How does your routine affect your diet?

Recently I’ve started working from home for 3 out of 5 days of the working week. At first, I thought this was amazing. I thought I could go to the gym as normal in the morning then workout in-between emails, with my weights and yoga mat by my side all day and eat nothing but healthy, wholesome food. Yeah… that didn’t happen. I started going to the gym a bit later (if at all) to avoid those 5:30am alarms and when I got back all I wanted to do (and still want to do) is eat. I sometimes remember to do a bit of exercise in my living room when it gets quiet, but it mostly consists of about 5 squats, a 20 second plank then 10 minutes spent pondering whether I’ve already eaten lunch or not. I mean, I know I don’t have to be permanently exercising, but I thought I would most definitely be incorporating more exercise into my daily routine with the freedom of working from home.

There’s something about being stuck at home – that is, being confined to the four walls of your home because you are, after all, meant to be working – and being permanently hungry. Especially when the weather is as miserable as it is today….

A miserable outlook over Brisbane today

Maybe it’s just a British thing, but seeing those dull, grey skies teaming down with rain makes me want to grab a nice, steamy cup of tea and eat a slice of cake (I did make a sugar-free, gluten-free orange cake recently). Thankfully, in Brisbane, the rain is more of an anomaly than a recurrence, so this doesn’t happen often. However, when I am working from home I’m completely missing my routine, more simply because I am my own decision maker. I decide when I get out of bed (to an extent) and when I eat lunch and even when I get dressed (today I only got dressed because someone was meant to be coming to check the fire alarms). In your standard office environment, you are expected to turn up on time, eat lunch around, well, lunchtime and you aren’t accompanied by your fridge or food cupboards.

Gluten-free & sugar-free orange cake (presentation in progress!)

Some office environments come with their own temptations, such as the glorious office biscuit stash, however I’m not subjected to this torment as I can’t eat them unless I buy myself gluten-free ones (yes, I usually order the office supplies). Then there’s going out for lunch and walking past all those delicious smells and people scoffing burgers and fries right in front of you. Well, again, I can’t eat most of those things so it’s not an issue. A bigger issue for me is living above a supermarket, one that I often walk past on the way back from the gym and go ‘oh I need something’ then coming back with 20 things I didn’t actually need – especially if I see gluten-free items on special as they’re usually so damn expensive.

Today’s lunch: Sweet potato hash, egg, halloumi, rocket & basil oil dressing

On my ‘office days’ I’m usually pretty good. I get up at 5:30am and go to the gym, I prep a healthy lunch and take healthy snacks. I even sometimes fit in a 20 minute workout when I get home. This sounds more manic but it actually makes me feel more energetic, more switched on and I can sleep easier at the end of the day because I’m physically and mentally tired. Currently, this type of routine isn’t happening on my days working from home. My timings are all over the place and it’s not doing my body or mind a lot of good. It’s also confusing the cat, a lot (she gets grumpy because I eat lunch without her).

So, my plan is to map out a routine for my days at home. Set regular times to go to the gym, eat breakfast and lunch etc and continue to prep my food so I’m less liable to snacking. I may even to bake a few healthy treats if I spare myself some time.

Do you work from home? Do you find a set routine helps with your eating habits and motivation? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Happy reading 🙂

A day out at Bradgate Park

Bradgate Park is one of those places we visited often as kids and fills me full of nostalgia every time I visit. Located in the heart of the Charnwood Forest in Leicestershire, just 20 minutes from our family home, Bradgate Park makes for a great day out especially during the warmth of summer,  although we often braved the cold and visited on Boxing Day as a family tradition.

Bradgate Park

The park itself is thought to date back to the 11th century where it was first mentioned as a deer park, covering around 850 acres of countryside in the Charnwood Forest. The vast open spaces made it ideal for hunting deer and the park was eventually enclosed with wooden fences and ditches in around the 12th-13th century. Today, the majority of the park is designed for deer to roam freely,  although they tend to steer clear of the more traversed areas.

Today’s map of Bradgate Park

Throughout its history, Bradgate Park was acquired by several noble families and houses, the most famous of which was the Grey family who retained the park for around 500 years. The Grey family constructed Bradgate House as a private residence inside the park, whose construction was thought to be completed in the 1500s and whose ruins can still be seen today. Bradgate House was thought to be the home or at the least the birth place of Lady Jane Grey during the Grey family’s acquisition. The great grand-daughter of Henry VIII, Lady Jane Grey and was famously known as the ‘Nine Days Queen’ – quickly deposed of her rule and subsequently executed for treason in 1554 by the Roman Catholic Queen Mary.

The ruins of Bradgate House

Bradgate Park is a fine example of historic English countryside with vast open spaces covered in dense fern and bracken in the summer, surrounded by pockets of woodland, scrub, rocky hills and outcrops with the River Lin gently flowing through. Some of the twisted and eerie oak trees are thought to date back almost 500 years, although some have unfortunately suffered from recent fires and have been left blackened and charred. If you’re lucky enough, you may spot some of the park’s famous deer. Known for being shy creatures, the deer are often spotted in herds peacefully grazing away at a distance from the visiting crowds.

A few swans enjoying the River Lin

My last visit to Bradgate Park was in March of this year, just after the first round of snow from the ‘Beast from the East’. Desperate to get out of the house, we headed to Bradgate Park on a fine but brisk sunny day. Since we visited mid-week, we missed the usual crowds of visitors and enjoyed a tranquil stroll before the freezing winds took hold.

My Dad and I enjoying the sunshine!

We decided to grab a spot of lunch in the surrounding village of Newtown Linford at a charming country pub aptly named The Bradgate. With its cosy decor and smoky open fires (not lit when we visited), The Bradgate creates a delightful atmosphere fitting with the history of the park and surrounding areas.

The Bradgate’s charming decor

Luckily for me, their lunch menu consisted of an array of gluten-free options. Already on a break from my somewhat healthy Australian diet, I opted for a gluten-free chicken burger with a side of skinny fries and a glass of my favourite Riesling (why not). Dad opted for a classic beef burger which he was pretty impressed with – a good sign since he’s usually somewhat of a food critic! The gluten-free chicken burger was delicious and the bun held together for the most part. The crispy fries came in a generous portion and were the perfect accompaniment.

The Bradgate: Gluten-free chicken burger and fries

An avid fan of ale, Dad ordered a pint of Tiger Copper Ale which is brewed locally by Everards of Leicestershire (you learn something knew everyday!) Unfortunately the ale is not gluten-free, though perhaps they will add an option to their range soon.

Tiger Copper Ale brewed right here in Leicestershire

The great thing about The Bradgate is it celebrates local produce, even listing where it sources some of its ingredients on a large display in the dining area. They have an open stone-baked pizza oven for fresh pizza cooked right before your eyes (and yes they do gluten-free pizza bases!) Continuing with the indulgent theme, we ordered desserts to share – one chocolate mousse cake and one chocolate chip ice-cream sundae (ensure you specify gluten-free when ordering). The chocolate chip sundae was to die for and although the mousse on the cake was creamy and delicious the base was a bit too nutty and bitter for my liking.

The Bradgate: Indulgent Gluten-free Desserts

Overall, we had a splendid day out enjoying the very best the Leicestershire countryside has to offer.

If you’re planning on visiting Bradgate Park, be sure to check out opening times and park announcements here.

Happy reading! 🙂

I’m back!

Hello world! I can only apologise for the lack of posts (I mean, what’s 2 years between friends?) but I’m determined to get the blog back up and running with some regular content for my fellow readers.

So, what’s happened in 2 years? Well, a lot actually. I travelled to Sri Lanka, India, Myanmar and Laos on the way back to my beloved Australia; my long-term relationship ended and a new one has begun (hopefully also long-term); I’m on a quest to stay in Australia permanently and am currently undergoing the visa application process; and I’ve moved several times, not including in-between countries. Oh, and I’ve also acquired a cat. Phew! Time really has flown.

Overlooking the temples of Old Bagan, Myanmar

Note: I’ve just got back from a trip home to England for 3 weeks and am currently in my apartment in Brisbane, at 4am, writing this blog post whilst eating Schar Gluten Free Milk Chocolate Nobbles, drinking tea and being shaded by the cat for being up at such an ungodly hour.

Unimpressed with my jetlag. Introducing the cat with no face

Life’s thrown a lot of curveballs in the past two years and I’ve gone along with most of them – sometimes without choice and sometimes with somewhat of a desire for change. Approaching 30 I’m at the point in my life where I’m less phased by blocks in the road and am more open to trying something different. Some of these blocks or curveballs are incredibly sad and difficult to deal with (for example my Grandfather passing away just 2 weeks before I made it back to the UK) but some are also incredibly exciting and are leading to brand new chapters in my life (for example my new relationship). C’est la vie.

Why am I back? Writing a blog is something that I’ve always wanted to do (which can be seen by just how many different blogs I have) but I’m also terrible at finishing things (which can also be seen by just how many different blogs I have *hides face in shame*). One thing that has remained my passion throughout has always been food. If you’ve read the About Me page then you’ll know how my Coeliac diagnosis affected my diet and my lifestyle – mostly for the better. So, I’ll continue to update you with my delicious gluten-free discoveries, recipes and anything else that might be worth writing about. I’m determined to stick at it, keep motivated and treat my body and mind with the respect it so deserves.

Happy reading 😊

Valentine’s Gluten Free Chocolate Trifle

Instead of going out for a fancy meal this Valentine’s Day, we decided to make one for ourselves. Dessert consisted of a delicious chocolate trifle with some added fruit to cut through the richness of the chocolate and cream. The recipe below can be adapted to an easier version by simply buying pre-made gluten free shortbread and cake. However, if you have the time, making your own is much more satisfying.

Gluten Free Chocolate Trifle

For the chocolate cake (cupcakes):
15g gluten free self-raising flour (I use Doves Farm)
15g cocoa powder
30g caster sugar
30g butter or margarine
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 tbsp milk (if the mixture is too thick)

For the shortbread (optional):
175g plain flour
75g caster sugar
175g butter
75g polenta
2 tbsp milk (optional)

For the layers:
1/2 tin of nectarines in syrup
2-3 ripe strawberries
75g melted chocolate
100g soft cream cheese
150ml double cream

1) Preheat the oven to 180C. Make the cupcakes by combining the ingredients together to make a thick cake batter. Pour into individual cupcake cases and bake in the oven at 180C for around 12 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack or plate to cool.
2) Turn the oven down to 150C. Make the shortbread by combining the ingredients (except the milk) in a bowl and rubbing together with your fingers to form a crumb. If the mixture does not combine to form a ball of dough, add a couple of tablespoons of milk until the dough is just wet enough to form a ball. Grease a round cake tin and press the dough into the tin. Bake in the oven for around 25-30 minutes at 150C until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
3) Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of boiling water or microwave on a low heat until just melted. Stir the melted chocolate into the cream cheese and set aside. Whip the double cream until it forms soft peaks (best achieved with an electric mixer).
4) Start to layer your trifle. You can either layer into individual glasses (I got mine for 99p from a charity shop!) or you can use a larger glass dish to showcase the different layers.
Here’s how I layered mine:
– Slice the cupcakes in half horizontally and place at the bottom
– Add a layer of nectarines and some of the juices (or add a tablespoon of orange juice)
– Add a layer of the chocolatey cream cheese
– Add a layer of sliced strawberries
– Another layer of cupcake
– Another layer of nectarines
– More chocolate cream cheese
– Top with a layer of whipped double cream and crumbed shortbread with a heart-shaped strawberry slice.

Trifle Collage

This recipe made 3 glasses of trifle but could’ve stretched to 4 by adding more thinner layers.

Best served chilled by candlelight!

Gluten-free Cocoa Energy Balls

I’ve seen these little balls all over the internet and decided to try some for myself, however the majority of recipes use really expensive and hard-to-find ingredients so I decided to try a more affordable version. These energy balls are low in fat, affordable and packed with energy-boosting ingredients for a little lift when you need it most.
For this recipe, you’ll need a blender or a mini-chopper to make your own almond butter. This step takes a while but will make enough almond butter for 2 batches of balls. The more almonds you use, the more almond butter you’ll get!

Gluten-free Energy Balls

100g almonds
2 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup honey (Vegans can use maple syrup)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup gluten free oats
Pinch of salt


  1. First you will need to make your own almond butter. This takes a bit of patience but is worth it for the money-saving value! Evenly spread the almonds onto a baking tray (preferably lined with grease-proof paper) and roast in the oven at 180C for around 10 minutes until the almonds puff up and the oil starts to release. Take out of the oven to cool.
  2. Once cooled, add 1/3 of the almonds into your food processor and blend away! You will need to keep stopping every minute or so to scrape the almonds off the sides. Keep adding the remaining almonds in a bit at a time and blend until you achieve a smooth buttery paste.
  3. In a saucepan, melt the almond butter, vanilla and honey on a low heat. Once melted, add to the gluten-free oats in a large bowl and combined. Add the salt and chia seeds and mix together thoroughly until all the ingredients are combined.
  4. Roll the mixture into small 3-4cm balls and store in a air-tight container.

Perfect for a little afternoon boost!

Indulgent Lemon Curd Cake


Sometimes you just need something a little indulgent to get you through the day. This deliciously moist and flavorsome lemon curd cake is simple to make and is best served warm with a dash of cream.


170g Gluten free self raising flour
1 tsp Baking powder
120g Butter or margarine
1 Egg
170g Caster Sugar
2-3 tbsp Milk
2-3 tbsp Lemon Curd
1 tsp Vanilla Extract


(The ‘all-in-one’ method also works for this recipe!)

1. Cream together the butter and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add the egg, milk, lemon curd and mix thoroughly.

Butter and SugarAdd the Egg Add the Flour
2. Add the flour and baking powder and stir through until you have a light mixture. If the mixture is too dense, add a little more milk or lemon curd.
3. Pour the mixture into a greased loaf tin and bake in the oven at 180C for around 35-40 minutes. Test the cake is cooked by piercing with a knife. If the knife is clean the cake is cooked.
4. Take the cake out of the loaf tin and place on a rack to cool.
5. Once cooled, slice in half horizontally and add a layer of lemon curd in the middle (optional)

Best served warm with double cream or ice cream… delicious!


Easy Roast Chicken and Vegetables

Sometimes, you just want to cook something in the oven and forget about it whilst you carry on doing whatever it is you do.

On evenings like this, I like to use a simple recipe and roasting method where the flavour of the food speaks for itself.

Cooking time: 1.5 – 2 hours

1 courgette
1 carrot
1/3 butternut squash
1 red onion
1 yellow bell pepper
1 – 2 cups baby potatoes
2 – 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 free range medium chicken
1 – 2 tablespoons butter
3 – 4 cloves garlic
Dried or fresh basil
Salt and pepper


1) Finely chop 2 cloves of garlic and add to the butter in a small bowl. Chop fresh basil or add dried basil and mix thoroughly.
2) Prepare your chicken. Use a spoon to loosen the skin from the breast meat. Carefully spoon the butter underneath the skin and smooth out to get even coverage. Season the outside of the chicken and place in a roasting tin in the oven. Cooking time is 45 minutes per kilogram plus an extra 20 minutes. My chicken was 1.5kg so I set the timer for 1.5 hours.
3) Chop the potatoes into medium chunks (leaving skin on) and part boil in a pan for 10-15 minutes then strain.
4) Whilst the potatoes are boiling, chop the rest of the vegetables into 1 inch chunks and smash the garlic using the flat edge of a knife.

The oven pan I use is a deep pan with a meat rack on top. I placed the chicken onto of the meat rack and added a little oil into the bottom of the pan to heat up and to cook the vegetables. Alternatively, place the chicken in a roasting tin and place a separate roasting tin in the oven with the olive oil in it.

5) When the chicken has 35 minutes left in the oven, add the potatoes, carrot, butternut squash and garlic into the bottom of the pan or the separate pan with the heated up olive oil and place back in the oven.
6) With 15 minutes left on the oven timer, add the rest of the vegetables, season with salt and pepper and add into the vegetable pan and continue to roast until brown.
7) When the timer is up, take out the chicken and check that it is cooked by slicing the leg of the chicken with a knife and see if the juices run clear. Set the chicken aside to rest and place some foil over the top to keep warm.
8) Once the vegetables are cooked, remove from the oven and serve with some sliced chicken.

Simply delicious!

In the News … 15th January 2016

What’s been happening in the world of Coeliac’s Disease and gluten free living….

Nima tests for gluten in under 2 minutes

This month has seen the launch of some exciting new tech available to the public in the coming year – the majority of which was launched at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas.

Among the array of mind-boggling new gadgets was something that Coeliac’s may find very useful – a portable gluten detector. The Nima (from 6SensorLabs) is a portable device which can detect gluten in under 2 minutes. Simply select a sample of your chosen substance, load it into a pod and away Nima goes. A smiley face indicates that your sample is gluten-free, whereas a sad face indicates your sample is a toxic, gluten-containing no-go.

The ‘Nima’ (picture taken from

Although the Nima is set to retail at $249 with an additional $3.99 per sampler pod, this could prove to be a very useful, and very sort-after gadget for us folks with a medical intolerance to gluten. Personally, I’d love to get my hands on one!




Greggs launches gluten-free range

In other news, there’s been an awful amount of hysteria surrounding that well-known high street baker Greggs. This week, rumours have spread that Greggs would be producing its very own gluten-free range which is to be rolled out in stores nationwide.

Gluten-free Greggs?

“Excellent news!” I hear you say. Well, yes – on the face of it this does sound like perfect news. However, there appears to be no official word from Greggs as of yet and there is a lot of worry surrounding cross contamination. As Greggs haven’t officially announced the range (as far as I can see online), I’m still unsure if they would be physically baking gluten-free delights such as their scrummy patries in-store, or if they will simply be offering a range of pre-packaged gluten-free sandwiches and snacks. Whatever they decide, this move would be yet another triumph for us non-gluten consumers, with a slowly expanding range of lunch and snack alternatives appearing on our high-streets. I’ll keep you posted!



Carluccio’s – Walton on Thames

Carluccio’s is, and always has been, one of my favourite places to eat out since my diagnosis.  They were one of the first restaurant chains (that I was aware of) that had a completely separate gluten free menu. I remember the first time I went to one of their restaurants as a Coeliac and I was so excited about having a whole menu to choose from. Today, their menu still has a great choice and all of their gluten free pasta is made fresh on site.

The restaurant in Walton on Thames doesn’t feel like a chain. Yes it’s quite large in terms if space but there aren’t that many covers and you hardly ever see the staff running around like headless chickens. It’s always calm, reasonably quiet and pretty relaxed – quite unheard of for a chain restaurant.

Tonight, we selected a cushty corner table and ordered a few glasses of wine. Well, for me it was the Cranberry Reviver – a refreshingly light cranberry mocktail – as I was the taxi driver for the night.


No starter for me as I always know that I’ll want dessert (we’ll come to that later) and I fancied a risotto which is always dependent on the Specials Board which I imagine changes daily or weekly. Today, it was Risotto Di Pollo E Spinaci – a beautifully creamy chicken, spinach and garlic risotto in a very generous portion. I have to sincerely apologise.. I was so hungry and excited that I forgot to take any photos of my main meal. Infact, I didn’t remember that I needed to take a photo until the plates had been taken away, which is when I had my delayed “d’oh!” moment. I’m still new at this blogging thing!

My acquaintances had a normal pasta with meatballs which look delicious, and a chicken in sauce with roasted potatoes which was apparently quite bland. Overall, they were reasonably happy with their main meals and the portion sizes.

Onto the dessert. My favourite dessert of ALL time and the main reason I visit Carluccio’s.  The Dolce Di Cioccolato is a divine, melt-in-the-middle chocolate pudding made with almonds, Kahlua and served with creamy vanilla ice cream. It is SO good I get excited every time I see it. Gooey, creamy, chocolatey and nutty – what more could you want from a chocolate pudding? A perfect ending to a lovely meal.


Creamy Smoked Bacon Spaghetti with Homemade Béchamel Sauce

Gluten Free Bacon Pasta

This quick and creamy pasta recipe is indulgently delicious without all the guilt!

Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 2

200g gluten-free spaghetti (I used Dove’s Farm Organic Brown Rice Spaghetti)
2 rashers smoked bacon
1 red onion
Handful of mushrooms
2 small cloves garlic
Fresh or dried basil, salt and pepper to taste

Homemade Béchamel Sauce:
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup gluten-free plain flour
300ml milk


  1. Make the Béchamel sauce by gently melting the butter in a saucepan over a low heat. Once the butter has melted, quickly stir in the flour with a wooden spoon until all of the butter has been absorbed (this will look very crumby). Gradually pour in the milk whilst whisking continuously, keeping the saucepan over a low heat. Keep whisking until you have incorporated all of the milk and the sauce thickens to a thick, creamy texture. Take the saucepan off the heat, whisk for a further minute then set aside.
  2. Bring a separate saucepan of water to the boil then add in the pasta.
  3. Chop the onion, mushrooms, garlic and bacon.
  4. Fry the bacon in a separate dry saucepan until crispy, then add in the onions and cook until soft (alternatively, you could grill the bacon then chop and add into the mixture towards the end). Add in the garlic and mushrooms and fry until cooked thoroughly.
  5. Turn down the heat and incorporate the Béchamel sauce. Stir through and season to taste with salt, black pepper and basil.
  6. Once the pasta is cooked (normally takes 10-15 minutes) strain off and add into the Béchamel sauce mixture.
  7. Serve with freshly grated cheese and fresh basil for the best results.

Notes: When I cooked this dish I cooked my gluten-free pasta and my partner’s wheat pasta in separate saucepans, strained my pasta first and returned to the saucepan, then added the sauce into my pasta. I then did the same with my partner’s pasta to avoid cross-contamination. It seems like a lot of pans but we’re used to it!