COFFEE, CACAO + ALMOND BODY SCRUB

COFFEE, CACAO + ALMOND BODY SCRUB

I've never had a very extensive beauty regime, mostly because I never took the time to explore the range of products available and why and how I should use them. I've always had pretty low maintanence skin. Sometimes it's dry and sensitive (usually during winter), and others its oily or prone to an attention-seeking blemish (usually in more humid climates or hormonal imbalances). I have a few trusty products I keep on hand, mostly organic, 100% natural and ethically or locally produced, with the inclusion of a few more technical, bioscientific formulas - especially when on shoots and not in control of what goes on my skin.

When I was a child, I was always down for a session of homemade face masks, and I remember one Christmas what I wanted more than anything was a lip gloss making kit (I know... vom). But although these practices were neither very nourishing or ever very successful, the inspiration to make beauty products from scratch, using ingredients provided freely by the Earth, is what counted. As I've grown up, alongside my favourite beauty products, I like to dip back into these creative rituals, to develop my own unique beauty remedies, personal to my skins specific needs. I edit the choice of essential oils depending on my mood and the current state of my skin, and reduce the intensity of exfoliant ingredients when my skin is particular fragile, or increase it when it's particularly troublesome. Below is my current favourite face and body scrub. It's cheap, it's easy and its messy - but its worth it.

COFFEE, CACAO + ALMOND BODY SCRUB
Lasts about 10 uses

INGREDIENTS
10g Cacao Powder (can also use cocoa)
100g Ground Coffee Beans
20g Coconut Palm Sugar (can also use sand, salt or standard sugar)
2 Tablespoons Almond Oil (can also use Walnut Oil, Avocado Oil, Jojoba Oil or Macadamia Oil)
2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
10-15 drops Essential Oils of choice - I use ylang ylang, lemongrass, bergamot, cedarwood, jasmine, cinnamon leaf or vanilla. Research online to find the best oils to suit your skin type and also your mood (for aromatherapy uses).

Optional
2 Tablespoons Honey

PROCESS
Measure all the ingredients into a medium bowl and stir to combine with a spatula or a wooden spoon. Transfer to a jar or another pot with a lid and store keep in the bathroom.

RITUALS
Apply in the shower to damp or wet skin. Leave on the skin for 5-10 minutes, or rinse off immediately. Apply to face and body, avoid contact with eyes and be sure to rinse off thoroughly - there'll be coffee in places you didn't even know existed!

 

 

 

 

Q . WHAT ARE YOUR MORNING ROUTINES?

A . THESE ARE MY MORNING ROUTINES

My morning routine changes depending on my whereabouts, my current schedule, the seasons and the moon phases (and thus my energy levels) and just generally how I'm feeling from one day to the next. I'm constantly developing and changing and so my rituals and routines are ever evolving too. At the moment, I've found my flow in the following waking morning routine.

1st . Lie in bed for a couple of minutes with my boyfriend, check my phone, think about the day ahead and / or positive aspects and gratitude attention practice (I don't journal or write these things down in the mornings, I just spend a few minutes thinking about the positive aspects of my life, and focussing on all I have each morning and all I am grateful for.

2nd . Head to the bathroom (via the kettle - to fill and activate it), spend about a 30 seconds tongue scraping with an ayurvedic tongue scraper and doing whatever else needs doing in there.

3rd . Glass of cold water.

4th . Hot drink - either an adaptogen in hot water or plant based m*lk, or a simple lemon, ginger and turmeric juice cocktail with hot water.

5th . 20 minutes mantra meditation, with said drink at hand. (Sometimes 5 minutes, sometimes 10 minutes, I aim for 20 though).

6th . Nauli Kriya.

7th . Morning stretch sequences or full 1 hour yoga sequence at home. I usually replace this with   a local yoga, boxing, or hiit class, depending on my mood and level of meditation.

8th . Home or my studio to begin work and whatever else the day holds.

INSPIRED, WITH KIKKI.K

kikki.K has only been on my radar since Christmas last year, when I stumbled upon their store in Covent Garden - drawn in by their scandi-inspired offerings. I’ve always been a sucker for anything scandi-style and since finding myself a swedish guy, this has only intensified. Some of my clothes are scandi, some of my home is scandi, most of my boyfriend is scandi, and kikki.K came to fill a gap in my work life, which, it turns out, was lacking the scandi touch it needed for some proper order and organisation to take place.

kikki.k may not at first seem so different from any other stationary shop, but once you explore their products and their story, you’ll see and feel the deeper, more meaningful purpose and intention behind every item in the shop. Amidst some everyday scandi-inspired desk-top goods and minimal (yet effective) organisational tools, you’ll find carefully considered motivational materials to inspire and support your daily study and / or work scenarios. Pens with inspirational quotes (of which you know I am a fan) and notebooks with life-sorting layouts soften the blow of overwhelming projects or writers block - perfect if you need a boost during the day, and especially helpful, I've found, if you're often studying or working alone.

Earlier this month I celebrated the launch of their new Inspiration range, which includes a collection of interactive workbooks titled Dream, Do, Enjoy, Share. I was invited to a workshop to discover how these books and other new items could assist my daily life as a self-employed entrepeneur, and support me in dreaming and doing. Each book plays a part in the process of outlining, achieving and enjoying your dreams, assisting you in working out a way to make things materialise, whilst also enjoying the process - which is often the part we ignore, but is, in fact, the most important phase of the journey. It’s enough to dream, but if you don’t enjoy the process of turning your thoughts into things, you may find there’ll be a level of anticlimax or unfulfillment. If you’re only prepared to enjoy the end goal, you'll find it's never enough, and you'll always be planning and preparing, and ultimately you'll always be waiting.

I’ve been using these workbooks to release all of the thoughts and fears from my head to organise them visually, rather than mentally. With the Dream book, I’ve been conciously recognising my dreams - both big and small, both near and far, and both urgent and more open. I used their Vision Board to collect inspiring quotes and other materials aligned to my current dreams and goals, as a way of, well, visualising them, and also keeping them in my conciousness day by day. The Do book offers space for me to annotate and offload what’s holding me back from achieving my dreams, and once these barriers are acknowledged and released, there’s space to focus on what I’m good at and capable of, followed by the initial steps I can take to reach these goals. The Enjoy book has encouraged me to focus on things I love doing, which had put my dreaming into perspective, and has brought up some interesting things to observe about what I want versus what I really want but perhaps don't conciouslly acknowledge.

Regardless of whether someone or something is holding you back, to a degree, we all hold ourselves back without realising it, and that's more powerful in disrupting your abilitiy to materialise your dreams than anyone elses influence over you. Our thoughts are powerful enough to create our things and attract our experiences, but they are also powerful enough to prevent us from believing in ourselves or feeling worthy or capable. These books really resonate with me, and have not only helped me to release the thoughts that cloud my mind, but have also provided the inspirational quotes (of which you know i am a big fan), daily tips and other techniques I sometimes need to help me on your way. Their final book in the collection if titled Share, and is centred around sharing these processes, to lift others up instead of competing with them, to, in turn, make the world a more vibrationally positive, exciting and communal place to be. So, that’s what I’m doing here. Dream, Do, Enjoy and Share. Let's keep this going.

#kikkikuk #LiveYourBestLifeEveryDay

GOOD STUFF FROM MARCH

This selection of my favourite things from March is slightly more than a months worth of Good Stuff, since I'm currently working on a couple of major projects which are turning out to take up most of my waking moments. It's all fun, but unfortunately my blog updates are the first thing to falter when my time and energy is required elsewhere. What I do have time for, and what has been a really popular and well received addition to the blog, is imparting recent wisdom and sharing suggestions of people, places, things and thoughts I've discovered, or rediscovered, and enjoyed.

○ This tea shop in my hometown of Bath made me reconnect to my infatuation to quality sourced teas, and the processes, stories and ceremonies behind them.

Ella Grace sings and it is wonderful

○ These insane paperweights

This brings back old memories and feels like summer

○ If tooth picks are your jam...

Adwoa is about as real as a girl gets

○ Girls, are you in sync with nature? This is interesting.

○ This quote from Tom Hiddleston: "We have two lives. The second begins when we realise we only have one"

○ Emma Watson approved natural beauty, featuring a few of my favourite holistic skincare brands

○ Banoffee Bang Bang and Salted Caramel from Loving Earth, amongst others

This is brilliant and we need more things like it

○ If you're into cosmic energy and activity (and in your twenties), the saturn return might explain a lot...

A few words on productivity and mastering your priorities

○ This is why you should consider alternate temperature showering. AKA lymphatic cleansing. AKA hydrotherapy.

This is true. So get on the Qnola.

○ In love with everything by Pama, and have been living, moving and sleeping in these chakra shorts made from recycled charcoal bamboo

Kobox recently ventured East and I'm more than okay with it

(These posts consist of a naturally curated collection of things I truly adore, and are not sponsored unless openly stated).

SPRING EQUINOX
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The Spring Equinox (March 20 2017) is the time when the light and dark, the yin and yang and the masculine and feminine energies of the cosmos are in perfect balance and alignment. The Universe and all its beings are reborn, refreshed and restored after a long and restful Winter, and as we transition into Spring, we let go of and leave behind what no longer serves us, and welcome the new - manifesting what we want the present and future to hold. 

This phase of the year is a powerful time to come together with those around you to celebrate and welcome the lighter, brighter energy, fresh produce and opportunities that Spring brings. It is about reassessing and manifesting the things that you desire, and now is the time to sow the seeds that you want to experience flourishing into things. 

Gather with friends to release the past and share and set intentions for things you want to see, do, feel or simply be this season. Having a clear and focused but also open approach to these things will help draw them towards you, and will ensure you feel grounded, aligned and filled with faith. As you open up to both the experiences that you manifest and also those that come to you unexpectedly as a result of this alignment, wonderful things can happen, whether physical experiences or internal shifts within your body, mind and soul. 

GOOD STUFF FROM FEBRUARY

THIS MONTH I...

Became obsessed with BLOK LONDON and got back into boxing with Kenny Fights. Since discovering my connection with boxing at Aerospace in New York, I've struggled to find a really good boxing gym in London. Until now. There is nothing quite like a jab, a hook and an uppercut combo to release mental and physical stress, at the same time as developing even definition and muscle tone across the entire body. Blok have an insane schedule with vast amount of unique and varied classes.

Watched the new JACKIE MOVIE, and by watched I mean mainly sat woman-crushing over Natalie Portman, interior-crushing over the set and wardrobe-crushing over the styling. I suggest you go do the same.

Devoured a few packets or more of CRU 8's MACAROONS AND CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES at FARE HEALTHY, after giving a talk on Intuitive Eating and Building a Beautiful Business Brand. It was all fun.

Decided, after a few months of practice, that the MOONCUP is the one lifestyle change every woman should make. No matter what stage of your cycle you're currently in, please please please invest in one NOW for the good of yourself, your health and your planet. 

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Ate a few too many of theeeeese cheeky little KOOKIE KAT COOKIES.

Added another scent to my overwhelming fragrance collection, and this one is natural and organic. JO WOOD ORGANICS PERFUME, AMKA SCENT.

Reality-checked a few things after reading THE LIFE CHANGING MAGIC OF NOT GIVING A F**K BY SARAH KNIGHT. In a world filled with pressure and expectations, it's hard to not give a f**k about what others think or might think, what others do or would do, what you do or should be doing. But the minute you realise how many pointless things you're focusing your f**k giving energy on, you'll realise it's time for a change. Hold on to your f**k's, and start giving less to things that don't matter, don't excite your or just don't mean anything to you.

Discovered PILI NUTS and decided the turmeric and ginger have a permanent place in my bag from now on.

Adopted some new natural haircare rituals with the help of LOREAL PARIS, who have just launched BOTANICAL FRESHCARE - a new a line of natural, paraben-free, synthetic-free haircare products, made from natural ingredients, centred around deeply nourishing essential oils, herbs and botanical ingredients. More on this soon.

Started reading OSHO'S INTUITION and haven't put it down yet.

 

MY MORNING RITUALS

Mornings are an important time for everyone, and yet they never get as much attention as they should. The morning time is rarely welcomed, and people don't appreciate how truly powerful the beginning of a new day can be. The Earth is waking up, the energy is fresh, our minds have rested and shut down negative thoughts and worries, giving way to dreams and a state of restorative unconsciousness where we often explore deeper levels of our being. Of course, when we wake, we aren't always aware of where we've been in our sleep, and negative thoughts may be quick to creep back into our minds. But this is just one of the reasons why we should allocate more time in the mornings to deal with this transitional phase of the day, and to take our first steps of each new day, slowly and conciously.

In the modern day when time is precious and seemingly scarce, sleep is usually the easy target as something we can cut out of our day in order to get more done. Whilst most of us are quick and willing to push our bedtimes back an hour if it means we can keep working or fit in an overdue catch up with friends, very few people would be wiling to do things the other way around and wake up an hour earlier in order to not only get more done, but get stuff done more effectively. This time in the morning is precious for many reasons. Transitioning from a state of unconsciousness into the physical world is not something that should be rushed. Coming into a new day is something we should cherish; something we should really feel and experience. The way we feel and the things on our minds first thing in the morning effect the way the rest of our day unfolds, and so waking abruptly with a stress-inducing alarm, allowing only 10 minutes to get showered, dressed and made up, leaving something behind when hurrying out of the house, is not a sustainable, or enjoyable, way to go.

As founder of Qnola Breakfast Goods & pioneer of the Wake Up Well movement, one of the most common things I am asked about is my morning routines and rituals, both of which change from time to time (depending on seasons, work commitments, current location etc), as each day is never the same. But I like to have a general outline and structure to the way I start each day. The first step of creating a more positive and wholesome morning routine, to enjoy and achieve optimal things during the first few hours of a new day, is simply to give yourself more time, and to go slowly and gently, avoiding stress and panic. Once you’ve set your alarm earlier, here’s a few things you could fill this extra time with, but of course, as with anything, find what works for you. Decide how much time you need, how much time you can give yourself regarding your day-to-day commitments, and what makes sense to you.

D R I N K

The first thing I do every morning is prepare a drink. Depending on how I feel I might have a cold drink, sometimes just cold water, sometimes cold water with citrus juice, aloe juice, rose water, liquid probiotics, essential oils or herbal tinctures, and sometimes a quick cold tonic herb concoction, usually nut milk blended with a selection of tonic herb powders and ice. I occasionally have a fresh ginger and turmeric shot, if I've been prepared enough to juice some at the beginning of the week (which usually lasts me 3-4 days). I follow my cold drink with a hot beverage, sometimes hot water with lemon and ginger juice, sometimes hot water with tonic herbs, sometimes coffee or chicory root for a caffeine free alternative, sometimes a loose herbal tea (I make my own herb and flower mixes for brewing or use Yogi Tea Bags, Pukka Tea Bags or Tiosk or The London Tea Company Loose Leaf blends), sometimes a warm tonic herb concoction (usually nut milk blended with tonic herb powders then heated in a saucepan, or sometimes just the powdered herbs stirred through hot water). Starting the day with a drink helps to kick start my system and feels cleansing and envigorating. I don't like eating as soon as I wake up as sometimes it's too much for my body to deal with (especially if I'm still full from the night before), so liquid nourishment usually does all the tricks for regulating my natural appetite and getting things moving in the morning. Smoothies are my go-to breakfast option if I don't have time to prepare a full meal, so occasionally I'll make a more fulfilling smoothie after my first drink of the day, as a concentrated source of nourishment that's easy to digest and effective in keeping be full until my first proper meal of the day.

L I G H T

Light plays a big part in our ability and ease in getting up in the mornings. It's always more difficult during the winter when we're usually forced to wake before the sun. Naturally, we are designed to rise in line with the sun rising, and settle in line with the sun setting, however, that's not realisitic in this day in age, and the introduction of artificial light means we can carry out our daily duties any time of day. However, there is nothing quite like the power of pure sunlight. It increases positivity (we're all familiary with S.A.D and the importance of vitamin D) and it also helps turn off your melatonin faucet (which in turn helps you avoid that groggy, I-seriously-don’t-want-to-be-awake-right-now feeling), among other things. In the morning, even if the sun never fully comes out, stand by a window or outside and just take in the brightness of the day, and the energy in the fresh air (which, working in a office, is often hard to come by). And if you do live in a sunnier climate, bask it in before you go about your day, or whilst enjoying your morning drink or breakfast.

S C E N T

Aromatherapy is a powerful tool in healing and holistic living, and certain essential oils and othernatural ingredients have the ability to alter how you think and feel. Burning Sage and Palo Santo is perhaps a little too extreme for some people, and involves a bit more time, focus and ritual than just lighting a candle. For this reason, I always light either a candle or some incense on my way from my bed to my kitchen, in order to fill my room with calming and stress-reducing aromas which help me feel more centred and grounded as I prepare for my day ahead. The heat and light from the flame is also powerful in clearing energy and is something humans are curiously attracted to. Fire is one of the Earths elements and has interesting effects on the mind. It can represent enlightenment, illumination and warmth, but it can also represent destruction, envy and desire. Elemental Imbalances can be responsible for certain people have certain attraction and feeling certain things in the presence of fire. I personally find it calming.

I   L O V E
The Wake Up Well candle I designed as part of our Qnola Wake Up Well brand. Liha Wooden Wick Candle. Honest Japanese Yuzu Candle & Incense. Hoodoo candles. P.F. Candle Co No. 19. Meditation Incense. & Other Stories Candles. Skandinavisk Candles. Diptique Candles. Byredo Candles. 1001 Remedies Air Purifier. Jo Malone Candles. Belle Freud Candles.

S O N G S   /   S O U N D

Music lights up dopamine brain centres, which basically means music has the power to make you feel good. Studies show that when people listen to music they enjoy, it lights up the same region of the brain which has been implicated in the euphoric component of psychostimulants (such as cocaine). When you hear a good song, a song you like or a song that sparks good memories for you, think how good it makes you feel. And on the contrary, when you hear awful music or a song that triggers a horrible memory, think how irritated or low it can make you feel. I put on music in the morning to soundtrack my routines, and it's usually something chilled (especially if I'm doing yoga) or some more upbeat, feel-good classics. Other times, I listen to podcasts or audio books too, which keep me company whilst working from home, stimulate my mind, and help to take my mind off anything I might be worried or stressed about.

M O V E

Every morning, no matter where I am or what I'm doing, I move my body. Getting out of bed and stirring a tonic doesn't count. If I'm at home and don't have early meetings, I'll practice one hour of yoga. If I'm away from home with insufficient time and space, I will take ten minutes to stretch (usually a downward dog and some pigeon poses, among other things). If I'm feeling active and if my schedule permits, I'll attend a morning class at my favourite gyms (Blok, Bodyism, BXR and Ethos), or encorporate some sprints into a run around my local park. The key is finding what works for you, each day, instead of overplanning and creating unrealistic and unsustainable schedules - like attending a 6.30am class every morning or forcing yourself to go on a run even if you're too tired to get out of bed. Your energy levels depend on so much more than just sleep (including what you've eaten, your current emotional state, a busy mind, the current season, the current moon phase, and so on), so even if you feel you have had adequate sleep and therefore should get out and get moving, if you're feeling fatigued or drained, don't push it, and don't question it. Just do what feels good.

J O U R N A L I N G

Something else that's great in the mornings, especially if you're going through a particularly challenging time, is to add journaling to your morning routine. If I'm feeling stressed, anxious or negative, I start by listing (most of the time in my head, not in a notebook, but that works better for many people) three positive aspects and three things I am excited for in the day ahead. The positive aspects include listing three things that are good, that I'm grateful for and blessed with, right now. The positive aspects could be something as simple as being awake, being alive, being fit and able to get up and out of bed, having a comfortable house to live in, having food to eat, and so on. It seem's ridiculous, but if you're feeling negative, this really helps. And the things I am excited for could be something like 'I'm excited for the interesting meeting I have later, I'm excited to see my friends at work, I'm excited to make dinner with my partner tonight, I'm excited to do yoga. It could be anything, but focussing on things you're excited to experience helps to make the entire day seem more exhilirating than it would if you woke up dreading the commute to work, or feeling hostile towards your boss. Something else that helps me is setting an intention for the day, and manifesting things, such as how you want to feel or what you want to achieve. I often do this in bed, and set an intention for the day (which is usually I want to avoid getting stressed, I want to make time to exercise today, I want to finish a certain project today). Setting an intention is the first step to achieving things you want, so take a few minutes each morning to tune into how you feel, how you want to feel and what you want to achieve, to direct each day more clearly.

B E A U T Y

Beauty routines are somewhat non-existant for me, especially in the mornings. Right now, I am still in my loungewear, I haven't left the house yet today, and therefore I haven't spent much time on my appearance (unfortunately for my boyfriend). On days like this, I simply splash my fave with cold water, or occasionally cleanse or exfoliate, tone and moisurise. My morning shower routine consists of switching between hot and cold temperatures, as I feel it helps to wake me up, both physically and mentally. This has some kind of link with metabolism and kick-starting internal functions too, but for me it just makes me feel refreshed. I don't tend to dry brush my body in the mornings, but leave this until the evening. I brush my teeth or oil pull with coconut oil or homemade coconut oil, almond oil and spearmint essential oil mouthwash. I use an ayurvedic tongue scraper every morning, and then, if I have a casting or a meeting, I'll begin my make up routine (usually foundation powder, bronzer, highlighter, mascara and eye shadow). I neglect my hair, barely even brushing it as it is naturally wavy and tousled. What's most important for me during the mornings is cleansing, toning and moisturising, finishing off with a scent or some fragrance oils. Essential oils and natural, organic beauty products are game changers, and no matter what your schedule, I would highly recommend making them part of your morning routine. (Not all make up products I use are natural and organic, and naturally, as a model, it is impossible for me to use only ethical products all of the time, but when I can, I do).

A   F E W   P R O D U C T S   I   L O V E
Ren, Pai, Liz Earle, Urban Decay, Caudalie, Loreal Botanicals, Dr Hauschka, Kahina, Jo Wood Organics, Escentric Molecule, Sukin, Liha, Embryolisse, Glossier, Nars, Burberry, Mac, Evo, Davines Haircare, Earth Tu Face, Estee Lauder, Ylang Ylang Essential Oil.

(more in-depth beauty rituals post coming soon)

GOOD STUFF FROM JANUARY

One month of 2017 down and I've loved every minute of it. That is, aside from seeing something very unusual indeed become the presidant of the USA, but I'm trying not to think about that. Although, sometimes you need something a little bit shit (ok, a lot shit) to happen in order to make space for even better things. Sometimes the 'little bit shit' things that happen are the trigger of just the powerful wake up call that needed to surface - to reconnect and realign things perhaps lost of forgotten. The things we manifest evolve from thoughts to things by the amount of energy focussed on the subject at hand. The more energy we focus on something, the more likely we are to see the kind of change we desire. The marches this month have been such a powerful start to the year, and seeing people come together supporting each other and supporting the same cause, has reminded me that, although often humanity is all kinds of weird, there is still a sense of community going strong. I personally feel that in a world where society and humanity is all over the place, this was, although a drastic thing to happen, was something we almost needed to happen, to remind us that there is nothing more powerful than uniting and coming together. The sense of community highlighted at this months marches brings so much hope and inspiration, and spreads so much strong and positive energy.

Other things offering positive energy for me this month include:

STRANGE INVISIBLES PERFUMES OF THE ZODIAC

These are just everything, and if you're Aquarius like me, firstly) happy birthday, and secondly) lucky you - our scent is right on.

FLO MORRISSEY & MATTHEW E. WHITE

A new album of the most heart warming covers, ideal any time of the day and super calming and grounding. Look at what the light did now, Grease, Everybody Loves The Sunshine are good places to start.

LIHA BEAUTY

Working mainly with coconut and shea butter, Liha and Abi, founders of Liha beauty, have developed all natural organic cold pressed beauty products utilising kitchen cupboard ingredients and natural essential oils. I can't get enough of their shea butter and their Idan oil - all made in small batches with passion, purpose and purity.

THE LIFE CHANGING MAGIC OF NOT GIVING A F**K

This book is just a to-the-point reminder that you really should not give a fuck about some things, and as soon as you decide not to, you will live so much more freely - no longer bound by your fears or whatever other hang ups you might have. It's a quick read and it changed my life in the duration of one bus journey. Sometimes you just need things to be spelled out. Giving a fuck about a lot of things drains your energy, and when you give yourself permission to not give fucks about certain things that modern day society has us giving fucks about, it's l.i.b.e.r.a.t.i.n.g.

STORIES BEHIND THINGS

This just launched and I can already tell it's going to be a beautiful journey. My advice is to be a part of.

STYLELIKEU WITH JEMIMA KIRKE

StyleLikeU is led by mother-daughter duo Elisa Goodkind and Lily Mandelbaum, who are bound by the desire to uncover what’s underneath personal style. Through candid, docu-style interviews with empowered individuals, StyleLikeU is building a world where getting dressed each morning is an act of self-love. This interview with Jemima Kirke from Girls is REAL.

LA-EVA EVERYTHING CARE

LA-EVA creates skincare products inspired by organic beauty, sensory pathways and a love of art. LA-EVA products are units of wellbeing created from fine ingredients - blended to treat the body & mind as one. Their washes and lotions are designed for the entire body, steering away from the unnecesary need to have specific products for specific parts of the body. Whilst the media as mass markets are always promoting certain products for certain areas or issues, the power and purity of LA-EVA's products make them suitable and fully functional for every part of the body.

JAMU KITCHEN

This weekend I finally, after spending years in the same industry without crossing direct paths, met the founder of Jamu Kitchen - a range of wellness tonics made from freshly ground and brewed herbs and spices. Unfortunately, you may not have the oppertunity to meet her, but do make sure you meet her tonics.

MOON CALENDAR

I'm a big believer in the phases of the moon having direct affects on all beings and matter down here on Earth (more on that another time). For that reason, I welcomed a moon calendar into my bedroom, which has helped me to understand things from thoughts, feelings, physical issues (things like indigestion / bloating / lack of appetite) and much more. Monitoring the moonphase has inforced my understanding of how connected we are with the Universe, and how certain phases of the moon correlate with certain daily issues. This one is beautiful, do yourself a favour.

BODYISM LONDON

Bodyism is so much more than just a place to workout. I've been trying a few of their classes in the past month and each one has been restorative, challenging and grounding all at once. Instead of loud music, buzzy lights and shouting instructors, expect foam rolling, functional fitness sequences and deeply relaxing stretching and shavasana (not just for yoga classes). Bodyism is the most holistic, grounding gym I've ever been to and I'd highly recommend the boxing, blueprint and warrior classes in particular, as well as stocking up on some of their supplements.

TONY ROBBINS

An exclusive insight into one of Tony Robbins' life changing Date With Destiny workshops. It's deep guys.

DRIFT MATTRESS

An all-natural wool-topped mattress. Read more about it here, along with a few other thoughts I felt like sharing about sleep.

WELLTH BY JASON WACHOB

This read helped me through November, but I didn't do a proper list of loved things back then, so here it is now. It makes all the sense.

 

WINDING DOWN WELL WITH DRIFT MATTRESS

I don't need an expert to tell me how important sleep is, or just how drastically it can effect our physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. In fact, neither do you. You don’t even need me to tell you that sleep is important. We all know it is. And, we all know we’re neglecting it; ignorant to the fact that it can really lower our quality of life, our performance and our potential for achieving what we want - it just kills our overall vibe, disrupts our rhythms and destroys our chances of happiness.

This post isn’t full of tips on how to get more sleep. That would be more or less pointless really as you could write it yourself. Simply go to bed earlier.  It’s also not full of tips about why you aren’t getting enough sleep, because, I don’t really know you, and even if I knew a few things about you, there would be many missing pieces of information I didn't know that could also be contributing to your struggle with getting enough sleep. It's not about diagnosing a problem, it's about helping you to focus on your own circumstances and your own problems - if you have any - and making you aware of how several simple changes can improve your entire existence. It's about getting to know your sleeping habits and why they are how they are, and then assessing your life as a whole before figuring out how to successfully and sustainably achieve optimal sleep for your personal needs. We are, after all, designed to instinctively know how much sleep we need, it's just a matter of allowing it to ourselves.

"Why do so many of us fail to make use of such a simple way to improve our lives?"

In Arrianna Huffington's bookA Sleep Revolution’ (which, by the way, you should read immediately) she shines light on the fact (because no one else will) that we are in the midst of a sleep deprivation crisis. We all know sleep is important - it’s a natural occurrence without which no one could survive - but very few people appreciate its true power, and the vital role that it plays in both our waking and sleeping moments. Not to mention the affect it has on just about every aspect of our health (weight management, disease, mental illness, to name a few).

We all need different levels of sleep, and determining exactly how much is not as simple as just observing things like weight, height, level of activity or length of working hours - for example. It depends on so much more, from your current emotional state, your finances, your plans for the future, your dreams, your worries and concerns, your health, your genetic history, your living and sleeping arrangements, your diet - it goes on. As I have transitioned through different stages of my life, I’ve come to understand just how sleep can both help our bodies do good things, and prevent them from doing good things. As a model, I became aware of the importance of sleep and the effects of good and bad quality rest. If I slept well, I performed better on set, was more patient with people, was less affected by insignificant annoyances, felt better and more confident about myself, and felt fresher, brighter and more energetic and fun for those working with me. And if I slept badly, or not enough, my body made gave it away, through greyer, drier skin, enhanced shadows and tenderness under my eyes, puffiness, skin imbalances, a short fuse and premature fatigue. As a business owner, I have become aware of the seriousness of sleep in other ways. If I sleep well, I feel energised, more able to concentrate, more driven and motivated, more creative, more positive and clearer when I wake up, feeling free of any baggage or troubles I experienced the day before. If I don’t sleep enough, I notice I get more easily stressed, experience morning anxiety, feel helpless or unproductive, have less energy, worse concentration and am more irritable. The amount of sleep you need really depends on every aspect of your life at this very moment. Use your intuition to understand how much rest you need and why, and then make concious choices to make it happen.

"A problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it" - John Steinbeck"

For a while now, I’ve been aware of how society is becoming more and more busy, and how we are becoming more and more proud about it. As a consequence, sleep has taken a back seat. It’s almost as if you are clearly not striving enough or achieving enough if you are sleeping enough. Arrianna Huffington refers to this as a ‘cultural dismissal of sleep as time wasted’. She points out that 'sleep deprivation as essential to achievement and success' has become the cultural norm. In a society constantly over-working, we complain about lack of time to complete our daily duties, and, in looking for something to cut, sleep is the easiest target. People feel sleep is a sacrifice of valuable time, but in fact when we sleep, we are far from doing nothing. The mind and body are busy whilst we sleep, both physically and mentally. On top of allowing our eyes, internal systems, muscles and joints resting, our neurological activity is also renewed and cleansed in ways you can’t even imagine. Many studies have shown that people are more alert and productive after a short nap or after adeduate sleep, compared to those who push through their fatigue and don't get enough sleep.

Sleep is a chance for our physical beings to rest, reset and restore. It's a chance for our inner beings to calm down, regulate, gain clarity and be peaceful, and for our cells to replenish, revitalise and reenergise after daily activity. In the modern world, many of us disregard sleep as a vital part of our wellbeing, seeing it as valuable time being wasted. However, we're just as busy when we're sleeping as we are when we're awake. And sleep is often just what we need to cure a bad day or realign negative thoughts. When we sleep, and when we dream, being out of conciousness we enter a world free from judgement, doubt and fear. We let go of the constraints and prejudices of the physical world. We connect to deeper dimensions which sometimes hold information of our inner life and our emotional and mental states, revealing a lot more about our lives, our thoughts, our desires, our worries and our circumstances, as well as coincidences and our connection with our pasts and our futures than we'll ever let our concious mind reach.

There are many factors that can contribute to disruption of sleep patterns, including loss and grief, worry, stress, nerves, fear, sadness, low confidence, feeling worthless, hopeless and depression can all affect how we sleep. On a more physical level, digestive issues, injury, pain, muscle damage, general discomfort, unsuitable or disruptive lighting, noise, smells etc, unsuitable or uncomfortable sleeping conditions (such as bed, fabrics, the freshness of the air), stimulative screens (such as using phones, laptops and watching TV right before you sleep can also make it harder for you to sleep properly. The light from computer screens, for example, has been correlated with the obstruction of the body’s production of melatonin - the sleep hormone that helps govern our internal body clock and regulates our sleep cycle. 

For me, I try to enforce consistent Wind Down Well rituals, to help me transition out of the day and into a deep sleep. I can't possibly know exactly what you need or what you have access to, but in sharing my rituals, I hope to inspire you to adopt your own, or re-evaluate your current ones. Rituals and routine - things you do consistently - are key to adopting healthy wellbeing habits fluently and effortlessly.

I use aromatherapy and light management to create a suitable space for my body and mind to calm down in. Things like candles (try the new range of candles now available as part of our Qnola offering), incense, low lighting and dimmed computor and phone screens if I can't get away from them completely, to prevent over-stimulating my mind. I also create a suitable space for sleep, which seems obvious, but is something I could have been doing a lot better for a long time. It doesn't stop at just a bed. A variety of textures and the colours of your bedding can also affect how you sleep, as well as the clothes you wear and the other things you see in the room. Muted colours, soft and smooth textures and temperature management to suit your personal needs can all improve the quality of your sleep. I also eat for good sleep. I don't eat big meals too close to bedtime, and I enjoy cleansing, liquid concoctions that are easy on the digestion, containing adaptogenic superfood powders such as chaga, he shou wu, mucuna puriens and herbs like rosemary and chamomile, which have relaxing and balancing properties. From time to time, I journal, writing or just thinking about positive aspects from the day and things I am grateful for, finding these things even in the worst kind of days. This helps to shut down my mind and encourages a more positive mood, avoiding focussing on negative things I will inevitably try to solve as my mind goes in circles. If I'm physically exhausted or still energetic, I stretch or practice restorative or yin yoga - even for just a few minutes - to release tension, ease pain, slow my breathing and vibrations and subsequently calm my mind, taking my focus onto my body and its movements and away from anything that's troubling me.

For anyone looking to improve their physical sleeping conditions, Drift Sleep have developed a mattress made from 100% natural wool. The all-natural sleep surface is temperature-regulating, allowing air to circulate efficiently, and providing a softer, gentler surface to sleep on than your average foam layer. With 4000 innovative pocket springs, the mattress provides a unique kind of comfort, improving your chances of a good nights sleep. Find out more here.


This post was created in collaboration with DRIFT.

Cushions - H & M
Bedding - IKEA
Tonic - Sunpotion
Knitted Joggers - H & M

NEW YEAR, NEW GEAR

Having basically three different jobs and within each, a thousand other jobs, my organisational skills are lacking. I mean, they're there, but they're all over the place. In a quest to control my organisation and my schedules, projects and plans, I'm guilty of overorganising in a way that isn't organised at all. I make notes, but one isn't enough, so I make notes in several note books, as phone reminders, in my electronic calendar, in my paper calendar, on my laptop notes and often other scraps. It works, because I rarely forget things, but when I forget things I know I've written down somewhere, I can't always find it, or it ends up taking much longer than I thought I'd intended it to by the 4th time I'd written a reminder about it.

I'm gradually learning that the more clutter you have the less clear you feel emotionally, and dupliactes of notes and reminders definitely has this effect on me. So this year, I'm taking in upon myself to adopt more focused and functional organsiational methods. I often give myself a hard time assuming other people are far more organised than myself, but I'm also learning that no one is as sorted as they seem, and no one really has it all figured out. Our lives and schedules are all so different and are constantly changing, and finding methods that best fit you and your life is key to feeling centred and in control. Below: a few of my favourite

1. Rectangle Notebooks from Edblad. I find it so much easier to make linear lists, and also love the colours these notebooks come in. They have a range of soft, muted colours with warm, grey pages, as well as a brown kraft option (and also different shapes and sizes).
 

2. Black Suede Weekly Planner from Muji. Super soft with really functional page layouts including monthly views, weekly pages with more planning space and plenty of pages at the back for (more) notes.

3. Monthly wall planner from Muji. I couldn't find this online but there are plenty currently instore (and on sale at the moment as most people were probably organised enough to buy theirs at the end of last year). I love the size and layout, as you can input up to 5 seperate topics for each day, to organise your plans and duties into categories. This one's for the Monica Geller's out there.

4. Eraser Pens from Amazon. Simply life changing. I was transported back to my school days as soon as mine arrived in the post. This helps to keep things neat, and it's also even more satisfying to rub out a to-do item once it's done than it previously has been to cross it out. It's next level.

5. Fineline Stabilo Pens from Amazon.

6. Pentel Felt Tip Colour Pens from Amazon. Pure fun.

7. For other Stationary I love Choosing Keeping's selection.

Find other recent favourites of mine here, here and here.

HIGH VIBE HYDRATION . FUNCTIONAL QUINOA HOT CHOCOLATE W/ ADAPTOGENS

It doesn’t get much higher vibe than this lemme tell ya. If you’re looking for the ultimate hot chocolate recipe, I am telling you really truly honestly no bs, there's a good chance this is it. When I was growing up, I felt like I was on a lifelong quest for the best hot chocolate. It’s like finding the perfect brownie. Bad versions of either are still not that bad, but half arsed versions are disappointing and unfulfilling, especially when you know that better versions are out there somewhere. Your best option? Make you're own.

The kind of hot chocolate you want (or lets face it sometimes just desperately need) differs - just like anything else in your life - depending on how you're feeling and what you're going through. Sometimes I need a light energy boost so hot water and cacao powder - although not decadent or indulgent - does the trick. I often make a quick blend of cacao powder, nut or oat milk, vanilla, maca and a pinch of himalayan pink salt for something a little creamier and more filling as a lively energy hit that doesn't require too much effort. When I have more time and ingredients, I add soaked cashews to make a thicker, more intense option, but recently I’ve become sensitive to cashews (I think stress, or general cashew overdose, or both), and I know many people are allergic to nuts or wary of the calorie content, so I wanted to create an option that was less dense and less rich, and easy to be made nut free (depending on what milk and nut or seed butter you use).

Although this recipe is less heavy, it's still quite filling, so if you’re catering for a movie night on the sofa and planning to down an entire glass of this after dinner, you may have some regrets (and you also probably won’t sleep because cacao is liiiiit). I’d go for this drink first thing in the morning, consumed instead of a smoothie (it is basically a hot smoothie), or mid afternoon if I’m hungry between lunch and dinner, and/or planning an evening workout. Quinoa is so high in natural plant proteins, amino acids and omega 3, so this drink is a functional option to support particularly active lifestyles.

+ Adaptogens are natural substances (often herbs, roots, vegetables or fungi) that help to decrease cellular sensitivity to stress. They go one step further than superfoods which are known as nutritional powerhouses, by actually helping with internal balance, mental and emotional activity and biological calm. I'll share a full post on them and their benefits in the next few weeks, but in the meantime, experiment with the ingredients in the Elevate It list, which I've listed as optional additions, as some are quite uncommon and difficult to source, and just might not be everyones jam.

INGREDIENTS

Serves 3

1 cup cooked quinoa (about 200g)
30g cacao powder
500ml plant milk or water
5-6 medjool dates
2 teaspoons fresh vanilla or vanilla extract / powder / paste
1 tablespoon maca powder
Pinch Himalayan pink salt - to taste
30-40g tahini or nut butter (I like to use tahini, almond, pecan, hazelnut or brazil nut butter)
2 teaspoons melted coconut oil (could also use extra virgin olive oil or melted cacao butter)

ELEVATE IT

with 1/2 teaspoon of one or some of the following superfood powders and adaptogens:
ashwaganda
amandamide
rhodiola
reishi
chaga
he shou wu
cinnamon
ginger
chilli
turmeric
bee pollen

METHOD

If you haven’t already cooked your quinoa, do so now as per the packet. If it’s loose and unpackaged (yay, good for you!) i generally bring 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups water to the boil and then simmer for 10-15 minutes until the water is completely absorbed. Halve the cooking quantities if you don’t want so much leftover quinoa, as 1 cup of raw quinoa will over double in size and this recipe only calls for 1 cup of cooked quinoa. Once cooked and cooled (you can rinse with cold water to speed things along) add to a high speed blender with all the other ingredients. Blend on a medium speed for 30 seconds then on the highest speed for 1 minute, until the mixture is completely smooth. Taste and season, adding more superfoods, salt or dates to suit your tastes, then transfer to a saucepan and heat, whisking, over a low - medium heat. If the result is too thick, add a little extra nut milk or water to thin to your tastes.

Serve piping hot. Top with himalayan pink salt, qnola of choice or any superfoods / spices you used in the recipe, or decorate and infuse with fresh rosemary, dried rose petals or chamomile flowers.

+ You could also serve over ice, or blend with ice, for a chocolate milkshake / slushy option

+ Try also substituting the cacao powder with extra honey, cardamom, vanilla and honey, for a creamy vanilla chai option

+ Try also using less liquid to make a thicker result, which can be used as a chocolate sauce (or a custard if you substitute the cacao powder) for desserts.

 

INTERVIEW WITH CONTENT BEAUTY - 01 . 2017

When searching for the best habits for waking up well, we knew we had to speak to Danielle Copperman. In addition to being a full time model, nutritionist, food writer and chef, Danielle founded and runs Qnola, a range of healthy alternatives to commercial cereals made from highly nutritious, natural ingredients – so she knows a thing or two about curating a good morning, both inside and out. One of the most important good morning habits is a hearty breakfast and Qnola is one of our favourites. Here’s Danielle on her morning ritual and habits you too can hone to greet the day in the best way.

What is the first thing you do when you wake up?

Depending on my schedule, I usually FaceTime my boyfriend in Sweden, and or meditate for 10 minutes in bed. I’ll usually make a hot adaptogen (a natural substance considered to help the body adapt to stressors and bring it back to homeostasis or balance) or fresh ginger drink too.

What foods help you wake up well?

Adaptogens are so powerful in giving me instant energy in the morning. For that reason, hot drinks, tonics or smoothies are most effective in waking me up, and doing so ‘well’. I’ve been using a new recipe for the winter – a hot chocolate made with quinoa for a thick and creamy, high protein drink that fills you up more than a full meal, is easy on digestion and is super rich in antioxidants and pure, energising ingredients from the earth.

What is your daily shower ritual?

My shower ritual includes a quick once over with my dry body brush, then about a minute of switching between hot and cold water temperature if I’m in the mood. It helps wake me up and feels invigorating and energising, and is also thought to support metabolism. Then I use shampoo and conditioner. I spend a while exfoliating my body with a sponge and body wash or body scrubs. That’s about it.

Wake Up Well playlist: Top picks?

Alexi Murdoch, Beirut, Beach House, Zero 7, Drake

What do you do if you wake up ‘on the wrong side of the bed’? Any tips on how to turn your mood around?

Meditate. Speak to people who get you, and who support you and keep you grounded. Hugs, and general human contact (preferably with someone you know and love). Gratitude, and focusing on the positive aspects of whatever has you feeling like you woke up on the wrong side of the bed. I find that by changing the way you think about any situation or thought will change how it feels to be going through it!

If you could only recommend one thing to someone on how to wake up well, what would it be?

Give yourself 30 minutes extra in the mornings. It’s so simple and SO cliché but the time you have to yourself in the morning is more precious than any other time of day. You have the choice and you determine how the day is going to go. You wake up into a new day. Your body is rested, your mind has been silenced and still during the night, and you have the chance to keep it silenced and still in the new day – free from negative thoughts, fear and worry.

If you take it slowly, you give yourself time to do something you love or that feels good (could be going on a quick walk, stretching, yoga, meditation, playing a board game with your loved one, writing a journal, having a longer tea / coffee or breakfast with loved ones, not rushing or putting your body and mind into an instant state of stress and vibrational misalignment), and that sets the scene for the rest of your day. So, time. That would be my advice.

INTERVIEW WITH REFINERY 29 - 0 4 . 2 0 1 6

We're all pretty familiar with the model slashie whether it's a model/DJ, model/actress or a model/artist but Danielle Copperman isn't your typical multi-tasking clothes horse. The Burberry and Chanel face, who is signed to IMG, launched her own food blog Model Mange Tout in 2014 which now receives over 50,000 hits a month and not long after cooked up a line of quinoa-based breakfast pots, Qnola, made from the gluten-free, protein-rich superfood, which is currently stocked in over 30 stores across the UK, including Whole Foods and Selfridges.

When she's not busy rustling up delicious recipes for her blog, at castings and shoots, or liaising with potential new international stockists, Danielle even finds the time to cater for events and create bespoke, tailor-made blends of Qnola for any occasion. We asked the foodie and fashion face to share two of her favourite recipes for spring and tell us more about building her healthy-eating empire.

When you launched Qnola in 2014, did you anticipate it would grow so quickly and that the response would be so great?
Not at all! It started as something I was making for my own breakfast and I never even intended it to last that long in my morning regime, let alone people's all over the world! It took a while for me to realise Qnola was something I should make on a bigger scale in response to the lack of genuinely healthy products in the breakfast market, and even then, I never anticipated people other than those asking for it would ever buy it, or even hear about it.

How would you like to see it continue to grow over the next few years?
I'd like to start exporting to other countries across Europe, and eventually in the USA and Australia as they are so on top of the health game and I think it would fit really well in these markets. I'm developing bars, breakfast drinking powders and some other exciting morning products, and want to grow Qnola into an all encompassing wellbeing brand, not just a single product range.

Although juice bars and healthier eating establishments have really boomed in the past few years do you think we have a long way to go educating the general public on how to eat well?
Certainly. And since there will always be varied views and opinions within the industry, I feel we will always be teaching and learning new things. I think people need to start tuning into their own bodies and connecting with the earth and things that come naturally from it, rather than following trends like juicing and raw food, which at the end of the day, although they claim not to be faddy, are quickly becoming that way - just in slightly more innocent forms.

As a young model did you think you could have/should have had more guidance on how to look after yourself?
Yes, absolutely. I moved away from home at the age of 18 and all I knew about healthy food was that vegetables and salads were pretty much your only options. That, and cutting down on cakes and junk food. However, I started wanting to feel healthier and keep in shape, and the lack of advice and guidance I received meant it took a lot of research, trial and error and eventually study. But I learnt a lot, and now that I know the basics, I'm on a mission to provide useful information, guides and snacks for other models my age.

What's your favourite, quick and easy weeknight dinner?
If I can be bothered to cook I'll have baked salmon, baked sweet potato wedges and boiled or sautéed broccoli and kale. If I have leftover quinoa in the fridge, I'll have that with some salad and vegetables, olive oil, mustard, lemon juice and nutritional yeast, and any cooked fish like mackerel or tuna. If I'm running low, I'll chuck together a broth with leftover vegetables from my fridge, or a raw salad with a tahini dressing. If I'm really busy, I regret to admit I'll just have a bowl of Qnola, sorry not sorry.

How do you balance running Model Mange Tout, Qnola and modelling? What have been your biggest challenges and achievements setting up your own business?
It's hard to run everything at once and the biggest struggle day to day is knowing where to start and what to focus on, and how to prioritise. Qnola is taking up most of my time these days, and I don't have as much time to write and keep Model Mange Tout up to date as much as I'd like to, but I'm always testing recipes in any spare time I have, so new content is always being created. It's just a matter of needing time to write it all up and post it.

With modelling, I have castings, jobs or fittings every week, and I just run Qnola around this. If I have a job, I'll do any Qnola admin early in the morning, on the bus, in a taxi, on my lunch break, or after the shoot. I kind of like that I can't always plan things, because things develop more naturally and I'm less likely to get stressed out trying to do too many things at once!

Where are your favourite places to eat in London and why?
I love Kurobuta for their sweet potato fries and sashimi. I love The Shed for its authentic, traditional, home cooked vibes and incredible flavours. I love Good Life Eatery, Juice Baby, The Detox Kitchen, Juice Tonic, The Juice Well and Redemption for healthy food. I love The Good Egg, Newington Table, Primeur and Jidori as they're close to where I live and have incredibly unique menus and atmospheres. Ahh, I love everything edible pretty much!

. OLD YEAR, NEW YEAR RITUALS .

Coming to the end of a year is a powerful and emotional time. Often, without necessarily planning or anticipating it, we spend time focussing our thoughts on memories and moments from the year ending. A lot happens in a year, hell, a lot happens in a day, so revieiwng 365 in one single moment can be overwhelming. There's often a lot to be thankful for, but if there are things we didn't achieve that we had planned to, they tend to end up being the things we focus on more.
The end of a year, the end of an entire cycle of seasons, phases, events etc etc, is a good a time as any to let go. I'm learning to let go of things that don't serve me, and trusting in whatever i didn’t achieve this year, being left unachieved for a reason. sometimes what you plan and what you think you need and ought to be doing is just not part of your journey. whilst i believe we are the creators of our own experiences and that if we dont work hard or focus our energies on what we want then we won’t get it, i also think there is only so much we can do, and if it’s not meant to be, no amount of effort or forcefulness will bring it to fruition. And even if it does, it may, when you get there, not even be or feel right, or end well in the long run.

Whilst I’m making resolutions pretty much all year round, the new year for me is a time of setting intentions and observing and outlining where I am right now and where I want to be heading. If I could offer you a few simple pieces of advice for 2017 - or at least for this new beginning - they would include being easier on yourself, moving with ease, stressing less and trusting that the universe will take you wherever you want and need to be. It’s not always as obvious to yourself as it may seem, and over planning kills magic, so just let go and get into the natural flow of your life. You may end up with opportunities you could never have planned, and in situations that may not have happened if you'd been forcing the wrong things in their place. Forcing what you think you want will get in the way of the true potential of your authentic journey and what is already planned for you, and may disrupt where your life could and ought to be going.

OLD YEAR, NEW YEAR RITUALS

1 . List five things that happened in 2106 that you are grateful for. In doing so, you will probably find that a lot more than five things come to mind, which is part of the process of you realising how much you have to be grateful for.
2 . List one of more things that you wish had never happened in 2016. Then observe them. Let this bring up any emotions that naturally arise, and then, try to let these things go. Understand how these experiences make you feel (then and now) and start to notice if and how they have strengthened you. Each occurrence is here to teach you something, and instead of feeling hostile and negative towards each one, understanding how you can use these experiences and how you can begin to think more positively about them is a much more enriching and empowering process. what happens is not always in your control, but how you deal with what happens is, and this is ultimately much more important to your existence and how you process things and proceed, even when you feel like giving up.
3 . List the things you didn’t achieve and ask yourself why you didn’t achieve them or why they didn’t come to you. Do you really want these things? Why? Do you need these things? Why? Does it feel natural to want these things? Did something get in your way of achieving certain things? how do you feel about not achieving these things? This isn’t a chance to justify why you didn’t do certain things (blaming lack of time or lack of money etc is not a positive exercise and will get you no where) but acknowledge why they perhaps weren’t meant to be. Ask yourself if these plans can really serve you or make is they even make sense. Obviously, you survived without them, but would you be happier to have achieved them? Were they truly top of your priorities or did you think they were whilst focussing on other things? Did you work hard to achieve them but the rewards never came? And if so, are you perhaps on the wrong track? Are you forcing something that isn’t meant to be?
4 . Set some intentions for how you want to feel, think and live, and what you want to focus on this year, or perhaps just in this moment. Things happen without your planning them to and circumstances change, so resolutions and intentions will too. For now, set down your intentions and manifest what you want, and in letting these things out, trust in the universe and your own energetic power to take care of them and help you to achieve them in all the ways you should. E.G. if you think to yourself "I want to move to LA and become a photographer", and you move to LA but you don’t become a photographer, or you do become a photographer but you don’t move to LA, then notice that this is how the universe uses your energetic desires to bring you what you want but in some cases, what it knows is in fact better for you. You may not know whats best for yourself, and each occurrence is occurring in line with other ccurrences planned for your future. It's hard to make sense of it in the present moment, especially when your attention is focused on something you want, or something you think you want, but once you can understand the power of letting go and living in the now, you will begin to notice and understand the beauty in unexpected changes to your journey and positive changes of the direction in which you are going.
6 . Now list something or somethings that you’re excited about for 2017. Refer to this whenever you feel ‘stuck’ in the coming year, to keep grounded and inspired even when feeling unmotivated and lost.

SIMPLE SWEET POTATO CANAPES

This recipe has been in my drafts for over a year now. I first experimented with it last December, and it was one of the first things I made on returning from two months living in New York, and living without much in the way of a kitchen. It was fun.

I love sweet potato. It actually concerns me more when someone says they don't like sweet potato than when someone says they dont like chocolate. There's nothng not to like, and there are so many ways you can use them. Roasted. Made into chips. Blended into desserts, baked good and other puddings. Added to smoothies. Curry. Risotto. You can literally do anything with them and they are pretty low maintenance. This recipe is super easy and is an effortlessly impressive option for a dinner party, a canape spread, a starter, a snack or a simple side.

INGREDIENTS

2 Medium Sweet Potatoes (preferably long and thin) (can also substitute for plain potatoes)
Coconut Oil or Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Himalayan Pink Salt
Fresh Thyme

TOPPINGS OPTIONS
Nut or Seed Butter (almond, cashew, sesame, macadamia, pecan, hazelnut)
White Bean Cream Cheese (Recipe Below
Homemade Cacao Chocolate Sauce
Avocado Cacao Chocolate Spread
Other spreads or condiments of choice

ELEVATE IT

Elevate this recipe with the adition of one or a selection of the following superfood and adaptogen powders:
Reishi
Turmeric
Shilajit
Cacao Powder
Wheatgrass
Beetroot Powder
Cinnamon
Sumac
Ginger
Charcoal

+ Sprinkle on top of the finished individual sweet potato discs and toppings, or blend into your chosen toppings.

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 200c and line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
Start by washing and scrubbing the sweet potatoes, but don't peel them. Slice into thin discs discs (as shown in the photographs) - preferably no thicker than 0.5mm in height. Arrange on the prepared trays, drizzle or brush each one with a very small amount of olive oil, and sprinkle with the thyme and a little salt. Bake for 40-50 minutes - flipping halfway through - until the rounds begin to brown. Whilst they bake, make the white bean cream cheese, or prepare your own other choice of toppings.

WHITE BEAN CREAM CHEESE

INGREDIENTS

1 Tin White Beans (200g drained weight)
1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1-2 Teaspoons Nutritional Yeast
1/4 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
1/2 - 1 Garlic Clove (optional not essential)
A Few Drops Apple Cider Vinegar

METHOD

Simply place all of the cream cheese ingredients into a blender and blend on a high speed. Scrape down the sides and add a little more oil or some water if the mixture is too thick and needs some help blending smoothly. Blend for at least 2 minutes until smooth and creamy.

Once the sweet potato discs begin to brown and crisp up slightly (they will become crispier as they cool) transfer to a cooling rack. If serving warm, top immediately with your choice of toppings, or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days before serving.

+ For savoury options using the white bean cream cheese, top with your choice of hemp seeds, linseeds and / or chia seeds, Savoury Qnola, greens (such as kale, spinach or fresh herbs), smoked salmon or flaked fish, shredded meat, chopped raw or roasted nuts and / or seeds, grapes, cranberries or other seasonal fruits, chopped or crumbled chestnuts and anything else you're in the mood for.

+ For sweet options using nut butter, tahini, chocolate spread or other sweet spreads / condiments, top with hemp seeds, linseeds and / or chia seeds, sweet Qnola, granola or other sweet cereals, fresh or dried fruits, desiccated coconut, cacao nibs or raw chocolate chunks, fresh herbs or spices, chopped raw or roasted nuts and / or seeds, chopped or crumbled chesnuts and anything else that suits your tastes.
 

YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THESE CHESTNUT BROWNIES

So, although it's practically sunbathing weather compared to most Decembers in the UK, winter is coming, and more importantly, (in the words of Coca Cola) the holidays are coming. Silently, alongside public Christmas light displays, Starbucks' red cups and pumpkins and chestnuts filling my local grocery store, winter is unfolding and I have an underlying suspicion that it's just gonna come out of nowhere and hit me in the face with blue lips, frozen toes (no matter how strong my sock game), and some seasonal illness for good measure. My response will be these seasonal brownie bites, inspired by the abundance of chestnuts this time of year - definitely not one of those ingredients you come across in a recipe that makes you think 'where on earth?!'.

These brownie bites are perfect as a sugar-free snack with full-on chocolate vibes during the winter, and would be well received making an appearance at duvet days, movie nights, cocktail or dinner parties, wrapped as a gift to give or kept in the freezer when the boxes of Celebrations and balls of Chocolate Orange begin to get a bit much.

INGREDIENTS

makes 8- 10 small brownies or 1 dish around 9 x 5 in

FOR THE CHESTNUT BROWNIE LAYER

170g medjool dates
80g chestnuts
90g raw almonds
70g raw walnuts
20-25g raw cacao powder
25g coconut oil - melted
2 Tablespoons chia seeds
1/4 Teaspoons Himalayan pink salt
10g coconut palm sugar or natural sweetener of choice - optional

ELEVATE IT

1/2 Teaspoon of some or all of the following:
He Shou Wu Powder / Maca Powder / Chaga Powder / Reishi / Shilajit / Cordycepts / Mucuna / Ashwaganda

FOR THE CHESTNUT CARAMEL LAYER

100g chestnuts
2 tablespoons almond butter or tahini
25g coconut oil - melted
65g dates
½ teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup plant milk or water
1 teaspoon honey, coconut syrup or other unrefined sweetener of your choice
1 tablespoon maca

FOR THE CHOCOLATE LAYER

250g cacao butter (or coconut oil) (can also use half cacao butter + half coconut oil)
150g raw cacao powder
40ml coconut syrup or other unrefined sweetener of choice
Pinch of Himalayan pink salt

+ Can also use store-bought dark or raw chocolate bars. I like Ombar.

METHOD

Start by making the brownie layer. place the almonds, walnuts and chia seeds into a food processor and blend until they form a flour like consistency, similar to breadcrumbs. next, add the chestnuts and blend again for 30 seconds. then add the dates, cacao powder, coconut oil, himalayan pink salt and coconut sugar, if using. blend for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the mixture comes together to in a slightly sticky dough-like consistency. make sure the mixture is smooth and that there are no large chunks of nuts involved, as this recipe tastes so much better when the mixture is completely smooth.

Once blended, either place into a cupcake or mini loaf tin tray (i use this one) or into a standard loaf tin or baking tray (around 9 x 5 in). Using trays with individual mini sections will be easier to handle, but you can use a larger tray and simply cut into individual pieces once set. Whichever you use, spread the mixture on the bottom of the tray/tray sections, making it about 1 to 1.5 cm in height. Place in the freezer to set.

Whilst the brownie layer sets, make the chestnut caramel layer. In a cleaned food processor or your blender, pulse the chestnuts for 20 seconds until they begin to break down into small pieces. Add the dates, almond butter or tahini, coconut oil, vanilla, syrup of choice and maca, if using and then continue to blend until smooth - about 1-2 minutes should do it.

Once the bottom layer is beginning to set and firm to touch, spread the chestnut caramel layer on top until the entire base is covered. Smooth evenly to ensure a more level finish to coat with the raw chocolate.

Return to the freezer and set for about 1-2 hours, or overnight. Unfortunately this step is necessary in order to easily coat the brownies in the chocolate layer. If you can't wait, follow the following step for drizzling the melted chocolate over the bars instead of dipping the bars into it.

Once set, start making the chocolate. Leave the brownies in the freezer until you have made the chocolate. bring a small pan of water to the boil and then set a heatproof bowl over the top. Add the cacao powder, cacao butter or coconut oil (or combination of both), salt and sweetener of choice to the bowl and whisk as the mixture melts together. Once combined, remove from the heat but leave the bowl over the water to avoid the chocolate cooling and thickening too quickly.

Remove the brownies from the freezer and remove from the tins carefully with a knife or cake slice. If you used a large dish, slice into desired sizes. Set each individual brownie onto a cooling rack with a layer of baking paper on the surface underneath the rack. One by one, add a brownie to the chocolate mixture and, working quickly, use a fork to turn the brownies through the mixture until fully coated. *You could alternatively keep the brownies on the rack and pour or spread the chocolate mixture over them, but I find this method a little messier. Sprinkle each one with chopped pecans or hazelnuts, Qnola or himalayan pink salt before the chocolate has fully set. You can also experiment with drizzling a second layer of chocolate over the smooth chocolate layer, and if you have leftover chocolate you could double dip, for a thicker, crunchier outer coating.

If the cooling rack fits, place it in your fridge or freezer once each brownie has been coated. If it doesn't fit, wait for the chocolate to set slightly at room temperature, and then transfer the brownies onto smaller plates or to tuppaware.

+ store in the freezer, and remove 5 minutes before serving.

GOOD STUFF FROM DECEMBER

DAVINES HAIRCARE

Davine's is one of my favourite sustainable beauty brands, specialising in hair care products that they claim improve our lives as well as the world around us. This time of year, I love this product for dry, brittle hair. Browse their full range of products here.

SEXTANT

A dear friend of mine, Bonnie Wright, has recently released her latest short film project, Sextant. It's pretty special, and I'm pretty proud.

DRIFT NATURAL WOOL MATTRESS

Didn't know that I was looking for comfort until I found Drift mattresses. Made with 4000 pocket springs and a 100% natural, temperature-regulating wool surface, if you're looking for a mattress upgrade or just a better nights sleep, look no further.

STAR SIGN SPECIFIC NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS

A good read for anyone wanting to make more personal resolutions this new year.

ASOS HAS MASTERED DRESSING GOWN CHIC

It's warm, it's soft, it's stylish, it's easy to to style and it's just the right amount of dressing gowny to make you feel like you're still in your comfies, but look far more socially acceptable. Enjoy.

SPECIAL BUT NOT SO SENSIBLE FOOTWEAR

I recently stocked up on some new threads and treads for a New Years trip to Sweden, and whilst it snowed more often than not, and was below freezing everyday, these mule loafers managed to make their way out of my suitcase (and quickly to find shelter in the closest cafe).

PALO SANTO

An all time favourite scent of mine, Palo Santo is traditionally used in energy clearing rituals. People like to clear the energy when moving into a new home, or if there is heavy negative energy in the air, but the beginning of a new year is also a perfect time to spread palo santo fumes, as you set intentions or let go of any negativity from the past year.

EVERYTHING I WANT TO EAT COOKBOOK

A great read full of great feeds, presented through really beautiful and modern concepts, making all other cookbooks seem kinda plain.

 

MILK AND HONEY BY RURI KAUR

A collection of really real and honest poems, written magically and with feeling, Milk and Honey, was gifted to one of my sisters this Christmas, and whilst I follow the author online, reading each page of the book was like reading each poem for the first time again.

WAKE UP WELL MULTI-FUNCTION CANDLES

Last month, we launched the first products in our new Qnola Life range - a collection of natural beauty products designed to help support you in all your Wake Up Well efforts, beyond just eating a good breakfast in the morning. Our first products are Multi Function Candles, made with soy wax and essential herbal oils and can be used as moisturiser, deoderant, fragrance oils and much more! Find our more about them and order online here.

 

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MOONJUICE COOKBOOK

Moon Juice, LA - my favourite juice bar and one of my first experiences of most of the things I currently include in my diet. Founder, Amanda Chantel Bacon has just published her first cookbook, sharing her creations and spreading so much knowledge, light, love and inspiration. If this doesn't get us any nearer to a more clued up and healthful society, I don't know what will.

 

 

 

HEALTH FIRST INTO 2017

Anyone vowing to live more healthily this year, this article will help you out.

RESTING BELLY FACE

Sisters, read this. It's brilliant. http://www.manrepeller.com/2016/08/loving-your-body.html

 

HIGH VIBE HYDRATION . WALNUT, TAHINI, HEMP AND BANANA SMOOTHIE

For me, liquid nourishment is a key method for feeling good through food. It's easy. It's quick. It's powerful. And it's always, always delicious. It's also very adaptable - you can swap in and out certain ingredients if you don't have the exact supplies that a recipe calls for, and it hardly notices once everything is blended together. I start every day with a liquid. Sometimes it's a hot drink (either lemon and ginger juice or an adaptogen dissolved in hot water or nut milk) and others it's a more filling option, like a smoothie, shake or smoothie bowl. I tend to use whatever ingredients I have in the kitchen, making things up as I go along usually. That's another great thing about liquid creations. You can really get creative and improvise, and you almost always end up with something wonderful. It's hard to go too far off track, as you can keep adapting until you're happy with the taste. I've decided to start 'High Vibe Hydration' as a regular feature on the blog, as I want to share all of my super quick and creative drinks recipes with anyone stuck for time, and also stuck for cooking motivation. The drinks I create are usually done so through weary, bleary eyes before I've properly woken up, and require no effort and no real recipe structure. The method is generally 'add everything to a blender and blend until smooth' which isn't really a recipe at all. The truth is, everyone knows how to make a smoothie. It's just the flavour combinations and the ingredients choices that some people get stuck with. High Vibe Hydration is here to inspire and enhance your smoothie experience, one unexpected ingredient combination and one superfood at a time.

INGREDIENTS

(Makes 2 medium smoothies or one large one)

30g Almonds*
20g Hemp Seeds*
35g Walnuts*
230ml Water*
100g Banana, ideally frozen
5g Maca
1g Cinnamon
Pinch Himalayan Pink Salt
20g Tahini
Ice Cubes (about 6)

* If you don't have whole nuts and seeds, use 250ml pre-made plant based milk instead

ELEVATE IT

all or a combination of:

1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Mucuna Puriens
1/2 Teaspoon Ashwaganda
1/2 Teaspoon He shou wu
1/2 Teaspoon Chaga

METHOD

If you are not using pre-made nut milk, start by adding the almonds, walnuts, hemp seed and water to your blender and blend on high speed until a smooth milky consistency is reached. Then add the banana, cinnamon, tahini, salt and ice cubes, along with any adaptogens / superfoods from the Elevate It ingredients list. Blend again on the highest speed for 1 minute until the mixture becomes thick and silky smooth. Serve instantly, over extra ice or enjoy as a smoothie bowl, topped with Qnola / nuts / seeds / fruit.



+ Add one large handful of fresh spinach or mixed salad to create a greener option without altering the flavour too much

+ For a fruit-free version, use avocado instead of banana

 

GOOD STUFF . NOVEMBER WEEK 4

Life is a journey and one to embark upon with awe, wonder, excitement, curiosity, anticipation and intrigue, amongst many other things. Living with a sense of awe and wonder is a magical and enriching way to live, and the more curious you are, the more incredible experiences you will attract and the more wonder you will find in even the least wonderful things. It's an amazing way move through life. The more we notice and discover, the more we have to share with others. And in sharing the wonders of our own experiences with others, I like to think we'll add something valuable and unique to their experince too. Things and experiences come into your life in the same way people do, and there is nothing like timing to bring these things together, conincidentally or not. Never stop being curious. And never stop sharing your story. In case the time is right and you're looking for something I may have, I'm sharing a few special and meaningful discoveries (and rediscoveries) that have found a way into (and back into) my life this week.

STRALA YOGA

Put simply, Strala Yoga is yoga for everyone. Founded by Tara Stiles in response to the lack of approachable teachings and techniques, Strala focuses on using breath, ease and simplicity to guide each individual toward a personal yogic experience that feels good for them. With free videos online, Strala is about knocking down boundaries and encouraging anyone, anywhere, to discover their own personal way to practice yoga sequences. It's a non-exclusive, non-elitist, non-branded and non-businessy organisation aimed at teaching yoga as simply as it was initially intended to be.

BURGS ON ENERGY + MODERN DISRUPTORS

Wise words by Burgs, Energy Fields and Modern Technology:
P1: https://open.spotify.com/track/1JirpFWdmbbgO1e46mlhlK
P2: https://open.spotify.com/track/0mwiXotHiwfoZZ2Z8nRCKW

FERERRO ROCHER SWEET JESUS CAKE

http://www.modelmangetout.com/all-posts/2016/11/16/ferrera-rocher-sweet-jesus-cake

DALUMA . BERLIN

Daluma is a calm and cosy eatery offering juices, mylks, smoothies, breakfast bowls, wholesome lunch options, dinner options and desserts in a non-exclusive way. You don't have to be an avid green juicer, you don't have to be vegan, you don't even have to be hungry. Just go, curl up in one of their cushioned window spots and chill, work or people watch with a functional beverageif nothing else (although a bowl of buckwheat porridge and cacao smoothie is advised).

MY GOODNESS . BERLIN

My Goodness Berlin is a welcoming little food bar tucked inside BeCycle - a fitness destination focussed around spinning I think, as the name suggests, although I was too hungry and uninterested in spinning to investigate fully. What I did investigate was the menu, and more specifically the kale smoothie bowl, the coconut cacao hot chocolate and the raw snickers energy ball. They offer a range of smoothies, smoothie bowls, birchers, chia seed puddings, energy balls, hot drinks, juices and shots - perfect for people avoiding processed foods and more specifically gluten, dairy and refined sugar, whilst on the go.

THE BOWL + GOODIES + VEGANZ . BERLIN

An entire building devoted to veganism, but not in a forceful way. Downstairs, Goodies is a pitstop style cafe offering smoothies, hot drinks and grab-and-go vegan salads and baked goods. Veganz is located on the same floor and is a small supermarket selling vegan, organic and sustainable food goods. And upstairs is where the real magic happens. The Bowl is a 'clean eating' (for want of a better phrase) restaurant specialising in plant based, high vibe dishes. Their bowls are gluten, grain and dairy free, but they also emphasise that a healthy and sustainable lifestyle goes beyond just what you eat and is about making concious lifestyle choices on all levels. Their main aim other than to serve delicious food is to encourage people to live simply, healthily and full of energy by becoming connected with the ingredients of the Earth. I went with a couple of girls from my training group for a late night mug of Macao (hot cacao, maca, almond milk and coconut nectar) and we're going back tomorrow for an actual bowl, or three. Watch my stories for updates.

LET IT BE . BERLIN

Vegan and gluten free crepes, pancakes, burgers and mac & cheese. I'm not strictly vegan but this place is enough to convert me. And it's named after a bad ass mantra, if mantra's can be bad ass.

SOHO HOUSE HAMMAM + THE STORE

One evening last week I stopped by Soho House on my way home hoping there would be a sauna and / or steam room on site (it's arctic outside at this point). And did they? Did they hell. I spent the evening sweating and spaced out in a huge communal hammam room, dipping in and out of the steam room, the sauna and a quiet room which is basically just towelled beds sponsored by unlimited infused water and magazines. If you're not a member, you can visit with a member or as a spa guest and I really suggest you do.

STOW TRAVEL POUCH

I recently recieved a delivery from STOW London - a luxury brand specialising in leather luggage. Alongside their jewellery box (which is now an essential for all of my trips) was a monogrammed leather travel pouch which now comes everywhere with me. It's predominantly see-through making it perfect for travel documents and passports. It keeps me organised throughout the journey and once at my destination is a caddy for my day-to-day essentials, such as bank cards, keys, lip balm and headphones, amongst other things.

AWAY CARRY ON SUITCASE

The only suitcase I will ever own from now on. Not because they have a lifelong guarantee but because they are purely genius.

ASOS PODCAST

This month I returned to Asos HQ where I spent most of my early days as a model, to record an episode for their podcast My Big Idea. Search My Big Idea in iTunes or other podcast hosting sites and apps to listen to my start up story and some snippets of advice. I hope it will inspire anyone embarking on their own start up journey or considering a change of career, and if it doesn't, leave a comment on this post if you have any other questions.

SNIQKERS WITH HE SHOU WU

Our newest blend of Qnola is a seasonal Winter Edition inspired by Snickers, made with juicy raisins, himalayan pink salted peanuts and powerful adaptogens such as he shou wu and maca. It is almost sold out so get involved fast!

QNOLA LIFE ESSENTIAL OIL CANDLES

At Qnola, we believe that Waking Up Well depends on more than just what you eat for breakfast, which is why this month I've launched Qnola Life - our intentional range of functional lifestyle products focused around bringing balance to your beauty and home rituals. With skincare products, aromatherapy products and homeware, our aim is to offer a range of products which compliment our selection of breakfast goods and are in keeping with our mindful morals and philosophies.

Our candles are carefully considered and formulated with specific intentions. Our Wake Up Well Candle releases energising yet calming aromas proven to support concentration, metabolism and encourage a sense of clarity. These products are made from powerful, organic and sustainable plant sources and essential herbal oils and are free from chemicals, parabens, paraffin and other unnatural fillers, making them skin-safe and suitable for your beauty regime. They can be used as aromatherapy candles to clear energy in the home, as moisturiser for the hands, face and body, as a natural deodorant, as fragrance oil, as a natural body scent and even as a massage oil to use on yourself or on others.

ALEXI MURDOCH

Rediscovered an old favourite https://open.spotify.com/artist/25mrbNwFzoqPWyYXLhiDRw. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WB4dAdPu_lg&list=PL7F8DE2C1B876D5FA.
Start with Orange Sky, Breathe, Towards The Sun and Song For You.

WRITING LETTERS + USING THE POSTAL SERVICE

Whilst away from home, I took the opportunity to write a few letters. One was sent to my distant boyfriend, inside a Danke card. Some went to my family. And one will be folded many times and tucked into a concealed corner of an S Bahn station or another public place for my best friend Martha to discover when she visits the city next month. There's something so therapeutic about writing, and something so meaningful and heart-opening about putting actual words together for someone with a pen and paper, not thumbs, fingers and a glass screen.

 

SYRIAN-INSPIRED STUFFED BABY AUBERGINES WITH TWO-WAY QUINOA AND WALNUT CREAM

This is quite possibly one of my favourite recipes, but I might just be saying that because it is one of my only recipes in the past few months. I know, I know, I'm a shocking excuse for a blogger, but I got other real things to deal with, like running a start up (ongoing), shooting music videos in Ibiza (october) and relocating to Berlin to train for 200 hours non-stop to become a Strala Yoga Guide (current). Never the less, I do have so much content saved up to share with you guys and I'm finally organising ample time to do so - so please bear with me and stay intrigued :) In the meantime, here is another syrian-inspired recipe I created to support my friends at Suitcase Magazine, who are part of Unicef Next Generation's #cookforsyria campaign, running throughout November. To help raise awareness, and ultimately funds, I developed a series of recipes, and it is now time for these Syrian-inspired stuffed aubergines with two-way quinoa, crushed chickpeas, pine nuts, medjool dates and a tahini walnut cream sauce to shine.

INGREDIENTS

Base Ingredients
1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa (cook in vegetable stock, nutritional yeast or plain water)
10-12 baby aubergines or 5-6 large aubergines
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
pinch himalayan pink salt

For the Smokey Muhamara Quinoa
30g tomato puree
4 tablespoons olive oil
30g walnuts
3g paprika
1g turmeric
2g cumin
1g cinnamon
0.5-1g chilli powder
5g raw honey
2 tablespoons tahini
3/4 cup of the cooked quinoa and stir in the
40g pine nuts
20g dates, chopped
large pinch of fresh parsley
40g chickpeas, mashed with a fork

For the Plain Quinoa
3/4 cup cooked quinoa
1 tablespoon olive oil
1g turmeric
20g pine nuts
20g dates, chopped
40g chickpeas, mashed with a fork
large pinch of fresh parsley
1g cinnamon
pinch himalayan pink salt

For the Walnut Cream
100g Walnuts
130ml Water or nut milk
65ml Olive oil
Large pinch Salt
½ teaspoon Lemon juice
1 teaspoon tahini
Optional - garlic

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 180c. Halve your aubergines (slicing lengthways) and if using baby aubergines feel free to leave some of them whole. Brush the sliced sides with olive oil, sprinkle with a pinch of himalayan pink salt and place in the oven for 30 minutes. (The cooking time will depend on the size of your aubergines, but baby aubergines will need no longer than 40 minutes, and larger aubergines should be perfect after 40-50 minutes. Keep an eye on them and remove them from the oven when the inside flesh has become soft and juicy).

Meanwhile, prepare the filling and the walnut cream. If you haven't already cooked your quinoa, cook it now. Use roughly 1/2 cup raw quinoa to 1 cup water or stock, which will make roughyly 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa.

As your quinoa cooks, make the tomato and walnut muhammara-style paste. In a small herb blender / nut grinder, measure the tomato paste, olive oil, walnuts, paprika, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, chilli powder, honey and tahini and blend until a smooth paste forms. Set aside until your quinoa is cooked.

Next, make the walnut cream. Simply add all of the ingredients to your blender and blend for 30 seconds on a low speed, and then for 30 seconds on a high speed. Scrape down the sides and continue to blend until the mixture forms into a smooth, thick liquid. The timings will depend on the power of your blender. Once you are happy with the result, pour into a jug or a serving bowl and chill in the fridge until ready to serve.

Once the quinoa has cooked and absorbed all of the liquid, rinse and drain completely. Divide the mixture, placing half in one bowl and half into a separate bowl. Stir the tomato and walnut paste into one bowl using a fork, mixing and mashing to combine. Stir through the pine nuts, dates and mashed chickpeas and set aside. To the other bolw of quinoa add the olive oil, turmeric, pine nuts, dates, chopped, chickpeas, pinch of fresh parsley, cinnamon and salt, mixing and mashing to combine.

Check your aubergines if you haven't already, and remove from the oven once they are cooked through. Use a teaspoon to gently scroop some of the flesh aside to make space for the quinoa. Don't remove the flesh, just push it to the sides of each aubergine half. Now, spoon the separate quinoa mixtures into the aubergines. (If you have mixture left over, offer it on the table or save it for another time).

If you want to serve the aubergines heated through, return to the oven now for 10 minutes. Alternatively, serve as they are (the quinoa will have cooled down completely but the aubergines should still be warm), or place in the fridge if you plan to serve them chilled.

When ready to serve, drizzle a few teaspoons of the walnut cream over each or some of the stuffed aubergines, or alternatively, offer the cream alongside the aubergines for people to help themselves to. Serve these as a side offering to meat or fish, or as a main meal with fresh salad.

+ Store aubergines in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
+ Store walnut cream in an airtight container for up to 3 days.