Carluccio’s

I know what I said about mindfulness and well taking photographs of dishes and drinks isn’t exactly what you call ‘being in the moment’, being gluten-free, vegan and alcohol free when going for lunch and drinks with friends isn’t exactly easy and it is totally worth sharing with you.

This was my first visit to Carluccio’s and it will be the first of many, my friends and I visited the Italian restaurant in Chester, do not worry they seem to have many restaurants in the UK. The service was wonderful, the food was delicious and I felt completely at ease and comfortable when ordering, which is very rare indeed.

To start I had ‘MISTO DI VERDURE’ (Green beans, cannellini beans, cherry tomatoes and rocket all tossed in pesto, minus the pesto for vegan reasons) this dish is usually a side but it made the most perfect starter. For main I had ‘TO SHARE ANTIPASTO VERDURE’ (A selection of roasted peppers, semi-dried tomatoes, chargrilled vegetables, balsamic onions, olives, green beans and caponata with gluten-free bread) as you can see this is made to share although I had it as a main and it was just right. Both dishes were fresh, light and very satisfying, even the gluten free bread!

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To drink I had ‘SUMMER GARDEN’ (Apple juice and elderflower topped with sparkling Limonata infused with mint and served with a slice of cucumber), the name says it all. If I were in the most beautiful summer garden, with the sun shinning, clear blue skies, surrounded by beautiful summer flowers this is the drink I would like to have.

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I can not praise Carluccio’s enough and I am already looking forward to my next visit. Oh and for you non free from, non vegans my friends also enjoyed their dishes and drinks. I have heard nothing but good about Carluccio’s although I did not know how great their free from menu was. They offer gluten free, dairy free and vegan menus (they even have pasta!), I have also heard their coffee and breakfast is a must.

Now I am left day dreaming about the most beautiful summer garden and wanting breakfast.

Small changes to help myself.

Hello, I mentioned this in an earlier post but the last couple of weeks I have felt more anxious than usual. I have taken a lot of time to think about why I have felt this way and what it is I need to do to help myself. The first step towards helping myself is recognising that something needs to change. Even if I don’t know what it is that has caused me to feel anxious, something must be done to prevent it getting worse and hopefully improve it to. Continue reading “Small changes to help myself.”

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day 2016! Today I feel blessed that I have been lucky enough to see so much of this beautiful planet. It is so important that we help future generations see this beauty to. We can help do this with small and simple changes that together will make a big difference.

Here are three little things that I do to help make a difference: as you know I am vegan, being vegan doesn’t just help the animals but it helps the environment to (not a pushy comment but perhaps you could reduce your meat and animal product consumption just a little?).

Recycle, I think some people still see recycling as effort or complex but it really is as simple as re filling your water bottle instead of buying a new one. It could be using a coffee jar to store things in or using a cotton bag instead of a plastic one, recycling can’t just help the environment but you will save money to!

Save energy, if like mine your parents will have been telling you to do this your whole life and I used to think it was just to save money well it isn’t it recuses CO2 emissions and your carbon footprint to. This takes time and one I am still working on, some nights my love for fairy lights gets the better of me, however I am working on it and it is slowly becoming a habit to turn those little plug switches off.

This post could go on, there are so many different ways you can change your everyday life to help save the environment and ensure future generations can see this beautiful planet as it is. Please do read the attached links for more information on what you can do, I am going to keep working on and being more aware about what it is I do.

Nicole 

Blue Sky, Green Grass.

Today I expected snow, according to the weather forecast: cold, rain and snow. I should have known better than to believe it, the British weather never fails to surprise me. This morning I was pleasantly surprised to be greeted by the sun, no snow insight, not unless you were looking up to the mountain tops of course. It was a beautiful day and evening to, I couldn’t resist walking Archie and taking my camera along with me.

The last few weeks I have been doing a little mindfulness and meditation practice and it wasn’t until this evening that I associated either of the two with photography. Photography has always been my escape, my way of turning off the world and taking a moment to myself. From what I have learnt so far, both mindfulness and meditation are about being in the present, seeing the world as it is, being accepting of it and simply letting it be, with yourself there to.

It might be different for others but I would not be able to go out with my camera, take photographs and not ‘be in the present’. To be able to take a photograph, I have to see and appreciate what it is I am seeing. Maybe I have been practicing mindfulness without even realising it? Or maybe photography is a form of therapy in itself, either way I feel truly blessed to be able to have this and all that it gives me.

I hope you are enjoying the sunshine today, Nicole.  

Friendly Finds.

A very foodie post, sharing with you a couple of my latest findings and favourites.

First is a new love of mine Beech’s Fine Chocolates, not all products are vegan friendly but a wide range is, I am not a fan of cream like fillings but these bars are lovely and affordable. Yes you read right, gluten free, vegan chocolate that is affordable, I found these bars in my local health shop for just £1!

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Next is one of my favourite scents and tastes, lemon grass and ginger, the two together are the perfect combination being both refreshing and warming. Here is Pukka Herbs lemongrass and ginger tea along with a Yankee Candle wax melt so that I can enjoy the taste and smell at the same time. No, the ginger in the photograph isn’t just for show, I am really enjoying fresh ginger at the moment, so much so it has been replacing my usual morning coffee. I have also been adding some finely chopped slices to stir fry’s and porridge.

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Speaking of oats, I have been experimenting a little with different brands and types of oats. I am a either an overnight oats or microwave oat cooker and I usually find chunky oats difficult to have, so I tend to stick with the fine type. However, I have recently been using Deliciously Alchemy‘s gluten and dairy free oats which are chunky and quick to cook, just three minutes in the microwave and I have a chunky oat bowl full of deliciousness.

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Until this week I have never tried raw chocolate, in fact I admit I was very sceptical about it, I thought chocolate needed to have some kind of ‘not so natural process’ in order for it to taste as good as it tastes! How wrong I was, I stumbled upon Mulu Raw Chocolate buttons in Holland and Barrett and whilst craving chocolate but being too poor for any large bars, these fit my budget and of course satisfied my craving to. Now them being one of my favourite sweet snacks, I can not recommend these enough. It’s strange because I thought with them being completely organic and raw they would taste darker but I found them to be the closest thing to milk chocolate that I have had since being vegan. It was also strangely pleasing to have a button rather than a square, chocolate buttons aren’t just for children.

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Feeling quite out of the loop with this one as it seems almost common knowledge that Pret a Manger  cater for gluten free, vegans. This makes my city trips a lot easier and quicker, I couldn’t not share the news. Although I am more than happy with soup, kale crisps and a falafel salad, would it be too much to ask for a friendly wrap or sandwich to? (can’t blame a girl for trying!)

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Last, I thought I would share with you my hopes for summer time home grown vegetables. I found these seeds at my local garden centre but I am sure you can find them anywhere, there is such a variety to choose from it was hard to decide. This year I am trying something new, courgette and baby corn, any growing tips will be much appreciated.

I hope you have enjoyed this little foodie post, please do share any suggestions you may have with me, Nicole.