I'M A GRADUATE!

October 19, 2018



I can ~finally~ say that I am a graduate! I, me, little old Soph, somehow achieved a 2:1 BSc (hons) in Criminology and Sociology degree. Saying it out loud and even typing it just feels surreal, I honestly cannot believe it.
My plan was never to apply and go to university, it was only in my final year of college I began to think seriously about my future and decided to research courses at the University of Suffolk. I have always been interested in society and crime so Criminology and Sociology really caught my eye. I began researching the course more and as I researched I became more intrigued and filled with excitement. So I submitted my UCAS application and only applied to the university in my town and hoped for the best.

Between applying to university and finishing college, my Grandad fell ill and I missed 2 crucial weeks of college where I was working on improving my grades to get into university. At this point, my Grandad was more important. I promised him that I was going to work hard, get into university and make him proud - that I did. Unfortunately, a week after he fell ill he passed away. I somehow managed to get the grades I needed and was accepted into the University of Suffolk. Now, 3 years later, I have just been awarded a 2:1 (a higher grade than I ~ever~ thought I would finish with). Though I wish my Grandad was here to see how well I've done, I know he would be so proud of me.

These past 3 years have not been the easiest, university was very challenging but at the same time it has helped me to grow as a person. I enjoyed my classes because they really enlightened me and opened my mind up to alternate ways of thinking about various topic and aspects of life. During my first and second year, my grades were average and I was worried that I would finish university with a 2:2 -which isn't a bad grade at all, a degree is a degree at the end of the day, but as an overachiever and someone who puts a lot of pressure on herself, I really wanted to get a 2:1. So, in my final year, I pushed myself and really focused, my grades started to improve and I think the 2 years of essays, assignments and presentations paid off because I finally felt confident in writing essays and presenting (which I'm usually awful at!).

When I woke up at 6am on results day I was nervous (and half asleep) to log in to the portal but there I saw...



I actually had to text my friend and ask her what I had been awarded as I thought Class II meant a 2:2. When she told me it was a 2:1 I didn't originally believe her because as I mentioned, I didn't think I would be able to achieve a 2:1, but I did and I'm beyond proud of myself.

I'm a Graduate!



HITTING THE UNFOLLOW BUTTON

August 02, 2018



I scroll through my social media feeds daily and ~definitely~ more than once a day. Social media has become a big part of my life and I think I'd be lost without it (particularly Instagram). I created my Instagram (@sophiemleung) in 2015 (separate from my personal account) when I first started Slimming World to use it as my food diary, to find meal inspiration and inspiration in general. However, 3 years later and I now share food, fashion and lifestyle content. To be honest, I rarely use my personal account anymore because I have created a space which makes me happy and I see content which uplifts and inspires me.

I actually really enjoy stalking -using that lightly- my favourite Instagrammers to see what they're posting, whether that be quotes, life, food, fashion, travel, etc. I like to follow individuals who are likeminded, uplift, motivate and inspire me and just generally make me happy to follow. As human beings, we are constantly evolving and growing, so it comes as no surprise that the content in which individuals share on social media is likely to change as we develop various attitudes towards life and various hobbies and interests also. Though, there appears to be a negative concept around unfollowing people on social media. I can see why as I have taken it to heart before and thought 'why have they unfollowed me', but I've come to the realisation that it is actually healthy to unfollow people.

YOUR FEED ESSENTIALLY FEEDS YOU

I recently unfollowed individuals who I felt I couldn't really relate to, content I'm no longer interested in seeing, and some in which made me feel negative about myself due to my own insecurities. I am on social media x amount of hours a day and I have become very conscious about the content I'm consuming and whose content I'm consuming also.

If someone's content is no longer uplifting you, inspiring you, motivating you, making you happy, or you're just not interested anymore, it is okay to unfollow - you're not doing it to be malicious, you are just choosing to follow relatable content and make ~your~ feed yours. Plus, with Instagram's algorithm recently, it is already difficult to see your faves content so I see no point in clogging my feed with accounts that I'm no longer interested in following or having on my feed for whatever reason.

Ask yourself, if you are no longer feeling someones social feed anymore, for whatever reason;
why are you still following them?

WHY I AM CHOOSING TO BE MY OWN #BODYGOALS

July 23, 2018




As I scroll through my social media feeds (Instagram mostly) I see individuals sharing photos of their #bodygoals inspiration or commenting #bodygoals on others posts. My goals have changed somewhat, from hating my body and desperately wanting someone else's stomach, waist, bum; to learning to embrace my body and be my own body goals. Of course, I still have thoughts of 'I'd love to look like her', it happens subconsciously, but ~I know~ that I probably will never have another woman's physique -because we are all built differently- but I can work on keeping my own body healthy and being happy, which is the most important thing. 

I recently completed my own study for my dissertation regarding Social Media and Female Body Image and the results were even more of an eyeopener for me on how social media can have an effect on an individuals body image. Many suggested that the most prominent representation of the female body was the 'skinny female' and seeing these 'perfect' celebrities, models, influencers and 'perfect bodies' made them feel negative about themselves. 

There is so much pressure to look a certain way and be a certain weight. The media and social media definitely add to this pressure. Helpful advice such as 'how to lead a healthy lifestyle' seems to have shifted and been replaced with 'you must do this to look like this' or 'you can't eat that if you want to look like this'. Celebrities and influencers with large platforms can also add to this pressure. The most recent to cause a storm is 'The Lollipop Diet', a lollipop which supposedly acts as a hunger suppressant. Celebrities and influencers can have such a strong influence on many individuals -especially young people- and they are essentially spreading a message that they need to suppress their hunger, not feed it.

"Imagine if we obsessed about the things we love about ourselves"

In a world where we are told not to eat pizza, cake, and all things naughty delicious because we won't have the perfect body or a body accepted by society; I am choosing to eat what I want, wear what I want and weigh what I want. I am choosing to be my own #bodygoals whilst still admiring others beauty, physiques and uniqueness. Please, do not feel pressured to look a certain way - if you want to work on your body or lose weight, do it because it is what you want. #iammyownbodygoals

SPICY PRAWN AND CHORIZO POTATOES

June 14, 2018



I love experimenting with ingredients and creating new dishes, so when I was craving a dinner without pasta or rice (shock, I know), I decided to create this Spicy Prawn and Chorizo Potato dish. The ingredients and method are fairly simple, I like my recipes to be quick and easy to follow yet delicious.

If you follow Slimming World you would only syn the Chorizo, though, I didn't actually use ~real~ Chorizo (I deffo will next time), I used Musclefood Chorizo Style Pork Sausages! Anywho... I hope that you like this recipe and if you make it don't forget to tag me on Instagram @sophiemleung as I love seeing people create my recipes!



Ingredients

serves 1
  • Parboiled Potatoes (peeled and cubed)
  • Chorizo Sausage (chopped)
  • Ready Cooked Prawns
  • Handful of Spinach
  • 1/2 Can of Chopped Tomatoes
  • Dash of Salt and Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tbsp Paprika
  • 1 tbsp Oregano
  • 1 Fresh Red Chilli (chopped)
  • Frylight
  • Parsley to serve

Method


1. On a medium heat, spray a frying pan with Frlylight and fry the chorizo. Once the sausage is cooked, add the parboiled potatoes and leave for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Once the parboiled potatoes become more fluffy and soft, add the spinach, stir and leave to wilt. Whilst the spinach is wilting add the chopped tomatoes, chilli and seasonings into a bowl and stir well to form a sauce.

3. Once the spinach has wilted, add the sauce and stir well. Leave to simmer on a low heat for 8-10 minutes or until the sauce has soaked into the potatoes.

4. Add the prawns and stir, leave for a further 2 minutes.

5. Serve immediately and top with parsley to serve.





SUPERDRUG'S SOMEBODY RANGE

April 01, 2018



* I was gifted these products by Superdrug, however, all opinions are my own *

Superdrug's new health and wellness range Some Body offers a range of innovative products from on the go snacks, ready to go drinks and nutritious protein powders. Superdrug kindly offered to gift me three products to try from their range, the Pure Whey Protein Powder Chocolate, Watermelon Flavoured Still Water and Cocoa & Salted Fudge Natural Bar. I love trying new health and fitness related products so I was more than happy to review some of the products from the Some Body range.

Some Body Pure Whey Protein Powder Chocolate




I love how versatile this product is. I decided to create a Chocolate Protein Shake using two scoops of the protein powder and 300ml of skimmed milk, however, you could also use the powder in pancakes, cakes and porridge (click here for Some Body recipes). The shake was delicious and tasted just like a chocolate milkshake! Also, I love how easy it was to make which is perfect for early mornings when you are in a rush. The Protein Powder is priced at £17.99 for 600g which makes 20 portions. It also comes in various flavours such as Vanilla, Strawberry and Banana.

Some Body Watermelon Flavoured Still Water




I'm not a fan of drinking plain water, but I love flavoured water. The Watermelon Flavoured Still Water has zero calories and tastes so good. I find with some flavoured waters, they tend to be too flavoured which results in a dry throat, but with this water, it had just the right amount of flavour. There is also Sparkling Bellini and Sparkling Mojito Water also, all three retail at £1.79.

Some Body Natural Protein Salted Fudge Bar



The final product I tried was the Cocoa & Salted Fudge Natural Bar which is 100% natural. This on the go snack is designed to curb hunger and sustain energy. It is also free of artificial colours, flavours and sweeteners and has no added sugars. I've never been the biggest fan of protein bars but this one was really tasty and there is also a Cocoa and Orange flavour which both retail at £1.49.

Overall, I am very happy with the three products I tried and I look forward to trying more products from the Some Body range and other flavours of the products I tried.

*thank you to Superdrug for gifting me these products*

SWEET SRIRACHA GLAZE

March 16, 2018




Sometimes, all a rice dish needs is a tasty glaze - especially when it is served with salmon. All that is needed for this glaze is 5 ingredients and it is super quick to make and very tasty! When I transferred the glaze onto my rice there didn't seem to be a lot of sauce, but once I had stirred the sauce in with my rice, there was plenty and it tasted incredible!

If you follow Slimming World, this glaze is only 3.5 syns, however, depending on the sauces you use the syn value may vary so I'd advise checking the syn's on the Slimming World app. Don't forget to tag me on Instagram (@sophiemleung) if you make this glaze!

Ingredients

serves 1:

  • 1 spring onion sliced lengthwise
  • 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp Sriracha
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp soy sauce

Method

1. Place the sliced spring onion in a bowl and add the hoisin sauce, Sriracha, honey and soy sauce. Stir well and leave to marinate for 30 minutes.

2. Once your rice and salmon (or whichever you chose to have with the glaze) has finished cooking, stir the glaze and place in the microwave for 30 seconds, stir well and place back into the microwave for a further 30 seconds and transfer on to your dinner. 

Depending on the wattage of your microwave you may need to cook your glaze for a little bit longer. If you prefer your glaze to be thicker, then just add more honey. 


Enjoy!


TOMATO PASTA BAKE

March 04, 2018



Pasta bakes are very versatile dishes, with regard to both ingredients and sauces. To me, they are very comforting. This recipe is simple, tasty and super quick to make. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do and remember to tag me in your photos on Instagram (@sophiemleung) as I love seeing them!

SENSIMAR EL DORADO SEASIDE SUITES & SPA | MEXICO

March 03, 2018


Sensimar El Dorado Seaside Suites & Spa is a luxurious adults-only resort situated on the beach in Riviera Maya, Mexico and there is no other way to describe it than pure bliss.

It's been 9 months and I'm only now getting round to writing about my time in Mexico. I think I have been prolonging it because looking back at the photos makes me sad and makes my Mexico blues even bluer, is that even a word? But anyway, here it is (finally) and I hope that this post will show you just how special this resort is! And if you have any questions, feel free to comment and if I know the answer I'll get back to you!


THE ROOM


We stayed in the Superior Junior Suite which was very spacious! The bed was huge and SO comfy, I'm sure I haven't had a good nights sleep since coming home. We also had a spacious wardrobe with a safe inside and an iron, bathrobes and slippers, air-conditioning, tea/coffee making facilities, wifi, a flat screen TV, a sofa, table and not forgetting a jacuzzi. We also had sliding doors which led on to our balcony/terrace which overlooked one of the pools.

THE GROUNDS AND FACILITIES


One thing is for sure, you will never be bored at this resort. The resort is massive with so many things to do day and night. I kayaked for the first time (which is free on the beach!) and it was so fun, except for when I was panicking the kayak would turn over.
You will never go thirsty either, there are 10 bars situated around the resort including swim-up bars. I very much enjoyed the cocktails, especially the daquiri's which I highly recommend! There is also a beach waiter service so you don't have to move from your sun lounger or daybed to get snacks and drinks! Due to the resort being SO big, they have carts which will take you wherever you want to go. The resort also has a Starbucks!

THE FOOD


I don't think I was ever hungry in the whole 2 weeks I was in Mexico. All of the food was to an immaculate standard with a number of restaurants (10 to be precise) to choose from; a la carté, Italian, Asian, Gourmet Pub food, Beach BBQ, Mexican (obviously!), it was foodie heaven - and not forgetting the 24-hour room service which was FREE! For breakfast, our favourite place to go was the Arrecifes restaurant - whether you are craving a fry-up or waffles and Nutella, this is the place. Overall, I honestly cannot recommend this resort enough. I didn't want to come home, even now when I reminisce and look back at the photos it feels like a dream because it was SO perfect. There are so many destinations in the world that I would love to visit but Sensimar El Dorado Seaside Suites & Spa is definitely somewhere that I would love to return (hopefully in the near future).


SPICE MEXICAN RICE AND NACHOS

February 28, 2018



I appreciate that the refried beans dolloped on top do not make this dish look very appetizing BUT do not be fooled as this dish is delicious. I have become obsessed with avocado/guacamole and refried beans and this dish is swiftly becoming a major favourite of mine.

The number of ingredients makes this recipe look daunting but I promise it's not! Don't forget to tag me on Instagram (@sophiemleung) if you make it!

Ingredients

serves 1

Mexican Rice

  • 1 cup of white rice (cooked however preferred - I like to cook mine in the rice cooker)
  • 1 veg stock cube
  • 1/2 a Red Onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 small Red Pepper (chopped)
  • 1 Fresh Tomato (chopped)
  • A handful of Sweetcorn
  • 1/2 a can of Kidney Beans (keep the Kidney juice)
  • 1/2 a can of Chopped Tomatoes
  • A handful of Coriander (chopped)
  • 2 large Garlic Cloves (finely chopped)
  • 1 small Red Chilli (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp Chilli Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Oregano
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • Water

Simple Guacamole

  • 45g Avocado (it is up to you if you choose to 'syn' it or not)
  • Dash of Lime Juice
  • 1/2 tsp Salt

Refried Beans

  • 1/2 can of Kidney Beans
  • Water
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Garlic
  • 1 tsp Cumin

Nachos

  • 1 Weight Watchers Wrap
  • Butter Frylight
  • Sprinkle of Salt

Method


1. Heat the oven to 200 degrees.

2. Cook the rice as preferred and leave to the side. Whilst the rice is cooking, heat a frying pan over a medium heat and add the fresh tomato, red onion, red pepper, red chilli and sweetcorn. Leave to cook for 5 minutes.

3. Add the rice, veg stock cube, kidney beans (along with the kidney juice), chopped tomatoes, 100ml of water, coriander, garlic cloves, chilli powder, cumin, oregano and salt. Stir well and leave to simmer until the rice absorbs all of the kidney juice, tomato juice and water.

4. Whilst the rice is absorbing, heat a saucepan over a medium heat and add the kidney beans with 50ml of water. Leave to simmer for 5 minutes then mash with a fork and add the salt, garlic and cumin. Stir well and leave on a medium heat, stirring occasionally and adding more water if the kidney beans become too dry.

5. Cut the Weight Watcher wrap into triangles and spray with Butter Frylight and sprinkle with salt. Leave in the oven until crispy.

6. Place the avocado in a bowl and add a dash of lime juice and salt, mash until it is a puree texture.

7. Once the rice has absorbed all juices and water, sprinkle grated cheese on top and place under the oven until melted. Check that the kidney beans are a thick paste texture.

8. Serve in a bowl, add the nachos around the edges along with the refried beans and guacamole on top and enjoy (you could also add chilli flakes if you like a bit more spice like me)!

CREAMY BACON AND MUSHROOM SAUCE

February 24, 2018



This recipe is so simple yet full of flavour and super quick to make! And it would taste just as divine served with pasta instead of rice! This dish is definitely going to be a favourite of mine! Don't forget to tag me on Instagram (@sophiemleung) if you make it! 

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