Banana pancake breakfast recipe

Breakfast is a meal that I find easily gets boring. I try and keep it varied – fruit, yogurt, eggs in various forms, porridge. I avoid toast and cereals as much as possible mostly as they don’t keep me full for long enough and an episode of the dreaded snack attack is bound to see me consuming extra calories.

Breakfast banana pancakes

At the weekends, when I have a little more time, I play with new breakfast or brunch recipes.  This weekend it was the turn of the super simple, 3 ingredient, banana pancakes.  Trust me on this, they are SO quick they might even make it into my weekday morning breakfast routine.

As well as being naturally low fat and high protein, adding Flaxseed provides a little superfood boost. Flaxseed is full of Omega-3, Iron, Magnesium and protein.  Lots of nourishment for your hair, nails, bones and blood!

It’s as easy as:

  1. A Banana (the riper you pick, the sweeter the pancakes – I tend to use a slightly greener one)
  2. Two eggs
  3. A table spoon of Flaxseed (even that is optional)

Bung them all in a blender and whizz up until smooth.  Meanwhile, put the heat under a frying pan sprayed lightly with oil (or a dollop of butter if you’re feeling decadent).  Pour small circles of batter into the pan straight from the jug, I find this is the easiest way of getting nice neat circles!  You don’t want to pour too much in at one time as you won’t be able to turn them over easily.  Fry on one side until you see bubbles breaking through on the surface and you can slide a pallet knife underneath to flip them over.  A few more minutes on the reverse and you’ll be ready to slide them onto a plate.  Pour more batter into the pan and keep going…until you have a stack!

Breakfast banana pancakes with fruit

Banana pancakes for breakfast

Top your stack with fresh fruit of your choosing, perhaps a drizzle of maple syrup or a dollop of natural yogurt.

Enjoy your breakfast – they’re scrummy!

keeping a stylishly cool bedroom

Summer. Long sunny days, daily dose of ice cream and the smell of BBQ in the air.  We love our British summers, complete with the torrential rain showers!  You can always tell we’re getting close to summer when, around Easter time, we start muttering about putting the winter duvet away.  We never quite get there before, bam!, you wake up in the middle of the night sweating and realising that you need to go down a tog rating or three.

When the heat really cranks up during the night, it can be hard to sleep. There are a few easy ways you can create a cool, sleep-inducing environment that helps you get buckets of good ‘zzz’ all summer long.

(Image links clockwise from top: Oriental Birds Duvet – Yorkshire Linen | ‘Say No to Monday’ PJs – Next | Relaxing Pillow Mist – L’Occitane | Carafe & Tumbler – Wayfair | Seychelles Fragrance Collection – The White Company | Devi Throw – Urban Outfitters | Microfibre Pillow )

Keep your bedding light and bright

Picking summery shades brightens your bedroom and reflects light which keeps you feeling fresh. By picking bedding made with a high cotton content, it naturally wicks sweat away from your body and keeps you cooler overnight. This gorgeous bedding from Yorkshire Linen is inspired by the East with lovely summer yellows and soft greys. For a thin layer during the summer months, try one of Yorkshire Linen’s pretty summery bedspreads.

Rock the shorts

Everyone has their favourite summer PJs…none at all being the controversial choice! Little sets like this one from Next utilise that all important cotton as well as not being too closely fitting. Perfect for those hot sweaty nights!

Naturally refreshed

To help you feel cool, relaxed and refreshed – L’Occitane’s 100% natural pillow mist spray combines some of the most comforting essential oils like lavender, bergamot, mandarin, sweet orange and geranium.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

Keep drinking water! I’m terrible at remembering this, particularly before bed and first thing in the morning. Keep a glass of water by your bed to help you keep your water intake up which will help your body balance throughout the night leaving you less dehydrated by morning. Bribe yourself into drinking by using a pretty carafe and tumbler set. How very Mary Berry.

Enjoy a little luxury

I know you want to be on a beach somewhere tropical, breathing in the heady scents of seaside living. However, you’ve got work in the morning and can just about afford an ice cream on Southsea beach. So bring the tropical island to you with this gorgeous fragrance collection by The White Company. You’ll feel like you’re on holiday!

It’s all about the layers

Just like during the Great British change of season, keeping cool in the summer is still all about layers. You can use layers in bed so you can keep adjusting the temperature during the night. It’s usually warmest when you go to bed, so you can use a light throw like this elegant Urban Outfitters number rather than a heavier duvet. Have your usual bedding at the end of your bed so you can pull it over yourself if you feel cool in the middle of the night.

Breathable temperature regulating fabrics

Imagine that feeling of turning the pillow over to get the cool side…but all through the night.  Selecting your bedding carefully can mean you get a little more help in staying cool. Picking a breathable microfibre pillow such as this beauty from John Lewis helps wick away moisture, regulate body temperature and help you sleep more soundly.

What are your favourite summer sleep tips?  Do you just throw everything off and overdose on ice lollies before you head to bed? Or perhaps you buy ALL the fans and set up a 360 degree circle of cool air in your bedroom?!

Whatever it is, let me know – those summer nights are here!

Thanks to Yorkshire Linen for collaborating with me on this post – I only feature products or companies on my Blog that I would personally use and recommend to my readers.

Why I'm voting to Remain in the European Union

What is so Great about Britain at the moment, in the heat of the referendum debate?

We live in a time where communication is instant. Where you can learn about anything at the click of a button. Where radio, television and cinema churn out more programmes than ever before.

We are more connected to not only our own communities but to the other side of the world. We can speak with friends in Australia as if they were in the same room, we can conduct business deals across continents and we can see our earth from the skies above.

You see, the world really is smaller than ever before. We can get to know people from across borders, from different cultures, communities and countries. Questions can be asked, answers can be found. We can, so easily, ‘explore, dream, discover’.

Racism, sexism, discrimination, prejudice are usually all founded in ignorance. How can there be such misunderstanding, such hate when we have never before been able to find out so much about each other?

We can share ideas, share hope, share inspiration yet all too often these opportunities are passed over to instead share hate speech, share prejudice, share lies.

The EU referendum has riled so much emotion over the last few months. It was always bound to be controversial, to be a story of two polar opposite views. But this has gone far and beyond what I expected to see of our democratic voice.

Winston Churchill was a Founding Father of the European Union. He joined a group of visionaries, of diverse people ranging from Freedom Fighters to Lawyers. In 1951, they united in hope of creating a peaceful, prosperous and, importantly, united Europe. They came together in the aftermath of the Second World War. A war that had wreaked utter destruction across Europe, it marked the end of frequent and bloody wars between neighbours. Six countries committed to being part of this new beginning.

In the years that have followed, Britain joined (1973) and many more of our European neighbours have joined us in that vow of peace and unity. The Berlin Wall was pulled down, finally reuniting East with West. The Single Market was created; encouraging and allowing free trade across borders within the EU. In 1993 this extended to allow the ‘Four Freedoms’ – freedom of movement for goods, services, money and, pertinently, people.

Again, in the 1990s, EU members promise to work together to protect the environment and also, to protect the defence and security of its member nations. Millions of students study abroad, more easily than ever due to the Schengen agreement.

Since 2001, and the terrorist attacks of 9/11, no fewer than 12 more of our neighbours have joined this remarkable Union. In the face of a global economic crisis, the European Union helped member countries to face difficulties and support their people. The EU shores up safe investment practices by creating a ‘Banking Union’ to ensure banking becomes safer and more reliable. The Union commits to combating climate change and reducing emissions levels. Croatia became the 28th member of the Union in 2007. In the last few years, the countries of the European Union have become a safe haven for many millions of refugees who are fleeing the wars in their home countries.

In large handfuls, aside from this history:

What has the European Union done for us?

  • You can holiday, live, work and retire in any EU member country without visas or applications.

  • You can access emergency medical care anywhere in the EU.

  • If you’re travelling outside the EU, in a country that doesn’t have a UK embassy, you’re entitled to support and consular protection from another EU member’s embassy.

  • EU legislation has driven joined up travel industries – meaning that if your flight is delayed, you have the right, as a European Union citizen to assistance, information and compensation.

  • Over 3.1 million jobs in the UK are linked to our exports to the European Union.

  • We receive subsidies for our farmers that bolster our agricultural communities and those working in companies linked to the farming industry.

  • EU consumer legislation means that you have consumer rights for products that you buy from across the European Union. You are protected from dodgy manufacturing and safety rules means your family is protected. You are also entitled to a two year guarantee on all products.

  • The EU has mandated a cap on mobile roaming charges.

  • EU member nations work closely together to ensure that information about crime, people trafficking, movement of illegal products are all fed across to member nation agencies. Providing are far more joined up and efficient criminal justice system than elsewhere in the world that comes solely from membership of the EU and not from other complex, negotiated arrangements.

  • Trade with the EU contributed £187 billion to our economy in 2015 and this is expected to rise to £277 billion by 2030. In addition, access to EU energy, transport and digital markets could increase the impact on our economy by an additional £58 billion. (Centre for Economics and Business Research).

  • The European Union has embedded human rights into those countries of Southern Europe upon the collapse of right-wing dictatorships in Spain, Portugal and Greece.

  • It has been 71 years since the end of World War Two. For many of our grandparents generation, this has meant ‘peace in our time’ something our great-grandparents never thought possible.

Leaving the EU won’t:

  • Increase our sovereignty

    Nope, nada, this won’t happen. If we really did leave the EU, we’d still be bound by NATO, the World Trade Organisation, the UN and various other treaties with other countries.

  • Mean we’ll be governed by who we vote for
    We are now! We all have a vote to choose who represents our area in the European Parliament, if you were bothered to vote in the European Elections. We do have a say. The UK does sit at the table, with elected members that represent us and use its vote to object when necessary. Leaving the EU won’t mean that we’ll suddenly have a magic government full of only people you like – you will still get whoever the majority of the country vote for.

  • Solve immigration

    Our net migration is in positive figures. Granted, this means that more people move into the UK than leave it every year. However, migrants pay more in taxes than they take out and it is good for our economy and industry. Migrants bring new skills, experiences and diversity. We live in a nation that has always benefitted from people coming from abroad to live and work here. Our public services are under strain but stopping immigration will not resolve it. Those coming to our country should not be scapegoats for problems that are rooted in the budget.

  • Give our country back

    What does this even mean? Get your country back from what? It’s not been invaded, you’re not living under the rule of another force or dictatorship, you have freedom to leave your home, to go to work, to speak your mind. There isn’t a golden age to return to. The 1950s weren’t all roses and white picket fences. In the 1950s we were looking after an influx of migrants from across Europe, there was no minimum wage, it was illegal to strike, income tax was double what it is today, rationing still existed, there was a massive Urban housing problem and Britain was one of the most polluted countries in the world – smog in London in 1952 killed more than 4000 people.

I will be voting to Remain on Thursday. Not because I believe the European Union to be perfect but because I recognise what has been achieved in unity and because I understand that we will have a poorer country if we leave. Poorer financially, culturally and in opportunity. I want my children to grow up in an environment of opportunity, tolerance and understanding, not one of hatred and prejudice.

5 Ways to get the prettiest office on a budget

We’ve all seen those gorgeous office spaces on Pinterest, the ones that make you think you’ll be oodles more creative if that was where you got to work.

You know the type. All white surfaces, cosy fabrics and cute prints.  You couldn’t help but be productive working at one of those desks.  So how can you transform your own office space without spending a lot of cash?

Sainsbury's Stationary collection
Photo: Stationary by Sainsbury’s

Go Food Shopping
Supermarket home collections have come on in leaps and bounds, you can get some absolutely gorgeous home accessories for very few pennies in Sainsburys, Tesco, Asda and (for a few extra pennies) Waitrose.  From matching stationary sets (ohmygoodness loving the current Spring florals in Sainsbury’s) to pretty storage boxes, the supermarkets are bang on trend but keeping it super affordable.  The best bit? You can sneak your purchases in on your food shopping and pretend that they’re just extra apples ;)

Paint it up
One of the simple ways you can pull a look together is by using a simple colour palette.  If you’ve found accessories that you like but can’t quite find the right colour, try customising using an enamel paint like the Valspar Specialist range at B & Q. You can easily transform glass, metal and wood accessories. We painted up our cheap-as-chips Ikea shelf brackets in Antique Gold and created some fab one-off pieces for less than £15 for four brackets. Painting a few recycled glass jars in the same colour provides a way of tying in the accent colour!

photo of kindness card
Photo: VeraLaLune at Etsy

Grab a card
Everyone loves a good print – a witty quote, inspiring tale or perhaps a cute animal will always get us wanting to get it hung on the wall.   Trends move pretty quickly and I don’t know about you, but I could cover my walls twice over with the prints that I love month by month. A quick, easy and cheap way of changing up the artwork you have is by using greetings cards – just pop into a cute frame and you’re away. Even simpler is pinning it to a cork board or hanging by a bulldog clip…change it up!

DSC00005

Use pretty storage
Everyone loves a storage box! No? Just me?  Well I can’t get enough of them! Ikea have a great selection, we have a mixture of plain storage boxes and woven seagrass baskets on our open shelves above the desk – keeping all my paints, pens and crafty bits under control.

Repurpose old furniture
If you have an old cupboard or bookshelf spare, you can build this into your study space to create room dividers or under-desk storage.  Use a small dining table as a desk to create a working area with plenty of space. Sand down and paint up wooden furniture to give it a fresh lease of life, for very little investment you can end up with gorgeous custom pieces of furniture that leave you with a very uniquely beautiful office space!

We’ve recently been transforming the spare bedroom into a guest bedroom with a home office space. The new look started with a fresh coat of paint. Cosiness was added by buying an Ikea Hemnes Daybed secondhand from a friend before piling lots of pillows on top.  To make the most of what we had available, we’ve used the little dining table from my flat as our new desk and picked up some new shelves to maximise the storage. We’re still tweaking and adding pieces so watch this space for a photo tour very soon!