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Beasty Meals from the East!

So one minute the Beast from the East brings us sub zero temperatures and snow. The next minute we get teleported to the caribbean for the hottest April in like a gazillion years. And now, we are in some not-so-happy-medium whereby I’m cold and its drizzly 🙁



The good news for me is that I often film and snap content for my blog and never get time to actually edit and post it! So the full circle back around to winter means I can post warming recipes from a while back 🙂

Today’s recipes transport us to the culinary world of warming spices, throat smoothing scents and belly filling yumminess. I spent a few weeks out of action because I had a viral infection and spent all day everyday munching on porridge and soup.

This Vegetable and Lentil Soup with homemade bread has therefore been trialed and tested many times and will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside!


Carrot and Lentil Soup


  • 2 chopped onions
  • 2 chopped cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp chopped chillies
  • 2 chopped carrots
  • 2 sticks chopped celery
  • 1 chopped pepper
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 tsps turmeric
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 4 tsps gram masala
  • 2 cups red split lentils
  • Coconut yogurt (optional for on top)


  1. Place the onions and garlic and heat in a large saucepan until golden.
  2. Add in all the chopped veg and spices and coat well.
  3. Allow to cook for 10 mins or so.
  4. Pour in a litre of vegetable stock and the lentils and stir well.
  5. Put on lid and leave to simmer for around 40mins.
  6. You will need to check on the soup every 10mins or to give it a good stir.
  7. Sirve pipping hot with a dollop of coconut yogurt and a fresh wholemeal roll.


Wholemeal Bread Rolls


  • 1 sachet dried active yeast (7g)
  • 350ml luke warm water
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup/sugar/ sweetener of your choice
  • 400g wholemeal bread flour (plus extra)
  • 2 tbsps olive oil


  1. Place the yeast and luke warm water together in a jug with the maple syrup and leave to rest for about 10 minutes.
  2. After 10 minutes you will see that the yeast has frothed up and bubbles are forming
  3. If this hasn’t happened then the yeast has been killed off this is because the water is likely to have been too hot!
  4. Mix yeast mixture with the flour and beat thoroughly.
  5. Leave to rest in an oiled bowl in a warm place for at least an hour and doubled in size.
  6. Punch out the air and form your rolls.
  7. Leave these to prove again for another hour or so.
  8. Cook in a preheated oven for about 30mins or until golden.


You can watch how to do this here on my YouTube Channel 🙂

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Weight Training For Beginners #2 

So this is the second part to the basic guide to weight training for beginners (first part here). Previously I covered the basics with regards to the different forms of physical activity.. now for the part you have all been waiting for, ladies and gents I present to you the FOOD FILES!!!!

Yes this is where we get a closer munch into the world of all the glorious food we need to fuel our hard-working bodies.

Like with my previous post, there is just too much to cover in so little time so I will cover the basics here and then posts to come will drip feed you, literally, bitsize information (hehe so smug at my literary genious at the moment 😉 ).

So before we go any further, one thing that I definitely didn’t understand before I started weight training was that you need to view your body as a car. We put petrol in it to get from A to B and if we don’t it won’t start. Sometimes when a car gets old or it has been used a lot it might end up being a bit less efficient so we need to invest some time in fixing a particular part. The metaphor is easy guys – give yo body some TLC!!! Feed it. Nourish it. Love it. This video is so worth sharing (yes yes I do love a TedTalks clip!) It perfectly outlines why we MUST NOT starve our bodies and why we must give it the food it needs and deserves.

So what’s our petrol!? Quite broadly it consists of 3 macronutrients or ‘macros’ as you might hear them being refered to! Carbohydrates, Proteins, Fats. Within these Macro groups we get micronutrients and these are minerals and vitamins that are essential to our bodies functioning: iron, magnesium, potassium, Vitamin A, B, C, D etc etc.



You may traditionally think of Carbs when you imagine cake, white pasta, white bread, crisps, chips all those things that appear to be oh so gluttonous and ‘bad’ for you…Lets just stop right there! If there is anything that you take away from this post, it is that CARBS ARE FRIENDS – DO NOT CUT THEM OUT! That having been said, does that mean you can go and eat cake, biscuits and chocolate and nothing else all day? Obviously not, as you still need a balance of proteins and fats.  But does it mean you can eat a good portion of healthy carbs to fuel your body? YES!

Welcome to what I call the rainbow test! When you look at your plate and all you see is ’50 shades of Carbs’ or in other words variants of brown, yellow, orange and nothing else, then there prrroobbaaalllyyy isn’t the right balance of macronutrients and micronutrients on your plate. That’s where ‘carbs’ get their fried name from! But carbs are in fact so essential to a Plant-Based diet: fruits, veggies, legumes, beans, pulses, whole grains, oats all fall under this bracket and should make up the majority of your diet. So pile on those healthy carbs and eat the rainbow!

Carbs are the main energy source for the body and are made up of chains of smaller units of sugar that can be easily broken down. This is why when we are feeling suppperrr hungry we want to grab that big pizza or have that big plate of pasta, because our energy levels are so depleted that our bodies are screaming for the quickest source of energy it can find. Carbs also contain plenty of fibre and nutrients. Fibre cannot be digested by the body so plays a vital role in helping to cleanse our gut!



Protein is of course essential for building muscle. Amino acids are the building blocks and are needed by the human body for growth and maintenance. It is a common misconception that vegans ‘lack protein’. Put it this way, humans eat beef for protein, what do cows eat? GRASS! Humans eat chicken for protein, what do chickens eat? CORN! I say no more! Here is another little clip if you are interested in comparing how meat consumption has drastically increased over the last few decades. No I’m not saying you have to suddenly turn Vegan, but perhaps think about cutting back a little.

Plant protein can be found in high quantity in the following:

  • Beans and Legumes (kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils etc)
  • Grains (Brown Rice)
  • Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Tofu
  • Soya
  • Kale
  • Nuts (including nut butter)

Plant Protein supplements are also great for boosting protein intake. Some of my favourite brands of Vegan Protein Powders are Purition and Tropeaka. Purition have 3 Vegan flavours: Strawberry, Vanilla and Chocolate. I blend 40g with almond milk and a frozen banana for a delicious smoothie. Purition is the only brand of Vegan Protein Powders out there that is entirely made up of natural ingredients. You therefore know that what your putting into your body is top quality!


Tropeaka I use in my smoothie bowls, it is soo creamy and smooth! Just blend up 30g with 200g of frozen bananas and a dash of almond milk.


MyProtein is also good for their Vanilla Vegan Blend which I use in my overnight oats and protein pancakes (but wouldn’t use it in a shake!).



Ah fats! I naturally have a diet very high in fat as I just LOVE THEM! Avocados, Dates, Hummous, Tahini yum yum YUM! Fats are crucial for the brains functioning which is my excuse for eating so much nut butter! If you haven’t seen this video yet then make sure you do as it outlines the importance of the essential fatty acids Omega 3 and Omega 6 in the functioning of the brain.

Healthy fats can be found in:

  • Nuts  (including nut butter)
  • Dates
  • Avocados
  • Coconut yogurt
  • Oils
  • Tahini
  • Hummous

It is important to remember though that a food item will often comprise of all macronutrient groups. Take an avocado for example which is made up of about 20% carbs, 5% protein and 75% fat! Worried you are spending too much on smashed avo brunches? Don’t be! This superfood demonstrates the perfect balance of all macronutrient groups as well as containing many micronutrients.


So how much should you be getting of each macronutrient to maintain a weight lighting lifestyle as a Vegan? Ah good question! Quite frankly, it is really completely dependent upon YOU and how YOU feel. I am not experienced enough at the moment to say that one ratio completely works for me or not, I am still experimenting. The fitness industry is overwhelmed with products that promote protein! But it is debatable how much we actually need. Carnivores may have a macro split of 40/30/30 (protein, carbs, fats). That percentage of protein is perhaps too high for a Vegan.

I try and follow a 60/20/20 split but quite honestly some days it has formed into 40/30/30 as my fats are normally quite high as I liiiiveeeee for nut butters 🙂 Do i particualrly care? No! The most important thing is experimenting and playing around with what suits your lifestyle and your training regime.

What I do suggest is going here to give you a rough idea of what your Macro split could look like. I also use the MyFitnessPal app which is great for tracking Macros. Again, take this all with a pinch of salt, it is just a rough guide and shouldn’t be gospel!

Remember (*disclaimer alert*) I am not a qualified nutritionist nor personal trainer and am simply documenting my experience as a beginner vegan weightlifter. I like to workout and LOVE cake 🙂


Avo Lovely Day 27x27

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A whole(some) lot of love!

Yup it’s that time of year again. Card factory is rammed full of the typical demographic – panicked men who rush to get a last minute 79p card and some cheesy ‘best girlfriend ever’ teddy bear or mug that gets stored in a drawer for a year before makeing it to the loft to serve it’s death row sentence when it gets chucked into the boot fair pile and sold for 10p to 10 year old Alfie who has a crush on little Alice sitting next to him in class. Ah don’t we love it!? 🙂


Why do we partake in such commercialised shenanigans!? It’s actually quite oxymoronic don’t you think? Millennial minded youths will raise their arms in outrage at companies only thinking about squeezing every last penny out of consumers to boost profit margins. ‘Shouldn’t we appreciate our loved ones everyday of the year? I don’t need chocolates or flowers to confirm my selfworth’. Or so you think…

Unfortunately, Disney fairytales and Hollywood hits have made us a little tooo ambitious. We all long for that happily ever after, the Prince charming to sweep us off our feet. This ideal combined and packaged with a boom in consumer spending has led to materialistic artefacts.

Let’s take a step back, what we long for, that romantic ending to that Oscar hit, is that  moment, to feel special, to feel loved, to feel like nothing else matters than the two of you under the street lamp, under the fake snow machine with the magical kiss and that leg raised up.

Have you actually ever seen that happen in real life? And what would you think if you did see it? Err PDA alarm bells would be ringing – get a room!

You can get all of the above, everyday, without spending a penny. Wholesome love comes in many forms but starts with the basic three forms: love yourself, love wholly, love with your head and heart.

Love yourself

Ok so this is afterall a food and fitness blog and I could write posts upon posts on the steps to take to love yourself but in a nutshell – how can you expect someone to love you if you don’t love yourself? Or equally, how can you love someone else if you don’t love yourself? This has been one of the biggest journeys of my life so far, reaching a point where I can truly begin to accept the things I perhaps dislike about myself and truly appreciate my attributes. I say begin as it is an ongoing struggle.

Everyday I go to bed listing 5 things I am grateful for. This really helps me to stay grounded and makes me appreciate myself, my life and take steps to loving even my hamster cheeks 😉

Love Wholly

This always reminds me of the Bastille  song ‘Flaws’ – ‘you have always worn your faults upon your sleeve…’. Don’t swipe right and accept the guy who conveniently lives a few roads down from you, is in a well respected job and earns a decent income to take you out for dinner but who you also invest so much time in trying to morph him into who you want or think you want. Love unconditionally, accept the whole person.

I don’t actually agree with the expression ‘no one is perfect’. This implies that perfection exists when it doesn’t. It is an idealised construct. Who gets to decide what’s perfect and what isn’t? If you take a step back and focus on what you do have rather than what you don’t, you will figure out you have so much more than you think. Likewise take a step back and appreciate the petrol station flowers – it was so thoughtful!

Love with your head and heart 

We all have a rational and irrational part to our brain. Some call the irrational part the chimp brain or the chatterbox. In layman’s terms sometimes we let passion, lust, emotions in their rawest form take over without rationalising the situation. All humans are selfish we think about numero 1 first and foremostly. We don’t think about the wider picture. I like to use the following example to picture this:

Your boyfriend/girlfriend doesn’t buy your that bag/those shoes/that ring/that <insert materialistic good> and you think he never listens to you as he didn’t ‘pick up the hints’ CHIMP BRAIN. In their shoes you have mentioned it so much that they wanted to get you a surprise and not something you asked for.

You get the picture right… the good old saying put yourself in someone else’s shoes is so true and we don’t spend enough time doing it. There are always 2 sides to every story.

This post has turned out a lot longer than I was anticipating 😉 sorry about that! But now onto the recipe for today! Lovely Raspberry Oat Breakfast Bars. They are wholesomely scrummy and can be whipped up in minutes. So for your act of love for Valentine’s this year why don’t you show you care by bringing them breakfast in bed 😉 (again totally not an idealised construct right!? 😉 I mean crumbs in bed!?)


Lovely Raspberry Oat Breakfast Bars.


  • 200g Rolled Oats
  • 2 Mashed Bananas
  • Dash of soya milk
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp of vanilla powder/extract
  • 400g Fresh Raspberries
  • 6 tbsps of chia seeds
  • Flaked almonds


  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4
  2. Place raspberries and chia seeds together in a saucepan over medium heat. Use a spoon to mash up the raspberries and leave for 5-10minutes stirring occasionally until the raspberries have broken down and the chia seeds have plumped up.
  3. Whilst the raspberries and chia seeds are over the hob, mash up the bananas in a bowl and then stir in the oats, baking powder, plant-based milk and vanilla powder.
  4. Press this mixture into a lined baking tin.
  5. Once the jam is ready layer this on top, sprinkle more oats over the jam and sprinkle flaked almonds on also.
  6. Bake in the oven for 20mins.
  7. Enjoy!


p.s. Apologies for the previous draft submission of this post- technical issues 🙁

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Happy Healthy Pancake Day! (Vegan, Gluten free, refined sugar free)

Ah Pancake Day! I have always loved it, and always will! I do, however, find it hard to believe that I only ever used to eat pancakes on Pancake Day! I mean, for some irrational reason, I used to think that it was somewhat illegal to eat pancakes on any other day. When travelling to other countries I used to be horrified that people would be eating crêpes willy nilly or gaufres like they are going out of fashion! Not me – na na na! I was always a goodie two shoes – but boy did I fill my boots when this day came around.

It is actually quite nonsensical when you think about it, there are so many decisions to make in just one day: Savoury or Sweet?, Thick or Thin? Should I eat dinner before eating pancakes or dive straight in? Do I want to squeeze in another one and risk being sick or do I wait a WHOLE year before eating another pancake? This simple answer to this, just don’t wait 24 years before figuring out that you CAN in face eat pancakes on any other day of the year 🙂

That having been said the answers are always: Both, depends on topping, DIVE IN – PANCAKES ARE DINNER and always another, its worth the risk 😉

Since I embarked on my fitness journey I have definitely embraced with open arms (and the knife and fork poised ready) the Protein Pancake stack. So deliciously simple. If you are after the recipe then check out my YouTube video here.

If you are looking for some flavour inspirations then check out just some of the few mouth-watering muses below.

I will pop the basic recipe down below so get ready to get creative!

But now onto a different type of pancake for today, the Sorghum, Raspberry, Date and Yogurt Pancake – say whaaaat!? :O Yup it is a bit of a mouthful – quite literally. Firstly, what is Sorghum? Sorghum flour is in fact the fifth most important crop around the world. It has a sweet and mild taste which makes it perfect for baking and it is 100% gluten free. If you want to know more, look here.

Sorghum flour has been my go to baking flour recently and I am just loving how my recipes are turning out! Coconut yogurt is full of healthy bacteria which is so important for the gut. I have been experiencing a lot of bloating recently so am trying to chuck in coconut yogurt where possible. Date paste is deliciously sweet and is so simple to make. Blend up medjool dates with water and almond butter and you are good to go! I always have a tub ready in the fridge to put on pancakes, porridge or just to smoother on some fresh toast/cake 😉 Raspberries need no introduction. They are jam packed full of vitamins and are so sweet. Lastly, flaked almonds are perfect for additional healthy fats. 

So try a new recipe for today’s pancake day and get experimenting! Please tag @hopscoff #hopscoff if you do use this recipe and let me know how you get on! 

Happy Healthy Pancake Day Pancake! (Vegan, Gluten free, refined sugar free)

(83g carbs, 9g fat, 16g protein)


3/4 cup Sorghum Flour

3/4 cup ground almonds

1 banana

2 tbps flaxseeds (soaked in 4 tbsps of water)

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

dash of soya milk (or any other plant based milk)



Date Paste

Coconut Yogurt


Flaked Almonds

1) Blend all pancake ingredients
2) heat pan with coconut oil
3) scoop out 3 pancakes into the pan and cook on either side for 6ish minutes
4) layer with date paste, coconut yogurt, raspberries and flaked almonds
5) enjoy!



Vegan Protein Pancake Recipe

Macros: Carbs 99g | Fat 12g | Protein 31g | Cals 644

(based on the toppings below!)


60g MyProtein gluten free rolled oats
25g Active Women Vegan Blend Vanilla Protein Powder
1/2 Banana
1tsp Baking powder
125ml Almond Milk


1/2 Banana
Maple Syrup
Peanut Butter Powder (2 tbsps mixed with 2-3 tbsps water)
Cacao Nibs


1) Blend all pancake ingredients and leave to rest for 10 minutes
2) heat pan with coconut oil
3) scoop out 3 pancakes into the pan and cook on either side for 6ish minutes
4) drizzle with peanut butter, maple syrup and cacoa nibs
5) enjoy!

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Veganana Cake!

So today’s post is an adaptation from my ‘Go Bananas‘ post from last year. Rewriting this fills my stomach and head with memories of my tasty adventure to Austraaaalliiaaaa! However, unfortunately, I am writing this from my cold house staring outside at the snowy English weather 🙁  Meh, we all moan but we love it really 🙂

Since adopting a Vegan Lifestyle I have been working on adapting all of my previous Paleo recipes to plant-based goodies. This mainly involves swapping out eggs for flaxseed or chia seed ‘eggs’ and experimenting with other binding agents like mashed bananas.

One of the trickiest things I have found since focussing on my Vegan-Fitness(ness) is taking in a) enough protein to hit my macros and b) eat as wholly as possible. I do often snigger at the fact that there is perception that Vegans are ‘healthy’ – errr have you heard of the ‘accidentally vegan’ products that are out there – Oreos and Bourbons are among my personal favourites 😉 So yeah, Vegans can still eat lots of refined-sugar-filled products as well as lots of saturated fats. Ahhh delicious fats 🙂

For my adapted Wholesome Banana Cake I worked on two versions – the first simply swapping out the eggs which gave the following Macros ( Carbs: 26.5g, Fats: 16.3g, Protein: 5.3g). I also majorly gambled with replacing the coconut flour with Pea Protein Isolate which gave the following Macros (Carbs: 22.8g, Fats: 15.1g, Protein: 9.9g) based on 10 servings per loaf. So not bad eh!?

If by this point you are wondering what on earth is this Macro-malarky, then fear not, I will be explaining all over the next few posts. But for now, this is the macro calculator I use.

Cutting a deliciously long story short, the Protein Powder Veganana Cake came out gooier than its coconut flour counterpart. If you are looking for cake consistency stick to flour. If you want goeyness for Breakfast or Pudding this is SPOT on! Oh and dollop more nut butter on the top it is YUM! 😉

Check out the full tutorial on my YouTube Channel here. Oh and pleassseee subscribe!


4 mashed bananas

4 flaxseed eggs (4 tbsps of flaxseed mixed with 12 tbsps of water)

140g of almond butter

4 tablespoons of melted coconut oil

75g of coconut flour (or 75g of Pea Protein Isolate or any Vegan Protein Powder for a gooier version!)

1 tsp of cinnamon

1 tsp of bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp of baking powder

1 tbsp of maple syrup

2 tbsps of raw cocoa nibs (or chopped up Ombar Chocolate Bar)

4 tbsp chopped pecans

dash of soya milk (or any plant based milk) to loosen up (if required!)




  1. Grease one loaf pan with coconut oil and line with baking parchment and preheat the oven to gas mark 3.
  2. Make the flaxseed ‘egg’ by mixing 4 tbsps of flaxseeds with 12 tbsps of water and leave to one side to thicken.
  3. Combine the mashed bananas, flaxseed ‘eggs’, coconut oil, almond butter and maple syrup until well mixed
  4. Add the coconut flour (or protein powder), cinnamon, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and stir until all is mixed.
  5. Stir in the raw cocoa nibs or Ombar chocolate bar and pecans (if you wish!)
  6. If the mixture seems a little dry add in a dash of soya milk
  7. Bake in the oven for about 50-60mins (make sure it doesn’t burn!)




Enjoy this veganana goodness!

Avo Lovely Day 27x27

Nat x

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Where do I find the time?

Ah good question! If I had a shiny golden coin for every time someone asked me ‘Where do you find the time to do X!?’ I would be a very rich bunny.  For those of you who know me well, I most certainly do not have a problem filling my time. I like to discover new places, meet up with friends, stay active, make things, my mind runs at 100mph with ideas of new recipes I can try out. I am constantly in drive mode.

To add a bit of market colour I also have a full time job in financial services. I leave my home between 6:15-6:45 daily and return at 7:30-8pm. I also tutor part time to keep up my language skills and try to get to the gym/workout 5-6 times a week. I always cook and take in my own lunch everyday and don’t live with my parents anymore so have to do all the house chores as well – boo 🙁 And of course other hobbies include blogging, vlogging, baking and cooking!

So where do I find the time? Well, I think the better question should be where do I make the time? I love to use the analogy of juggling. If you want to learn to juggle you may start off with practicing throwing and catching one ball in the air to get the hang of the hand-eye coordination. That is great buuttt you aren’t really going to become a proficient juggler if you never move on to two balls. You then move on to two, get comfortable and want to add a third. This is where things get trickier. You have to focus your concentration of three balls at once and you don’t want to let one fall. During this moment in our lives we feel great, we feel like we have a challenge and it is something that is manageable. We can add more events/hobbies/commitments into our lives at this stage that will stretch us a little, like trying to throw the balls that tiny bit higher or we may even want to add a fourth ball. But, what we don’t want to do is end up adding a fourth, not being able to catch it and then subsequently letting all the other balls drop because our attention was distracted. This is me trying to be all airy fairy and say if you cram too much sh*t into your life you will burn out and then you won’t be able to do diddly squat!

You know you and so you do YOU. 

Everyone is different. I, for example, don’t sleep for as long as other people so I gain a lot of time there. I average about 6 hours per night during the week and perhaps 6 1/2 – 7 hours at the weekend. I don’t feel tired or grumpy, my body can just naturally cope with that amount of sleep. That having been said, I also don’t drink and never go ‘out out’ so I am in bed by 10:30-11pm every night. I also don’t watch muuuuch TV, I like to watch films but I am not one for reality TV (I did just finish Stranger Things though and oh my gosh that was worth it and I miss it already 🙁 ).

I am a firm believer in people being able to achieve anything they want, but really want. If we put our minds to it we can get/have what ever we want. Because we will either find a way or we’ll make our own way there. I know that if I want to get fit and stronger this year I need to make sure (and the key thing – I WANT to make sure) that I find time to do my HIIT sessions or get into the gym. This sometimes means waking up at 5am to get to the gym before I leave the house to go to work or means that I need to wake up at 7:30am on a Sunday to get to the gym and back before I start tutoring. These are all sacrifices I have to make.

There has to be a balance though. I know that at the moment I cannot juggle anymore balls and in fact I really need to consider at the moment the possibility of losing one before I drop them all.

Most importantly you need to think about what it is that is making you happy at this moment of time in your life. Or what isn’t making you happy that you need to change. If you feel a lack of achievement in your life, add in some goals to hit. If you feel exhausted take some time out and chuck away a few balls. If you really feel that you want to do something but ‘can’t find the time’ start prioritising your life. Keep a tracker diary for a week. Make note of how many hours you spend watching TV, or in the Pub or sleeping or cooking or out with friends instead of with your other-half (or vice versa!), find where you need to balance your time. Our lives can be thought of as trying to balance the books, our assets and liabilities need to be balanced. We can’t always give and not get anything back in return. The areas of life that drain us need to be balanced with those that fulfil us. I do feel physically exhausted sometimes at the end of a week but I make sure I have my moments of comfort. At the moment this is quite bizarrely a coronation chickpea sandwich smothered in chutney with a hot cup of tea followed by some dark chocolate! :L I know its weird but I have put the coronation chickpea recipe below in case you are also a weird specimen like me and view this as ‘comfort food’!

Recipe –> 1/2 can chickpeas washed and drained smashed with, 1 tbsp of raisins, 2 tsps of tumeric, 2 tsps of gram masala, 1 tsp of ginger, 1 tbsp of coconut yogurt and 2 tbsps of almond milk. Put in between two slices of wholemeal seeded bread smothered in caramelised onion chutney!

So don’t worry no one is perfect. Yes I do a lot, but there is also a lot I don’t do. After all, I am the boring Vegan who doesn’t drink… well I like a mocktail or two 😉



Avo Lovely Day 27x27

Nat x

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Weight Training For Beginners #1 

So as alluded to in my previous posts and by My Fitness Journey videos on my YouTube channel I have spent the last two months adopting a weight training workout routine as opposed to one that is purely cardio based. I know I know what you are thinking, why would someone who is 5ft 1 (and a half…dont forget that half an inch!) want to start lifting heavy weights and get stocky!? There are many reasons for this and many myths that I would like to expel!

Firstly, weight training does not make you stocky and no that is not my aim. What weight training does do is make you stronger and build muscle mass. My aim for 2018 is to get lean which means building more muscle and losing excess body fat. This is very different to the ever sought after look of being slim or skinny. I have been there, I have run marathons, I have been ultra fit, or so I thought. During this period of my life I was what I like to call Skinny Fat!


I was very small, inbetween a UK size 4 and 6! I was obsessed with cardio thinking this was making me healthy. Yet, my fingers would still get lost in some belly fat, I wasn’t toned or lean, I was squishy. If you squeezed me too much I would have broken. I was kind of like a sponge, so fragile.

This is where we come onto the differences between Cardio and Weight Training. Lets start with the different forms of cardio. Contra to popular belief, Low Intensity Steady State Cardio (LISS) on its own promotes fat retension. Unfortunately the bad kind – visceral fat that is stored around belly area to protect our internal organs. Why would the world be so cruel? Well basically this is because whilst LISS it is excellent at burning fat, your body is intuitive enough to retain a certain percentage in anticipation for future workouts. If you run everyday of the week your body will quickly workout that it needs stored energy in the form of fat to be able to cope (not scientifically explained but you get the gist).

We now move on to High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). HIIT workouts are alternate periods of intensive moments, ones that raise your heart rate pretty much to it’s max, and short periods of rest. For example, 30 seconds of uphill sprints and 30 seconds rest, repeated for 10 minutes. This type of workout constantly raises and lowers your heart rate promoting increased fat burn. Basically you work harder not longer. Sounds good right!? Ha wait until you try a HIIT session!

You may not believe me until you hear some of the technical sciency stuff…so how does this all work? Studies show that HIIT improves insulin sensitivity by anywhere from 23-58%. This is crucial because insulin sensitivity helps to increase fat loss. Additionally, unlike LISS, HIIT promotes increased calorie expenditure post workout otherwise known as Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (E.P.O.C). Dr. Len Kravitz has noted that after a HIIT session, “oxygen consumption and caloric expenditure remain elevated as the working muscle cells restore physiological and metabolic factors in the cell to pre-exercise levels. This translates into higher and longer post-exercise caloric burn.” There are many studies that confirm the above so have a search for them.

Weight Training has also been proven to increase E.P.O.C. So you can go to the gym train those muscles, get your heart working with some HIIT and your body will be rapidly burning calories all day. Unfortunately with LISS you immediately stop benefiting from fat burn when you stop working out.

So how does Weight Training mirror the effects of HITT? Try squatting or bench pressing your max weight (at the moment mine is 60kg for squats and 25kg for bench) and you will feel your heart pounding. For those who are complete beginners weight training is broken down into Reps and Sets. A typical workout will usually consist of 3 sets of 12 reps per exercise (ish!). This however completely depends on the Weight you are lifitng and the exercise. In between sets you will have a rest hence the mirroring of HIIT.

Weight Training will of course build muscle mass. The more muscle you have the more energy your body will use to fuel those muscles and hence the greater your resting rate of calorie consumption will become! Sschimples 🙂

So these are just some of the benefits/differences between the different types of workouts. I will be covering food intake in my next post as this is as, if not more, important than our workouts.

But for now, the optimum workout routine is a combination of the above. Just doing LISS will NOT build muscle or get you lean. To see the increased benefits of fat burn from LISS you will always need to increase the length at which you are training and no one got time for that na na na!

Just doing HIIT will burn fat but won’t see you getting stronger and toned.

Just doing Weight Trainning will get you stronger but not necessarily leaner.

Therefore aim for a workout plan that combines all of the above and works for you!

Next up comes the exciting part about all the food you will need to eat to ensure you are seeing the benefits of this training!

Until then you fit folk!

Nat x


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Brownie Batter Oats 

Good Afternoon all and happy Sunday/Happy New Years Eve!

Has anyone else got that funny inbetween Christmas and New Year feeling – you don’t really know if you are coming or going, what day of the week it is, and what you want for breakfast! If you saw my Instagram post yesterday you would have seen that I opted for a 2 course extravaganza as I was feeling particularly indecisive 🙂


That’s right for first course I opted for Smashed Avocado on Toast with Marmite! I know it sounds weird but it really is a match made in heaven. To finish off I had banana and peanut butter with agave syrup. You know what the worst part was? I wasn’t even full up after this, I went back for another peanut butter slice :O

Since I started weight training I have definitely noticed my appetite increasing exponentially.

I was feeling super indulgent this morning and had to go for these Protein Brownie Batter Oats for brekkie 😍 I thought I would get in one more blog post and recipe before the New Year so here it is…


  • 80g Rolled Oats
  • 35g Vegan Chocolate Protein powder (I used Tropeaka Boost)
  • 1 Tbsp of Raw Cacao Powder
  • 300ml Of Almond Milk
  • 1 Tbsp of Chia Seeds
  1. Mix all the above and place in the microwave until done, about 2 mins
  2. Top with whatever you like!! I used raspberries, flaked almonds, cacao nibs, agave syrup and crunchy peanut butter!


Carbs: 96g

Fats: 34g

Protein: 38g

Calories: 862

If you haven’t already done so then please subscribe to my You Tube Channel where you can also see this recipe in live action here! Also check out my newly vamped Hopscoff Shop. That’s right, I am now selling Vegan products such as….


If you have any designs you would like to see then please let me know. The Hopscoff design studio consists of me, myself and I :L!!

Have a brownielicious day and Happy New Year to you all!

Nat x

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‘Broaties’ – Breakfast Oat Brownies! 

Long time no see my fellow Hopscoff Friends! 

So let’s just address the elephant in the room (or on the web) first… yes I am well aware that apologies are coming in thick and thin from Hopscoff at the moment :/ But rest assured that blog posts will be flying in from now on! 
Let’s just say that Hopscoff and I have been on a journey of self discovery for a little while. 

If you have been following my Instagram @hopscoff (or my newly launched youtube channel) you would have noticed that there is less icing sugar and Bespoke cakes flying around and now instead you will find more baked protein goods and vegan recipes – why the change!? Well for the last year or so I have been adopting a plant based diet with the definitive decision to cut out all animal products back in June. Yes that means I am, in layman’s terms, Vegan. 

This having been said, no I do not go on activist protests, no I do not try to make you feel uncomfortable if you eat meat and also for the record no I do not eat honey. 

I do largely try to avoid labels as with an increase in ‘Flexitarians’ these days, I believe that everyone should be free to eat what they want when they want without having to conform to a label or feel subject to scrutiny. In additon to a plantbased diet I also try to reduce refined sugars and preservatives where possible, but I do still rustle up the odd fluffy and cesty Vegan lemon loaf that is full of sugar. As I said, I do try where possible! (recipe coming soon!). 

Right now that’s over with, on to quick update number 2. I have a goal for 2018, to get lean! This means building muscle, toning up and following a weight training exercise regime which is completely different to my previous heavy cardio running lifestyle. I am 6 weeks in and am feeling stronger everyday. I am adopting a long-term training plan which I am hoping will give me the results I want in a year’s time 🙂 This has been a huge lifestyle shift for me and has mentally helped me overcome so much in the last few months. 

This is why Hopscoff has undergone a bit of a transformation recently. I am however feeling extremely positive about 2018 and Hopscoff’s new direction. You will shortly see some new Hopscoff products coming to Market soon which I am extremely excited about! Thank you all for your support thus far and in advance for all your continued support! 🙂 

Right enough of the boring explanations, now on to today’s Hopscoff recipe! The Sweet Potato Chocolate Oaty Breakfast ‘Brownie’! I have dubbed it the Broatie Bar 😉 meh it kinda works! These are packed full of fibre, healthy fats, protein and antioxidants – a perfect way to start the day! 

Here is the recipe, feel free to top with whatever takes your fancy! 


  • 500g Sweet Potato
  • 50g vanilla protein powder 
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 tsps apple cider vinegar
  • 6 tbsps coconut sugar
  • 2 tbsps chia seeds
  • 4 tbsps cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder


  1. Preheat oven to 180/gas mark 4
  2. Mix the almond milk and apple cider vinegar in a small bowl. This will curdle instantly and will give you a ‘buttermilk’. Leave to one side.
  3. Peel and chop sweet potatos into chunks and either stem or boil until soft (about 40mins)
  4. Weigh out all your dry ingredients and place in a food processor.
  5. Once the sweet potatos are super soft drain the water (if you boiled them) and place them in the food processor along with the dry ingredients and ‘buttermilk’.
  6. Mix together until well combined.
  7. Place batter in a lined loaf tin and bake for about 1hour.
  8. Take out of the oven and leave to cool slightly. You can eat this straight away or leave to cool and then place in the fridge to enjoy later on 🙂
  9. I topped mine with raspberries, pecans and a dollop of peanut butter!

    This recipe makes enough for 3 servings. The macros for each serving (without toppings) are as follows: 

    Carbs: 107.2g 

    Fats: 8.6g

    Protein: 25.9g

    Cals: 583

    Have a Beau-TEA-ful day!


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    So how much thought do you put into making your cuppa in the morning?

    I presume for many of you this daily (or hourly!) ritual has become nothing but muscle memory.

    Grab kettle. Fill kettle. Flick switch on kettle. Get mug. Plonk in the teabag. Kettle goes ping. Fill mug with hot water. Grab teaspoon (or aspestose forefinger and thumb). Swirl tea bag around. Dunk a few times. Lift out. Grab milk. Drop milk in. Swirl around one last time. Drink. Smile.
    There are of course variations of the above for those who God forbid throw in sugar. Or for those who put milk in BEFORE the tea :O. But you get the gist.

    For those who have found themselves in this vicious cycle have obviously not discovered the world of loose leaf tea. For those who have been following Hopscoff for a while now will know I am a huge advocate of living loosely 😉

    I know I know, a lot of you may be thinking ‘yes I know that loose leaf tea is a lot better but I just can’t be bothered with the ag*!(*agrevation/effort). If this sounds like you then read on as I introduce you to the world of T2.


    I first discovered this Melbourne brand of tea whilst I was travelling around Australia and I am pleased to say that little over a year ago a store popped up at Bluewater.


    T2 takes loose leaf to whole new TEA-ir! The store is equiped with not only teas galore but also funky equipment to make your daily tea intake as smooth flowing as it can possibly be. I was fortunate enough to be given a master class by the extremely knowledgeable Tea Masters to show me the ropes and get my tea skills up to scratch.

    I was firstly introduced to THE MOST revolutionary piece of tea equipment I think you will ever come across in your life, the loose leaf maker.


    This is essentially a little contraption that allows you to put your loose leaf into the jug-like-teapot, pour your hot water straight into it and then allow to steep. Once the timer is up you place this over your mug and simply push down. The hot tea will filter through. No additional strainer is needed! You can then pop open the jugpot, as I call it, pour out the contents and then rinse out. There is even no need to wash it up thoroughly. I just allow it to soak every so often for an hour or so et voila!

    Now many people think of tea as your classic English Breakfast builders tea. But I will tell you something for nothing, this tea isn’t grown in England, it isn’t only drunk at Breakfast and it isn’t only drunk by builders! 😉 Time to open your eyes to the true world of tea. What about trying a tea that tastes of Bounty? or Ferrero Rocher?  Yup it is possible!

    T2’s ‘Bounty Bar’ Tea


    Next up is the Ice Tea Maker. Thought you could only have tea hot? *Buzzer sound* you would be wrong! There is nothing more refreshing than an ice cold tea to cool you down.

    This Ice Tea Maker is perfect for both steeping and storing. It has a removable filter that allows your tea to do its thing for the required amount of time. You then pop out the filter and pop the tea in the fridge to cool down. Add ice, garnish with some juicy fruits and enjoy! Who needs Love Island when you have paradise awaiting in your own back garden 😉

    Drinking tea is most certainly a mastery. Before being educated by the T2 MasTEAers themselves I had no idea that white tea actually has more antioxidants than any other type of tea and that matcha tea is actually ground tea leaves which is why it is a superfood with some many health benefits.

    I urge you to head on over to T2 and try out some of the teas on offer. In store they have a brewing station and will offer to brew up any tea you would like to try – they will even pop it into a take away cup for you!

    But if you don’t fancy having a drink then why don’t you just go and gorp over the stunning teaware on offer!

    Happy tea drinking all!