Friday Favourites: DIY Crafts to Celebrate Earth Day

Hello Lovely,

Earth Day is just 2 days away, and I'm so excited! Why? Because it's an excellent reason to share with you my favorite crafts: Upcycled Crafts! There are many different household items you can recycle or repurpose to give your space an eco-friendly flair! Today we're looking at crafts using easy to find items such as cardboard boxes and tin cans. Cardboard is one of my favorite items to upcycle, and it's a great way to feel a little less guilty about all of those Amazon boxes that arrive at your front door. Looking to get organised? Well there is no need to buy more organizing or craft supplies, when all you need to do is look to your kitchen. Put those empty tin cans to use with a beautiful upcycling project.

How To Make 3D Faux Metal Letters – From Cardboard!

HOW-TO-MAKE-FAUX-METAL-LETTERS.jpg

Are you a sucker for all things industrial? Well that's what drew me into this project! I think if I try to make this my mother would officially kick me out, but if you have space for something like this on your wall, I would 100% recommend it! I mean think about how much money you would save! Thanks to Chip and Joanne, EVERYONE is on the farmhouse/galvanized/industrial home décor trend so these are not cheap! But if you make it yourself, that's something you can brag about!

DIY FABRIC-COVERED UPCYCLE CARDBOARD BOXES

DIY-Fabric-Covered-Storage-Cardboard-Box-Upccyle-565x1024.jpg

With a few supplies, you can easily upcycle cardboard boxes and make beautiful custom storage and organizing boxes for your home. I already know which room I want to put these in!

Cardboard box shelves

An easy step-by-step DIY project for cardboard box shelves from homes+ magazine - make it yourself and transform everyday objects into something special for your home. I'm thinking of making one of these to hold my shoes in.

DIY Paint Can Herb Garden

DIY-Paint-Can-Herb-Garden.jpg

If you’re a serial DIY-er like myself, I’m sure you’ve been stumped when it comes to dealing with old empty paint cans.  Try a hanging garden!

Make Your Own Reusable Dryer Sheets

How to Make Reusable Dryer Sheets.jpg

Making your own reusable dryer sheets is a no-brainer way to save money AND the environment! This method is so simple you'll never BUY dryer sheets again!

3 Healthy Winter Soup Recipes

In the wintertime, there’s a big fight going on in my appetite. Part of me wants something light to balance out recent holiday indulgences and start the year out right… but part of me wants to curl up on the couch in my sweats and eat only comfort food. Thankfully, Waitrose provides the perfect soup base for you to build and add whatever you have in your pantry or fridge.

Here are three of my all-time favourite quick and easy vegetable soup recipes that will keep you feeling full and satisfied:

Chicken Carrot and Coriander Soup.jpg

1. Chicken Carrot & Coriander Soup

A soup that takes inspiration from the not-at-all vegetarian, this recipe produces a bowl full of healthy heartiness. The depth of flavour comes from a lot of sautéed aromatics, and the chunky texture is due to big portions of chopped chicken breasts, carrots, and corn. Though it’s low in fat, this soup will keep you full all winter long. 

Ingredients

  • Waitrose Carrot & Coriander Soup Mix
  • 1 cup cooked chicken
  • 1/2 cup loose whole kernel corn
  • 1/2 cup sliced cooked carrts
  • 2 cups water, boiled

Instructions

  1. Boil water and empty packet in a soup bowl. Pour water over contents and stir to dissolve. 
  2. Add chicken, corn and carrots.
  3. Stir and enjoy!
One Pot Lasagna Soup.jpg

2. One Pot Lasagna Soup

This recipe is clean vegetarian cooking with a hint of decadence. It’s an all-veggie soup made a tiny bit indulgent and oh-so-dreamy by the addition of mozzarella cheese.  If you’d like to add a little crunch, whip up a batch of these paprika toasts to eat alongside. 

Ingredients

  • 1 white onion
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 24 ounce jar pasta or marinara sauce
  • 1 can fire roasted tomatoes
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon basil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika - optional to taste
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 7 cups vegetable stock/broth
  • 13 lasagna noodles
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • ⅓ cup heavy cream
  • 12 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1½ cups mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 medium mozzarella ball, sliced

Instructions

  1. In a large dutch oven or pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Toss in diced onion and sautee for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in minced garlic and cook for another minute or two.
  2. Stir in tomato paste and flour then cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add pasta sauce, diced tomatoes, red pepper flakes, parsley, basil, oregano, paprika, sugar, salt and pepper to pot then stir in vegetable broth.
  4. Bring to boil then add lasagna noodles (broken into 4ths) to pot and reduce heat back to medium then cook, stirring occasionally (about 20 minutes).
  5. Once noodles are tender, stir in fresh spinach, heavy cream, ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese. Cut mozzarella ball into small slices and place on top. Garnish with shredded basil. Serve with crusty bread.
Tomato Soup.jpg

3. Classic Tomato Soup

If you have a constant craving for tomato soups, you’ll love this recipe for a thick vegetable soup that channels the zing and richness from those tomatoes.  The result is a soup that tastes like it’s been on the stove for hours when actually, it was never there in the first place! Nice. 

Ingredients

  • Waitrose Tomato & Basil Soup Mix

Instructions

  1. Boil water and empty packet in a soup bowl. Pour water over contents and stir to dissolve. 
  2. This is where you can have fun by added whatever vegetable you want. Mixed veg, spinach or onions. Don't forget the grilled cheese!

Which one of these healthy soups will you make first?

Let me know in the comments below!

16 Favourite Recipes Of 2016

Happy New Year’s Eve, everyone! 

First off, I just want to say a enormous thank you for your amazing support this year! Your responses to our delicious recipes and your enthusiasm to try them have been so rewarding! Oh my goodness, you all are the best, and your excitement and support means the world to us.  So from the bottom of our hearts — thank you.  

I’m really excited about a bunch of new recipes hitting the blog in January that are all healthy, healthy, healthy.  Because I don’t know about you, but after the holidays, I’m always ready to start the year off on a much more balanced and delicious note.  So be sure and tune back in on Monday for all new recipes you can feel great about in 2017. 

Today we're sharing our 16 favourite recipes of the year. It was so hard to pick because this year we gave you 57 new recipes! 57! That's not even including the recipe eBook we released in November for all new and existing subscribers! The list is a mixture our favourites and yours in no particular order. So what are we waiting for? Let's go! 

16 Favourite Recipes Of 2016

No-Knead Artisan Style Dutch Oven Bread   -    The bread is super crunchy on the outside, but moist and soft on the inside! I buttered it and was in heaven! Get the recipe!

No-Knead Artisan Style Dutch Oven Bread - The bread is super crunchy on the outside, but moist and soft on the inside! I buttered it and was in heaven! Get the recipe!

CALIFORNIA INSPIRED CHICKEN FLATBREAD   -   This recipe mimics a California chicken flatbread with juicy chicken, bacon, mushrooms, tomato, cilantro, and sweet yet savoury balsamic vinagrette! 

CALIFORNIA INSPIRED CHICKEN FLATBREAD - This recipe mimics a California chicken flatbread with juicy chicken, bacon, mushrooms, tomato, cilantro, and sweet yet savoury balsamic vinagrette! 

Starbucks Copycat Eggnog Latte  -   This festive, Starbucks-inspired latte is made with strong brewed espresso,   steamed eggnog and milk. Save yourself 5$ and make it at home – it’s delicious!!

Starbucks Copycat Eggnog Latte - This festive, Starbucks-inspired latte is made with strong brewed espresso, steamed eggnog and milk. Save yourself 5$ and make it at home – it’s delicious!!

Honey & Orange Pumpkin Spice Sweet Tea  -   This can be enjoyed hot or cold, but if you’re not feeling well, hot is the best way to go, and cold is great for just wanting sweet tea.

Honey & Orange Pumpkin Spice Sweet Tea - This can be enjoyed hot or cold, but if you’re not feeling well, hot is the best way to go, and cold is great for just wanting sweet tea.

Thirsty Thursdays: Strawberry Lemonade Shandy  -   Tart, sweet, bubbly, light and refreshing. Strawberry Lemonade shandy just might become your new favourite summer drink.

Thirsty Thursdays: Strawberry Lemonade Shandy - Tart, sweet, bubbly, light and refreshing. Strawberry Lemonade shandy just might become your new favourite summer drink.

Christmas Cookie Cutter Pancakes  -   Christmas themed pancakes make it even easier to creative a festive holiday breakfast! Are they pancakes or are they cookies? You decide!

Christmas Cookie Cutter Pancakes - Christmas themed pancakes make it even easier to creative a festive holiday breakfast! Are they pancakes or are they cookies? You decide!

TO-GO BAKED OATMEAL MUFFINS RECIPE  -   These are such an awesome grab-&-go breakfast.  They are perfect to make on a Sunday and eat throughout the work week.  Or, you could even freeze some and defrost as needed.

TO-GO BAKED OATMEAL MUFFINS RECIPE - These are such an awesome grab-&-go breakfast.  They are perfect to make on a Sunday and eat throughout the work week.  Or, you could even freeze some and defrost as needed.

Lemon-Garlic Shrimp and Grits  -   This dish mixes flavour-packed shrimp, lemon, mushrooms, green onion, and garlic with creamy cheese grits. It’s perfect for brunch or for dinner.

Lemon-Garlic Shrimp and Grits - This dish mixes flavour-packed shrimp, lemon, mushrooms, green onion, and garlic with creamy cheese grits. It’s perfect for brunch or for dinner.

Milk and Cookies Cake  -    Rich chocolate chip layers, light, whipped cream filling loaded with crushed chocolate chip cookies…chocolate frosting, and a sweet vanilla glaze to finish things off.    Perfect, yes? How could Santa possibly resist?

Milk and Cookies Cake - 

Rich chocolate chip layers, light, whipped cream filling loaded with crushed chocolate chip cookies…chocolate frosting, and a sweet vanilla glaze to finish things off.

Perfect, yes? How could Santa possibly resist?

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake  -   Amazing cheesecake for the kid in you! Delightful, creamy peanut butter cheesecake made with homemade quick raspberry jelly swirled into it and layered over the graham cracker crust.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake - Amazing cheesecake for the kid in you! Delightful, creamy peanut butter cheesecake made with homemade quick raspberry jelly swirled into it and layered over the graham cracker crust.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Ice Cream - Without an Ice Cream Machine  -  W hat's a girl to do when Starbucks announces their return of the classic Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL), but it's way too hot to drink one? You make a PSL flavoured ice cream, duh! I needed a refreshing cool treat to enjoy that could also be comfort food (work is hard!) so I decided to make myself a pumpkin spice latte ice cream. If you don't have an ice cream machine, don't feel bad. I don't have one either and yet I still enjoy these chilly treats at home!

Pumpkin Spice Latte Ice Cream - Without an Ice Cream Machine - What's a girl to do when Starbucks announces their return of the classic Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL), but it's way too hot to drink one? You make a PSL flavoured ice cream, duh! I needed a refreshing cool treat to enjoy that could also be comfort food (work is hard!) so I decided to make myself a pumpkin spice latte ice cream. If you don't have an ice cream machine, don't feel bad. I don't have one either and yet I still enjoy these chilly treats at home!

Mini Lemon Blueberry Cheesecakes  -  Miniature sized cheesecakes flavoured with a hint of lemon, topped with blueberry jam, and covered with lots of fresh blueberries. A sprinkle of powdered sugar gives these cheesecakes the perfect finishing touch. 

Mini Lemon Blueberry Cheesecakes - Miniature sized cheesecakes flavoured with a hint of lemon, topped with blueberry jam, and covered with lots of fresh blueberries. A sprinkle of powdered sugar gives these cheesecakes the perfect finishing touch. 

Cookies n Cream Brownies  -  A chocoholic’s dream! Fudgy brownies stuffed with Oreo chunks and even more pressed on top. You won’t miss the calories in these rich yet lightened-up treats!

Cookies n Cream Brownies - A chocoholic’s dream! Fudgy brownies stuffed with Oreo chunks and even more pressed on top. You won’t miss the calories in these rich yet lightened-up treats!

Pumpkin and Carrot Soup with Crispy Bacon and Rosemary  -   Pumpkin soup. Perhaps the quintessential fall/winter food. That and casseroles.   But soup warms you from the inside out, like only tea does. This soup was so delicious and easy to make! Plus you'll have leftovers for at least two more meals with this recipe. 

Pumpkin and Carrot Soup with Crispy Bacon and Rosemary - Pumpkin soup. Perhaps the quintessential fall/winter food. That and casseroles. But soup warms you from the inside out, like only tea does. This soup was so delicious and easy to make! Plus you'll have leftovers for at least two more meals with this recipe. 

Chicken and Shrimp Stuffed Shells  -  This recipe was sooooo good, I can't believe it took so long for me to share it with you guys! If you're looking for the perfect Valentine's Day/Anniversary/Date Night recipe, try this one and your lover will definitely be impressed!

Chicken and Shrimp Stuffed Shells - This recipe was sooooo good, I can't believe it took so long for me to share it with you guys! If you're looking for the perfect Valentine's Day/Anniversary/Date Night recipe, try this one and your lover will definitely be impressed!

Balsamic Chicken Pizza  -   Allowing you to   save money   and bring the flavors of Italy home! So if your craving pizza tonight, run over to your local supermarket and stock up on all your favorites and make my recipe for Balsamic Chicken Pizza!

Balsamic Chicken Pizza - Allowing you to save money and bring the flavors of Italy home! So if your craving pizza tonight, run over to your local supermarket and stock up on all your favorites and make my recipe for Balsamic Chicken Pizza!

That's it! 2016 has been a doozy of a year, and I've probably gained more pounds than I feel comfortable sharing from indulging in all of these goodies over the year! Did your favourite recipe make the list? No? Well share with us your favourite recipe in the comment section below! And if it is on the list, tell us why it was your favourite! 

Our Christmas Wishlist

Our Christmas Wishlist

The Life By Olivia team shares their Christmas Wishlist for the upcoming holidays. Is there anything on our list that you now want to add to yours? Or maybe there's something you're dying to get that should be on our list!The Life By Olivia team shares their Christmas Wishlist for the upcoming holidays. Is there anything on our list that you now want to add to yours? Or maybe there's something you're dying to get that should be on our list!

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14 Fun Ways to Celebrate Your Singledom This Spring

Hello Lovely,

And hello Spring Break! Some of you may have already had spring break, some may have not started yet. But either way, we're approaching the end of another school year and the beginning of a season of adventures! That's right it's officially Spring! Spring sprung yesterday! I've got some plans for this week that I can't share just yet. If you have every intention of meeting a cutie on the beach—go for it! However, spring break doesn't have to be all about finding your "spring fling." Here are some awesome ways to have fun without focusing on getting that romcom-worthy smooch.

1. Host Sunday Brunch With the Girls

Everyone girl has a Serena to her Blair!

Everyone girl has a Serena to her Blair!

Brunch is one of the best meals to host, since there is a lot more flexibility than at a Friday or Saturday night dinner. For one, brunches can last as long or as short as you like. Most of the time, friends will have plans for the afternoon and won’t stay all day, but sometimes they’ll have nothing to do, and some of our best brunches have lasted almost until dinner. On the other hand, if you have plans, everyone will understand.

Beyond those perks, there is the inevitable con that brunch occurs relatively early. Set your own schedule. If you’re not an early bird, don’t invite anyone over before 1:00 pm.  

2. Take a Just-Because Road Trip

IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII want to soak up the sun!!!!!!!

IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII want to soak up the sun!!!!!!!

Plan your route and stops ahead of time, but keep an open mind. Try not to stress about it too hard and remember that it will probably make a good story someday. It's also a good idea to keep loose plans because you never know when fun and interesting opportunities will arise. You could be driving by one of most popular roadside attractions along the way, so think about including "free time" in your itinerary. Don't forget to have a solid budget and look for ways to save on cash.

3. Plant a Garden With a Pal

How else are you going to take those oh so important #OOTD photos?

How else are you going to take those oh so important #OOTD photos?

April is finally here and your garden soil is finally warming up! April is the best time to plant most of your vegetable seeds after your last frost. It's still not too late to plant tomatoes and peppers from seeds as well. Gardening also offers some less visible, but perhaps equally sustaining benefits — whether your garden is a small patio planter, a backyard vegetable garden or a plot in a community garden. It’s no coincidence that gardens aimed at interactive health and healing have been popping up in prisons, hospitals, nursing homes, and in community centers for homeless populations and at-risk youth. 

4. Spend a Day at the Museum/Art Gallery/Zoo/Botanical Garden

Cause Knowledge is Power!

Cause Knowledge is Power!

A day at the museum (or any attraction site) often translates to a day spent with loved ones. Museums Art Galleries, Botanical Gardens and Zoos are effective ways to learn while having fun and gaining inspiration.

5. Train For a Race

Go DIVA GO!

Go DIVA GO!

Training for a race, even your first race, is not hard if you have the tools in hand to do it right. Always have a goal in mind,  get comfortable, properly fitted running shoes and stick to your plan.

6. Hit Up Happy Hour With Co-Workers

"So then I was like, Get your own damn stapler!"

"So then I was like, Get your own damn stapler!"

Who doesn't like drinking with friends? If you've had an extra hard day, instead of going home and drinking alone with your cat, hit up a happy hour with some co-workers or friends and blow off some steam!

7. Hike Your City

Despite my horrific, near death experience hiking with GGYA (and that was only the practice hike) one of my goals is to go hiking for real. And some of you may think, but we live in the Bahamas, where are you going to hike? The Bimini Nature Hiking Trail gives visitors a rarely seen glimpse of the island. You will not only be able to learn more about Bimini’s animal and plant life, but also hear stories about the ecology and history of Bimini. You can even hike in Andros. I did that back in 2009, and fell in the love with the island!

8. Bake With Your BFFs

If I'm going to get fat, you're getting fat with me!

If I'm going to get fat, you're getting fat with me!

When the weekend finally rolls around dust off your wooden spoon and bowl and spend some time baking delicious treats. The weekend is the perfect time to bake up a storm – with all that extra time on your hands, why not try your hand at something a little more difficult like piping or a delicious layer cake? Invite some friends over to taste-test your creations, or simply relax and indulge with the family. Weekend baking is extra rewarding because you don’t have to rush, and so you can really take your time getting those baked goodies just right.

9. Spend a Day at the Bookstore

If you're into books and reading, then getting lost in a book store or library is the perfect way to spend the day. There are so many options and reading is also a great way to pass the time!

10. Treat Yourself to Fresh Flowers

I did this on my birthday and resolved every month to treat myself to fresh food store flowers (hey I got a budget to work with). They were yellow and purple (don't ask me the type) because they were the cheapest flowers in the store at only $8 per bunch. For the time that they were alive, they made me so happy to look at, so I would definitely recommend other women doing this! Because sometimes a girl just needs to buy herself some flowers.

11. Start a Romance-Novel-Only Book Club

If we have to discuss 50 Shades of Grey one more time...

If we have to discuss 50 Shades of Grey one more time...

If you're looking for a book club to join, check with your library. Libraries often provide meeting space for book clubs and many administer their own book discussion groups. Participating in reading group discussions does wonders for your communication skills, and reading groups with a rotating roster of leaders means that everyone has a chance to practise their leadership skills and the management of a group of people, with different backgrounds and opinions. For those with writing aspirations, book clubs can be a wonderful breeding ground for ideas as well as provide the motivation for you to pen your own literary masterpiece.

12. Sign Up For a Dance Class

Run? I thought they said Rum!

Run? I thought they said Rum!

I'll be honest. I'm really bad at exercising. Like if I have to run, or do any kind of cardio, I guarantee you I will lose my lunch (it has happened, sorry Club One). But give me a dance class, or a good dancing session in the club, and I am pumped! The number of people taking part in dance classes world wide is increasing, with dance allowing people to be more active, socialise within local communities and develop creative skills.

13. Indulge in a Solo Spa Day

Inhale peace, exhale the bull...

Inhale peace, exhale the bull...

Between hectic work schedules and taking care of yourself, you probably already have plenty of reasons to pamper yourself with a spa day! Spending a day at the spa offers so many benefits that if you don’t already have reasons to pamper yourself, you will after learning what a spa day can do for your mind and body. It’s important to take time out of your busy schedule to take care of yourself, and a day at the spa is the perfect way to unwind.

14. Plan a Relaxing Vacation

Summer beach body here I come!

Summer beach body here I come!

Work driving you crazy? Sick of the same old scenery? Need a break from the usual? Then it’s time for a relaxing vacation! A relaxing vacation is about you, your family or a friend who’s in need of one too. Whether you’re alone or with others you have to try to get the most out of your vacation.

10 Things You Can Do When You're Having a Bad Day

As the queen of bad days and temper tantrums, I think it's fair to say that we all have bad days that make us say and do crazy things. Like following that guy that yelled something obscene at you for at least 2 miles just so you can stare at him in a slow, evil glare while he turns off, after realising you're now following him with hate in your eyes. Or a broken camera lens that's gonna cost over $100 to either fix or repair. Or even a stolen electronic or failed job interview. I promise these aren't personal confessions (okay maybe they are) so I know what it's like to just be having a bad day. And as much as we may want to exact our revenge on that theif, or annoying co-worker or the person that didn't hire us, sometimes there really is nothing we can do about it. But even if we can't change our situation, we can change how we react to it. Here are some sweet suggestions for improving your mood a little.

  1. One of my personal favourites: Hang out with a pet. Cuddling, playing, or just chillin’ with your pet can help us feel happier and less stressed. I love to play with my cat. He always seems to know when I'm feeling down and comes to lay with me. Pets are awesome like that.

  2. My second favourite: Turn off your phone. Being constantly available stresses you out. So turn off your phone or put it in airplane mood and do something fun, like play video games.

  3. Watch your favourite tv series. I know I jump for joy (sometimes literally) whenever there's a marathon of Law and Order SVU or Castle on TV. Find something that makes you happy and or laugh.

  4. Take a long relaxing bath or shower. Taking a little extra time in the bathroom to zone out can help you relax and reduce stress. I do it all the time!

  5. Eat your favourite food even if it's not so good for you. Let me guess, it's chocolate? No wait, pizza! Ice cream? No matter what it is, you've got a snack that instantly cheers you up as soon as you see it. Treat yourself. This is an emotional crisis after all! (It's doughnuts, I knew it!)

  6. Call someone you love. We all have someone who can always cheer us up.

  7. Go outside! We all know the benefits of outdoor activites like going to the beach. So if life is getting tough, take a time out and try going for a walk or to the beach!

  8. Actually go see someone you love. Silly huh? How the only thing better than calling that person that cheers us up and actually seeing that person!

  9. Write about what’s bothering you and then write something you are grateful for. This is a great way to release stress and anxiety since it helps you get things off your chest in a safe way.

  10. Smile. It has biological effects on your brain, helping you feel better. Smile with your whole face. Even if you don’t feel like it.

I've been having a lot of bad days lately so I thought I'd share with you some of the ways I was able to get over them. I know I drove my boyfriend nuts with all of my sulking, so thanks babe for putting up with me during those times! Don't forget to try these methods if you're ever feeling down! Which one(s) is your favourite?

XoX,

Olivia