Elverys Sports #CommitToFit Campaign

I was super excited when Elverys invited me to take part in the #CommitToFit campaign! Basically I was allowed to go and pick up some bits for training (Fist-Pump). The collection is packed with amazing pieces but I’m a Nike girl through and through, so that is what I went for! I chose a gorgeous vintage style blue hoody, a navy blue loose fitting top and a funky pair of Nike Pro bottoms.

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The staff at the Arnotts store were so helpful, big shoutout to Audrey-she knew all the details about every single item I picked up. As the bulk of my training revolves around weightlifting, it didn’t make sense for me to look in the “running” section and Audrey was able to help me pick what suited my exact training regime.

What I love about the Nike Pro bottoms was how light they feel, they are like a second skin and perfect for squatting. They’re designed as a base layer for competition so they are lighter than normal bottoms. I’d still wear them as outerwear but just to note that they might be a bit see-through. (I always wear Nike Pro shorts under my bottoms when I train so this doesn’t bother me!) They’re more midi than high waisted so that might not suit everyone but they don’t fall down and passed the squat test.

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The Nike Elastika Tank has sweatwicking Dri-FIT fabric and a racerback design for mobility. It’s really comfortable and has a loose fit, which is perfect for Crossfit and lifting. I love the low back but that might not suit everyone as you are quite exposed.

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The vintage style Nike hoody caught my eye and the super soft cotton material is gorgeous. I was advised that it didn’t really carry any technical features and it’s not dryfit like the other items, but it’s perfect for my style of training as sometimes I need a light layer to stay warm and mobile. The over sized hood is just perfect when you want to stick in your earphones and get in the zone!

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Notes from the brand:

Elverys’ unique selling point has always been creating collections for athletes and collaborating with the biggest names in sport and this latest campaign is asking the Elverys customer to “commit to fit” and work out harder than ever before with their latest on-trend offering.

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The retailer collaborated with leading stylist and creative director Courtney Smith for the campaign and featured top Irish international model Jude Rea as the face of the new collections which are now available in all Elverys Intersport stores and online at www.elverys.ie.

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Review-Taco Taco, Dublin 2

unnamed (3)When I heard there was a new Mexican restaurant in town I had to try it! I know there’s been a lot of noise around this place as it’s from the guys behind  #Bruchofchampions at the super popular San Lorenzos! I figured the best time to try it out would be a date night with Mr PP as he had been working away in India for almost 2 weeks and this would be the perfect place for a good catch up! I had heard about crazy queues and long waiting times (they don’t take reservations) but I think we arrived at the perfect time, about 17.30.

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It’s laid out in what was previously Odessa and it looks similar but much brighter & fun, It’s all very Kool & The Gang! We were greeted by a very friendly face at the door who seated us straight away and our waitress was over with the menus and to take our drinks order… unnamed (9)

With the theme of the meal I knew I had to try the Margarita, and at €11 a pop I had big expectations and it did not disappoint – it was fresh, tart and the rim of the glass was rolled in sea-salt and lime zest so my pallet was dancing around with the flavours.

It took me so long to choose my food the waitress came over twice but it was third time lucky; there was just so much to choose from and the menu was very exciting in my opinion. In the end I chose the American jerk chicken with avocado salsa, iceberg lettuce, red pepper mayo, fried chorizo and shaved coconut, and I knew I had to put the sweet Potato fries w/ sumac, chilli & pomegranate to the test. I know good sweet potato fries when I see (taste) them!
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As we were one of the first in the restaurant, our food came out very quickly and the first thing I noticed was the colours, really fresh and exciting. I couldn’t wait to get stuck in! The dish come with 3 soft floury tacos, packed with huge chunks of tender chicken and all the works. The flavours worked together so well, the chicken was very spicy but was balanced by the avocado & red pepper sauces that accompanied it. I struggled to finish the third taco, the portions are pretty big in my opinion!

Mr PP went for the Coca-Cola slow cooked pulled pork shoulder with pineapple & green chilli, pickled red onion, Chinese cabbage and sour cream and a side of the poutine fries with smokey bacon, black pepper sauce and mozzarella. Poutine Fries is actually Canadian street food and looked too interesting not to try. I didn’t try his pulled pork (although it looked delish) but the fries were very tasty, like curls of potatoes, that reminded me of those “Snax” crisps  to look at at. The flavour combo was really unique but worked well.
unnamed (13) Although the desserts looked amazing, we were stuffed so defo gonna skip the sides next time to safe room- salted caramel popcorn with peanut butter ice-cream has my name all over it! Instead I finished off the meal with another Margarita which was just as amazing as the first. unnamed (8) The verdict: Super FRIENDLY staff, GREAT tunes, a MOUTHWATERING menu and good value for what you get (there are good deals also) – I will definitely be getting my fill of tacos this Summer!

The Damage:

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Boojum restaurant-Dublin 8

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Over the last few years burritos have become a staple part of most Dubliners diet, with more and more Mexican style eateries popping up in our colourful city. Not all have mastered the art, but one spot that is (in my opinion) the leader of the pack is Boojum. They have something for everyone, and you always know what you’re getting. I was really excited to be invited to try out their new restaurant located in the very vibrant Dublin 8.

Upon entering, the first thing I noticed is the size of the place. The original branch in the Millenium Walkway can get cramped very quickly, and is somewhere you may only eat with a couple of friends, but this new spot is somewhere you can have fun and eat with a group. It’s very spacious and the huge windows all around the building meant that it’s beautifully bright aswell.

Big Space!

Big Space!

In true Boojum style I am greeted by their happy, upbeat staff and shown around the space. I am told that the kitchen here is double the size of the Northside Boojum, so everything is made fresh in-house. The menu is the same – why change something that doesn’t need changing I say! I choose my favourite option, the salad – this is basically a burrito in a bowl, lettuce leaves, Mexican spiced veg, carnitas (aka pulled pork), guacamole (70c extra) salsa verde and cheese. With the burrito in a bowl, I love how it’s all about the meat – there’s lots of it and there is nothing getting in the way, you can dive right in. But I’m sure a lot of you burrito lovers enjoy getting your hands dirty, with the traditional style.

I also got to try some corn tortillas which come with a trio of dips: guac, salsa and hot cheese sauce. I don’t usually like melted cheese. but Oh my God the cheese dip was insanely addictive!! A source from Boojum advised: “The Hard Tacos and Nachos are gluten free (but if you are getting nachos, the queso is not so just choose regular cheese instead” How great is that?? (For allergy suffers please check again instore for advice)

Nachos and Burrito Salad-YUM!

Nachos and Burrito Salad-YUM!

If you want to lose a few hours like me and my friend, then Boojum, Dublin 8 is a great spot. We never felt rushed or pressured to leave – this can sometimes happen in the other branch as it’s so busy with people queuing to get in! The Northside based Boojum is more convenient for me, but if I was looking to have a low-cost meal with a group of friends then I would definitely choose this location.

Burrito Geek!

Burrito Geek!

Great job Boojum!!

Raw Rolos (Rawlos)

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One of my favourite memories of cooking as a child was purchasing the “Roald Dahl-Revolting Recipes” cookbook with my confirmation money. Every Thursday my mam would help me collect the ingredients for a new recipe each week. It was extremely captivating for me as I loved all the Roald Dahl stories. This cookbook helped to bring the stories alive, you could have fun creating delicious recipes all with a Roald Dahl twist; there was Mr Twit’s Beard Food, Stink Bugs’ Eggs, or Bruce Bogtrotter’s Cake to name a few. I literately could not wait to get to the shop each week so I could recreate some of these crazy culinary delights! Unfortunately I lost this book over the years but I must buy it again as it would be fun going down memory lane and attempting some of the recipes again, I think I’d have to start with the chocolate cake from “Matilda” for obvious reasons!

 

Speaking of nostalgic memories recently I’ve been trying to recreate old school treats I used to enjoy. I posted the raw Bounty recipe 3 weeks ago and now this week I’ve recreated some Raw Rolos. I love the challenge in creating these retro treats in a new healthier format, if you have any ideas for future recipes or if you can no longer eat something you used to love due to diet restrictions, then let me know and I will try my best to remake them to suit you!

Here is the recipe for the Rolos- (Moulds for chocolates by Mason & Cash, available to buy in Arnotts)

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Ingredients:

To make chocolate: 
  • 1/4 cup melted (Nua Naturals) cacao butter
  • 1Tbs coconut oil
  • 3 Tbs raw honey/maple
  • 5 Tbs raw (Nua Naturals) cacao powder
  • Pinch salt
Caramel: 
  • 1/2 cup soaked dates
  • 2 Tbs honey/maple
  • Splash of water
Method:
  1. In a bowl over hot water, slowly melt the cacao butter & coconut oil. Remove from the heat and add honey/maple syrup. Mix well and sift in cacao powder, whisking to combine.
  2. Add the mix to moulds until the bottom is evenly coated. Place in freezer/fridge for 10-15 minutes to set.
  3. To make caramel, add all of the ingredients to a food processor and blend until it reaches a smooth consistency.
  4. Spoon a small amount of the caramel onto the set chocolate & spoon remaining liquid chocolate over to cover caramel.
  5. Place in the fridge again for at least an hour.

**Note – these are best stored in the freezer.

Seeking Perfection….

What advice would I give my 16 year old self? Hold your head up high and know that you are beautiful inside and out! As a teenager I was obsessed with being skinny, I hated all my clothes because I thought they made me look fat! Getting dressed in the morning was a massive ordeal and 700 outfits later I would be “somewhat” happy with my choice! My final choice would usually consist of something oversized and baggy-being 5 ft 4 I figured if I can’t be sexy I may as well be cute!

Yep-that's me at 16!

Yep-that’s me at 16!

I’m sure I am not the only woman who has experienced these emotions – Why do we feel this way? Why should we? Do all curvy women equate being skinny with success? Do all petite ladies think that curves are what their future husband/wife seeks? Of course not! The most amazing thing in the world is that no-one else can be you, you’re completely unique and we shouldn’t hurt ourselves by trying to be anything other than that!

Everyday of my life I have heard women say things like “I’m so fat”, “I hate my legs”, “I hate my nose”, “I wish I was like so and so…”, and it honestly makes me sad.  As I get older and (somewhat) wiser, I remember these feelings, and how much time I wasted on negative thoughts. I look back at old photos now and I wonder why I ever cared- There was nothing wrong with me (Well aside from the blue eyeshadow and plaits) but in my head the mirror seemed to lie!

This world would be very boring if we all looked the same wouldn’t it? Social media makes it easy for people to compare their lives to others as we see more of people than ever before. It can have long-lasting, damaging effects. Stop comparing yourself to others and learn to love what you have!

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Here’s a challenge for you: Before your morning routine, stand in front of the mirror and pick out your favourite asset. Be thankful for being you – a beautiful, unique individual. Pick a new positive thing about yourself every morning.

Over the last 12 years I have had many up and downs; going from a teenager to an adult was not an easy transition, and learning to love and accept myself was definitely a journey. I remember being called “thunder thighs” when I was 14. This haunted me for all these years – but now I believe I have strong legs that help me to lift exceptionally heavy weights. I now believe with every negative experience there is a positive, although it maybe hard to see that at the time! I never for a second would have thought that I would do something like Olympic weightlifting (let alone compete!) I did however believe at this point in life- I would be selling out the Point Depot (now known as the O2 in Dublin)  – but you know, singing in the shower is fine with me!

As I close off this post I ask this – what is perfection? My thought is that there is perfection in everyone, but the media gives us a false impression of what people are supposed to look like. Don’t forget that these magazines use pictures and images that have been airbrushed a zillion times, not to mention the articles that tell us who is too fat or too skinny this week. It’s no wonder people put so much pressure on themselves, this stuff is toxic to the mind!

We all still have off days but when I have mine I know my “fabulous” 1950s dress always makes me feel like a million dollars. I put this on along with red lipstick and some sky scraper heels and I’m happy out. Your mood lifter could be getting your hair done, your nails painted, or just being silly, dancing around your room and singing into your hairbrush! Do what makes you happy and know that you are perfect, just the way you are.

My favourite 50s dress!

My favourite 50s dress!

Stress, learning to live in the moment, and some paleo banana bread

Article by Nicola McGillicuddy

 

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Stress can manifest itself in the human body in different ways. It can induce migraines, exacerbate skin conditions, and aggravate digestive disorders. Personally, it can cause my IBS to flare up, not to mention do things like walk 5km home from college still wearing my lab coat (I honestly thought I must have been looking really well that day from the amount of looks I got).

Recently I’ve been thinking about how to manage my stress better in order to improve my health and wellbeing, and have been wondering how much I actually bring on myself. I let myself get wound up by everyday stressors; traffic, rude people, my workload. I can worry about things that haven’t happened yet. I can give myself 100 things to do every day, and if I don’t get them all done, I feel like a failure. Sometimes I actually write things on my lists that I’ve already completed just so I can cross them off – other people do that too right? Right?! When my IBS would flare up, it was frustrating because I felt I was doing so much right. I generally exercise regularly, eat quite clean, and take the supplements I think my body needs. But did I make sure I took time out to reflect and relax even for a few minutes every day? I most definitely did not. I was too busy adding more things to my never ending lists. However, giving our minds the same care and attention that we give to our bodies is vital for good health and wellbeing.

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I’ll explain how in a little sciencey bit. When we are under stress, our brains set off an alarm to our bodies, which in turn release the hormones adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline increases the heart rate and boosts energy supplies, while cortisol (the primary stress hormone) increases sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream and increases the availability of substances that repair tissues. Cortisol also supresses functions that would be nonessential in a fight-or-flight situation. These include immune system responses, regulating the digestive and reproductive systems, and growth processes. This stress response system can also control mood, motivation and fear. Typically, once a perceived threat has passed, hormone levels return to normal. Adrenaline and cortisol levels decrease, the heart rate and blood pressure return to normal levels, and other systems resume their regular activities. But when stressors are always present (as is so common these days), that fight-or-flight reaction stays turned on. This in turn leads to a long-term release of cortisol, which can disrupt many of the body’s processes. We are then at increased risk of many health problems, including anxiety and depression, digestive issues, weight gain, and issues with sleeping. So you can see why learning to cope with stress is so important.

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Something I’ve been working on to manage my stress is by practicing mindfulness, which is the practice of bringing attention to the present moment, or paying attention “on purpose”. We live in a fast paced, technologically driven society where everything we want is at our fingertips, and when we want something we want it now. We are greedy; for information, things, time. We keep 10 tabs open on our laptops at any one moment. We check our phones 6 times while waiting for the bus. We eat our dinner in front of the T.V. We meet people for coffee, but are thinking about where we need to be afterwards. While writing this I’ve already thought about what to have for dinner tonight, that I need to put petrol in my car, and whether or not I should watch Game of Thrones (am I the only one who doesn’t watch it? I feel so left out!) We do 5 things at once because we’ve been taught that think multitasking makes us more efficient, rather than really focusing on one thing at a time, and truly living in the moment. Mindfulness is a non-reactive state that teaches us to notice something, acknowledge it, and let it go. By doing this we can decrease the effect of something (both positive and negative) on our lives, and create a space of freedom.

When I originally started to practice mindfulness, I really struggled. I thought that the goal was to stop the myriad of thoughts that I had, but trying to do that is impossible. I got frustrated when I couldn’t “switch off”, as I thought I wasn’t doing it right – but this is human nature. Really, the only bad mindfulness or meditation is the one that you don’t do. The goal is actually to bring my awareness back to myself, and what I’m doing in that moment. I started off using an app called Headspace (yes, I appreciate the irony of a piece of technology helping me to practice mindfulness!), which I used to help me start with 10 minutes for 10 days – the first day it seemed I couldn’t focus for more than 20 seconds, but like anything, perseverance is the key and slowly I started to see the benefits. Now I try to take at least 10-20 minutes a day to really be present. Some days I can focus, some days not so much, but I make those few minutes a priority, like I do with the gym, or cooking healthy food.

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I wouldn’t say I’m a Zen warrior now, but I’m definitely getting better at accepting things that happen rather than trying to change them. I write a list of the 3 most important things I can realistically do in a day rather than swamping myself and adding to my stress mountain – and I feel so much better for it. I do still do things like accidentally sit on cake, but I don’t think I can blame the stress for that! If you want a starting point for practicing mindfulness, maybe pick one thing a day – making a coffee, taking a shower, reading the newspaper, listening to a song – and really focus on it for those short few minutes.

Today I focused on making (and eating…and eating more…I really focus on the eating) this paleo banana bread – I’ve tried and tested loads of banana bread recipes and this is definitely my fave one so far. Bananas are a good source of tryptophan, which is an amino acid the body uses to make 5-HTP, a compound which is then used to manufacture serotonin and melatonin, two important mood and sleep-regulating neurotransmitters. Use the ripest bananas possible for extra sweetness, and enjoy while doing…absolutely nothing else! Have a wonderful week x

 

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Ingredients

  • 3 medium very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 Tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup/honey
  • 1 Tbsp organic vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup walnuts/chopped dark chocolate (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 175°C. Grease a 2 lb loaf tin.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the bananas, coconut oil, honey, vanilla, and egg yolks.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients together and stir into the wet mixture until well combined.
  4. Whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form, and fold into the bread mixture a bit at a time, until fully incorporated.
  5. Fold in chopped walnuts/dark chocolate if using.
  6. Pour the mixture into the loaf tin and smooth the top with the back of a spoon.
  7. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the bread is golden brown and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave in the tin to cool for 10 minutes and then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Enjoy with butter, almond butter or on its own!

 

 

Turkey Sliders with a courgette bun

According to the supermarkets, it’s BBQ season, however Mother Nature is not getting the message – looking out the window at the grey clouds it feels like we’re stuck in Spring! But does the unpredictable weather stop us Irish doing all of the summery things we love? Definitely not! If you want to cook your dinner on the BBQ – do it, whatever the weather. If you want to swim in the ocean, dive in (at your own peril)!

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I braved the sea on Friday along with friends and I must say it’s quite the experience, and once your body becomes numb from the ice cold water it’s actually not too bad -refreshing to say the least!

Are there any benefits from this? Why in God’s name would we do this to ourselves?! Well after the initial shock, the water is quite soothing on tired/strained muscles, plus I slept like a baby (I couldn’t keep my eyes open past 11pm), and my skin felt nourished and soft. My verdict on a sea swim: everyone must try it!!

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This is the perfect meal for BBQ’s, and can be cooked in in a matter of minutes!

Ingredients:

Turkey Patties

  • 1 lb turkey mince
  • Bunch fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • 1 spring onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ tsp chipotle powder
  • Black pepper/sea salt

Courgette bun

  • 1-2 courgettes, grated
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 3 tbs coconut/almond flour

2 min salsa

  • 16 vine baby tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Dash of extra virgin olive oil

Instructions:

1. In a bowl add ground turkey, coriander, spring onion, garlic and seasoning, and mix well with hands. Shape into equal sized patties and place in the fridge for 30 mins.

2. To make the bun: in a bowl add the courgette, and then mix in the egg and chosen flour a little at a time until well combined. There shouldn’t be too much egg left over as the courgette should soak it up. In a pan over a medium heat add 1 tsp coconut oil. Add a tablespoon of the bun mix to the pan, push down and cook evenly on both sides (it will spread out like a pancake). When the buns are golden brown, remove from the heat and transfer to a chopping board. Cut out a circle shape using a large glass/cookie cutter, and repeat until all of the mix is used up.

3. You can now cook the patties on a hot BBQ. Cook on both sides until fully cooked, making sure not to push down too much as this will dry them out.

4. To make the salsa, combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly.

5. Serve the bun, patties, and salsa together. You can even add some guacamole as an accompaniment!

AIMEE

Bon Appetit…