I love brunch – it’s by far my favourite meal of the day and I’d eat it for every meal if I could! I regularly end up having a three course brunch as I just can’t decide between all my favourite things – avocado, french toast, waffles, poached eggs, smoked salmon, pancakes, porridge, pastries, buttered sourdough to name just a few.. with multiple coffees along the way of course! It’s a weekend tradition for me – I love wandering round London on a Saturday to discover new places to eat and spending lazy long Sunday mornings sipping coffee with good food and good company 🙂
This place is one of my favourite places to visit in St Albans – and if you’re ever in the area (or even close.. it’s worth the detour!) I can’t recommend it enough! It’s a tiny place with all of the charm and quality of an independent cafe. Every time we go in there it’s busy – and with good reason. They only do puddings, and they do them seriously well..
My name is Nicki, a little person (5 foot 1 at a push!) with a big appetite! I moved down South a few years ago, and have discovered a real passion for both food and fitness. I love cooking, baking and discovering new places to eat good food and drink good coffee!
I started an Instagram account about a year ago, mainly because friends told me I should share some photos of the things I baked, but recently I’ve started using it a bit more to promote what I believe to be a healthy balance – something I believe very strongly in. I remember the first time I received a comment like ‘how do you eat all that and stay skinny!?’ or ‘your cholesterol must be so high from all the junk food you’re eating’ and I was genuinely so surprised. Yes, I regularly treat myself to cake, chocolate and other foods that people would deem to be ‘unhealthy’ but I also eat plenty of wholesome nutritious foods, as I believe everyone should! I genuinely love all different foods and can’t understand why people cut out or restrict certain food groups. I don’t claim to have any qualifications in nutrition but I think that so many people overcomplicate their diets.. food is food, food is fuel and anything in excess is bad, so I just try to eat everything in moderation. So many health and fitness accounts are all about ‘clean eating’ (a term I hate by the way!) and I can’t believe the number of crazy diets there are out there – raw food only, no carbs, plant based, 5:2 to name a few – the most ridiculous of which involved eating only grapefruit for a week!
I think health is very important, but to me it’s about a sustainable lifestyle and one that allows people to enjoy themselves – ‘you only live once’ may be a cheesy saying but it’s true – what’s the point in being ‘healthy’ if you’re completely miserable! I also think that mental health is too often overlooked. People often see health as the physical side – based on purely how someone looks, but the reality is that behind closed doors, so many of these people may be miserable, controlled by food and unable to eat out, go for a drink with friends or socialise.
I’ve found a balance that works for me food-wise, eating wholesome and nutritious foods along with plenty of treats, but I’m still working on the mental side as body image has always been something I’ve struggled with. Praise and compliments are lovely and can be a real mood-lifter particularly when I’m down but I’ve come to realise that true happiness can only come when you find it yourself. No amount of compliments about my appearance could change the fact that I dislike many parts of my body. Equally, always striving for more defined abs and more tone won’t make me happy – don’t get me wrong these are things I’d love to have and I think it’s great to have ambitions or something to work towards but it’s so important not to lose sight of firstly what’s important (for me that’s friends, family, health and happiness) and most importantly, not to let your life or self worth be defined by body fat percentage or what you see when you look in the mirror. For the many people who have asked – this is also why I have never and won’t ever track. I would hate to be constantly worrying about/thinking about/controlling every morsel of food I put in my mouth. Why let your life be defined by a set of numbers!? If you want some chocolate, eat it. If you want a pizza, eat it. If you’re not hungry, don’t eat. If you’re hungry, eat! Life is too short to let yourself miss out on the things you enjoy or miss making memories with the people you love. I can’t imagine a life where I couldn’t spontaneously go to a restaurant with friends and order whatever I fancied, just because I didn’t know what was inside or its nutritional breakdown. Of course certain foods should be consumed mindfully but our bodies have a way of telling us what they want. If I have a craving for chocolate (yes it happens every day :D) I’ll have some rather than desperately trying to avoid it. If i’ve had a period where I’ve been working late and eating a lot of processed, greasy foods, I’ll usually crave something fresh and home cooked. Don’t over complicate things – eat fresh wholesome foods, allow yourself treats, go out and enjoy yourself and find a balance that works for you 🙂
I try to apply the same mentality to other areas of my life, including my workouts. For people that follow programs and feel that they ‘have to’ go to the gym 5 times a week, I don’t think it’s necessary. I think the key thing is to stay active, and everyone will like to do this in different ways. I love weight training, playing badminton, sometimes I may do intervals, or go for a relaxed walk or a chilled bike ride. I’m slowly realising it’s not about killing myself in every workout, sometimes it’s fine not to push. I’ve had a few minor injuries recently and it made me reflect on why I exercise – mainly because I enjoy it and I like feeling strong.. and if I want to keep doing it for many years to come, I need to also learn to enjoy resting and letting my body recover.
As well as a huge love for eating out and discovering new places to drink coffee, eat cake and relax, I also love baking. I bake a huge variety of things, usually sweet to satisfy my huge sweet tooth! I definitely can’t compete with the likes of Lola’s cupcakes, Bad Brownie and many other incredible bakeries and cake shops in London, but to find a balance between treats and nutritious foods, I love to try and create healthier versions of the treats I love! I’ve tried out cookies, cakes, protein bars, flapjacks and energy balls to name a few, but there’s one thing I make without fail every week – my nut butter cups.
I make them with almond butter as I’m allergic to peanuts, but they have been tried and approved by my friends and boyfriend and I think they’re one of my favourites. They’re so versatile with different flavours and additions, they’re raw and keep in the fridge for well over a week (in theory!). I’d love to start sharing these with all of you, so I’m hoping to start selling them in the future. In the mean time, before I have a proper page set up, if anyone is interested please send me a message on Instagram (@nickichanlam) or send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I’d love to take adhoc orders! 🙂 I’m going to start off with the classic one which I usually make – almond butter with a raw dark chocolate topping, but I’d also love to also sell other variations which I’ve made as well as customised orders in the future!