Friday, 4 December 2015

Three Things About My Home

Three Things About My Home

Recently Ocean Finance got in touch and wanted me to share three home based things I was thankful for. As I'm in a rented house at the minute it means I don't really get a say in the decoration or fittings in my home, but I did think of three things straight away which make me really happy.

Decorated Fireplace

First up is my fireplace. Some of you may scoff at that, as it is "just a fireplace" but my old flat didn't have one, and our military house won't have one either. It's a small thing, but I love having a focal point of the living room and a place to have candles and trinkets displayed. A set of shelves just isn't the same in my opinion. The decoration on my fireplace is continually evolving, thanks in part to the clip fairy lights I got from Urban Outfitters about 8 years ago. I always clip either cards, photos or postcards I receive to them and it adds more card space at times such as Christmas.

Fun fact, that piece of wood in front of the head figurine on the mantelpiece is a cut off from a tree which was planted when I was born in a local forest reserve place to my grandparents. They still go back to visit my tree sometimes and one time the people who look after the forest had been trimming branches and my Dad found the off cut for me.

Secondly is my kitchen. It may not be big (in fact it's pretty damn small) or fancy, but it is my happy place. Often on a weekend when I'm at home, you'll find me in the kitchen cooking up a storm using every available inch of space to batch cook lunches for the week ahead - such as my Carrot and Butternut Squash Soup Recipe and other yummy treats. I can happily spend an entire day in the kitchen cooking and baking away and creating amazing meals. Rich and I are hosting Christmas Dinner this year and I'm really excited to be able to stretch my culinary skills to a roast dinner for five.

Bride and groom kissing

Last but by no means least is the fact that I share my home with my new husband, Rich. As I've talked about before, I have a pretty huge commute to work of over 50 miles each way, and it is only going to increase when we move into military housing. People always tell me I'm crazy and ask me why I do it, and originally when I moved to Leeds I faced a lot of criticism for choosing to have such a long commute. It is all worth it to me to be able to come home to Rich. Even though it isn't every night as sometimes he has to go away with work, for those times when I can kiss him goodnight it is always worth it.

What are your favourite things about your home? Are you all going to make me jealous of your huge open kitchens with storage space and Kitchen Aids? One day, one day!

Rachel x

Monday, 30 November 2015

Wedding: Complete

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter you'll already be in the know about this, but Rich and I finally got married on Friday 20th November. I pinkie promise that when I get the official photos all back I'll do a proper blog post about the day, the decorations, the suppliers etc. but this is just a little sneak peek.

Bride looking out of window

I was simultaneously the most excited and the most nervous I'd ever been. Rich and I were both awake at 5am messaging each other because we couldn't sleep, and I woke my sister up by dancing and jumping around at her. It felt amazing getting my hair and make-up done professionally, and when I stepped into my dress at long last it didn't feel real.

Just before walking down the aisle, when the music started to play, I welled up, but I made the decision to be excited instead, and you can see on the pictures people have taken that I was beaming like a crazy person because I was finally getting to marry my soul mate.

Bride and Groom Under Umbrella in the Rain Snow

The day went perfectly, I even got the snow of my dreams. The photographer shared this sneak preview pic of us in the snow and I love it so much.

We went on a mini-moon for a week to relax and recharge ourselves, and I had my first day back at work today. I love being married, but the only downside I've found so far is that changing your name is a complete nightmare. We're moving into military housing just after Christmas, so I know I've got changes of address to do soon as well. So much paperwork!

I've still got my blog post to write up about my fantastic hen do, and then there's all the Christmas ones to get going on. I'm sure you can imagine how busy I've been, and now that I've got to prepare to host Christmas for the first time, do all of my Christmas shopping, change my name on everything under the sun and move house, it doesn't look like it's going to calm down anytime soon. I'll do my best to try and keep you updated on it all though.

Rachel x

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Mexican Chicken Risotto Recipe

Mexican Chicken Risotto Recipe

Oh my gosh this recipe is amazing. It is one of those things which you make, and then sit and eat whilst saying to each other in disbelief "How good is this?!" the entire time. Even when I had the leftovers at work, I was texting Rich to say how good it was. It was born out of my love of Italian food and Rich's love of Mexican food. The perfect compromise dish, if you may. So when OXO got in contact and offered to send me some kitchen equipment (I didn't know they did kitchen equipment either) to use in a recipe post, I knew I had to share this one with you all.

Risotto Rice in a bowl


(Serves four, or two mains and three lunches)

  • 400g risotto rice
  • 2 small onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 glass or a small bottle of white wine
  • 1 litre of vegetable stock
  • 1 litre of chicken stock
  • 600g chicken thighs
  • 2 peppers
  • Fajhita spice mix (We use 2tsp smoked paprika, 1tsp cayenne pepper, 1/2tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp cumin and chilli flakes)
  • 200g cooked black beans (these can be hard to find in supermarkets, but it only takes just over an hour to cook your own from dried, no soaking needed)
  • 50g sweetcorn
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Butter


Diced Onion in Mini Chopper

1. Dice the onion. We used the OXO mini chopper which was great in theory, but a bit tough to use in reality. Great for people without good knife skills, or to keep small fingers away from sharp blades, but a bit too much washing up for my liking.

Chicken and peppers sliced in a bowl

2. Slice the chicken thighs and peppers into thin strips and put them in a big bowl.

1 tsp cayenne pepper

Fajhita spice mix on chicken and peppers

3. Add your fajhita spice mix and olive oil to the chicken and peppers and mix well. OXO sent me these spice jar measuring spoons to use, and they're the best invention ever. My usual round measuring spoons don't fit directly into the jars, so I often have to use the smaller sizes more often which gets super annoying when you need 4tbsp of something and have to use 8 of the half tbsp spoons. I love these measuring spoons!

4. Melt a generous knob of butter in your pan and fry the onions and the garlic until soft. Then add the risotto rice and fry for about a minute.

Adding wine to risotto

5. Then add your wine to the pan and let reduce. I won't judge if you help yourself to a bit of wine at this point too.

Stock in a jug

6. Boil your kettle and make up your first litre of stock. The third and final product OXO sent me was this angled measuring jug which has nifty measuring lines on the inside so it's easy to measure as you add the water.

Risotto mixture in pan

7. Once your wine has reduced down, add your stock a ladle at a time, reducing down between each ladle. You want to keep doing this until the rice no longer has a bite, whilst stirring regularly. I never said this was an easy recipe, but it's so worth it!

Frying chicken fajhita mix

8. Whilst you're keeping an eye on the risotto mix, fry the fajhita mix in a separate pan until the peppers are nice and soft and the chicken is cooked through. 

Adding parmesan to risotto

9. Once the risotto rice is cooked, remove from the heat and sprinkle grated parmesan over the surface so there's a decent covering and stir through.

Black beans in sieve

10. Add in the cooked chicken and peppers, the sweetcorn and the black beans and give it all a good stir together.

Mexican Chicken Risotto

11. Serve! I like mine with an extra load of black pepper on top and with some avocado. Because I chuffing love avocados and would have them with every meal if I could.

This recipe makes for amazing leftover lunches, and inspires lots of jealous looks in the staff room, believe me. I hope you like the recipe, and please let me know if you try it out!

Rachel x


Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Trinity Kitchen and Lady Boys of Bangkok

A couple of Thursday's ago I was lucky enough to be invited to go see The Lady Boys of Bangkok with lots of lovely Leeds bloggers, I immediately said yes, as last year I was desperate to go when I saw the tent in Millennium Square but never got round to it before they left *sob*.

I originally asked my Mum if she wanted to come with me but unfortunately she had to work, so Rich was my back up - unfortunately for him as you'll find out later...

After driving into Leeds and parking up at the Trinity Car Park (a new discovery - only £3 to park after 5pm so it's actually cheaper than the train) we headed to Trinity Kitchen for tea. Even though I have a list as long as my arm of places I want to eat in Leeds, we are a bit skint now that it's so close to the wedding, and Trinity Kitchen is a wonderfully cheap way to feed ourselves without compromising on taste.

First up were starters from Dim Sum Su, 5 chicken and sweetcorn dumplings and 5 pork and prawn wontons for £5 each. These were hot, tasty and packed full of flavour. The dressing on the dumplings was incredible, and the garnish on both of them was so good I scraped up every last bit with a fork. Nom.

We followed our Chinese starters with an Indian street food main from Rola Wala, one of the permanent stands in Trinity Kitchen. Rich and I opted to share a rice bowl, with chicken tikka, paneer and all the toppings. The cauliflower rice caught my eye, but there wasn't much left, so we got a mixture of cauliflower rice and regular rice. The cauli rice was amazing, but having the mix was fantastic, something I'll definitely opt for again. The paneer was a bit chewy, and not that warm, but the chicken tikka was stunning. I thoroughly enjoyed this rice bowl, loads of flavours which contrasted and complimented each other, and really unusual too. We will definitely be coming here again for food!

With happily full bellies, we headed over to Millennium Square and took our seats ready for the show. There was a wide range of people in the audience, from groups of girls, to couples of all ages, so you wouldn't have to worry about standing out in the crowd.

As you'd expect, there were loads of glittery over the top costumes, worn by incredibly glamorous lady boys.

There was lots of lip-syncing to pop songs and musicals, with dance routines galore. The lip-syncing and dancing wasn't always spot on, and the standard wasn't as high as you'd see in shows at the theatre, but this could have just been because it was the second show of the night, so they all must have been tired by the end of the second show.

In between many of the acts, when there was a need to move the stage around, there was a fabulous drag queen who lip-synced along to some very funny, cheeky songs, often aided by the guy you can see in the photo. She had us roaring with laughter, her facial expressions were on point!

There was plenty of audience participation, mostly for the guys in the audience... and Rich swiftly began to regret accompanying me when he got selected to go on stage during a rendition of Rhianna's S&M song. I'll let the photo's do the talking...

He was tied up and stripped, and I was crying with laughter trying to take as many pictures as I could. It was one of the funniest moments of my life, and Rich was such a good sport playing along with it, even if he did sustain a couple of fake nail scratches from being stripped. I do apologise to all of the Leeds bloggers there, who had never met him before, and then saw a lot more of him than we bargained for!

Thank you so much to Lady Boys of Bangkok for a very funny night out, which will certainly be remembered forever by the both of us! Unfortunately they've left Leeds now, but are in Newark tonight, then Belfast from Friday til the 21st November. They do tour every year, and it is a very funny way to spend an evening, especially if you can take your partner and they get selected to go on stage.

Rachel x

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Forever Living Clean 9 Experience

A few weeks ago, I won a competition over on Ayden's blog to receive a free Clean 9 pack and coaching from her through the experience. Ayden has recently become an independent distributor of Forever Living, after she did the cleanse three times and really enjoyed her results, so I was naturally intrigued and entered the competition, thinking I'd never win.

Well, I did win, and when I got the message from her that I'd won it, I was really excited, then really nervous. The cleanse is 9 days long, and the first two days consists of drinking aloe vera gel, taking supplements and drinking one protein shake. That's it. Now, as I'm sure you know, I love food. I spend most of my day thinking about what's for my next meal and generally thinking about food, and at work, I'm rarely seen without a snack in my hand. So no food for two days terrified me.

I also suffer from low blood pressure, meaning I get light headed pretty easily, and I've almost fainted in more embarrassing situations than I can count (such as at a job interview - awesome), so I worried that not eating for two days may make me a bit fainty. I told Ayden about my concerns and she was lovely, discussing it with her manager to make sure I'd be safe and the answer came back that I should be fine, as aloe vera is supposed to help balance blood pressure, but to do the first two days on a weekend so I can take it easy if I needed to.

Image courtesy of Ayden
I was so excited to dig into my pack when my box arrived that I forgot to take any pictures, so I've used Ayden's picture to show what comes in the box. Lots of aloe vera, a handy book to fill in, the tablets, protein shake mix, a tape measure and a cute protein shaker. I got reading through the booklet and was so eager to start. I had decided to embrace the first two days of not eating, to see if I could do it, it would require serious will-power, but if I could do it, anybody could!

Day 1 and 2

I woke up on the first day raring to go, I took some before pictures and my measurements, trotted downstairs and had my first experience of the aloe vera. It's... interesting. Definitely doable, but I always had to have a wedge of lime or a strawberry to suck on after each shot. The rest of the first day went by without much incident, it was pretty hard going food shopping for the week ahead without being able to eat anything until Monday, but I did it. 

On day 2 I began to feel a little light headed and floaty. I managed to head into Leeds to do some shopping, and potter about the house, but anything strenuous was well out of the question. My stomach was getting a little gurgly by the end of the day and my protein shake was definitely looked forward to. I had to cave on the night and I had some asparagus and broccoli, which is allowed in the free foods section of the booklet. The free foods are foods which have a GI of less than 55, and I was so grateful to have a little bit of something to keep me going. 

Day 3

It was weights and measures again on the morning of day 3, I was so chuffed to find out that I'd lost 4 pounds and an inch and a half from my waist in just two days. My belly is always where I put weight on and lose weight from first, so I could really see the difference. It was a great confidence boost to see such a difference so quickly, and it spurred me on for the rest of the cleanse, especially now that I could have food!

I did feel really light headed for most of the day on day 3, so I decided against doing the 30 minutes recommended exercise, as I knew it would not have gone well for me. The programme states that you should have a shake for breakfast and lunch, then a 600 calorie meal for tea, but Ayden suggested splitting the calories to have a lunch as well as tea, which I found worked perfectly for me. The leftover shake made an amazing dessert at night, satisfying my sweet tooth and meaning I wasn't missing chocolate. Much. 

Days 4-9

Most of my days went like this:

Morning: Drink my aloe, take my tablets and make my protein shake to drink on the way to work.

Lunch: Ham salad with balsamic vinegar dressing, and tablets.

Snack: Some fruit in a pot at mid afternoon.

Tea: Turkey or prawns with lots of veg, and tablets.

Dessert: Shake with frozen cherries blended into it.

The pack does come with fibre sachets, which I wasn't enjoying at all until Ayden suggested making them up with hot water and lemon, and it makes such a difference. I didn't always take them though as I didn't always find I needed to. I had the Hairy Dieters recipe books suggested to me for recipe ideas, but I managed to come up with some satisfying things on my own. Having turkey, veg and gravy one night was a huge highlight. I love my gravy!

I stuck to my 600 calories throughout the plan, and found that I didn't really get too hungry in the day, so I didn't have to snack at work anywhere near as much. I did arrive home utterly ravenous most evenings though, but that was fine as I just got stuck into making my tea. There is no tea, coffee, squash or fizzy drinks allowed on the cleanse, as you're aiming to get rid of all of the crap from out of your body, not put more in. As I don't drink much tea, coffee or fizzy drinks they were fine, but oh my gosh have I missed squash. That is the only thing I've missed, but I have noticed I've only really missed it with my tea, so I might try and not drink any in the morning any more, just save it as a bit more of a treat.


I'm so happy with the results of the cleanse, I've lost 4lb and 4 and a half inches from all over my body. I'm most happy with my almost flat tummy, it gives me so much more confidence when I'm not worried about my gut hanging out! I do feel pretty great in general, full of energy and a lot calmer and more positive as a person, so I would definitely recommend the cleanse to anyone.

If you'd like to give it a go I wholeheartedly suggest you do the cleanse through Ayden, she's so lovely and friendly, and answered all of my daft questions throughout the 9 days, and didn't even flinch when I asked her about my *cough* digestive issues of day 6. Her email address is so give her a shout if you're interested. I know I received the cleanse for free from winning her competition, but there was no obligation to blog about it, and I wouldn't have if I didn't truly think it was a good way to feel great about yourself and give a kick start into losing weight. 

If you have any questions, leave them below and I'll answer as soon as I can.

Rachel x


Sunday, 25 October 2015

A Day in the Life of The Inelegant Wench - October 2015

Way back in November last year I did a Day in the Life post which was my second most popular post of that year. I did say that I was going to start doing a blog post about my #photoanhour day every month, which spectacularly failed, as this is the second blog post I'm doing on it, but I've done #photoanhour most months since.

Instagram is by far my favourite app and I love dedicating a day to putting more pictures on there, usually of things I wouldn't deem worth of Instagram, but can sometimes be my most liked and commented on posts. If you ever want to join in, just keep an eye out on Twitter for the announcement of it each month, or follow some of us #photoanhour people on Instagram.

So, lets get stuck in with the day of Saturday 17th October shall we?


I had no idea about #photoanhour this month until I was checking Instagram in bed, so I hopped out and took this picture out of my bedroom window. The sky looks moody doesn't it! I love this moodier weather of autumn and winter, it's really atmospheric. I may have gotten straight back into bed after taking this picture, you're not judging, right?


Finally out of bed and deciding to rep the Hogwarts t-shirt. I own so many Harry Potter t-shirts now, I love that they've become quite popular now so I can supplement my wardrobe with geeky stuff. I think this is one my sister bought me at some point... I think I might actually have too many if I can't remember where each one is from! 


I'm really into the Sims again at the minute. Rich has been away a bit over the last few weeks, which has meant many evenings controlling the lives of my family on there. I'm slowly adding to my expansion packs as well, I have University, Seasons, Ambitions and the Loft stuff pack, but I'm definitely wanting to add more. Rich keeps treating me to one every time he buys a new game, which is a very fair trade I think!


I am in love with my new tartan men's pyjama bottoms from Next. They're so soft, and have pockets! More female clothes need to have pockets in them, particularly sleepwear. I took this picture whilst sat on my bed putting off getting dressed properly to go to Sainsburys. It's the worst when you're all warm and comfy and have to put on proper clothes to leave the house.


So I eventually made it to Sainsburys and did the weekly food shop. Sometimes I enjoy going on my own because it means I can spend ages looking at things like the Nando's rubs and marinades. Mmmmm. I did well at not buying too many treats this week, aside from a magazine and some new salad dressing.


When I got back from Sainsburys I made myself a quick light lunch of a vegetable salad. I was on the Clean 9 cleanse this weekend, so I was trying to keep my calories as low as possible. I've got a post about my experience coming up on Wednesday morning, so check back then to find out how I got on. This salad was really tasty, the new salad dressing I bought was a tomato and chilli one and it is really flavourful. 


If I'm in on a Saturday I usually wind up doing laundry. I actually enjoy this, it's my favourite house chore, probably because once it's in you get to spend an hour and a half doing a job, whilst actually sitting on the Sims or doing other things. All about that multitasking! 


I picked up this Christmas food catalogue from Sainsbury's earlier in the day. It was so much fun to look at. Rich and I are hosting Christmas this year for the first time (I think I may have said that before? Sorry if I'm repeating myself) and it's going to be amazing starting our own Christmas traditions. We're going to double meat for Christmas dinner - turkey and ham, and the sides have yet to be confirmed. So much excitement!


I seem to frequently put pictures of inside my food processor on Instagram, but I use it all the time! This was two cauliflowers all blended up ready to make The Londoner's Cauliflower Pizza recipe.


This was my finished cauliflower pizza. As I was sticking to the calorie limit of the Clean 9 diet, I wasn't able to make it quite as cheesy or topped as I normally like it, but it was still really good, and for about 500 calories, it was spot on! 


We often watch movies with tea on weekend nights, taking it in turns to make the decision on the film. Rich chose to watch Horns, the one with Daniel Radcliffe in it. It was pretty good, but got somewhat ridiculous towards the end, and the violence got very comic book like. I know the film is based on a comic book, but still, snakes cannot do those things. I love Juno Tempo though, that girl is gorgeous!


Perusing my ever growing recipe book collection looking at recipes I want to try. I tend to stick to the same few recipe books, I need to shop my stash more often! 


Waking up and coming downstairs to the kitchen being a complete mess always puts me in a bad mood for the day, so I'll always try to wash up before bed whenever possible. Rich and I almost always do the dishes together, I wash and he dries, usually whilst dancing around to music on Spotify, it's a really good chance to catch up on our days. 

After I washed up I did my usual Saturday night trick of falling asleep on Rich's lap whilst he watches Match of the Day, so no more photos from me as when it finished I stumbled to bed and went back to sleep again. 

I hope you enjoyed being nosy at what a day in my life is like. I'll try my best to do these more often! 

Rachel x
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