Sunday, April 26, 2015

Gluten free coconut & cashew energy balls!

Homemade gluten free protein and cashew bounceballs recipe The Little Magpie 10

Since today's a Sunday, I thought it'd be the best day to share this recipe because who doesn't love baking (and by baking I mean eating) on a Sunday?! When TSB bankgot in touch and challenged me to go on a week long spending ban to encourage better spending habits and fit in with their 'being sensible with money' ethic, I thought 'challenge... accepted'. Then I sat long and hard and thought about what I wanted to choose. I really wanted to do it to test my willpower, plus I really need to start learning to save better because I'm terrible, but I knew that if I chose clothes or shoes I'd fail. That's a shameful admission right there, but I had a night out on the Friday and, ahem, nothing to wear. What else did I spend my money on? And then it hit me, BOUNCE BALLS. I buy them like they're going out of fashion - I can't physically walk past a Boots or Holland & Barratt without nipping in to buy one, or five. However, at £2/£2.50 a pop they're not that purse-friendly, so I made a conscious decision on the Monday to put myself on a Bounce Ball Ban (now there's a tongue-twister for you) and make my own from scratch. Obviously mine had to be gluten free (gawd, do I have to mention my allergy every time?! I know) and they're also vegan too, so really everyone should be happy campers! I took inspiration from this recipe by the Naturalista - one of my favourite food bloggers - and gave it a few tweaks here and there to make the little balls of goodness below. And I know that they're good because I kept catching Rob in the fridge 'just looking for something' with little oaty crumbs around his mouth.

So, you're going to need:

Homemade coconut, cashew and protein bounce balls recipe The Little Magpie

125g gluten free oats
12.5g puffed rice
60g hemp protein (if you don't need gluten free then normal protein is fine)
130g peanut butter
1tsp maca
1tsp wheatgrass
3tbsp dessicated coconut
1tsp vanilla paste
6tbsp maple syrup
Pinch sea salt
Sesame seeds for sprinkling

Homemade gluten free protein and cashew bounceballs recipe The Little Magpie 5

So, first up - throw your oats, rice, hemp, maca, wheatgrass, coconut and salt together and mix. Our bloody blender broke the day before I made these - because that's just the way things go in my life - so the texture of mine is slightly off from mixing them by hand. They still tasted as delicious but just, well, don't look quite as together as they should.

Homemade coconut, cashew and protein bounce balls recipe The Little Magpie 1

Once you've mixed these you can start to stir in your cashew butter, vanilla, maple syrup. If you want to be a little naughty then you can add in some chocolate chips at this point. In some sort of magical turn of events I managed to stay strong against chocolate temptation.

Homemade gluten free protein and cashew bounceballs recipe The Little Magpie 12

Sprinkle some sesame seeds on a plate. Once your mix starts to resemble a cookie dough texture, shape your mixture into balls (prepare for those hands to get mucky) and then roll them carefully across the plate of sesame seeds until they're covered in a thin coating. You should have enough mix to make 13-15 balls depending on what size you'd like them.

Homemade gluten free protein and cashew bounceballs recipe The Little Magpie 11

and hey presto - there we have it! They're not the prettiest or most Instagrammable snack (poor things) but they're so unbelievably tasty and, obviously, healthy. We're inching ever closer to summer which means the dreaded swimwear run where you go to buy a bikini for your holiday, hate the way you look in all of them and then run home and weep into a family sized bag of crisps whilst telling yourself it'll be fine, you can just wear a head to toe scuba suit for two weeks. Basically what I'm saying is that these are tasty enough that you'll be able to say no to that Dairy Milk bar, but healthy enough that you can have 'just one more' and not feel guilty. Plus, the maca and hemp protein will give you that much needed energy boost you need to get your ass through a gym session). I worked out that I saved myself around £25 that week without buying bounce balls for myself or Rob, or £100 if I manage to go a month... which I can now use towards some beautiful swimwear. Or shoes. NO wait.. that definitely defeats the purpose of going on a spending ban. Damnit. Saving it is! Have any of you lot ever gone on a spending ban, and if so with WHAT? I'm finding the rush quite addictive.

Homemade gluten free protein and cashew bounceballs recipe The Little Magpie 8

*post contains sponsored link

Friday, April 24, 2015

Insert witty title here

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Well hey there! Me and Rob went out for a walk in the sun last week - note that my sleeves are rolled up, that's about as exotic as it gets in Scotland - so stopped to take some quick outfit snaps halfway through. The outfit's mainly made up of my old favourites, but I'd like to draw your eyes in particular to the shamazing zebra flats I've got on A.K.A the only things that will have me arguing in support of hairy feet. Another newbie (that you might have noticed on my Instagram) is this big shield ring from Tentative Decisions, with whom I have a long standing love affair. I own a few of their crystal pieces already, but the shield collection couldn't be more up my street - I've wanted one like it for years after spotting something similar on a blogger I used to love, so it was a pleasure to come across one that looked like it had been made straight from my heart's desires *cue soppy and heartfelt music*


Off to York!

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Photos taken on Olympus Pen EPL7

And we're off to York! It's a 6 hour drive so I think I'm going to need to go to my happy place to get through this one, but I'm so excited to get there and get my exploring hat on. It's my first ever time there so if anyone has any recommendations on what we should do or where we should eat there (especially gluten free places) then please let me know! So far a LOT of you have suggested Betty's Tearoom so that's gone right to the top of the list. You had me at tearoom... you. had. me. at. tearoom.

In other news, you may have noticed the spiders legs currently residing on my eyes. Well I FOOLED YOU, they're my eyelashes. I'm normally a Bare Minerals Lash Domination or Maybelline Falsies gal, but I had the pleasure of trying out the new Loreal SuperStar mascara and it's completely won me over.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

9 Places to Eat in Iceland

Now, as well as being filled with a million and one things to do, Iceland is home to many a delicious place to eat. A lot of you have been asking me for recommendations on where to go, so for my final post I've rounded up a list of my favourite places. Obviously we didn't get to experience every restaurant and cafes because we were only there for five days (believe me, I tried), so bear in mind there will be some amazing ones out there that won't be on this list. One I do want to mention quickly that isn't on the list is Lebowskis, named after - you guessed it - The Big Lebowski, who I've heard serve up the most amazing milkshakes and burgers. Sadly nothing there is gluten free so we didn't get to experience it (I don't call my allergy the Life Ruiner for no reason) but I've heard it's well worth a visit. Same applies to Tommi's Burger Joint down at the harbour! Ok, my mouth's dribbling at the thought of all this food I can't eat, so I'm going to swiftly move onto the places I CAN eat and recommend personally:

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eldur reykjavik creperie
A lot of restaurants in Iceland still haven't cottoned on to the whole gluten intolerant thing which obviously presented a bit of a struggle for me, so when we walked past this creperie and saw a 'gluten & lactose free vegan crepes available' sign I thought I might just break down and cry. You can get everything and anything on them - I had peanut butter, Nutella and hazelnuts - from sweet to savoury, to ice cream and back again. You can see by delirious expression on my face that I was very, very happy with mine. They also do takeaway too if you fancy something to eat while you explore!

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I think we can all agree that Cafe Babulu is Instagram heaven. It's filled to the brim with quirky little trinkets and details, not to mention board games on every table, and boasts one of the most impressive tea collections I've ever seen. We'd not long had lunch so only popped in for a quick hot drink to warm up our hands, but word on the street has it that their cookies - and food in general actually - are pretty tasty. Make sure and squeeze in a toilet trip so that you can enjoy the Star Wars themed bathroom (who cares if you don't really need when it looks like that?). 

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Ok, I'm about to make a bold statement. This was the best chocolate cake I've ever had. I know, BIG claim. It comes looking all innocent in its pot with a little chocolate square on top, but then as soon as you dig into it with a spoon it erupts with a hot chocolate sauce that melts that square instantly. Cue a wonderful chocolate mess in a bowl (gluten-free too, huzzah!). Rob's not that into cake because he's a healthy little shit, but it was him that actually insisted we go back there the next day so that he could experience their cheesecake again. They've got a huge array of teas and coffees too, so it's the perfect place to escape to when the cold gets too much.

meze restaurant reykjavik
We stumbled upon Meze by accident whilst looking for somewhere quick to eat before we headed off on The Northern Lights Tour. It's got a lovely, relaxed atmosphere and is relatively well priced for Reykjavik. The menu is fit to burst with a huge selection of Turkish food, and the lamb skewers in particular were dee-lish.

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So, the Lobster Hut wasn't the tastiest meal I've ever had (or the healthiest, hel-LO mayonnaise) but the reason I've included it is that it's a nice food-on-the-go alternative to the famous hot dog hut. Again thanks to my body's little gluten problem I couldn't experience one of the hot dogs, so we went here instead to pick up some lobster salad - and a lobster baguette for Rob - to walk around the harbour area with.

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Of all the places to eat in Reykjavik, this one's probably the most well-known. The whole idea initially was for somewhere people could go to do their laundry and grab a bite to eat/something to drink at the same time, and then it just kind of exploded into a cult thing. There's a play area for kids, board games for the tables and a bar made of books. Shamazing, I know. We went for lunch and both had the fish with veg which was around £15 - quite averagely priced for Reykjavik - but came with a huge portion of potatoes and salad. We struggled to find places that opened before 11am when we looking for breakfast, but the Laundromat opens at 8am and has a huge-ass selection of breakfast-y foods, so it's definitely one that's worth keeping in mind for all times of day.

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This was my favourite savoury meal we had here, and we stumbled on it completely by accident. It's incredibly well priced for Reykjavik (well, by any standards, really) and every single thing we tried was amazing. I got the chicken stuffed with goats cheese and rice - I still dream of that rice now, I don't know what they do to it to make it so tasty but my God it was amazing - which comes with free unlimited salad. It's not your usual limited salad bar though, as you can see from my (overflowing) plate above, they've got a huge variety available, from chickpeas and sundried tomatoes, to grated beetroot, to sunflower and pumpkin seeds... everything. It's vegan and vegetarian friendly so there's something for everyone here.

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Durum made for a lovely little breakfast stop on the first day. The food's not particularly fancy, but it's nice and hearty and will leave you full until lunch (or until you pass a cake store, who am I kidding). Rob had the breakfast wrap - cheese, bacon, omelette, fried veg and baked beans, amazing - while I had the 'choose your own toppings' omelette. They're right on the main street and open at 9am AND have free Wifi... win, win and win.

Grillmarkaðurinn (The Grill Market)
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My favourite thing about The Grillmarket was that they had a separate menu for us gluten free-ers, which was the one and only time I came across this in Reykjavik. They work closely with local farmers, who tell them what's in season and it's then cooked using fire, smoke and to give it a fresh, wholesome flavour. The prices are a bit more high-end, but you get what you pay for and in this case what you're paying for is sheer deliciousness. We both had the shellfish soup to start, and then I went for the Icelandic cod with chorizo, tomatoes and caramelised onions whilst Rob had The Meat Gourmet, which is a trio of beef, lamb and duck. It'd be rude not to mention the cocktails too, which were blooming marvellous... although I did end up three-down by the time I'd finished my starter because of this. The decor's been chosen to reflect Iceland nature so, as you can see from the photos, the have lava lamps, low lighting and big basalt columns which add a really nice touch to the whole experience. Bravo, Grill Market!

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Sadly, that brings us to the end of my Iceland series - I hope you enjoyed the posts and that they'll come in handy for any future visits! In case you missed them, you can catch up on my other posts here:

Now, if you'll excuse me I need to go and cry into a family sized bar of dairy milk whilst singing 'Memories'.

Once again, thank you to WOW Air and Airbnb for such a wonderful trip!

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Perfect Pair of Flares

Victoria Beckham black flares The Little Magpie 2 Victoria Beckham black flares The Little Magpie Victoria Beckham black flares The Little Magpie 8 Victoria Beckham black flares The Little Magpie 11 Victoria Beckham black flares The Little Magpie 4
VICTORIA BECKHAM black flares via Trilogy* | ALL SAINTS leather jacket | H&M fedora (similar)

Hello, hello and happy Monday (if such a thing exists). Today I would like to present to you my first ever pair of Victoria Beckham jeans - exciting, eh? There's a couple of things in life that I think are worth going premium for, and that's leather jackets and bags, and denim. And Irn Bru actually; that supermarket rip-off is the stuff of the Devil. I've been on the hunt for the perfect pair of denim flares, my key requirement being that they be drainpipe-skinny at the top and don't flare out until shin level, and I tried on I don't know how many pairs before these came into my life and answered all my prayers. Not only that but they're soft as hell too and suck you in in all the right places. I've always heard good things about Victoria Beckham so I'm so glad to finally add a piece of hers to my wardrobe! Trilogy stock every kind of denim you can imagine - including the highly coveted Alexa Chung x AG range - so I'd recommend settling down with a cup of tea to have a good browse through.

In other news, me and Rob are off to York this weekend so I'm in desperate need of things to do and, most important of all, places to eat - if you know of any hidden gems then please leave me a comment so I can start getting a list together for me and my stomach! Oh, and for Rob too I guess.