August Favourites 2016

As cheesy as it sounds, I can’t believe another month has gone by already! But if I’m being honest, I’m quite glad about this considering winter is over, spring is here, and summer is getting closer!! See the thing is, I’m really not cut out for winter…

Anyway, since it is the end of the month, it only seems appropriate to write another monthly favourites post.

Forever Ends Here – Imagine This

9R00EGwtSome may say I’m a little eager putting this in this month’s monthly favourites considering that it only came out in the middle of the month. However, given that Forever Ends Here are my favourite band, and they announced their album release date a good month ago, it made sense to add the album into this month’s favourites! This is their debut album, and I know I’ve said this in previous posts, but I genuinely love every song on the album. At the moment, my favourite tracks are ‘Fine’ and ‘Search The Night’ (this is literally the most beautiful song you will ever hear), although they are all incredible (not gonna lie, I’ve changed this multiple times before publishing this post so by the time you read this, it’s probably changed by now)! Despite the band taking a bit of time off last year, they’ve come back better than ever so do purchase the album if you’re after some good new music to listen to! They also have awesome merch packs if you buy the physical CD/vinyl!

Heeled Boots

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Boots are a must for every girl’s wardrobe, but being a short person means that I do like to make the most of heels to add that little inch to what’s missing from my height. I’ve had these boots for about a couple of months now and if I’m being honest, despite how much I love the look of them, I dreaded wearing them. This is because like all new shoes, they gave me blisters and I have pretty wide feet, thus it felt like my toes were being squished together. Let’s just say that isn’t exactly the most comfortable feeling…

However, after getting over this and realising how well they go with literally any outfit (i.e. it’s a great way to make a really casual outfit look a wee bit classy), I couldn’t stop wearing them.

20160824_210034.jpgAlphabet Drink Bottle

As much as I love drinking water (does that sound really weird?), I find it to be such a pain when I have to refill my bottle (and this is pretty often because I do drink quite a bit of water). So when I saw one of these, I was like, “I have to get it!” They’re nice and big (1L to be exact), and I love how they have letters on them (yes, I’m a really cheesy person).

It’s also really good because it’s got a clip on thing at the top which means you can easily hold it (I have pretty small hands so if I’m being honest, I do struggle to hold it but that’s the only downfall of this bottle).

Sorry this favourites post was a little short, but I hope you have a little insight into what I did enjoy this month and I’m sure they’ll be more things next month!

Love, Jess

 

Melbourne’s Top 5 Cheap Eats

Naturally, you’d furiously try to find aesthetically pleasing and delicious food to eat when you arrive in a new city. Despite only being here for half a year, I’ve tried more than my fair share of food places. In no particular order, I thought I ought to share my top 5 places for lunch, which serve good food at decent prices (as you can imagine, this is quite the struggle).

1) Le Cirque

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There are two branches in Melbourne (as far as I’m aware of). One in the CBD and another in Docklands. They serve breakfast and lunch, and given that it is a cafe type restaurant, it’s also a fantastic place to stop by for snacks!

This is probably the most expensive out of these 5 places, but you really do get your money’s worth. Here, the main dish I ordered was salmon and it was huge! It was only $22, and given how pricey salmon is at the supermarket, it was totally worth it! The dish was also served with your classic mash and salad.

Now, I am also not a coffee person. Unpopular opinion – I cannot stand the smell of it. But I was feeling tired that day and the past week, I’d bought chai latte tea that was honestly the best drink I’d ever had. So the drink I settled with was chai latte, and it was so good! I’d get it again in a heartbeat!
On a side note, given that it was just a latte (i.e. not strong at all), I don’t know if I’d get a stronger coffee one day.

Also, if I haven’t convinced you yet, Le Cirque has birthday deals if you sign up so if that doesn’t sound appealing, I don’t know what does!

2) Ping’s Dumplings
If you’re someone who likes Chinese food, or even if you’re not (i.e. like me), dumplings are always a hit. They serve many different types of dumplings – from your classic boiled pork dumplings to vegetarian dumplings. And I know what you were thinking before I said this. Vegetarians will barely ever eat dumplings given that the key ingredient is meat! However, Ping’s Dumplings makes the exception and serves vegetarian dumplings! We ordered a plate and they were so good! The plate of dumplings are around $10 and you get about fifteen dumplings per plate. Now, I think I have a fairly big appetite and even I couldn’t finish fifteen dumplings, so this place is quite the bargain and it serves really yummy food!

Before you ask, yes, Ping’s Dumplings does serve more than just dumplings. They also have a variety of noodle and rice dishes, so yeah, basically your classic Chinese foods. But unlike your typical Chinese restaurant, I was very satisfied that Ping’s Dumplings cooked their food in heaps of oil because that just takes away from the taste and leaves your mouth feeling all greasy and gross.

Lastly, Ping’s Dumplings does have a snacks section in their menu and so if you’re just in for a light meal or you’re feeling peckish after dumplings, rice or noodles, I would recommend going for a snack! We had pumpkin cakes and red bean buns, which were delightful to eat!

3) Laneway Greens

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This is your ultimate healthy casual restaurant. Like I said in my previous post, I am all for a healthy lifestyle and so as you can imagine, this is the perfect place for me. They serve a wide range of salads. Not gonna lie, sometimes I am very skeptical about ordering salads out because very rarely will I be served a salad filled with a good mix of veges and protein. However, Laneway Greens serves the most beautiful salads and they are so good! They are also around $15 and so you do get your money’s worth of food, especially considering how healthy it is!

In the winter, people generally opt for something warmer and so I really do like how Laneway Greens serves soup. They also serve breakfast bowls and so not only is it an ideal place for lunch, it is also perfect for a late brekkie, unless you are of course, someone like me, and will be more than happy to have a breakfast meal as your lunch.
Finally, Laneway Greens also serves a variety of smoothies and juices and so even if you aren’t too keen on a salad, do stop for a drink because they too, are delicious!

4) Chilangos
If you’re looking for something quick and filling, Chilangos would be the place I recommend. As you can guess from the name, Chilangos is a Mexican place in the CBD. It’s no different from any other Mexican casual restaurant, but I’m convinced their burritos are much bigger, or at least filled to the max, because I was so full after having one!

You can choose from a burrito, burrito bowl, taco (they offer deals with 2 or 3 tacos) or nachos, and you basically go along the line, telling them the fillings you’d like. It’s a very fast process as all the fillings are right in front of you and so they just scoop the fillings into your burrito/taco. So basically, if you’re in a rush, do come here for a delicious and filling lunch!

You can also add sides, or if you have a sweet tooth, you can order churros as a dessert. Chilangos has fantastic prices – everything is under $10 so if your bank account is looking a bit sad, I’d pick Chilangos for a decent meal!

5) Manchester Press
20160622_130653Despite being in a seemingly dodgy location in a warehouse-type alleyway, Manchester Press is one of the cutest and most delicious little cafes I have visited in awhile. I love the presentation of their menu because it’s deliberately ripped on the sides to provide a rustic feel, which fits perfectly with the cafe’s look. Manchester Press specialises in bagels, both open and closed, and also offer a wide range of other breakfast options such as muesli and puddings. Their bagels are nice and soft on the inside, but very crispy on the outside. This is exactly how I like my bagels (despite sometimes being hard to cut through)!

Now, moving onto their coffee. The thing is, I’m not much of a coffee person and so as you may have guessed, I didn’t order a coffee. However, my friends did and I was honestly so amazed with its appearance. You see, usually when you go to a cafe, the latte art is generally a heart, or leaf of some sort. But in this case, they go all out and make little characters, which I find to be incredibly cute! So basically even if you’re not up for a feed, but you’re a coffee person, do come here for a drink to see their amazing latte art!

If you are roaming around Melbourne and can’t find a place to eat, do try out these places and I hope you like them as much as I do!

Love,

Jess

Healthy Snacks

Trying to find healthy snacks is quite the challenge because what’s on the shelves at your local supermarket is often highly processed, and is filled with heaps of unnecessary salt and sugar. So what I thought I’d do in today’s post is share a few of my favourite snacks that can be easily found at the supermarket, and are healthy and affordable.

1) Nuts

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Everywhere you go, people will always tell you that nuts are a healthy snack, and it really is true!! Fats are essential for our diets, and nuts are a fantastic source of fats! They are also so convenient because you can easily take them on the go (put them in a small container or wrap them in glad wrap). In addition, rather than buying pre-packaged trail mixes, you can make your own with nuts and dried fruit. Now, you may ask why I would say such a thing considering how easy it is to just buy a trail mix packet from the supermarket. However, these are often full of added sugar and preservatives, and so if you want a healthier trail mix, make your own! Also, when you’re buying nuts at the supermarket, the best option to go for are those that are unsalted and not roasted. Those that are roasted will often be less nutritious because the heat will have taken some of the nutrients out of it, and those that are salted will just add unnecessary sodium to your diet. If you do find that unsalted nuts are a bit bland, it is better for you to add salt yourself because packaged salted nuts usually have an excessive amount of salt.

Nuts are also useful in baking. They add a nice crunch to muffins, cakes, loaves, etc. If you have someone who is gluten free in your family, you can grind nuts in a food processor, thus allowing you to use the nuts as flour. Furthermore, nuts can easily be sprinkled on your breakfast, or you can grind them up to make nut butters!

 

2) Popcorn20160621_110308

Popcorn is another healthy choice for a snack because it is a great source of antioxidants. When you’re at the supermarket, there is an enormous variety of popcorn you can choose from. However, the first thing you should look out for is whether or not it is buttered. Butter popcorn will add unnecessary unhealthy fat to your diet, and this is something you should avoid to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Although the microwave popcorn is extremely convenient, a healthier option would be buying whole kernels which you can then pop yourself. You can then season it however you wish (e.g. with cinnamon), but do keep the amount of salt or oil you add to a minimum!

However, if you’re feeling a bit lazy and you don’t want to pop your own popcorn, i.e. you just want to buy packaged popcorn, you should pick any popcorn that is not salted, buttered, or flavoured with knowingly unhealthy toppings, e.g. caramel. If you buy plain popcorn, you can just season it however you wish, which is much healthier than buying already flavoured popcorn. Furthermore, if you’re looking for a particular brand of popcorn to buy, I would recommend The Wholesome Food Company. They have a variety of healthy popcorn flavours, which are delicious!

 

 

3) Fruit 

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There’s a reason they recommend you 5+ a day in your diet. I know that everyone has their own taste buds and yes, it’d be boring if everyone liked the same kinds of foods. However, I’ve always been a little confused when people tell me they don’t like fruit. They’re so sweet, tasty and nutritious! In saying this, if you are someone who may not be the biggest fan of fruit, there are many ways in which you can make them “taste better.”

  • Add a dollop of peanut butter on a slice of apple or banana (banana and peanut butter is a fantastic combination).
  • Use berries and bananas in smoothies.
  • Sprinkle cinnamon on apple or pear slices. 

 

4) Rice Cakes

Rice cakes are excellent snacks, and you can enjoy them however you please by putting whatever toppings you’d like on them. My favourite toppings are banana and peanut butter, or avocado and banana (despite sounding like a strange combination, it is so good!). However, do beware that it is not the rice cakes that are extremely healthy, but rather the toppings you put on them.

 

5) Hummus and Veggie Sticks

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Another way to satisfy your 5+ a day is to cut up vegetables and snack on them. Again, you may find this boring and so dipping your veggie sticks in hummus is a fantastic healthy snack. My favourite veggies to snack on are carrots, cucumber and celery. Often, store bought things are less healthy than if you make it your own. This does apply to hummus, however, store bought hummus is still incredibly healthy and so if you don’t want to make your own, buying hummus at the supermarket is still a smart choice. In saying this, hummus is extremely easy to make and is very nutritious, because chickpeas, a key source of protein, is the main ingredient.

So those are my 5 favourite healthy snacks. Do try them out, and although they sound generic, they are the best ways to snack if you want to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

 

Love,

Jess

100 Questions Tag

Another way for you to get to know me better is for me to give more random facts about myself. I was going to do the ’50 Random Facts’ tag, but I knew I’d run out of things to say. So I thought, ‘why not do the 100 questions tag?’ It’s filled with lots of random questions – things I’d never think of, so hopefully it’ll give you a better insight to who I am.

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1. Do you sleep with your closet doors open or closed?

Closed – As silly as it sounds, I get a little freaked out when they’re open.

2. Do you take the shampoos and conditioner bottles from hotels?

Not gonna lie, I do. Who doesn’t want free stuff!?

3. Do you sleep with your sheets tucked in or out?

Well they’re initially tucked in, but given how often I move about, they always come out.

4. Have you stolen a street sign before?

No

5. Do you like to use post-it notes?

Yes, for sure! My ‘Student Life Hack‘ post has ways in which I like to use them so do check that out if you’re interested!

6. Do you cut out coupons but then never use them?

Haha no, I’m all about that coupon life.

7. Would you rather be attacked by a big bear or a swarm of bees?

A big bear. I know we need bees in the world to survive, but I get so scared of them.

8. Do you have freckles?

Yes

9. Do you always smile for pictures?

Yes! Unless it’s a silly photo of course.

10. What is your biggest pet peeve?

I have so many pet peeves, but the one that generally bugs me the most is when people don’t put things back where they found them.

11. Do you ever count your steps when you walk?

No

12. Have you peed in the woods?

No

13. Have you ever pooped in the woods?

No

14. Do you ever dance even if theres no music playing?

Haha no, I have two left feet.

15. Do you chew your pens and pencils?

Not gonna lie, I do chew my pens. I definitely don’t chew my pencils though because there’s wood and lead and that’s just a wee bit gross.

16. How many people have you slept with this week?

Lol none.

17. What size is your bed?

King single

18. What is your song of the week?

In Our Bones by Against the Current. Do give it a listen and the rest of the album as well because it is amazing!

19. Is it OK for guys to wear pink?

Yes, of course! Pink is for anyone!

20. Do you still watch cartoons?

No

21. What is your least favourite movie?

I don’t think I have one? Like I haven’t yet seen a movie that I really don’t like.

22. Where would you bury hidden treasure if you had some?

Well it wouldn’t be hidden if I told you now would it? Haha

23. What do you drink with dinner?

Water – sorry, I’m not that exciting.

24. What sauce do you dip a chicken nugget in?

Unpopular opinion – I’m not the biggest fan of sauces.

25. What is your favourite food?

Avocados!!! I love them so much!

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26. What movies could you watch over and over again and still love?

Home Alone! I watch it every Christmas, and I still love it just as much as when I first saw it!

27. Any piercings?

Just my ears.

28. Were you ever a boy/girl scout?

No

29. Would you ever strip or pose nude in a magazine?

No

30. When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper?

Uh… I can’t even remember oops.

31. Can you change the oil on a car?

Yes

32. Ever gotten a speeding ticket?

No

33. Ever ran out of gas?

No

34. What’s your favourite kind of sandwich?

Uh, I’m not the biggest fan of sandwiches but I suppose anything with avocado in it?

35. Best thing to eat for breakfast?

Oats!! If you want to know a really simple way to make oatmeal, checkout my recipe!

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36. What is your usual bedtime?

Around 10:30pm

37. Are you lazy?

Haha well I’d like to think that I’m not.

38. When you were a kid, what did you dress up as for Halloween?

A ghost – how original I know.

39. What is your Chinese astrological sign?

Ox

40. How many languages can you speak?

Two, although my knowledge of Cantonese is almost non-existent haha.

41. What magazines do you read?

Health, lifestyle, fashion.

42. Which are better: legos or lincoln logs?

Legos?

43. Are you stubborn?

Yes

44. Who is better: Leno or Letterman?

Leno

45. Ever watch soap operas?

Yes, especially given that my favourite show is Home and Away!

46. Are you afraid of heights?

Yes, and it’s literally the only thing I’m scared of.

47. Do you sing in the car?

Who doesn’t!?

48. Do you sing in the shower?

No

49. Do you dance in the car?

By that do you mean moving around to the music? Then yes?

50. Ever used a gun?

No!

51. Last time you got a portrait taken by a photographer?

Year 13 school photos?

52. Do you think musicals are cheesy?

Yes, but I still love them!

53. Is Christmas stressful?

No! It’s my favourite time of the year!

54. Ever eat a pierogi?

No

55. Favourite type of fruit pie?

Your classic apple pie! But it can’t be too sweet.

56. Occupations you wanted to be when you were a kid?

Doctor, radio host, forensic scientist.

57. Do you believe in ghosts?

No

58. Ever have a Deja-vu feeling?

No

59. Do you take a vitamin daily?

No

60. Do you wear slippers?

I did at home but I haven’t since moving out.

61. Do you wear a bath robe?

No

62. What do you wear to bed?

A top and shorts

63. What was your first concert?

Demi Lovato! And I was so glad she was the first person I saw live because I’ve never liked an artist longer than I’ve liked her!

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64. Walmart, Target, or Kmart?

Kmart

65. Nike or Adidas?

Nike

66. Cheetos or Fritos?

Fritos because I don’t like cheese.

67. Peanuts or Sunflower seeds?

Peanuts! But I do like both!

68. Ever hear of the group Tres Bien?

No

69. Ever take dance lessons?

Yes, ballet when I was 6.

70. Is there a profession you picture your future spouse doing?

Uh, well at the moment, I think I want someone who is in a commerce related field.

71. Can you curl your tongue?

No

72. Ever won a spelling bee?

No

73. Have you ever cried because you were so happy?

Haha yes, all the time. I’m such an emotional person.

74. Own any record albums?

No

75. Own a record player?

No

76. Do you regularly burn incense?

No

77. Ever been in love?

No

78. Who would you like to see in concert?

Against the Current!

79. What was the last concert you saw?

Forever Ends Here, and they were definitely the best band I’ve ever seen live.

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80. Hot tea or cold tea?

Hot tea!

81. Tea or coffee?

Tea! Not a big fan of coffee…

82. Sugar cookies or snickerdoodles?

Um, can I say neither…

83. Can you swim well?

Well I suppose that depends on what you mean by well? I can swim though.

84. Can you hold your breath without holding your nose?

No

85. Are you patient?

Lol I’m probably the least patient person you could think of.

86. DJ or band at a wedding?

Band!

87. Ever won a contest?

Yes, I’ve won a few!

88. Have you ever had plastic surgery?

No

89. Which are better: black or green olives?

Neither! Not a fan of olives at all!

90. Can you knit or crochet?

I can knit! Its actually really fun!

91. Best room for a fireplace?

Lounge?

92. Do you want to get married?

Yes!

93. If married, how long have you been married?

I’m not married haha.

94. OTP?

Forever Brax and Charlie from Home and Away!

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95. Do you cry and throw a fit until you get your own way?

Not gonna lie, I probably have.

96. Do you have kids?

No

97. Do you want kids?

Yes!

98. What is your favourite colour?

Pink!

99. Do you miss anyone right now?

My family and friends, but I’m going home to see them soon!

100. Who are you going to tag to do this next?

Anyone who wants to do it really!

So there’s another 100 random things for you to know about me, and I’m sure some of my answers will be the same as yours! I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit more about me, and have a good day!

Love,

Jess

Date Scone Recipe

Baking is something I love to do in my spare time, so I thought it was about time that I shared a recipe with you. I absolutely love eating scones, date ones in particular, and so I thought I’d share my favourite date scone recipe. This recipe is from The Healthy Chef, but I have adapted it slightly.

Makes: 12

Ingredients:

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  • 2 1/4 cups wholemeal flour (although any flour of your choice will work)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 80ml oil of your choice (I used rice bran oil)
  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup oats

 

Method: 

  1. Line a baking tray with baking paper and preheat your oven to 200°C.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg together until fully combined.
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  3. Add oil and dried fruit, and mix together thoroughly.
  4. In a separate smaller bowl, combine the vanilla extract, honey/maple syrup and milk. Once combined, add this mixture to the dry ingredients.
  5. Mix the dry and wet ingredients together until combined. The dough may look wet but this is necessary for the oats to stick to the dough.
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  6. Sprinkle the oats onto the bench.
  7. Roll your dough in the oats, and then separate the dough into 12 small balls. While doing this, roll each ball in the oats so that each scone is covered in oats.
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  8. Place the balls onto the baking tray and bake for 20 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. To check if the scones are done, insert a knife in the middle of a scone and see if it comes out clean.

Do try this scone recipe out, and I hope you like it as much as I do! If you aren’t a fan of dates, you’re welcome to substitute them for other dried fruits, or if you want the scones to be savoury, you can add cheese, ham, etc.

 

Love,

Jess