Thursday, 28 December 2017

Christmas Catch Up

If you’ve read my blog before, you’ll know how much I love Christmas. Every year I feel even more excited about it. For me Christmas is the best distraction from the dark days and freezing cold nights - which happen to be my least favourite things about winter. Christmas is a silver lining to those dark days; if we didn’t put up lights, bring trees inside and celebrate I don’t know how I would cope with winter. Christmas might be over, but it’s only just over and I’m not quite ready to let go. I’ve just had left over turkey and veg soup, plus my lights are and will still twinkle away on my tree well into the new year. 

I keep seeing silly memes on Instagram saying “it’s that awkward time between Christmas and new year when you don’t know what time or day it is or even who you are.” I can relate to this but, unfortunately and slightly ironically, since being sick this has applied to me all year round except December and this week between the celebrations.

I’ve been saying all month how I need an Advent-type calendar all year so I know what the date and day it is - something I do struggle with! It’s hard not to feel stuck in Groundhog Day at times when so many days feel the same. Without knowing this, my best friend gave me some of my gifts in an Advent calendar as a fun way to open them on Christmas Day without realising I would want to keep it for January! 

There’s only a few days left of this year. 2017 has gone really quickly. I’ve not posted half as much as I would have liked this year because I’ve been concentrating on my Lyme disease treatment and, honestly, I’ve not had the mental capacity to write as well as I would want. Sometimes I couldn’t write at all. It’s safe to say it’s been an up and down roller coaster of a year. I’ve seen improvements to my health but also felt extremely ill at times especially due to side effects, herx reactions (toxic overload from bacterial die off) and since September my liver has been failing, making me feel very poorly.  Luckily it’s now working well, giving me relief from those extra symptoms and I’ve started treatment again. 

I know I have another year of fighting these illnesses ahead. So I’ve given myself permission to take off all the pressure I used to put on myself to post regularly and decided that I will post only when I can. I love blogging but my health must come first.

The photos in this post are ones I’ve taken over the last two months when I’ve had the energy to be creative for a few minutes. I know they’re a little randomly put together but I hope it captures my love for the festive season. 

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and that 2018 will be a happy, healthy one for you all.

Emma Xx 

Tartan Blanket from The Tartan Blanket Co 
Fairy lights from Talking Tables
Tea c/o Bluebird Tea Co 
Both dresses are oldies; 
Rose gold sequins from French Connection
Nude with embroidery from Topshop

Friday, 30 June 2017

Strawberry & Raspberry Tea Ice Lollies

Strawberries and raspberries are my favourite summer fruits. They go so well together, especially in smoothies or, in this case, ice lollies! 

For this recipe I have experimented again with tea from my Bluebird Tea Co rep box, this time using a summery tea called Raspberry Russian. The result is a really vibrant delicious and still healthy ice lolly without any added sugar. However, for those who aren't on any special diet like me you can swap the pure stevia for honey or even sugar to taste. And you can use normal white chocolate rather than one made with stevia. 

To make 4 lollies you will need.

100g strawberries - I used frozen 
100g raspberries 
2 tsp Raspberry Russian tea by Bluebird Tea Co (out Sunday 2nd July)
1/4 litre of boiled water 
Pinch of pure Stevia or alternatively honey or sugar to taste.
50g white chocolate - I used Balance white chocolate made with stevia. You can get this at Holland & Barrett and other health food shops. 


Begin by brewing the tea for 4 minutes. Add your sweetener of choice to the brewing tea. I added a pinch of stevia. 
While that brews put the fruit in a blender and blend until you have a smooth consistency. 
Strain the tea into a jug, add the fruit. Mix well and pour into ice lolly moulds. Freeze for 24 hours or until set. 
Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie and drizzle over your set lollies and enjoy! 

These lollies really do taste like summer. They are amazing for a hot summer's day or even for a gloomy grey afternoon pick me up. 

I hope you enjoy them. I would love to hear if you make this recipe and what you think of it!

Don't forget you can get 20% off Bluebird Tea Co with my code ESTEABIRD35.

Emma Xx 

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Be-leaf in Yourself

Believing in myself is something that hasn't always come naturally. I'm a born worrier, I always have been and I am also a perfectionist which isn't the best combination! Add in chronic illnesses and more often than not you have a recipe for a big batch of lack of confidence. 

I've been living with illness since my late teens. I'm now almost twenty seven. So unlike my friends and healthy peers I'm not progressing at life in the usual way someone my age should and sometimes that causes me to not have much faith in myself. 

I'm learning though, learning to believe in myself and my own strengths of which I now realise I have many. Especially in my ability to deal with what life has given me in a positive way. To find beauty in even the darkest of days. In my determination to get the help I need and to do whatever it takes to get better. I know deep down that if I can do this I can do anything but every now and then I worry that I can't cope, my belief in myself slides so it's lovely to have a gentle reminder that I am doing the best I can. 

This mug from the new JillyJilly range is a great little reminder. I'm often reaching for tea to make me feel better. So now I can do so and remind myself that I'm doing ok, and that I can believe in myself. I also happen to adore the foliage and beautiful greens. It's safe to say this is my new favourite mug!

 JillyJilly have recently turned three. For this anniversary they have released some really lovely positive and motivational new designs - this one included. I can't recommend them enough, and I'm not just saying that because I was privileged to be sent this package to post about. I have also purchased gifts from JillyJilly in the past, I love how unique the designs are and how by buying from them I can support a small UK business. 

If you fancy anything from JillyJilly online shop you can use the code EMMA15 to get 15% off until the end of June. 

Sticky Chai Tea c/o Bluebird Tea Co

Emma Xx

Monday, 29 May 2017

Ginger Beer Tea Ice Lollies

I'm back with another tea inspired recipe. This time for ginger beer tea ice lollies! My recent tea rep box contained Bluebird Tea Co's Summer Tea Collection, with amazing names to match; Pineapple Sorbet, One In A Melon, Summer Of Love and Ginger Beer. My favourite so far being the last two. It was while sipping on the ginger beer tea, a rooibos tea with a lime and ginger kick that I thought up this recipe. It's a simple one with barely any ingredients, but it's perfect for hot summer days. Plus it's especially good for anyone like me who suffers with nausea - a particularly nasty symptom to deal with when the weather is so hot and you can't face a hot ginger tea! 

For 4 lollies you will need:

2tsp Raw honey (or more depending on how sweet you want them) 
Ice lolly moulds with sticks or wooden lolly sticks. 
Freshly boiled water - I used 500ml for 4 moulds. It's easier to know exactly how much you will need by filling the moulds with water and then tipping into a measuring jug. 

Start by boiling the water, add to the tea in a jug and stir. Let it brew for 4 minutes. Add the honey and mix well. Using a tea strainer strain the tea into another jug. Let it cool a little before filling up your moulds. Freeze for 24 hours. 

It's literally that simple and so delicious. I'm definitely going to experiment with turning different tea flavours into ice lollies this summer.

You can get 20% off your first order at Bluebird Tea Co with the code ESTEABIRD35.

Hope you're enjoying the bank holiday! 

Emma Xx 

Ginger Beer tea c/o Bluebird Tea Co

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Matcha Mojito Mocktail

There's nothing better than a nice cold cocktail when the sun is shining. My favourite being Pimms, Mojito or a G&T. Unfortunately for me over the last few years I've become alcohol intolerant, even the smallest amount has my heart racing and exasperates all my symptoms, making cocktails not so fun anymore. Because of this I've not had any alcohol for over two years now and instead I've come up with one or two mocktails of my own. 

Unlike most sugary cocktails this matcha mojito mocktail is packed full of goodness to nourish your body.  It's full of fresh mint, which is a great anti-inflammatory herb, and lime, which is an antioxidant full of vitamin C.  I've teamed these two classic mojito flavours up with Bluebird Tea Co Super Matcha tea. Super Matcha has been blended with superfoods; Acai and blueberry to create a subtle but delicious flavour.  Matcha tea is a great immune boosting antioxidant with ten times the antioxidants and goodness than one cup of green tea.  Not only does this mocktail taste delicious, your body will thank you for it!


To make two glass mugs 

1/2 litre water
Half cup fresh mint leaves
2 limes
Cold water
12 Ice cubes 

Optional: Tsp honey or a pinch of pure stevia which is what I used. 

In a blender mix the matcha, 1/4 cup of mint, juice of half a lime, the water and sweetener if you want to use one. 
Fill the glasses with ice, layering in mint leaves and slices of lime before pouring the liquid in.

Finish with more mint leaves and straws and enjoy!

Happy bank holiday! 

Emma xx

*Matcha Tea c/o Bluebird Tea Co

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Gluten and Sugar free Fruity Tea Loaf

If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen I have recently become a tea rep for the Brighton born tea brand Bluebird Tea Co. As well as receiving lots of different teas to brew up, I've been challenged to create a monthly recipe to share with you using tea from the extensive Bluebird tea range. I'm pretty exciting about this challenge because more recently I've been well enough to experiment a little more in the kitchen with the help of my mum.

 We have a quest to create sugar and gluten free bakes I can enjoy after drastically changing my diet under the instructions of my doctor and nutritionalist. 

This recipe doesn't have any gluten or sugar, there's not even any sugar substitutes. It's sweetened purely by the ripe banana and tea soaked fruit. Some of you might be thinking that can't be sweet enough but, trust me, it's definitely sweet! This bake is by no means low fructose but it is full of natural goodness making it a very tasty treat! 

Ingredients :
2 teaspoons of tea - I used Bears like Marmalade by Bluebird Tea Co for added orange flavour (discount code below)
200ml just-boiled water
1 unwaxed orange 
2 tbsp orange juice
180g chopped dates 
200g luxury dried fruit- I used raisins and sultanas.  
1 tsp cinnamon 
Half tsp nutmeg
1 ripe medium banana 
2 large free range eggs
2 tbsp skimmed milk
200g all purpose gluten free flour
100g ground almonds
2 tsp baking powder

Start by putting the tea in a jug and adding 200ml boiled water. Stir and leave to steep for 5+ minutes. Measure out the fruit into a medium bowl. If using loose tea like I did, strain the tea into the bowl of fruit. Add grated orange zest and 2 tablespoons of the juice, mix well. Ideally leave this for several hours or over night if possible. This allows the fruit to soak up the tea.

Preheat the oven to 170°C/Fan 150°C/Gas 3½. 
Use baking parchment or a tin liner to line the base and sides of a loaf tin. 

Sift the flour, ground almonds, baking powder and spices into a large bowl. 

Put the peeled banana, eggs and milk in to a food processor to blend to make a purée. Add to the flour and combine. Then add the soaked fruit and any left over juice. Stir until evenly combined. 

Carefully place the mixture into the lined tin. 
Bake in the centre of the oven for one hour - an hour and 10 minutes or until the cake is a lovely golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. 

Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool in the tin for 20 minutes.
Carefully turn the loaf out and leave to cool on a wire rack. 

I like to toast mine and spread it with butter and enjoy it with a good cup of tea! 

You can get 20% off your first Bluebird Tea Co purchase with my code ESTEABIRD35 

Emma Xx