Recipe: Tropical Breakfast Bars (gluten-free)

On Tuesday I shared a pretty amazing recipe for decadent fruity tiffin. I can say it’s amazing without sounding conceited because Holly Bell wrote the recipe, not me. It’s Holly that’s amazing, I am just good at following written instructions then eating the heavenly chocolatey results.

Today I am going to share another recipe of Holly’s that I made at the Whitworths blogger event, but this one is much healthier. It’s still scrumptious though, so don’t let the fact it’s void of chocolate and butter put you off. I am a huge fan of this recipe and whilst these are called ‘breakfast bars’ I’ve been eating them whenever I’ve felt an urge to…which admittedly has been embarrassingly frequently.

These tropical breakfast bars are packed full of mango, pineapple, coconut, dates, banana and figs and they laugh in the face of toast and cereal. They are a dreamy breakfast and, once made, super convenient to eat on the go. They last really well in a tin and stay juicy and delicious for days, but I’d def recommend making a huge batch as they freeze well too.

Healthy Tropical Breakfast Bars Recipe

I actually think they’re at their very best straight from the oven. If you can time it well you could actually cook these whilst you eat your dinner and then have them all warm from the oven as a dessert. I think they’d be amazing with vanilla ice cream and I have made a mental note to try them this way at my earliest convenience.

Anyhoo, here is how to make them…

Tropical Breakfast Bars Recipe by Holly Bell for Whitworths

Thank you Whitworths and Holly for letting me share these ace recipes :)

x

I just bought my fourth bottle of Truth Serum and this is why…

There aren’t many products that I repeat buy with extreme urgency, but Ole Henriksen’s Truth Serum is one of them. I am on my third deluxe sized bottle of the dreamy orangey wonder potion…

Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Review on PoppyD.com

I’ve mentioned it previously in skincare routine blog posts (I need to do an up to date routines post, as some of the products I used to use are definitely not on my go-to list any more) but as I purchased my latest bottle on Monday I suddenly realised I had never actually blogged about it on its own before. Which is rather selfish of me.

If you’re not familiar, Ole Henriksen is an American brand (I’ve met Ole himself, he is the most brilliant walking talking advert for his products, his skin is AMAZING) but it’s pretty widely available here in the UK too, thankfully.

Truth Serum is their global number one best-seller but I am a big fan of Ole’s Pure Truth Melting Cleanser, Pure Truth Youth Activating Oil and the frikkin awesome Lemon Strip Flash Peel too. I’ll be taking his SPF30 CC Creme on holiday this weekend and an Ole Henriksen facial is one of my favourite ways to spend an hour…

Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Review on PoppyD.com

…as proved at Harvey Nichols this week. *Guilty face*.

But what is Truth Serum?…

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Recipe: Decadent Fruity Tiffin

I’m pretty bad at going to blogger events, but when I received an invite to one from Whitworths which was literally walking distance from my house AND involved baking AND the chance to make chocolatey treats with GBBO finalist Holly Bell, I replied as quickly as my fingers could type…

“RESERVE ME AN APRON, WHITWORTHS, I WANT TO MAKE TEATIME TREATS.”

Or something to that effect. 

It was perfect timing too as my in-laws were coming to stay with us for a long weekend; I’d be able to whip up some home-made treats under the guise of ‘work’ and then casually hand around all the yummy things I’d made as if creating batch-loads of tiffin was just part of my every day brilliance.

Decadent Fruity Tiffin Recipe

And let me tell you now, the tiffin I made was indeed brilliant. It was exceptional. And, with my father-in-law as chief enabler, we ate an entire slab of it between the two of us over one lunchtime sitting. (I don’t actually recommend doing this as you will almost certainly feel sick, albeit in a rather decadent fashion).

One of the main reasons I’m glad I attended this event, as well as getting to hang out with Holly and steal her recipes, was that it opened my eyes to how genuinely delicious Whitworths’ dried fruits are.

I’ve always disliked dried fruits because they’re…wait for it…too dry. Yep, I know that that’s kinda the point, but a manky old hard raisin? No thanks. I’d never understood the concept of dried ‘snacking fruit’ (WHY WOULD SOMEONE DO THAT TO THEMSELVES?! DO THEY NOT KNOW ABOUT CRISPS?!) nor had I been particularly keen to make cakes that incorporated dried fruits.

That was until I tasted all of the Whitworths goodies in the demo kitchen and realised that yes, there is actually a difference between the cheapest old hardened apricot I can find at the back of the Sainsbury’s baking aisle shelves and the plump luscious Whitworths apricots which, it turns out, I can eat by the greedy handful.

I am now a dried fruit convert, although as you will see below I haven’t entirely lost my faculties. I still prefer my dried fruit to be heavily doused in chocolate, butter, syrup and sugar…but hey, it’s progress.

On Thursday I’m going to share a much healthier recipe of Holly’s that I’ve been making which shows off dried fruit in a less naughty way, but I wanted to share the tiffin recipe today as I am genuinely angry that I currently have no tiffin in my fridge…

Fruity Tiffin Recipe by Holly Bell for Whitworths

 

It was a hot day when I made it so I set it in the fridge (not at room temp, as above) and I kept it in the fridge too being as it’s summer. I loved it served cold, but then I keep chocolate in the fridge anyway.

You’ll need a sharp knife to cut it and there’s no point washing up the knife and plate straight away as you’ll want more. Then more. Then a bit more.

I recommend serving it with strong tea and a good book…

Decadent Fruity Tiffin Recipe

 

Thank you Whitworths for inviting me along (still think it may have been a mistake, I was the only non-baker blogger there so maybe I was on the wrong mailing list but hey – I am pleased to have discovered the joys of dried pineapple!) and thank you Holly for being such an ace host. You’re great.

xx

My top 14 tips for better sleep (no apps required!)…

You don’t need me to tell you how brilliant and lovely sleep is. I can say with all certainty that people who think sleep is a waste of time simply can’t be trusted. Sleep is great and that’s a fact.

I sleep very well but I don’t take it for granted; during my broken jaw and crumbly spine saga I had years of poor sleep. I know how lucky I am to now be able to adjust quickly to new timezones and sleep soundly in new environments, but I also know that I wouldn’t be able to do it without the tricks I’mma outline below.

14 top tips for better sleep(no apps required)

I should point out that if you have a medical condition preventing you from sleeping or, say, a crying newborn baby then my tips below probably won’t be that helpful, but if you’re not sleeping well because of restlessness or an annoying bedfellow (nothing like a 4am snore sesh to test true love eh?) then maybe the below tips will help…

1. Wear an eye mask…

The fact that there are people who don’t do this completely baffles me. I’ve worn an eye mask for at least ten years now and I can’t be without one. I literally can’t be without one. On the odd occasion where I’ve ended up in a situ with no eye mask to hand, I’ve tied a shirt around my eyes as a make-shift alternative.

The obvious reason to wear an eye mask is to block out your surroundings (helping you get off to sleep quicker, but also – crucially – meaning that if you do wake up briefly in the night you fall straight back to sleep rather than finding yourself looking at the clock/checking to see if it’s light behind the curtains etc) but I find it’s so much more than that.

I wear an eye mask even when I sleep in pitch dark rooms with black out blinds, maybe because I now just associate it with sleep but I think a big part is just wanting that pressure on my face. It’s like your face is being cuddled to sleep and your senses are hiding away for the night. I would sleep with my entire face under a heavy blanket if I could, but thanks to boring old ‘needing to breathe’ I make do with my eye mask.

Generally, cutesy ones with ‘funny slogans’ are a bit of a waste of time. Get a proper thick and padded one which is moulded so there’s less of a gap for light to peek through.

Trust me that eye masks will change your life, regardless of how dark you think your current sleeping set-up is.

2. Wear ear plugs…

Having worn eye masks for forever, I am relatively new to ear plugs and have only worn them for a year or so. I wish I’d understood their majestical powers sooner. I was given a foam pair in a hotel in Iceland and I tried them as a last resort as people getting up at all hours of the night to see the Northern Lights were driving me crazy (how rude! looking at the Northern Lights instead of letting me sleep!) and from then on I was hooked.

I now buy them by the industrial bulk load and keep a giant box next to my bed at all times. I wear them every night, even when sleeping on my own and in the countryside (I swear to god the animal noises at my parents house are waaaaaay more annoying than the constant hammering/shouting/sirens of London) and whilst it’s rare for me to ever wake up with both ear plugs still in my ears, I now find it hard to go to sleep without them in.

I think a big part of why I sleep so well now is simply that by putting in my ear plugs and pulling down my eye mask I am firmly deciding that I AM SLEEPING NOW. And within five minutes, I am asleep.

3. Sleep naked…

I am all about minimising the chances of waking up in a fluster and if I go to bed wearing pyjamas, I *will* wake up sweaty, annoyed and in a tangle.

In summer it’s easy to go to bed naked because it’s hot anyway, but in winter I have to really remind myself why I am sleeping naked. “YOU WILL WAKE UP AT 4AM IN A SWEAT POPPY. YOU KNOW THIS WILL HAPPEN. IT IS A FACT. TAKE OFF YOUR CLOTHES NOW OR RISK DOING IT ANGRILY IN A FEW HOURS TIME THEN NEVER GETTING BACK TO SLEEP”.

I do generally wear pants, but never anything sexy/lacy as these will inevitably annoy me in the night. It has to be cotton normal pants or nothing.

Naked skin and duvets make me happy.

4. Keep the room cool…

Related to the above really, but I sleep much better if I’m cooler. Open windows, air con on (when staying in hotels, I have not reached Maximum Life Achievement by having air con at home), radiators off at night.

I don’t sleep with the windows open in winter of course, but I always turn the radiators off just as we go to bed.

5. Separate beds…

This one is, for some bizarre reason, a “step too far” for a lot of couples. But I think separate beds are a life-saver if you’re not sleeping well. There’s nothing like being wide awake and staring at the back of your partner’s sleeping head, slowly eaten alive by jealousy as you watch them peacefully sleep whilst you are WIDE AWAKE AND PROBABLY NEVER GOING TO SLEEP EVER AGAIN IN YOUR WHOLE LIFE.

If you have a spare room, use it.

I’m not saying sleep separately forever, but sometimes you can get into a rut of poor sleep and a few nights on your own is all you need to then go back to your normal shared bed and sleep soundly. It’s like re-setting your system – proving to yourself that oh yeah, you can actually sleep. It is something your body can physically do.

At our old flat ST and I mostly slept in separate bedrooms, much to the amusement of our friends. Now that we have a much bigger bed we sleep together.

I was always happy to say we had separate bedrooms but some people will always find it funny, these tend to be people that can’t imagine having sex anywhere other than their shared bed at bedtime (*insert snarky emoji face*).

6. Separate duvets…

This is my personal fave solution to co-habiting dramaz, a shared bed but separate duvets. This is very common in other parts of Europe so I have no idea why it’s not more popular here. Once you try it, you’ll find it very hard to go back to sharing a duvet.

Get two singles or be big pimpin’ and have two double duvets.

It will legit change your life….

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12 healthy vegetarian dinner ideas…

If you follow me on Instagram then you’ll already know that I’m a greedy vegetarian who feels the need to constantly update you on what I’m eating.

Sorry about that.

Because quite a few people have asked and Instagram is useless for sharing links, I’ve decided to start doing some more food posts here on the blog.

I’ll mostly just be linking to other people’s recipes (only ones that I’ve tried myself and devoured with great success, natch) but I might post some of my own recipes too.

Let’s start with 12 healthy vegetarian dinner ideas which are all superbly easy to whip up and guaranteed to be delicious :)

12 healthy vegetarian dinner ideas1. Pea falafels stuffed in pittas with spicy yoghurt and salad…

Pea Falafels in Pitta with Spicy Yoghurt and 11 other easy veggie recipesThese pea falafels are wonderfully easy to whip up and I therefore seem to be making them all the time at the minute. The recipe tells you to fry them but I bake them in the oven (20-25 mins at 180 fan, watch them though) with a bit of low calorie spray to keep the fat content down.

They’re zesty and summery and whilst the recipe recommends serving with couscous, I think they’re best shoved into wholegrain pittas and drenched in jalapeno sauce, spicy yoghurt and marinaded cucumbers. BOOM BOOM BOOM. I like them with ‘healthy chips’ and a big salad.

Recipe here.

2. Peanutty tofu quinoa bowls… 

Peanutty Tofu Quinoa Bowls and 11 other veggie dinner recipes

More dinners should have peanut butter in.

PROTEIN NEVER LOOKED SO INVITING.

Recipe here.

3. Chickpea dumplings with spinach…

Chickpea Dumplings with Spinach and 11 other veggie recipes

This is a clever dinner because it’s superbly healthy but still filling. I assumed I’d need rice with this but you really don’t as the dumplings fill you up nicely. Another super speedy and delish dinner from the goddess that is Natasha Corrett.

Recipe here.

4. Poached eggs and smashed avocado on toast…

Poached eggs and smashed avocado on toast...and 11 other veggie dinner ideas

You don’t really need a recipe for something this simple, but I have to include it here as it’s one of my faves and feels like a lovely cuddle on a plate. I like to use giraffe bread for the toast (that’s tiger bread, for people who don’t shop at Sainsbos) and I smash up an entire avocado with the juice of half a lemon, a quarter of a finely chopped onion, some fresh red chilli if I have it and a few dashes of habanero sauce. Smother the toast in avo goodness, add two soft poached eggs, some black pepper, some more habanero sauce if that’s your thing and GO WILD.

You’ll want to use Burford Browns if you want orangey sexy yolk like the above, but why wouldn’t you use Burford Browns?…

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