{WIAW} Sunday brunch and a creamy chocolate pudding smoothie recipe

Well there’s a catchy post title! I had planned to post my final Whole 30 recap today buuuuuut I haven’t written it. Hey, you’ve been waiting long enough, what’s a few more days?

Instead I am sleepily sharing my Sunday with you, as well as the most simple but delicious smoothie I made yesterday. How’s that for a compromise? Grad school tiredness has hit full force as I write this and it’s only Tuesday of week 1… The amount of work that looms ahead of me feels a little overwhelming but the excitement that I feel is spurring me on, I know this is the right path for me at this moment in time and that is incredibly reassuring. Besides, the people on this course are so inspiring it’s all 100% worth it. So a tired happy Pip you have, who apparently now talks in the third person. Focus. Sunday.

After a gloriously sunny run in Hyde Park this weekend (whoever said it’s autumn is lying, summer is back with vengeance) my friend and I headed over to WIld Food Café for a slightly less sweaty catch-up off the recommendation of this lovely lady. Oh wow, this raw vegan haven certainly did not dissapoint. This was a brunch of epic proportions. You know that feeling of complete contentment that can only come from being full of nourishing foods? And brilliant company of course ;) but full we were indeed…

Dithering between various dishes on the menu/wanting to order everything in our post run hunger we opted to get two dishes and share them – genius I know.

Super saladI quote “a bed of organic lamb lettuce and wild rocket topped with amaranth, courghetti spaghetti, hijiki seaweed, slices of artichoke hearts & avocado, cucumber & red pepper cubes, finished off with coriander, rocket & parsely pesto, mango salsa, activated savory seeds flavoured with leafy greens and spices, and marinated shiitake mushrooms” aka fresh delicious goodness!

But the real crowd pleaser was this little beauty below…

Wild pizza

An incredible, fresh pizza of raw, dairy-free young coconut cheeze, wild sea purslane & basil pesto, raw cultured tomato & goji berry marinara, Turkish olives, artichoke hearts, avocado.

Sweet potato wedges

Plus sweet potato wedges and guacamole because who wouldn’t order those?

Raw cake

Raw chocolate and berry tart and an early grey cream tart, both glorious.

And both of us? Two rather stuffed (and still slightly sweaty if I’m honest) but very happy campers.

Obviously I’m linking up with Jenn for today’s post! Head on over to stalk everyone else’s eats this week.

WIAW button

Finally I have this quick little recipe to share with you that I whipped up yesterday for a post uni snack. It is so simple yet too delicious not to share. I firmly believe that every blog should have it’s own variation on the infamous chocolate avocado pudding, so here’s mine.

Creamy chocolate pudding smoothie

Serves 1

1 banana

1/2 a good sized, ripe avocado

1 tablespoon quality cocoa powder

3-4 pitted dates

A slosh of water

Simply pop everything into a blender and add sufficient water so that everything combines and then a little more (you still want it to be creamy but not tooooo thick). Pour into a bowl, grab a spoon and enjoy! Not a pudding as such but not quite a smoothie either. I add some granola to mine as topping.

creamy chocolate pudding smoothie

What’s your favourite brunch spot? Do you go out to meals sweaty like me or are you classier than that?!

{MIMM} Abergavenny Food Festival

Last Sunday my friends from work and I took a trip to the Abergavenny Food Festival – bare in mind I work in events catering so as a bunch of foodies at a food festival we were in heaven.

The day started out in good spirits as we cracked upon a bottle of bucks fizz on the train in the morning – the best way to start a Sunday ;)

Abergavenny Food  Festival

Bucks FizzOut of plastic cups because we like to be classy like that

We were so lucky in that it was such a beautiful day… we wandered around from stall to stall eyeing up all the goodies on display. It was mostly food to ‘eat now’ as opposed to take home so there was a lot of eating with my eyes involved!

Abergavenny Food Festival BakerySo pretty!

I enjoyed the most glorious salted beef sandwich for lunch… not too heavy, not too much stodge but just right!

Salted beef sandwich

With a side of prosecco because, why wouldn’t you?

ProseccoDon’t worry, I didn’t drink the whole bottle! I’m far too much of a lightweight these days for that!

The stalls were dotted around the town in different sections and along the streets so you really got to see the best of Abergavenny, including the castle and beautiful views of the Welsh mountains.

Abergavenny Castle

Abergavenny Food Festival StreetsBusy streets!

And we discovered the most incredible bar, I mean just what?! Prosecco on tap!!

Prosecco on tap

Although I couldn’t resist the frozen margarita…

Frozen margarita

An awesome, or perhaps marvelous, day with plenty of treats, including some unphotographed sheeps milk ice cream and some cake! Heaven. Although it did end with a bit of drama when all the trains home were cancelled due to a train being stuck on the tracks, cue a very long taxi ride home!

MiMM

Have you ever been to a food festival?

I’m baaaaaaaaack and a belated Brighton recap

Guess who’s back, back again, Pip’s back, tell a friend… I digress. So my accidental blogging break ended up being rather a long one… Truth it, I had no desire to write whatsoever and was stuck in a bit of an anxious hole. But I’m working on that and am finally starting to feel like me again which feels amazing. Sometimes it’s the simplest of things that can help balance out the roller coaster that is life.

So here I am, taking it a day at a time and breathing happy. Speaking of taking it a day at a time – today is my enrolment day at grad school – wish me luck! (I always think these things are scarier than they are!)

Now then, Brighton. Aka my 24 hour summer holiday ;) admittedly this is a little late as dad and I took this trip a good couple of weeks ago but who doesn’t love a holiday photo dump first thing on a Friday morning?

Iydea BrightonWe arrived about lunchtime and randomly one of the first places we saw was Foodilic, as per Laura’s recommendation (thank you!)! So naturally, we dived straight in. Their self-service salad buffet is divine.

Brighton PierBrighton Pier

BrightonView from the Pier

2014-09-09 15.47.27Happy camper

Brighton Seaside

We spent the afternoon wandering around Brighton, the Laines, popping in and out of shops – including Infinity Foods (obviously), stopping for ice cream, walking along the pier, and flopping on the beach… It was tough, real tough.

Then, after all that stress, we headed to our apartment to recover with a bottle of prosecco… #wheninbrighton And yes, I did say apartment. We found this beautiful little place via AirBnb and it was just perfect – centrally located, stunning high ceilings and a massive window making it really light and airy. Happy days.

airbnb Brighton

We then had a stunning walk to find a restaurant for dinner…

Brighton sunset

…which wasn’t so stunning. I can’t remember the name of the restaurant (shows how good it was…) but for what was meant to be a special fish supper on holiday it was very expensive and the service was slower than a snail. On a positive note I tried lobster for the first time! Even if it did arrive cold and I had to send it back to be heated up…

Lobster

The entire meal took 2 hours for 2 courses, the manager ended up giving us our desserts for free as an apology. Mine was a pannacotta which was sadly a bit meh. Still, besides all this we did have fun I promise!

Pannacotta Brighton

On a bright(on)er note…

Brighton MorningPre breakfast seaside stroll

Breakfast the next day rocked! Thanks to Christina for the recommendation – we popped to Iydea which was literally round the corner from our apartment for some delicious homemade granola…

Iydea Brighton granola

And then went for a walk through the park to the Brighton museum which had an amazing exhibit on WWI – well worth a visit, it was incredibly thought provoking.

Brighton Pavilion

And then we just had time for a great coffee and cake at Full City Coffee House before heading back home…

Small Batch Coffee

Small Batch Coffee CakeThis was INSANE – gluten free and so so so good

All in all a great trip! Who needs to go abroad? (Me me me!! I joke. Kind of…)

Have you been to Brighton? What great trips have you made within your country lately?

A night at the theatre

This past Monday my dad and I drove up to London with a car crammed full of all my belongings to move it into my new flat! And, yes, I still managed to forget rather a lot… Yet another reason why I should follow Meghan’s lead and make more lists.. Oops.

This next chapter of my life is all starting to feel terrifyingly real yet surreal at the same time…

Moving

Anyhow, that evening we did the West End proud in the form of dinner and a show…

It started out with a heavenly glass of argentine malbec at The Spice Market (as if I drink any other red now… yup, still pining for Argentina)

Malbec

The Spice Market was actually a completely accidental find, we were just strolling past on the look out for somewhere to eat and it caught my eye. Set slightly down from street level it felt like a little hidden world away from the hustle and bustle of near by Leicester Square.

The Spice MarketI think I need to work on my awkward restaurant photography skills… Lovely pillar isn’t it?

The menu was extensive and varied with something to suit every pallet. I opted for the grilled rib eye with boy choy, garlic and sesame. Oh my, it was heaven on a plate. We also split a side of coconut rice which was lovely although a bit on the crunchy side in my opinion.

Rib Eye Spice Market

Coconut Rice Spice Kitchen

Then, it was theatre time. The show of choice? Miss Saigon. My dad had seen it before way back when but it was a total new one for me.

Miss Saigon

For those of you who don’t know, it is a musical set during the Vietnam War and follows the story of a young Vietnamese woman who falls in love with an American soldier after fleeing to the city, following the loss of her family. If I were to criticise I would say that the first half went on a little long and could have cut to the point a little more quickly. Yet, the second half more than made up for it. And the set was just incredible, I mean there’s a helicopter scene – need I say more?

It’s the message of the performance that makes it so special. I believe that it manages to tell the story pretty equally from both halves – the Vietnamese and the Americans. A story of love, loss, desperation and hope. Hope of a better life and an escape from the struggle of living in a war zone… The hope that many Vietnamese women found in the American soldiers and the hope of the American dream… You have to see it for yourself!

After the performance, we went to what I would have to describe as heaven on earth. During the interval I had spotted a glorious sight from the theatre’s balcony…

The Pudding Bar

The Pudding Bar. Oh yes. All they serve is pudding and wine. What more do you need?

My dessert of choice was the glorious triple chocolate délice (which came with burnt caramel ice cream… I die…) and a side of a dessert wine that I’ve forgotten the name of… This may well be my new favourite place in London!

The Pudding Bar Chocolate

A pretty sweet ending to the night I must say! (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

Have you ever seen Miss Saigon? Would you like to go to a pudding bar?!

Where’s your happy place?

It’s no secret that I like to move around a lot. I’ve lived in 5 houses in the past 2 years, soon to be 6. I’m a travel addict, any opportunity for an adventure and I’m there. But all this moving around can be tricky. I need a base. A stable place that I can come back to to clear my head and feel settled. It’s great to have escapism, I can run, workout, read, whatever but sometimes I need a physical place. That’s where my happy place comes in. Whenever I am somewhere for more than a few months I find that I am naturally drawn to a certain place. A place where I can go and let it all go, think about everything, think about nothing, just be…

Buenos Aires – My Rooftop

Buenos Aires Rooftop

The rooftop of my apartment building was just insane. We lived on the top floor so just one flight of stairs and I was there. There was space for me to workout, practice my handstands, hang out with friends or just sit on the wall and look out over the city. There is something so magical about being able to look over a city as beautifully crazy as Buenos Aires, feel the energy running through you, feeling like a part of it but also like you are overlooking it, looking in from above…

Buenos Aires ParksLooking towards the park where I ran with the river and Uruguay beyond

Hereford – My Room

(Source – this isn’t my actual room! It felt a little weird putting a photo of it on here!)

Such a cliché but my place at home is my room. It’s the ultimate hideaway, a light and airy room, clutter free (SUCH a bonus when you’re still kind of moving house, trust me), the world’s comfiest bed and a sheepskin rug on the wooden floor for added cosiness. It’s somewhere I can escape to and just shut the world away, something I often need to do when figuring out how to live a life in transition again. And to plan the next adventure ;)

London – …

(Source)

Who knows! But I know I’ll find one, and that’s reassuring. Stay tuned…

Do you have a happy place? Where do you escape to?

{MIMM} Seeking the positive

It’s been a while since I’ve linked up with Katie for some Marvelous in My Monday so I’m excited to be back and sharing some positivity with you all today!

MiMM

Marvelous is… going for a picnic in the beautiful Shropshire hills with my dad last week. Even if a dog did run over and dribble all over our chicken…no seconds for me!

Picnic Shropshire Hills

Lunch ViewMy view from lunch :)

Sweet potato sandwichMy kinda sandwich

Shropshire HillsExploring after lunch

Marvelous is… stopping off at Ludlow Food Centre on the way home and seeing all the local goodies they had. You can even look through glass windows and see all the dairy, coffee, etc. being prepared!

Ludlow Food Centre

Marvelous is… then finding TWO different things called Pip!

photo 5 (14)

photo 2 (25)

Marvelous is… finally finishing Whole 30! I’ll have a round up post out when I’ve finished the reintroduction process so for now I shall just say that I’m proud that I managed to do it :)

Whole 30 Completion

Marvelous is… buying my mum some fancy Welsh chocolate and getting to taste it when I went to visit. Oh WOW. If you ever see some Nom Nom Chocolate be sure to pick some up! I can recommend the waffle flavour ;)

Marvelous is… learning to enjoy a more relaxed life again, post Whole 30. Particularly in the form of these banana bread waffles from the Paleo Kitchen…

Paleo Kitchen Banana Bread Waffles

Marvelous is… that although I rather painfully hurt my back on Friday I actually listened to my body and didn’t push it on Saturday. I don’t think this would have happened a year ago.

Marvelous is… this new sweatshirt from British company Sea, Soul and Snow. They have a range of superfood sweatshirts and lots of other awesomeness too, go take a look! I was in a bit of a funny mood on Friday but the arrival of this literally turned my day around, isn’t it funny how the little things can just make you feel so good?

Sea Soul and Snow Sweatshirt

Marvelous is… the fact that today I am driving to London to move all my stuff down before I move down properly myself in just over two weeks! It’s all getting rather real!

Tell me something marvelous from your week…

Love.

Sometimes we all need a bit of escapism. My current escapism of choice? Sex and the City. Yup. It probably would have made a bit more sense to have called this post ‘my top three favourite Sex and the City moments’… But I couldn’t quite bring myself to do that. Besides, they all link back to the same thing. Love. Doesn’t everything? Bare with me to see what I mean. I’ve added a little bit of back story incase you’re not quite the addict I am…!

1. When Smith shaves his head for Samantha

Background: Samantha is a total commitment phobe and Smith is her first proper boyfriend we see in the show. She has cancer and won’t let anyone in to see her true emotions…until Smith, and this scene.

2. When the girls clear out Carrie’s apartment of 20 odd years together. Plus, I love this song. Guilty as charged.

Background: Carrie is finally moving in with Big and out of her iconic (in SATC at least!) apartment

3. When Carrie runs across New York on New Year’s Eve to be with Miranda so that she isn’t alone. Oh, and she does so in pjs, heels and a fur coat. Naturally.

Background: both Carrie and Miranda are recently single and heartbroken on NYE

So, it got me thinking. Why do I love these moments so much? Why do I get that same happy feeling each and every time I watch them? The more I thought, the more the same word kept popping up in my head. Love. Each of these scenes shows an act of great love. It doesn’t always have to be the grand, sweeping romantic gesture kind of love. It can be the quiet, I will always be there sort. And isn’t that the kind that’s most important anyway?

Love between couples, between groups of friends, girlfriends, guyfriends, new friends, old friends, family or even an act of kindness from a total stranger. Love that is there when we least expect it, when you need it the most. To pick you up off the ground and carry (‘scuse the pun) you on. That’s my kind of love.

Have you had a moment when a loved one has surprised you by being there when you least expect it? Are you a SATC fan like me?! 

A London Escape

It felt a little strange coming up with that little seeing as at the end of this month London will be my new home! So scarily exciting. Anyhow, focus Pip. 

The other week I was able to grab a couple of days to head over to London for a little bit of a break. I needed to get away from home for a bit as, you know, cabin fever, and was desperate to catch up with some of my wonderful London friends. It ended up being the perfect combination of food and coffee dates with some of my favourite people, as well as a bit of ‘me time’.

It started out with a 4.5 hour coach journey and plenty of snacks for the coming days…

Whole 30 TravelI felt very smug eating my chicken salad as the guy sat opposite me got his MacDonald’s kicked off the bus by the driver ‘due to the smell’!

In fact, the coach journey wasn’t that bad at all. It was nice to be forced to sit back, relax and quite literally do nothing for a while. I think I may have alarmed the girl next to me with my wobbly head when dozing, it always looks like it’s going to fall off! Plus, the scenery was pretty beautiful too, seeing everybody going about their Sunday afternoon activities – lunch, cricket, walks, cycling, shopping… England can be pretty stunning. Well, until you get to the M4.

When I arrived in London I headed South to meet my beautiful friend Hannah, my old housemate from uni, who I haven’t seen in almost A YEAR. Too long. Her and her boyfriend were kind enough to let me kip on their incredibly comfortable sofa bed for a couple of nights. 

For Sunday night dinner we put our culinary skills to the test and attempted to make dairy free (for me) cauliflower crust pizzas… Whilst they tasted deliciously I have to call them cauliflower soggy pizzas as the crust was definitely far from ‘crusty’!

Pizza Station

Cauliflower pizza

After a relaxing Monday morning in the flat, followed by an iced coffee nearby,  I headed over to West Hampstead to see another friend from uni for a coffee and a(nother) well overdue catch up! To my happy surprise the café served almond milk and so I gleefully ordered an almond milk decaf cappuccino, forgetting to ask for it without chocolate in my excitement… Not wanting to stress I scraped it off and it was all okay! Besides, look how pretty it was…

Almond milk cappuccino

After a good chatter we said our goodbyes (not for so long this time!) and I headed back to the tube to go to Kensington. This obviously means one thing. Wholefoods. The biggest in the UK. Sadly, I didn’t get there until gone 3pm and the Whole 30 lunch options were…dismal. The salad bar was the only viable option and so I ended up with a pile of overpriced veggies…

Wholefoods

Disappointed. Not to be deterred, off I went to explore the store downstairs. (Store? I’ve gone American. But it does sound better than shop doesn’t it?). I’ll be honest, my main purchases were for post Whole 30…paleo cookies and raw chocolate for the win! Tomorrow I shall be busy having a date with my cookies. 

After Wholefoods I felt like…crap. Whole 30 whilst travelling can be rough and I ended up eating too much fruit and not enough protein which made me feel sick and out of it. So I hit Le Pain Quotidien across the street for a carrot juice pit stop…

Carrot juiceIt was lovely and all but I think it was the 2 sneaky spoonfuls of almond butter that really sorted me out ;) Funnily enough, being there made me miss Buenos Aires all the more as the Le Pain Quotidien there was one of my favourite brunch spots!

The next day was MUCH better. Food wise that is. Well, let’s be honest, any day that starts out with coyo that you treated yourself to from Wholefoods is going to be a good day isn’t it?

Coyo

Especially when it’s followed up by a coffee date with your best friend in the most glorious café that I have ever been to. They make their own almond milk. The best almond milk latte I have ever had. Hell, the best coffee I have ever had. I’m still dreaming about it.

almond milk latte

New Row CoffeeNew Row Coffee in rainy London. Seller of cups of heaven.

After that we explored Covent Garden and I satisfied my shopping cravings the cheap way – by encouraging my friend to buy…everything ;)

And that concludes my little London adventure! There shall be plenty more to come in the near future, I promise. 

Oh, and I was clever enough to stock up on protein before hitting the coach home… Lesson learnt people.

Eggs and salmon

 

Have you been to London? Are you a coffee fan?

Whole 30 – Week 4 Recap – Nearly There!

Wow, this is my final weekly recap as on Wednesday I will finish my Whole 30! I’ve got lots of thoughts going round in my head right now about Whole 30 but I want to save most of those for my overall recap that will come after I’ve done the reintroduction phase so, for now, I shall try and keep this pretty brief.

Again, this week’s been tough. Last Saturday I started to feel pretty ill, run down and generally weak and pathetic. Not to mention my stomach was not happy. This continued most of the week (including my during my trip to London) so it hasn’t been the best!

I’ve also been struggling again with restrictive thoughts around Whole 30. My appetite was pretty big some days this week and so I, naturally, ate what I felt was rather a lot. Although it was 100% compliant foods the critique in me was angry that I didn’t just have three filling meals. On Thursday I even thought about quitting Whole 30 as my brain was driving me mad! But, I’m too stubborn not to finish ;)

So, yes, it’s been tricky. But I’m gradually learning not to be so hard on myself. Something this fabulous lady keeps reminding me to do and so I am trying to let the bad stuff allow me to see how truly great the good bits are. On that note, let’s look at the good bits shall we? Much more fun.

…I spent Sunday-Tuesday this week in London, catching up with my wonderful friends, exploring and seeing my new flat. I will recap it fully in another post soon (I wasn’t feeling up to it this week!) but it was a great couple of days. And I ate 100% compliant foods. Boom.

…Although I only worked out properly once this week it was a killer CrossFit class and we did some fun gymnastic moves. This is what I felt I looked like… 

But I think this is what I actually looked like… #oneday

(Source)

…After a dodgy start to the week when my skin was crazy dry it has got SO much better and clearer. The dotty bits (!) on the backs of my arms are fading and those on my thighs have completely gone. 

…Apart from crazy stomach issues I feel like I have got smaller and more toned! Yay! (And I never say things like that!) In a pretty happy place with my body right now. It’s me, and that’s pretty damn awesome. 

…I totally bought paleo cookies and raw chocolate from Wholefoods for post Whole 30. Can. Not. Wait.

…Judging by the fact that I’ve actively been seeking out fat this week, the big fat fear seems to be fading! Progress.

…I’ve booked a night in Brighton for my dad and me in September! I’ve been wanting to go to Brighton for forever so naturally I’m super excited. Completely overexcited in fact. Although I don’t think that’s possible! And Cristina has been brilliant and already given me plenty of recommendations – let’s hope I’m hungry!

photo

Wow, I feel better after just writing all of that down! It’s amazing what therapy writing can be. Now, onto the best bit. Food.

Paleo Kitchen Pulled PorkMy dad made me this glorious pulled pork from The Paleo Kitchen for when I got back from London. I couldn’t stop, it was just SO GOOD.

Paleo PorridgeDavida’s paleo porridge has been making a regular appearance around these parts. Can’t get enough. Especially when in my new pretty bowl from Scotland!

Snack PlateThe perfect lunchtime snack plate

Banana pancakesThis breakfast was just insanely good. And the figs made it even more so. A plate of heaven :)

Paleo fish and chipsFish and chips paleo style

SWYPOSometimes #SWYPO is necessary. Especially when ill and watching Sex and The City. (Ssssh don’t tell the SWYPO police!)

Almond smoothieThis smoothie was incredible. I didn’t blend it well enough so kept finding clumps of almond butter. Turns out impatience can be a virtue too ;) delish. I swear this girl is the queen of smoothies. 

Sweet pot lunchThe ultimate meal – crispy kale, sweet potato ‘noodles’, chicken thighs, onion, tomato and tahini.

A delicious week indeed!

How do you seek out the positive? How was your week?

My Bucket List – Dreaming Big

It seems only appropriate to tie in last Friday’s Wanderlust post with my dreams of where I would like to go and what I would like to do… After all, a girl’s got to dream of her next adventure ;)

One of my greatest fears in life is that time will run out and I won’t have been able to do all that I had hoped for… Some may find the idea of a ‘Bucket List’ a little depressing – literally a list of things you’d like to do before you ‘kick the bucket’ – but I believe that it’s important to write these things down so that when you are planning trips and adventures you have an idea of the things that you really want to do and what your priorities are. Plus, it’s kind of fun ticking them off.

(Source)

So, my bucket list (it was meant to stop at 25 but I got carried away…):

1. Be fluent in Spanish

2. Find my job

3. Make an impact on someone’s life for the better and help them the way others have helped me

4. Explore North America

5. Go on an epic road trip (preferably across the States but I’m not fussy)

6. Go on a yoga retreat in India (not that I’m a stereotype or anything…)

7. Return to Argentina

8. Do a handstand

9. Which leads on to…walk on my hands (!)

10. Run a marathon

11. Walk a glacier

12. See the salt flats

13. Visit a giant waterfall

14. Sail the English Channel

15. Spend Christmas abroad, somewhere hot and totally unchristmassy. And have a BBQ on Christmas Day. Preferably Australia.

16. Travel overland Africa and really see it… (not just the tourist Africa)

17. Go to China

18. Go on a cycling holiday

19. Go bungee jumping

20. Go skydiving

21. Own my own home

22. Learn to surf

23. Go in a hot air balloon

24. Climb a realllyyyyy big mountain

25. Try snowboarding (I ski…)

26. Sleep on a beach

27. Give blood

28. See the Northern Lights

29. Go trekking in the Arctic

30. Ride a motorbike

Do you have a bucket list? What would you put on it?