Guest Post: A Change of Appetite

Our next guest post while I’m away on honeymoon is from Katya of


Katya is a food adventurer through and through; happiest when she’s surrounded by plates of the stuff. You can find her on her blog and you can also hire her for social media training and photography. Don’t read her blog on an empty stomach! She lives in Stockport with her boyfriend Jamie who understands that her priorities in life are food first, himself second. 

A Change of Appetite

Like most women, I’ve always had a complicated relationship with food.  Food first became an issue when I was about 12 and I got a bit chubby.  And from that age dieting and eating weird things to lose weight became the norm. Over the years food normality was mainlining diet coke, buying strange tasting fake chocolate bars from Boots, low fat yoghurts, low fat everything, and my go to lunch was cup a soup (yuck) – any magic trick to lose the pounds.

As an adult in my early twenties it became apparent that I actually had a very narrow diet because I was afraid that non diet foods would make me put on weight.  Ironically, that was when I was the heaviest I’d ever been. And hilariously I was allowing myself to eat Mars bars and drink booze alongside my low fat diet, it was just everything else I refused to eat.  A very patient friend convinced me I needed to start broadening my diet because I was literally missing out on delicious food and not living my life to the full.  Fortunately I embraced this challenge and slowly started enjoying experimenting with food and have never looked back.

Now at 41 years old I can’t say I’ve completely undone all the damage that started when I was 12.  Some habits remain.  For example a classic Katya trick last year was to eat a no carb evening meal (perhaps with courgetti), then be really hungry afterwards and have two portions of ice-cream. I’ve never quite lost the desire to trick my body so I can have more of the naughty stuff!

However a year ago I stumbled across a cookbook by Diana Henry called ‘A Change of Appetite’.  Diana is a food writer, and a very overweight one at that. The premise of Diana’s book is finding really amazing cuisines that are incidentally delicious. Her recipes blew my mind – they were exotic, intriguing and obviously, incredibly tasty.

What really struck me though, was that Diana was not going to comprimise on taste.  This is a woman who loves beautiful Danish pastries and gourmet food, and she expressed very stridently at the beginning of the book that she would not be sacrificing flavour or enjoyment.  Instead she would gather all the facts on what healthy eating really means – which is a very different thing to dieting, and she would find cuisines and recipes that were nailing it in the most inspiring ways.

I think Diana’s self belief that she deserved to eat beautiful food and continue to enjoy her food was a fantastic example to me.  Women in so many areas of their lives are expected to make sacrifices, and suffering for the sake of a slim waist is yet another one.

And what about the food? Well her section on grains really caught my eye.  Ingredients such as barley, buckwheat and farro are cheap as chips, packed with an astonishing amount of nutrition and prepared the right way, despite their rather dull reputation, are versatile and bloody gorgeous. Unfortunately in a Western diet we tend to eat a lot of processed grains (white rice, white bread, pasta) that have had most of their nutrients stripped away.

I was further convinced by Diana’s argument to get more grains in my life by the cracking recipes in her book. One of my favourites (pictured below) was kisir (an autumnal tabbouleh with pomegranite seeds) served with griddled aubergine, date, walnut and yoghurt salad.

appetite - Griddled aubergine, date, walnut and yoghurt salad and kisirGriddled aubergine, date, walnut and yoghurt salad and kisir

And a seed was planted, and I started to question how many processed grains I was eating, whether that was white flour, pasta or white rice. I realised I wanted to get more unrefined ingredients in my life.  So in the past year I’ve started to cook increasingly with wholegrains like quinoa, freekah and bulgar wheat, and I now make cakes using healthier non-refined flours like coconut flour, spelt flour and ground almonds.  And what I’ve discovered is I prefer the food I’m eating now.  It’s more a faff to source the ingredients and find the recipes but omg, the rewards are huge – gorgeous satisfying food that satiates you in a way that processed grains just can’t.

appetite - Spice-scented carrot cake with a crumble toppingSpice-scented carrot cake with a crumble topping by Amber Rose

I’m certainly no food angel now, by any stretch of the imagination (especially when it comes to ice-cream and alcohol!), but I’m delighted to be experimenting with and including more wholegrains in my diet, especially because it’s actually fun!

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Guest Post: Why I Love my Weird Portfolio Career

Our second guest post while I’m away on my honeymoon is from Katy, my fellow freelance friend and founder of Freelance Folk.

Katy Carlisle helps people to create lovely websites using a tool called Squarespace. She’s also the founder of Freelance Folk, an award-winning community for freelancers that runs popup coworking social events in Manchester and Sheffield.

She likes sustainability, food and animals. Which is lucky, as she lives in the Peak District with her boyfriend, two cats and two dogs.


Why I Love my Weird Portfolio Career

I was chatting with some other small business owners a few weeks ago and we started talking about the jobs that we’d had before becoming self-employed. Some of them were quite surprising!

It got me thinking about the jobs that I’ve had on the route to becoming a freelance Squarespace whisperer. Rather than just recreating my LinkedIn profile, I’ve decided to make things a bit more interesting and hand out awards to my former roles.

Poorest Performance


Possibly the world’s worst waitress, in fact.

My first ever job was working for the Boddington Arms Pub in Wilmslow. The whole terrible affair came about when I asked one of the parentals for a clothing allowance, to which she responded, “Yes, but you have to try and get a job first”. Most 15 year olds would have nailed this; making it look like they’d tried to find work but been turned down at every opportunity.

Annoyingly for me, I was a GOOD GIRL. And I liked to do things properly (to be fair, I still do). I didn’t deliberately mess up the application form or “accidentally” get the interview time wrong. And I got the stupid job. Amazingly, I lasted six months despite regular excellent service which included dropping a (used) fork in a man’s pint and spilling a jug of water so that every single person seated around the table somehow ended up getting soaked. I had one couple who “dined and dashed” as well, but I think my highlight was getting a 2p tip. Like, they had to actively leave TWO PENCE.


Most Surprising Job

Estate Agent

Yes, it’s weird. I’m a generally decent person with a strong ethical framework. Plus I’m really bad at sales.

However I did, and still do, really like houses.

At University, I’d spend most of my time watching Sarah Beeny roll her eyes as couples ignored her patronising-but-ultimately-sensible advice. I was looking forward to pretending to be one half of Kirsty and Phil, and showing people round houses on viewings. Unfortunately, the location that I worked from was deemed too dangerous for a girl to show people round unaccompanied, so I was consigned to the office. I don’t think I got to see the inside of a single house in the months that I was there.

The deal breaker for me though was the income structure. You got a bit of commission for completed house sales, which I was quite good at as it was just matching people with places and not being overly evil or incompetent, but the rest mainly came from upselling mortgages. The problem was that I just couldn’t in good conscience recommend our in-house mortgage advisor. It had also been marketed as a graduate scheme role, but it became apparent pretty quickly that nobody had actually put a scheme in place, and after six months not a single person remained from the ten that had started.


Most Obvious Future Career Hint That Was Ignored For 10 Years

MA in French to English Translation

This technically wasn’t a job, but I was working full time whilst studying. My workplace was conveniently located next door to the lecture theatre and my lectures were extremely conveniently timed at 1pm and 5pm, so I would run over as soon as my lunchbreak started or my working day ended.

Anyway, I digress. For my Masters I had to do a dissertation, which consisted of a large translation of our choosing, plus some boring academic theory. I just about scraped a pass on the theory side, but got great marks for the practical part, which was… [drumroll please] the translation and redesign of a French website. Naturally, I then went on to work as a teacher and in the charity sector for another decade until I finally listened to my webby calling 😂

My final award is more of a thank you to an organisation that I used to work for.


Lifetime Contribution Award

Positive Impact

I started working at this non-profit in 2011, and it’s here that everything begins to make a bit more sense. My teaching experience was actually relevant, as I was project managing the education programme, and they even wanted a bit of sales experience so I was able to refer to my time as an estate agent during the interview.

During the three years I worked for Positive Impact, my role evolved to focus more on managing their online systems, as I finally embraced my inner geek. Seriously, at one point I swear I had a montage of all the clues that been left for me along the way. It wasn’t just the dissertation! My friend Sally and I had taught ourselves HTML to make Geocities websites in 1998, I did a project on the use of technology in the classroom as part of my teacher training… The list went on.

So I’m really grateful to my former boss Fiona, who gave me the space to develop and figure all of this out. She’s really inspiring and passionate about people living the lives that they want, even though sometimes this backfires on her as there are quite a few of us who were so inspired that we left to set up our own businesses! It’s all worked out brilliantly though, as Positive Impact are now my clients so it’s lovely to still be involved with what they’re up to, plus I get to go along to their Christmas do. Yay!

One of my former colleagues Charlie (who now works as a florist) nailed it. “It’s like Hotel California. You can check out, but you never leave”.


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Guest Post: Is it ok to change?

Our first guest post is from Charlotte who is a newbie blogger looking to start a blog soon! For now, catch her on Instagram

“My name is Charlotte, I’m originally from Stockport but now living over Lancashire way with my husband and our English Pointer! Family is everything to me. My hobbies include travelling, the gym and going out for meals with family and friends, oh and cake…… I love cake! I have recently left a nine year career in the Criminal Justice field to pursue my passion of helping to transform people’s lives as a Personal Trainer.

Follow me on Instagram- charlottejanept 

Or if you have any Personal Training Enquiries please email me-

Is it Ok to Change?

Hello lovelies,

Im Charlotte and I contacted Diane when I saw her post asking for guest bloggers as she was lucky enough to be jetting off on her honeymoon! I have been wanting to start a blog for a good few months but keep thinking of excuses as to why I shouldn’t. So when I saw she was looking for guest bloggers I thought I would see if I could write a post as a trial run before I start mine and to see if any one actually likes it!

So here goes…….

Let me take you back to 2012, I was overweight, not massively, but still over weight. I used to go to the gym because I thought it was what you had to do, slogging it out on anything Cardio related seeing little or no results and eating what I believed to be a relatively healthy diet Monday- Friday. Weekends revolved around poorer food choices such as, takeaways, convenience food and alcohol, lots of alcohol.

I was in the gym one day when I was approached by a Personal Trainer (who went on to become one of my best friends!) and we bonded over a love of chicken! She took the time to sit down with me and find out about me and my goals and why I wanted to lose weight. Looking back I said I wanted to lose weight but never taken the time to actually think about why I wanted to do this. For me at the time it was to look like my friends, they were all slim and had abs and I felt like I was the ‘fat friend’. So my fitness journey at that time was to lose weight and to look good stood next to them.

I actually ended up winning a competition for months free Personal Training. This was the turning point for me, I began to love the gym…. I actually looked forward to my workouts, I even ventured in to the ‘mens weights area’. For anyone that goes to the gym this was a massive achievement because there is often a lot of anxiety often surrounding this area……’is he looking at me?’, ‘am I doing this right?’, ‘people are judging me!’. I began experimenting with food and enjoying cooking myself nutritious foods instead of my often very beige diet which I had deemed to be ‘healthy’.

If someone would have said to me to stop in the main doing cardio and eat more than you have eaten and you will lose weight I would have laughed. I was scared about doing it but it actually worked!! My body shape started to change and I began to feel more confident and wear tighter clothes which I would have never worn before! I stopped drinking as much and didn’t feel the need to massively binge at the weekends because I could see I was looking better every day and more importantly, feeling better. I felt more motivated, less fatigued, less grumpy, full of energy and was sleeping better.

I kept training with my trainer on and off and felt confident in the gym. Fast forward to 2015 and I was really struggling with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), this is something I had suffered with since I was 18 but it was really starting to rule my life. In January 2015 I thought enough was enough and I cut out what I believed to be the two main contributors to my IBS…..gluten and dairy. I noticed a big change in a short space of time. I was feeling the best I have ever felt. Now this wasn’t easy and I wouldn’t advise anyone to do this unless they have genuine intolerances as it is very limiting and involves a lot of forward thinking with your food preparation. It can also be awkward when going out, but generally places are very accommodating now. When I first tried to control my IBS when I was 18 (failed miserably, I was at Uni and it wasn’t cool to be gluten free!), the gluten free bread was like eating sawdust and it wasn’t really a ‘thing ‘ back then, but now it seems too be a massive craze to be ‘gluten or dairy free’ because people perceive it to be  healthier……anyway that’s another blog post entirely!

Around this time I was getting in shape for my wedding as I was getting married in the September of 2016 (nearly my wedding anniversary!). I was going to the gym 5 days a week, exercising on my rest days and religiously counting my macros. I definitely became obsessed with this, I cut out alcohol where I could, obviously not totally but I wouldn’t drink just for no reason. As alcohol, for me anyway, makes me put on a lot of weight. My trainer made me see that I was doing too much, I was giving myself no days off. She made me see rest days are just as important as training days, as I wasn’t giving my body anytime to recover. I went back to just the 5 days a week and not 7!

Around this time, I noticed that my friends weren’t happy with me when I would go out and say I was driving and not drink. It caused them to confront me on numerous occasions about this. I was being made to feel like I was doing something wrong because I was not drinking. I was still going out and staying out….and let me tell you, I don’t just sit in a corner miserably because I’m not drinking…. I’m probably up dancing more than the drunk people!! I came to realise over time that they were just not happy with the fact I was changing. I wasn’t the drunk Charlotte that would fall over the floor and not remember how she got home because she was too drunk. Don’t get me wrong I loved my party days but there comes a time when you have to look at yourself and think is this really the life I want? And for me it wasn’t……. I wanted to become healthy and I enjoyed going to the gym. For me to drink alcohol every weekend would be counterproductive to my goals. If people are interested in this I will do a further blog post on this and go into more detail. I’m trying to just write an over view of my journey rather than bombard you all with wayyyyy to much info!

So anyway……over the past 18 months I had probably become a bit obsessed with macro counting as for anyone who has used My Fitness Pal you can become obsessed! For the last 3 months I have been introducing bits of dairy and gluten back in to see exactly what I am intolerant to, to see if there are things I can now tolerate which I couldn’t before. I am also trying to regain a bit of balance. I am now going out not worrying about not being able to track my food and just going with the flow and enjoying myself!! Throughout my fitness journey I have come to realise that it is finding out what works for you and then just doing that. It has taken me four years so far to get to this point but I finally feel that I am at the point where I don’t beat myself up about having a slice of cake (I had one last night….ok actually I had 2!)or going out for a meal with friends. Because those are memories that we make in life and if I was to restrict myself and was too busy macro counting I wouldn’t be able to make these fantastic memories! For me now I don’t go to the gym and eat healthy because I don’t want to be the ‘fat friend’, I do it because that is what makes me happy and it is a lifestyle that I enjoy living.

I honestly believe that meeting my Personal Trainer at that gym that day went on to change my life. My fitness/ journey to a healthier lifestyle has been up and down since 2012 but now I have such a better understanding and knowledge around fitness, nutrition and mindset and more importantly a greater understanding about me!

In February of this year I took the plunge and completed my Personal Training qualification, originally I did it just for my own knowledge but I have since gone on to leave my career to be a Personal Trainer. I want to help and inspire others to reach their goals and transform their lives like I have done. I have left working within the Criminal Justice System which is all I have ever known for the past 9 years, but I wasn’t happy within that field and hadn’t been for some time. Now I am truly living my passion and what’s more I get to meet and help fantastic people reach their goals!

This was just an over view of my journey so far, I would love to go into more detail about specific bits I have talked about. I hope you enjoyed this and would like to read more!

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Off on Honeymoon!

Just a quick note to say that as of tomorrow, Topher and I are off on our American Adventure. It’s starting to get real people! Two weeks in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Bags are packed and Emma is coming round this evening as she’ll be house sitting and taking care of the fur babies while we’re gone.

While I’m away, it won’t be all radio silence on here – there will be some lovely guest posters so stay tuned for those.

As for me, I’ll be on Instagram so keep your eyes peeled!

If you want to see what I packed, check out my first ever vlog. There will definitely be more videos to share when I return.

Have a great two weeks and I’ll see you soon 🙂

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My Week #62 – Packing and Planning

*Lovely Luna *My holiday notebooks

*New trainers *Packing madness

So much packing and planning this week!

It’s only a few days before Topher and I head off on our honeymoon and I am so freaking excited. So excited  that I filmed my first Vlog. Check it out here and please let me know what you think:

It wasn’t too hard and I got a bit more comfortable in front of the camera as time went on. Fingers crossed that I can actually keep this up while I’m away as it would be so awesome to have some videos to show when I get back. At the very least I’ll have my usual music video type highlight reel of the trip.

So this week has mainly consisted of getting stuff ready for the honeymoon.

I’ve been sorting out work and I’ve been scheduling tweets and posts for while I’m away so things should be ticking over. I’m almost finished packing and I’m currently transferring all my spreadsheets into note form to put into my notebooks.

Everything I need to buy has now been ticked off the list. Rucksack, check, Trainers, check and Shorts, check. Though as of yesterday I couldn’t find any shorts so had to resort to buying sale jeans and cropping them myself.

And I have to take a minute to talk about my new trainers. They’re Nike and my parents picked them up for me from the outlets in Florida as they just got back from the USA themselves this past week. I am in love with these trainers. They’re purple which is my favourite colour, they’re super light and I think they are without a doubt the comfiest pair of shoes I’ve ever walked around in. So pretty and lovely.

I lost a pound at Slimming World

By some miracle. No idea how – we were completely off plan bar the slimming world ready meals we got so we could avoid takeaway temptation. That makes me feel a little better before I head off. I’m even toying with the idea of joining a gym when I get back. Who am I? I’ve been to the gym once when I was 17 or so with my mum. It wasn’t bad but obviously I didn’t catch the bug. Maybe I can piggyback off of all the walking I’m about to do. So much walking. Watch this space.

As for this weekend,

Topher and I are going out for a friend’s 30th on Saturday. Sunday I’m sure will be full of cleaning as Emma will be house sitting for us while we’re away and I don’t want to leave her in a tip! Otherwise, please excuse me while I dance around the house because I’m going on holiday in 3 days! Squee!

How was your week?

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