Shannon Michelle

Shannon Michelle

Beauty, fashion and lifestyle blogger from the UK..

Saturday, 22 July 2017

CLEAN EATING SNACK IDEAS

If you're trying to follow a healthy lifestyle or want to make gradual changes to your diet, snacking is a major part of it. Sometimes when we've planned out our meals for the day when we're being super healthy, we forget about the snacks in between meals. I personally don't snack as much during the day like I used to which I love, but sometimes it is really nice to have a little something to fill the gap between lunch and dinner or in the evenings. So here are a few of my favourite snack ideas, hopefully these will help you to eat a bit cleaner instead of eating processed foods between meals or to encourage you to try some new foods!

1 -  Matcha tea: 
I used to, well actually still do, see so many people on Instagram and Youtube raving about Matcha tea/lattes. I tried matcha for the first time around a year ago and honestly didn't love it all too much, but I decided to try it again recently and have developed a liking for it a bit more, but I definitely think the more I start drinking it the more it will grow on me. Matcha is so good for boosting your metabolism and burning calories as well as being rich in fibre, chlorophyll and vitamins! 

2 - Fresh fruit:
This is the most obvious one that you've heard a million times before, but not only does fruit taste incredible anyway, but each kind of fruit benefits your body in some way or another. You can't really go wrong by eating it. Reaching for a cup of strawberries, blueberries or cherries is so much healthier than reaching for a chocolate bar which is just going to give you energy for all of five minutes until you have a sugar crash and zero energy, but hey we're all guilty of doing it anyway so don't sweat it. 

3 - Bell pepper slices with hummus:
Okay so hummus is my absolute favourite food anyway so i'm lucky that it's healthy and isn't causing my body any harm, but omg, try it with red bell pepper slices and you will cry tears of happiness (maybe not but you get the point), IT'S JUST SO DAMN GOOD.

4 - Raw protein bars
These are one of the best snacks if you're on the go or don't have much time to prep anything like cutting up fruit. You can make a big batch of raw protein bars and store them in airtight container to grab on the go. 
Here's a few suggestions to try:
Super Healthy Granola Bar by Eats Amazing
No-Bake Protein bars by Whole New Mom
No-Bake Superfood Granola Bars by Domestic Gothess

5 - Raw energy balls
These are basically the same things as energy/protein bars just in ball form. There are SO many recipes for these simple little creations and they all look amazing. I used to be obsessed with making these and will definitley get back into snacking on them again as they're packed with nutrients and give you the perfect amount of energy!
Here's a few recipes I've found:
No Bake Chia Energy Bites by My Fussy Eats
Raw Chocolate Brownie Bites (nut free) by Wallflower Kitchen
"Nutella" Stuffed Cookie Dough Balls by Nadias Healthy Kitchen (I will definitley be making these sometime soon!!)

6 - Carrot Fries
I recently started making these and they're so amazing you wouldn't think they're as healthy as they are! If you don't want to follow a high carb diet, then making carrot fries instead of potato fries is definitley a great alternative. I cut these into thin strips, put them onto a baking tray with a tiny amount of olive oil and sprinkle some seasonings onto them, baking them in the oven for about 15 - 20 minutes, depending on how how crunchy you want them, the shorter you leave them the crunchier they are. I also highly recommend dipping these in hummus! (these are in the photo above)

7 - Popcorn + cinnamon
Make some air-popped popcorn (around 2 cups) and sprinkle with a teaspoon of cinnamon and enjoy as a healthy movie night snack. I can imagine adding a little bit of coconut sugar into this would make it taste even better and give it a sweeter flavour while still remaining healthy and enjoyable!

8 - Apple + peanut butter
This is one of my absolute favourite healthy snacks! I simply cut one apple into slices with a tablespoon of peanut butter on the side, I also love sprinkling cinnamon on the apple slices as it makes this 100x more yummy, but is completely optional. You can use any other nut butter if you want, I would love to try this with hazelnut butter!

9 - Homemade tortilla chips + salsa
This is also another favourite healthy snack idea that i've been making for years. I slice one tortilla into small triangles and place them in the oven for around ten minutes to crisp them up. I then dip this into salsa or hummus and I love it! You could also dip these into guacamole but I'm really not a fan of avocado so I personally don't really like this.
Here are some great salsa and hummus recipes to try!:
Sweetcorn Salsa by Delicious Magazine
Lazy Day Salsa by The Slow Roasted Italian
The Best Homemade Fresh Tomato Salsa by Little Broken
Classic Hummus by Gimme Some Oven
Thai Peanut Hummus by Fooduzzi
Smoky Red Pepper Hummus by Poppy And The Bees

10 - Chocolate "Nice Cream"
Place 2 -3 frozen bananas (make sure you cut them up before freezing), 1 tbsp cacao powder and a splash of soy / any other plant milk (I use coconut) in a blender and blend until it forms a smooth ice cream like texture. You can play around with this recipe by adding things like dark chocolate chips or topping the nice cream with fresh fruit and coconut flakes. There are so many options! This is perfect on a sunny day when you crave ice cream but would like a plant based / healthier alternative.

These are just a few suggestions but I hope they helped you with some new ideas, let me know if you try any!

What's your favourite healthy snack?

Shannon
x

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

30 QUOTES TO BRIGHTEN YOUR DAY

happily // ✧
Some days can be tough, and on those days we all like to have something that will help us get back up on our feet again with a smile. We all get a little down sometimes, and no matter how hard you try to stay positive, you simply can't be happy all the time. But it's okay, it's just how life works and everyone experiences a down day every now and then. Here are some quotes to help you get through it when life gets a little hard and hopefully will put a smile on your face.

  1. Regardless of how anyone else feels about me, I am going to choose to be happy and completely love myself today.
  2. You may not see it today or tomorrow, but you will look back in a few years and be absolutely perplexed and awed by how every little thing added up and brought you somewhere wonderful - or where you always wanted to be. You will be grateful that things didn't work out the way you once wanted them to.
  3. There's no time to be bored in a world as beautiful as this.
  4. Once you learn how to be happy, you won't tolerate being around people that make you think anything less.
  5. Purpose fuels passion.
  6. Sometimes, you just need a fresh start. A new beginning. A clean slate. Just get rid of everything going wrong and make it go right. Sometimes, you need to delete a number. Colour your hair. Quit your job. Purge all the negative things and focus on all the positive. Just do it.
  7. The world gives you so much pain and here you are making gold out of it. There is nothing purer than that.
  8. Just always be the better person. And make your intentions pure. What and who you are is what you'll attract, what you'll maintain. Pain is inevitable and it will always exist, but if you focus on understanding what you are feeling and why you are feeling it, you will overcome it.
  9. Be so full, that even if they take and take and take, you will still be overflowing.
  10. You are made of planets and oceans and no one owns them. Just like no one owns you.
  11. Stop looking around and comparing, start looking ahead and evolving. Love and live your life. Silence the noise.
  12. Believe in yourself and you will be unstoppable.
  13. You are powerful, beautiful, brilliant and brave.
  14. In order to love who you are, you cannot hate the experiences that shaped you.
  15. Little reminder: Life is messy, being human is messy. It's not as neat as our "shoulds" and "shouldn'ts" would have us believe. We lust, we crave, we hurt, we fear.
  16. Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.
  17. Take a step back today, look at all these beautiful things you have.
  18. Live less out of habit and more out of content.
  19. Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day.
  20. No great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness. 
  21. It's okay to not have it figured out yet.
  22. Those who move forward with a happy spirit will find that things will always work out.
  23. A beautiful day begins with a beautiful mindset. When you wake up, take a second to think about what a privilege it is to simply be alive and healthy. The moment you start acting like life is a blessing, I assure you it will start to feel like one. Time spent appreciating is time worth living.
  24. That is my vision for my life. Not looking backward at what I used to have. Looking forward at what I might grow into.
  25. Surround yourself with people who push you to be your best self.
  26. You have to find that place that brings out the human in you. The soul in you. The love in you.
  27. I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. If you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it full speed. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good.
  28. Stop dulling yourself down for people that cannot handle your edge.
  29. The secret of being happy is accepting where you are in life and making the most out of every day.
  30. For what it's worth: It's never too late to be whoever you want to be. I hope you live a life you're proud of, and if you find that you're not, I hope you have the strength to start over.
what's a quote that helps you get through a dark day?

Shannon
x

Saturday, 15 July 2017

SUMMER CHILL OUT PLAYLIST


I love having time to myself, whether that's reading a book outside in the garden with a cup of iced coffee or spending time in my bedroom on my laptop. No matter what my "me time" is, music is always a big part of it. Having a playlist depending on literally every mood keeps me happy, so having one for my chill out time is perfect to listen to quietly in the background of whatever i'm doing. You can follow this playlist on my spotify here if you would like to listen. But anyway, here are my current favourite chill out songs.

  1. Made to love you (acoustic) - Dan Owen
  2. Can't help falling in love - Haley Reinhart
  3. You said you'd grow old with me - Michael Schulte
  4. Bruises - Lewis Capaldi
  5. Hate u love u - Olivia O'Brien
  6. The night we met - Lord Huron
  7. Waves - Dean Lewis
  8. Only you - Selena Gomez
  9. Strong - London Grammar
  10. Burn it down - Billy Lockett
  11. Safe inside - James Arthur
  12. Silence - Grace Carter
  13. Why - Skinny Living
  14. Old Friends - Jasmine Thompson
  15. Wait - M83
  16. All in my mind - Isaac Gracie
  17. New York - St. Vincent
  18. Surefire - John Legend
  19. Like a fool - Keira Knightley
  20. Back to me - Daya
  21. Unsteady - X Ambassadors
  22. Little do you know - Alex & Sierra
  23. Running - James Bay
  24. Lover dearest - Marianas Trench
  25. Fly (acoustic) - Meadowlark
  26. Bloom - The Paper Kites
  27. Fallingforyou - The 1975
  28. Arizona - Frances Cone
  29. Things that stop you dreaming - Passenger
  30. Work song - Hozier
  31. From Eden - Hozier
  32. Arsonist's lullaby - Hozier
  33. I have questions - Camilla Cabello
  34. High hopes - Kodaline
  35. Bad at love - Halsey
  36. Patience - Shawn Mendes
  37. I can wait - Nikki Blonsky
  38. Creep - Haley Reinhart
  39. Just you and I - Tom Walker
  40. Pure - Luke Sital-singh
  41. All time low - Jon Bellion
  42. Reverie - Isaac Gracie
  43. The Luckiest - Ben Folds
  44. Golborne road - Nick Laird-Clowes
  45. Revolver - Vian Izak
  46. What do I know? - Ed Sheeran
  47. Water - Little Hours
  48. I love the usa -  Weezer
  49. Your guardian angel - The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
  50. Green mountain state - Trevor Hall
  51. Morning - Marc E. Bassy
  52. Don't go - Rae Morris
  53. U just can't be replaced - Gnash ft. Rosabeales
  54. Twentythousand - EXES
  55. Time on the line - Jnctre
  56. Dear, Home - EXES
  57. The moments I'm missing - Nina Nesbitt
Shannon
x

Friday, 14 July 2017

30 HEALTHY HABITS YOU SHOULD ADD INTO YOUR DAILY ROUTINE


As I've grown up, I've picked up on some habits that have changed my life for the better and although I know a lot of people already follow some of these, I thought i'd share them for all of those that want to change a few things to make their day (and lives!) even better, gradually! A small change in your daily routine can completely change your mindset for the rest of the day and make you feel more positive.

  1. Stop eating for weight loss, instead eat for health. you'll feel so much better.
  2. Wash your face at least twice a day. I make sure to do this as soon as I wake up and also as part of my night time routine.
  3. Stop skipping breakfast! eating a healthy breakfast will leave you feeling satisfied and actually give you the right amount of energy to help you lead a productive day. If you're looking for a new healthy breakfast idea, try my favourite go-to granola recipe. It's the bomb.
  4. Stretch daily for at least 5 minutes. 
  5. Add more greens into your diet. It's so easy to add things like spinach or any other leafy green to pretty much any dinner, or try drinking green smoothies. The options are endless.
  6. Stop doubting yourself. You can achieve anything you want, you just have to go for it. 
  7.  Eat whole foods as much as possible. Swapping things like the usual pasta for wholemeal pasta has more nutrients and tastes just as good + avoiding processed foods will benefit your body so much.
  8. Drink warm water with lemon every morning to help digestion and rehydrate your body.
  9. Stop snacking when you're not hungry. Most people tend to snack out of boredom or dehydration, so make sure you're drinking enough water every day and if you're still hungry, reach for something healthy.
  10. Use Youtube for free workout videos. I follow Blogilates.
  11. Get 8 hours of sleep. There's no point staying up all night watching netflix when you could be sleeping so you have enough energy the following day.
  12. Set goals, long term and short term.
  13. Read outdoors. I love reading outside on a sunny day or in the evenings when the sun is going down, it's calming and helps me feel relaxed.
  14. Try new recipes!!
  15. Moisturise your skin every single day and night.
  16. Continuously learn new things. 
  17. Try DIY facemasks.
  18. Organize your clothes. Get rid of the stuff you know you won't ever wear again. 
  19. Take a 10 minute walk.
  20. Wear clothes that make YOU feel good.
  21. Stop putting things off. Get things done.
  22. Challenge yourself.
  23. Forgive. Stop holding grudges and move on. You'll feel a massive weight lifted off your shoulders.
  24. Try bullet journalling.
  25. Eat slower.
  26. Rise early.
  27. Take omega-3. 
  28. Always take the stairs.
  29. Judge less.
  30. Be kind. Always.

shannon
x

Thursday, 13 July 2017

OPTIAT COFFEE SCRUB | ARE COFFEE SCRUBS WORTH THE HYPE?


If you've been following the blog for a while you probably would have figured out by now that I am a coffee scrub addict. I believe that coffee scrubs are the perfect skin remedy and soothe my face more than any other kind of skincare product. I reviewed the Scrub Love "coconut affair" coffee scrub a around a year ago which you can find here - and I was absolutely obsessed with it, so I decided to give the brand Optiat a go. Optiat kindly sent me one of their "Vanilla Velvet hit the sheets" scrubs to test out and share my opinion with all of you other fellow coffee (scrub) lovers out there. They have a selection of 4 scrubs to choose from, all with a completely different scent ranging from Lemongrass, Mandarin, Vanilla and peppermint.

As soon as the vanilla scrub arrived in the post, I was so excited to test it out straight away. This particular scrub is described to be perfect for a relaxed, quiet night in, helping you unwind after a long day. I personally prefer using it in the morning as it leaves my skin feeling soft and fresh and strangely makes me feel more confident about not wearing any makeup as my skin just feels 100% better. This scrub is perfect to use before bed also as it helps you feel refreshed before bedtime and makes you feel like you're going to have a better nights sleep. It would also be perfect using as part of a night time pamper routine to make you feel that bit more fab.

The instructions for use are so simple! Just dollop (I cringe every time I hear that word, but I just had to) a small amount of the scrub onto your hands, ensuring that your skin is fairly damp beforehand, then simply massage the product into your face in circular motions until your face or wherever you want to apply is completely covered. Leave for a few minutes - the longer you leave it, the softer your skin is left feeling. Then rinse it all off with warm water until all the product is off. You'll then be left feeling gorgeous and ready for a beautiful nights sleep.

Coffee scrubs do wonders for the skin as the coffee grounds are used as a natural exfoliator, whilst the caffeine stimulates blood flow, effective against cellulite and stretch marks. I actually couldn't recommend coffee scrubs over the average exfoliator enough, i'm so in love with them.

You can find all of Optiats scrubs here for £9.99 or their travel size versions for £6.99. My travel size version is still going and I have had a lot of use out of it, possibly around 8 uses with even more left to go. These would be perfect for taking on holiday if you've had a long day out in the sun or to take to a friends house for a girly night in. The brand also has 6 gift sets to choose from if you know a coffee scrub addict like myself - these would be the perfect birthday or even Christmas present (yes I am excited for christmas time already, i must be crazy..) The options include the "large gift box" consisting of all 4 full size coffee scrubs, the "small gift box" consisting of all 4 travel size scrubs, perfect for someone who wants to test all the scrubs out before purchasing their favourite full size product. You can also change these gift sets around so you can choose the combination of scrubs you want.

The other gift sets include the "Men's gift box", "hangover healer", "post-gym lifter" and finally the "night-out prep". All of these boxes consist of different goodies along with one full size scrub. I'm definitely intrigued by the hangover healer box the most, everything looks so good!

My only fault with the product was that I expected to be able to use it in the shower as my Scrub Love scrub was recommend to be used in the shower/bath and worked wonderfully, but when I used this one in the shower it ran straight down my face almost like my skin was too damp. The difference between these products was that the Scrub Love product was more like coffee granules whereas the Optiat scrub was more like a paste formula. Other than this I thought the scrub was beautiful and smells so delightful it makes you want to eat it!

I would definitley recommend trying coffee scrubs if you still have yet to or are curious about how good they actually are as more and more brands are starting to come out with their own ranges. I think the Optiat prices are great and you really get what you pay for. Go get yourself your favourite scrub from the website and become part of the #scrubsquad on instagram sharing a selfie of you and your scrub!

shannon
x

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

dealing with the loss of a loved one.

I've never had to cope with losing someone, someone that you love so dearly you couldn't imagine a life without them in it. well here I am, coping.

Last month on May 18th my boyfriend lost his dad. I thought nothing could possibly get worse than that, but the following night on May 19th my granddad passed away also. Both losses were never expected and I think that's why i'm still in shock. I can't help but think about the heartache I felt those nights every day since. I never imagined the day I'd lose one important person in my life, let alone two in such a short space of time.

I feel like no matter what I say in this post I won't ever be able to write exactly what i'm feeling because it is quite honestly indescribable. I hate looking back onto both those nights, they're still so fresh in my mind almost like it all happened yesterday. I couldn't sleep for what felt like forever, there was so much going on in my head and dealing with the reality of everything that had happened was keeping me up at night. It's exhausting when you lose someone. You feel like you can't breathe. You feel numb.

My grandad was one of the most important people in the entire world to me. I've always been close to him ever since I was a little girl and I never imagined the day that he would be taken away from me. He was a truly wonderful man with a heart full of gold. He used to try teaching me how to play guitar, something that I thought I wanted to get into again a few months ago. I remember one Christmas he bought me three old Audrey Hepburn movies because he remembered me telling him that I loved her, I gave him a big hug and told him I would watch Breakfast at Tiffany's that night, I have since then always classed that as one of my absolute favourite films and will now always remind me of him. I guess in some ways I consider myself very similar to my granddad, I think he's where I get my love for old jazz and rock n' roll music from. His memory will live on in my heart forever and I hope to make him proud of everything I accomplish throughout the rest of my life. He is and always will remain a light in my life and I'd give anything to just have one last hug and conversation with him.

We all have to cope when we lose someone that we love, but coping is a strange concept. I don't think you ever really get over it. You just have to live with it as best as you can and live each day as you usually would. We regret things like not making the effort to see them as much or we point out silly things that we should of done, but life can't be reversed and all you can do is live each day with love and show those around you how much you care about them.

If someone close to you loses someone that they love all you can do is be there in their time of need to comfort them however they may need it and although you might feel like you're doing nothing, you're doing a lot more than you think by just simply being there by their side and offering kind words and comfort. Everything is unpredictable, no one really knows how to "handle" the suffering that comes with loss. The sadness, the anxiety, the heartbreak and mostly the unknown. It's daunting, but somehow we have to manage.

The night my boyfriends dad passed, I didn't know what to do. I felt so hopeless and that I wasn't doing enough to be there and comfort him in such a traumatic time. I understand now that although I still want to help him through his heartbreak as much as I possibly can, I will still be here to offer support whenever he may need it at whatever time, no matter what and that's the best thing I can do.

"The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not 'get over' the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal yourself and will rebuild yourself around the loss you've suffered. You will be whole again but, you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor would you want to."

Thursday, 20 April 2017

HOW TO MOTIVATE YOURSELF TO WORKOUT



I think we're all guilty of making a new years resolution to start working out more and eat healthier in the new year and suddenly before you know it, all good intentions are thrown out of the window after a few weeks / months and you end up stuck in a rut. Seriously we've all been there, don't feel bad about it. I've been really interested in looking into fitness and nutrition lately so please don't hate me too much for the huge pile of blog posts I have lined up around both subjects.. anywaaaay, I've been really getting back into exercise lately and I've been finding new workouts that I am loving, so I thought i'd share some tips with you lovely lot on how to motivate yourself to get up from that sofa and stay fit and healthy for good!

Create A Playlist - This is without fail one of the first things I do to motivate myself to work out again after having more time off than I should be having.. create a playlist that will make you feel like you want to get up and dance and you'll be good to go! I love throwing a bit of Beyonce and Kehlani into my playlist as they make me feel just that bit sassier and make me kick some butt when I workout. 10/10 would highly recommend.

Workout Gear - okay so I'm not telling you to splash out on any designer sports brands that will suddenly make you want to work out, but if you can get hold of any gym gear from high street shops like Primark or even if you have a pair of leggings and a baggy tshirt at home it will give you a bit more encouragement to work out. I always feel like as soon as I put on my workout gear I make myself feel like I HAVE to workout even if i'm feeling too lazy, I end up doing it anyway and end up feeling amazingly satisfied afterwards.

Motivation Quotes - 99.9% of us are probably guilty of scrolling through instagram and ending up on a model's page and feeling bad about ourselves, right? I know I'm sure as hell guilty of it every now and then. I think the biggest question is simply "why?" why do we allow ourselves to feel bad about our bodies just because we think someone else has the perfect abs or perfectly toned legs? We're all different, but we're all equally just as beautiful, but if you feel like you want to feel better about yourself then it's simply down to your own actions. put in the effort, put in the work and you'll feel fab in no time! scrolling through pinterest and seeing motivational quotes always help encourage me to work out even when I really don't feel like it.

The Food You Eat - If you're eating foods that you clearly know aren't doing your body any favours, switch them up for something that's going to give you energy and feel good! A healthy lifestyle is made up of 70% healthy eating and 30% exercising so remember that next time you think of reaching for that cheeky family size bar of chocolate. Think about the things you're eating and how it's going to treat your body. Love pizza? don't worry, you don't have to give it up. Just make your own with healthier alternative. Cut down on the amount of cheese you're adding to the base or don't add any at all (it's just as yummy I promise), add some colourful veggies and tomato puree and boom, healthy pizza complete. You can also find so many healthy snack ideas online, put the effort in and you'll get the results you want!

Remember Why You Started - Every time I feel like I can't motivate myself to get up and moving I remember why I started. I remember the times that I put on a pair of shorts and felt uncomfortable wearing them because they didn't look as good as I wished they would or I remember the feeling that I get whilst working out and how much I love it and suddenly I feel bad for not working out.

Challenge Yourself - No ones forcing you to spend hours at the gym straight away, start with beginners workouts and ease yourself into a routine. Maybe add something new to your workouts each week, challenge yourself to do another set if you're into circuit training, do 2 minutes extra of burpees or do a few extra squats. you got this!

shannon
x