What's in your fridge?

Kitchen Necessities

There are lots of foods which we would all like to have in the house, but which ones are the ones we really shouldn't live without? Which ones should we always have in the house, no matter of the occasion? Here is my list of food necessities. So for all you cooks out there, make sure to stock your kitchen with these. 

10. Tinned Tuna

Tinned tuna is an excellent edition to the household food stock. It can be stored for ages and is an amazing source omega 3. Have a tuna sandwich, add it to a salad or use as a filling on a jacket potato. When you are hungry and/or in a rush, it's quick and easy protein source you should not be missing out on.

9. Cucumber 

Food is instantly made better with a few slices of cucumber. This fruit manages to freshen up a boring old sandwich, brighten up a salad and crunch nicely when eaten with any dip. It can be pickled for a gorgeous pickled cucumber or added to drinks such as pims or a mojito for added flavour. You can even use it as a cracker substitute by cutting slices and loading it with your choice of filling eg. tuna. Overall, cucumber is definitely a winner!

8. Yoghurt

Whether you enjoy Greek Yoghurt, natural yoghurt or fruit flavoured yoghurt, this is a must have for the fridge. It can take the form of a great and filling breakfast, a healthy midday snack or a dessert after dinner. Rich in calcium and protein, yoghurt is a super food we should all include in our diet.

7. Tinned Chopped Tomatoes

This may sound like an odd one, but they really are an invaluable edition to the cupboard. Use them as a base for a pasta/Bolognese sauce or create your own soups from them. My favourite use for them is ratatouille:

- Chop up some onion, courgettes and peppers and fry on a medium heat in oil
- Season with salt, pepper and oregano
- When the veg is dry, add the can of tinned tomatoes
- Simmer the mixture on a low heat

6. Sliced Meat

We couldn't live without sliced meat in our family. Whether it be ham, chicken or turkey, they are a must have in the fridge. I put ham in my omelettes or use as an accompaniment to fried egg. I like to create PB, salad and turkey rolls ups or pair chicken slices and tomato on a rice cake as a snack. Whichever way you eat them, they are nice low calories source of protein to have between meals. 

5. Oats 

Oats are a slow release carbohydrate which makes them a great source of long term energy. Combine them with nuts, seeds and berries for a great breakfast or have as a late night snack when hungry before bed. Alternatively, the are amazing for healthy-ish treats. My favourites include:

- Stir peanut butter and a little bit of honey into oats. Roll into balls and put in the fridge to set
- Stir melted dark chocolate and raisins into oats. Roll into balls and put in the fridge to set 
- Use oats to make healthy flapjacks - examples on my old post - Harris Bars

4. Berries 

All fruit are great to have in the house for a little snack, but berries in my opinion are the best. They are lower in calories and sugar compared with other fruits, so you won't feel guilty indulging in a few handfuls. They are also great to spice up a bowl of yoghurt in the morning or as a healthy but sweet treat after a meal. My favourites are blueberries, strawberries and raspberries. Get them fresh or frozen depending on how fast you go through them! 

3. Peanut butter

People will disagree, but I'm biased and love this stuff so couldn't live without it. I add PB to fruit - eg. apples, bananas - to get a bit of fat and protein into my fruit, keeping me fuller for longer. If you want to treat yourself, make sure to add PB to your cookies and cake mixtures to give that delicious nutty taste. Also, PB can be used for a brilliant satay sauce for chicken or any white meat stir fry. I make mine from a mix of:

- Peanut butter 
- Dark Soy sauce
- Honey
- Chili Sauce
- Lemon juice
- Boiling water

2. Eggs

I think that eggs are an absolutely god send. There are so many things you can create using them, from meals to salad or sandwich fillers to sweet treats. They can be eaten at any time of the day and promise to fill you up until your next meal. Some of my favourite savoury egg recipes include:

- Tomato, onion and broccoli omelette
- Scrambled eggs and smoked Salmon with a dash of lemon
- Fried egg and ham on toast

1. One Calorie Spray

I cannot tell you what I did before I owned this. Whenever I cook round at some one else's house I feel genuinely lost without this amazing invention. Simply spray it a few times onto pots and pans surfaces and you will never have to worry about using too much oil in your cooking again. I never use oil when frying eggs, meat or anything for that matter, saving me lots of calories, as well as leaving the food tasting a lot lighter and less fatty. This is my all time kitchen necessity that I cannot live without!

So there we have it, my top 10 kitchen can't live withouts. If you agree/disagree/ have your own necessities please get in touch!

Healthy Snacks to keep you Going

Mid Day Snacks

Nightmare Scenario

Dinner is about 1.5 - 2 hours away
You are hungry
You need something to fill you up until then, but not make you too full so you can't eat dinner
You need to be healthy and not have bad, snacky food

This is a classic situation I have found myself in on many occasions. There is too much time left until dinner not to eat anything, but not enough time to have a proper substantial meal. I have long pondered the sort of things that fall into this small food category and have eventually come up with a list of healthy snacks I think satisfy the hunger until dinner time. 

Small but Substantial Healthy Snacks

1. Vegetable Sticks and Dip

The obviously healthy snack - veggies!!!
Cut up some vegetable sticks- pepper, carrot, celery, cucumber

Dip them in a sauce of your choice 

- Salsa 
- Sour cream 
- Guacamole 
- Peanut butter
- Hummus
- Philadelphia
- Laughing cow
- Chutney
- Mayo 

2. Turkey/chicken/ham Rolls 

This is one of my favourite snacks. A good source of protein and fat to keep you satisfied until dinner.
Take some sliced meat
Spread the inside with a choice of filling 
Roll and enjoy with some salad

- Turkey or chicken slices with peanut butter 
- Ham slices with laughing cow/cream cheese

3. Rice Cakes/Crackers

Because having an actual sandwich would be a bit too much. Instead, load a couple of rice cakes or crackers with a topping of your choice

- Cheese and tomato
- Pb & J
- Tuna and Cucumber
- Smoked salmon and cream cheese
- Ham and tomato
- Turkey and cucumber

4. Cucumber Sandwich 

This is a take on a no carb sandwich. Take a long slice of cucumber, slice horizontally and core out the middle.
Stuff it with your choice of filling

- Tuna
- Smoked salmon
- Grated Cheese/ spreadable cheese

5. Avocado, tomato and mozzarella salad

For a light but filling salad, combine a few slices of avocado with some tomatoes and mozzarella and season with a dash lime and basil. 

6. Fruit and ... 

Fruit alone will not fill you up for too much time and after the initial sugar rush you will be left wanting more. My suggestion is to add some sort of fat/protein to the snack
- Apple slices with peanut butter
- Banana slices with peanut butter
- Berries in natural yoghurt 

Hope that helps and please get in touch with any of your own healthy snacks :)

Bedroom Workout

Bedroom Workout

Don't have time to make it to the gym today, but feel like you need a quick pulse raiser? Here is a little circuit you can do from the comfort of your own bedroom, using all that furniture as substitue gym equipment. 

Quick Warmup 
2 min stair walking, gradually increasing the pace to raise the HR
10 sec slow jog on spot
10 sec faster jog on spot
10 sec jog lifting knees on spot  + moving arms
10 sec high knee jog on spot + faster arm movement
10 sec high knee run on spot + drive arms forward and back 

Circuit 1 - repeat 3 times, with 45 secs rest between each round. 

20 Step ups onto bed/stool 
15 Decline press ups with feet on bed/chair/desk/bed side table
20 Backward stepping lunges with filled backpack on back or jumping lunges 
30 second wall sit

1 min rest

Circuit 2 - Repeat 3 times with 45 secs rest between each round

25 squats with filled rucksack on back or jumping squats
15 Tricep dips using bed/chair/desk/bed side table
30 sec bunny hops over stool
12 Burpees with/without jump
1 min rest 

Circuit 3 - Repeat 2 times with 45 secs rest between each round

30 sec squat thrusts
30 sec jumping jacks/explosive jacks
15 Inverted row (lie under desk/bedholding the edge with hands and pull yourself up and down)
20 Overhead squat holding something heavy above head
10 Clean and presses using heavy backpack as weight

If you want you can also do a short ab workout:

Ab Workout - repeat 3 times with 45 secs rest between each round

10 V sits with 2 pulses at top and lower slowly on leg lowering phase
30 Russian twists holding something eg. a folder
20 Reverse crunches with hip raise at top
15 Back extensions

Stretch Time - Feel free to use the wall/chair to lean on and feel that extra stretch

Waste of Calories


Waste of Calories

There are times when no matter how healthy you are being, you just need a quick pick me up. You want that little cheat to be heavenly, indulgent and guilt free. There is nothing worse than eating something because it appears tempting, but doesn't live up to it's looks and leaves only a taste of guilt on the tongue. 

I have compiled my top 10 list of foods that I believe are 'not worth the calories'. I know that if I choose to eat one of these, I am left feeling disappointed and guilty rather than happy and content with my treat. Remember, this is only my opinion and everyone enjoys different foods, so feel free to continue indulging in these if they do it for you. 

My 10 Calorie Wasters

10. Glazed Doughnuts 

This one is a little bit controversial as I know how many people like their doughnuts. However, in my opinion they really aren't worth it. Whilst I would never choose a doughnut for my treat, I can vouch for liking the jam filled ones. (Although, is more the messiness of the sugar and jam I enjoy?) They may look good in the box, but on eating, they are literally just thick, doughy bread covered in a layer of hard sugar. At 217 calories for the plain glazed, they do not hit the spot and I feel incredible worse for wear after eating one. 

9.  Choux Pastry Éclairs

Éclairs come in wonderful flavours and designs and never fail to look beautifully dainty and tempting. However, ranging from about 200 to 300 calories, they fail to deliver that comforting feeling when you bite into one. The Choux pastry is always a bit too light and lacks any umph, the chocolate is plain and tasteless and the cream is a little bland. Overall, for something that looks so special, you are left with a feeling of disappointment at the snack and guilt at yourself for indulging unnecessarily.

8. Boiled Potatoes

Branching out a little from the sweet treats, a classic source of carbs people like to have with their dinner are potatoes. With all the 'low carb' fads going around, when you do eat them, you want to enjoy it. I would say that Jacket potatoes are warm and comforting. Mash potato is light and homely. Roast potatoes are invitingly delicious. But when it comes to the boiled potato, there is not much going for it. They are bland, boring, and starchy and really just a wasted addition to a meal. When you want your carbs, go for the ones you know will make you happy.

7. Sponge Cakes/ Cupcakes

Lets be honest, when it comes to cake we all get a little bit over excited. However, if we actually thought about it, it is only ever the icing or the middle filling that we ever properly enjoy. Why are we wasting our time consuming over 250 calories from a slice of sponge, when we would be quite happy simply eating a bit of cream with jam on top? Why do we bother eating that cupcake when we all know it is just too much sponge for the little bit of icing on top? Overall, an absolute shame of a treat. 

6. Biscuits
Biscuits come in hundreds of varieties, yet I am still waiting to find one that actually fits the bill. As they are so small and light, having one will never fill you up, nor satisfy you. You therefore continue to eat away, unaware of the volume of calories you are consuming, waiting for that feeling of content that never comes. I for one could think of foods that would make me much happier for 300 calories than 4 average to small biscuits. 

1 Custard cream- 64 cals
1 Bourbon - 67
1 McVities Digestive -71
1 McVities Chocolate Digestive - 86
1 Jammie Dodger - 83
1 Hob nobs milk chocolate - 92

5. French Fancies 

When it comes to French Fancies, it is easy to fall into the trap of eating them because they look so petite and pleasing. In reality, they are extremely uninspiring and at 106 calories per cake, are not worth the trouble. The sponge is dry and even the 'supposedly' chocolate flavour one, doesn't taste at all chocolaty. If you want something to fill you with joy, these aren't a good bet at all. 

4. Chewy Sweets eg. Haribo

Sweets suffer from a similar problem to biscuits in the fact that they don't fill you up. However, sweets manage to take this to the extreme. In their amazing shapes and colours you are immediately drawn to them for a cheeky snack and continue to pick to your hearts content. Did you know that a normal pack of 14 Rountrees Fruit Pastilles is 186 calories? Or that a standard 160g bag of Haribo Starmix is 552 calories? For the amount of calories these contain are we really filling a void and satisfying a craving or are we just picking for the sake of it until we feel too guilty to carry on? 

3. Shortbread

Glistening from the sugar on top, shortbread always looks so beautifully crumbly and indulgent. However, there is a catch! A standard shortbread finger contains 100 calories and when in your mouth, fails to actually dissolve. It creates a dry paste and requires copious amounts of liquid to actually get it down. When looking for something buttery, sugary and light, these are a huge mistake and should be avoided like the plague. Not at all worth 100 of my calories. 

2. Mallow Tea Cakes

Weighing in at 106 calories, could there be much more of a disappointment from a chocolate coated treat? To the eye, Tea Cakes look and sound the part, being filled with marshmallow and a buttery biscuit base. Despite the excitement on sinking in your teeth, you are left with quite the opposite feeling. The chocolate layer is too thin and plasticy and the ratio of biscuit to random pillowy mushy-mallow is all wrong. Overall, they are not the snack to leave you feeling happy with your choice of treat. 

 1. Fruit Juice 

Drinks are a difficult one, because we don't want to have plain, boring water all the time. However, we forget how many calories are actually in fruit juice - about 117 calories and 27g sugar from your average 250ml glass of apple juice. This would be fine if we sipped and enjoyed it over the space of a half hour period, but we all have a habit of guzzling it down as fast as possible. What's the point in drinking away over 100 calories in about 2 seconds? Not worth it at all if you ask me. I'd rather take time actually eating a piece of fruit instead.

The point of a naughty snack is to satisfy a craving when we really need one. We want something that will make us feel good about ourselves and not leave us disappointed and wishing we hadn't indulged. Therefore, it is so important to chose something because we really want it, where the feeling of biting into it is more than worth the calories. Some foods just really don't fall into this category and leave us feeling worse than before we pigged out. My advice is to pick snacks carefully, so you can enjoy every last bite and remain guilt free after!

Fresher's 15

Fresher's 15

We have all heard about the 'fresher's 15' concept. The idea that in your first year at university you will gain about 15lb. Having survived my first year at Loughborough, I think I am well qualified to vouch for this unfortunate fact. 

My first term

In my first term at uni, it has to be said that I slacked on my fitness, diet and healthy lifestyle. Playing lacrosse most days of the week meant I didn't have the energy or time to go to the gym and lift weights - (the way I keep slim and toned). Being catered and offered stodge and desert at every meal meant I wasn't watching my food intake. And sleeping all of the day and drinking alcohol meant my healthy lifestyle went out of the window. I came back at Christmas well on my way to fulfilling the fresher's 15 poster child. 

Caught in the act

Thankfully I managed to catch myself before all of this went too far. On returning to uni in January, I made a promise to myself I would not let this weight gain continue. Training, diet and healthy lifestyle had to get back in action and this is exactly what happened. I finished the year at an extremely happy and healthy size, ready for a summer filled of sun, fun and friends.


So, for all you uni go-ers this year, I thought I would share my advice when it comes to not falling into the Fresher's 15 trap. Of course I only attended Loughborough and so am not completely sure how all universities work when it comes to food, locations, nights out etc. but having spoken to other friends I think I have a decent idea on what to expect no matter where you go. Hope it helps!


For all you lucky catered students, be aware that you will be served mostly carbs. Halls will find over 15 different ways to serve potatoes - wedges, chips, fried potato balls etc and serve variations of pasta most days -  lasagne, cannelloni, pasta bake, spaghetti bolognese etc. My advice is to limit taking these and go for other options. Give yourself a couple of days a week where you indulge in a bowl of pasta, or take chips with your meal, but otherwise try to stay away from the grease. Take advantage when they serve boiled potatoes and choose rice over pasta to have with your meal. It may look exciting in your first week, but trust me, you will be dying for some clean food a few weeks in!

Getting the day off to a healthy start is very important. Avoid having a full english or buttery croissant more than once a week and try to stick to eggs, yoghurt or low sugar cereals for breakfast.
At lunch time, my advice would be to go to the baguette bar and ask for the filling (tuna, ham, turkey etc) on a plate without the bread and then head for the salad bar to create a clean, healthy meal. If you want something hot, try combining a stodge free meal with a bowl of soup.
When it comes to dinner, if you are lucky, halls will occasionally serve plain meat or fish. Make sure you take advantage of these meals as they will not be served too often. Ask for the meat without sauce, or for the sauce on the side and fill your plate with vegetables and a nice lean piece of protein. It may not be as fun as eating your large plate filled with a cheesy pasta bake, but trust me when I say it is a much better option.

Never in my life have I had the opportunity to take dessert twice a day everyday, that is until uni. This was like heaven for me and I couldn't resist trying all the different variations of pudding as I have such a sweet tooth. However... trust me when I say it's not worth it. Think school puddings and as nice as the chocolate sponge looks, it is always plain, dry and a waste of calories. Limit yourself to a couple of deserts a week and only take when you really crave it. If you need something sweet after your meal, choose fruit as a better option and if you really need something naughty, have a few squares of chocolate. 


As a student, your activity levels will dramatically decrease as you spend hours lying on your bed either asleep or watching TV. It is therefore important to get involved in some sort of exercise to compensate for the general lack of movement. At uni there is a huge variety of sports to play, ranging from the standard football, tennis etc to American football, Water polo and triathlon. You can get involved in dance societies or even branch out and go to Pole dancing clubs if you want. It doesn't matter what type of exercise you are doing, as long as you do some. If clubs and societies aren't for you, invest in a uni gym membership. They usually have good deals for students and run exercise classes if you need a bit of extra motivation. 

Bus v Walk
I was lucky enough to be at a campus uni where lectures were no more than a 10 minute walk, so I never had to take the bus. However, at other universities where you are living outside of campus, it is important to get into a routine of walking to lectures rather than always taking public transport. This may mean that you have to wake up a little bit earlier, but it will mean you get a bit of exercise everyday. Otherwise you will literally be spending your whole day sitting on your ass. Unfortunately this is not a position which burns many calories or tones any muscles! 


For the majority of people, alcohol will become a huge part of your university life and you better get used to day drinking, pre lash, lash and post lash. It is therefore extremely hard to give advice when it comes to alcohol. I am not going to say don't drink, but my advice is to know which drinks contain the most calories, and when mixing spirits, stick to diet coke. FYI, a standard shot of a spirit tends to be about 65 calories, but once you add in a mixer like coke, you are pretty much doubling the calorie content. Also, remember that you don't have to get absolutely smashed every time you go out, just drink enough to get happy and have a good time, rather than consuming your daily intake of calories in drink. 

Here is a quick list of alcoholic calories, just in case you weren't aware. Remember that the chances are you will consume multiple shots/glasses, so this is only what you consume after your first drink! This, coupled with the huge chance of buying some sort of unhealthy food on the way home from the club, turns a night into a bit of a calorie disaster. Whilst I totally sympathise, if you can, try to avoid that take away pizza after every night out you do!

A standard glass of 12% wine (175ml) - 126 calories

A pint of 5% strength standard beer - 170 calories

A standard bottle of 5% alcopop (330ml) - 237 calories

Vodka shot - 64 calories

Single Vodka Coke (175ml) - 120 calories

Tequila shot - 65 calories

Bacardi Rum shot - 65 calories

One standard Jaeger Bomb- 158 calories

Enjoy it!

It is extremely important to enjoy your time at uni, especially your first year where it doesn't count. However, you have to weigh up the benefits of pigging out and drinking to your hearts content with the inevitable weight gain that will go with it. I am not saying don't treat yourself or don't drink, but don't go overboard with it all. I know the feeling of getting home at Christmas pounds heavier and inches wider wasn't as good as that extra drink or piece of cake felt at the time.

Good luck with it all and enjoy your first year! Remember, no matter how much you think it at the time, Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.

The Power of Motivation

The Power of Motivation

What I look for

When considering a personal trainer, I have always felt that knowledge is the most important thing. Trainers need to know a variety of exercises, understand rest times and techniques and be able implement certain training styles to see specific results. I want to drop body fat and get fit and it is the role of my personal trainer to tailor my session to fit my goals. 

Today in the gym, I started watching one of the trainers with their clients. As well as being newly qualified, he has only very recently got into gymming and therefore, I believe it would be fair to assume that as a trainer he has limited experience, knowledge and versitily. However, and this is a big however - I could not have been more impressed when watching him. 

Enthusiastic, Motivational and Fun

Around the gym, people tend to keep to themselves. Apart from the sound of a few grunts and some medicine balls being slammed on the ground, there is never that much noise around. This meant that I was instantly drawn to this certain trainer and his client. They were moving around the gym doing a variety of simple exercises, yet there was such a buzz surounding them. The trainer was engaging in conversation, joking around and constantly motivating his client throughout her sets. He was pushing her to work hard, but because it was being done in such a friendly, motivating way, it was clear that she wasn't aware of exactly how hard she was working. He made each set fun by chatting his way through the exercises and making her laugh in a comfortable and happy manner. She was loving it!

This got me thinking. Is it really necessary that a trainer has so much knowledge they could help Usain Bolt run even faster? Is it actually more important that they keep you interested and having fun, even if you are doing fairly simple exercises? The fact of the matter is, most of us go to the gym to look good rather than for performance reasons. Therefore, are highly specialised combinations of exercises necessary? On top of that, lots of us have enough experience that we could take ourselves through a good enough workout in the gym on our own. We can research exercises and learn about how long we should be resting for. Surely the reason we would have a trainer is to get more out of a session. To be pushed to our limits, something we may not be motivated enough to do on our own. 

Knowledge V Motivation

I consider myself to be fairly knowledgeable when it comes to the gym - but who had the better session today? I certainly did some more intense exercises than the client - supersetting TRX squat to row, squats with ball press and thread the needle - but I wouldn't say I pushed myself to my limits. Not at one point did I go to failure or feel totally out of breath. His client on the other hand did. She was only given a simple exercise of assisted chin ups, but she pushed through her pain barrier to get out as many reps as her arms would lift her. Her trainer got her to the point of giving up and then helped her to push out one more rep. That's what motivation can do. That simple phrase of 'go on you can do it, one more!' got her to go faster, higher, stronger and in turn she will see the results that she wants. 


Watching this all unfold in front of me, it became blatently obvious that it's not all about being able to find the perfect combination of exercises to give your clients. You can do the most simple of exercises, but if you can get them to push extra hard, results will come faster than ever before. 

You may have seen me use this quotation from my lacrosse coach before, but I think it applies very well - 'Your mind will always give up before your body. Your body can do anything.' 

That is the role of a PT. To stop your mind giving up. 

What I will now look for

As necessary as understanding technique and exercises for certain results is, it has become extremely clear to me that the most important quality to look for in a PT is some one who is motivational. They should be engaging and charismatic and make you feel like a friend. Anyone can count your number of reps, but what you really want to find is someone you can trust to get you to push through the wall. 

After today, I am more than happy to hold my hands up and admit my incorrect judgement. This trainer may not have as wide a range of exercise knowledge as some of the others, but he knows how to make clients work hard and have a good time doing so. This is something that in my opinion a lot of experienced PTs lack and so it was extremely refreshing to see such a great trainer in action!