Recovery Update: Smashing Goals*

It’s been a while since I did an update on my journey through anorexia recovery and given that things are going well I thought it was an opportune time.

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of progress…I don’t know how, or what has suddenly changed inside my head but the goals that once seemed insurmountable are now well within my grasp.

The whole way through this I’ve had goals in my mind that I’ve wanted to achieve. To other people they might seem tiny, normal, everyday things that you wouldn’t even think twice about. To me and the way my illness manifests itself though they are huge and at times felt like they might never be tackled.

I’ve invested in a “positive mental attitude” approach to all meals and snacks. Instead of putting up a fight and resisting it I’ve decided to try and get excited and it’s such a liberating feeling. Looking forward to trying something new and not dreading it? How novel! It’s made normal chores like the food shop so much easier (and quicker) and I’m now regularly enjoying things like pizza, something that I love but would never had admitted to even a few weeks ago.

I’m also letting go of rules and ideals about what I eat. Meat is becoming a bigger part of my diet as the weeks go on- vegetarianism has always been an excuse for me up until recently I tied myself up in knots about whether I was avoiding meat for proper, founded reasons or if I was just looking for an excuse to exclude a food group. I’m not the biggest meat eater in the world and never have been but allowing myself chicken, pork, turkey, ham (and more) again has opened up so many new avenues for me and I’m excited to expand my culinary horizons more.

One other goal I had was to eat something I had baked myself. We all know that I love to bake but up until now it’s only ever been for other people. I decided to change that recently, I eased myself back in by making something healthy- carrot and pineapple muffins which were packed full of fresh ingredients, nuts and healthy oils and enjoyed them, both the making and the eating process.

Of course it’s not all sunshine and rainbows and the struggles are still very much there on a daily basis, especially around weight gain (why does it always feel so fast and so noticeable?) and often the amount of food I eat/what percentage is “good” food vs. “bad” food (although I don’t really believe there is any such definition) and there are many things I want to be doing right now that I just can’t and that frustrates me no end. But I’m more positive and happier than I’ve been in a good couple of years- both mentally and physically. I’ve made more progress in the last three months, co-incidentally since I met my boyfriend, than I made in the last twelve months put together. I’m on an intense but constructive course of therapy and I finally believe that a) I am capable of getting better and b) that for once I’ll be able to sustain good health when I get there.

I’m 30 years old. I can’t keep going through the up and down rollercoaster of recovery and relapse. I for once have things I want to achieve in life, and believe I can achieve. I’m developing my self worth and I’m bloody excited for the future.

I’ll pop in more sporadic updates as the journey progresses, it just felt like the right time to pour all of these thoughts out in to this very public space. All along my blog has been a sort of record of achievement and if nobody minds then I’d quite like to keep it that way.

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The June 2017 (BBQ) Degustabox

I honestly don’t know where time is going lately. Life has become incredibly busy and whilst I usually try to do a thorough review of each Degustabox* this month it’s more of an over-view and summary as I’ve literally run out of time to try everything included in the box!

This month the box had a BBQ theme, perfectly fitting for June even if it is currently pouring with rain and really quite chilly. I’m not 100% sure how everything in this box fits in with the theme to be honest but as ever there was a good selection and I’ll never not enjoy this monthly delivery.

So first up is an interesting sounding Brazilian chilli and coconut quick cook sauce from Capsicana which retails at £1.99. This is one of the products that I haven’t had a chance to try yet but the flavour combination sounds delicious and I’m looking forward to trying this out with chicken, peppers and onions as the brand suggests.
As is probably common knowledge by now I’m not a soft drinks girl but these energy juices from ENRJ do look appealing. The flavours sound great- Mango & Passionfruit and Apple & Berries. I’m definitely going to give these a go ASAP- at £1.75 they aren’t cheap but made from real ingredients (nothing artificial), no added sugar, under 100 calories per bottom and one of your five a day I think they’ll make a great occasional splurge.
Haribo! Here’s a product I immediately found time to try! These Summer Frenzy editions of classic favourites Starmix and Tangfastics are both delicious in my eyes. The Tangfastics have the edge for me with their ice cream flavours, the Starmix are berry flavoured which are also good but I’m a sucker for the sour. RRP £1 per pack.
Another product I haven’t tried is these light bites which I’ve seen for sale in my local Superdrug. I’ve been hesitant to try these because these are clearly marketed as a diet product but they do sound tempting and I think I will tuck in soon (solution- eat twice as many!) The mango and vanilla yoghurt fruit chips sound great, and at 46 calories per bag are great for anyone watching their weight. The superfood fruit bar is packed with goji berries, chia seeds, strawberries, blueberries and pumpkin seeds- all for under 100 calories. The fruit chips cost £1.49 per bag and the bar is £1.25. Expensive, but great for dieters needing convenience.
This month’s product of the month is these Original O’s savoury cumin and sesame nibbles. These are ridiculously addictive, I didn’t think I liked cumin until I tried these. These are great for sharing, if you can bring yourself to…at £2.99 probably best reserved for special occasions only but worth the splurge.
Cider is a staple at any summer BBQ around these parts so these Westons Ciders are bound to go down a treat. Here we have Rosie’s Pig flat tyre- a cloudy cider with rhubarb and Rosie’s Pig handbrake is a cloudy cider with damson. I haven’t tried these, I’m not a cider fan at all- although as soon as someone cracks open the Rhubarb one I’m sneaking a swig.
Schwartz packets are a staple in our cupboards and these new Authentic American Flavours are very exciting to me. There are five products in the range and here we have BBQ pulled chicken and Spicy Buffalo Wings. I haven’t had time to make them yet but as soon as the weather improves enough to get the grill out I’m there.
Eisberg alcohol free wine has popped up a few times in Degustabox and always goes down well at gatherings for the designated drivers and dieters. Made in the same way as your favourite wine but minus the alcohol this has only 28 calories per 125ml glass and is really quite excellent served with ice.

Berrywhite Organic Drinks have also turned up in Degustabox before and here we have an organic lemon and lime variant. Another expensive beverage at £1.39 each but 10% of the profit goes to the Berrywhite Foundation and they have no added sugar or artificial ingredients AND contain one of your five a day (oh, and it tastes really rather good!)

I’m not sure what granola has to do with BBQs but I am a fiend for granola so I was excited to see this in the box until I realised it has peanuts in which I can’t eat. Still, it sounds delicious and I’ve passed this on to my equally addicted Grandfather- I’m awaiting his verdict and will report back.
I’m also not sure what shortbread has to do with BBQ but who doesn’t love a biscuit? I’m a long term fan of Walkers shortbread and these Scottie Dogs are adorable- almost too good to eat. I could eat these all day every day if nutrition wasn’t a concern…shortbread fans seek these out!
For those who don’t know Degustabox is a monthly subscription box filled with 10-15 food/drink products, most of which are brand new to the market so it’s a great way to try things out. On a month by month basis the box costs £12.99 (with a discount for longer subscriptions) but the contents are generally worth far more than this.
If you’re persuaded to give Degustabox a go (and really, you should) you can claim a brilliant £7.00 off of your first box (making it just £5.99!) by entering the code 6HZJ8 at the checkout. It’s been a pleasure to work with the brand regularly over the last couple of years and it’s without a doubt something that I will continue to purchase long after our partnership ends. I love the monthly surprise and excitement as well as the chance to discover products I’d otherwise pass up on the supermarket shelves.
Let me know if you’ve tried any of these products and what you thought of them.

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Snacking with Dr Zak

I might not be your typical gym-going, exercise mad protein filled snack consumer but I am a serial grazer and on a mission to pack as much protein in to my diet as possible right now to help me re-build some strength. I also have a notorious sweet tooth and do have to keep an eye on how much sugar I let myself inhale in lieu of healthier options (I was that child who filled their boots on Haribo then couldn’t manage their dinner!). Therefore I was very interested when I got an e-mail from Dr Zak’s about their new range of high protein, low sugar cookies which boast an impressive 15g of protein per 60g cookie whilst keeping sugar content minimal. They very kindly sent over the range of cookies for me to try as well as some high protein clusters and I thought I’d pop up some thoughts here in case anyone else is in the same boat- or is in need of something to munch post workout.
All products c/o Dr Zak’s for blog consideration.
Kicking off with the protein clusters which I found made the perfect little snack to pack in my bag for work. These come in three flavours- chipotle chilli, fruit & yoghurt and chocolate. These 30g packs contain up to 12g of protein, are free from palm oil, made with high quality pea protein isolate and have under 130 calories per bag.

I’ll start off by saying the fruit & yoghurt variety wasn’t my cup of tea. They weren’t bad but did have that distinct “protein” taste about them and I had expected them to be much sweeter. I happily ate the pack and they certainly made for a filling snack for something so small but I wouldn’t go out of my way to have these again.

The chipotle and chocolate fared better. The chocolate were my favourite for sure, a good strong flavour and less after taste. The chipotle were also pretty good although I had hoped for a bit more heat. Again the stronger flavour of these took away the protein taste and I would pick up both of these flavours again if I saw them for sale.

The cookies also come in three flavours- salted caramel, chocolate chip and triple chocolate. These are made with high quality milk proteins and have a soft bake texture which reminded me more of a cake than a cookie. Again these are free from palm oil and contain no more than 3% of your daily sugar allowance. The 60g cookies are dense and filling but are fairly low calorie for a protein filled snack- each contains less than 220 calories for the whole cookie.

My favourite flavour was the salted caramel, hands down. This surprised me as I’m not usually a fan of this flavour at all but here it was a winner. The chocolate chip (sugar free) was a close second though and not far behind was the triple chocolate.

In short, I really enjoyed these. I gave some to my boyfriend to try and he wasn’t convinced at first but later said this is because he went in to it expecting a typical cookie- I mentioned before these have a more cake like texture and won’t compare to say, a cookie from Millie’s cookies or a bakery but in their own right they are really very good.

There are a whole host of items from Dr Zak’s I’d like to try- the peanut spread with it’s range of flavours looks especially intriguing!

Check out the website to find out your nearest stockists and if you are already familiar with the brand then please tell me which products I should be looking to try next!

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May’s Degustabox- The Picnic Edition

As I write this post the skies are grey and it’s chucking it down with rain so writing about May’s picnic themed Degustabox* is a little bit bittersweet. I’m a big fan of picnics and have already fitted in a couple this year with a view to having many more. This made the May box even more exciting as the chance to discover new things to fill my picnic basket with? I’m down with that…
Anyone who knows me in real life knows how obsessed I am with coffee so I was really excited to try these pyramid coffee bags from Bean Bags. These work in the same way as a tea bag but give you coffee shop standard coffee with no fuss and no mess. At £4.50 for a box they also work out much cheaper than a coffee shop and my also coffee obsessed boyfriend and I are loving these.
I’m really not a fan of Cadbury chocolate these days, it’s changed and isn’t the same comfort treat it once was. With that in mind, plus my issue with peanuts I passed this “Peanut Caramel Crisp” Big Taste bar (RRP £3.49) on to my Dad who had zero complaints, from what I’ve heard in general this is definitely one of Cadbury’s better offerings so I think I’ll seek out a peanut free bar from the same range to try.
I suppose overnight oats could be classed as a picnic food- breakfast al-fresco on a glorious summer morning sounds ideal. This gluten free offering from MOMA is flavoured with summery raspberry and coconut, perfect washed down with a mug of the Bean Bags coffee. RRP £3.20
More curious were the Cereal Lovers crunch time nuggets- a snacking granola product to help you energise and sustain your day. I’m not going to lie, I was pretty put off by the look of these- they reminded me of pet treats, but as someone who regularly snacks on cereal I gave them a go and whilst I’m not 100% in love with them I wouldn’t turn them down and they are ideal for grazing on at work. RRP £1.59.
Ginger beer for a picnic? How very “Famous Five” (was any one else obsessed with those books?). This alcoholic ginger beer from Crabbie’s is gluten free and made with real Asian ginger. I can’t stand ginger beer myself but passed this on to my granddad who very much enjoyed the bottle. RRP £1.89.
I did try the peach & grapefruit offering from Zeo though, an all-natural, low calorie soft drink this is so refreshing and would be perfect served icy cold on a blazing summer day. RRP £1.19
These two products were my favourites from the whole box. I’m a serious savoury snack fiend and I’m already very familiar with Hippeas chickpea puffs. Crunchy and addictive and under 100 calories a serving. In herbs we trust isn’t my favourite flavour from the brand but it’s still pretty awesome. Anyone looking for a healthy alternative to crips you need to seek these out- they’re a bit like wotsits but much crunchier and much more satisfying.
The popcorn from Portlebay is another product I’m already familiar with although I hadn’t tried the Sriracha flavour yet. This excited me greatly as I’m currently obsessed with spice and hot sauces and this really didn’t disappoint on flavour. It has an amazing kick and I’m already on the lookout for more!
Hippeas RRP is £1.50/bag and Portlebay popcorn £0.79
If you fancy going all out on your picnic and making your own bread then this Homepride Strong White Bread Flour (£1.50) is probably for you. I’ve not had time to bake any bread myself, or indeed bake anything but this is made from 100% British wheat and if I do get around to whipping up some bread-y goods I’ll share the recipe on here.
As much as I love my savoury snacks I also have a major sweet tooth and can’t resist the lure of childhood favourites. I’m not sure about this updated millions sweets, some things just shouldn’t be messed with- the sour ones are pretty good but the chocolate ones didn’t do it for me. A shame, but I just can’t get behind the mix of chewy sweet and chocolate. (£0.50 chocolate, £0.60 sour).
The Candy Kittens sweets however, in Eton Mess…these are GOOD! I’m already a fan of Candy Kittens sweets and buy them occasionally as a real treat (at £3 a bag they have to be a treat). I hadn’t tried this flavour as I’m not typically a berry flavour sweet kind of girl but these are good. And pretty. Almost too pretty to eat.
Finally we have “Skinni Wraps” from Deli Kitchen. Now I tend to avoid products like this as low calorie doesn’t work for my lifestyle right now but meh, in the spirit of trying new things I just took the 91 calories per wrap as an “eat more” kind of approach. I love the shape of these wraps, much easier to fold- I’m hopeless at folding wraps so rarely have them! Pack ‘em full of hummus, chicken, avocado…whatever you fancy, or toast them as use them as scoops for picnic dips. These are a welcome addition, in my eyes to the bread aisle and at £1.25 per pack are reasonably priced too.
For those who don’t know Degustabox is a monthly subscription box filled with 10-15 food/drink products, most of which are brand new to the market so it’s a great way to try things out. On a month by month basis the box costs £12.99 (with a discount for longer subscriptions) but the contents are generally worth far more than this.
If you’re persuaded to give Degustabox a go (and really, you should) you can claim a brilliant £7.00 off of your first box (making it just £5.99!) by entering the code 6HZJ8 at the checkout. It’s been a pleasure to work with the brand regularly over the last couple of years and it’s without a doubt something that I will continue to purchase long after our partnership ends. I love the monthly surprise and excitement as well as the chance to discover products I’d otherwise pass up on the supermarket shelves.

Let me know if you’ve tried any of these products and what you thought of them.

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The April 2017 Degustabox

Towards the end of April the latest edition of Degustabox* was delivered to my door. I’m a little bit late in getting my post up this month and admittedly, with the chaos of birthdays, bank holidays and a mostly empty house not all of the products have been sampled at this point.

Nevertheless I’ve popped together this post so you can see what was included in April’s box with some mini reviews of the products I’ve tried so far.

First up we have a new variety of muesli from Dorset Cereals (£4.89). This is the “American Roadtrip” flavour from their Ultimate Adventures collection and is made up of cranberries, almonds and orange zest. This is packed full of flavour and utterly delicious. The perfect start to a Spring morning- preferably with a large dollop of natural yoghurt.

Hemp seed hearts from Good Hemp are one of the products I haven’t tried yet. They are described as delicious, nutty super seeds which are packed with protein, fibre and omega 3. They are nut and gluten free and perfectly for sprinkling over all manner of sweet and savoury dishes. They have an RRP of £4.49 and are currently available from Ocado and www.goodhempfood.com.

On the whole I’m not a big fan of crisps but I do rather like these lattice crisps from Seabrook- sliced both ways to hold maximum flavour these sea salt and black pepper snacks are completely addictive and pack a powerful punch. RRP £1.50-£1.99.

I can’t eat peanuts myself so the hot chilli peanuts from ViPnuts are currently another un-sampled product. These claim to be deliciously hot with a real kick of heat. They cost £1.25 for a very jazzy looking bag and also come in an intriguing sounding Hot Toffee flavour.

As a fan of grapefruit paired with gin (thanks to hoxton gin) I was very happy to see a pink grapefruit flavoured tonic water from Fentiman’s in this month’s box. I don’t have all of the product information for this so I can’t provide an RRP or stockists, but I can say that it is gorgeous with both gin and vodka. One for summer parties!
There was also a bottle of CELIA organic lager in the drinks section of the April box. This is 100% organic and brewed using just three ingredients- Moravian malt, 100% locally sourced (local to Czech) organic Saaz hops and sand-filtered water from the Żatec foothills. It’s gluten free too with an RRP of £2.49 per bottle.
I’ve tried Nothing But snacks before and enjoyed them very much. These are snack packs of freeze-dried fruits or vegetables that are suitable for vegetarians, vegans and those on a gluten free diet. I wasn’t wild about freeze dried grapes but the rest of the fruits are lovely and because they are dried rather than baked or fried the only things the fruit loses during the process is water.

Whitworths full of super range featured in a Degustabox a few months ago and I really enjoyed the Cacao raw bar and was keen to track down other flavours. This month I received the vanilla maca-roons variety which is crammed full of almonds, coconut and flax seeds and I think, that even though I don’t usually like almond flavoured things these might just be a new favourite snack. They cost £1.50 and are suitable for vegetarians as well as being gluten and soya free.

I haven’t yet tried the Garofalo whole wheat penne pasta that came in this month’s box but it sounds pretty fancy! Made with unprocessed whole organic durum wheat the pasta has all of it’s natural bran, germ, fibre, vitamins and minerals intact making it extra healthy. It only takes 11 minutes to cook too. £2.19 per bag and available from Amazon, Ocado and local stockists.
Last but not least we have a couple of sweet treats. Firstly a pot of sugar free polos (£1.49) which I’ve been working my way through. I’ve always had a soft spot for polo mints and these are ultra refreshing and kind to teeth. The pot format is a new look, designed to be taken on the go. Definitely a handbag must have for me and far less prone to getting crushed than the traditional tube packaging.

I was really excited to try the quinoa, smoked tea and vanilla chocolate by Doisy & Dam (£1.75) as I’ve heard amazing things about the brand and their 8 unique flavours. I can’t quite find the right words to describe how this tastes but it is truly, and quite oddly delicious. My next mission is to seek out the rest of the range to see what other crazy combinations of chocolate flavouring exist!

For those who don’t know Degustabox is a monthly subscription box filled with 10-15 food/drink products, most of which are brand new to the market so it’s a great way to try things out. On a month by month basis the box costs £12.99 (with a discount for longer subscriptions) but the contents are generally worth far more than this.
If you’re persuaded to give Degustabox a go (and really, you should) you can claim a brilliant £7.00 off of your first box (making it just £5.99!) by entering the code 6HZJ8 at the checkout. It’s been a pleasure to work with the brand regularly over the last couple of years and it’s without a doubt something that I will continue to purchase long after our partnership ends. I love the monthly surprise and excitement as well as the chance to discover products I’d otherwise pass up on the supermarket shelves.

Let me know if you’ve tried any of these products and what you thought of them.

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