Apple Watch

(Note: All Screen-shots are from my iPhone in regards to the Apple Watch. If you would like to see screen-shots of the UP App see the full post on Jawbone UP3 here)

It has been more than three weeks since I’ve switched from my Jawbone Up3 to Apple Watch and I think a review is needed as there are a lot of things to say and weight-in when a change like this emerges. I do not want to influence your fit band/smartwatch choices, but I do want to talk a bit about the advantages and disadvantages of having one or the other as well as show you how I use mine and truthfully what I think a smartwatch is most used for – let’s be honest, while it is nice to see who’s calling you on your watch, we’re not the FBI talking to our wrists therefore people talking on the ‘phone’ on their watch look stupid (to say the least) in my humble opinion. But hey, who am I to judge?

First I’ll start off by saying that I got the Apple Watch Series 1 in pink (obviously!). I did not get the Series 2 because besides it being waterproof – which in my case is completely useless as I am afraid of water and therefore stay clear of it as much as I can (daily shower not included in this category) all it has as an extra is a better (better illuminated) display and as D puts it, soon we will have white displays to look at. Since I got it right after the launch of the second series, I found it at a special price and it made no sense to me to miss the opportunity. That said, D will get the series 2 as he is the type that is mostly in the water whenever we are on vacation and waterproofing is something that he and anyone that is not afraid of the water needs in a smartwatch. Therefore, I do feel that this feature is needed for normal people and it definitely is worth the money.

Since most of our stuff is from Apple, I did not even look at other smartwatches as the OCD side in me likes everything to match and thinks that everything works better if it’s from the same brand, so no, I did not even show a bit of interest in other smartwatches. As with any Apple product, the installation is easy and fast and, unless you did not came in contact with another Apple product before, you’ll find the menu to be intuitive and very easy to use. Getting started was fairly easy, my iPhone detected the watch immediately and I was set.

Jawbone UP3 vs Apple Watch experience – health tracker

Activity Log

For the first few days, I kept both my Jawbone and my Apple Watch on just to compare the two. The nice thing about the watch is that you can see all your notifications on your watch so, if you are like me and always leave your phone somewhere in the house, you will not miss any notifications/phone calls/messages/Instagram or Facebook notifications ever again so this is a big plus on my Jawbone band. Also the screen helps a lot in keeping up with your activity. However, let’s not forget that the Apple Watch costs double than the Jawbone UP3 but it also does a lot more than track your activity. As step trackers they have the same accuracy, however the Jawbone band detects when you are exercising more easily than the Apple Watch and that is a big plus especially if you do not want to constantly log every walk you take beforehand so that the Apple Watch can measure it (both in time and length). This is one thing that I did not like as much about the Apple Watch – it fails to detect exercise on its own while the Jawbone UP3 does that impeccably.

 

Sleep Log

Another feature that the Jawbone UP3 has and the Apple Watch does not have is the ability to track your sleep on its own. Again, for the Apple Watch you have to manually log in when you go to bed and set an alarm to wake up – I hate alarms, but that is the only way I can track my sleep. I suspect this is because the Apple Watch uses a third party app, called Pillow to do that. Do not get me wrong, I think that the sleep tracking on the Apple Watch is a million times better than the analysis I used to get from my Jawbone UP3 and therefore, alarm or no alarm and as much as it bugs me to manually log when I am getting into bed, I think that in this category the Apple Watch is by far better. Now it all depends on how much you value a good sleep analysis. For me this is very important and that’s why  I started loving the Apple Watch quickly.

Nutrition

This, in my opinion is where the Apple Watch won me over for good. Again we are talking about using a third party app and to my best knowledge the best one out there so far is MyNetDiary. This app is so complete and so easy to use! I just love it. As opposed to the Up App, I can find most of my daily food choices without having to add them myself (I hated having to add all the nutritional info to most of my food), so one can say that the database is way larger and that makes the whole logging experience a lot better. Another cool feature that this app has is the ability for the user to make their own recipe and divide it either by serving or weight. This is very helpful when you want to cook stuff and also keep things as healthy as possible. I also love the fact that this app is easy to use but I hate the fact that it does not sync with the activity tracker on my watch and therefore it does not give me a throughly ready-calculated calorie count and I have to do that by myself. It does however sync with the step-numbers on my watch and it makes no sense to me why they didn’t manage to sync it to the Activity app.

Mindfulness

This is a feature that the Jawbone UP3 does not have, or at least not to this level. The Apple Watch can track your heartbeat live and when it gets too high it usually makes you take a 1 minute break. The Jawbone UP3 only tracked your resting heart rate which, again might or might not be important to you. It is to me, especially during my pregnancy and it will probably be important post-pregnancy when I will restart going to the gym regularly.

 

All this data is nicely stored in the Health App that the iPhone has pre-intalled and that most people do not use until they get an Apple Watch – or at least that was my case. This is a very good nutrition analyst in my opinion and not much else. I mean, yeah, it does put everything together and all but it does not tell you anything. It does however do a great (and I mean GREAT) job at analysing your food (vitamins, minerals, etc), which no other app does. This again is very important to me right now, and to be honest it always was important, but the Up App did not provide that. This is something that I loved from the very beginning and really made me change my mind and go from the Jawbone UP3 to the Apple Watch.

This is where the comparison between the Jawbone Up3 and the Apple Watch stops as the Jawbone is just a fitness tracker while the Apple Watch does so much more. If you are only interested in a fitness tracker, then go for any of the tracking bracelets out there (I loved the Jawbone UP3) and save your money. However if you want more than that, keep on reading.

Like I said earlier, this watch is like your mini iPhone on your wrist. It basically has every app on your phone and it has most of the abilities you phone has. That being said, you must keep it connected to your phone for it to actually work and having your phone in the near vicinity usually makes you use it as opposed to using the watch. There are a few situations where I used the watch to answer and talk on the phone – when I was too lazy to actually get off the couch or when my phone battery was almost over –  but overall, I use my phone. Also, it is nice to have the ability to reply to messages but scribbling every single letter on your watch tends to be time-consuming but helps in the earlier mentions situations.You can also check Instagram, use Shazam and lot more apps that are compatible with the watch. The interface, as I said at the beginning of the post, is very user-friendly, and, especially at the beginning, you are tempted to over-use it.

The Watch app on your phone allows you to customise virtually anything about your watch (see the print-screens) and also gives you a full insight on your device (apps, notifications, setting, font size, sounds, app layout, etc). The battery life is decent, and because I want to wear it all day and night, I usually charge it before I go to sleep for about 20 minutes and again in the morning for about 20 minutes, but if you do not want to wear it during the night you could get away with only charging it once.

Overall I am very happy with my watch and I have been using it non-stop for the past three weeks which means that I have been ignoring my other beloved watches, but I did also keep my Jawbone bracelet at arm’s reach as whenever I want to wear another watch I need something to track my activity (yes, I am crazy like that and that craziness only got worse one the doctor forbade me to got to the gym during the pregnancy). So, is the watch worth the money? Hell yeah! Not saying the same thing about the watch bracelets that Apple are selling and are waaaay overpriced – if you know a good third party bracelet seller for my watch please leave a comment below as I am really bored by my Sport band that the watch came with.

L.

 

 

 

Healthiest berry muffins

These muffins are some of the healthiest sweet things you are going to find on this blog or online, for that matter. They contain absolutely no sugar or any derivates of sugar and no white flour whatsoever. And, as an added bonus they do satisfy your sweet tooth, while also giving you some healthy nutrients.I must admit that I did use some frozen berries as those were handy at the time, but they are just as healthy and tasty as fresh berries and, to be honest, it doesn’t really matter which ones you use.About a week ago, D came home with a bag of frozen mixed berries but did not hint anything, so this week I decided to take things into my own (baking) hands and surprise him with something that is both healthy (so it won’t upset my weekly diet) and tasty (to satisfy his growing sugar cravings). There are times when I think that he is the pregnant one as he seems to have all sorts of cravings lately but I think that is partly due to the fact that he, being the gentleman that he is, is trying to keep up with my weight gain so that we can loose it all together after the baby comes.

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Back to the muffins… as you’ve probably noticed, I prefer to eat savoury rather than sweet things therefore making a tray of sweet muffins is usually not my first option, but this time, I really wanted to try and make the tastiest and healthiest sweet muffins ever. They are way easier to make than it appears and only take about 40 minutes for basic ingredients to turn into perfectly moist and tasty muffins.When you think about muffin perfection, there are a few boxes that must be ticked: moisture and softness. Usually you get this by using large amounts of butter, but I did not use any here, I only used a tablespoon of coconut oil and tried to get that softness and moisture by using plain yoghurt. True, I could’ve used greek yoghurt but that would’ve just added to the fat count and I was really curious as to how these were going to turn out with simple yoghurt – they were great!

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Here’s what you’ll need for 12 muffins:

  1. 240 g wholegrain flour
  2. 2 tsp baking powder
  3. a pinch of salt (not too much)
  4. 1 tbsp coconut oil (melted)
  5. 2 large egg whites (no yolk)
  6. 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  7. 125 g plain yoghurt
  8. 2 tbsp honey (I used a mixture of cinnamon and honey as I can already feel the Christmas spirit and I need to put cinnamon in everything)
  9. 1 cup milk
  10. 240 g red berries (I only had frozen at hand but you can use fresh)

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What you need to do for the next 10 minutes:

  • Preheat the oven at 175 degrees C and mix together the baking soda and the flour in a bowl.
  • In another bowl, put the egg whites and whisk them for a couple of minutes then add the vanilla extract, the coconut oil, the yoghurt and the honey and mix it all together really good until there are no lumps left.
  • Carefully start incorporating the flour mixture and the milk – I used a spoon for each as that is going to make it easier to control the texture.
  • Sprinkle the frozen berries with flour as that way they are going to keep your batter from becoming murky-grey because of all the juices. If you are using fresh berries there is no need to do that.
  • Incorporate the berries into the muffin mixture and fill in the prepared muffin tray.
  • Put them into the oven for about 20 minutes, or until they are golden and look done. Before eating them, let them cool for 10 minutes – trust me they are better when they do not burn your taste buds!

That’s it! Healthy deliciousness on a tray that is easy to make and does not require any ‘exotic’ ingredients. All the nutritional information is from the MyNetDiary app that I totally recommend as it really helps you check everything you eat and has a huge database. I’ve put the serving information as well as the info for the entire quantity of the muffins. Hope you’ll enjoy them as much as we did!

L.

Finally craving meat!!!

As you know, I’ve been really struggling with meat these past months, meaning I could not even look at it without cringing. Therefore getting my much needed protein throughout my pregnancy has been a real struggle. I am not saying that being a vegetarian is wrong or anything, but I had a really good deal with meat before I got pregnant: I ate it once per week because I really do love a good steak, or burger. Since this has not been an option throughout the past six months, I ate lots of eggs, cottage cheese and other foods that provided the right amount of protein for me as well as for my baby.

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Last week something weird happened and I found myself craving meat. Naturally D immediately got dressed and off to the supermarket he went to cure my craving – to be honest, he always does that for me, he immediately tries and satisfy whatever craving I might have. Since I can only have well done meat my only viable choices are turkey or chicken as I can’t stand the thought of a perfectly good veal or pork meat not being medium-done (it should be illegal otherwise). For some reason, chicken seemed to be the winner option as I always found it easier to digest than turkey and so a chicken dinner it was!

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To make sure that I will not ruin my meat craving forever I tried to cook it with as many citrusy flavours I could while still taking advantage of the amazing indian seasoning we always seem to have in the house – we both love indian food so, so much! That being said, I also like my food spicy, but since heartburn has been a real bitch lately I only spiced things up at a moderate level. This dish is easy to make, but you have to take into account the time it takes the meat to marinate – in this case, I left it in the fridge for one hour, but you can leave it for as long as you’d like, even overnight.

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Here’s what I used:

  •  2 chicken breasts (no skin, boneless)
  • 1 pink grapefruit (only the juice)
  • 1 lemon (only the juice)
  • 15 gr fresh oregano leaves
  • 2 tablespoons tikka masala powder
  • 1 tablespoon hot chilli powder
  • 1 tablespoon yellow curry powder
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard (since I can’t drink my wine, I might as well use it in my food – or at least some variety of it)

What you need to do:

  1. Cut the chicken breasts into strips – I did that in order for the flavours to get into as much of the meat as possible, plus it’s fun to eat chicken strips.
  2. In a small bowl mix all the powder seasoning together.
  3. In a large bowl prepare your marinade: both of the citrusy juices, the powder spices, the oregano leaves and the mustard and mix everything well.
  4. Put the chicken strips making sure they are well covered in the marinade, cover the bowl with plastic foil and into the fridge it goes for as long as you want.
  5. Give the cast iron pan a light spray of avocado oil and put the chicken in for about 4-5 minutes on each side.
  6. That’s it! Mix some salad greens next to it and voila!: the perfect healthy dinner!

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Since the chicken is grilled in virtually no oil, this is quite the healthy option that still has loads of flavour and does not feel like you are eating paper. The nutritional info is for 100 gr which is more than you can see on my plate in the photos and it has a decent amount of protein as well as virtually no fats or other nasty stuff. I love the fact that you can feel the citrusy taste so much and I think that complements chicken just perfectly especially when paired with indian spices!

L.

Blackout…

Black is not just for sad days, to be honest, the minute the sun stops shining I turn to my dark clothes so you will probably see lots of dark clothes during this winter. I admit, I love black nowadays because it is such a forgiving colour. I haven’t met anyone that doesn’t look good in black and for me, especially during this period, it just feels right. We will try and do some more colourful shoots but given the fact that my body is only going one way (bigger and bigger) black is officially my comfort colour. This does not mean that navies or burgundies are out of the question because those, to me, are autumn/winter neutrals, as I have already made my case in earlier posts. Trust me, come a sunny day and I will bring back brighter colours, but for now, dark is my go-to.

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On the day of the shoot I was in a great mood mainly because I worked out the courage that morning to actually try out most of my autumn clothes and I was surprised that everything that had a bit of elasticity to it still fit me. For now at least… Thank God for bandage dresses and skirts! I realised that I had a ton of options for exactly this period so as long as it doesn’t rain, I am going to take full advantage and shoot as many pieces as possible as I have no idea if my clothes will still fit me nicely in a week or two. Unfortunately, D is rather busy these days so we are going to have to take photos according to both his schedule and autumn’s showers. Keeping my fingers crossed for as many opportunities as possible!

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Processed with Snapseed.

On me:

Dress – Concepto; Boots – Rachel Zoe; Bag – Chloe; Bling – Swarovski (bracelet1, bracelet2 and ring); Watch – Ingersoll

Moving along to today’s outfits… I really wanted to shoot this lovely dress from Concepto ever since I bought it at Untold Festival in August, but I just didn’t find the time and weather to take it for a stroll, plus the fact that ever since I bought it, I thought it worked wonderfully with a chunky pair of boots. Since the said boots are not yet in my closed, I decided to try it with my Rachel Zoe over-the-knee boots and surprise: it looks great and I really feel less elephant-y and more model-y than ever during this pregnancy. It’s actually a pity that my hair did not look like a Victoria’s Secret model, but hey, the side pony worked out well enough.

Processed with Snapseed.

Processed with Snapseed.

On D:

Pants – Replay; T-shirt – Replay; Shoes – Converse x John Varvatos; Bling – Fossil; Watch – Aviator

I was also excited about wearing my Chloe black bag which I haven’t worn in a few months – again, because black is not really my summer colour. I realised that I love most of the cold season items I have and now I am quite excited to actually wear them. Since the chunkiness of the boots was missing I decided to compensate by wearing my chunky Ingersoll Limited Edition watch that D bought for me last winter. Yes, I am well aware that this is a men’s watch, but I always loved men’s watches more than those flimsy feminine watches. Naturally I needed some more feminine accents so I opted for two white Swarovski bracelets (simply put, I do not have a black one) and a black ring, also form Swarovski.

Taking all that into consideration, D also opted for black and therefore ended up wearing those lovely Replay pants that you know I adore so much. To be honest, now that I am writing this, I realised that his entire outfit is from Replay : t-shirt as well. That doesn’t bother me at all as I think that Replay does some of the most amazing items when it comes to men’s casual wear. He wore his trusty and versatile Converse x John Varvatos shoes but he could’ve easily go for a pair of similar ones from Replay. He kept his accessorising light, only wearing his Fossil bracelet and his Aviator watch.

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Now that I think about it, this whole pregnancy thing is a really nice period to actually go through and my morale is at a max these days. Yes, clothes are that important and I really was hoping to skip the whole wardrobe change and save some money for the after-birth items that I will spoil myself with. I just hope that I will continue to feel great and will be able to take as many photos of this amazing period as possible.

L.

 

 

Chocolate Dreams…

Since we haven’t cooked in a while, yesterday we decided to make something very heathy and low-calorie that is still sweet enough to call dessert. I have to mention that we haven’t attempted to bake a healthy dessert ever, so the result was a surprise for us as well. I’ve always loved a sweet treat but I hate the idea of stuffing my body with sugar, when I clearly know it does not need it, or at least not in the industrial amounts found in normal desserts.

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For these chocolate cupcakes we haven’t used any sugar, nor did we use and white flour, choosing to use wholemeal flour instead. We also chose the darkest chocolate we could find (85%), and if you want to go overboard with the healthiness, you can easily use only a quarter of the butter we used (since this was our first attempt, we didn’t really know what we were doing) and discard the egg yolks (D really likes them, so I thought I’d just use them).

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These cupcakes were really easy to make and it took us a total of 40 mins to make them, considering that they spent 20 mins in the oven. Here’s what you’ll need I order to duplicate the 12 cupcakes we made yesterday:

  • 175 wholemeal flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 oranges
  • 2 lemons
  • 50 gr of butter (choose the one with the most fat in it, as it’s the best for cooking)
  • 125 gr dark chocolate (at least 75% dark – we used 85%)
  • vanilla essence
  • mascarpone (this is optional and it will only be used as a topping)

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Making these cupcakes is really easy and you only need to be following a few simple steps.

  1. As usual, arrange all the ingredients in order to make this perfect photo.
  2. Cut the oranges and the lemons in perfect halves, carefully squeeze all the juice and clean all the remaining contents until you are left with clean cupcake citrus-peel holders.
  3. Put all the chocolate and the butter into a bowl and microwave it for 2 mins, then stir well until all of the content is creamy.
  4. Put the eggs over the flower (you see 6 eggs in the photo because we had to make 24 cupcakes) and stir well until you get a batter -like composition.
  5. Add the melted chocolate and carefully stir until fully incorporated.
  6. Pour a glass of orange juice over the batter and stir well with and electrical mixer.
  7. Fill the orange and lemon peels with the batter and put them in the oven for 20 minutes at 175 degrees.
  1. For the topping, which is optional, you’ll need the mascarpone cream cheese, half of glass of lemon juice and a vial of vanilla essence. Mix everything together and that is it!
  2. Once you get the cupcakes out of the oven, let them chill for 10 mins and decorate them with the mascarpone topping.

That’s it! It’s that simple to get a healthy, low-calorie dessert ready in just 40 minutes. Using the current recipe, each cupcake carries around 120 kcal, which is very good considering the fact that by using the wholemeal flour, they ended up being very satisfying and you are really full after only one eaten.

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I have a hunch that if you only use a quarter of the butter and only the egg whites, the fat as well as the cholesterol will go down a lot, making these very very healthy. We probably will try to adjust the recipe a bit next time.

I hope you’ll enjoy this recipe and find it as delicious as we did!

L. 

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When you only have leftovers…

Just a friendly reminder that I am not a cook, nor do I usually venture in these kind of homey activities, but I do love food (hence my multiple visits to the gym) and I am not one to starve if I don’t have certain ingredients in the house. That being said, you’ll probably see more posts from restaurants than from our kitchen in this category, but we promise we’ll give it our best whenever we’ll decide to cook our own meals.

The reason this dish is so ‘romantically’ named is because it’s literally made out of everything I could find in our fridge today. Usually we go grocery shopping on Sundays for the week to come, which means that our Sunday breakfast is assembled with whatever we have left. I have to agree that we did have a fair amount of various ingredients today (this usually doesn’t happen) because D decided to make pasta on Friday, otherwise we probably would have had yogurt for breakfast.

Since we never ever cook following a recipe, we are usually left with a weird array of ingredients because we tend to buy more than we need for two people (that’s also due to the fact that we venture into the kitchen as ‘often’ as we do).

Today’s omelette took me about 20 minutes to make, including prep-time, and we were both satisfied with the quantity, so I guess it serves two.

Ingredients (leftovers):

  • 5 egg whites (I’m not a fan of the yolk)
  • Chives
  • 1/2 cup of sliced olives (buy them ready-sliced as it saves a lot of time and they tend to be more tasty)
  • 1 tsp olive oil (pomace olive oil for frying-don’t use virgin olive oil for cooking as it’s toxic)
  • 1 tsp pesto (usually I like to make my own pesto, but this time, since D already brought a jar of Jamie Oliver pesto I decided to use it)
  • 1 medium sweet red pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion (i prefer red onion as it’s sweeter)
  • 1/4 cup whole milk (i rarely ever drink cow’s milk, so when I do I like it whole)
  • 40 gr Parmesan cheese

Step 1 – arrange all the ingredients for a blog/Instagram-worthy picture ( I think that alone took me about 5 minutes as I’m not as talented as D when it comes to photos)

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Step 2 – chop everything that can be chopped 

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Step 3 – mix the egg whites with the milk, 1/2 of the chopped sweet red pepper, 1/2 of the chopped onion, 1/2 of the chives, 1/2 of the sliced olives, the pesto and the Parmesan cheese

Step 4 – preheat the olive oil in the pan and fry whatever’s left of the chopped ingredients for about 3-4 minutes (basically until the onion turns golden)

Step 5 – pour the egg-combo into the pan and stir until you reach the desired consistency

Step 6 – impress D with Sunday breakfast in bed!

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All the nutritional information posted here is courtesy of the Jawbone UP app. I will at some point write a post praising this amazing product that changed my life completely for the better, both health and fitness-wise.

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Hopefully you’ve found my latest cooking attempt interesting. Enjoy your Sunday!

L.