BERRY SMOOTHIE

Smoothies contain so many health benefits and can be enjoyed anytime of the day. A nutritious healthy smoothie at breakfast gives a good start to your day and energy you need to keep going until lunch time. Not only are smoothies tasty, we have so much fun making them as you can be so creative with it. One day you may fancy a green smoothie, a berry smoothie or even a banana, honey and milk smoothie. As Smoothies are packed with goodness and lots of flavour it also keeps you full which stops food cravings and prevent from snacking.

Smoothies after a workout is the best! Have you noticed you get hungry more after exercise? A smoothie is a healthy alternative to have after a workout. We like to add a scoop of protein powder which helps to build the muscle and repair tissue. This also thickens the smoothie and tastes more like a milkshake.

For breakfast today we made a kale, banana and berry smoothie which took no more than five minutes to make.

For the ingredients you only need a handful of fresh blueberries, raspberries and kale. One banana, half a cup of plant-based vanilla soya milk, a few ice cubes and a dash of water. If you have a sweet tooth you can add a teaspoon of honey.

Blend for around twenty seconds and there you have it – our easy to make berry smoothie.

Berry smoothie health benefits:

Raspberries are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The fruit is low in calories but high in fibre.

Blueberries is great for a healthy digestion and feeling full. Blueberries contain iron, calcium, zinc and vitamin K.

Bananas give you energy and are a sources of vitamin C. Potassium in bananas is good for the heart and blood pressure.

Kale is one of the most popular vegetables, loaded with powerful antioxidants and is one of the best sources of vitamin K.

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Shelley & Michelle xx

BAKING IN LOCKDOWN PART TWO

Hi guys, we hope you are all doing ok. Is it just us or are you all finding it difficult to get hold of self-raising flour? As we’re in lockdown people are keeping busy baking and cooking etc. But wow! When shopping each week there is literally dust from the flour left on the shelves… with no flour. Anyway, we had a little flour left in the cupboards and thought we’ll make cupcakes but halfway through mixing we realised we had far too much mix and decided to have a go at making a vanilla sponge cake.

Making a sponge cake is harder than it looks! You have to make sure you get the correct consistency and if you mix for too long this will create air bubbles in the mixture that can cause the cake to collapse.

Step1: First thing’s first. Always preheat the oven before you start baking so your oven’s piping hot before placing your cake mixture in.

Step 2: Start by adding four ounces of butter to your bowl. Followed by four ounces of granulated sugar and begin to whisk for three to five minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy. Then add four ounces of self-raising flour and a teaspoon of baking powder.

Step 3: Crack two eggs, then beat the eggs for about a minute and then put into the mixture. Next add the milk and pour bit by bit as you are whisking, we used a cup of milk.

Step 4: For flavour we added two teaspoons of vanilla essence and continued mixing for a few more seconds.

Step 5: Place your baking paper in your baking tin. Then grease with butter, this is always a good way to prevent your cake from sticking to the tin.

Step 6: Pour your mixture into the baking tin and place to the middle of your preheated oven for around thirty minutes. We set the temperature to 180 degrees.

Voila! Shelley and Michelle’s Vanilla Sponge Cake, which took twenty minutes to prep, thirty minutes to bake and in total it only took 50 minutes!

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Shelley & Michelle xx

BAKING IN LOCKDOWN

Hi everyone! We hope that you are all keeping safe and well. Since having all of this free time we are both actually trying to make the most it. As you know from our last post we have been keeping our mind and body healthy by exercising and going out for walks. We also wanted to share with you our new found love for baking.

In the past few weeks we have made more trips to the kitchen and fridge than ever before! We’ve decided to put our baking skills to the test and have to say we are pretty delighted with the results. We had so many apples in the fruit bowl a couple days ago and decided to put them to good use and make an apple tart.

An apple tart is so easy to make and the ingredients used is so simple. You only need five apples, 120 grams of sugar, two eggs, 175ml of milk, 180 grams flour, two teaspoons of baking powder, cinnamon and jam (we used strawberry jam). Use flour and butter to grease your baking tin so the mix doesn’t stick to it.

Step 1: Start by peeling and removing the core from the apples. Cut the apple in half and then into quarters. Leave the apples to one side in a bowl of water and squeeze a lemon into it so that the apples stay fresh and won’t turn an off colour.

Step 2: Add your eggs, milk, sugar, baking powder and flour to a mixing bowl. Mix for about two to three minutes until your mix is well blended. Then pour into your greased baking tin.

Step 3: Cut the remaining apples into thin slices. Lay the apple slices in overlapping circles over the mix – Ours didn’t look quite like a circle, but we tried!

Step 4: Add three tablespoons of jam to a small bowl and place in the microwave for a few seconds, then glaze the jam over the apples. Sprinkle cinnamon on top of the tart and add to a preheated oven at 180 degrees for about 45 minutes.

And there you have it, our very first attempt at making an apple tart and it tasted so good.

Happy baking!

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Shelley & Michelle xx

STAYING FIT AND HEALTHY WHILE SELF-ISOLATING

It’s quite challenging having the mindset to stay fit and healthy during these uncertain times. The gyms are closed and like many we have found other ways to stay fit and healthy. Take a look at a few exercises we have put together for you all to enjoy.

Park Run

Walking or running outdoors is a great way to keep fit and clear the mind. Always remember that when running in an open space keep more than two metres away from other people and cut down your run or walk to once a day. Brisk walking, running or jogging releases feel-good endorphins that can reduce depression and anxiety. Outdoor running strengthens muscles, increases leg strength and ankle flexibility. If you need a little push or want to monitor your progress, why not download fitness and running apps.

Online Yoga and fitness classes

There are so many fitness classes online that can keep you occupied during the lockdown. You are spoilt for choice as there is something for everyone to enjoy! Classes range from yoga, full body cardio, abs toning, pilates and dance workouts, if you prefer something more fun you can take part in short ten minute classes to thirty minutes and even hour long sessions depending on what you’re willing to endure that day. Always remember you can improvise for e.g. if you don’t have dumbbells, use two tins of beans or soups.

Skipping Rope

We have mentioned skipping in a previous post because we love it so much! Not only does skipping make you feel like a child again it’s a great way to improve your fitness and you can literally skip anywhere! Your home, the garden or the park. You can burn from 200 to 300 calories skipping rope for up to fifteen minutes. We see why boxers skip so much! Another skipping benefit is that it improves your posture, when skipping rope you generally pull your shoulders back with your back upright. Good posture improves digestion and blood flow to the brain.

Using your body

Find space in your home or garden and do simple exercise routines such as squats and lunges. To make sure you are working both sides of the body for the same amount of time, give each set a time limit. For e.g. thirty seconds of sit ups, rest for fifteen seconds then go straight into burpees for thirty seconds, then of course don’t forget your fifteen second rest. Exercises such as Sit ups are an effective way to target your abdominal muscles by strengthening, tightening and toning your core. A burpees exercise is a total body workout which works your arms, back, chest, core, glutes and legs.

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Shelley & Michelle xx

AFTERNOON TEA AT THE MELODY RESTAURANT

What better way to spend a cold winter’s day than a cosy afternoon tea. We did just that at The Melody Restaurant in London’s Hammersmith. The historic venue takes its name from the 1971 comedy, romance film ‘Melody’ which is where the movie was filmed.

The Melody is a cute boutique restaurant, we really enjoyed the afternoon tea experience spent in their exquisite dining room, which had soft music playing. The chandeliers were dimly lit making a calm atmosphere.

To kick start our afternoon we were presented with a glass of champagne that was freely flowing throughout our dining experience. Then for the tea! Shelley chose the Jasmine Blossom tea and Michelle had the English Breakfast tea.

The staff were so friendly and accommodating. We were presented with an array of Melody’s finest sandwiches, homemade scones & pastries, clotted cream and preserves that tasted rich and delicious. We were absolutely stuffed! Lol. The food was so filling, which is always a good thing.

Like ourselves, if you enjoy an Afternoon Tea experience we recommend The Melody Restaurant. Kensington Palace is just a short walk away from the location and it’s only a ten minute walk from Barons Court and West Kensington tube stations.

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Shelley & Michelle xx

HAKKASAN MAYFAIR, LONDON

We celebrated Shelley’s birthday in style at London’s Hakkasan restaurant in Mayfair. We were seated in a dimly lit room, with a soft glow coming from a candle situated on the table.

We have been fans of this restaurant since we first visited Hakkasan in Las Vegas (review coming soon!) so we couldn’t turn down going in our hometown of London.

If you’re a fan of fine dining and have an appetite for Dim Sum then look no further.

So we began our dining experience with a Dim Sum dish, creating a banquet of different tastes and flavours in our mouth. We devoured a classic steamed dumpling variety which consisted of swordfish, king crab and caviar. This was accompanied by soy sauce, chilli sauce and rice vinegar. Of course, our meal wouldn’t be complete without a cocktail or three. We couldn’t get enough of The Hakka!

For our second course, we enjoyed two meat dishes that certainly had our taste buds wanting more. Firstly, was prawns dipped in nut sauce with jasmine rice and aubergines. Second, was the mouth tingling stir-fry black pepper rib-eye with Merlot. Delicious!

We are such fans of Dim Sum that we couldn’t resist another round of the exquisite delicacy. It’s just so good!

They brought us Hakkasan’s signature desert for our final dish which blew our minds literally…

A rice crispy ice cream ball with warm chocolate sauce slathered all over. A deliciously gooey treat that makes you crave for more.

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Shelley & Michelle xx

NEW YORK CITY

New York is a city you have to visit at least once in your lifetime. We decided to spend a long weekend in style and thought what better way to do so than in the city that never sleeps!

NYC has one of the highest rates of any tourist attraction in the world, with around 60 million people visiting each year. There are around 800 different languages spoken in New York making it the most diverse city in the world.

We had the best time and have made so many memories, there was only one issue though and that was the weather. It was absolutely freezing! The coldest we’ve ever felt in our lives. We highly recommend layering up if travelling during the winter months, we’re talking thermals lol! 

We decided to spend a long weekend in NYC but we will definitely stay longer next time. There was so much to do and see with such little time, so if you’re travelling to New York for the first time we suggest writing up an itinerary before you travel with the places you want to see and eat. It really does help organize your day ahead.

This is the second trip we arranged through Travel Counsellors (here) who specialise in luxury travel and really look after you, making sure you have a trip to remember. We stayed at the Roosevelt Hotel (here) situated in the best part of town! The hotel is located at Madison Avenue in the centre of Midtown Manhattan which is great as it is a short walk from Times Square and very close to Grand Central station. We were taken aback by the decor of the hotel which is very grand and looks more old school glamour which is so nice to see as hotels are a lot more modern nowadays. We fell in love with the chandeliers but The Roosevelt’s is on another level.

Times Square

It is actually a crime to visit New York and not see Times Square (just joking). During Times Square’s busiest time around 460,000 people walk through the iconic streets. Known for the massive billboards, sparkly advertisements and not forgetting the yellow taxis which constantly drive through the busy New York traffic. The home to many great Broadway shows Times Square has so much to offer. From loads of clothes shops, the M&M store, Mac make up, sweets and milkshake shops, Disney stores and loads of bars and restaurants, there is definitely something for everyone. 

Grand Central Station

Grand Central Station is the most beautiful and picturesque stations we have ever visited. Located at Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, Grand Central opened in 1913 and is one of the busiest stations in the world. We loved the turquoise decor to the ceiling.  

It was great to experience travelling on the subway as we’ve seen the Subway featured in so many films and music videos. Shout out to Jlo ‘On The 6’ album lol.

Empire State Building

The Empire State Building is the 28th tallest building in the world, standing at 1,454 metres tall.

We took a lift to the top of the building and as it was so cold, being on top of a tall building…the wind was ridiculous! It was a struggle trying to take pictures battling the wind and cold, but being up there made up for it. The views are just breathtaking, we could see the whole of NYC!

NYC Sightseeing Cruise

A fantastic way to explore New York is by taking a boat trip. We took a ferry cruise from Midtown Manhattan on the Hudson River and it travels to the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge. We were lucky that it was a very sunny day, so although we had to brave the cold it was a really lovely way to see New York on water.

TAO

If you fancy a spot of fine dining, we highly recommend TAO restaurant. The Pan-Asian dim lit restaurant was full of the most delicious food and cocktails. We dined at the TAO Uptown which has a ‘Sex and the City’ vibe to it. It is known not only for its amazing food and cocktails but the giant Buddha centerpiece in the middle of the restaurant. Once you have finished your meal, why not head downstairs to the main bar area, for some more cocktails and good music that has a club like ambiance.

Ellen’s Stardust Diner

If you want to experience a unique dining experience, you have to visit Ellen’s Stardust Diner. You can enjoy your food with singing waiters/waitresses. It is not that cheesy stuff either, the staff are true performers that will blow you away. It is a family friendly restaurant and is worth a visit if you are ever in NYC. Also, the cocktails are so good!

Sylvia’s

We could not go to to New York and not visit the ‘Queen of Soul Food’ Sylvia’s restaurant in Harlem. It is truly Southern home made comfort food and is a place you have to experience. The restaurant has a home like feel and the walls are filled with the likes of Barack Obama, Whoopi Goldberg and Nelson Mandela who are few of the famous faces who have eaten at this famous restaurant. From warm biscuit, chicken wings, ribs, macaroni and cheese to peach cobbler, there is something to suit your taste buds. Sylvia’s is a place not to miss!

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Shelley & Michelle xx