29 April 2016

Fitness Friday: Manuka Honey - Recipes, Review & Giveaway!

   Manuka Honey has been hitting the headlines recently as the next superfood - we all know who's using it & what they use it for, but do we really know what Manuka Honey is & what sets it apart from other honeys? Well I teamed up with Holland & Barrett's Smoothie Challenge to sample the honey for myself & to bring you recipes, an honest review & your chance to get your hands on some Manuka Honey to try too!
So What is Manuka Honey?
   An aromatic & rich honey, sourced from bees foraging from New Zealand's Manuka bush - a.k.a. the tea tree - with over 4 times the nutritional content compared to that of regular honey. It is referred to as 'active' honey, due to it's naturally powerful antibacterial strength, which can be measured by it's Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) rating - the higher the rating, the greater the bacterial activity. As well as it's proven health benefits, it is also nutritionally rich in Amino Acids, B Vitamins, Calcium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium & Zinc! Unlike traditional honeys, it's qualities are not easily destroyed by heat, light or enzymes in the body. Many brands are naturally & responsibly sourced too, so look out for that to help support our precious bees - one example is Manuka Doctor.
Top 6 Benefits of Manuka Honey
1. It's Powerful Health Properties The anti-viral, anti-microbial & antibacterial properties of this superfood makes it a great all-rounder; it can be used to boost the immune system to help fight illnesses, sooth sore throats, speed up the recovery from colds & be used externally to heal cuts, burns & ulcers. 1tbsp Manuka Honey added to a cup of hot water & lemon can greatly speed up recovery from a cold & reduce it's symptoms!
2. Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth Natural sweeteners are always far better for both your health & fitness! So always opt for honey, or even better Manuka Honey, where you can. Add 1tbsp to your porridge, yoghurt or pancakes to satisfy your sweet tooth. Not only will it's richness go a long way in terms of taste, but you'll also be digesting Manuka's nutritional qualities instead of just eating sugars!
3. It Boosts Energy Due to the honey's high nutrients density, it is a superb natural long lasting energy booster. So why not try my recipe for Manuka Protein Energy Balls bellow, instead of picking up the junk food!
4. Improve Your Sleep Quality Manuka Honey helps to promote a restful deep sleep, by slowly releasing the glycogen needed for essential bodily function. By drinking the honey stirred into a glass of milk before bed, it also helps the body release melatonin into the brain which is necessary for a deep sleep. By allowing a rested sleep, it helps to reduce the risk of many health conditions such as heart disease & strokes.
5. Keeps Teeth Healthy By chewing or sucking a Manuka Honey product, it can decrease plaque by 35% & reduced bleeding by up to 35% with people suffering from gingivitis. Also the calcium, zinc & phosphorus found in the honey helps to keep teeth healthy, heal weaknesses & reduce the risk of tooth decay.
6. A Natural Beauty Substitute Manuka Honey can help cure acne, skin infections & eczema, due to it's strong healing properties, by applying it to the affected area for a few minutes before gently washing off with soap. Due to it's dense nutritional qualities, it also improves skin tone & texture; use it in a home made face wash to fight free radicals in the skin, within a hair mask to boost shine or even 1tbsp within a detox drink (with 1 glass water, 2tbsp apple cider vinigar, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tbsp cinnamon & sprinkle cayenne pepper) to make you glow inside & out.
7. Improves Digestion Manuka Honey is great for improving the health of your gut & reducing bloating by reducing inflammation from digestive disorders & relieving abdominal discomfort with it's natural pre-biotics, which helps to rebalance the digestive system.
Holland & Barrett's Manuka Immunity Boosting Smoothie
Here's all you need to do...
My Honest Review
The Taste: 5/5 It is unlike any honey I have tasted! It is so sweet & rich, with such a fresh floral after taste that you could almost imagine being at the hives. I'm not usually keen on honey on its own, but I could really appreciate the unique taste of Manuka Honey on it's own.
Did it Satisfy my Sweet Tooth? Yes! I only needed a little within recipes to be able to taste it's sweetness & I felt a little less guilty knowing all the good contained within it.
What UMF Would I go For? I tried Pure Gold Premium Select Manuka Honey 18+ & Manuka Doctor Active Manuka Honey 24+ & would really say it depends on preference. The 18+ was thick, but the 24+ was a lot thicker & richer. For pouring onto food probably the 18+, but for baking or cooking maybe the 24+. I would personally stick above 15 however for it's health benefits, as that is the real draw to this honey.
How I Felt: Great, both because it's a natural sweetener & my body always feels stronger & more confident after clean eating. I think over time the health & beauty benefits would also show.
The Smoothie: Really sweet & easily drinkable frequently for it's health benefits. Personally I may prefer less carrot & may add additional flavours, such as cinnamon for energy or flaxseeds.
The Brands: Both great brands & strong, trustworthy branding. I like the fact that Manuka Doctor advertises quite openly it's responsible sourcing. But I would definitely buy both brands in the future.
Would I Use it Again? 100% yes! It does seem an expensive product at first, but due to it's density, it can go far & has so many benefits that it easily makes it worth the price. I would love to try experimenting further with it, in recipes & with home made beauty products. It would be great as a treat for yourself or a present for somebody else!
My Recipe: Manuka Protein Energy Balls
   You will need 1 Cup of Oats, 1tbsp Manuka Honey, 1/4 Cup of Honey, 4tbsp Peanut Butter & 1 Scoop Maxi Nutrition Lean Chocolate Protein
   Step 1. Melt the honey & peanut butter slowly in the microwave.
   Step 2. Stir in the oats & protein.
   Step 3. Make into balls or bars & put into the fridge overnight & enjoy!
   You can also experiment by adding raisin, cinnamon, berries & other ingredients too!
GIVEAWAY Manuka Doctor Active Manuka Honey 24+
Instagram: @SallyLouiseP    Facebook: Dress Me, I'm Your Mannequin

Manuka Doctor Active Manuka Honey is available at 
Pure Gold Premium Select Manuka Honey 18+ is available at 
MaxiNutrition Lean Chocolate Protein is available at 

22 April 2016

Fit Tip Friday: Eating Healthy on a Budget

   It is a pure myth that eating healthy has to cost more - one that we tell ourselves when in the frozen section hovering over the £1 chicken dippers... Well guess what, while they are cheaper than the chicken breast, I can guarantee you'll soon be reaching for snacks, as the lack of nutrition will have left you feeling sapped of energy & craving more -  costing your overall night of eating a lot more than the chicken breasts. So here are my top 7 tips for how to eat healthy on a budget...
   One of the biggest complaints I hear is how expensive meat & fish can be, to then hear they're shopping in Waitrose... Now Waitrose is great if you can afford it, but if you're on a budget, why not get more food for your money in a cheaper supermarket?! I used to hate being dragged around Lidl as a kid, but now I've discovered how cheap the meat, fish, fruit & veg is there, I love it! And for anyone who says that the quality is different, it really isn't! You can still find organic, the meat has the red tractor lable on it & the eggs are free range - there's just as much protein in your Lidl's chicken breast as your Waitrose Organic chicken & they taste even better knowing the money you saved! Plus supermarkets like Lidl have really good offers on fresh fruit, veg, fish & meat each week, helping you out even more.
   I start by deciding my main meals of the week & plan the rest of my week around it, depending on how many ingredients I had to buy that week for dinner, or if I would have any left over for lunch etc. I then have something cheap but filling for breakfast - like own brand Wheatabix or oats - and something nutritional, cheap & easy for lunch - like soup, nuts & fruit. My snacks will be the last thing I decide depending on my budget, for example a bunch of bananas is a lot cheaper than a pack of Pink Lady apples. Additionally I found meal prepping helps too, where I cook & eat the same dinners for 5 times that week, to save money. However you may find this a little boring, that if fine, you can always freeze the meals for another week! I will be posting my beginner's guide to meal prep soon, so stay tuned!
   Look out for bulk offers or quite often buying the bigger size is cheaper per kg/ml - but always check, as sometimes they like to trick you. Also if you know anyone with a Costco card, take advantage of that too! Finally if you eat something often, like cereal or soup or frozen veg, buy it in bulk if its on offer at a good price - this only applies to non-perishables though.
   They're honestly 99% of the time just as good as the real brand. I was comparing Sainsburys own & Weetabix the other day to find they have the exact same ingredients & nutritional values in, the only difference was the brand - no brainer really? In fact some of the time the food is even produced in the same place. As far as Tesco Value or Sainsburys Basics etc brands go, about 60% of the time they're as good as the real thing, especially with pastas, frozen veg, potatoes & other foods that really can't be much different. I currently buy about 10% branded food now, purely because of cost!
   Look out for non uniformed diced chicken (still red tractor but a lot cheaper than evenly diced chicken), smoked salmon pieces (rather than slices), potatoes, carrots, eggs & even chocolate (oops, not exactly healthy)! You can often find these in the Value & Basics brands, the only reason they're cheaper is because they aren't all similar sizes or weights.
   Especially with fruit, veg & nuts, buying them in season will be a lot cheaper, so try to tailor your meals to the cheap seasonal options, for example summer fruit salad in the summer & root vegetable dishes, such as caserols & stews, in the winter. This information is easy to find online & easy to predict instore by the prices.
   What I mean by this is you are better off buying chicken breast packed with protein or a sweet potato packed with energy in the form of carbs (don't worry carbs are not the devil, especially when in natural foods - they are a primary provider of energy) or green tea for it's slow release energy than you are buying their comparisons such as a chicken sandwich, new potatoes or a latte - all off which are lower in essential nutrients & cost around the same, plus you'll gain more long lasting energy from the previous three, keeping you fuller for longer & meaning you will consume less food in a week. So stock up on natural foods (such as fruit, veg, meat & fish) high in carbs, protein & a good amount of calories to keep you going all day - but equally don't over eat, get to know the macros you should be eating each day, so you can calculate what you should eat per meal.
   An example of what I eat each week & how much it actually costs me... Please note I usually shop at Lidl, but to get the correct prices this shop will be calculated with a Tesco online shop, all Tesco brand food unless specified!
1 Weetabix with sugar & milk (with weetabix & sugar  lasting 4 weeks) Costing £0.22/meal
24 Pack Tesco Wheatabix £1.49        1KG Granulated Sugar £0.59        4Pt Skimmed Milk £1.00

Soup, slice of bread, small handful raisins & almonds, 2 squares dark chocolate (with almonds & raisins lasting 2 weeks) Costing £0.96/meal
Cream of Tomato Soup 400g £0.39 x 7 £2.73        Hovis Original Wheatgerm Bread 400g £0.60
Whole Almonds 200g £2.29        Wholefoods Raisins 500g £2.50
85% Cocoa Plain Chocolate Bar 100g £1.00

Chilli con Carne x 5 meals Costing £2.20/meal
Turkey Breast Mince 2% Fat 500g £3.00 (higher in protein, lower in fat than beef mince & cheaper!)
Loose Brown Onion £0.12        Loose Red Onion £0.14 (1/4 Also used in salad & 1/4 with sweet potato)
Mixed Peppers 3 Pack £0.85 (1/2 Pepper also used in salad & 1/2 with sweet potato) 
Flourette Crispy Salad £1.00 x 2 £2.00 (1/4 Bag also used in salad & 1/4 with sweet potato)
Greek Feta 100g  £1.00 (1/7 Also used in salad & 1/7 with sweet potato)
Value Chopped Tomatoes 400g £0.31        Value Dark Red Kidney Beans 400g £0.30
Easy Cook Brown Rice 1kg £1.75        Colman's Chilli Con Carne Recipe Mix 50g £0.75
Value Sweetcorn 325g £0.35 (1/7 Also used in salad & 1/7 with sweet potato)

Smoked Mackerel Salad with 2 Eggs (with eggs, beetroot & mackeral lasting 2 meals) Costing £3.17
Chilled Smoked Mackerel Fillets 210g £2.00        Cooked Beetroot Vacuum Packed 300g £0.49
Free Range Eggs Medium Box of 6 £0.89        Light Mayonnaise 240ml £0.50 (Also use with seat potato)

Tuna & Sweet Potato Costing £1.68
Loose Sweet Potato £0.31        Tuna Chunks in Spring Water 160g £0.75
Banana/Apple tbsp Peanut Butter, 30g Proper Corn, 100g Greek Yoghurt & tbsp Honey
5 Pack Bananas £0.80        Rosedene Farm 6 Pack Sweet Apples £0.89
Value Crunchy Peanut Butter £0.62        Proper Corn Sweet & Salty 90g £1.00
Low Fat Greek Style Yoghurt 500g £1.00        Value Clear Honey 340g £0.99

And the Grand Total... £33.01 with food left over for the next month! Even cheaper if at Lidl!
   And my final tip for shopping on a budget, slowly collect spices, condiments & flavours that you can use to make a dish really tasty - my favourites are paprika, chilli, cinnamon, basil, garlic, pepper, ginger, soy source, coconut oil, lemon & salad cream.
   A lot of information, I know, but I really hope this helps you all stick to a budget, eat healthier & above all enjoy what you're cooking!

19 April 2016

A Royal Style Diary: Kate, India & Bhutan 2016

   If, like me, you've caught any news this week, you'll have found it hard to miss Kate's regular appearances. And like me, you may have also found it hard to turn your attention away from her amazing array of colourful & beautifully detailed dresses. Whether it is the designer within me noticing the beautiful craftsmanship of these garments, or perhaps just their eye-catching prints, I feel the need to share with you Kate's celebration of Eastern meets Western style on her 2016 tour of India & Bhutan.
Day 1
Upon arrival to India, wearing an Alexander McQueen silk peplum outfit from the PreFall 2016 collection, Kate pays respect at the Taj Hotel in Mumbai. 
In a dress by Indian designer Anita Dongre, Kate & Will visit the Oval Maidan recreation ground to meet children from three non-governmental organisations, for an afternoon of sport.
Wearing British designer Jenny Packham's beaded sapphire gown for a Bollywood inspired Charity Gala at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel on their first night in Mumbai.
Day 2
Visiting the Gandhi Smriti museum in Old Birla House, New Dehli, in a luxuriously floaty Emilia Wickstead white dress.
Attending a garden party in honour of the Queen's 90th birthday in New Dehli, in a Temperley London monocromatic ebroidered crop top & maxi skirt.
Day 3
Attending a meeting with India's Prime Minister Narenda Modi in New Dehli, in a bespoke altered turquoise Alice Temperly crochet lace dress. Look at all that detail & attention to cut - beautiful!
Greeted with garlands, complimenting Kate's ditsy printed red maxi dress, at a contact centre run by charity Salaam Baalak - which provides emergency & long term help for homeless children in New Delhi.
Day 3 at Kaziranga National Park, watching dancers celebrate the Bihu Festival. Kate wearing a floral silk chiffon maxi dress, with an embroidered trim, by Anna Sui.
Day 4
The couple visit the Kaziranga National Park in Guwahati, home to some of the countries most endangered animals.
The couple's visit to the Mark Shand Foundation in Kaziranga National Park, to address a cause close to their hearts - the care of endangered animals. Kate wears a delicate floral pink dress with dainty contrasting black embroidery detail.
Day 5
Arriving in Bhutan, the couple were greeted by the King of Bhutan's sister Chhimi Yangzom & her husband. Kate wore a pale gold coat dress by Emilia Wickstead.
The couple try their hand at the Bhutanese tradition of archery in Paro, Bhutan. Kate wears an embroidered cape by Paul & Joe, along with a skirt woven by Bhutanese weaver Kelzan Wangmo & sewn back in London, while being hosted by the King & Queen of Bhutan.
Now let's take a moment to celebrate the Himalayan's answer to Will & Kate - Queen Jetsun Pema & King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck of Bhutan - a young royal couple whose romance could have been plucked from a fairy tale. The youngest queen in the world, just 25, Jetsun Pema is much loved by the locals for her modest demeanour & natural beauty & met the King through family connections with the royals. It was love at first sight - he said that he'd been so moved by her beauty & inner goodness, that he vowed she was the only women he would ever marry, renouncing his right to take multiple wives & turning his back on the tradition of an arranged marriage. Beautiful!
Day 6
During their trek up to Tiger's Nest, the couple take in the culture & the spectacular views of Bhutan. Kate wearing an English country style khaki jeans & waistcoat, with a classic white shirt.
Attending a reception celebrating the friendship between the UK & Bhutan in Thimphu, Bhutan, wearing a silk chiffon bell sleeved floral red dress, with side split details.
Day 7
Their last engagement of their tour, a trip to the Taj Mahal - & probably the most sentimental part of the tour for Prince William, after that Iconic photograph was taken here of his mother Princess Diana. For her last style snap, Kate chose a Naeem Khan white & blue print tailored dress.