Tapas at Kat’s | Chilli Coconut Sweet Potato Fries

My favourite type of meal to eat (especially on holiday) is tapas. Being someone who has a handful of meals they like the look of when faced with their favourite type of book (a menu), a few dishes of different types of food is definitely the way forward. Recently I have enjoyed making tapas for dinner- makes seven o’clock on a weekday in England far more exotic. Tapas, for me, must include typical side dishes and I recently started making my own coconut, chilli and honey sweet potato fries as a healthy alternative to any potato sort of dish you might have at a restaurant.

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Ingredients | For two pretending to holiday in the UK

  • 2 big sweet potatoes
  • A few pinches of pink Himalayan salt
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp chilli flakes

Method

  1. Boil the kettle with enough water to fill a large pan. Meanwhile slice each potato lengthwise and then cut them into thin, long fries (mine aren’t so large in the picture but medium-large potatoes make the best thin and long fries!)
  2. Place the fries in the pan, sprinkle the salt over them to evenly cover. Fill the pan with water and boil for 8-10 minutes- or until they’re slightly softened
  3. Put the coconut oil on a baking tray and heat it in the oven on gas mark six until the oil has melted. Move the tray so that the oil evenly coats it
  4. Once the potatoes are boiled, drain them and place on the tray, making sure none are touching
  5. Evenly coat the fries with the honey, chilli flakes and a couple of pinches of salt before turning them to make sure they all are coated with flavour
  6. Cook for 20-30 minutes, turning them halfway through
  7. Serve!

I like to eat these with my stuffed peppers, sweet chilli sausages and a big salad. Depending on what coconut oil you get, these will vary in coconut-strength and mine gives it quite a mild flavour which makes it yum for me!

~ Kat ~

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McFly Anthology Tour | Night One London

I was eight when I fell in love with four dudes and played their first album, Room on the Third Floor, on repeat, convinced one would marry me one day (there’s still hope…?). So when McFly announced their first tour in tour in three years I fangirled. Hard. Anthology was to have three nights to each destination- each night playing a different album or different two albums out of their five albums. I adored the idea but could never pick between my five favourite albums in the world. So, at 9am one day, my fingers were ready to book any tickets from the London nights. All the nights I could go to were sold out instantly and I spent my day feeling like the ten year old Kat who realised she really might not marry Tom, Danny, Harry or Dougie.

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Dreaming about how amazing McFly were the night before in my new merchandise!

Until a couple of months later Aaron the Saver of Kat surprised me with tickets to night one of London: Room on the Third Floor night. A night that was sure to be a replay of eight year old Kat dancing about to her favourite songs… Just with a few others too. The best part of getting these tickets was preparing Aaron for his night with McFly. Challenge: for him to learn all of the words. So not only has Room on the Third Floor been one of the five soundtracks of my life but it has been Aaron’s soundtrack for the last month and a bit. Suited and booted with lyrics pouring out of his system, an excitement for his favourite songs and fear of “how to dance” when they come out on stage, this Monday (26th September), Aaron drove us to London from Cardiff (where I go to university).

Without, of course, the hiccup of being on the way to Birmingham for a little bit. Oops. Kat-Nav wasn’t on point at the start of the journey.After parking up and literally running with excitement to the venue, we got our spot in O2 Forum and Aaron psyched himself up for putting his learned lyrics into his performance.

And soon enough I put all my Zumba knowledge to show in my dancing along to my favourite band ever. It was so amazing to see an album genuinely performed live- from start to finish; some songs being ones I have never seen live. They continued to play a few extra songs which made me all the more “fangirly.” It will for ever be one of my favourite nights; McFly putting on the most awesome show, as per usual. Aaron and I were both constantly laughing at their silliness and it was amusing for Aaron to see them change up some of the songs in the ways I told him they would (I’d call myself lame but I call it true love). It felt right to finally be back in a venue full of people screaming “McFly’s here for everrrr!” as they performed The Heart Never Lies. As we walked out of the venue, Aaron summed it all up:

“Doesn’t it make you feel gutted when you see how talented they are?”

~ Kat ~

P.S. Thank you Aaron ❤

50 Ticks Ft. Daughter | Brighton

One present I gave to my mum for her 50th Birthday this year was a book of 50 things to do this year. A few of the challenges involve me (it’s a book full of lots of fun- I didn’t want to be left out!) and not only has mum ticked off the challenge to go down to the beach with me and a picnic on a perfect summer’s day and a day trip this summer with me, we have now also completed the challenge of a summer trip to Brighton. It was the loveliest day- one of the best! Check out her blog to see everything else she has completed and what else is in her book!

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When a day starts with cake, you know it’s going to be a special day. We ate one of my favourite foods on the train – my mum’s banana and chocolate chip cupcakes – and then stopped off for a tea and half a cake each (chocolate, strawberry and meringue crumble!). YUM. We then walked through pop up food stalls (at this point wondering if we were going to be able to resist any food… spoilers: we did… sort of) to get to North Laine for a brief visit to some of the lovely and unique little shops.

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But we had an appointment at the British Airways i360, the 162m tall building with a cable car that takes 200 people on board as it travels upwards so you can see an awesome view of Sussex. Despite the fact my mum doesn’t love heights this is exactly her kind of thing and I am so glad she suggested it. Viewing Sussex and all of its beauty from so high up was amazing. Mum and I loved looking at the people below and seeing how small they looked. We had the best September weather yesterday; gorgeously warm, blue and summery and this made the tower even more awesome.

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We then headed down the promenade that runs through the beach, surrounded by bars, restaurants, ice cream stops and little shops. After pottering along and trying to decide where to eat, we agreed on The Buccaneer where I had a salmon and cream cheese salad and mum had yummy fish and chips. We loved that we were able to sit outside, soak up the sun and sip on our Pimm’s… Ah, I forgot to mention that. The Pimm’s was ace.

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We strolled in the sun a little bit more, visited the pier and then headed back to the North Laine so we could spend some more time there. Another one of mum’s challenges was to, while in Brighton, have pictures with me in a photo booth. We got these done which was super fun before getting an ice cream and pondering along to the main shops to do a bit of shopping.

It was a happily unhealthy day (something, for me, that makes a balanced lifestyle even if this tipped very much so towards the cake and ice cream side!) with my favourite person, the best weather and what will always be one of the best places I have ever visited!

~ Kat ~

50 Ticks Ft. Daughter | Isle of Wight

The Breakfast Salad

Recently I have been obsessed with salads- for lunch; for a snack; for dinner… for breakfast?! Despite formally finding them to be lacklustre, I now know that salads are so diverse- easily made into something completely interesting and as filling as your tummy wants! Being someone who openly admits to falling in love with any food that that oozes “ostentatious” (I googled “synonyms for pretentious” in order to make my explanation that bit more fancy!), I am not shy of spending my money on slices of salmon and moulding them into… well, anything. I am currently in love with this salad I really quickly make up after the gym- just right for after a workout.

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Ingredients | For one ostentatious human

  • 2 slices of salmon (ready to eat)
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 35ml almond milk
  • A pinch of pink Himalayan salt
  • A pinch of pepper
  • 4 handfuls of spinach
  • 8 cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 2 squirts of oil (I use Fry Light!)

Method

  1. Prepare scrambled eggs: Crack the two eggs into a bowl and beat together with a fork until there are no orangey bits; add the milk, salt and pepper and stir it all in together
  2. Start to heat a medium-sized pan on a low heat with two squirts of some kind of oil. Meanwhile cut the tomatoes into half and place a couple of handfuls of spinach onto a plate
  3. Add the egg to the pan and leave it until it begins to bubble- then start to stir it with a wooden spoon so that it all comes a part into fluffy balls. Continue stirring until it’s cooked (you may want to break some of the balls into half to cook better!)
  4. Chuck in the tomatoes and two handfuls of spinach so that the spinach wilts and the tomatoes warm up
  5. Place the slices of salmon on your plate- pretentious up the salmon however you see fit! Add the egg, spinach and tomatoes onto the bed of spinach when you’re happy with it
  6. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon all about the place for extra nutrients!

As soon as I get back to university I will be hunting out any salmon deals so that I don’t have to be deprived of this breakfast while I am trying to keep down costs!

~ Kat ~

Park(run)life

I have always wanted to take part in my local park run but since it takes place on a Saturday at 9am and I have work, I just never have been able to. On Saturday, however, I took a day off to celebrate a friend’s birthday and I got super duper excited that this also meant I could take part in Lee-on-the-Solent’s 5k run. It was pretty much a giant party (might not sound like one) because my mum joined me, as well as Aaron!

parkus

My morning went like this:

06:00: glass of water

06:45: porridge with berries and a new glass of water

07:15: smoothie made up of a banana, raspberries, almond milk and water

08:00: banana and a new glass of water

I’m so hungry in the mornings and if I don’t have a hearty breakfast I’ll spend the morning daydreaming about food- not that productive. And I’m even more aware of my morning hanger when I am exercising in the earlier hours as part of an “event.” If I don’t eat enough I’ll get a bit anxious about it, feel more hungry and I don’t run nearly as well… Hence the three course breakfast I had on Saturday!

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As I assumed it would be, it was all very laid back and lovely- although very cold. It was, of course, very different from events I have taken part in because it isn’t quite the same but it was all very supportive. It was a straightforward route and I managed it in 24:29. I am hoping to do it again at the weekend (if I can!) to cut a minute off or so because I got caught up in people traffic at the start. All the same I was pretty delighted and I am hoping to take part in a park run in Cardiff once I’m back at university!

~ Kat ~

The Superfood Bounty Smoothie

I do think this smoothie is an acquired taste because it’s quite thick and really coconut-y but it’s full of so many superfoods and tastes exactly like a Bounty chocolate bar so it’s a winner for me. The blueberries, cacao powder and coconut oil bring the superfood brilliance and it’s the kind of smoothie that I get excited to drink before a workout- just to feel that little bit more smug about getting to the gym early in the morning.

blueberry


Ingredients | For one super(food) human

  • 1 avocado
  • 65g blueberries
  • 35g raspberries
  • 25g oats
  • 1tsp cacao
  • 1/2tbsp coconut oil
  • 150ml coconut water
  • A couple of splashes of water

Super duper easy method: Pop all of the ingredients into a blender and blend! (Optional step: Take a photo of the smoothie surrounded by plants to make it all the more exotic.)


I have been a bit of a smoothie preacher recently, encouraging a few friends to buy a smoothie maker- especially as they can be so cheap. Since I have had my smoothie maker I have been packing goodness into (particularly) my mornings. It’s also made me use awesome ingredients I didn’t use before like raw cacao powder. I don’t really believe in the “have x amount of fruit and veg a day” thing; I like to eat as many as possible in a day. Smoothie makers are perfect for this because a lot of the time, by 9am, I have had four or five portions. They easily increase our “healthiness” so I really do recommend picking one up and researching all the different ways smoothies can be made and incorporated into your life! *Sits down, breathes and drinks smoothie.*

~ Kat ~

I Want to Ride my (Tandem) Bicycle

On Tuesday Aaron organised a surprise trip to New Forest which involved hiring a tandem bike so we could cycle (what ended up as) 24 miles around New Forest, by default getting lost and eating bits and bobs from our picnic. We battled hills, an invasion of ponies (kind of not as cute as it sounds but we did ❤ them) and ended the day with incredibly sore legs but it was definitely one of my favourite days ever.

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me-and-tress

As you can see from the first picture, I am now looking down the metaphorical road to Tokyo 2020… I may have fallen in love with cycling just a little bit. Of course it was super silly being on a tandem bike (my favourite part of the day was seeing other tandem-ers and it being generally accepted that we must excitedly say “hello” to each other) but the whole day was super challenging. We cycled on a lot of road, gravel-y surfaces and may I repeat, hills that weren’t just hills, they were HILLS.

It’s been on my bucket list for a while now to take part in a triathlon in the next few years. I’ve always loved cycling but I don’t cycle all the often and I am currently, of course, no where near ready. However our trip to New Forest has just made me more excited to find a triathlon that suits me and start training. I will now definitely be going on more exciting bike adventures in comparison to my cycle rides to somebody’s house.

Considering New Forest is so close it surprises me that I don’t visit it more often- it’s all so picturesque that it of course sparks my eager “let’s try and be a photographer” eyes. It was a lovely day for cycling past horses, deer and lots of green trees. We ended the day in a lot of satisfying pain and knowing that we need to do outdoorsy things more often… And we most certainly learnt that we need to work on our navigation skills, we realised, after getting lost for an hour and a half… Oops.

~ Kat ~

Anything Boys can do…

There is so much that could be covered in this post so what I talk about is by no means an exhaustive list of thoughts. My thoughts are being “more thought about” today, though, because of something that was said to me on Sunday. I was at the gym and training my triceps on the functional trainer and a member of staff approached me and said, “You do that better than most men; your form is perfect.”

pitchhhhh

Immediately I was super chuffed, despite a slight frustration at the back of my mind that I needed to confront. I was so delighted I tweeted about it! He continued to tell me I was doing awesomely and truly and honestly I will always be so happy he told me. It’s so great to feel confident about something like exercise and his words gave me a boost. Then, as I went from exercise to exercise I approached my slight feeling of dismay. And when I excitedly messaged my gym buddy, Tarryn, about what had happened, she replied with exactly what I was frustrated about: “Ugh how annoying they are expecting you to be worse than men.”

My philosophy has always been anything boys can do I can do better. This doesn’t mean I think I’ll beat those of the male kind in everything or that I’m disappointed when I don’t. It’s just the mindset I go by. It makes me work hard and I’m more likely to excel- in all areas but especially sport. I just never have and never will approach something assuming I’ll “lose” because I’m against a guy/it’s a stereotypically male sport/if I were a boy I’d be expected to be better. I won’t let my gender limit me and although I have experienced sexism I am lucky to have never felt held back by it. I have an older brother and although he is less competitive than me, we do have sibling competitiveness and this has been a brilliant thing for me. Sometimes I win, sometimes I lose. We often play badminton and he has currently got the most wins but I’ll be happy to remind him that I have beaten him the last three times we’ve played tennis! He might be a dude, but I am more than capable of being just like him! (And he’s all right so I wouldn’t mind being just like him.)

One of my memories from junior school is a PE lesson where we trained for cross country. We were just to run or walk as we wanted to around the route. I took up the challenge of running alongside the two fastest boys in my year. I remember being very tomato-coloured but keeping up happily all the same. I also remember being part of an after school club where we timed our 400m runs and I challenged my quick male friend to beat me and, well, *humbly blushes*, I won. What needs to be noted is that it shouldn’t be a generally accepted societal custom that “The man will win because… gender.” Surely it’s obvious that it simply isn’t a valid reason- there is no logic behind this. It’s ignorant and entirely dumb.

The point of this post isn’t to prove I am better than guys: my brother is better than me at badminton and my boyfriend is a faster runner than I am. I am of course not better than every guy I know at any said sport; I am of course not better than every girl I know at any said sport. All the same, I played badminton with my friend at the weekend and I would say she is a very similar level as my brother and likewise, I can run for longer than Aaron could. This idea that males are automatically better at sport than females “just because” exists for social reasons. Girls and women are expected to be less interested in sport (something I’ll probably cover another time) and less sporty than boys and men. This can’t exist biologically- it must be born from social expectations. From this comes the seemingly “natural” conclusion that boys win. Girls lose.

Maybe our best secret is that we never lose *smiles evily.*

Having said all of this I don’t believe this guy from the gym is sexist. I don’t know him, of course, but his comment wasn’t intended to be sexist. It was intended as a comment of approval, to motivate me and I am delighted at his comment. What he was commenting on was my form and how I’d understood how to get the most out of the exercise *major chuffed face.* But I am still a little uneasy about it. The foundation of part of his comment comes from a place where females aren’t expected to be strong, fit and good at sport (not that he was calling women weak, unfit and rubbish at sport). And this attitude needs to be changed globally.  It does need to be considered that the exercise is, I think, stereotypically male but then that of course begs the question of why? Why do fewer women do these types of exercises? Maybe we could analyse the “most” part of the comment (I’m not expecting to be better at this exercise than most men OR WOMEN!) but it does give me a kick that on a stereotypically male exercise I “do it better than most men.”

Conclusion: This inherent expectation that males must be better because of this gender has to just vanish now. A male might be better than a female at a particular sport and that’ll be because of their skill and/or strength etc. Not because “females just suck at sport.” And if you still think it’s reason enough than I’ll give you a run for your money ;).

~ Kat ~

The Aaron-Friendly Smoothie

When I first got my smoothie machine I really wanted my boyfriend, Aaron to enjoy making them with me. However, a lot of smoothies I make involve bananas- meet Aaron who despises bananas more than anyone I have ever met. Despite a lot of people I know finding that they can’t taste the banana in a smoothie or they’re happy to ignore it, Aaron couldn’t agree less. So I took the challenge upon myself to make up a smoothie that Aaron would adore. Even though it’s a slightly less appealing colour than normal, Aaron looked super happy upon taking the first few sips.

AARON SMOOTHIE.jpg


Ingredients | For one banana-hater

  • 1 avocado
  • 8 strawberries
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 14 frozen raspberries
  • 1/2 handful of spinach
  • 110ml orange juice
  • 80ml coconut water
  • 130ml water
  • A few sprinkles of chia seeds

Method

ONE: Fruit and veg

  • Cut the avocado in half (twisting to break apart is probably necessary) and cut the creamy green deliciousness into smaller chunks. Chuck into blender
  • Cut the greenery off of the strawberries and chop them in half. Chuck this all in your blender
  • Squeeze half of a lemon into the blender
  • Throw in about 14 frozen raspberries for the yummy smoothie coldness
  • Stuff a handful of spinach in for Popeye-goodness

TWO: Liquids

  • Pour in all of the liquids
  • If you aren’t a fan of coconut but would like to include it into your diet because coconut water is so so good for you, the orange juice hides the flavour which Aaron was happy about! Adjust the levels of liquids to how you like it!
  • BLEND!

THREE: Serving

  • Add chia seeds to the top for extra protein and a mixture of crunchy-ness and jelly-ness where the seeds meet the water!
  • I often make a lot of smoothie which I like and Aaron was more than happy to devour it all yesterday, filling up when needed

This is a super simple and easy smoothie that if Aaron likes, we all must like! It’s full of flavour and quite generic-smoothie tasting without any banana. I think I’m going to take it on myself to make a lot of smoothies Aaron might like too for the ultimate taste-test!

~ Kat ~

50 Ticks Ft. Daughter | Isle of Wight

For my mum’s 50th Birthday I made her a book full of 50 things to do in the next year. It involves challenges like learning how to skip, running the Great South Run and taking up a sewing project. My mum has an awesome blog which explains it more: 50 Ticks. We have already completed the challenge that involved my mum making up a picnic and us eating it on a perfect summer’s day! On Sunday my mum and I completed challenge 23: day trip with your daughter this summer. My mum decided on a day to the Isle of Wight and so to the Isle of Wight is where we went!

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After a short (and cheap- thank you Tesco vouchers!) trip across the ferry and a bumpy train trip, mum and I ended up in Shanklin. Despite the sky being covered in grey skies, we were smiling sunshine and it definitely wasn’t cold! After my mum liked the look of Shanklin Chine in an Isle of Wight magazine, we pondered down the promenade, getting just a bit excited about the lovely-looking bars, restaurants and cafes before ending up at the place centred with winding pathways surrounded by trees, waterfalls and lovely little animals I became best friends with. We weren’t really sure what we were heading into as we bought our tickets for Shanklin Chine but we had a super lovely time.

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beach

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cream-tea

After taking silly photos and having the loveliest walk around, mum and I had a chill on the beach with our chicken sandwiches. Still a bit peckish we headed towards our main, happily unhealthy goal of the day: find a cream tea. After analysing all of the beautiful places to have our afternoon treat, we went to the Waterfront Bar. With a super talented musician singing away our afternoon we had a delicious Sunday relaxing hour or so.

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sandown

We ended our lovely trip by taking a super long walk down to Sandown. The pathway was dotted with lovely little beach houses (cementing my goal to one day own one!) and dogs to make us go “AW!” It’s safe to say we were impressed to have walked so far and being keen walkers (particularly my mum) we felt like it rounded up a great day rather triumphantly. Isle of Wight made for a very good friend on Sunday and I am most certainly wanting to return soon!

I’m looking forward to other adventures with my mum- some in this book I made her and some not. My favourite days will always be those where I get to see my mum, although I expect hers involving me are her least favourite! (Joking… I hope!)

~ Kat ~