Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Beach time bikinis

The weather in the UK may be a little questionable at the moment, but for a lot of you you'll be jetting off to places where the weather is a little more predictable.

Have you done your research on the best bikini's on the market yet to make sure you are looking hot whilst sunning yourself on the beach? If you haven't, I've compiled a list of a few of my favourites.

If you're in the market for a designer piece with a lot of quirk, then this Lisa Marie Fernandez bikini set is perfect. I absolutely love that it comes with a little bolero jacket. It's so unusual, and I am in love with it. It's certainly on the pricey side at £630 so it isn't for everyone, but I think it's beautiful.

Lisa Marie Fernandez bikini

The next piece I'm in love with is a lot more affordable, this little beauty is a lot more edgy and on trend with it's cool cut out design and gorgeous watercolour shades. This stunning tankini is from River Island and is a complete steal at £29.

pink print cut out bikini


The next set I've picked out is another River Island number, it's so pretty and girly with it's a pale pink colour and floral design it sent my heart all a flutter. It's a multi way bikini top as well and can be work 5 different ways which is great for getting more variety out of one piece. At £28 it's a great choice.

Cream floral print 5 way bikini



My next pick is a bit more trendy and playful with it's high neck style and bright colours, I think this bikini top could double up as a top with a lightweight kimono thrown over the top it would be great to wear out teamed with a pair of denim shorts. This little beauty is from New Look and is a bargain for £22.98. Annoyingly New Look don't display the top and bottoms together so I had to hunt for the set on their website, so here are the bikini bottoms if you are interested in snapping them up.




My last pick of the bunch is this gorgeous bright aztec bikini from Topshop, I love the fun print and the lovely design of the straps on the back, although they might not be great for your tan line! It's the priciest out of the highstreet picks at £32 but I think it's worth it.


I hope you're all ready for your summer hols and looking forward to jetting off and exploring new places. Have a lovely day everyone, and don't forget to read up on my Year to happiness project and follow along for updates.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Chilled cucumber and mint soup - vegan

raw cucumber soup, healthy eating, curing depression


I have been eating a lot of raw soups for lunch recently because I have wanted to get the maximum amount of nutrition out of what I'm eating. I took inspiration from the classic Spanish chilled soup Gazpacho which I really like. The only thing I dislike about it is the after taste of raw onion and garlic so I decided in future recipes I wouldn't put them in. This personal preference, if you like the flavour and can bear the pungent after taste that will live on with you for the rest of the day then by all means add them.

I love the refreshing nature of cucumber, and until recently had never tried cucumber and mint soup before, but really wanted to give it a try and now it is one of my favourite things to have for lunch. I definitely put my own twist on the soup to keep it dairy free as most traditional recipes call for yogurt.

My main aim for my raw soups is to make them filling, and pack them with nutrition so I use things like walnuts and flax seed to bulk them out a bit and give them a satisfying consistency.

I make my soup in my nutribullet so this recipe is for a one person serving.

Chilled cucumber soup recipe:

Half a cucumber (seeds and skin left on for added nutrition)
1 small bulb of fennel
1 flat dessert spoon of dried mint or 7/8 fresh mint leaves
small drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
small handful of walnuts
1 dessert spoon of flax seed
100ml of water
1 tablespoon of lime juice
salt to taste

Roughly chop the cucumber and fennel and pop into a blender with all of the other ingredients and blend for roughly 1 minute until smooth and combined. You'll find the walnuts and flax give the soup a frothy light texture that I really love and make it more filling.

If you like vegetables you can't really go wrong with raw soups, the combinations are endless and are such a fantastic way of getting plenty of healthy veg into your diet in one sitting. I have been eating a lot of raw tomato soup, as well as spinach and fennel. Experiment and find what you love best!

Healthy tastes best!



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Sunday, 29 May 2016

What makes people happy?



The first few days of my happiness experiment I was knee deep in research about what makes humans happy. I've watched hours of documentaries, Ted talks and read lots of articles.

Money apparently doesn't make people happy, as long as your basic needs are met then extra money doesn't necessarily make you any happier. If that's the case then my basic needs ie somewhere to live and food are something I have, a bit more money would be nice though!
Research has proven that family and friends are a big part of happiness, so seeing as my family live abroad it seems I need to concentrate on widening my circle of friends. This isn't always easy so this task is one that is going to take a lot of effort.
Exercise also plays a big part in a person's happiness, the hormones it releases in the body improve your mood as well as your health. Unfortunately I'm a bit lazy and have preferred to lounge on the sofa with a box set rather than physical exertion
.

My first two tasks on my happiness journey have just become very apparent, so I know which direction I need to head on first of all. I need to make an effort with getting more exercise until it (hopefully) becomes a habit, finding a few activities I like to do will be key here to stop me from quitting and retreating to the sofa!

Widening my circle of friends, this one is easier said than done. Some of the friends I do have are in very different circumstances to myself therefore creating difficulties in how much time we have to spend together. Finding people who are local and have similar interests to myself but are also open to new friendships is the challenge. But seeing as connections are so detrimental to our mental health this one is really important to help me beat depression and feel supported.

I am really dedicated to putting my all into this, check back for regular updates on my project to see how I'm getting on. If you have any advice I would love to hear from you. Don't forget to tweet me using the hashtag #yeartohappiness

Read my first post and why I'm doing this experiment here.


Sunday, 22 May 2016

Year to happiness experiment

Most of my adult life I have been conservative with money, I've avoided doing so many amazing things because I've let myself think too much about the price and decided I best not. I've envied other people for taking life by the horns and really living it. When I really think about it, where has being this careful with my money got me? I'm not really any better off after all this time for having been so conservative, after saying no for so many years I just have a lot of regrets of all the trips, festivals and holidays I never did, all the experiences I missed out on. Life is short and I'm beginning to feel like I've spent most of mine living inside a cocoon waiting for the miracle day when I could spread my wings. Over the last few years I have become more and more depressed and have probably reached an all time low.



Well I've waited long enough, and I've decided to launch an experiment. I want to see if one year of saying yes, chasing my dreams harder than before and following some scientific based research into what makes people happy, will make me happier. A year where I say yes more and will actively seek out new experiences, and my blog will be at the centre of it all.
I want all of my wonderful readers old and new to comment and suggest things for me to do and follow me on my journey.

I've been watching a lot of documentaries about happiness and life longevity and have researched how a person's happiness really can make them live longer. It's also been proven money doesn't make you happy so it begs the question why have I made myself unhappy saving money and saying no to all the things I've wanted to do because they cost too much? My experiment is going to really encompass all of those questions and statements and I'll see where I end up in a years time, will I be happier or just broke and still unhappy?



Depression, happiness through nutrition


I want you guys to get involved, if you know of something cool in your area or something that you think would be amazing for me to do then I want to hear about it! If you're another blogger that would love me to come and visit you and do some sort of collaboration then I want you to get in touch.

Help me to make this the best year ever and follow along with my journey.



Wednesday, 16 March 2016

A Spring Sunday

New Look, Levi, Michelle Louise Love
New Look, Levi jeans, Michelle Louise Love

After months of cold weather and an especially cold snap in January and February it was nice to see some clear blue skies and sunshine and the feeling of wanting to break free of all those layers is inevitable. We were off out for Sunday breakfast so I got a chance to wear my newest purchase from New Look, this beautiful top is so soft and has a cute little turtle neck and is slit up to the waistband. It comes in black as well which is on sale at the moment for £6, such a bargain! I teamed it with a dark blue pair of jeans and my Carvella boots and went off to enjoy the sunshine.



Sunday, 14 February 2016

Luxemme Swing Dress

Isn't this Luxemme dress so pretty? If asked I would never think to say I like khaki green, yet I seem to have quite a lot of items in this colour, so I must like it after all. This dress caught my eye because it's got such a relaxed and pretty style, it does just what it says and swings about effortlessly. It's a perfect holiday dress because it's so light and thin and keeps your shoulders completely free from straps and sleeves.
Luxemme Elayna Swing Dress, Michelle Louise Love


I teamed it with black and gold to create a grungy look, but I can't wait to wear it in the summer with a pair of brown wedges or some pretty gold sandals. This will most definitely make it into my suitcase this year.


Luxemme Elayna Swing Dress, Michelle Louise Love





Thursday, 4 February 2016

Bake 'n' Grape Restaurant Chelmsford

Bake 'n' Grape opened under a year ago in the spot Strada used to stand on Baddow Road. The entrance off of the street is through an archway between the buildings that leads into a wonderful courtyard with fairy lights strung over head and an outside bar that's covered up waiting for summer to come around so it can assume it's starring role. I can dream of the warm balmy summer evenings spent in the courtyard with the soft glow coming from above as the darkness descends, and wonderful music being played from the outdoor speakers.

Bake n Grape, Essex, Chelmsford

Upon entering the restaurant you are greeted by the cosy ambience, the lighting was low and the colour palette is rich and warm creating a relaxed atmosphere. The ground floor has a variety of seating arrangements making it as easy to hang out on the sofa and have a coffee as well as have an evening meal at one of the dining tables.

Bake n Grape, Chelmsford

The reason I was so delighted to eat at this restaurant is because of the amount of vegetarian and vegan choices on their menu. In most establishments you will be lucky if there is one vegetarian option and it's usually an onion and goat's cheese tart!
I was so impressed with the menu on offer at Bake n Grape I asked Chris Windram, one of the proprietors of the restaurant why they have such a wide selection of veggie and vegan food.

ML: What was the driving force behind the well rounded menu you feature, why was it important to not only include vegetarian dishes but also vegan options?


CW: Whilst neither I nor my co-founder Martin are vegans or vegetarians, we do know a lot of people who are.  We appreciate how difficult it can be to find vegan/vegetarian food, and that there is only so much packet-originated nut-roast one human being can eat!  The same extended to coeliacs or those with other gluten intolerances.

Having been open for a few months now, and having found our footing, we have been able to evolve our menu to start to encompass the breadth of offerings that we always planned.  This is largely achievable by us cooking all of our dishes fresh (and thus we can tweak/add/substitute/remove ingredients), and to the skills of our hard-working chefs.


ML: Where did the inspiration come from for the beautiful décor for the restaurant and bar area?

CW: We wanted to create somewhere that we would want to go if we were customers.  We wanted somewhere warm and inviting.  Many restaurants tend to be quite masculine, and we were looking for our décor to strike-a-balance.  We were lucky to find this lovely building, and have a great landlord.  He allowed us to follow our vision and to change the building to what it is now.  Once we start getting some summer sun, the courtyard should also come into its own.  We will start using our outside bar, and it should be a lovely area for people to enjoy a drink and/or some food.

ML: Do you have any new and exciting menu changes coming up in 2016?

CW: We have just taken on a new head chef, who will continue the high standards set by the previous and evolve them further. I am certain that we will be offering a number of new dishes that will be a little different from the norm, and continuing to cover the bases of many diets.


Bake n Grape, chelmsford, Essex, food

ML: What hopes do you have for the business for the coming year?

CW: Relatively speaking we are still a new business.  Most of our customers are very complimentary of our offering, and we have a good number of regulars.  As a business owner it is, of course, my hope that more people come to learn of us, and discover that we make a great destination for weekday dining and not just for weekends.

Chunky chips, bake n grape, chelmsford

The food my partner and I ordered was all stunning, the triple cooked chips were huge and crispy and despite being full up I just couldn't leave a single one behind. My main of roasted eggplant (aubergine for us Brits) was so delicious. It tasted more like it had been cooked on charcoal rather than baked which added so much flavour, it was topped with lots of shredded veggies that were lovely and crisp. My other half enjoyed his coconut vegetable curry, having eaten that before myself I also know it it very tasty, again all of the veg tasted char-grilled which adds another dimension to the dish and really amps up the flavour, as veggie/vegans we didn't feel like we were having to 'make do' with what was on the menu. We actually had choice of lovely flavourful healthy food which is such a treat considering that I usually only have one option on a menu suitable for me and quite often I have to ask for them to alter it as well.

I really commend Bake 'n' Grape for their wonderful menu, I hope they are leading the way for other Chelmsford restaurants to start broadening their menu to include more vegan options to keep up with the demand for this cruelty free way of eating.

Bake 'n' Grape
12 Baddow Road
Chelmsford
CM2 0DG
01245 807070
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