Healthy Lunchtime Meal Alternatives

As a student, I don't really have the luxury of a huge food budget to play around with all the time, which is why I think that it is so easy to fall into the routine of skipping lunch, relying on takeaways or indulging in the dreaded microwave meals. I'm pleased to say that I have not touched a microwave meal and only had the odd takeaway (everybody needs a treat sometimes) since starting university, and I have been trying my best to adopt a healthy lifestyle, which includes exercising as well as eating healthily!

Planning is key when it comes to eating healthily on a budget. Where you purchase food, what food you buy and how much are all important factors to consider, you don't spend a fortune on food that you can get cheaper elsewhere or buy tonnes more than you need which you will never end up using before it goes past the 'use by' date. If you lack self control and end up walking around the supermarket grabbing every chocolatey, sugary treat in sight like me, writing a shopping list to plan out meals for the week before carrying out the weekly shop will help you to avoid wasting money on any unnecessary food items (You can still pick up some treats if they're on the list though)!

I am about as far from a gourmet chef as you can possibly get, but I am trying really hard to improve my cooking skills and experiment a lot more with different foods. I thought that it might be helpful to share a couple of simple and healthy alternative lunches that are tasty as well as easy on the wallet, because if I can do it then you definitely can too!

Salads have become a particular favourite of mine lately, literally because of how many different varieties and combinations that you can make. Throwing together a simple salad with minimal preparation is a super convenient way to work a couple of servings of vegetables/fruit into your diet while being healthy and low calorie, so you can get that satisfying full feeling in your tummy without the added guilt. I like to include crunchy onion and lettuce as well as tuna and boiled eggs for a bit of added protein, making it a perfect post gym snack after an intense workout. Obviously you can add in a banana if you want people to think that you're super healthy..

Omelettes seem to be everyone's worst nightmare to get right, but they seem to be something of a speciality for me as I seem to have been gifted with supreme omelette making abilities. Omelettes are such a versatile and inexpensive meal since you can throw pretty much any ingredient you like into them. I personally tend go for cheese and ham and either add in some peppers or other veg or construct a little side salad for some added healthiness.

If you are one of those people that struggle with avoiding that eggy mess stuck to the bottom of the pan, then I have a few omelette making tips for you to follow:
  1. A medium heat is usually best when cooking omelettes, heat butter in the pan until it is sizzling but not brown before adding your egg mix
  2. Two eggs is usually a good amount for an omelette, the more eggs you add, the harder it is to cook (you can always make more if you're still hungry!)
  3. A decent non-stick pan really is a life saver in ensuring that your omelette doesn't stick
  4. Don't add too many ingredients as it will make the omelette difficult to fold
  5. Thicken the edges of the omelette by tipping the unset mixture around the edges of the pan, making it loads easier to fold over

I find that it really helps to have some simple and easy lunches up your sleeve for those busy days where you don't really have much time to throw together a healthy meal to keep you going through the day, plus a substantial meal at midday will calm those food cravings until dinner time, helping you to avoid snacking on junk food!

A Little Inspiration - My Jewellery Collection

Until recently I have always been really happy with my sense of style and pretty confident in picking out clothes which suit me, but there has always been that underlying feeling that something is missing from my outfits to make them feel more 'complete'. I then began to realise that, except for the odd tacky bracelet that I probably picked up on some Spanish holiday, I never really wore any form of jewellery to complement what I was wearing. Being a guy, I foolishly neglected jewellery as being more of a girl's domain and never really gave it a second thought, but was made to eat my words when I kept stumbling upon different necklaces and rings that I liked and quite quickly became addicted to finding and buying jewellery that reflected my personality and really added to making an outfit stand out.

Recently I have purchased a few different necklaces and rings that I am really happy with, have been complemented on and wear all of the time so I thought that it might be a good idea to share them to give others some inspiration. I am a little picky when it comes to jewellery and can spend hours looking through items before finally finding something that I actually like and can picture myself wearing, but you can see from the pictures I mostly tend to go for silvers, golds and blacks as I find these colours literally complement any outfit and go along with whatever colour outfit that you decide to wear. 

I have recently acquired a love for the unbuttoned shirt with a plain t-shirt underneath, a look which a hanging necklace can really complete. The cross necklace is from Warren James, who actually have a great selection of male and female jewellery and sometimes the best place to find a good quality necklace that looks great too is (surprise, surprise) at a jewellers. The eagle and feather necklace is actually from my absolute favourite place to shop at the moment, Topman who have a clever range of jewellery where you can kinda build your own necklace by picking and choosing the chain and little charms that you have attached to it, allowing you to create yourself the perfect little necklace.

Rings are another new obsession for me, with my collection steadily building as I show my 'lack of self control' side and end up buying way more than I need. The one on the left was purchased from Topman, who have a range of rustic looking and inexpensive rings that really suit my style, perfect for anybody that wants to accessorise on a budget. The ring on the right is probably my favourite of the collection that I have, again from Warren James, which was actually a really nice present from my mum. I just really love the style and modern feel of titanium rings with a different coloured band down the middle, and especially the textured look of the black band on this particular one.

Last but not least is this wonderful ring that I picked up from the brilliant new monochrome abstract art ring collection at There were a range of colours to choose from but I went for the black as I thought that it really fit in well with my sense of style and personality. Sometimes its nice to purchase something from the smaller companies that put a lot of passion and effort into their little, unique and hand made products.

I definitely recommend heading over to all of these places if you are looking for a way to further enhance your style in the form of jewellery, and I hope that you have gained a little inspiration yourselves from my little collection. I am always on the hunt for new items to share, and plus this post is also a little sneak peak of my outfit post that will appear on the blog in the not too distant future so keep your eyes peeled!


Us humans just love to categorise things into groups. Whether this is to make life a lot simpler for ourselves or it's just the way that our complicated minds work I don't really know, but what I do know is that I have never been a very big fan of the way that we group other people together based on certain stereotypes.

It is true that there are probably people that actually fit every stereotype that you can think of, somewhere on Earth there is a French guy with onions round their neck and wearing a beret or a blonde girl who actually does lack intelligence for example, and we normally manage to do this completely subconsciously, but the problem that I have with stereotyping is that it generalises a whole group of people who are, in reality, very different and making you feel like you need to fit in with one of these generalisations in order to be 'normal'.

At school, I was smart but not intelligent enough to be classed as a 'nerd', I had friends and put myself out there socially but not defined as 'popular', and then of course you have other typical groups such as 'emos', the sporty 'jocks' and the 'unpopular people' (my least favourite grouping of all), all stereotypes that have been created for the pure reason of grouping people together to create this social order within society, none of which I ever really fit into which left me questioning my position in all of this social ranking. Was I just an outsider floating around the fringes of groups, was I part of a completely different group that didn't exist yet, or was I just lacking the normality of other people. It even begins to occur when you escape the realms of school and enter the big wide world, everyone has to have this class or social ranking within society, which many people make the mistake of letting define them. Everyone in this social ranking is in fact born equal.. the only difference between the 'rich' and 'working class' is the amount of money they have, not their self worth, their happiness or the life that they are entitled to live. There is nothing worse than seeing people get criticized for being creative and original, not letting themselves get drawn into devoting their lives to fit into these categories. I admire people that don't worry about what other people think of them, people that are not afraid to truly be themselves in a society that is afraid of change.

One of the stereotypes that bothers me the most is the 'you shouldn't do that because you're a guy/girl' mentality which certain people seem to have adopted, something that shouldn't even exist in our modern society. I have told surprisingly few people that I run a blog, that I actually enjoy photography and being part of a community consisting mostly of girls, due to a minority of guys that I thought I call 'friends' openly criticising and labelling me as 'gay' or 'feminine', neither of which are true, for 'doing something that is meant for girls' because I am in fact a male. I went through a period of completely lacking self belief, confidence and this constant feeling of insignificance, and the thing that they don't realise is that blogging is something that has rejuvenated my sense of passion, it gives me a sense of purpose and has become something that brings me endless amounts of confidence and happiness. Why shouldn't a guy like me be able to blog without suddenly being judged for being something that I'm not by people who do not even have a clue about the industry, why shouldn't girls be allowed to be footballers or rugby players without being openly judged, why should men all have to be a 'lad' just to fit in with the moronic males who have the idea that this is how all guys should act. 

Every single person on this earth has the ability and freedom to be original and different with their own personality not matter what gender, race, religion you happen to be. The truth is that I don't think 'normal' even exists, it is just this concept that we have come up with to make us feel better about ourselves when we act or feel like other people. I think it is so important to remember that there is absolutely no right or wrong way to live life, despite what other people may try to tell you. If you have a dream or goal in mind that you want to achieve, then never let anyone tell you that you can't do it, don't be afraid to stand out from the crowd, with a little passion, perseverance and self belief, you can do anything that you put your mind to.

Comic Relief - Do Something Funny For Money

Red nose day is one of those things that I always loved as a child, taking in the pound coin for non-uniform day at school, putting on my little red nose and usually being that one weird kid who liked to spray paint my hair red. It really is a charity that I have always been passionate about supporting, mainly because of how much of a difference that they make to young people's lives here in the UK and in Africa.

Comic relief have provided so many amazing opportunities and life saving aid to people in the world, most of whom without this generosity would most probably not be alive today, including:
  • Helping over 1 million children in Africa to gain access to an education, something that we take for granted (and really do like to complain about) every single day.
  • Helping 3 million people affected HIV, this is something that is a major problem in Africa and the money goes towards educating people about this this easily preventable disease and helping those who have lost loved ones to this disease.
  • Helped distribute 600,000 mosquito nets to protect over 6 million people in Africa from malaria
  • Setting up the National Domestic Violence helpline, which has reached out to over 1.5 million people since starting, something which is potentially saving lives every single day.

These, along with so many other projects being funded by the money raised by comic relief are the reason that it is so important to support them by giving whatever you can this Red Nose day. There is still much more to be done and always people that need help, which sadly requires money in the form of fundraising. Your donations really do help to change lives and make a real difference to people both here in the UK and Africa who are less fortunate than yourselves.

2 million children died last year literally because they didn't have access to enough food to eat, a number that is so astonishingly upsetting in this modern day where there is more than enough food in the world to go around and especially considering how much food we waste here in the UK every meal time. It is really amazing when you think about how much we take for granted and the smallest, most insignificant things that we tend to complain about literally on a daily basis, without realising how lucky and privileged that we are to lead the lives that we do. You wake up every day with clean water, more than enough food to eat, and a job or education to further enhance your future..things that others are not lucky enough to have.

So, take a quiet moment today to have a little think about the things that you tend to take for granted and start appreciating them as much as possible, try to help others and perform random acts of kindness and make sure to purchase yourself a little red nose. Not all heroes come in the form of a mask and cape, you can literally save lives and help make a positive difference in the world from your own home by donating or fundraising, no matter how small the amount considering that every little donation really counts, making yourself a real hero.

My Week In Pictures #3 - Exploring The Yorkshire Dales

You have most probably been thinking ‘Where on Earth did you disappear to for the past week James, I have been worried sick about you’. Well fear not for I have returned from a long and gruelling university field trip deep into the dales of Yorkshire, miles away from civilisation and anything remotely resembling wifi or phone signal! Being a complete southerner, I had never been to Yorkshire before, so I didn’t really know what to expect other than knowing that there is a lot of hills, tea and Emmerdale was filmed there.

I can honestly say from my week in Yorkshire that it is the most beautiful and picturesque place that I have ever been lucky enough to experience. Some parts, like this photo, made me feel like I was in a little magical Hobbit universe with a sole tree in the middle of a parting river and a stone wall off in the distance.  Everywhere that you look was completely untouched natural landscape, shaped completely by nature with not a building or artificial landmark in sight except the odd stone wall made completely of rocks from the environment, standing for hundreds of years with no cement or anything holding them together.

On our walk we encountered a little cove, formed by a waterfall flowing over the side hundreds of years ago. The rivers up North are a lot stronger and fast-flowing as they are closer to the source, which gives them enormous landscape shaping power to create amazing and unique natural landscapes. There is an old myth that a fairy lives in the cove, so adventurers or explorers that visit tend to fix a penny or so into the roots of the trees by the river and make a wish, which means that the tree roots are littered with hundreds of coins, making a magnificent sight like I have never seen before when the sun is shining. I'm not sure if I believe in it myself but I had to leave a 2p of my own and take a picture of it after I made a little wish.

A pretty steep climb and a lot of huffing and puffing later, we got to the highest point and were able to truly admire the stunning view. You could literally look out and see nothing but fields and trees for absolutely miles around, made even more beautiful by the sun setting over the horizon, I don't think words or this picture can do this view justice. You may recognise this gorgeous rocky cliff if you are a big fan of Harry Potter since this is where a scene of The Half Blood Prince Part 1 was filmed, so I couldn't help walking around the rocks and picturing myself as part of the movie.

We finished off our trip in another little cove deep in the Yorkshire dales admiring one of many waterfalls that exist in the North. I really wish that there were more landscapes like this where I live, I found this trip an amazing way to forget about the business and stresses of life, while bringing out my inner adventurer and explorer side. Sometimes its just nice to be surrounded with nothing but beautiful countryside, the feeling of a slight breeze and the beating sun on your skin, while listening to the gentle sounds of birds singing and the trickling of flowing rivers. I could literally sit for hours and admire the peacefulness that the Yorkshire dales provides, it is one of my new favourite places and I definitely recommend visiting if you haven't before!

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