent the Garnier Oil-infused Micellar Cleansing Water (£3.99 | Boots) for review and was so impressed. I am such a fan of the original Micellar Cleansing Water, but this is genuinely loads better. It’s non-greasy, even though it contains oil and it removes the most stubborn of heavy eye makeup, including waterproof mascara. I’ve got the 400ml bottle, which will last absolutely ages, as you only need a couple of drops per cotton pad. I was planning on writing a review post on this product, so let me know if you’d still like to see this. Or alternatively, read my Boots review online.

What were your July favourites?

Love, Lucy xx

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Instagram #7

Instagram, Life, Update, Personal, Social Media, Lucylocket_x
Happy Birthday Daddy – OOTD: Dad’s birthday lunch – Finally blogged pre-holiday cocktails at Carriages – Throwback Thursday: the family edit – Lushest. Brunch. Ever. – Afternoon tea with Vicky at Mr. Fogg’s Residence – Happy Birthday Mumma – OOTD: Mum’s birthday celebrations in London – Current obsession: this Snapchat filter – Working breakfast – Bloggers Required assignment with Barraka – Tuesday night wine time

I don’t know about you, but July was a busy month for me. First up, I had my work awards night, which was great fun. Then it was what would have been my dad’s 56th birthday. We celebrated it with lunch at The Bell at Horndon-on-the-Hill, one of his favourite pubs. I posted my outfit and few photos of the meal in this post. Then afterwards, we went to the garden centre and bought some plants for the grave. It looks so much better now with proper bedding soil and some beautiful flowers. And of course, it was just nice that it was the three of us together.

Another occasion I blogged was afternoon tea at Mr. Fogg’s Residence with one of my good friends (and fellow blogger), Vicky. It was exactly what I needed on a Sunday afternoon and the venue and experience was totally unique. I honestly need one of those champagne tea pots now.

July also saw my mum’s birthday. I booked the day off work and treated her to a day in London. We got the train just before midday and went straight to Northbank Restaurant for lunch. We then went to see the Georgia O’Keeffe exhibition at the Tate Modern, before walking along the Thames. After a quick pit stop at Costa in Hay’s Galleria, we met by brother (after work) for drinks at St. Katherine’s Dock and then had a dinner reservation at Tom’s Kitchen (will be on the blog next week, I promise). It was a really lovely day: the sun was shining, we did plenty of walking and had a few drinks as well.

At the end of the month, I was lucky enough to be invited to Mediterranean street food restaurant, Barraka at Spitalfields. This was a fantastic opportunity and I dashed to Shenfield station after work on the Friday to get the train to Liverpool Street. I had so much fun sampling the food on offer – and it was just a really good change of scenery!

I’ve been posting loads of my meals lately and I’m pleased to reveal that on Wednesday I hit my target weight. After little over three months of some pretty tough love to myself, I reached a stone and in turn, got down to the weight I’ve wanted to be for four years – I am SO happy! I am going to be posting my journey and meal plans and things in the next fortnight, so keep your eyes peeled. I would love to post more recipes as well – let me know if you’d like to see these.

What have you been up to lately?

Love, Lucy xx

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Restaurant | Fun, Fresh, Fast Food at Barraka


Barraka, Dining, London, Review, Mediterranean, Street Food
Barraka, Dining, London, Review, Mediterranean, Street Food

Source: Uri @ Whichit
On Friday, I was lucky enough to be invited to Barraka (thanks to Bloggers Required and Whichit) in Spitalfields to sample the beautiful Mediterranean street food on offer. I love going out in London to eat, but always prefer to have a sit down meal, than grab something on the go. Barraka is perfect for those wanting a working lunch, or even a quick bite before, or on, the commute home. Although there is plenty of standing space and seating for eight, takeaway is certainly a better option, particularly during peak times. They now also offer a delivery service via Deliveroo and Uber Eats.

I arrived just after 7pm and met two of the team – Gaston and Jio, who were super friendly and chatty. They talked me through the menu (easy as it’s fairly limited), before letting me sample the delicious food on offer and even letting me watch them prepare some dishes too. Gaston even showed me the orders for the delivery service and explained how popular it had been, considering it was only the second day they had a service with Uber Eats. In fact it was so popular, I was hoping I might be lucky enough to sample the famous rib eye baguette with chimichurri sauce, but unfortunately it wasn’t to be. It just means I’ll have to go back. The same could also be said for the popular chilli chips.
Barraka, Dining, London, Review, Mediterranean, Street Food
Barraka, Dining, London, Review, Mediterranean, Street Food
As I couldn’t decide what I wanted, I tried a piece of the Mediterranean chicken first. It was beautifully marinated – it’s left overnight to really disperse the flavours of the herbs and spices used. I then tried the chicken schnitzel, which is coated in panko breadcrumbs. It was so succulent and the accompanying chilli mayo dip was divine – not too spicy. I settled on the chicken schnitzel wrap, which was carefully prepared, wrapped and presented. It was packed with filling and flavour and was just so incredibly simple – but tasty! I chose hummus on the wrap, with the chilli mayo on the chicken and in terms of the fresh salad selection available, chose mixed leaves and the diced tomato salad. Jio then made me one of the salad bowls, which was huge! The base for this was hummus as well, before a spoonful of each salad was added to the edge (these also included a ‘chopped salad’, white cabbage and chilli peppers). The salad was then topped with grilled halloumi, onions and mixed peppers. It could have easily served two people. I love halloumi and salads and this didn’t disappoint, it was perfect for the summer time – colourful, fresh and healthy; what more could you want?

The tomato salad was by far my favourite. Tomatoes in this country are hard to come by but there’s nothing I love more when I’m in Spain, it must be something about the Mediterranean climate. These were marinated in olive oil, parsley, a little salt and a secret ingredient (I won’t disclose that, but I guessed it immediately). I also got to sample the other sauces: a hotter-than-hot chilli sauce and the tahini, which then cooled my mouth down. It was so creamy and my first experience of tahini was good. Like I say, nothing tops that chilli mayo though!
Barraka, Dining, London, Review, Mediterranean, Street Food
Barraka is so easy to find, it’s just down the road from Liverpool Street and the interior is so inviting. I loved the Mediterranean music playing, the chilled vibe and the lighting was just spot-on. It’s open Monday to Friday, from 11am ‘til 9pm and I thoroughly recommend it, especially as an alternative to all the other chains on the streets of London.

Whichit have also given me this code to share your favourite dish on social media:
What gets your taste buds going? Vote for your favourite dish
I would just like to say a massive thank you to Uri and the team at Barraka for making this opportunity possible - I had a fabulous time and will definitely be returning.

Love, Lucy xx

*My meal was complimentary, courtesy of the Bloggers Required assignment with Whichit. But images (unless credited) and opinions are my own.