This Page

has moved to a new address:


Sorry for the inconvenience…

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
Green+Aquamarine: February 2015

Friday, 27 February 2015

Feed Your Soul: Superfood Hot Chocolate

A few weeks ago, I spotted a recipe by MindBodyGreen for superfood hot chocolate. Since then, I have had it whilst studying, winding down with a film and out on Snowdonian walks. I bought some raw cocoa powder a few weeks ago and until I tried this particular recipe, I could never get my hot chocolates to taste quite right. So, it is safe to say I am converted, and I had to share it here. I'll admit; my portion size is somewhat larger than MindBodyGreen's, but it fills an average cup nicely. This hot chocolate contains a variety of "superfood" spices. I don't personally have macs powder or cayenne pepper in my cupboards, but I have included them nonetheless. Tumeric is a fantastic addition, adding a subtle warming taste and helping to beat colds and other aliments aided by its anti-inflammatory properties.


  • 125ml of each almond milk and water
  • 1 tbsp raw cocoa or cacao powder
  • 1/2 tbsp maple syrup, honey or agave 
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 1/4 tsp each macs powder, cinnamon and nutmeg
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper and sea salt

Heat the almond milk and water on the stove until just under boiling point. Then, simply whisk or blend the ingredients together. Adjust flavours to taste, and enjoy. This isn't a super sweet hot chocolate, which I actually really enjoy as I can savour it, possibly alongside other food, without it all feeling too sickly. However, I have promised myself to one day hop over the Menai Strait and go to Beaumaris and try one of these amazing creations from an Italian cafe I have been recommended. For the kilner mug and gingerbread man if nothing else!

Like, seriously.


Monday, 23 February 2015

Rizopia Rice Pasta

Being a student, simple, healthy and filling foods are a must have. Sometimes isn't isn't always easy to fit all these criteria, especially when the flatmates have pizza orders in and you're craving comfort foods. Pasta is a definite staple for me, as it provides the base for a great meal no matter how full or empty the fridge is. When Rizopia offered to send me some of their pastas to try I was really intrigued. Their pastas are made from organic brown rice and so are suitable for anyone with a gluten intolerance or sensitive digestive system. You cook it just like normal pasta, in under ten minutes. The taste and texture is slightly different to wheat pastas, but not hugely, and is really tasty.

Creamy Avocado Pasta

I've been seeing this recipe on Pinterest and have wanted to try it for ages. It is vegan, but really creamy and full of good fats to keep you feeling full. A few of my flatmates tried it and really liked it, including those less keen on avocados! I'll definitely be making this one again, especially with Rizopia pasta.

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1/2 (a large handful) fresh basil
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 350g Rizopia spaghetti or fettuccini pasta
Blend up the avocados, basil, garlic, and lemon juice together until creamy. Slowly add in the oil to form an emulsion. Set aside. Meanwhile, cook the pasta. This should take 8-10 minutes in salted, boiling water. If the avocado sauce is too thick, add a little of the water from the pasta to loosen. Drain the pasta and stir in the sauce. For extra flavour, try adding sweetcorn or sliced cherry tomatoes. Serve, topped with extra basil.

Pesto Pasta with Roasted Vegetables

This is based on the first time my Dad showed me how to use pesto in cooking as a child. Because the vegetables are cut so think they steam as well as roasting, giving them a really nice texture that works well eaten cold or reheated. 

Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 2 peppers (two colours ideally), sliced into thin strips or diced
  • 1 courgette, cut into strip
  • 2 carrots, cut into thin strips
  • 1 jar of roasted tomato pesto
  • 350g Rizopia fusilli pasta
Preheat the oven to around 170'C and toss all the vegetables into a baking tray along with a drizzle of oil. Roast for 20-30 minutes, checking often. Cook the pasta for 8-10 minutes and then drain. Add around four tablespoons of pesto to the pasta, according to taste. Meat friendly? Try adding some thinly sliced good chorizo to the vegetables. The flavour binds really well with the tomato pesto. Vegan? Look out for parmesan-free pestos.

Have you ever tried any alternative pastas before? I personally don't have any problems digesting wheat, so don't really seek out products like this. However, I really liked the taste an texture and am more than happy to keep having this as an addition to my diet.

I have been sent these items for purpose of reviewing. All thoughts and opinions and my own.


Friday, 20 February 2015

Shopping: Yoga Bags

When you start using a range of yoga equipment or have to get to class straight from work, you may find that a new investment is needed to streamline your routine. Be it a simple bag or strap to carry your mat when walking across town, or a large holdall to fit in work kit, a change of clothes and a few blocks, getting the right yoga bag will make your life much easier. Next year I will be walking or cycling to class, possibly with a few extra bits of kits thrown in, so a new bag is definitely on my list to purchase over summer. With the long, thin rolled up mats taking up an awkward amount of space, conventional sports bags don't really cut it, and it can be hard to find a yoga bag that you actually like and need. To help you out, I've listed six bags below:

Six Yoga Bags

1. Sweaty Betty mat strap £12.00 | This strap is the simplest of ways to carry your mat around. Suitable for a variety of mat thicknesses thanks to it's velcro fastening.

2. Yoga Emporium mat bag £24.50 | Made with organic cotton, this bag is environmentally sound as well practical. Fits mats up to 66cm wide.

3. Verada Etsy shop mat bag £19.00 | This pretty bag is handmade in Thailand, with a drawstring closing to fit a range of mats.

4. GymTote Sophia Tote £120.00 | Although this highly functional bag doesn't come with the cheapest price tag but works hard for your money. The main compartment has an A4 pocket for your work documents, hidden compartment for trainers and water bottles AND with a mat holder underneath.

5. Lululemon Cruiser backback £108.00 | This seriously technical bag works well for commuters and is a less feminine option, giving male yogi's a much-needed rucksack. It comes with a myriad of compartments, including a brushed pocket for sunglasses. Your yoga mat is safely attached outside the bag using a strap and hammock design.

6. Free People Yoga tote £51.00 | For the busy yoga student or teacher, this jute bag will carry pretty much everything. Exterior pockets let you keep essentials to hand whilst keeping your mat securely strapped in.

Alternatively, why not grab some sturdy fabric and make your own? I love this tutorial by Sincerely Kinsley. You need an old rug or sturdy fabric, an old belt and some leather or similar for the base. Have you ever got a bit DIY with your yoga kit? Tweet me a photo!

I'd love to see how you get to yoga classes and what your bag must-have's are, so comment below.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Om Yoga Magazine: March

Reading Om Yoga magazine is something that I look forward to each month, and is something that I am always excited to share with you. I was promised an interesting read this month, and I wasn't disappointed. This month's main feature is all about ethical clothing. Shopping organically and consciously is very important to me, if not always easy to achieve, either logistically or financially. So, I am always really happy to see new brands and ideas featured to keep me inspired and on my toes. Some really exciting brands were featured and I thought I'd share a few with you today.


When talking about ethical, planet-friendly clothing, organic cotton and bamboo tend to spring to mind. But Teeki activewear is all made from recycled plastic bottle, giving a bright new life to something that we buy and dispose of so casually as an international community. Each pair of yoga leggings uses around 25 bottles -just think of all the landfill site space saved if all polyester clothing were made in this way. And, as screen printing is not required, the process produces no polluted water making the process really clean. Teeki actually has a zero waste policy as part of their sustainability promise. Their popular leggings sell at £47.50, putting them in the mid price range category. Teeki also sells shorts, tops and children's leggings. If you're looking for bright printed leggings next pay day, these are the ones to go for.

Choclo Project

Choclo Project is more than just a fitness brand; it is a powerful instrument working to change the lives of underprivileged children in Peru. 5% of the sale price of the leggings, which can account for up to 100% of the profits goes towards these charities. In addition, the brand's headquarters are located in the Darwin Ecosystem in Bordeaux, giving the company great green credentials as well. Once again, I'd put this brand in the mid price range.

No Balls Yoga
Finally, is No Balls, a fitness company that uses eco-friendly bamboo. I have had my eye on this brand for a while and would love to treat myself to a pair of staple legging, yoga bra and maybe one of their pretty vests! Four different bamboo-based fabrics are used to cater for different activity levels, which isn't something that I often see with bamboo clothing. Bamboo is sweat wicking and anti bacterial, so this brand will see you through a variety of sports and classes. Although some of the more detailed, technical pieces can cost up to and above £60, you can also pick up a basic bra for a tenner and leggings for £20, making No Balls an option accessible for all.

Also in this month's issue was the article, Walking in Beauty, inspired by a Navajo blessing, by Denise Leicester. She talks about elevating our sense of being and clearing the mind in order to see beauty in all things. As spring is in the air, now is a perfect time to declutter the mind and rid it of expectations. Leicester encourages you to try that juice cleanse, sort out that to-do list or engaging in something new. During this time she encourages you to find beauty in what you do. In doing this you should find yourself cultivating a conscious path towards happiness.

Disclaimer: I am an Affiliated Blogger with Om Yoga Magazine. Each issue I will write a post on an article from the magazine and share it with you. Have a look here to find about the other lovely affiliated bloggers. All photos in this post taken from the Om Yoga magazine. 

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Yoga with Geoff Powell

On Sunday, I attended my first yoga day course, after being told about the day by my yoga teacher, Morfudd,  who trained with the course's teacher, Geoff Powell. Geoff has been teaching Iyengar yoga since the 1970's and has trained with the late Mr. B. K. S. Iyengar himself. He then became one of the first yoga teacher's to practice in North Wales, and is largely responsible for training many of the Iyengar tutors in the area today. (To find out more about Iyengar yoga, read my post here.) With such experience as this, I found myself looking forward to the day's experience greatly. Set in the mountainous backdrop of Gwynedd county and overlooking the Menai Straits from atop the village, the location for the day was remote and peaceful. A few minutes before the start of the day, I entered the naturally-lit hall, which was already filling with students. Many there attend Geoff's yoga classes or courses regularly and knew one another already, but everyone was so friendly that I quickly felt comfortable. After a cup of lemon and ginger tea, we settled down and Geoff, who made sure to know us all by name, introduced us to the day.

The morning and early afternoon was filled with just under three hours of posture work, with a brief break part way through. Many of the asanas and progressions were familiar to me from my weekly class, but the extra time and focussed session let us all expand our practice. The time at the beginning spent opening up the back, shoulders and hips set my body up for the rest of the day. I was excited to discover that handstands and headstands were part of the day. I taught myself to hold a headstand over the summer (see my post explaining how to hold headstands here) and my current aim is to be able to hold a handstand. This last week I have started being able to hold myself away from the wall for a few brief seconds, and the work on Sunday really helped. My arms certainly felt it afterwards! I learnt lots of new techniques, some that I was more comfortable with than others. But, as Geoff said, it is the poses that you least want to do that are the ones that you need to practice. So I am now inspired to push myself more in my home practice! The focus on each individual pose was really useful for correcting my alignment and so I found the whole session very helpful.

Lunch was a delicious affair, all cooked by Geoff's partner, Gwyn, who is a trained chef. There was a carrot and lentil soup that slipped down all too well, along with a selection of flavoursome, hearty salads and cheeses. Geoff and Gwyn had us all well looked after for the whole day! It was hard not to over eat with such a spread, and I wish I had taken a photo now as it was laid out beautifully, and in stonewear bowls. I took a few minutes during lunch just to stand outside and breath in the fresh, clean air.

After lunch, we let our food settle whilst listening to Geoff give a talk on subtle energy, also known as prana in Indian/yogic practice. The topic is pretty new to me, so I listened with interest. Geoff studies the meridian system, a Chinese energy system that holds some resemblance to the perhaps more commonly known chakras. He explained that specific poses helped to open up certain pathways, each of which is linked to an organ or gland. Acupuncture and Yin yoga are both based around the principles of the meridian system. Geoff gave us some demonstrations, comparing our strength or flexibility in a certain area before and after stimulating the relevant meridian, by holding postures or "tapping" particular body areas. I wasn't really sure what to expect, but the physical change that the adjustments certainly surprised me. I would certainly be much more open to trying acupuncture if I start to suffer from migraines or similar. A fellow student also explained to me about reflexology and the nerve endings found on the feet and hands and how it can relieve many symptoms. I really learnt a lot in that hour.

Finally, we ended the day with an hour of Qigong, which holds similarity to Tai Chi. As I haven't tried Tai Chi, I can't compared the two, but the steady, fluid movements of Qigong were gently stimulating and helped to loosen up my muscles after the morning's stretching. Jill, who ran the session with a warm energy, was quietly enthusiastic and very helpful in showing us Qigong, which was new to many of the group. In summer, Jill holds Qigong sessions on Bangor pier and I'm pretty tempted to go -I can't think of a more energising location to practice!

I really had a wonderful day and would love to attend similar events in the future. One day, I would really love to go on a yoga course or retreat abroad, and this has cemented that desire. Geoff holds regular classes in North Wales along with residential courses in Turkey and Crete, and I would highly recommend his teaching.

All my photographs in this post were taken the day before close to Snowdon when on a walk. I can't think of a more gorgeous place to live in and practice yoga!

Labels: , , ,

Monday, 9 February 2015

Cooking with Nakd Bars

One of my greatest challenges faced whilst trying to eat clean and largely plant-based is what to do when I'm craving a sweet, satisfying snack. Luckily, there are lots of healthier bars and chocolates around, including Nakd bars by Pulsin, which are becoming even easier to find in shops. As the bars count as one of your five a day, and often contain a small portion of protein, I love filling up on one of these. I normally buy one to chuck in my bag as a between-lectures snack, but hadn't ever used the bars in recipes. However, when I was sent a few suggested recipes and bars from Nakd Wholefoods, I knew that I had to get into the kitchen.

Almond and Berry Biscuits

These biscuits or cookies are vegan, gluten-free and paelo. Use a small heart-shaped cookie cutter for a perfect treat this Valentine's.


  • 200g ground almonds
  • ½ tsp baking powder (gluten free if needed)
  • A small pinch of salt
  • 4 tbsp vegan spread or coconut oil
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup, honey or agave nectar
  • Optional: ½ tsp almond extract
  • 1 Nākd Berry Delight, or Bakewell Tart bar, cut into small chips
In a bowl, combine the ground almonds, baking powder and salt together. Melt the coconut oil before adding that, the maple/honey/agave, almond extract and Nakd bar to the mix. Combine, then press together with your hands. Wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes. Turn on the oven to preheat to 170'C. After chilling, roll or press out the dough to around ½cm thickness, and cut out small biscuits. Bake for 8-10 minutes. The biscuits will still be soft as they come out of the oven, but will harden as they cool.

Chocolate Mousse Pots

I love these mousse pots -they're so decadently rich and creamy that you'd never know that they were filled with such goodness, or avocados! They do go down very easily so watch out. I have heard of avocado and chocolate mousses before, but the Nakd bar topping makes a tasty addition.


  • 2 ripe avocados, skin and stone removed
  • 8 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 8 tbsp maple syrup, honey or agave nectar
  • 120ml dairy-free milk
  • 4 Nākd Cocoa Delight bars

Blend the avocados, cocoa powder, syrup and milk together in a food processor until creamy. Divide the mousse between four pretty glasses or tumblers and chill for at least thirty minutes in the fridge. Meanwhile, in a clean food processor, blitzt the Nakd bars (along with an extra tablespoon of cocoa powder, if desired) into small pieces, without blending too fine. Top the glasses with the Nakd bars. To serve, decorate with frozen raspberries or edible flowers.

Both of these recipes, although containing fats and sugars, are made with whole foods and are a really delicious alternative to traditional snacks and treats. What are your favourite clean desserts?

Disclaimer: I was sent a selection of Nakd bars for the purpose of trying out suggested recipes or my own. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Happy Birthday Blog!

It's my blog's first birthday! Technically I'm a little overdue -I just checked and I actually started Green + Aquamarine on 25th January, but since I properly got going in February I figured now was fine to celebrate my blog's birthday.

I had written a food blog previously, but time commitments meant that I simply wasn't cooking anything new and so stopped. After finishing a big A Level project, I decided that I needed something new to keep me busy and I missed blogging. So I set out with a new theme, working my new blog around health, fitness and sustainability. It has been an amazing year, and I've really enjoyed it. I have become an affiliated blogger with Om Yoga Magazine and Mala Collective, attended my first blogger event, hosted a competition and been asked to review products. Green + Aquamarine is still a small blog, but it is my space and I am happy to let that space grow organically and stay true to my theme and interests.

I have seen quite a few personal changes what with moving to university. The way that I blog has changed, but I am happy with that, even if I do have to work to make sure that I am getting both blog posts and assignments in on time! There has been a few challenges, such as the lack of space for taking photographs -so less fitness and yoga photos sadly! I have adapted around that, whilst keeping my content consistent.

I'm hoping to keep Green + Aquamarine growing, and if I reach 100 Bloglovin followers I plan to treat myself to a new layout! You can follow me here to keep up with all my latest posts, as well as adding me to your Google circles. I am hoping to go to more blogger events (anyone in north England or Wales?!) and to work with more bloggers and brands.

However, my blog, of course, is not just about me -it's about you. What would you like to see more of on Green + Aquamarine? Do you like my yoga posts, fitness fashion, conservation campaigns or recipes? I'd love it if you could comment below and let me know your thoughts!

Thanks for everyone who has read posts, followed my blog or shared the love -you make this so worthwhile and your comments and tweets really do make my day. So, here's to the next year of blogging; I can't wait.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Veganuary: the Results

So it is now February which means that the month of Veganuary is over. As I started late, I still have a few more days to go, but I thought I would do a summary post in conduction with the challenge's official end.

So, how have I found it? Surprisingly, making vegan meals for a month really wasn't that difficult. For breakfasts, I only had to omit yoghurt and I recently discovered that my local health food shop sells coconut yoghurt, which makes a nice occasional treat. I have been avoiding using soy substitutes, so have been getting my protein this month from nuts, seeds and dark leafy veggies. Many of my staple dinners are vegan anyway, so I only had to switch the kind of pesto that I used, and hold the cheesy topping. I did find the few times that I ate out difficult as only having one option on the menu was a bit disappointing. There is a vegetarian cafe near me though and another local cafe caters for lots of different diets, so I do have those for future eating choices. I have also branched out on my snack options -who knew that you could buy lentil or quinoa crisps? I'll confess, I haven't actually said no to any offers of chocolate, but when buying for myself, I have become much more familiar with which dark chocolate brands to go for. Some are completely vegan; some are technically dairy free but may have milk traces and some have milk as an ingredient. So it was worth looking at and deciding where my boundaries of strictness were.

I am pretty pleased that I've managed to stay off the cheese when my chocolate avoidance somewhat failed! I did have cheesy pizza the one time as a friend bought a few boxes as a thank you for a group of us helping her to move. This means I did cheat, but I reduced my animal products an awful lot and only bought vegan food for myself. So although it was tempting to beat myself up about this, I have stepped back from that and still think I have made some really good progress.

I guess the next question is what is in store for my diet from now on. I'm really proud of what I have done this month, and as I really want to keep my carbon and ethical footprint right down, I will definitely continue to eat as little animal products as possible, especially from those linked to cattle. After next week I will start to have eggs again, as I buy locally sourced ones. To me, the unfertilised egg is a waste product from a chicken and so to take an egg from a chicken living in good, outdoor conditions is fine to me. Honey from sustainable sources I am also fine with as bee keeping is an important method to protecting the declining bee populations. Everything else I plan to reduce as much as possible, whilst still accepting that I am human and imperfect!

Whether animal rights, environmental impact or health is your concern, moving to a more plant based diet will bring great benefits. I have been so inspired by the hosts of vegans out there, providing recipes, motivation and positivity so thank you to them! I am looking forward to living increasingly sustainably and my food basket has been such a good place to have a kickstart.

Have you changed your diet recently, or got involved with Veganuary? Let me know below!

Labels: , , , , ,