The most delicious healthy snack recipe – the ‘cake’ pop

A few weeks ago I was scrolling through my Pinterest feed and all these photos of freshly baked muffins, granola bars, and the most mouth-watering salads I’ve ever seen kept popping up. And maybe looking at photos of food when you’re very hungry (as I always am) isn’t the best idea… but I thought it got me inspired to start cooking and baking again!

I wouldn’t call myself a ‘pro cook’ I can make my regular favorites pretty well, but when it comes to following recipes I usually get too impatient to follow the recipe exactly, or I’ll get bored halfway through and kind of wing the rest of it (can anyone else relate?) and end up with something that sort of resembles what I was going for.

I was inspired to create this recipe by something I saw on ‘The Wooden Skillet Blog’ which I stumbled across on my Pinterest feed, and I tried to create a recipe sort of similar to this one, and a few others I’ve seen before. So while I did create this ‘cake’ pop recipe myself, a lot of the inspiration did come from other baking blogs (so I give them credit as well).

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I remember feasting on cake pops when I was younger, they were those things that were just so fun and festive to eat, and for some reason, the cake always tasted 100 times better when it was on a stick, am I right? So I wanted to create a healthy version of cake pops that were very simple and quick to make, and trust me if I can make it through the whole of this recipe, it must be easy to follow!

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Ingredients:

6 pitted dates

1/3 cup of raw cashew nuts

1/3 cup of raw almonds

1/2 of flax meal and chia seed mix

3 tbsp of honey

1/2 cup of peanut butter

1/2 cup of dark chocolate

Salt

 

Method:

  1. Take your almonds, dates, and cashew nuts and blend them in a food processor until they are a coarse, chopped mixture.

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2. Take your nut and date mixture and add in the peanut butter, flax meal, and honey.

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3. Use your hands to evenly combine the ingredients, until the mixture starts sticking together.

4. Line a tray with greaseproof paper. Take your mixture and mold it into small sphere shapes, and stick a popsicle stick through the middle.

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5. Place the ‘cake’ pops in the fridge for approximately 20 mins.

6. Melt the dark chocolate in the microwave and coat each of the ‘cake’ pops with the melted chocolate.

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7. Place back in the fridge for 1 hour.

8. Sprinkle some sea salt on top for extra flavor.

9. Enjoy!

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This recipe made me around 10 of the pops, and they were all devoured within a few days! This has to be one of the simplest and tastiest things I’ve ever made, and I’m so happy with how it turned out. It’s a nice alternative to cakes and other pastries and it’s a tad healthier and much easier to make at home. I can not explain how good they taste, especially with the sea salt on top! Let me know if you try them, and tag me in your photos if you try them (@Little.Miss.Expat)

I hope you enjoyed this recipe!

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The different ‘English-es’ we speak

“Language is the road map of culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going.” – Rita Mae Brown

A few weeks ago I was assigned some reading homework for my English class, and I found myself dying to write about it here! It was a piece called “Mother Tongue” written by Amy Tan, and I found my brain going crazy making all these connections… because I could relate SO MUCH to this piece of writing, as I’m sure any other expat can.

This passage highlighted how different people from various cultures use the English language in their own ways. In the narrative, Amy Tan described the way her mother spoke a ‘broken’ English and gave many examples of how sometimes this held her back as people didn’t take her as seriously. She highlighted a really important issue for me, does the way we speak hold us back?

As an expat, I hear people with different accents, speaking in different languages, and different in dialects every day, but I’d never really thought about what this means to them. Does the way we speak ever hold us back and is it an indicator of who we really are? When I first moved to Dubai, a lot of people commented on how ‘posh’ my British accent was. I’d grown up in London my whole life, so I had never known anything different, I thought that the way I spoke was completely normal. However, in my first international school, I became so self-conscious of my accent, that I even looked forward to my language classes, because I knew that was a time where I didn’t have to speak with my ‘accent’.

But this was not a one-way street. Joining an international school gave me the opportunity to meet people from many different parts of the world, and to hear the way they talked. I distinctly remember in my first school in Dubai we were put into ‘sets’ based on ability and most of the children in the highest set for English, were the English kids, the ones who spoke English in what seemed the ‘perfect way’. There are so many examples of this: I recently heard the story of a friend who’s originally from Taiwan, but moved to school in America for a year, and was not allowed to take the AP English class, because the teacher didn’t think she could speak ‘real English’ even though she was one of the highest scoring students in her school on the AP exam.

Before putting all these pieces together, I had never really thought of language as another barrier we have to overcome, or as another means of discrimination. Just because someone doesn’t speak the same way as you, what deems them less than you?

Our world is becoming increasingly global and if we still have these old ideas stuck in our heads that there’s only one ‘perfect’ way to speak and one perfect ‘dialect’ then we’re going to be holding a lot of deserving people back.

We’re all from different places, and perhaps English is not our first language, but the way we speak it and our own variations are what makes us unique. The subtle differences we share make the world interesting. So next time you hear someone speaking a different ‘English’ from you, don’t be so quick to judge, because we all speak in different ‘English-es’.

Have you ever experienced something like this? What are your thoughts on this subject? Let me know in the comments!

Little Miss Expat

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Multiple Moves – #ExpatWisdom – Elina

Hi everyone! Welcome back to another post in the Expat Wisdom series! This week I’m really excited to share the expat story of Elina (@justsoelina), which is quite similar to my own. Her experiences are raw and real, and I think her advice could be very useful for any other teenagers going through a move. Here’s a piece that she wrote for the Expat Wisdom project, I hope you enjoy it!

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New Town Funk

I may not be an expat (though maybe one day, you never know!) but I do know what it’s like to move away from your home town and deal with homesickness. I recently moved 3,500 + km from the only place I had ever known to the other end of Australia. It was the scariest, happiest, and overwhelming and definitely the most forefeeling thing I have ever done.

But before we get into that lets back track a bit. I am now almost 16 and up until May of this year I had grown up in small country towns in north east, Victoria. I had moved many times before that, but all had been within an hour radius of each other. I loved growing up in small country towns and I wouldn’t have changed it for the world. But I had always wanted to move somewhere, bigger and different.

So when the opportunity arrived for me to do just that I jumped on it. I was so excited for the new adventure my Mum and I were about to embark on. I counted down the months, weeks and days until the day finally came that we left. I was so excited to leave that I didn’t really think much about how I was going to miss my home town and of course the people I was leaving behind. That is until the moment I said goodbye to my best friend and I actually left. Needless to say the first hour or so of the trip I was a total mess. And then the following days of our road trip I felt really strange and super anxious.

But after a while the excitement built up again and I couldn’t wait to get to my new home! The day FINALLY arrived that I made it to the place I would now call home. I was so happy and excited I thought I might burst. But I also had this overwhelming feeling as everything was so new and daunting. As everything around me seemed ginormous! The shopping centres, the city area, the schools etc. You name it, it scared me!

I had gone from this massive high, to a really bad low. I was missing my friends and the familiarity of my old town. And of course I felt awful for feeling this was because It was something I had wanted for years.

After a few days I started to settle into my new house, We started to explore our new town, spent time with our family and got to know some of our neighbours. Slowly my funk started to fade and I loved every moment of my new life.

Fast forward 4 months, I love my new home and everything feels more familiar and less daunting now.

The top things that helped me get out of the new town funk where:

  1. Make my new room my room: This was such an important thing for me as my bedroom is my safe space/chill zone. So by adding my own touches to it, helped to make it feel homier.
  2. Walk the dogs on a new track each day: When we first moved I was too scared to go off on my own as I was certain I’d get lost. But from walking my dogs in a new area each day, everything became more familiar. Now I know our area like the back of my hand, I may not be able to remember the street names (real life dory right here haha) But I am no longer at risk of getting lost anymore yay!
  3. Face Time my friends: This was a complete life saver for the homesickness. As I knew that even though there may be distance between us, We still had each other’s back.
  4. Explore Your New Town: Again things don’t seem so scary or daunting fi they are familiar. Go for a drive with your fam and take the time to explore your new town and maybe even do a few of the touristy things available.

I hope this post was able to help anyone dealing with the New Town Funk!

Feel free to check out my blog justsoelina.com

Or my Instagram @justsoelina

JustSoElina xx

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3 breakfast spots to try in London

During summer I always go back to London for a few weeks, where my days are filled with exploring new quaint stores and restaurants. One of my favourite things to do during summer is to wake up early and go out for breakfast. In case you didn’t know, breakfast is my favourite meal of the day, so I’m always down to try new places. London is home to some of my favourite breakfast spots in the world, and in this blog post, I’m going to share 3 that I think you should try.

Granger & Co

Granger & Co have a few locations around London, but I’ve only ever visited the Notting Hill one. It’s one of the most popular breakfast spots in Notting Hill, so be sure to get there early if you don’t want to wait in line! All of the items on their menu are so fresh, and they have a lot of imaginative options. My all-time favourite, is their ricotta hotcakes, I’m drooling just thinking about them right now.

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Andina Bakery

My family and I discovered Andina this summer, and we fell in love. Andina is also located in Notting Hill (although they do have other locations). It’s filled with the smell of freshly baked bread, and they display all of their baked goods on the counter, they look so inviting, you can’t help but try one. What I like about Andina is that their food is different from your regular breakfast options; they have a Peruvian inspired menu, and some of my favourite options are their corn cake and their artichoke and swiss chard pie, they’re so good! Whatever you order off the menu at Andina, you can see it being baked right in front of your eyes.

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Farm Girl Cafe

Farm Girl Cafe is one of my go-to breakfast spots. Their light and fresh breakfast menu is perfect for the summer, but their wide array of lattes, such as the matcha latte, rose latte, charcoal latte etc… are the perfect fix for a cold autumn day. I’m slowly making my way through their drinks menu (my goal is to one day try them all!) and I would strongly recommend the charcoal and matcha lattes! I’ve visited their cafes in Notting Hill and on Carnaby street and I love them both. Be sure to try one of their smoothie bowls, or their avocado toast topped with strawberries!

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Those are three of my favourite breakfast cafes in London! Be sure to let me know in the comments if you’ve tried any of these, and what your recommendations are!

See you next week,

Little Miss Expat

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Becoming more independent

Two weeks, in a new place, where I didn’t know anyone, studying in a college class, was definitely a huge step leap out of my comfort zone.

I am someone who lives by their planner, I write out every hour of my day and how I’m going to spend it; my day starts with my morning routine and ends with my night routine. I’m not a boring person! Trust me, I keep busy, but I like to know what’s coming next, I like to know what’s happening in my life. So maybe you’ll understand why spending two weeks in a completely different continent to the one I live on, knowing no one, and being truly independent for the first time was really daunting for me! Maybe, this is normal for other people, but for me, this was my summer of becoming more independent, and I want to share it with you guys.

For those two weeks, the only thing I needed to make sure I did every day was to attend my classes and lectures. It was so different from being at home where there’s always someone there, where there are always a few things I have to do in a day. I could wake up when I wanted, get breakfast where I wanted, I had to walk everywhere myself or take the train into the city, I could go wherever I wanted: Basically, I could do whatever I wanted (within reason). While all these possibilities sound amazing, believe it or not, it was kind of daunting! Yes, I suddenly could spend my day the way I wanted, but at the same time every day was completely different for me, I could never plan out exactly what I was going to do.

I think it also made me realise how much of a people person I am, but also how much of an introvert I am. I love being around people, I like chatting and laughing, but then at the end of the day sometimes I need that 30 mins or hour to read or watch TV by myself, that’s my way of recharging. And with being so independent, it was hard to balance these two things. Everyone was sticking by their own flexible schedule, and you weren’t going to be with someone every second of every day. For me, being so far out of my comfort zone already this was hard, and sometimes I felt very lonely. You see, I’m fine with spending time by myself at home, I’m doing it right now writing this blog post. But when I was already in a place with so much independence, and no one checking in on me, it was so weird to be by myself! And I feel like this taught me an important lesson.

You can take some you-time! You don’t need to live by someone else’s’ schedule. Sometimes I think people, especially people my age, think they have to do the exact same thing as someone else! And if you’re not with someone for every second of every day you’re not doing it right. But that’s not true. Sometimes you need to just do what you want, and that doesn’t always mean doing it with someone else. For example, if one of my friends wanted to go shopping in the college town, and I wanted to go to the library and finish my homework, it’s okay to do what I wanted, even if it’s not the same as them! But I found that concept so weird at the beginning! Because I was by myself in this new country I was kind of scared to be by myself and to be alone, but slowly I got used to this and I was more comfortable being by myself and doing what I wanted. I’m really happy that I learned that because I feel like it’s an important life lesson.

While it was really hard at first, and something completely new for me. I’m grateful that I got the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone this summer and become more independent. What about you? What was your first experience being more independent?

Little Miss Expat

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The Newport Detox

Hi Everyone!

I’ve been wanting to write this blog post for a while now, and I finally got round to it this week. As you might now, for about a month during summer I traveled all across the East Coast of the United States with my family, and I had a really great time. We visited Boston, New York, and Washington D.C. – all the large cities – but one of my favourite parts of the summer was stepping outside of these big, bustling cities, and spending a weekend in the peaceful, coastal city of Newport.

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For my whole life, I’ve grown up surrounded by the ‘city buzz’. Even though I lived in a small town in London, we spent most of our free time in central London, and Dubai is one of the busiest and most happening cities in the world. So it’s fair to say that I’ve never really had much experience living a ‘rural life.’ In fact, I’m so used to living in cities now, being able to go anywhere at any time I want, and expecting it to be open, that when we go on vacation to a smaller city or rural area, I find it really hard to stay busy.

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But this summer, a weekend trip to Newport was exactly what I needed. In case you didn’t know I just started my Junior year of High School, apparently, the hardest and most stressful of the four years, or so everyone keeps telling me. And this summer I was busy with lots of extra homework, SAT prep, new blog posts, and just other bits of work, that there were some times where I felt like it wasn’t even summer. So taking a weekend away from all of this stress, in a really beautiful place, what precisely what I had been longing for… and Newport did not disappoint.

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We spent the weekend staying in an adorable beach hut, with the ocean on one side, and beautiful greenery on the other. The sunsets were amazing to watch, as the light reflected off the ocean and sparkled, it was really magical. We traveled by boat to the mainland every day where there were lots of small boutique style stores, but there was something so unique and quirky about this town, it’s not your average shopping street. I think what I enjoyed the most was just being so detached from my busy life. Spending a weekend in Newport allowed me to just enjoy what I was doing and be in the moment, I didn’t have my phone with me, and I didn’t worry about doing any homework the whole weekend, I just let myself enjoy where I was.

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IMG_4918IMG_4884Something else I really enjoyed while we were there was going hiking. Well I say ‘hiking’ but really the hike we went on was more like a scenic walk. Nevertheless, I loved it.  I’ve never really had the opportunity to do this, because as I said I’ve always lived in cities, but now these beautiful trails were right on my doorstep. My family and I did the famous Newport Cliff Walk together one day, which is around 3.5 miles. It was breathtaking. On one side of you there’s the ocean, and on the other side are the exquisite Newport mansions. There’s something about being so close to the ocean that just clears your mind and lets you forget about all your worries and stress. I would 100% recommend it for anyone visiting Newport.

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I’ve uploaded some of the photos I got while we were in Newport throughout this post, but they only show a tiny fraction of how beautiful it actually is! Have you ever been to Newport? And where’s your favourite place to go, to ‘clear your mind’?

I hope you enjoyed this post!

Little Miss Expat

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A Career Story – #ExpatWisdom – Nat Functional

Hi Everyone,

Welcome back to another Expat Feature post! In case you don’t know, the Expat Wisdom project is something I set up so that expats from all across the world can share their stories and advice with each other. This week I have a really exciting story to share with you all! I’ve been working with Nat from Nat Functional, her blog is a place where she shares her thoughts in a really interesting and fun way (seriously, it’s one of the coolest blogs I’ve seen) and she’s an expat who grew up in Tottington, near Manchester, and now lives in Abu Dhabi! As well as sharing her expat story in this blog post, I also asked her to share a bit about something else in her life, that might interest you guys! And that is… her career story. As well as reading about Nat’s expat story and advice, you can also read about her career journey and advice for you guys. The Expat Wisdom project is all about sharing our own unique stories and providing advice to help others, and I know that I can learn a lot from Nat’s story. I hope you enjoy this post!

Here’s what Nat wrote for this post:

In the early days of my secondary schooling, it was obvious I wasn’t academically gifted. I had started at an all girls, private school and it was safe to say I was more comfortable on the sports field than in the classroom.

Navigating the next 5 years up to my GCSEs were mainly filled with confusion and me attempting to pull away from the academic norm. I was lucky that my school institution was there to keep me focused on achieving my exams and I finally finished with 9 A-Cs. With this, along came my first opportunity to break away from the private institution and head to a college of my choice and focus on what I believed I would be good at. The next 2 years were mainly spent in further confusion as the pressure mounted to choose my University course and ultimately at the ‘grand age’ of 18 I left acquiring A Levels and I had chosen to study Marketing at University.

This choice was solely based on me achieving an A in the marketing module of my Business Studies A Level. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but then as a 20-year-old, I had found myself making the first mistake and slipping backward off the career ladder before I had even begun.

The reality was, I had no interest in Marketing or University. I was 20 years old and found myself living with 18 other 20-year-olds in a house and commencing University. Within the first months of my course, I realized I had hopped on the education travelator and spent the next 2 years trying desperately to get off.

I was then offered the opportunity to move to London. My academically gifted sister was already well up her career ladder,  working for an investment bank in Luxembourg. Her life seemed glamorous, full of work social events, affording luxury items and at 21 this was way more important to me than achieving a degree in marketing.

Within a heartbeat, I had packed up my belongings and moved to London. To read more about this experience please head to my blog www.natfunctional.com/ balling with the Stockbrokers. But in short, I was a disaster. I already knew I had a very turbulent relationship with maths, so now working in a Stockbrokers wasn’t one of the highlights of my career ladder. I found myself at the bottom of the ladder looking up, wondering when I would take my first meaningful steps.

Twelve months later I was back up the motorway to Manchester and based on my ‘finance experience’ I found myself working in another financial institution. Again, further misery working with numbers. I hadn’t realized that now I had started to gain professional work experience, this was ultimately forming a new unwanted career path.

One thing I do have is the absolute determination to do my best at whatever I do. Whilst certain things I am not naturally gifted in, I will work day and night to make myself succeed.

It was in this job I was promoted to Team Manager ( surely a flawed recruitment process !) but before I knew it I was taking huge steps up the career ladder. This was due to me now managing people. I am incredibly social and whilst I believed in my school and university days this meant I was great at going out, I realized that strength in managing people and being able to engage with them actually was a skill. Something I never could have considered would ultimately would be the making of my career.

Fortunately, as a manager, I no longer had to work with numbers and I was focussed on getting the best from my team,  helping them to succeed. And then a role became available in HR.

This was a huge decision for me. I had successfully made it to a manager and the role in HR was an administrator. I looked up at my towering career ladder and realized if I was to continue as a manager in finance, it would quickly stall my journey and ultimately finance wasn’t something I enjoyed and my passion wasn’t there.

So at 24, I jumped down off my management ladder and started right at the bottom of the HR ladder. I made the conscious decision to roll back years, but I knew my ambition wouldn’t allow me to falter.

In another stroke of luck they also offered to fund my Post Graduate HR Management degree and I was able to study full-time and work full-time, and two years later I was fully qualified and promoted. Those two years, I would often, lovingly glance over at my management ladder, wanting to be back there. Where my life felt simpler and I was ‘important’, and I also wished I had been able to gain more ‘life’ experience whilst back at school to assist making important career decisions. Hindsight again is a wonderful thing, but so is career happiness. I knew remaining in finance would be about as dry as living in the desert.

So after an excruciating two years, I was climbing my new career ladder at pace, I was doing a job I loved and I was quickly promoted. I was told the speed of my promotions was due to my prior experience as a manager, so in the end all wasn’t lost!

Whilst I didn’t leave University with a degree, I now have one, plus a post graduate diploma. Now I have hindsight, I wish I had given more time and thought to the impact of the decision of my university course. Maybe a year out would have supported me in making a decision with more clarity but I was on the educational travelator and no way off, others around me were pushing on, and like a social sheep, so did I.

Because of my experience, I have worked with A Level students back in the UK, sharing with them my experience. Sharing what’s important and more so, providing a glimpse in to the working life they have ahead.

If I was to advise my 18-year-old self, I would simply say, remember the choice you make right now could be the foundations of the next 50 years of your working life, so making an uninformed decision could lead to delays as you head out in to the working world. It’s important that when faced with the decision, students use the resources around them. The world has been made smaller now with technology, choices are greater and alternatives exist. If you aren’t academically gifted, it’s absolutely Ok to take a different path but ultimately remember the importance of the strong education that sits behind you. I have now found myself as an expat whereby without having a degree I simply couldn’t have secured employment at a management level.

It’s a crazy world as a teen, you have only just been allowed to learn to drive, yet you are expected to make a decision that ultimately paves the way for the remainder of your working life. Take your time, consider what life looks like beyond education and use every resource you have. More importantly enjoy the ride, whatever it looks like, a positive attitude will always help you climb just like I did.

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I hope that you enjoyed reading Nat’s story and that you can take away some advice from it! Be sure to take a look at her blog, and read some more of her work. And remember, if you want to be a part of the Expat Wisdom project don’t hesitate to get in touch, you can read all about it here!
See you next week!
Little Miss Expat