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Vegan Valentine – Gluten Free, Strawberry + Chocolate Bites

Love is in the air (in the form of a delicious scent coming from my oven as these bake…)
February 14th – Valentine ’s Day. Some people love it, some hate it, but if it’s a reminder to show your affections to those you love, nothing says ‘I love you’ like some sweet treats. Equally, if you’re spending the evening alone, these Vegan and Gluten free tasty alternatives to your average cookies will be great company as you sniffle on the sofa at ‘Love Actually’.

Chocolate + strawberries = a match made in heaven; combined with oats, these are addictive treats!

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Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 20 – 25 mins

Ingredients:
• 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh strawberries
• 1 and 1/4 cup gluten-free ground oats
• 1 cup gluten-free oats
• ½ teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• ¾ cup brown sugar
• ¼ cup coconut oil (liquid form)
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• Egg substitute of choice, to the equivalent of 1 Egg (For example you could use ground Flax/Chia seeds)
• 1 Large tablespoon of chia seeds (optional)
• ¼ cup dairy free dark chocolate chip (or broken chocolate chunks!

*You will also need cupcake cases!

Instructions:
1. Pre-Heat the oven to 180 degrees.
2. Combine ground oats, oats, chia seeds, salt, baking powder, sugar and set aside.
3. Finely chop strawberries, and set aside.
4. Whisk together your egg substitute, vanilla and coconut oil.
5. Add your wet ingredients to the dry and mix well (mixture may appear dry at first until the strawberries are added!)
6. Fold in strawberries and dark chocolate chips.
7. Spoon heaped tablespoons into cupcake cases.
8. Bake for approx 20 minutes.
9. Let cool.
10. Share and enjoy!

P.S As much as I agree with ‘sharing is caring’, my top tip is to keep a secret box full for yourself before they all get eaten…

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xxx

Twitter – @blog_little (or search TheLittleThingsBlog)

Instagram – Thelittlethingsblog.tlt

 

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The Theatre Tag

During ‘Blogmas’ I was nominated by my lovely friend Frankie over on her blog (https://frankiegoestotheatre.wordpress.com/) to do the ‘Theatre Tag’. Guess what, I have finally done it! I actually found it a little difficult, as most of my answers would most likely be different in a month or so; but that’s the wonderful thing about theatre – it’s always creating new memories and provoking new thoughts!

  1. When did you start getting into theatre?

I was brought up on classic R + H musicals, such as Oklahoma!, so it has always been A PART OF my life. But I joined my local theatre group at the age of 8, and that is when it BECAME my life!

  1. How many shows have you been in?

My rough estimate (that doesn’t include concerts) is about 45!

  1. Favourite role played?

Lily St.Regis in Annie! I got to work alongside such great friends and also perform at the Minack Theatre. She is such a wonderful part to play and I loved every second.

  1. A tip you always give to the new theatre kids

LISTEN and OBSERVE! I only know what I know about theatre from doing those two things. Listen and observe, work out what you think works and what you think doesn’t, then give it a go yourself! Never stop learning from others.

  1. Biggest theatre pet peeves

Oh, my list is long…but here are a few:

– People who don’t listen.

– Talking in the wings or in the audience; it can completely ruin a show for the people watching and distract the people performing. I find it incredibly disrespectful.

– In amateur theatre I get irritated when people try to act like it’s professional.  I of course agree with making a show the best standard it can be, and as a company member acting ‘professionally’ by doing your best. But as someone who has experienced a variety of levels of theatre, I find it laughable when people get too absorbed in the minor details of amateur theatre and forget to have fun! I just want to shove them in something that isn’t ‘amateur’ for an afternoon and wake them up.

  1. Biggest strengths and biggest weaknesses

These are two things that I am always working out. I am always scrutinizing myself. I doubt my performances, which is a weakness because it means my performance is unfocused and not the best it can be. I pick staging up quickly which I guess is strength, although it often means I fall into the trap of the reliable understudy! I am also not great at picking up harmonies after singing soprano tunes my whole life. I think strengths and weaknesses grow and change over time. One day I will wake up and think, ‘wow, listen to me hit those notes!’, the next day I will wake up and feel as though my voice has had no training and should be heard by no one. Gosh, I don’t sound like a dramatic theatre girl in this post do I?

  1. Who is your biggest inspiration in theatre?

There are so many wonderful performers that have influenced me; I don’t want to limit it to one person.

Currently I admire ‘Emma Kingston’. I saw her in Priscilla and Les Mis, but she has been in a variety of productions, such as ‘In The Heights’. Her vocals are so versatile, from classical soprano to modern pop – INCREDIBLE! Sierra Boggess, Carrie Hope Fletcher and Lin-Manuel Miranda are other Musical Theatre inspirations. Oh and of course the one and only ‘Judi Dench’ alongside many other greats, but that’s a given, right?

  1. What’s your dream role?

The answer to this changes daily…

MUSICAL – Laurie or Ado Annie (Oklahoma!), Maria (WSS), Christine (Phantom), Kate (Kiss Me Kate), Nessa Rose (Wicked), Dawn (Waitress), Fantine (Les Mis) *Just so I can sing ‘You let your foreman take her awayyyyy’*, Belle (Beauty and the beast) Eliza (Hamilton) *but that would take a vocal miracle!* –  THERE ARE TOO MANY TO LIST!

THEATRE – I am all about Shakespeare so… Desdemona, Helena, Juliet (in that order).

  1. Plays or Musicals?

They both offer two completely different things; I probably have a wider musical knowledge than plays, purely due to my childhood; but regardless, I simply cannot answer this.

  1. What’s your favourite musical?

Another impossible question! I don’t think I have answered any of these properly.

The answer to this changes monthly. Honestly, I have a favourite musical per month. Recently I have loved Waitress and Hamilton of course; but if we are talking about long-term, never-fading musical love – West Side Story. The story, the characters, the choreography, the score; I genuinely view it as one of the greatest musicals ever created, it has everything.

  1. Most awkward onstage moment?

There have been a few…

Going on as a Cheshire cat understudy in ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and wearing a furry leotard that was made for someone a little larger than me, then having my microphone slide off my bra and make its way down through the side of the leotard and out by my leg for a long dance routine was a memorable one! It has resulted in me becoming very obsessive in where and how my microphone goes on. Sorry sound crew!

Additionally, forgetting my words to ‘Whistle While You Work’ during opening night of Snow White! That was the first time I’d ever had a blank on stage. I never used to worry about it, but ever since then I do!

  1. Best offstage moment?

This is so personal and there are just so many. When I did ‘West End Stage’, my dressing room was where all the dancers usually are for Phantom of The Opera. I have lots of memories of being silly with new friends and admiring the piles of pointe shoes!

Equally, performing at the Minack theatre always provides lots of giggles, especially during ‘Annie’ where I was doing a lot of filming.

Because my ‘lifestyle’ blog has such random content, it means that I have a wide range of followers. Some of you will be in theatrical heaven, others of you will have skipped through this and that’s okay! Therefore, I am leaving this one as an open tag to any one who wants to participate, or if you’re not an active ‘blogging’ follower, you can leave your answers in the comments.

Now I am going to go and listen to some Hamilton and pretend I can sing it…

 

Twitter – @blog_little (or search TheLittleThingsBlog)

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Blogger Recognition Award – 2017

Thank you so much to ‘RubiRubiMakeup’ (https://rubirubimakeup.wordpress.com/) for nominating me. I honestly can’t get my head around the fact people actually read and enjoy my posts, let alone the fact my blog has been nominated to get greater recognition; it means a lot.

‘The Little Things Blog’ started in May 2016, so it’s all relatively new to me. I wanted to start a blog long before this, however the usual questions occurred – what will I write about? Who will read it? And of course, will people think differently of me? One day I sat down with Gareth and explained what I wanted to do and he said go for it, and I should just write about whatever I want to write about  – we agreed I’d write about all ‘The Little Things’ in my life that I think, feel, do, etc. I’d always felt I needed to have a certain type of blog, but as I began writing, I made the decision to not limit myself to a specific style, and so this blog has evolved into a combination of things, but I guess it’s closest to a ‘lifestyle’ blog.

At this time, I don’t think many people were aware that I actually suffer with anxiety. My anxiety tends to be hidden and I never scream and shout about it. I was worried about discussing it on my blog for this very reason; people I know might read it and learn about how I often feel and sadly, as I have learned, it does change the way people see you. But if I wasn’t going to be honest about it, who was? So the blog also became a platform for me to be honest, whilst also helping others.

This is also my little part of the internet where I can distract myself and let out some of that ‘inner monologue’ I carry around with me!

I don’t feel qualified to give advice as I have absolutely no idea what I am doing here and wordpress is still a mystery to me (if anyone wants to educate me on how I can alter the layouts and format of my blog with more detail, please do !) . . . My two pieces of advice for new bloggers are :

  1. JUST WRITE! Don’t worry about what other people are saying or thinking. If you have something you want to write about – do it. It’s honestly such a massive thing to put your words out there for others to read and not everyone is going to like it or agree with it. I have a mental list of things I would like to write about on this blog and I am still working up the courage! You don’t need to stick to a ‘theme’, you don’t need hundreds of followers, just write because you have something that you want to say.
  1. Create a notebook of ideas. I guarantee that once you get in the flow of things, you’ll lie in bed at 1am with a blog post idea, so make sure you have a little book you can fill with ideas.

P.S (I know I am only meant to give 2 – but I also want to add, try Blogmas. It shows you that you can write about ANYTHING and you get to meet lots of other bloggers!)

 

I would like to nominate these three blogs, for their beautiful and courageous posts:

To The Moon and The Stars – http://tothemoonandthestars.com/

My Blurred World – https://myblurredworld13.wordpress.com/

Beth Denny – https://bethdenny.co.uk/

 

Thank you not only to ‘Rubirubimakeup’ but to everyone else that takes the time to listen to what I have to say.

Here are the rules:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  2. Write a post to show your award.
  3. Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  5. Select a blogger/bloggers you want to give this award to.Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them and provide the link to the post you created.

 

Twitter – @blog_little (or search TheLittleThingsBlog)

Instagram – Thelittlethingsblog.tlt

veganuary-banner

Why VEGANUARY?

This January, Gareth and I decided to participate in ‘Veganuary’- i.e. go Vegan for a month. I  don’t consume milk or eggs as part of my food intolerances anyway, so for me, it has all been about additionally eliminating meat. Gareth on the other hand, has had to cut out all animal products at once and he has been incredible!

There are a variety of reasons as to why I wanted to try Veganuary –

Firstly, I decided that in the New Year I was going to have at least 1 or 2 days every week that were completely meat free. This is purely a health decision, as I am learning how my body responds to different food. I wanted to challenge myself this January and see how my body responded to the change. It was also in an attempt to get myself to eat a larger variety of vegetables (which has definitely worked!).

During and after Christmas, I suffered with terrible stomach pain and eczema. I put it down to too much Turkey and Chocolate; therefore my body desperately needed to detox. I should also mention that this Christmas I took the plunge and had dairy in the form of a few quality streets. I am pleased to report that the small quantity didn’t have a horrendous effect; however I didn’t feel too brilliant for quite a while after. I wanted to begin testing my reactions to dairy/gluten/egg again and although I doubt I’ll ever put them back in my diet completely, it would be nice to be able to eat out without the worry. It was a positive step for me, in that I was brave enough to try it, but as I said, it definitely didn’t help my health and so I wanted to detox. For me, the best way to heal my body is to follow a plant-based diet. So far this month I have also done A LOT of juicing/smoothie making  and tried to restrict my processed foods/sugar intake, whilst also partaking in Veganuary. As you can see, health has played a massive part in my decision.

The website dedicated to ‘Veganuary’ is filled with information which also contributed to my decision. Not only have I been focused on the health benefits, I have also been concerned with the environmental aspects; from saving wildlife, to saving energy, it’s fascinating the impact we can make. If you want to learn more about all of the positives, please check out the website.

https://veganuary.com/

We are half way through January and I am definitely surprised at my reactions and results this month. I know that everyone responds differently, however I wanted to share some of my thoughts so far.

  • I have only craved meat once, something I thought I might struggle with.
  • My diet is not restricted at all, in fact I am probably eating a larger variety of foods than I did prior to trying a Vegan diet. It turns out Kale can actually work its way into every meal if I want it to!
  • I am finding it easier to monitor my eczema. I know my eczema flares up when I am stressed or when there are changes in weather. But it has become incredibly clear that sugar (usually in the form of Chocolate) is a major factor for making my skin worse.
  • My stomach is thanking me! In comparison to how I felt the week of Christmas whilst living on too much meat and sugar, I feel so much better.
  • Vegan meals do not take ages to make! I think there is such a preconception that vegetable based meals take ages to prep – it takes no longer than prepping meat!
  • It’s easier to stick to it when you’re not alone. Having Gareth join in has been brilliant, we’ve supported each other the whole way!

So for all of you that have been wondering why I’ve been participating in Veganuary this month, there you have it! It has got to a point where it’s become a natural habit to eat certain foods, rather than just that little voice in my head reminding me to be sensible.

You don’t have to wait for ‘Veganuary’ next year to try this, just go for it! If you’re trying to improve your health and lose weight, correctly following plant-based diets can be such an easy and natural route to follow.  I promise you that  it’s not just a plate of lettuce and a glass of water – in fact, for a fussy eater, my meals have become more adventurous over this past month!

Let me know if you are also participating and how you are finding it? If you’re looking for some meal and snack inspiration, I’ll be happy to post the things that I am loving this month!

 

Twitter – @blog_little (or search TheLittleThingsBlog)

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T’was The Night Before Christmas… (Blogmas Day 24)

Today I was planning on sharing my goals for 2017, and trust me, I have quite a few, but
then I remembered the quote ‘Work hard in silence. Let your success be your noise’; and that’s what I think I will do…e773eb9aea97e1b3cb1420859ea7a0fd

Yesterday my family, Gareth and I went to a cinema screening of ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ and it was the perfect outing to end this month of festive activities. There is something extra special about seeing it on a big screen and hearing the reactions from other families.

…And now here we are, 24 posts later and it’s the end of Blogmas and Christmas tomorrow. I can’t believe that I managed to post something festive every single day. December has flown by and I have had so much fun blogging and sharing my thoughts and experiences this month. Thank you to everyone who has read, liked and followed my posts. Although I write this blog mainly for myself, as I enjoy writing, I did have a goal to get one new follower each day of Blogmas,(so 24 in total) and I have achieved almost double that (YAY!).

I am all ready for tomorrow; therefore today will be spent enjoying food, family and friends before the big day. So I thought I’d leave you with a ‘Christmas Eve Checklist’, to make sure you’re all ready too!

Christmas Eve Checklist:

  • Presents bought
  • Presents wrapped
  • Presents under the tree
  • Cards delivered
  • Food bought
  • Some food prepped (although I have nothing to do with this in my house!)
  • Drinks ready
  • House cleaned
  • House decorated
  • Batteries and cameras at the ready
  • Family around
  • Smiles and Laughter
  • Lot’s of relaxing

I wish you all a wonderful Christmas. I hope Santa brings you what you asked for and you fill up on delicious food, but most of all I hope that you enjoy the special time with the people you love.

(Be sure to check out all the posts you may have missed this month!)

…and that’s it – the final post of Blogmas 2016 (I actually did it!)

Happy Christmas!

 

Twitter – @blog_little (or search TheLittleThingsBlog)

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Dear 2016… (Blogmas Day 23)

Dear 2016,

We started off okay; in fact we started off great. Improvements were being made and this was going to be a successful year of big changes and then you threw in a few too many challenges. You made me feel a bit lost,thank you for all the things that you gave me, nevertheless I’d like to say goodbye.

This isn’t where I thought I’d be ending 2016, I don’t quite know exactly what I imagined, but it definitely wasn’t this. You raised my hopes with all those great opportunities you so generously gave to me, however you seemed to also enjoy pushing all those opportunities further and further away from me as you threw in unexpected hurdles, the biggest one being the one I could have done without – anxiety.

Yes you’ve left me with beautiful memories, but you’ve also left me with a lot of confusion. I think you tried to challenge me a few too many times and it has made me exhausted and unfocused. 2016, you haven’t been very balanced and there were times where it got too much for me, but maybe that’s what you wanted to show me… to show me that I am still okay after all of those things?

Your direction hasn’t been at all clear. I always thought I liked surprises. That’s until you introduced me to ‘bad’ surprises. But at least I’ll be more prepared for whatever 2017 hands me.

2016, you taught me that there are times to stop and step back before it gets too much. However, there are times to push through and persevere. There are also times I need to be really brave and do things that maybe I don’t want to do, but I know, deep down, I should.

Thank you for testing me and thank you for making me learn, however could you tell 2017 to go about it an easier route please?

You introduced a lot of new faces into my life. Some of them are still here, some of them pop up now and again, and some of them I never want to see again. Thanks for all of them, the bad and the good, because they’ve all taught me a great deal this year; and although you’ve been a difficult year, my biggest thanks is for letting me keep my favourite people.

Don’t think I am ungrateful because honestly i’m not; I am so lucky to have all the things I do. I know now that the mistakes were lessons; however, 2016 you can keep all the tears, arguments, doubt, confusion and exhaustion and I’ll just be taking the smiles, laughter, positivity and useful lessons with me into 2017.

For now 2016, let’s make the most of you before you go and fill the time with loved ones and laughter.

Goodbye 2016!

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language 
And next year’s words await another voice.” 
― T.S Elliot

 

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