Friday, 26 September 2014

Holiday in Rhodes Highlights

You guys, I am still day dreaming about the sun, the sea, the pool, the endless hours reading and spending quality time with the hubs-to-be. We had an amazing holiday. It was only the second time we'd been abroad together in seven years and it was definitely needed.

It wasn't an adventure or action packed vacation, it was a restful one, which is what I needed after being so ill before we went away. I feel we had a good mix of doing things and relaxing. My energy levels were up a little when we went away but I was still more tired than usual, so lying on the beach or by the pool with a good novel, diving into the water every now and again for a swim and a cool down, was perfect. I am quite a girly girl, I like shoe and clothes shopping, I love dressing up and watching rom-coms, but for books nothing beats a gritty crime novel for me, and I lost myself in a couple in Rhodes.


St Paul's Bay, Lindos

We stayed in Faliraki, which can be known for it's party atmosphere, but that's not why we went there. It is near the stunning Rhodes Town, has lots of restaurants, cocktail bars, clear waters and a gorgeous beach. And our hotel had its own water park. Yep. You heard read me right. So. Much. Fun.

As we went in September it wasn't crazy busy with party-goers. There were families and lots of couples. We could sit by the shore, soaking up the sun by day and relax with a cocktail (or two) in a nice bar by night.

Today's post is a bit of a photo dump and it has taken me forever to edit and pick my favourite photos because I always take too many. I have finally picked my favourites and am sharing five highlights from our trip.

We actually had a bit of a disaster with the camera and nearly lost most of our pictures. After a day at the beach the camera deleted all our photos that we had taken in Rhodes. We were gutted. When I got home I Googled a way to get them back and after downloading a card recovery program we got most of the photos back. Yay!

1. The Beach

Give me a beach, a book and a pair of sunnies and I am good to go!

Faliraki Beach is a beautiful Blue Flag beach. The water was so clear we could sea little fish swimming around our toes in the shallow water.

Faliraki Beach
Faliraki Beach
Faliraki Beach
Faliraki Beach

2. Tale of 2 1/2 Cities Trip

After a few days of rest and relaxation we wanted to see some of the culture that Rhodes had to offer. We booked a trip and firstly headed to the quaint town of Lindos with its white houses, winding streets that you could lose yourself for hours in and tiny shops the size of a cupboard.

Our tour guide gave us the option of wandering around Lindos or getting our legs working at 8 o'clock in the morning by taking a walk up the 300 steps to the to the town's Acropolis, which we really wanted to see. There was another way to the top, the Lindos taxi. This is a four-legged-two-eared mode of transport that goes eeyore. We decided to give the donkeys a break and braved the walk. Exercise for the day - tick!

The views from the top of Lindos Acropolis were just breathtaking.

Lindos, Rhodes
Lindos Beach, Rhodes




Lindos Acropolis
Lindos Acropolis
Lindos Acropolis
Lindos Acropolis
St Paul's Bay, Lindos
Temple of Athena, Lindos Acropolis
Temple of Athena, Lindos Acropolis
Temple of Athena, Lindos Acropolis
Lindos Acropolis

Leaving Lindos we headed to the impressive Rhodes Old Town, but not before we first stopped off at an olive factory to taste some local oil. Why does olive oil in the Med countries taste so much better? We tried a few varieties and picked up a bottle of flavourful oregano olive oil.

The Old Town of Rhodes is the oldest inhabited medieval town in Europe and it is definitely a sight to behold. Built by the Knights of St John of Jerusalem, it is completely different to the ancient Greek architecture of Lindos Acropolis we'd seen earlier that morning. I actually couldn't believe it, it was not what I expected, in a good way. Walking through the town's many gates, I felt like we had stepped back in time or stumbled on to a movie set. In the middle of the old town stands The Palace of the Grand Masters, which was was demolished by a gunpowder explosion in the 1800s and reconstructed by the Italians as a summer residence for Mussolini in 1940. 

We wandered down the cobbled Street of the Knights and into squares, little lanes, passed shops with hagglers trying to get a good bargain and traditional restaurants on every corner, twist and turn. I could have stayed there for hours.

Olive Oil Tasting | Rhodes Old Town
Rhodes Old Town
Rhodes Old Town
Street of the Knights, Rhodes Old Town
Water Fountain, Rhodes Old Town
Pigeon Drinking Water from Fountain
Water Fountain, Rhodes Old Town

3. Romantic Meals

We mainly ate in the hotel for convenience, not saying that the food wasn't good, there was a lot of choice, especially considering I am currently avoiding dairy and wheat. But eating in busy dinning room with lots of people and noise is not exactly romantic.

One night James said we should go out for dinner. He wanted something different from the hotel food. So, instead of shoving on a pair of shorts and a cute tee to head down for food after napping after the all that hard work relaxing by the pool or on the beach, we got dressed up and went on an intimate meal for two.

I love Greek food. Tatziki, Baklava. Hummus. And although I couldn't eat tatziki and baklava, due to my current diet, I certainly could eat my weight in hummus. But much to my disappointment I hadn't managed to find any in the hotel restaurant. We asked our rep where I could get my chops on some hummus and she suggested trying out a little Greek restaurant by the beach. But I was doubly disappointed to find they didn't have hummus on the menu either.

James picked the mixed grill and I decided to try swordfish. The fish had the texture and meatiness of a tuna steak, but with a more delicate flavour. It was delicious.

I don't even mind that the lighting isn't the best on the photos because I think it adds to their charm and the romantic atmosphere.

Swordish with Salad and Rice | Mixed Grill
Romantic Candlelight on Restaurant Table
Drinking Wine

There's only so long a girl can wait before drinking a glass of wine. 

Drinking Red Wine

James was very impressed with the chilled glass his beer was served in and insisted that all beer should be served like this.

Beer in a Chilled Glass

Included in the price of our stay was a free meal at the hotel's Greek taverna where we tried lots of traditional Greek food. But yet again there was no hummus to be found. The chef however, did make me some special wheat and dairy free dishes and the waiting staff even went and found me some cornbread to eat with the dips.

Greek Restaurant Hotel Sun Palace, Faliraki
Greek Restaurant Hotel Sun Palace, Faliraki
Greek Restaurant Hotel Sun Palace, Faliraki
Drinking Beer
Greek Salad and Dips
Greek Restaurant Hotel Sun Palace, Faliraki
Mixed Grill | Fish with Salad

4. The Water Park

What do you get when you take two big kids to a hotel with an onsite water park? Cheesy grins and lots of big splashes. The park was so much fun that we went a couple of times. I love these photos.

Hotel Sun Palace Faliraki Water Park
Hotel Sun Palace Faliraki Water Park
Hotel Sun Palace Faliraki Water Park
Hotel Sun Palace Faliraki Water Park
Hotel Sun Palace Faliraki Water Park

5. The Food

Ok, ok, so now what you're probably all interested in seeing as though this is a healthy living and food blog. What did I eat on holiday? If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen some of my holiday eats.

Being wheat and dairy free at the moment, that ruled out cake and ice cream. Whaaaa! I couldn't eat ice cream but I could have sorbet and indulged on a couple of occasions on a tub.

Breakfast was the hardest meal. I couldn't eat Greek yoghurt or milk and I don't eat red meat, so that narrowed my options. I mainly ate fruit, nuts and eggs. Next time I go away I will definitely pack a couple of cartons of almond milk. The rest of the time I ate a lot of salad, veg, fruit, fish and chicken or turkey. So fairly healthy, right? Well, yes, but there were a few glasses of wine and a couple of cocktails thrown in (or should I say sloshed down) and a couple of portions of fries thrown in for good measure. But I was on holiday. If I wanted something a little indulgent I had it, but most of the time it was too hot during the day for anything other than salad. I try to live in balance, so one day it was all salads and swimming, and the next was a portion of fries and a couple of cocktails. It all works itself out.

As I said in point three, we mainly ate in the hotel, though we did have a few meals out (point three) and we also ate lunch out when we went to the beach and we stopped off for lunch in Rhodes Old Town on our trip. We picked a lovely Mediterranean tavern overlooking the beautiful fountain in the middle of a bustling square (see point two for photos).

I was hot and hungry and plumbed for smoked salmon salad. They did not skimp on the fish and it was delish. James had his first pizza of the holiday. I'm surprised it took him that long. I was still on my hunt for hummus. And finally I got it! It took me six days to find hummus. Six days to find hummus in Greece. But it was totally worth it. It was creamy and just #omnomnomnom! I don't think I spoke for a few minutes while I tucked in.

Tuna Salad
Lemon Sorbet | Iced TeaSmoked Salmon Salad
Pepperoni Pizza | Hummus

I hope you've enjoyed the photos!


Thursday, 18 September 2014

Jazzing Up Your Overnight Oats (Guest Post)

Taking over TRTLC today while I'm on holiday in Greece is Rebecca from Weight Wars, who has some awesome, and tasty, tips on how to change-up your overnight oats. 

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Well, at least so they say it is.

For years I didn't eat breakfast, I saw it as a quick way of skipping a meal and saving those calories for later and then I started to lose weight and literally every single person told me to eat it. So I ate. And nearly 65 lbs down the line, here I am. I'm not totally at my goal yet, and I blog about that at Weight Wars,  I've quite some way to go actually, but breakfasts are important to me.

Rebecca from www.weightwars.co.uk

I know Nikki has talked about the wonder that is overnight oats before and Pinterest has completely and utterly sold me on them, so I thought I would share my base recipe with you guys and show you all the great ways you can improvise and make it different every day! 

I have two basic things that I start with and what you prefer is purely down to taste. I'm a super foodie, I love both. All these make two jars worth of food by the way. Great if there's two of you, even better if there's one!

Base Recipe One
Ingredients
1 Cup Almond Milk 
1 Cup Oats 
1 tbsp of Chia Seeds 
1 scoop Vanilla Protein Powder (I use Nature's Best)
Instructions
Blitz these all together in a blender, separate into two jars. I know, I am hearing you yelling 'Bloody Cups!' already. A cup is around 240 ml, but I will let you into a secret, you could use a coffee mug, as long as you use the same one through the recipe the balance of ingredients will be fine.

Base Recipe Two
Ingredients
1 Cup Almond Milk 
1/2 Cup Greek Yogurt (Has to be Total 0% for me, the texture is to die for) 
1 tablespoon Chia Seeds
1 Cup Oats
1 Scoop Protein Powder
1 tablespoon Maple Syrup (optional but nom)
Instructions
Mix all together in a bowl by hand until well combined, put in to two jars.
The next stage is where you get to run wild. Let your imagination go crazy and add fruit or veggies or whatever you want to the jars before you put them in the fridge overnight with the lids on (this is important!), if you don't have Kilner or mason jars, tupperware works just as good.

Now once you have that base of stuff down, you can add all kinds of wonderfulness to it, like my Banoffee Oats, which are always popular at home, and contain banana and toffee peanut butter.

Banoffee Overnight Oats from Weight Wars

Or my Banana Cream Pie recipe, in which you get to whip some peanut butter with coconut cream and add it to the top of your oats with some banana's sliced up in the oats too. Unbelievably good and excellent fuel for an active morning.

Or you could have PB&J - just add peanut butter and jam to your oats. I tend to post most of my recipes in the morning on Instagram when I'm about to dive into my jar. My man takes his to work for the train. Here's my chunky monkey one (Banana, Chocolate Chips and Peanut Butter).
Or there's Cherry Bakewell day (one of my favourites) which has cherries, and flaked almonds  
So whatever your opinion on the importance of breakfast, when you can let your brain literally run riot with food combinations, breakfast has never been such fun,

Plus as you make it the night before, you really don't have to worry about it in the morning and you can just grab and go if that's where your life takes you!

What's your favourite overnight oat recipe?
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